Thursday, December 7, 2017

Matthew 1:1-17 | Advent Hope: God Keeps His Promises to His Family (Special Baptism Mass) + December 2, 2017

Celebrating Baptism During Advent

Today we begin the season of Advent and marvel at how God became flesh and walked among us in Jesus. And we get to celebrate what God has done and is doing among us through the baptisms of multiple people in the community of Emmaus City Church!

Why? Because baptism is an invitation and initiation into God's family. We baptize to obey Jesus in forming and discipling a new family in relation to His family – the Father, the Son, and the Spirit – and His people throughout the ages. 

Baptism is recognition of: 

God’s promises for us and our children (Acts 2:38-39); 
one of His divinely ordained means of grace (1 Peter 3:18-22); 
a public and lifelong promise of submission to the once crucified and now resurrected King Jesus (Acts 16:25-34); and 
an anticipation of His return when He comes to make all things new (Matthew 28:18-20).

When we step into our baptismal liturgies, for children of a Christian parent and for adults who are following Jesus for the first time, we get the joy of stepping into awe again, and we wonder at how God is marvelously bringing people of all cultures and ethnicities together and creating a new humanity in Christ Jesus with children, women, and men from every tribe, tongue, and nation.

God has chosen through baptism to create a people who are His Kingdom representatives to the kingdoms of the world. Baptism sets apart a dynamic community of people of all ages that challenges and critiques the social hierarchies of this world. Baptism makes Jesus' Church a family of Kingdom servants and ambassadors where the age, ethnic, and class distinctions of ancient Rome; or historic India or China; or the modern U.S. no less; no longer matter. At baptism, we’re not just saying "I do" to Jesus, we’re saying "I do" to everyone else here. 

As James K.A. Smith says, "baptism smashes open our families of birth and opens us up to the disruptive friendships that are the mark of the Kingdom of God." Will Willimon also writes, "The baptized swear allegiance to a Kingdom that is not characterized by ... progressive self-improvement, and national borders ... citizenship in this realm is constituted by the vocation and election of God in Christ." Children, women, and men from all kinds of backgrounds get to display His Good News together as His baptized family of Kingdom servants and ambassadors who are becoming disciples who make disciples.

In the preaching of His Word, stepping into baptism with Him and His Church, and coming to His Eucharist meal together, today we are celebrating with the Spirit the Good News that Jesus, the Word of God made flesh, has come to us.

Bible Passages | Matthew 1:1-17; Genesis 17:7; Acts 2:38-39; Galatians 3:27-29; Acts 16:30-33; Ephesians 4:4-6; Matthew 28:19-20
Old Testament Scripture Reading | Isaiah 7:14, 9:6

Sacrament of Baptism for Children of Christian parent(s)

On behalf of the elders
of Emmaus City Church,

we welcome the Name family
who bring Name and
Name to receive 
the sacrament of baptism. 

Name family, beloved of God,
do you promise
 to instruct
Name and Name 

in the truth of God’s Word and

in the way of salvation 
through Jesus Christ?
We do, and we ask God to help us.

To pray for them and
to teach them to pray?
We do, and we ask God to help us. 

And to disciple them in Christ’s 
words, works, and ways 
by your example and by
the power of the Holy Spirit, 

as you worship in all of life
on the mission of God 
in the nurture of Jesus' Church?
We do, and we ask God to help us.

Emmaus City Church, do you promise 
to love, encourage, and support
these precious ones 
by teaching them the Story of God 
and Jesus' Good News of the Kingdom?
We do, and we ask God to help us.

By being an example of how to receive and give
grace and truth, mercy and justice?
We do, and we ask God to help us.

 by sharing the strong love and support of God’s family
of Kingdom servants and ambassadors 

with them in missional community, prayer, and service? 
We do, and we ask God to help us.

Opening Baptism Prayer
Father, You give us Your love and Your grace.
We praise you for the promises
You have given concerning us and our children –
that You declare we belong to You. 

By Your grace, call us 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 these newly baptized to You. 
Please receive them and may Your Holy Spirit 
always keep them as Yours 
through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.

Name, For you Jesus Christ came into the world;
for you He died; and for you He rose and conquered death.
All this He did for you because of His great love.

Name, We baptize you in the name of the Father,
and of the Son,
and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Namechild of the covenant
in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ,
you are now received into the visible membership
of His holy catholic Church today, 
throughout history and around the globe,
engaged to confess faith in Him and called to be 
His Kingdom servant and ambassador until life’s end.
May you never live a day without knowing Him. Amen.

Closing Baptism Prayer
Gracious God, we thank You
that You cleanse and renew
Your children through Your grace alone.
Bless and strengthen us daily
with the gift of Your Holy Spirit;
unfold to us the riches of Your love,
deepen our faith, keep us from the power of evil,
and enable us to live a holy, just, and righteous life
with Your Church for the life of the world and for
the good of our neighbors until Your Kingdom comes.
Look with kindness upon the newly baptized today.
Let them always rejoice in the gift You have given them.
Fill them with the presence of Your Holy Spirit,
that they may grow up into maturity in Christ
to know You, to love You, and to serve You. Amen.

Lord's Prayer | Praying for Jesus' Kingdom Impact in Us and in Worcester

O ComeO Come Emmanuel
By anonymous monks
Translated by John Mason Neale
800s A.D., 1800s A.D. 

O comeO come, Emmanuel
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free
Thine own from Satan's tyranny,
From depths of Hell Thy people save,
And give them victory o'er the grave.

O come, Thou Day-Spring, come and cheer
Our spirits by Thine advent here.
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night
And death's dark shadows put to flight.

O come, Thou Key of David, come,
And open wide our heavenly home;
Make safe the way that leads on high,
And close the path to misery.

O come, Desire of nations, bind
In One the hearts of all mankind;
Bid Thou our sad divisions cease,
And be Thyself our King of Peace.

Come Thou Long Expected Jesus
By Charles Wesley
1744 A.D.

Come Thou long expected Jesus,
Born to set Thy people free.
From our fears and sins release us,
Let us find our rest in Thee.
Israel's strength and consolation,
Hope of all the earth Thou art.
Dear desire of every nation,
Joy of every longing heart.

Joy to those who long to see Thee,
Day-spring from on high appear.
Come Thou promised Rod of Jesse,
Of Thy birth we long to hear.
O'er the hills the angels singing,
News glad tidings of a birth.
Go to Him your praises bringing,
Christ the Lord has come to earth.

Come to earth to taste our sadness,
He whose glories knew no end.
By His life He brings us gladness,
Our Redeemer, Shepherd, Friend.
Leaving riches without number,
Born within a cattle stall.
This the everlasting wonder:
Christ was born Lord of all.

Born Thy people to deliver,
Born a child and yet a King.
Born to reign in us forever,
Now Thy gracious Kingdom bring.
By Thine own eternal spirit,
Rule in all our hearts alone.
By Thine all sufficient merit,
Raise us to Thy glorious throne.

Come Behold the Wondrous Mystery
By Matt Papa, Matt Boswell, 
and Michael Bleecker
2013 A.D.

Come behold the wondrous mystery
In the dawning of the King.
He the theme of heaven’s praises,
Robed in frail humanity.
In our longing, in our darkness,
Now the light of life has come!
Look to Christ, who condescended,
Took on flesh to ransom us.

Come behold the wondrous mystery
He the perfect Son of Man.
In His living, in His suffering,
Never trace nor stain of sin.
See the true and better Adam
Come to save the hell-bound man!
Christ the great and sure fulfillment

Of the law; in Him we stand.

Come behold the wondrous mystery
Christ the Lord upon the tree,
In the stead of ruined sinners
Hangs the Lamb in victory.
See the price of our redemption!
See the Father’s plan unfold!
Bringing many sons to glory,
Grace unmeasured, love untold!

Come behold the wondrous mystery
Slain by death the God of life.
But no grave could e’er restrain Him.
Praise the Lord; He is alive!
What a foretaste of deliverance!
How unwavering our hope!
Christ in power resurrected

As we will be when He comes!

By Anna B. Warner
1860 A.D.

Jesus loves me—this I know,
For the Bible tells me so;
Little ones to Him belong—
They are weak, but He is strong.

Yes, Jesus loves me (x3),
The Bible tells me so.

Jesus loves me—He who died
Heaven’s gate to open wide;
He will wash away my sin,
Let His little child come in.

Jesus loves me—loves me still,
Though I’m very weak and ill;
From His shining throne on high
Comes to watch me where I lie.

Jesus loves me—He will stay
Close beside me all the way,
Then His little child will take
Up to Heaven for His dear sake.

By Austin Stone Worship
2012 A.D.

day, a day of promise, 
A hope to end our woe, 
day that tells of triumph
Against our vanquished foe!

In flesh His entrance humble,
The swaddling clothes His robe,
The meek displayed in power,
The Prince of Peace now known!

Let angels shout the triumph
As mortals raise their voice,
"Behold the Son of heav'n and earth,
The King of Kings is born!" 

day, a day of glory,
When Jesus calls us home.
Our glorious King eternal
Returning for His own!

Gloria, gloria, gloria,
Our King has come! 

390 A.D.

I believe in God, 
the Father almighty,

Maker of heaven and earth,
and in Jesus Christ,
His only Son, our Lord,

who was conceived by the Holy Spirit
born of the virgin Mary.

suffered under Pontius Pilate, 

was crucified, dead, and buried;

He descended to hell.

The third day He rose again!

He ascended to heaven

and is seated at the right hand
of God the Father almighty;
from there He shall come
to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,

the holy catholic* Church,

the communion of saints,

the forgiveness of sins, 

the resurrection of the body,

and the life everlasting. Amen. 

*Catholic stands for Jesus' Church
"according to the whole,"
across time, cultures, and nations,
that He established
and continues to build by His
grace, truth, and resurrection power. 


May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. + Romans 15:13

Next post: Matthew 1:18-25 | Advent Love: God Is Faithful to Us Through It All

Christ is all,

Rev. Mike “Sully” Sullivan

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