Sermon in a nutshell: Baptism of the Holy Spirit and Fire (Matthew 3:1-12)
What is baptism and what do we do after being baptized?
Baptism means the change of status. Before being baptized, before we publicly announce our trust in God, we were guests in God’s house. However, after the baptism we are now God’s children. It is like wedding ceremony. We fall in love. We are lovers. However, through the public announcement in front of witnesses we have change of status as a husband and a wife.
Is marriage the end of our love, though? No! Actually, wedding ceremony is the beginning of the real marriage life! After all the beautiful decorations and romantic music fade away, after all the cheerful guests and bountiful foods are gone, we are left with the credit cards and one spouse! Now, we start constructing our home together with toils and sweat!
Same thing happens in Christian life. Baptism is the beginning of our faith journey. We celebrate together with music and blessings. When John the Baptist called for “Repentance” he meant to accept God’s invitation and to be the children of God. That is the baptism of water.
After baptism, we have to bear “spiritual fruits” as described in Galatians 5:22-24 (Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Generosity, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self-Control). That is possible because of the Holy Spirit. A tree needs water, nutrition, and the sun to bear fruits. Likewise a Christian needs tears of repentance and sweat of service (water), Bible study and fellowship (nutrition), and the Holy Spirit (sun). So, when we invite the Holy Spirit in our lives and follow its directions in our daily lives, it is the baptism of Holy Spirit and fire. It is called “baptism of fire” because it will burn all the sinful desires up in our hearts.
Today, we celebrate infant baptism (welcoming of a new family member). That is the baptism of water. Now, the parents should raise the child with prayer and living examples. Today, we also listen to the Guatemala mission team report (harvesting of the spiritual fruits). In a sense, these two special orders in our worship service mark the starting and turning point of our faith journey. May the Holy Spirit be with us all from the beginning to the end till we finish our race!
- When were you baptized? What was the story related to your baptism (of water or of fire)?
- What kind of spiritual fruits have you had? What are the evidences of them?