Day 122 – Sun 1st Jan – There was no Sunday School this week so it was nice to start at 11. Lots of the congregation were away but with visitors from Jono and Marta’s family and removing some chairs at the back we felt full. We baptised Rowan which was a joy.
I gave the 5 points of baptism which I have stolen from one of the Gibson brothers. We baptise children of believers because…
1. Children have always been part of God’s created order
2. Children have always been part of God’s covenant promises
3. The Bible story moves from exclusive to inclusive
4. We baptise because God is God and does not change
5. Jesus commands us to baptise our children
Graham gave me another two points by email which are very helpful –
“Baptism, like circumcision, is first and foremost a sign of the gospel and its promise, not of our response to the gospel. It points first of all to the work of Christ for us, not to the work of the Spirit in us. It calls for our response. It is not primarily a sign of that response. So, like the proclamation of the gospel (of which it is a sign), baptism summons us to (rather than signifies) repentance and faith.
Then Calvin argued from the ordo salutis that as regeneration precedes faith, so the sign of regeneration is given infants before they can have faith.”
I preached on Ephesians 3:14-21 and found it helpful, particularly the point that Paul prays for their will to be strengthened, for Christ’s love to dwell in their hearts and that they would comprehend the length, breadth, height and depth of Christ’s love. He prays to Father, Son and Holy Spirit and so you have him praying to the whole of the Godhead for the whole of man.
We had folk back for lunch which was lovely and then in the evening Chris Roberts preached wonderfully from Romans 8, I think it’s the best I’ve heard him – living in futility, freedom and focus on glory – excellent illustrations. The Chapel was absolutely freezing so I hope the visitors who were there will come back.
I’ve started back in Calvin’s Institutes for the new year!