Title: Baptism is a Beginning

Focus: Baptism is a beginning of a new life of struggle, growth, community and service and is not merely the culmination of hearing the Gospel

Function: To motivate the hearers to grow in their walk with Christ

1.  Last of series on baptism
2.  Saw baptism as
	a.  Transfer (Mt 28:19-20)
	b.  Wedding (Eph 5:21-32)
	c.  New Birth (Jn 3:1-8)
	d.  Death and Resurrection (Rom 6:1-7; Col 2-3)
3.  Few more points on baptism and conclusion
4.  Baptism is a beginning -  Saw this with marriage, and new birth analogies
5.  How is baptism a beginning?  Ways:

I. Beginning of a life of struggle
	A.  Matt 3:13-4:1  -  We can see this clearly in the life of Jesus
		1.  We have an example of Jesus being baptized to fulfill righteousness
		2.  What happened immediately following his baptism?  Wilderness
	B.  Types of struggle
		1.  Athletic - Heb 12:1 - Race is Grk: “agon” - struggle, fight
		2.  Inner desire - 1 Pet 2:9-12
			a.  Struggle is in the mind
			b.  Satan’s old nature v.s. New nature in the Spirit
		3.  Peer pressure - 1 Pet 4:1-6
	C.  ILL:  Guy with baseball cap ready to fight spiritual battle
		1.  Where’s your breastplate, sheild, sword, foot covering. any armor?
		2.  Have you seen my hat?  It says I’m saved!
		3.  Eph 6:12 Struggle, need more that JUST helmet of salvation
	D.  Just as Jesus was tempted immediately after baptism so with us
		1.  But notice that Jesus overcame through living according to God
		2.  Live by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God

II.  Beginning of a life of growth
	A.  New birth analogy fits well here
	B.  Growth is a natural process
		1.  Newborn baby grows, how?  
		2.  Keep healthy
			a.  Physically - Diet, excercise
			b.  Mentally - Stimulate with sounds, music, reading, colors, etc.
			c.  Socially - Interaction with other people
			d.  Emotionally - Need love and acceptance
		3.  Whose responsibility is the growth of a Christian?
			a.  Elders?  One who brought them to Christ?  Preacher? Teacher?
			b.  The Spirit?  Or is it that person’s own resonsiblity?
		4,  Comes a time when a person is responsible for his own development
			a.  What about the teen or young adult that refuses to learn?
			b.  Does that person carry responsiblity?
	C.  Heb 5:11-6:6
		1.  This places responsiblity on us
		2.  Need to move past “instructions about washings” - baptism
		3. Need to get beyond the basics, it is a life of growth
		4.  Notice what the danger is if you don’t - Fall away
			a.  ILL:  Like a person in school never getting past basic skills
			b.  Likely will drop out, and not continue on to other things
			c.  It is “impossible” to get them to go back to school a learn
	D.  2 Pet 3:18- But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ

III.  Beginning of a life of Community
	A.  There is community with God, and community with each other
	B.  Gal 3:23-29 - Another baptism text
		1.  Clothed self with Christ
		2.  We have become children of God, “one” in Christ
		3.  Individualism has no place in the Kingdom
		4.  We are called the “body” of Christ
			a.  Paul’s emphasis is not that Christ is the head, that is a given
			b.  His emphasis is that we are all a part of each other
	C.  ILL:  Individualism has no place in the church
		1.  If we a bunch of individual hard-boiled eggs, there is a problem
		2.  God’s idea of church is omlet - Blended together as one

IV.  Beginning of a life of Service
	A.  It has always been God’s plan for humans to serve him
	B.  Rom 6 says we baptized and become slaves of righteousness
		1.  v.3-4 - What is this newness of life?
		2.  v.11-19 - In means being slaves, being sanctified
	C.  ILL:  Shawn K. found an old ruined end table, weather got to it
		1.  Worked with it, and managed to restore it, beautiful antique
		2.  Now it sits in his living room
		3.  That’s what the idea of sanctification and purification is
		4.  God cleaned us up, and set us apart to serve him
	D.  Not just being saved, but being saved FOR God
		1.  Rescued me from the dump
		2.  Now I get to serve him.

1.  When understand all of this about baptism, it clears up controversy
	a.  Some not believe it because think it just an empty ritual
	b.  Some not believe it because think it is a work
	c.  When see it in light of wedding, new birth, death/resurrection, and beginning, it 
	    make it clear it is not empty ritual nor a work
2.  But why baptism?  - Why did Naaman have to dip?  Israel march around Jericho
3.  Like so many other things, baptism is a demonstration of your faith in Christ
4.  Have you demonstrated your faith in Him?