Baptismal Service for Reese Musgrove
22 February 2015
Genesis 41:14, 42; Galatians 3:23-27
We hear it all the time: clothes make the man. While that can be taken in a wrong way, it can also be taken in a good and right way. We learn in the Holy Scriptures that we are what we wear. So, clothes do make the man.
In the story of Joseph we have seen that clothes matter. They are status symbols. A colorful robe gave Joseph the status of the first-born son; a cotton tunic gave him the status of a household servant; fine linen clothes gave him the status of vice-gerent. In the story we heard today Joseph was a prisoner but he became a prince. He was called up from the pit, washed and cleaned, dressed in fine linens and adorned with fine jewelry. This was all based on the king’s will and grace, not Joseph’s.
In some ways our stories are like that story. Like Joseph, we were held captive under sin, we were prisoners until the gospel-dream was revealed. We were prisoners under a guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be declared right with God by faith in Christ. And now that faith has come, we are no longer prisoners under a guardian, for in Christ Jesus we are all sons of God through faith. For as many of us as were baptized into Christ have clothed ourselves in Christ. Like Joseph, we have been called up by the King and cleansed for service. In Christ we have traded our filthy prison rags for his fine princely robe. We are no longer prisoners, but princes and princesses of the King.
When actors and actresses walk the red carpet at the Oscars they are always asked, “Who are you wearing?” Meaning, Who designed your outfit and ensemble? When we stand before the Lord in judgment he will ask each one of us: Who are you wearing? If we cannot answer Jesus Christ, we might as well be wearing fig leaves, filthy rags, or nothing at all. Clothes make or break the man.
When Reese is baptized she will be clothed with Christ; and since we are what we wear, she will be a Christian, a sinner identified with the Lord Jesus Christ, the only brand that fits, and the only design that matters.
We believe baptism is a sign and seal of God’s covenant of grace. By means of baptism we are consecrated to God, marked with his Name, initiated into the covenant community, and grafted into Christ; we are baptized with the faith, hope, and love that sooner or later God will circumcise our hearts, crucify our flesh, cleanse our sins, and clothe us with Christ for his glory and our good. We administer baptism in obedience to the command of the Lord Jesus Christ to make disciples of all nations by baptizing them in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, and by teaching them to obey all that Jesus commanded.
[Parents] Do you acknowledge your child’s need of the cleansing blood of Jesus Christ and the renewing grace of the Holy Spirit?
Do you trust in God’s covenant promises for yourself and for your children?
Do you look in faith to the Lord Jesus Christ for her salvation as you do for your own?
Do you promise in humble reliance on divine grace that you will endeavor to set before her a godly example, that you will pray with and for her and that you will strive bring her up in the teaching and training of the Lord, according to the gospel of God’s grace—not alone but with the help of the church?
Do you resolve by the grace of God, not only to bring her up as your natural child, but also from this day forward to consider her as your sister in the Lord and as a joint-heir of God’s covenant blessings with you?
[Church] Do you, as members of God’s family, undertake the responsibility of a covenant community, in assisting these parents in the spiritual formation of their daughter? If so, signify that by saying “Amen.”
God is witness.
Reese, for your sake, Jesus Christ said: “Let the little children come to me and do not prevent them for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” For your sake Jesus Christ laid down his life and took it up again.
By the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ, and on the basis of God’s covenant love and promises, I baptize you in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
May you grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus and obey his teachings all the days of your life. And may the Lord be with you always. May the Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.