Wade In The Water

January 11, 2015
Stetson Memorial United Methodist Church
Worship Theme: Our Baptism
Baptism of the Lord Sunday
Mark 1:4-11 NIV
 Acts 19:1-7 NIV

Wade In the Water
Prayer for God’s word to come from my mouth and that His word would be heard through me or in spite of me…

A Reading From the Book of Acts, Chapter 19, verses 1-7…listen for a Word from God to you me the people of God…(Read Scripture)

(Wade in the water…wade in the water children…wade in the water…God’s gonna trouble the water…)
(Start pouring the water) Water…it has a various usages in our lives. It can be life giving but it also can be life taking. Water has so much power. When it is held back, we have ponds where ducks can swim in the summer and we can skate on it in the winter. When it is held back, we can have water to drink from our faucets at home. But when it is let loose…then…then we can see its awesome power. When it is let loose we see how a rain storm can cause flooding and damage to our homes. How can something that is so life giving also be devastating? It is definitely a force to be reckoned with…
(Wade in the water…wade in the water children…wade in the water…God’s gonna trouble the water…)

We use water to help us. Some use water to make machinery work as in mill with a water wheel to work its machinery. We especially use water to put out fires. This may be one of the most important ways we use water. Without it…a fire could burn out of control…we need to quench the fire to save lives.
But there is one instance where water and fire work together. It’s when the water of our baptism works with the flame…the fire…of the Holy Spirit. You need both in baptism, both fire and water. In our baptism of water…our rebirth…we are given the gift of the Holy Spirit…the flame within us. We are re-created into a new person. God, through Christ, recreates us into a new creation. God loves to create. In Genesis we hear about how God created light over the waters. God created…the earth was birth, out of the waters that covered the earth. Something new was created out of the water. But in our baptism there is yet another element that is added to the creation. Fire is added…the Holy Spirit…to complete the new creation.
(Wade in the water…wade in the water children…wade in the water…God’s gonna trouble the water)

There are many stories in the bible about water, some good and some not so good. Out of the water God created the dry land in the Book of Genesis. Through water, the Israelites were saved from the Egyptian’s in the Exodus story. Out of a rock Moses was able to find life giving water for a thirsty nation. Through the waters of the Jordon River the Israelites entered into the new land. But…but…out of water also came the flood that wiped away almost all of humanity in Noah’s day. Out of water the Israelites enemies, the Egyptians, were drowned in the Red Sea. There are many more stories about water in the bible. It has an important place in God’s grand design. Water is a holy and powerful thing. Water…at times we can’t live with it but more often we can’t live without it.
(Wade in the water…wade in the water children…wade in the water…God’s gonna trouble the water…)

Today is Baptism of the Lord Sunday in the Christian calendar. It is a day when we remember that baptism that changed all other baptisms to come. It is a day that through water a new era emerged. Through water we are saved. Through water we are adopted. Through water we are claimed. And through water we are freed. Water has many images for me. In today’s readings, I had many different images come to mind.
(Wade in the water…wade in the water children…wade in the water…God’s gonna trouble the water…)

In the Acts Scripture this morning, we heard about how Paul was to some disciples. He asked them if they had received the Holy Spirit at their baptism. Now…this question that Paul asked them makes me wonder. What was it about these disciples that Paul had to ask this question? He knew they were disciples but there must have been something wrong about them, something missing that made Paul question them. What was missing was that one baptism that is in and through Jesus. What was missing is that fire of the Spirit that we receive at our baptism. They had the repentance part but not the fire that was needed. Praise God that when we are baptized in Jesus’ name we receive both…
(Wade in the water…wade in the water children…wade in the water…God’s gonna trouble the water…)

And then we have the baptism of Jesus. John knew who Jesus was and that He would bring about a new baptism. It would not be a baptism that just cleanses you with water from your sins but a baptism above all baptisms. This baptism will be one that has never been seen before…A baptism of the Spirit and fire…A baptism that God comes and lives within the baptized person through the Spirit…a baptism that would change all other baptisms. John knew you need both the water of repentance and the “fire” of the Holy Spirit. Unfortunately in these days, there are many who have one…not both. They have their baptism of repentance but no “fire”. They are very lukewarm and they are happy just the way they are. But as I read the passage, the most exciting piece for me is the part when the voice says… (I like how the Message Bible puts it…)  “You are my Son, chosen and marked by my love, pride of my life.” In our baptism we too here…You are my son…you are my daughter, you are chosen and marked…I have claimed you and you are mine…the pride of my life…through this water I have marked you with the seal of my Spirit.
(Wade in the water…wade in the water children…wade in the water…God’s gonna trouble the water…)
Today is the Baptism of the Lord Sunday, the day when we remember not only his life changing baptism but ours as well. Through water we are saved. Through water we are redeemed. Through water we are given a new life. In just a moment we are going to share the joy of baptism with Wanda. How awesome it is that she is going to wade in the water of grace…of love…of peace…of redemption.
Let us pray over the water of grace:
Let us pray: Almighty God, the life you birthed in us by baptism into Jesus Christ will never die. Your justice never fails. Your mercy is everlasting.  Your healing river flows. Your Spirit blows where you will. We cannot stop you, God!
We are dry and thirsty, O God. Come, refresh us!
Come upon us, Holy Spirit!
Come upon these waters.
Let these waters be to us drops of your mercy.
Let these waters remind us of your righteousness and justice.
Let these waters renew in us the resurrection power of Jesus.
Let these waters make us long for your coming reign.
Most Holy God, Father! Full of Truth and Grace! Glory to you!
Jesus Christ, Savior, Lord! Glory to you!
 Spirit of fire, Spirit over the waters, Spirit of holiness! Glory to you!
Eternal God, One in Three and Three in One! All glory is yours, now and forever. Amen!

So you have heard me talk a lot about our baptism this morning, but there is one thing that I want you to take home this morning. That one thing is that within our baptism we have a promise of love…a promise of joy…and a promise of hope.  So when the waters of life seem as if they are about to overtake you…remember your baptismGod’s promise is…when you walk through the waters they will not over take you. When you feel as if you have no one who really cares in your life…remember your baptismGod says…I have claimed you and you are mine. When you feel like an outcast in this journey of life…remember your baptism… Through the waters of baptism we are included in the family of God. You have been sealed with love…you have been sealed with power…you have been sealed with grace…you have been sealed by the Spirit. Remember your baptism…

Let us pray…Pray about our baptism…


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