Just spoke at our church’s baptism service. 24 people got baptised today, 5 from the Mandarin congregation earlier during service by sprinkling, and 19 from the English congregation, including 5 youths, at the service I spoke at. Due to our church rebuilding, we had our baptism service separate from our Sunday service (which we used to incorporate into), and we also had it off-site at our sister church. About 200 people turned up, including many friends and family members of candidates to witness the event. 4 of the candidates shared their testimonies, and all the candidates had their written testimonies in a booklet given to those who came too. I shared a short sermonette from Rom 6:1-8, entitled “Dead or alive?” You can read the transcript below.

Romans 6:1-8
Dead or alive?
Baptism service (16 May 2010)

A warm welcome to friends and family of our baptism candidates. As your loved ones prepare to go through water baptism today, allow me to share some quick thoughts from God’s word to encourage them and to share briefly about what water baptism is all about.

I will be reading a Scripture passage from the book of Romans chapter 6, verses 1 to 8. You can follow along in your program sheet. I will read first in English, and then my brother will read in Mandarin.

I’ve entitled this message “Dead or alive?”. No, this is not the popular video game or the movie D.O.A., but interestingly, the Bible talks about being dead, dead to sin, or alive, alive in Christ.

  1. Dead to sin (v.1-3)

– for Christians, we believe that once we become Christians, once we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour, we are firstly dead to sin. And we see this in the passage we just read, in v.2, “We died to sin.”
– The writer of Romans, Paul, was reminding the Christians, that since we died to sin, we should no longer continue sinning (v.1) nor live in it any longer (v.2).
– when Christians get baptised, we are reminding ourselves of this truth, because water baptism is a symbolic outward act of obedience to declare one’s inward confession of faith as a Christian.
– Paul describes it here in v.3-4. As a person goes down into the water, it symbolizes death and burial (dying to our old self, our sinful nature), and resurrection (we are a new creation, we may live a new life).

  1. Alive in Christ (v.4-8)

– How is this all possible? This is because of what Jesus Christ has done for us by dying on the cross for our sins. About 2000 years ago, we believe Jesus, who was God, came down to earth as a man. He died on the cross and rose from the dead to pay the penalty for our sins and purchase a place in heaven for us.
– Hence, we as Christians can walk in newness of life (v.4b)
– We are no longer slaves to sin but have been freed from sin (v.6, 7)
– We also believe that we will live with Him (v.8), both now in present life and in future, beyond physical death, when we die and go to heaven, or when Jesus returns again.

– In closing, how can we respond to God today?
– For those getting baptised, it’s to remember what Christ has done for you, and what He continues to do in and through your life as you take this step of obedience today. It’s also a good reminder to be a good witness for Christ, as some will be doing shortly, sharing your testimony and the gospel message to all that God places in your life and path.
– For friends and families, especially those who have yet to accept Christ into their lives, we read in v.23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
– Eternal life is a free gift, it is not earned or deserved, and because all of us are sinners, we cannot save ourselves. The only way we can receive this free gift is through saving faith, which means trusting in Jesus Christ alone for eternal life.
– My prayer is that you would consider what has been shared today, as you witness your friend or relative getting baptised, perhaps your son or daughter, if this makes sense to you, and you want to know more about how to become a Christian or you just have questions about Christianity, do approach your friend or relative and I’m sure they would be most happy to share with you.
– Let us pray.

Dear Lord, we give You thanks for the 19 people who are getting baptised today. We give You praise for each of their lives, and how You have led them to this point to be obedient to Your command to be baptised. I pray that You will continue to bless and empower them with Your grace, that they may truly lead holy and pleasing lives toward You, and that You will use each of them mightily for Your kingdom and glory. Lord, we also pray for those who are present with us today. Thank You that they can be here together with us to witness their friends and relatives getting baptised. I pray that You’ll speak to them through Your word and through the examples and testimonies shared today, and that by Your grace, one day they truly discover this gift of eternal life in You and come to know You as their Lord and Savior. In Jesus’ name, we pray, Amen.