Sermon:  Significance of Baptism

Summary:  This passage gives several vivid images related to baptism, which
includes circumcision, death and resurrection, and payment of a debt.  As a
result, we are no longer of this world, and should not longer act or think like this
world (v.8, 20, 3:1-2).  Instead we should be transformed in our thinking (3:2) and
actions (3:5ff), which should convince us that all we need is in Christ.

Know:  We as Christians need to shed our old self and put on Christ as our
master in our actions, mind and heart.

Feel:  Gratitude and loyalty to God as the one who loved us enough to pay the
greatest price for us, and trust in him as all we need for guidance and life.

Do:  Identify how baptism is connected to your daily life, what baptism says to
you, to God, and to others.  Reflect on ways you are pulled by the "philosophy"
of this world in your attitude, thinking, and direction in your life.

Text:  Colossians 2:6-15

Scripture Reading:  Col 3:1-3

Meditation Scripture:  Col 3:1-3

1.  How define self? - let others define, that is deficient
	a.  When let others define your theology, also deficient
	b.  "agin" theology - define it by what I am against
	c.  What are we for?
2.  Theology of Baptism (if more comfortable with word "teaching" of baptism)
3.  Colossians is most extended treatment of baptism and its implications
Images for Baptism.  
4.  Images for Baptism (Col 2:6-15)

I.  Circumcision (v.11)   (knife)
	A.  Usually think of it as hygienic.  More to it than this
		1.  Circumcision started with Abraham
			a.  Gen 17:10ff - 8 days old, all were to be circumcised
				- It was a "sign" of the covenant
				- Those not circumcised would be cut off
			b.  Repeated in Lev. 12
			c.  Foreigners could become a Jew, If circumcised
			d.  "Uncircumcised" became term for unbelievers, often a 
			     synonym for those "unclean" gentiles
		2.  Circumcision was also metaphorical
			a.  (Duet 10:12-16) - Circumcised heart.  Also Jer 4:4
			b.  (Rom 2:28-29) - Circumcision of the heart
			c.  Metaphorically, circumcision is about faithfulness
		3.  Which way should we see Paul using circumcision here?
		4.  Should not try equate physical circumcision with this here
			a.  Baptism is not a "replacement" for circumcision
			b.  Paul is using an "analogy" here to make a point
	B.  Paul is talking metaphorically here
		1.  Talking about a circumcision of the heart
		2.  Rom 6:17 - Discussion on baptism says obedience is "from the 
		3.  It is without hands - Removal of the "body of the flesh"
			a.  Cut something away from you and throw it away
			b.  The "flesh" is earthly nature that is opposed to God
		4.  Talking about sin - Christ "cut" the sin out of your life
	C.  ILL:  Go to fridge, get out that block of cheese
		1.  Notice a little mold growing on the corner
		2.  What do you do?  Throw it away?  
		3.  Cut off the mold, and save the rest
	D.  Jesus didn't throw us away
		1.  We were stuck in sin
		2.  If it stayed there, it would have taken over
		3.  We were circumcised with circumcision of Christ
		4.  He cut away the body of sin from us

II.  Death and Resurrection (v.12-13)   (tombstone)
	A.  This is the most prominent image for baptism in scripture
	B.  What this imagery tells us
		1.  Before obeying the Gospel, we were dead in our sins
			a.  We were figuratively "uncircumcised"
			b.  Sin caused us to be "dead," separated from God
			c.  Death is progressive
				- Sin comes, you begin to die
				- Wither away, until body dies
				- Judgment, then eternal death
		2.  Obeying the Gospel, we are buried
			a.  Jesus was buried in the tomb
			b.  We die and are buried in a watery grave
			c.  Our old self dies
		3.  Obeying the Gospel, we are raised up
			a.  New life, Resurrection - New self comes out of the water
			b.  That moldy sin is cut away and is gone
			c.  Important - Faith in the working of God
			d.  Resurrection is God's work
		4.  Obeying the Gospel we have forgiveness of sins
			a.  Sin is what killed us
			b.  With sin taken care of, we have life
	C.  ILL:  In 1 Cor 15:37ff, Paul uses a seed as an illustration
		1.  Seed is destined to die
		2.  Can die one of 2 ways
			a.  Can consume it - like sunflower or pumpkin seeds
				- Roast it, salt it, - not a very pleasant thing
			b.  Or can bury it.  What happens?
				- It is transformed with new life
		3.  If we are buried with Christ
			a.  Die in baptism, but come up transformed with new life
			b.  That new life will grow and continue in Heaven
			c.  Maybe they will put you in the grave, BUT....
			d.  Will get a changed, transformed resurrection body!
		4.  If you are not buried with Christ
			a.  Will not be transformed
			b.  Will be fired and roasted, eternally
			c.  Bible calls this the "second death" - Rev 20:14
				- Lake that burns with fire and brimstone
	D.  Either way we die
		1.  Death in Christ brings eternal life
		2.  Death outside of Christ brings the second death
		3.  So Jesus provides a way for new life

III.  Payment of a debt (v.14)    (mortgage or lien certificate?  dollar sign?)
	A.  The "certificate of debt" is not talking about the law
		1.  Paul's point is not that he nailed the law to the cross
		2.  ceirografon - Financial term, certificate of indebtedness
	B.  ILL:  How many own a house?  Do you own it, or does the bank own it?
		1.  Some have a "lien," which is an IOU on your house and car.
			a.  Means you owe a debt
			b.  Full ownership is transferred when debt is paid
		2.  What happens if you do not pay the debt?
			a.  You will lose the house, car, and whatever else
			b.  So best to make sure you pay your debts
		3.  Sin put a lien on you.
			a.  If can't pay that debt, sin takes ownership of you
			b.  When sin owns you, it brings death and kills you
			c.  PROBLEM - We can't pay the sin debt - so sin takes over
		4.  That's why it says the "certificate of debt" was "hostile" to us
			a.  It's not like a lien on a house or a car
			b.  Defaulting on your mortgage or car will not kill you
			c.  Defaulting on sin debt will kill you with eternal death
			d.  Left to themselves, EVERYONE defaults on sin debt
	C.  What did Jesus do?
		1.  Nailed that certificate of debt to the cross
			- He paid that sin debt with his life
		2.  What does that mean for us as Christians?  
			a.  Sin no longer owns us
			b.  Sin no longer has the power of death over us
			c.  Ownership is transferred from sin to Christ
		3.  (Matt 28:19-20) Gives shows us this transfer of ownership
			a.  My translation:  "Therefore, having gone, make disciples
of all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father, and of the Son,
and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them observe all things I commanded you..."
			b.   "eis to onoma" - "Into the name of"
				- A typical financial phrase
				- Denotes a transfer from one account to another
				- Transfer a denarius "into the name of" Junias
			c.  When we are baptized, it denotes a transfer
		4.  Therefore sin no longer owns us
	D.  At what point did this take place?   (v.12-14)
		1.  Payment happened at the cross, and applied at baptism
		2.  Baptism is the transaction where payment is applied
		3.  We are released from sin that enslaves us and kills us
		4.  Now we belong to Christ as Lord, not sin as cruel slave master

IV.  What does this mean for us today?
	A.  If you haven't been baptized
		1.  You are dead in your sins
		2.  Sin owns you, and is killing you as we speak
		3.  Sin will take you to eternal death, the lake of fire and brimstone
		4.  Solution?  Obey the Gospel 
			a. Apply the payment of Christ in baptism
			b. Transfer ownership from sin to Christ
	B.  If you have been baptized, Look at Paul's exhortations
		1.  (v.6) "In Him" you must walk
		2.  (v.8-9) - "In Him" is the fullness of God
			a. Not in worldly philosophies, traditions of men
			b. Not in the elementary principles of this world
			c. (3:1-2) Keep seeking the things above, set mind on things 
		3.  (v.10) - "In Him" you are complete, not in elementary principles 
		     of this world
	C.  What are the elementary principles of this world?  
		1.  Text says:  
			a.  It is "philosophy" - Definition: Love of wisdom
				- Philosophy was attempt to be wise
				- A way of thinking, viewing the world, &living that out
				- So it seems smart and wise
			b.  It is empty deception - promises all, offers nothing
			c.  Based on "traditions of men" - The highest man can offer
		2.  It is what causes you to doubt you can be complete only in Christ
			a. In context, this is talking about trying to be complete in 
			b. Religious rituals, and regulations not make you complete
			c. Problem with religion - Focused on "self," what "I" can do
		3.  Many try to be complete in the religion of "self"
			a.  Try to find completeness in health, wealth, education, 
			      children, a hobby, a job, clothes, friends, family, a 
			      fraternal organization, a cool car, hairdo, music, sports, 
			      list goes on and on...
			b. Nothing wrong with any of these things in themselves
			c. Problem is when lean on them to be complete
			d. Problem not necessarily in the activity, but in your attitude
	D.  (3:1-3) - Set mind on things above, you have "died" life is hidden with 
		1.  Might do well to remember that Paul writes this from prison
		2. I don't find completeness in anything but Christ
		3. If I need to give them up to draw closer to Christ, will gladly do so
		4. All that I need is Christ

1.  Baptism, then, is not some church membership ritual
	a.  Circumcision - A change of heart and lifestyle
	b.  Death and resurrection - Old self is dead, we are a new person
	c.  Payment of our unpayable debt - No longer slave to sin, transfer 
	     ownership to Christ
	d.  IE:  THe beginning of a new, transformed life under the Lordship of 
2.  For those not baptized - Today is the day of salvation
	- If you believe the Gospel, time to obey it
3.  For those already baptized
	a. Are you walking in Christ, heart and mind?
	b. Or are you sitting on the fence, trying to mind completeness
	c. Are you practicing "religion" by punching the clock coming to worship?
	d.  Or have you truly abandoned yourself to Christ?

Questions for Small Group Discussion