Monday, July 21, 2014

Emmaus City Liturgy | Words for Christian Baptism of an Infant or Child

Emmaus City Church Worcester MA Soma Acts 29 Christian Reformed Infant Baptism

What do you say when an infant or child is baptized into Jesus' Church?


Recently, I have provided some background as to why most of the Christian church throughout history and around the world today has baptized the child of a Christian parent or parents. Here are the two posts for more details:


If you would like to take some time reading through more than my posts, here are some other very helpful resources:

Blog posts: "Infant Baptism at Redeemer Presbyterian Church" by Tim Keller, "A Brief Defense of Infant Baptism" by Kevin DeYoung, and "Household Baptism" by Scott Sauls

Books: It Takes a Church to Baptize by Scot McKnight and Baptism: Its Purpose, Practice, and Power by Michael Green 

Yesterday, during the Sunday, July 20, 2014 service of worship, we had the privilege to baptize a child for the first time with Emmaus City. For those who continue to be curious about why and how a Protestant Christian church in 21st century America would do this, here are the words we used during the service of worship yesterday. 

Friends and family of Emmaus City, it is our privilege to share together in God's gift of the sacrament of baptism today with this family. For some here today, it may be unfamiliar to see Jesus' Church baptizing a baby or young child, so we want to share with you why we invite you to join with us. 

  • We are baptizing this child because God includes children in the number of His people throughout the Old and New Testaments.
  • We are baptizing him because God said to Abraham in Genesis 17 that His promises of blessing and salvation were for Abraham and his children when He gave Abraham His covenant sign.
  • We are baptizing him because Peter said in Acts 2 that God’s promises in Jesus are “to you and your children” on the Day of Pentecost, echoing the words of God's covenant to Abraham, as well as to His people, including all of the "little ones" in Deuteronomy 29.
  • We are baptizing him because in Acts 16 the entire households of Lydia and the Philippian jailer were baptized, the household of Stephanus was baptized as recorded in 1 Corinthians 1, and because the Apostle Paul also wrote that children with one believing parent are considered holy, or set apart, before the Lord in 1 Corinthians 7.
  • We are baptizing him because Paul wrote to the church in Colosse that the sign of God’s promise to His people in circumcision in the previous covenant had been replaced with baptism as a sign of the new covenant.
  • We are baptizing him because Jesus said in Matthew 19 to, "Let the little ones come to Me, because the Kingdom of God belongs to them” and then He laid His hands on them and blessed them.
  • We are baptizing him because we see the good news of Jesus' fulfillment of God's promises in the new covenant visibly as cleansing water is applied actively by another to this passive child, just as the washing of God’s redemption through Jesus comes through the power of His Holy Spirit for those who do not earn it, but simply receive it like a child. 
  • And we are baptizing him because this is how Jesus instructed us to make disciples in that we baptize them into the name of the family of God in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit and that Jesus' Church includes people of every age in families.

Our God who is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit has redeemed us in Jesus to become part of His family. God's new covenant for His people is confirmed to us by Him in this sacrament of baptism, which is a sign and seal of our cleansing, of becoming part of the body of Christ, and of our welcome into His household, when we receive His work on our behalf in faith. 

In light of all of the above, this baptism today is not only for this child, but for everyone here who is a baptized member of Jesus' Church. This is a moment to remind us again that baptism also reveals to us that God continues to grow His family in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. This baptism is a visual call to you all to remind you again to turn your mind and heart to Jesus and to remember how He has saved you by His grace and set you apart to follow Him. As His follower, You are called to join with His Church in visibly declaring and displaying His good news to our city with those who are also baptized into His name, to join Him in His mission to make disciples of people from all nations, and to pray with the Spirit for His Kingdom to come in your life and the lives of those around you in Worcester. The sacrament of baptism showcases that Jesus continues to grow His Kingdom through baptized individuals and families from every tribe, tongue and nation as He promised. This is good news.

(Parents of the child):
 

  • Do you receive God’s covenant promises for you and your child, and do you look in faith to the Lord Jesus Christ for his salvation, as you do for your own? 
  • Do you acknowledge your child's need of the cleansing blood of Jesus Christ and the renewing grace of the Holy Spirit?
  • Do you give your child back to God the Father, and promise, in relying on His divine grace, that you will humbly follow Jesus as a repentant example of a disciple for him, that you will teach him to learn how to obey everything Jesus commanded, and that you will strive, by all the means God gives through His Word, His Spirit, and His Church, to see him brought up as a member of the family of God? 

Now, for those who are baptized into Jesus' Church and who are part of Emmaus City, you also have a responsibility as part of the family of God to help this child learn how to follow Jesus. 

  • Do you all join with this family in taking on the responsibility of humbly discipling their child in what it means to walk in the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit? 

Let's pray: "Father, You give us Your love and Your grace, as we hear and see this through Your Word, Your Spirit, and the sacraments of Your Church. We praise you for the promises You have given concerning our children – that You declare they belong to You. By Your grace, call this child to Yourself as Your own as this sacrament of baptism witnesses to Your redeeming and cleansing love. Set apart this water from a common use to a sacred use and grant that what we now do on earth may be confirmed in Your Kingdom as Jesus said in Matthew 18. In reliant faith we give this child to You. Please receive him and may Your Holy Spirit always keep him as Yours through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen." 

(Name of the child),

  • We baptize you in the name of the Father, because God is the Father who calls you to be reconciled to Him and become part of His family;
  • We baptize you in the name of the Son, because Jesus has greatly served you as the Servant King and calls you to join Him as a servant of His Kingdom for the sake of others; and
  • We baptize you in the name of the Holy Spirit, because you are called to be part of a family of missionary servants  Jesus' Church  who are sent out to love their neighbors, sharing the good news of Jesus so that it might be received by many. 

(Name of the child), welcome to life with Jesus' Church. May you never live a day where you don't know Jesus and place your faith in His redeeming work on your behalf. 


 Sully

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