What does a powerful act of God look like? Well, if you talk to an insurance agent an act of God is a huge claim. This could be anything from citrus farmers in Florida to trailer park residents reeling from a tornado. A powerful act of God might sound like something fearful and terrifying, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be that way.
In our sermon text on Sunday the Apostle Peter is looking back on the ministry of Jesus and how the Gospel truly is for all people. The theme for this First Sunday after the Epiphany is the Baptism of Jesus. We took time to consider all things baptism. One of the most common questions I get asked is what’s the difference between a Baptist and a Lutheran. The teaching on Baptism is one of those differences.
The simplest way to talk about the differences is “Which way does the arrow point?” Does the arrow point up – as in, this is something that we are doing for God? Is this a commandment that we follow? Is this an ordinance that we do to satisfy our God by our obedience? Or… does the arrow point down – as in, this is something that our God does for us? Does God wash away our sins? Does God save us from hell in baptism? Does God the Holy Spirit create faith, just as he promised? Do we rise every morning with Christ knowing that we are loved by God? Each of the links from Scripture would show us that the arrow most definitely points down from our God. Baptism is a powerful act of God.
For those who would think or argue that the arrow is pointing up, I would say, you are ignoring some incredible promises that God places before us. These promises offer comfort and peace the person who is baptized and to those who love the person who is baptized.
In our message from Acts 10 I promised you a break down of the differences between Jesus’ baptism and ours. Here is one break down.
The difference is more in the need than in the effect. Both Jesus’ baptism and our baptisms were powerful acts of God.
We needed to be saved from our sins in baptism. Jesus needed to save us. His baptism was the first step of his public ministry.
We need to be filled with Jesus’ righteousness everyday. He does that for us by faith. Jesus fulfilled righteousness by being baptized. He was perfect in every way.
We need Jesus’ obedience because all our righteous acts are like filthy rags. Jesus took our disobedience, our guilt and our shame with him to the cross. There he died for us.
Want to hear more? Watch this Sunday’s message taken from Acts 10.
Speaker(s): Fred Guldberg