Matthew 3 and Baptism

Read Matthew 3

God had used water in the past to cleanse the world and in separating the waters several times, people were moved from once place to another.

Watch the Chuck Knows Church video on baptism.

Before a gathered crowd, Jesus walks into the water and is baptized by John. We hear the voice of the Father and see the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove. All three persons of the Trinity are present in this moment in time.

In the United Methodist Church, baptism is one of two Sacraments. Here is a good FAQ page about UMC beliefs and practices in regard to baptism, membership and salvation.

Read through and contemplate the litany for baptism (if you are not United Methodist, look into your tradition’s teachings on baptism).

What does it mean to regularly participate in baptism?

How can you be more intentional about keeping the promises made during baptisms?

Brothers and sisters in Christ:
Through the Sacrament of Baptism
   we are initiated into Christ’s holy Church.
We are incorporated into God’s mighty acts of salvation
   and given new birth through water and the Spirit.
All this is God’s gift, offered to us without price.

2    If there are confirmations or reaffirmations, the pastor continues:

Through confirmation,
and through the reaffirmation of our faith,
we renew the covenant declared at our baptism,
acknowledge what God is doing for us, and affirm our commitment to Christ’s holy Church.

PRESENTATION OF CANDIDATES

 3     A representative of the congregation presents the candidates with the appropriate statements:

I present Name(s) for baptism.
RENUNCIATION OF SIN AND PROFESSION OF FAITH

4   Since the earliest times, the vows of Christian baptism have consisted first of the renunciation of all that is evil and then the profession of faith and loyalty to Christ. Parents or other sponsors reaffirm these vows for themselves while taking the responsibilities of sponsorship. Candidates for confirmation profess for themselves the solemn vows that were made at their baptism.

The pastor addresses parents or other sponsors and those candidates who can answer for themselves:

On behalf of the whole Church, I ask you:
Do you renounce the spiritual forces of wickedness,
   reject the evil powers of this world,
   and repent of your sin?

I do.

Do you accept the freedom and power God gives you
   to resist evil, injustice, and oppression
   in whatever forms they present themselves?

I do.

Do you confess Jesus Christ as your Savior,
put your whole trust in his grace,
and promise to serve him as your Lord,

in union with the Church which Christ has opened
   to people of all ages, nations, and races?

I do.

5    The pastor addresses parents or other sponsors of candidates not able to answer for themselves:

Will you nurture these children (persons)
in Christ’s holy Church,
that by your teaching and example they may be guided
to accept God’s grace for themselves,
to profess their faith openly,
and to lead a Christian life?

I will.

 6    The pastor addresses candidates who can answer for themselves:

According to the grace given to you,
will you remain faithful members of Christ’s holy Church
and serve as Christ’s representatives in the world?

I will.

7     The pastor addresses the sponsors:

Will you who sponsor these candidates
support and encourage them in their Christian life?

I will.

 8    The pastor addresses the congregation, and the congregation responds:

Do you, as Christ’s body, the Church,
reaffirm both your rejection of sin
   and your commitment to Christ?

We do.

Will you nurture one another in the Christian faith and life
and include these persons  now before you in your care?

With God’s help we will proclaim the good news
   and live according to the example of Christ.
We will surround these persons
   with a community of love and forgiveness,
   that they may grow in their trust of God,
   and be found faithful in their service to others.
We will pray for them,
   that they may be true disciples
   who walk in the way that leads to life.

 9   The Apostles’ Creed in threefold question-and-answer form appeared at least as early as the third century as a statement of faith used in baptisms and has been widely used in baptisms ever since. The candidate(s), sponsor(s), and local congregation join with the universal Church across the ages in this historic affirmation of the Christian faith.

A deacon or pastor addresses all, and the congregation joins the candidates and their parents and sponsors in responding:

 Let us join together in professing the Christian faith
   as contained in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments.

Do you believe in God the Father?
I believe in God, the Father Almighty,
   creator of heaven and earth.

 Do you believe in Jesus Christ?
I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,
   [who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
   born of the Virgin Mary,
   suffered under Pontius Pilate,
   was crucified, died, and was buried; 
   he descended to the dead.
   On the third day he rose again; 
   he ascended into heaven,
   is seated at the right hand of the Father,
   and will come again to judge the living and the dead.]

 Do you believe in the Holy Spirit?
 I believe in the Holy Spirit,
    [the holy catholic church,
    the communion of saints,
   the forgiveness of sins,
   the resurrection of the body,
   and the life everlasting.]

 THANKSGIVING OVER THE WATER

10        A deacon or lay leader may pour water for baptism and reaffirmation into the font at this time in such a way that the congregation can see and hear the water.

This prayer is led by the pastor and joined by the people. It recalls scriptural images and meanings of Holy Baptism and is comparable to the Great Thanksgiving at Holy Communion. All may stand.

The Lord be with you.
And also with you.

Let us pray.
The pastor may raise hands in the ancient Christian posture of prayer, and invite the congregation to do likewise.

Eternal Father:
When nothing existed but chaos,
   you swept across the dark waters
   and brought forth light.
In the days of Noah
   you saved those on the ark through water.
After the flood you set in the clouds a rainbow.
When you saw your people as slaves in Egypt,
   you led them to freedom through the sea.
Their children you brought through the Jordan
   to the land which you promised.

**Sing to the Lord, all the earth. 
    Tell of God’s mercy each day.

In the fullness of time you sent Jesus,
   nurtured in the water of a womb.
He was baptized by John and anointed by your Spirit.
He called his disciples
   to share in the baptism of his death and resurrection
   and to make disciples of all nations.

**Declare Christ’s works to the nations, 
   his glory among all the people.

The pastor may place hands in or over the water, stir the water, or lift the water.

Pour out your Holy Spirit,
to bless this gift of water and those who receive it,
to wash away their sin
   and clothe them in righteousness
   throughout their lives,
that, dying and being raised with Christ,
   they may share in his final victory.

**All praise to you, Eternal Father,
    through your Son Jesus Christ,
   who with you and the Holy Spirit
   lives and reigns for ever.  Amen.

BAPTISM WITH LAYING ON OF HANDS

11  In all services of the baptismal covenant, water should be used generously as a living sign of the abundance of God’s grace, cleansing, and  life-giving  power.

Each candidate is baptized and receives the laying on of hands individually. The pastor uses the first (Christian) name(s), but not the family name:

Christian Name(s), I baptize you in the name of the Father,
   and of the Son,
   and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Immediately after the administration of the water, the pastor places hands on the candidate’s head and invokes the work of the Holy Spirit. Persons nearby, including baptized members of the candidate’s family, may join the pastor in this action. Others present may join by extending their hands toward the candidate. All say the Amen.

 Pastor, laying hand on the newly baptized:

The Holy Spirit work within you,
   that being born through water and the Spirit,
   you may be a faithful disciple of Jesus Christ. Amen.

When all candidates have been baptized, the pastor invites the congregation to welcome them:

Now it is our joy to welcome
   our new sisters and brothers in Christ.

Through baptism
   you are incorporated by the Holy Spirit
   into God’s new creation
    and made to share in Christ’s royal priesthood.
   We are all one in Christ Jesus.
   With joy and thanksgiving we welcome you
   as members of the family of Christ.

CONFIRMATION OR REAFFIRMATION OF FAITH

12   Acts of confirmation or reaffirmation of faith are not acts of rebaptism. >Here water may be used by the candidates as the pastor says:

Remember your baptism and be thankful. Amen.

 In services of the baptismal covenant, water should be used generously as a sign of the abundance of God’s grace, cleansing, life-giving and life-renewing power. Appropriate ways persons being confirmed or reaffirming their faith may use the water include the following:

   a) They may touch the water and make the sign of the cross on their own foreheads.
   b) They may scoop up the water and let it fall back into the font. 
   c) They may use it on their heads, or hands, or to refresh their faces.

   As the pastor, and others if desired, place hands on the head of each person being confirmed or reaffirming faith, the pastor says to each:

Name, the Holy Spirit work within you,
that having been born through water and the Spirit,
you may live as a faithful disciple of Jesus Christ. Amen.

 13  Acts of reaffirmation are not acts of rebaptism. When there is a congregational reaffirmation of the Baptismal Covenant, the congregation may be invited to use or receive the water as or after the pastor says:

Remember your baptism and be thankful. Amen.

Appropriate ways persons may use the water include:
   a) Touching the water and making the sign of the cross on their own foreheads;
   b) Scooping up the water and letting it fall back into the font;
   c) Scooping it over their heads, or hands, or to refresh their faces. <
   d) Or, a deacon, the pastor, or other assistants may use an asperges, evergreen branch or other means to sprinkle small amounts of water toward the congregation.  This parallels sprinkling with hyssop for purification (Exodus 12:22 ; Psalm 51:7) and sprinkling as a sign of renewal (Ezekiel 36:25 –26).

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