From Your Pastor: The Sacrament of Baptism: Preparation and Reflections



Dear Family in Christ at KCPC,

We have the privilege of participating in the baptism service of Clara Elaine Davis during the morning worship this Lord’s Day, September 25th, 2016.

Fathers and Heads of Households: This brief study is provided to help your family to prepare for worship and especially the Sacrament of Baptism to be enjoyed this Lord’s Day. Would you please pray this week that as a congregation we would all prepare our hearts to meet with God, that God would fill us with His Spirit to grant us expectant and eager hearts to hear from Him this Lord’s Day, and that He would fill the preacher with power from above so that we might experience the fullness of the Spirit in a demonstration of power to transform us and make us more like Christ (Eph. 6:18-20; 1 Cor. 2:1-5)? Remember: the sermon does not begin the preacher opens his mouth to preach, but begins when you begin praying for the preaching, and often you will get from the ministry of the word what you pray for! 😉


Baptism Service this Week

In the Orthodox Presbyterian Book of Church Order (Order for Public Worship, Chap. III.B.5), ministers are required to ask the following questions during the baptism of our infants and young children. I encourage you to remind yourself of these vows:

“The minister shall then require the parents to vow publicly their duty as Christian parents to present their children for baptism and to nurture them in the Christian faith, by answering these or equivalent questions in the affirmative:

(1) Do you acknowledge that although our children are conceived and born in sin and therefore are subject to condemnation, they are holy in Christ by virtue of the covenant of grace, and as children of the covenant are to be baptized?

(2) Do you promise to teach diligently to [name of child] the principles of our holy Christian faith, revealed in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments and summarized in the Confession of Faith and Catechisms of this Church?

(3) Do you promise to pray regularly with and for [name of child], and to set an example of piety and godliness before (him/her)?

(4) Do you promise to endeavor, by all the means that God has appointed, to bring [name of child] up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, encouraging (him/her) to appropriate for (himself/herself) the blessings and fulfill the obligations of the covenant?”



Sermon Title – The Sacrament of Baptism- Clara Elain Davis: “…Through Water”

Scripture Text: 1 Peter 3:18-22

Sermon Summary: Our children pass safely through the waters in Christ!

Here are the scriptures for our Scripture Lesson in worship: Exodus 14:29; 1 Corinthians 10:1-2; Ephesians 2:4-6


Scriptures/Quotations to Meditate Upon with Your Family – Learning the love of Christ with “together with all the saints” (Eph. 3:18).

ESV Acts 2:38-39: And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.”

ESV Acts 22:16 “And now why do you wait? Rise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on his name.’”

ESV Ephesians 5:26 “…That he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word…”

ESV Titus 3:5 “…He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit…”

ESV 1 Peter 3:20-21: “…When God’s patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water. Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,

John 13:6-8: “He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, do you wash my feet?” Jesus answered him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.” Peter said to him, “You shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.”


Our Reformed Forefathers on Baptism

“The first object of the sacraments is to assist our faith towards God, the second, to testify our confession before men.” – John Calvin

“…Water baptism signifies and seals the work of the Holy Spirit in us, thereby applying the benefits of Christ to us. This is the all-important inward spiritual fact which baptism by water signifies and seals. The Spirit is the agent who unites the soul to Christ, and at the same time regenerates the soul, takes away its sin and gives it a new life, and…the application of water signifies and seals these things.” – Francis Beattie

“Baptism is a sign and seal to the party baptized of his ingrafting into Christ. I can read God’s Word and say [as one baptized], ‘I have in my own body the sign and seal of the King who promised me the remission of my sins. He promised me that I would be ingrafted into Jesus Christ, that I would participate in His death and resurrection by faith, and that, if I believe, I can trust the promise of God because I am baptized’. How can we ever despise the significance, the value, and the importance of God’s promise to redeem us?” – R. C. Sproul

“In Baptism the outward sign is (1) Water, and (2) The water applied in the name of the Triune God to the person of the subject baptized. The inward, spiritual grace, thereby signified is: (1) Primarily, the spiritual purification by the immediate personal power of the Holy Ghost in the soul; and hence (2) Secondarily, the indwelling of the Holy Ghost, hence the union of the baptized with Christ, hence regeneration, justification, sanctification, perseverance to the end, glorification, etc.” – A. A. Hodge

“Everyone profits so much in baptism as he learns to look unto Christ…The whole strength of baptism is contained in Christ….Baptism, viewed in regard to us, is a passive work: we bring nothing to it but faith; and all that belongs to it is laid up in Christ.” – John Calvin

“Is then the external baptism with water, the washing away of sin itself? Answer: Not at all; for the blood of Jesus Christ only, and the Holy Spirit, cleanses us from all sin.” – Heidelberg Catechism, Q. 72

“The offspring of believers is born holy, because their children, while yet in the womb…are included in the covenant of eternal life…Nor…are they admitted into the Church by baptism on any other ground than that they belonged to the body of Christ before they were born….Christ admits infants by baptism, that as soon as the capacity of their age shall allow, they may addict themselves to be His disciples, and that being baptized with the Holy Spirit, they may comprehend, with the understanding of faith, His power which baptism does prefigure.” – John Calvin


Our Confessional Heritage on Baptism: The Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechisms

Westminster Shorter Catechism Q & A 92:  What is a sacrament? A. A sacrament is an holy ordinance instituted by Christ, wherein, by sensible signs, Christ, and the benefits of the new covenant, are represented, sealed, and applied to believers. Gen. 17:7,10; Exod. 12: throughout (larger context); 1 Cor. 11:23,26


Westminster Shorter Catechism  Q. 91  How do the sacraments become effectual means of salvation? A. The sacraments become effectual means of salvation, not from any virtue in them, or in him that doth administer them; but only by the blessing of Christ, (1) and the working of his spirit in them that by faith receive them.(2) (1)1 Pet. 3:21; Matt. 3:11; 1 Cor. 3:6,7 (2)1 Cor. 12:13


Westminster Larger Catechism Q. 162  What is a sacrament? A. A sacrament is an holy ordinance instituted by Christ in his church,(1) to signify, seal, and exhibit (OE meaning for “apply”) (2) unto those that are within the covenant of grace,(3) the benefits of his mediation,(4) to strengthen and increase their faith, and all other graces;(5) to oblige them to obedience;(6) to testify and cherish their love and communion one with another;(7) and to distinguish them from those that are without.(8) Scripture References: (1)Gen. 17:7,10; Exod. 12; Matt. 28:19; Matt. 26:26-28 (2)Rom. 4:11; 1 Cor. 11:24,25 (3)Rom. 15:8; Exod. 12:48 (4)Acts 2:38; 1 Cor. 10:16 (5)Rom. 4:11; Gal. 3:27 (6)Rom. 6:3,4; 1 Cor. 10:21 (7)Eph. 4:2-5; 1 Cor. 12:13 (8)Eph. 2:11,12; Gen. 34:14


Westminster Larger Catechism Q. 163  What are the parts of a sacrament? A. The parts of a sacrament are two; the one an outward and sensible sign, used according to Christ’s own appointment; the other an inward and spiritual grace thereby signified.(1) Scripture References: (1)Matt. 3:11; 1 Pet. 3:21; Rom. 2:28,29


Westminster Larger Catechism Q. 165  What is Baptism? A. Baptism is a sacrament of the New Testament, wherein Christ hath ordained the washing with water in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost,(1) to be a sign and seal of ingrafting into himself,(2) of remission of sins by his blood,(3) and regeneration by his Spirit;(4) of adoption,(5) and resurrection unto everlasting life;(6) and whereby the parties baptized are solemnly admitted into the visible church,(7) and enter into an open and professed engagement to be wholly and only the Lord’s.(8) Scripture References: (1)Matt. 28:19 (2)Gal. 3:27 (3)Mark 1:4; Rev. 1:5 (4)Tit. 3:5; Eph. 5:26 (5)Gal. 3:26,27 (6)1 Cor. 15:29; Rom. 6:5 (7)1 Cor. 12:13 (8)Rom. 6:4


Westminster Larger Catechism Q. 166  Unto whom is baptism to be administered? A. Baptism is not to be administered to any that are out of the visible church, and so strangers from the covenant of promise, till they profess their faith in Christ, and obedience to him,(1) but infants descended from parents, either both or but one of them professing faith in Christ, and obedience to him, are, in that respect, within the covenant, and to be baptized.(2) Scripture References: (1)Acts 8:36,37; Acts 2:38 (2)Gen. 17:7,9 compared with Gal. 3:9,14 and Col. 2:11,12 and Acts 2:38,39 and Rom. 4:11,12; 1 Cor. 7:14; Matt. 28:19; Luke 18:15,16; Rom. 11:16


Westminster Larger Catechism Q. 167  How is our baptism to be improved by us? A. The needful but much neglected duty of improving our baptism, is to be performed by us all our life long, especially in the time of temptation, and when we are present at the administration of it to others;(1) by serious and thankful consideration of the nature of it, and of the ends for which Christ instituted it, the privileges and benefits conferred and sealed thereby, and our solemn vow made therein;(2) by being humbled for our sinful defilement, our falling short of, and walking contrary to, the grace of baptism, and our engagements;(3) by growing up to assurance of pardon of sin, and of all other blessings sealed to us in that sacrament;(4) by drawing strength from the death and resurrection of Christ, into whom we are baptized, for the mortifying of sin, and quickening of grace;(5) and by endeavoring to live by faith,(6) to have our conversation in holiness and righteousness,(7) as those that have therein given up their names to Christ;(8) and to walk in brotherly love, as being baptized by the same Spirit into one body.(9) Scripture References: (1)Col. 2:11,12; Rom. 6:4,6,11 (2)Rom. 6:3-5 (3)1 Cor. 1:11-13; Rom. 6:2,3 (4)Rom. 4:11,12; 1 Pet. 3:21 (5)Rom. 6:3-5 (6)Gal. 3:26,27 (7)Rom. 6:22 (8)Acts 2:38 (9)1 Cor. 12:13,25,26,27


Questions to ask your family for Family Worship to prepare you to hear the sermon:

  • Children: For fun- Take an envelope, and inside it write a short promise, say for a piece of candy to your brother and/or sister (you must have a piece of candy to give, and be more than willing to give it for this to work J!). Sign the promise, then seal the envelope. At the seal of the envelope, place your initials. Now give it to your brother and sister. Let them receive it, take it, believe it. In their hands they now hold your promise of grace toward them to gift them, and you have sealed it with your signature. Now make good on the promise if they have received it. Now meditate upon how your baptism is a seal of God’s grace to you.
  • Children: Do you “improve your baptism”? Parents: Do you “improve your baptism” and help your children to improve theirs at times of formative instruction and discipline, and particularly in times of temptation? (see above Westminster Larger Catechism, Q&A 167).
  • Children: What does it mean that you are baptized? (see Westminster Shorter Catechism, Q&A 94). Do you see the fruit of God’s grace in your life through repentance, faith and obedience to Jesus?
  • Read 1 Peter 3:19-22. In Noah’s time, who were “brought safely through water” (ESV) or “saved by water” (KJV)? How does baptism “correspond” (ESV; “antitype”-Greek) or “figure” (KJV) this? What is the sign in baptism? What does it signify? What makes the sign effectual (or give it power?)
  • Circumcision and Baptism are signs and seals of God’s saving grace in Christ Jesus (1 Pet. 3:20-21). The signs and seals are empowered by the Spirit, but point us away to the reality of the person and work of Jesus Christ for salvation and the forgiveness of sin. What happens if the people of God overemphasize the signs and they become the reality for us? What happens if we underemphasize the signs and seals and they are merely bare and empty memorials?
  • Have you thanked God for receiving you into His covenant, and are you believing by faith all of God’s covenant promises to you in Jesus Christ? Rejoice in God our Savior!


In Christ’s love,

Pastor Biggs