Baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit

Don’t harden your head against Christ’s direct command to make disciples by baptizing them. That is the path of the fool fighting against God. Do you really think that we can make true disciples while we refuse to obey Him? Are we going to make disciples of God while we refuse obedience to Him—while we’re fighting against Him?

We’re not making true disciples of God if we’re fighting against Him—it’s as simple as that. And so we must not harden our heads against His command. Instead we must embrace His commands as so much of Scripture tells us, to embrace the commands, to embrace the statutes, to love His words—you see, read Psalm 119. It’s the psalm of a man who sees sees God’s commands, and loves them, and obeys them.

The 2011 ClearNote Fellowship Conference was titled The Great Commission. Here is Pastor Joseph Bayly’s sermon, titled Baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.

(This is sermon 3 in a series; see also sermon 1, sermon 2, sermon 4, and sermon 5.)


Outline

We hate baptism
It’s impossible to remove baptism from the Great Commission
Textually, you can’t separate the what from the how
If you cut out baptism, you’re gutting the Great Commission completely
What is baptism?
A direct command of Jesus to His church
The external sign of the internal reality, the cleansed conscience
The wickedness of saying it’s only the heart that matters
We know external signs are important
A seal of a covenant transaction between God and man
Delegated authority and baptism: Not just anybody can sign a contract for somebody else.
God’s promise
Any idiot can steal a wedding ring
Our promise
Baptism is intimately tied to God’s authority
We have found why we hate baptism
Don’t hate baptism. Claim it.

We hate baptism

Let’s go to the Lord in prayer.

Father, we are Your people, and we come into Your presence singing and clapping and rejoicing because of the work that You have done and that You are doing. We ask that You would be at work here this morning, and I ask that You would speak through me only Your truth. We pray for the Great Commission to be fulfilled by Your church—that we would not shy away from it, that we would not make a show of pursuing it while really doing the opposite. We pray these things in the name of Your Son Jesus Christ our Lord, amen.

Of course, much of the work that’s done today in Christian ministries is done under the presumption of it being Great Commission work. We all have heard and seen reference to the Great Commission in many, many different places, not just in the church but—and especially—outside of the church in the parachurch.

And ironically, outside of the church in the parachurch my topic has no place, because my topic is the command, “Baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” And that is one thing that the parachurch will never do and never speak about.

And so if you go to Campus Crusade’s website you’ll see they have a 10-part series on fulfilling the Great Commission that never once talks about baptism. Not once! Well, the word baptism, yes. The word ‘baptize’ does happen once in the one place where the full text of the Great Commission text shows up, there the word ‘baptize’ shows up, yes. But that’s it. Or if you search their website for ‘Great Commission’: 500 results. But if you were to search for ‘baptism’: 18 results. (Now, Campus Crusade isn’t unique in this. I could’ve picked any of the parachurch organizations, Campus Crusade just happens to be the largest.)

Why do I point this out? Well, it’s important for us to recognize that all of this work that’s going on that is supposedly Great Commission work, isn’t obeying the Great Commission! You see, we understand this if we’re children, but somehow as mature Christian adults this is lost on us. We think that somehow it’s ok for us to say that we’re fulfilling the Great Commission while completely gutting it of the one thing in the center: baptism. If you asked any child to read the text—and let’s read it now:

And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

If you asked any child with 4th grade reading comprehension, “What are the things that you’re to do according to this?” they would get the answer right, and yet somehow if you ask the church today what is commanded in the Great Commission, it’s like we’re in la-la land and baptism doesn’t even enter into it! On its face, doesn’t that seem a bit problematic, that the plain, simple meaning of Scripture is what we’re ignoring?

It is problematic. In fact, it’s more of a problem even than we would guess at first. What has happened today is that we have actually come to hate baptism. It’s not just that we’re ignoring it.

See, the story goes like this: we started out sending the Great Commission work outside of the church. We said, the parachurch will fulfill the Great Commission for the church. And the parachurch said, we can’t baptize people. And so baptism was left by the wayside. And then it became denigrated, and then it became hated, and ultimately it’s not just that baptism is being ignored now. Ultimately, we hate baptism, and as we hate baptism we hate Great Commission work, because they cannot be separated from one another. When baptism is removed from the Great Commission, true Great Commission work ceases.

So here’s the point: the Great Commission can’t actually be fulfilled apart from the church. And the reason is because you cannot pull baptism out of the church. And initially that was the reason that the parachurch didn’t baptize. Today the reason has changed to the fact that we hate baptism. And so not only is the parachurch not baptizing but the church also is not baptizing.

It’s impossible to remove baptism from the Great Commission

I wan to start out with a brief explanation of why baptism can’t be removed from Great Commission work, and then I want to talk more in-depth about baptism itself and why we find it so bothersome today.

So first we must see that it’s impossible to remove baptism from the Great Commission. As I said, it seems silly that I would have to defend this, and yet this is where we are today, and so let me make the case to you, first from the way the text is put together.

Textually, you can’t separate the what from the how

It says,

“Go…and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you.”

The words baptizing and teaching are the “how.” The “what” is make disciples. The “how” is by baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit; and by teaching them to obey all that I have commanded you. They’re participles, if that means anything to you. And if it doesn’t, what that means is that the context refuses to allow the words baptizing and teaching to be pulled apart into separate commands from the word go and make disciples.

Make disciples is the command, baptizing and teaching don’t mean anything apart from that first command, because they don’t become commands except for the fact that that first one is an imperative (an imperative meaning a command).

And so we can’t separate them into different commands and say, “Well yeah, there’s the ‘make disciples’ commmand and then there’s the ‘baptize’ command and then there’s the ‘teach’ command.” That’s impossible. There’s make disciples and then there’s how: baptizing and teaching. Textually you can’t separate them. They are part of the command to make disciples.

If you cut out baptism, you’re gutting the Great Commission completely

And as Stephen also said, the command is to make disciples, not to make converts. ‘Disciples’ is a big word—much, much bigger than ‘converts’. And it comes from the same word that we get discipline from. And so the word ‘disciples’ is filled in with its meaning by Jesus when He gives the additional explanation of saying, “baptizing and teaching.” That’s how we make disciples, as I said before: teaching them to obey everything that He commanded.

You see, that’s the difference. The difference between a convert and a disciple is, a convert has the bare faith—lifeboat saving faith that Stephen was referring to, and that’s all they have. But a disciple has been baptized and a disciple has been taught to obey everything that He commanded. You see the difference? A disciple is way, way bigger, way more work! Way harder.

If you cut out baptism in your Great Commission work you aren’t simply removing one small part, one little command. What you’re doing is you’re gutting the Great Commission completely. Why? Well first, because you’re quite obviously not teaching others to obey everything He commanded. Do you see this? Everything He commanded.

And if you aren’t teaching them to obey everything He commanded and you aren’t baptizing, then how in the world are you making disciples? In Jesus’ definition of what it means to make disciples, which is by baptizing and by teaching, you aren’t making disciples if you cut out baptism, because by cutting out baptism you’ve cut out teaching everything that He’s commanded.

You’re left with nothing. You’re left with, “Go; and lo, I am with you always,” and doesn’t that make perfect sense? Seriously, isn’t that what we believe today? “Go! And lo, I am with you always.” Doesn’t that just make you feel wonderful inside. Wouldn’t we much rather that that’s what the Great Commission actually said?

You see, we do hate the Great Commission. We do hate baptism. And the proof is in the fact that we would much rather that it said, “Go; and lo, I am with you always,” because that requires no work of us.

And so it’s clear that we need to keep baptism and teaching in the forefront of our efforts to make disciples. But this morning I want to focus on baptism. (Well, I’ve been told to focus on baptism. And I’m happy that it was limited, because I don’t think I could cover both.)

What is baptism?

So what exactly is baptism, and why is it so important?

As we answer that question, we’re going to see how and why we actually hate baptism, so pay attention.

A direct command of Jesus to His church

What is baptism? Well first, baptism is a direct command of Jesus to His church, and that makes it important.

It’s a command from God. That makes it important! We can’t let that fact somehow escape our notice.

I wrote that, and I thought, there’s nothing else to say under this. It’s a direct command of God! How can I follow that up? How can I impress upon you that that makes it important?

Well, maybe by asking a couple of questions. Are we Christ’s followers or not? Because if we are Christ’s followers then we follow His command. And if we aren’t following His commands, then we are not Christ’s followers. And so I impress the importance of obedience on you by saying, obedience shows your faith.

And I impress it on you further by saying, this man Jesus that gave this command, do you remember what He said first: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me”? Dare we disobey His command? Have we no fear of God?

And so why do we hate baptism? Well to start with, we hate it because we hate people telling us what to do, even if that person is Jesus. It’s as simple as that. Direct commands rub us the wrong way, and it doesn’t get more direct than right here in the Great Commission.

And so right off the bat, we’re bristling, we’re irritated, we don’t want to hear about it, especially when that same person starts it off by saying, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been granted unto Me.”

I mean, doesn’t that sound just a little bit authoritarian—over the top, even? How come He doesn’t just ask us to do it? We’d be ever so much more willing to help Him if He would ask instead of demand it from us, wouldn’t we? We don’t like being told what to do, and so we don’t like baptism, because it’s an explicit command with no wiggle-room allowed.

Don’t harden your head against Christ’s direct command to make disciples by baptizing them. That is the path of the fool fighting against God. Do you really think that we can make true disciples while we refuse to obey Him? Are we going to make disciples of God while we refuse obedience to Him—while we’re fighting against Him?

We’re not making true disciples of God if we’re fighting against Him—it’s as simple as that. And so we must not harden our heads against His command. Instead we must embrace His commands as so much of Scripture tells us, to embrace the commands, to embrace the statutes, to love His words—you see, read Psalm 119. It’s the psalm of a man who sees sees God’s commands, and loves them, and obeys them.

The external sign of the internal reality, the cleansed conscience

Baptism is also important because, in the words of the Westminster Shorter Catechism, it is a sign and a seal of the covenant of grace.

Now what exactly is a sign? What does it mean that baptism is a sign? It means it is an external symbol, an external sign of an internal grace—‘external’ meaning you get water on you; ‘internal’ meaning your heart has been cleansed, not your body. You see? A sign.

1 Peter 3:21 says,

Corresponding to that, baptism now saves you—

“Wait a minute! You don’t mean that, do you, Peter?”

…not the removal of dirt from the flesh…

Oh, oh, right. Okay. Now we’re with you.

…not the removal of dirt from the flesh…

Pouring water, or dunking—

…but an appeal to God for a good conscience—through the resurrection of Jesus Christ…

You see, baptism is the external sign of the internal reality, the cleansed conscience.

Today my concern is primarily the recent trend to make baptism less than it really is, but since we’re in Indiana, let me stop here to discuss the Disciples of Christ movement. I want to warn you that there are still those out there who make more of baptism than is right.

Like I said, my concern is primarily today going to be people who make less of baptism than the Bible really says it is; but there are some people who make more of baptism than it really is. Those people claim that the act itself of getting baptized saves you, the act itself saves you—which this verse clearly denies. “Not the removal of dirt from the flesh”—that does not save you. You see it?

Both the Roman Catholic church as well as the Disciples of Christ church teach this, and it is this fact that it is an external sign of an internal grace that shows the falseness of their teaching. In other words, the external sign—that is, baptism—is useless without the internal reality—that is, a heart washed clean by the work of God within you through faith.

And we’ve got a perfect example of this today with our phones. When somebody pocket dials you (which we’ve all experienced a number of times, I’m sure) and they’re not actually there, the external sign—that is, the caller ID that shows up on your phone—does not in fact mean that they’re calling you. The internal reality is, nobody’s calling you. Despite the external sign having been given, the internal reality is, there’s no one home. We understand signs, right?

And so baptism is just a sign, right? “It’s just a sign.”

The wickedness of saying it’s only the heart that matters

No, it’s not just a sign, and no, I’m not moving on to seal right now. It is a sign! And that itself is important.

Why is the sign so important? The external washing with water is a sign of something! What is it a sign of? What does it symbolize?

It is symbolic of the old man having died with Christ and having been raised to newness of life with Him. Do you understand? The old man having died, and having been raised to newness of life with Christ. And it is symbolic also of the putting away of filthy living and the beginning of holy living, cleansed living.

In other words, it is a sign of both our justification and of our sanctification. It is a sign both of what happened when we came to faith and of what is continuing to happen for the rest of our life.

Today we live in a very gnostic age, where we claim that the body doesn’t matter. And this is the origin of the idea that baptism is “just a sign,” as if the external has no import on our life and on our heart. Where we say,

“It’s the heart that matters. If he’s a follower of Jesus and his heart is washed, why does it matter whether his body is washed? It makes no difference! It’s just a sign, and the really important part is his heart! In his heart, he’s penitent, he’s cleansed, he’s forgiven, he’s washed. All those things that that sign stands for, they’ve already happened. It’s the heart that matters. After all, you just said baptism doesn’t actually save him, so what does it matter? After all, aren’t we just trying to get people saved, here?”

As Stephen so helpfully pointed out: No, we’re not. But let me also point out the wickedness of this argument briefly, by mentioning that this same argument can be used to justify any sort of refusal to obey.

“Why do I need to actually give to the poor? I know Christ commanded it, but it’s the heart that matters. And plus, what He really wants is a cheerful giver, and I’m much more cheerful when I don’t give. So I’m going to stick with loving the poor man in my heart, where it really matters.”

I mean, it’s very convenient, isn’t it? I mean, we could just do this all day! What commands don’t you like? This works great. I mean, we can just go and go. But it’s wicked.

“Why should I help the orphan? Why should I help the sick? Why should I help the widow? Why should I actually do anything for Africa, and all the orphans and widows there? I already wish that there weren’t orphans and sick people in Africa and it’s the heart that matters—“

Boom! We’re done. Obedience, just like that.

It’s not just the heart that matters.

We know external signs are important

As I already pointed out, any refusal to baptize disciples is a direct violation of one of the most plain and explicit commands that Jesus ever gave. And somehow we’re going to justify it by saying it’s all about their heart?

And plus, if we’re honest with ourselves, we know that external signs are important. Going back to my phone example from before: Have you ever gotten calls from “Unknown” before? What is it when you get a call from “Unknown”? It’s one of two things: either someone’s calling you from Africa, or it’s a telemarketer—someone who doesn’t want to be associated with their sign.

Pay attention here: someone who doesn’t want to be associated with their sign, baptism is our sign, we don’t want to be associated with our sign—We’re hiding who we are when we block caller ID; we’re hiding who we are when we refuse to get baptized. Why? Because we’re ashamed of our sign. We don’t want people to know who we are. We want to spring ’em a surprise attack!

Signs are important. What if a girl and a guy start dating and her Facebook profile still says “single”? All of a sudden we understand the importance of external signs, don’t we? You see? “It’s just a sign, I mean, it’s the heart that matters.”

“No, I really do like you.”
“Well why won’t you change your profile?”
“It’s just a sign. It doesn’t mean anything!”
“Well fine, go find some other guy who it doesn’t mean anything to. Have fun.”

We intuitively know the connection between the heart and the body, the external and the internal, and the necessary matching of them. The sign is important all on its own, and that’s before we even get to seal.

A seal of a covenant transaction between God and man

Baptism is also a seal—a seal of a covenant transaction between God and man.

What is a seal? A seal is a physical representation of a promise between two people.

Before I prepared this I had no idea what the difference between a sign and a seal was. I want you all to leave understanding the difference between a sign and a seal. Today a good example is wedding rings. Not just a sign, but a seal.

If I tell you that a married man threw his wedding ring on the floor, stomped on it, and walked out the door, what would that tell you? Well I’ll tell you something, it would mean a whole lot more than if he took the wedding photo, threw it on the ground, stomped on it, and walked out the door with the wedding ring still on his finger. Why? Because the photo is just a sign, and the ring was a seal to the promise made between the two of them.

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In the Old Testament, circumcision was the seal of the covenant between God and His people. Similarly, baptism is not just a symbol of our faith but the seal of it. This is why we read in Romans 6 verses 3 and 4,

Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.

It is through baptism that we give and receive our seal to God, from God.

This is why atheists who grew up and were baptized in the church will speak of renouncing their baptism, because it is more than just a sign of what they are—it is the seal of what they were. And just like the wedding ring, until it is off and thrown down, left behind forever, they’re still sealed to that promise that they made and that God made. It is more than just a sign. It is the visible seal.

Just as refusing to sign the contract is to refuse all of its terms, so to refuse baptism is to refuse to make or receive the promises that it seals to us: put your seal onto a contract, two people sign the contract, they’re both signing it to one another, they’re both making promises to one another, and they’ve sealed it with their signatures. And if they refuse to sign it, the contract is refused, and everything that it contains is refused along with the refusal to put the pen to paper.

Delegated authority and baptism: Not just anybody can sign a contract for somebody else.

So what are those promises? How do we make and receive promises with God through baptism?

Well one of the first things to note there is that not just anybody can presume to offer to seal God’s promise to an individual by baptizing them. (Now this is kind of tangential here, but it’s worth noting.)

Not just anybody can sign a contract for somebody else. You see, you have to have the delegated authority—the seal, the signet ring, has to have been given to you in order to put it into the wax and say, “I speak for the king.”

That has to be delegated, and God has specifically given us men who wield that authority. And when a pastor says, “I baptize you in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,” part of what he’s doing is he is wielding that authority to seal a covenant promise made by God to man. And he has not just the right but the obligation to use that authority to speak in God’s name, you see? “In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost.”

Do we lightly take it upon ourselves to do something in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost?

God’s promise

What is this promise that is sealed to us in baptism? God’s promise is the promise of everything represented in the sign: our justification and our sanctification are sealed to us through the waters of baptism.

And when we partake of that seal, we always have it as a seal forever after that. It can’t be taken away from us. God’s covenant has been sealed to us. It is an encouragement to our faith the rest of our life. And this is why Paul speaks this way in Galatians 3:26-27, where he says,

For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.

Clothed yourselves with Christ. You see? It’s the seal, everything that’s represented. Obviously, the seal, just like the sign, can’t mean anything if the reality of faith isn’t there. And that’s why the verse starts,

For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.

It’s through faith, but what’s the confirmation? The confirmation is, all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. And so baptism can be spoken of as “our faith.” It is our faith. Our faith isn’t in baptism, our baptism is our faith. It is how we seal it. It is how we claim God’s promise of cleansing. It’s how we claim His promise of newness of life. It’s how we claim His promises.

Any idiot can steal a wedding ring

Any idiot can steal a wedding ring. If someone ran up here and yanked on my ring it’d come off just like that. It’s too big. If they stuck it on their finger, I’ve got news: Heidi would still be my wife.

And so, sealing the covenant to people who have no faith is no danger to the faith. It’s no danger to us, we don’t need to think that somehow the claim that baptism is a seal means that therefore baptism causes people to be saved (baptismal regeneration). A seal can also be empty, just like a sign can be empty. But when the seal has the full authority of God behind it, and when it has true faith behind it on the other side, that seal is permanent, and it cannot be done away with. It is effective in that way. And so we can take comfort in it, if we have actually entered into His covenant.

And so baptism is a comfort to the saints. It is a means of grace to us. God has given us gifts, and then He’s commanded us to use them, and He did it for our benefit. Baptism is one of those gifts, just like prayer is one of those gifts, just like the preaching of God’s Word is one of those gifts.

And to refuse to partake of baptism is similar to refusing to sit under the preaching of God’s Word and refusing to pray—but worse. It is evidence that the fruit is bad. That claim that the heart is what really matters—does the heart that is in subordination to God act in disobedience in this way? No, it doesn’t. The heart that is in subjection to God obeys His command and joyfully gets baptized, joyfully prays, joyfully sits under the preaching of God’s Word. Why? Because it desires the benefits that come from those means of grace.

Our promise

What is our promise? There’s always two sides to a covenant. We’ve talked about God’s promise, what is our promise?

This is the other part of the reason that it’s done in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost. It is our promise to be His people, and so we are baptized into Christ. We take on His name. We are no longer our own, we have been bought with a price. What was that price? The price was His name. We take on Jesus’ name when we’re baptized. We are no longer our own, we are God’s, and we claim it boldly and we claim it publicly. We belong to God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Baptism is intimately tied to God’s authority

And that brings us to a final and important point regarding the nature of baptism. This will blow your minds. Baptism is intimately tied to God’s authority, not just in our passage. Listen to 1 Peter 3:21-22,

Corresponding to that, baptism now saves you–not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience–through the resurrection of Jesus Christ…

We’ve read this, right? What does the next verse say?

…who is at the right hand of God, having gone into heaven, after angels and authorities and powers had been subjected to Him.

Baptism and God’s authority: brought together like this!

Colossians 2:9-12,

For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority; and in Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ; having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.

Baptism and God’s authority brought together.

Ephesians 4:4-8,

There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all. But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Therefore it says, “WHEN HE ASCENDED ON HIGH, HE LED CAPTIVE A HOST OF CAPTIVES, AND HE GAVE GIFTS TO MEN.”

God’s authority and baptism brought together.

Now what does this mean?

We have found why we hate baptism

What it means is we have found why we hate baptism. Because there is no separating baptism from that authority. “Behold, all authority in heaven and earth has been granted to Me. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them…” And so there is no such thing as the Great Commission being done without that authority. There is no such thing as the Great Commission being done without baptism. It’s amazing how closely related baptism and God’s authority are.

And Stephen helpfully explained to us that God is conquering the whole world with the gospel, and that we hate the idea of winners and losers, and we hate the idea of authority, and so what we’ve just seen in these texts is that the authority of His conquering power is shown in baptism. The authority of His conquering power is shown when people are baptized. Why? Because they become His people. They are now under His banner. They are no longer the enemy. They have been transferred from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light. And they have sealed it with their promise through baptism, and God has sealed it with His promise through baptism. And there’s no undoing it. He is conquering the nations through baptism, because it is through baptism that disciples are made.

Why does this make us so uncomfortable? Because we don’t want there to be two camps. We don’t want there to be a pitched battle, with the flags on one side, Light, and the flags on the other side, Darkness, and with eternal souls at stake on which side the line is drawn.

We want there to be a no-man’s land. We want there to be a peace zone, we want there to be an area where you can be both. We want to be able to walk back and forth from one side to the other depending on what we feel that day. We don’t want there to be spears and swords. We don’t want it to be pitched battle. But as soon as we associate ourselves with His name, the battle is drawn. The fight will not end until you die.

And so we don’t want to call people to that. We don’t want to do it ourselves. We don’t want to publicly join His side, the church. We don’t want to be added to their number. We want to be added to our own individualness. We don’t want it to be entry into the church, the church that is waging war against hell, and that will not be overcome by the gates that stand in its way.

Don’t hate baptism. Claim it.

Don’t hate baptism.
Don’t hate being on Jesus’ side. Love it.
Don’t hate His promises. Love them.
Don’t hate being associated with His people. Love them.
Don’t fear persecution. He will win. All authority has been granted to Him. The gates of hell will not prevail.

Claim baptism.
Claim it as a sign of the work that God has done in you, your justification.
Claim it as a sign of the work that He is doing in you, your sanctification.
Claim it as a seal of the gospel, where He promises to cleanse you and unite you to Himself and His people, and where you promise to obey Him—where He promises to be your God and you promise to be His people.

Let’s pray.

Father, make us Your people. Make us disciples. Help Your church to fulfill the Great Commission. We ask these things in the name of Jesus Christ, who has all authority, and whose kingdom will never end, and who is victorious over death. Amen.

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