Skip to comments."Something in the Water" (Sermon for the Baptism of Our Lord; Mark 1; Romans 6; Genesis 1)
Posted on 01/10/2015 5:14:32 PM PST by Charles Henrickson
Something in the Water (Mark 1:4-11; Romans 6:1-11; Genesis 1:1-5)
I dont listen to pop music or country music on the radio, but recently I read that there is a song thats popular on the airwaves right now that makes some references to baptism. That caught my attention, naturally, so I looked it up and listened to it online. Its a song called Something in the Water, by a singer named Carrie Underwood. I dont know if youve heard it or not. But it does have to do with baptism. Now very likely its coming from a theological perspective on baptism we wouldnt agree with entirely, but even so, its surprising that a song about baptism would even make it on the charts, much less be a big hit.
Let me tell you a little about this song, in case you havent heard it. Miss Underwood starts out by singing about a conversation she had with someone who, in the midst of his frustrations, had followed a preacher man down to the river and now, he says, hes changed, hes stronger, there mustve been something in the water. Then Carrie herself, the singer, says that one night, when she was out of hope, cried out to God and felt his love pouring down. So she then got washed in the water, washed in the blood. And now, Carrie says, Im changed, Im stronger, there must be something in the water. And so the song proceeds.
Well, good. Its refreshing to see a song that at least alludes to the Christian faith make it big on the airwaves. While this song Something in the Water doesnt use the word baptism, and it doesnt mention Christ by name, the song is nice as far as it goes, I suppose. But it only scratches the surface. I dont know, can you scratch the surface of water? In any case, today I would like to take us deeper into the water of Holy Baptism. Yes, there is Something in the Water--a number of things, actually--so lets find out what they are.
But before we can talk about something in the water, first we need to talk about someone in the water. And that, of course, is our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He is the one who gets in the water first, and it is only because of him that there is something in the water to bless us and give us life.
Today is the festival of the Baptism of Our Lord, the First Sunday after the Epiphany every year when the Holy Gospel reading is the account of Christs baptism in the Jordan at the start of his ministry. This year we have the account from Marks gospel. It reads as follows: In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And when he came up out of the water, immediately he saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.
If not for Jesus embarking on this course that would take him to the cross, there would be nothing in the water. No forgiveness, no salvation, no washing in the blood. We would still be stuck in our sins. Oh, we might have moments of regret and desperation and make our way down to the river and have a dramatic experience, but unless this particular man Jesus gets in the water first and then makes his way to the cross, there would be nothing in the water to make a real difference.
It all depends on who this Jesus is. Christs baptism tells us that he is indeed the very Son of God come in the flesh, come to do the will of his Father, who voices his approval of his beloved Son. The baptism of our Lord tells us that this Jesus is the very Messiah, the promised deliverer, the Christ, the one anointed with the Holy Spirit to carry out his messianic ministry.
And so you and I, when we are baptized, we are baptized in the name of the triune God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We are joined to Jesus in our baptism. The heavenly Father becomes our Father, calling us his beloved children for Christs sake. The Holy Spirit is given to us in Holy Baptism, so that we believe, not just in someone bigger than me, as the song suggests, but that we believe in the one true God, the Holy Trinity, as revealed in Holy Scripture.
There must be something in the water? Yes, there is. The name of the triune God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
What else is in the water? Forgiveness. The forgiveness of sins. By being joined to Jesus, we are joined to everything he has done for us. And this Jesus went to the cross, for you! It was your sins he carried on his shoulders, taking them to the cross, to suffer and die in your place.
Yes, realize first of all that you have sins that need forgiving. You cannot pay for them yourself. You cannot dig your way out of your sinful condition. You have sinned against God, in thought, word, and deed. Your good intentions are not enough to overcome this mountain of sin, to lift this heavy load. Christ must do it for you. And he does! He is the very Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world. He paid for all your sins, apart from anything you do. Its a free gift, no strings attached.
And this forgiveness is what is put in the water of Holy Baptism. All your sins are washed away. Your filthy robes are washed clean and white in the blood of the Lamb. Now you have the righteousness that will avail at the judgment seat of God, because it is the perfect righteousness of Christ. It is yours by faith, as a gift.
There must be something in the water. There is. There is forgiveness in the water, by virtue of the shed blood of Christ.
And with that forgiveness comes something else in the water. Life. Resurrection life, both now and for eternity. It is new life now and eternal life forever. You heard it in the reading from Romans: Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. Yes, the resurrection life of Christ is in the water.
There must be something in the water. There is. There is Gods mighty, creative activity in that water. You heard in the reading from Genesis how God created the heavens and the earth: water, Spirit, word. Same thing in the new creation that happens in Holy Baptism: water, Spirit, word, all combined to make a new you. If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation!
So much is packed into the water of Holy Baptism! The name of the triune God, and all that comes with it. Forgiveness of sins. New life. The resurrection of the body and life everlasting. A new creation. Yes, there is so much in the water, such great things!
How? How does this happen? By Gods word. God attaches his word of promise to the water of Holy Baptism. Luther answers the how question in the Small Catechism: How can water do such great things? Certainly not just water, but the word of God in and with the water does these things, along with the faith which trusts this word of God in the water. For without Gods Word the water is plain water and no Baptism. But with the word of God it is a Baptism, that is, a life-giving water, rich in grace, and a washing of the new birth in the Holy Spirit.
There must be something in the water. There is. The life-giving, active, creative Word of God, which God attaches to just this water of Holy Baptism. This is something you can count on. This is something much more solid than how you feel that youve changed and that youre stronger now. Those feelings may come and go, but the word of the Lord remains forever. Thats something in the water that will not change. Thank God for that!
So if I could be so bold as to offer Carrie Underwood a new ending for her song, it would go something like this:
Well, my sins brought death, and theres no way out,
Id be lost forever, there is no doubt;
But our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ,
Came down from heaven--he paid the price!
Now my sins are forgivn by his holy blood,
And God packs that forgiveness in this holy flood;
In baptismal water God has put his Word,
And its the sweetest promise that Ive ever heard:
I am baptized!
Theres nothing stronger!
There must be something in the water!
Oh, there must be something in the water!
John appeared, baptizing in the wilderness and proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. And all the country of Judea and all Jerusalem were going out to him and were being baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. Now John was clothed with camels hair and wore a leather belt around his waist and ate locusts and wild honey. And he preached, saying, After me comes he who is mightier than I, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. I have baptized you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.
In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And when he came up out of the water, immediately he saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.
Romans 6:1-11 (ESV)
What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.
For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.
Genesis 1:1-5 (ESV)
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.
And God said, Let there be light, and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.
Libs will make sure it tanks if it gets into mainstream. Those who do the work of the evil one.
I do. I also listen to jazz and classical music. All day long. There are really only two types of music. Good and bad. If it's good, I listen to it.
I like to consider “What’s In The Water” in mathematical terms:
Matthew 26:28 -
“Blood of the New Testament” (X) = “Remission of sins” (Y)
Acts 2:38 -
“Repent and be baptized” (Z) = “Remission of sins” (Y);
hence, (X) = (Z).
Therefore, in terms of the sinner achieving “remission of sins,” the “blood of the New Testament” is in the “baptismal waters” of one “pricked in their heart” by their sin and who repents of same and submits to baptism, wherein is “cleansing” (Colossians 2:12-13).
Chronologically, the mixing of water and the blood of Christ is shown forth in John 19:34, occurring between the time of the events Matthew 26:28 and Acts 2:38.
How Great Thou Art by Underwood
” The Holy Spirit is given to us in Holy Baptism, so that we believe...What else is in the water? Forgiveness. The forgiveness of sins.”
Nope. If you didn’t already believe, you would not be getting baptized.
We are joined to Jesus by the Baptism done by Jesus: the baptism in the Holy Spirit. There is also no correlation between water baptism and baptism in the Holy Spirit in Acts.
” For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one bodywhether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or freeand have all been made to drink into one Spirit.”
“11 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 12 His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather His wheat into the barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.
Big hit on the Billboard charts right now.
Carrie Underwood has, in recent years, been stating her support for “gay marriage”.
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