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Dunk Me

I have recently been given the topic to teach baptism. We know why most people talk about this subject, right? They want to press upon all the listeners how it is “very important” to be baptized. Why is it so important? So that it looks like a lot of people have been saved? It’s all wrong. I hate telling people that they have to be baptized if they are saved and that is how this is set up. It is set up to make them suppress what their desires are and to feel guilted into doing something they don’t want to do.

Baptism is an outward response to the gospel. Why would dunking our and others heads in water be our response to the gospel? Because dunking is awesome of course. No seriously. Our gospel, good news, is what our God has done for us, not what we can do for our God.

I am starting out with the great commission, mainly because I used the middle of it ‘making disciples’ the part where we talked about the church.

 “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Matthew 28:18-20

The key word there is therefore. Whenever you read a ‘therefore’ in the bible you need to realize that the cause is preceding it and the action will be succeeding it. Cause->THEREFORE->Action. So what is the cause? All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Jesus, is the cause. We cannot just act like we understand that right away and go on, because the action will be all screwed up if we don’t understand the cause. Jesus was given all authority in the universe. Authority over the spiritual and the physical. What did He do with His authority? He went to a cross and died was buried and resurrected! He washed crap off of some blue collar worker’s feet! He fed the hungry, He healed the lame, He gave up everything to help those that couldn’t help themselves. Now we have the cause somewhat figured out. We have God saying that all authority has been given up to Him and He has chosen to serve. Now He is saying THEREFORE.

The first part is saying that He was wants us to go and make disciples. How did Jesus, who has all authority, make disciples? He went out and found the people, He served the people, He taught the people, He loved the people. He is saying go do what I do. I could really get into what it means to make a disciple and I did with my group, but that is for another post for another time.

Next He says, “Baptize them”. Why? Because they need to learn and experience a physical act of what happened to them. They were dead. We were dead. Literally our souls are dead. We are completely depraved people without Jesus. Do you know what that means? That means we would not choose God. We would not choose to do good. We are evil people. Why? Because we are dead. Dead things are nasty and can do nothing good. You might say well they can’t do bad either, but I would respond with they are decaying, smelling, and creeping people out. There is nothing good that comes from living with a dead person, only evil. Therefore, we are depraved people, dead people until God lifts us from our graves:

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins,  in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.  All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy,  made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.  And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus,  in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.  For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—  not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Ephesians 2:1-10

This is why we dunk people. This is why we are submerged under water and then risen up. We were once dead bodies drowning in an ocean grave. Moses came and threw us a life boat and a life jacket which are the law and commands. Don’t forget that they are wonderful, but they cannot save a dead man. Jesus came and lifted us up. Jesus came and grabbed us and pulled us up to him. He breathed life into our dead bodies. This is why we dunk people. Our God is good and does the work.

So that brings us back to the beginning when I was suppose to teach that you have to be baptized and that you have to baptize others. You don’t have to be baptized. You get to be baptized. Oh that is just a word play. No No No it is not a word play. It is the difference between us and the world. We understand what God has done for us and what He has GIVEN us to do. Yes, they are both doing, but everyone does. The difference is the cause. The cause is that Jesus gave us life and we should rise up and live it! You should thank God that He has given you a platform to proclaim His name, to be an open activist in His kingdom.

Some people ask whether you have to speak at your baptism or not. I understand that not all baptisms are the same. Some are with only a few around, some are with a huge crowd, sometimes it is just one person being baptized and other times it is with 100s of people. So I do not think that there is set ‘law’ on this, but if you have been resurrected, are you not going to want to scream to the world what Jesus has done for you? Should you not be nipping at the bud to stand up and tell others about God’s glory?! Should that not be our greatest desire, not our greatest fear?

In a world full of dead people I hope that we take Jesus’ last words seriously:

“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

 Matthew 28:18-20

-Michael Esch-

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