Foundations Part 3
Living In Freedom.
When you tell people who you are, what do you say?
Do you identify yourself with your job, your family, your nationality, your relationships, your successes, your failures, your sickness, your past....?
What do you identify yourself with?
"It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for."
Who are you?
There's only one way to determine your identity, a foundation that cannot be shaken; I AM A CHILD OF GOD.
We didn't choose how we were born. We were each born into this world as a human being with characteristics we did not choose: nationality, parents, even our spiritual condition. Furthermore, we were born spiritually dead and sinners by nature...our inheritance from Adam!
But when we hear the good news of Jesus Christ and trust him as our Saviour and Lord, we are instantly identified with Christ as part of his family in God's eyes. We are 'in Christ'.
This is something that happens instantaneously to every Christian the moment of our spiritual birth: we are totally identified with Jesus Christ! We can then live according to his identity.
Living in freedom.
"It is for freedom that Christ has set us free."
The Bible records the baptism of Jesus in Matthew 3:17 when a voice from heaven was heard saying....
"And a voice from heaven said, “this is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”
In this account we see and hear 3 things...
(This is my Son)
(whom I love)
(with him I am well pleased)
As sons and daughters of God, we too have IDENTITY, ACCEPTANCE and APPROVAL because of Jesus.
"The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory."
We no longer need to live for acceptance and identity.
We can now live from acceptance and knowing who we are!
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!
Water baptism could be described as an outward declaration of what has happened in your heart.
"That’s what baptism into the life of Jesus means. When we are lowered into the water, it is like the burial of Jesus; when we are raised up out of the water, it is like the resurrection of Jesus. Each of us is raised into a light-filled world by our Father so that we can see where we’re going in our new grace-sovereign country."
Why should we be baptised?
1. Jesus did
Jesus himself was baptised. He was not a sinner, yet he humbled himself in obedience to identify with us and give us an example to follow.
"At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptised by John in the Jordan."
2. An act of obedience
Water baptism is an act of faith and obedience to the commands of Christ.
"Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
3. A public declaration
Baptism declares that you are a follower of Jesus Christ. It is a public confession of your faith in and commitment to, Jesus Christ. It is the next step after salvation through repentance and faith and is an important foundation for the Christian life
"Whoever believes and is baptised will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned."
What is the meaning and significance of baptism?
1. A move from death to life
Baptism is a symbol of Christ’s burial and resurrection. Our entrance into the water during baptism identifies us with Christ’s death on the cross, His burial in the tomb, and His resurrection from the dead.
"...having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through your faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead"
2. A brand new life
It is a symbol of your new life as a Christian. We bury the ‘old life’ and we rise to walk in a ‘new life’. Baptism is like a wedding ring, it is the outward symbol of the commitment you made in your heart, a commitment that has to be followed through and lived out on a daily basis.
Baptism does not make you a believer; it shows that you already are one! Baptism does not ‘save’ you; only your faith in Christ does that.
"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast."
How are we to be baptised?
We should follow the example of Jesus and be immersed in water.
"As soon as Jesus was baptised, He went up out of the water."
Who should be baptised?
Every person who has made the decision to believe in Christ should be baptised.
"Those who accepted His message were baptised…"
When are we to be baptised?
As soon as a person decides to believe in Christ he can be and is encouraged to be baptised.
"When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” Peter replied, “Repent and be baptised, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.” With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” Those who accepted his message were baptised, and about three thousand were added to their number that day."
Talking to God
We often think that prayer is us asking God for things but it is much broader, varied, deeper and more interactive than that; prayer is a conversation between us and God. It involves both us speaking to God, and God speaking to us.
When we pray we gain:
Intimacy with God. Prayer results in the kind of intimacy and relationship that comes when two people engage in loving, personal conversation.
Transformation in Us. We bring our needs, our world and ourselves into relationship with God through prayer. He speaks to us about them, and as a result we are changed.
Change in our World. We seek God in prayer over the circumstances and challenges that we and those in our world face. When we do, God moves and brings change to the world around us.
Talking to God on your own and in community.
There are numerous references calling us to seek after God (Isaiah 55:6) seek God’s face (2 Chronicles 7:14) and to call upon his name, and these references have both an individual and a corporate dimension (Ephesians 6:18; 1 Tim 2:1-2.)
Jesus taught us how.
“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. “This, then, is how you should pray: “ ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. ’ For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
"Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.