Baptism and Adoption

Baptismal Service for Marcus De’Wayne Ransom Stone
15 January 2017
Galatians 3:27-4:6

Today we have the privilege and honor of witnessing the baptism of a child into the church of Jesus Christ.

Just a few days ago this child was adopted into the Stone family. They stood before a judge, an attorney, a case worker, and several witnesses and they took on the responsibility of receiving this child into their family and rearing him as their own son. In that moment the child’s status changed. He exchanged one family and name for another family and name. In love, the Stones gave him their name. From now on and always the child will be known as Marcus De’Wayne Ransom Stone.

What does that have to do with his baptism? As the child will be reared by the Stones in a Christian family he must be marked with the sign and seal of the family. Baptism is the sign and seal of our being cleansed by the blood of Christ and clothed with Christ. It is also a sign and seal of our adoption by God the Father into his family. That is what I want to focus on now.

As it is written in Galatians: For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ…And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise. I mean that the heir, as long as he is a child, is no different from a slave, though he is the owner of everything, but he is under guardians and managers until the date set by his father. In the same way we also, when we were children, were enslaved to the elementary principles of the world. But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.

A few days ago Marcus was legally adopted into the Stone family. Today, Marcus is being spiritually and covenantally adopted into the family of God. We are gathered in here in the presence of the Judge of all the earth, along with Christ our Advocate, and the communion of saints to receive this child into the life and family of the church. In love, God will give the child his Holy Name — Father, Son, and Holy Spirit — and by means of this baptism God will adopt this child and bring him into his household as a son not a slave.

Marcus, you do not yet know the good news of this story, or understand this story, but someday you will. We will tell you the story again and again, until you come to trust in Jesus and see your place in his story. The moment you trust in Christ by God’s grace, you will be forgiven all your sins, and all God’s promises to you will be realized. As the Scripture says:

For to you is the promise, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call unto him. And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee and to thy seed after thee. Believe on the Lord Jesus, and thou shalt be saved, thou and thy house. (Acts 2:39; Gen. 17:7; Acts 16:31)

Let us pray.

Now, I ask the Parents, God-parents, and grand-parents of this child to answer the following questions:

  1. Do you acknowledge your child’s need of the cleansing blood of Jesus Christ, and the renewing grace of the Holy Spirit?
  2. Do you claim God’s covenant promises in (his) behalf, and do you look in faith to the Lord Jesus Christ for (his) salvation, as you do for your own?
  3. Do you now unreservedly devote your child to God, and promise, in humble reliance upon divine grace, that you will endeavor to set before (him) a godly example, that you will pray with and for (him), that you will teach (him) the doctrines of our holy religion, and that you will strive, by all the means of God’s appointment, to bring (him) up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord?

Now, I ask the congregation to answer the following question:

Do you as a congregation undertake the responsibility of assisting the parents in the Christian nurture of this child? If so, signify by saying “Amen!”.

Let us pray.

Marcus De’Wayne Ransom Stone, I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

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 face upon you and give you peace. Amen

Let us pray.

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