Memorial Baptism

Baptismal Service for Everett Jared Tolleson
26 May 2019

Today we rejoice in the Lord because we will witness the baptism of a baby boy. His parents have heard the call of the Lord Jesus Christ to let this little child come to him. By grace through faith, they have brought him to the Lord, to receive a spiritual blessing from him — namely, the sign and seal of the covenant of grace.

The sign and seal point to the gracious work that God promises to do for him when he puts his trust in Christ for salvation.

This little child will be baptized with water in the name of the triune God according to the command of the Lord Jesus Christ. After receving the sign and seal of baptism, he will be taught to obey everything commanded by the Lord Jesus Christ.

I encourage you to remember your baptism — and, if necessary, repent and return to the Lord with a renewed zeal for the Lord.

Again, as you witness this baptism, I encourage you to remember that you were also baptized, and remember that your identity is found in Christ alone. If you have not yet received baptism, what are you waiting for? In the name of Jesus, I urge you to do so as soon as possible.

Now, I have asked you to remember your baptism, and it is right and good that should do so. You might be able to recall all the specifics of it, but that’s okay. God can and does remember every detail — and that is all that matters.

Baptism is a memorial. Not a memorial for you to remember; not a memorial to remind God of your commitment to him. Baptism is a memorial to remind God of his commitment and promises to you in Christ. Think about it: After the flood, God made a covenant with the whole world and set his rainbow in the clouds as a memorial sign of his covenant. Whenever he sees the rainbow, he remembers his covenant with the world. Likewise, baptism reminds God of the covenant he makes with us, to put his laws into our minds,
    and write them on our hearts,
and to be their God,
    and to make us his people,
for we shall all know him,
    from the least to the greatest.
For God will be merciful toward our iniquities,
    and he will remember our sins no more.”

Meditation

I want to invite Jared, Julie, and their children to come stand with me before the Lord and this congregation of his people.

Everett, Jesus Christ came into the world to save you — He is your safe haven. Jesus was crucified for your sins — His blood will cleanse you, His wounds will heal you. Jesus was raised for your life — He will never leave you, he will never forsake you. Jesus will be with you always, even to the end of the world.

Jesus loves you more than you will ever fully know. It will take you a lifetime to learn, know, and understand the good news of God’s glorious grace. Even then you will only know a tiny little bit of all that can be known. But that’s okay. As you will learn, knowledge puffs up, love builds. In Christ, faith working through love is the only thing that counts. So, love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your mind, with all your soul, and with all your strength. And love your neighbor as yourself.

Vows

Now, I must ask the parents of these children 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?
  4. Do you 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 them 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 want to ask the congregation to stand — and answer the following question:

Do you, as a congregation of the Lord Jesus Christ, undertake the responsibility of assisting these parents in the Christian nurture of their children? If so, signify by saying “Amen!”

Water Baptism 

Everett, I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

Little child, the Lord God has put his Name on you; he has written your name on his hands. You are his and He is yours. According to the covenant of grace, you shall be his child, he shall be your Father, and Jesus shall be your brother, and the Holy Spirit shall be the seal of your adoption into God’s holy family.

There is one body, one Spirit, one hope, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift.

Let us pray.

For by one Spirit,
we were baptized into one Body;
whether Jew or Greek,
whether slave or free,
and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.
(song taken from 1 Cor. 12:13)