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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Mike Novotny » Mike Novotny - Jesus' Baptism = My Power Source

Mike Novotny - Jesus' Baptism = My Power Source

Mike Novotny - Jesus' Baptism = My Power Source
TOPICS: Don't Miss Moments, Baptism

Let's start with a show of hands. How many of you who are here in church today, or how many of you who are watching out there at home, hands nice and high, how many of you have been born? Just as I suspected. Alright. Another easy question. How many of you who have been born know the exact day on the calendar out of all a 365 days, the day you were born? Who knows that? Yeah, obviously. Alright, when you're born, it's a big deal. You remember it, you write it down on the calendar, you celebrate it. There's the cake, there's the balloons, there's the gift, there's the party. Any of you here today, don't just do a birthday, any of you do the birthday week kind of thing? Yeah, if you're sitting next to someone who does the birthday week thing, you can point at them. I ran into a woman on Friday night who said, "Oh, when it's my birthday, we do birthday month".

So, pray for her husband. That's an interesting thing to do. Alright, so those are the easy questions, right? We know, like, even though it's just one day out of the year, what happens on the day that we're born is a huge deal because it really affects all the days afterwards. And so, we remember it, and we celebrate it, and we make a huge deal out of it.

Alright, question number three is a little bit harder. How many of you who are here today, or those of you who are watching at home, how many of you have been baptized? Okay, lots of you. I suspected that too. Last question for you. How many of you know the exact date that you were baptized? Just as I suspected. It's interesting, huh? Even in the Christian Church, even in a church that does baptisms and celebrates baptisms, a lot of us, a lot of us would say, "Yeah, I've been baptized, but I I'm not really sure when that happened".

It's not on the calendar, you probably didn't get balloons for your baptism day, or a cake, or a party, or a celebration. You parents who've had your kids baptized, I wonder, you know, you're planning for weeks to make sure their birthday is just right. But for some reason, we don't often think that baptism is as big of a deal as the day of our birth. And if that's true for you, and I think it's true for a lot of us, here's just my big idea for today. I want to give it to you up front. So, pick up your pen and write this down. Today, I want to prove to you with an open Bible, that baptism is a big deal. Like big, big, huge, bigger than birthday, get it on the calendar, buy a cake, splurge, have a party, invite your friends.

Today, I want to prove to you that baptism is a big deal. It is not just a church tradition, and it's not just a biblical obligation. Baptism is a huge deal. If you haven't been baptized, today I'm going to give you my best pitch to be baptized. If you're sitting next to someone who hasn't been baptized, I'm going to give you my best pitch to get them baptized. And if you have been baptized, like I have, I want to try to convince you, maybe for the first time in your life, to get that day on your calendar and make a huge deal out of it. Because according to this book, the Bible, baptism is just that. It is a big, big deal.

So, let me take you back 2,000 years. We're in first century ancient Israel. We're right by the Jordan River near where Jesus grew up. And we meet a man named John. John is the son of Zechariah and Elizabeth. He's kind of Jesus's weird relative, and he is gathering a big group of people. And what's happening there by the banks of the Jordan River is a big, big deal. It's kind of a diverse crowd. You have Roman soldiers maybe standing in their uniforms next to local prostitutes, maybe standing in their uniforms, next to religious leaders, and fancy robes, and big hats is how I picture it.

Next to the tax collectors whose pockets are thick with gold coins, who are hated by everyone on the banks of the river. There's this eclectic crowd, and John is preaching, and what John is saying is savage. He is dropping a bomb on top of all of them. He is saying, "You all, you prostitutes, you Pharisees, you soldiers, you tax collectors, all of you need to repent. You're sinners, you're snakes, you're vipers, and if you think you're fine just because you're kind of religious, God right now in heaven is sharpening his axe, and he is about to chop you down and toss you into the fires of hell". What a sermon, huh? John is saying, "You have to stop. You soldiers need to stop abusing your power. You tax collectors need to stop hustling people. You prostitutes need to stop it. You Pharisees need to stop being so self-righteous and judgmental. You have to repent because the time is now".

And just when you thought John was a little bit much, he preaches the most amazing news of forgiveness. He says, "I want you to repent because, like, the kingdom of heaven has come near. The king of heaven is right here". He didn't say his name, but Jesus was on the way. And this king is so gracious, even if you've been self-righteous, even if you've prostituted your body, even if you've abused your power and robbed your neighbor, he is throwing open the gates of his kingdom because he wants you to be in it. He's a forgiving king, and a gracious king, and a patient king, and a merciful king. So, don't miss your chance right now. Repent of your sins, come into the kingdom, and believe the good news that the king is here for you. And John's preaching. And if you know anything about his nickname, you realize that he's not just preaching, he is also, he's baptizing. That's why they call him John the Baptist.

Now, he's right there by the Jordan River where there's plenty of water, and he's somehow connecting people to the water. We don't know exactly how he did it. And he's speaking powerful words about God as he baptizes. We're not sure exactly which words he's speaking, but according to Luke 3:3, we know why he was baptizing. Look at these words with me. Luke 3 says, "John went into all the country around the Jordan preaching a baptism of repentance, for the forgiveness of sins". "Well, why is baptism a big deal"? Well, this passage could probably say all of it. Do you have sins? You should be nodding right now. Yes. Do you want those sins forgiven? Also, I hope you're nodding right now. And the Bible's answer is, "Be baptized for the forgiveness of your sins".

That is exactly what the early Christians said. Some of you history buffs might know that Christianity was an illegal religion in the Roman Empire until I think the year 311 AD. There was a new Roman emperor, his name was Constantine. For whatever reasons he appeared to convert and become a Christian. And so, he declared it was legal to be a Christian. And not soon after that, just because there were so many like skewed, twisted versions of Christianity, he called this massive kind of church conference. It was called the Council of Nicaea. And he invited all the church leaders from all the countries and all the cultures just to clarify and unify exactly what Christianity was, and what true Christianity taught. And they left that conference in 325 AD with a creed.

Some of you, if you grew up in a more traditional church, might've recited this once, or twice, or a thousand times. It was called the Nicene Creed. Like, "Here's what true Christians believe". And it talked about that we believe in the Father who created us, we believe in Jesus who saved us, and then the third part of the creed that talks about the Holy Spirit, guess what comes up? Guess what these early Christians wanted to make sure that all Christians would remember? Baptism. And of all the things that the early Christian Church could have said about baptism, like who should be baptized, or how you should be baptized or all the... guess what is the one thing that these early Christian leaders wanted to make sure that you and I remembered about baptism? Oh, why don't you answer that question with me? Let me put some of the words of the third article, the third part of the Nicene creed up.

Let's read these words together. You ready? "We believe in one holy Christian and apostolic church. We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins". What is baptism for? The forgiveness of sins. Well, why are you going to check that box? Be baptized, celebrate baptism, because baptism is for the forgiveness of sins. Christians, ever since the days of John the Baptist and Jesus have made a huge deal out of baptism, because it's not just a symbol, and it's not just a metaphor, and it's not just a reminder. They have believed this teaching that John embraced that baptism is for the forgiveness of sins. But that simple truth is what makes the baptism of Jesus a little bit confusing.

Let's jump ahead to Luke 3:21, where we find these words. "When all the people were being baptized," the soldiers, tax collectors, Pharisees, prostitutes, "Jesus was baptized too". Wait, hold up. Baptism is for the? Help me out. For the forgiveness of sins. If there's one thing that Jesus never committed, it was sins. So, why. wait, Wait, how can the sinless son of God be baptized if baptism, we just read is for the forgiveness of sins? That's a logical question, right? It's actually so logical that we're not the first people to ask it. Do you know who asked it first? John the Baptist. We jump over to Matthew 3, Matthew records, "But John the Baptist tried to deter Jesus saying, 'I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?' Jesus replied, 'Let it be so now; for it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.'" What do you think that means? No, Jesus says, "No, I need to be baptized to fulfill all righteousness".

I see a tricky little line to interpret. Jesus is saying, like him being baptized was the right thing to do. Like, his work wouldn't be fulfilled and complete unless he did it. But why? Yeah, some Bible commentators would say that Jesus was baptized to make sure that you and I get baptized too, right? If we follow Jesus, we should follow him into baptism. Maybe he didn't need it for the forgiveness of his sins, but you and I certainly do. So, that's one interpretation. Other people would say, "Well, you know, when came to this world, he was trying to take our place and be our substitute, right"?

So, just like he's standing in the water, as if he was a sinner being forgiven, and later he's going to go to the cross where he suffers the wrath of God as if he were a sinner, that God was angry at. I mean, maybe Jesus is just standing in our place, being our perfect savior. To be honest, when I get to heaven, I'm going to ask Jesus about this verse. I'm not a hundred percent certain which of those interpretations is closest to the truth, because the Bible doesn't really explain what Jesus meant by it. But here's what the Bible does do. The Bible tells us that when it happened, when Jesus was baptized, God made sure that we would know it was a big deal. Look at what Luke records next, he says, "And as Jesus was praying, heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended on Jesus in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven; 'You are my son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.'"

Oh, can you imagine? How do you picture this in your head? Heaven is opened, like the blue sky ripped open. Oh,just like a light beaming down on Jesus. And then this dove appears. So, in the Bible, a dove is a symbol of purity and innocence. Because Jesus was pure and innocent. A dove in the Old Testament would be sacrificed for the poorest of sinners because Jesus would sacrifice himself for the poorest of us. A dove had wings so it could fly away from danger to a rock where it would be safe. Because of Jesus, you can fly away from the danger of God's wrath and be safe in heaven forever. Like, the Holy Spirit acknowledges who Jesus is. And then the Father speaks, and he gushes with love. "This is my son," he says, "Whom I love; with him I am well pleased".

Think about those phrases, the love, it just builds and builds. "This is my son". Like, God is acknowledging that Jesus is his kid. And not my son that I kind of hate or wish I never had, no, "This is my son whom I love". And not, "This is my son whom I love, but you know what, right now he's messing up and I'm kind of disappointed". No, "This is my son whom I love, and I am so pleased with him"! And Jesus deserved it, didn't he? The next verse in Luke's gospel tells us that Jesus was about 30 years old when he was baptized, which means that for 30 straight years, Jesus was perfect, right? 30 years, he had been a top, can you imagine his parents? He had been a perfect toddler, and a perfect kid, and a perfect teenager. And perfect when he was 18, and when he was 21, and when he was 25. He always honored Mary and Joseph. He always loved his neighbor; he was never proud or arrogant.

30 years in, the heavens ripped open so God could say "There is no one like Jesus. He's not just the son of God. He's like a dove, he's holy and innocent and he's the only one who's pure enough to be the sacrifice for your sins. I am so pleased with him". And the father and the spirit gush over the son, doesn't happen very often in the Bible, the whole trinity shows up and makes a huge deal out of the identity of Jesus, the son of God. So, I hope that convinces you of our next fill in the blank. Write this down. That Jesus' baptism was a big deal. When the heavens rip open, when the Holy Spirit shows up, when the Father himself speaks, that's a big deal. The baptism of Jesus is a huge deal. And before you put your pens down, write this next thing down too, that your baptism is, or I'm hoping for some of you, your baptism will be a big deal too.

I like to think about baptism like this, do you think this phone charger is a big deal? Doesn't look like much, huh? It was actually hiding up here and you didn't even know it. I think one of these will cost you what, 10 bucks, maybe on Amazon? Doesn't look like much, doesn't have any superpower to it. You might not think like the phone charger is a big deal until you remember that the phone needs the charge. That there's this device over here that I have a hunch is rather important to you in your life. Like, some of you don't know where your children are right now, but if you didn't have your phone with you, you'd be freaking out, right? So, like, with this phone that matters so much to us, but the phone is so, so, dependent on the power, on the charge, right? Our phones, we even say this, "My phone's dying," or, "My phone is dead". It can't resurrect itself. Our phone is in need of something else.

And there in the outlet is all the power to charge all the phones in the world. Power there, device in need here. Big deal! That's how I like to think about baptism. You know, a pastor, or a person putting water on someone, sprinkling, pouring, dunking them in water, saying a few words, that might seem like not such a big deal. I've been even at baptisms where baptism happens and everyone just sits there and looks, and then we go on with our days. It doesn't outwardly look like much and until you remember this, sinner in need of forgiveness, Jesus promise of forgiveness. Big deal! The Bible constantly uses phrases like, "You have been clothed with Christ in baptism. You've been buried and raised with Jesus through baptism".

The Bible loves to tell us, not that baptism just by itself is some, you know, magical church, powerful thing, but God, God has attached his own promise to baptism so that when you are baptized, the power, and the forgiveness, and the salvation, and the love of God flows through baptism to you. If baptism had nothing to do with Jesus, you'd just be a person who got wet. But if God has made these promises in his word, then baptism becomes more than just a symbol, more than just a tradition, it becomes a huge deal.

Now, I had planned on opening my Bible to all the passages to prove that. Like, oh, Galatians 3:27, or Acts 2, the gift of the Holy Spirit, or 1 Peter 3, "Baptism now saves you and gives you", I was going to do that, but I thought of something better. I thought of asking a bunch of the people who've been baptized here in this place, in this church, to share those passages for me. And I hope that when this next video is done, you're going to put your hands together louder than you have in a long time. To remember the grace of God, the power of baptism, and the big deal that it is to be born again in Jesus' name. Take a look.

I'm Ben O'Haver, and I was baptized in God's name at the Core.

My name's Allie Martin.

Jordan Parkin and I was baptized in God's name.

Baptized in God's name at the Core.

We are the Pauls, and these are our children, Eliza, Mira, Jonah, Jace.

These are our children, Jane and Anna. And they were all baptized here at the Core.

My name is Steven Metzker.

My name is Pinyaluck Wilke.

Cassandra Standridge.

And I was baptized.

Baptized in God's name.

Baptized in God's name at the Core.

Here's why my baptism is a big deal.

Baptism now saves you also.

Not the removal of dirt from the body.

But the pledge of a clear conscience towards God.

It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Repent and be baptized every one of you.

In the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you'll receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

The promise is for you and your children.

Here's why my baptism was a big deal.

Why my baptism is a big deal.

All of you who were baptized into Christ.

Have clothed yourselves with Christ.

These are our children and they are baptized children of God.

I'm Steven, and I am a baptized child of God.

I'm Jordan.

I'm Ben, and I'm a baptized child of God.

Baptized child of God.

My name is Allie.

I am Pinyaluck.

I'm Cassandra, and I'm a baptized child of God.

Baptized child of God.

I'm a baptized child of God.

I've been washed in Jesus' name. The Father looks at me and says, "This is my daughter whom I love". That's baptism. You're clothed with Christ. Like, you don't have to wear Gucci. Like you're clothed with the very son of God. God looks at us and he sees Jesus, and he beams from heaven. "This is my child whom I love," and he doesn't change his mind. All of that is, all of that is baptism. It is absurd to me. That we don't charge anything for baptism. It costs you nothing. If you get baptized and check the box, we won't charge you for the water bill. We will just celebrate this gift with you. A power cord will cost you 10 bucks.

Being baptized in the name of Jesus costs you nothing because your savior, Jesus paid everything. Baptism's power is in the name of Jesus who lived and died for you, so that you could be loved by God the Father, as much as he himself was. Have you heard the story? Just after Jesus returned to heaven, there was this African man who went to Jerusalem. He's in his chariots, he hasn't been baptized, doesn't really understand the good news of Jesus.

So, this Christian runs up to his chariot. He ends up jumping in. He teaches him the Bible, and boom, the light bulb goes on. Wow. Jesus forgave the sins of the whole world. And he believes in Jesus, and he's celebrating. And one verse later in the Bible, guess what happens? One verse, not 10 years after he was a great Christian, one verse later. I love Acts 8:36. Here's what the guy says. "Look, here's water. what can stand in the way of my being baptized? Who's going to stop me? Cleansed, clothed, saved, connected to Jesus. What can stand in the way of my being baptized"? That is the right question to ask when you believe like I do, like John did, like Christians do that baptism is a big deal. Let's pray.

Ah, God, thank you so much for the gift of baptism. Satan has tempted me a million times and I have stumbled in a billion ways, but there is just one answer to all of it. The forgiveness that came through my baptism. God in this very moment, despite 41 years of sins, you look down just like you did on Jesus, and you smile. And your face shines down on me and I live in that confidence that you like me, because of the grace that you first gave to me. Heavenly Father, all of us who trust in the name of your son can feel that way. Thank you for giving us forgiveness for free. Thank you that salvation doesn't come with a cost that we have to pay. Thank you, Jesus, that you picked up the whole tab, you paid the bill. You didn't just make a down payment. You bought us the whole thing, and through faith in your name, we have everything.

Oh God, fill us with joy today. Not just from that video, but from our own baptism stories. Help us to remember them, to celebrate them and to hold onto that promise that you gave through them. And finally, God, if there are people here today, and I know there are, who have not been baptized, draw them to you. Whatever's getting in the way, whatever's making them drag their feet, may your promises just bust every reason, and every excuse, and lead them just like the crowds to John the Baptist, that they could repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus for the forgiveness of all of their sins. God, we love you because of your unfailing love, but we believe that you loved us a million times more and that you loved us first. So, we pray all these things with confidence and joy, because we pray them in the name of Jesus. And all of God's baptized sons and daughters join their voices and they said, amen.

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