1-12-14 “Remember Your Name” John 1:29-39
“Remember Your Name” Proverbs 22:10; John 1:29-39
A good name is hard to find.? In our day of twitter and facebook, everyone?s sins are trotted out for all the world to see.?? People will accuse others of things they haven?t done, and it gets very messy in a hurry when a thousand so called ?followers? or ?friends? know it instantly.
Maybe you have seen that commercial where a guy uses his cell phone to tweet out that one guy is dating two girls in the same office.? Then he uses his same phone to video the two girls angrily chasing the guy.?? This is duplicated in real life many times over.? ?But some businesses get bad reviews on the internet simply out of spite, some people get tagged in a picture that looks like a worse situation than it really is, or in non-computer language- some spread gossip when there is no basis to spread it.? Spreading bad news? and gossip is older than the Bible.? They tried to ruin Joseph, Daniel, Jesus- but in the end they could not- for truth prevailed.
Yet what Facebook, Twitter, and gossip do not allow for is the grace of God.?? The grace of God gives us a second chance and turns haters into lovers.? Baptism is a symbol of that grace.? For baptism symbolizes washing- being made clean- being forgiven- being given a second chance.? John?s baptism, it is important to note- (in our day of cheap grace) involves repentance.? If you mess up, you can be washed- you can be baptized but you have to repent.?? Christian baptism too carried the twofold cry- repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ (Acts 2:38).
I. BAPTISM MEANS NAMING
Baptism means above all else that you are very aware that God knows you by name.? You are not just an unidentified thing or even a number in God?s eye.? God not only knows you by name- He calls you by name.? In the Catholic, Episcopalian, and Methodist churches baptism is called ?christening?- giving a Christian name to a child.? In the Middle Ages they would not name a child until that child was baptized.? Some skeptically say that was because a child may not live long, but it was really mainly because it is in the mother Church that we are named and find our home.
My?missionary to India friend, Cody Watson,?has?told me of the Untouchables.? The Untouchables are?considered below the lowest class.? They are?by caste law not able to have a last name.? Their first names are derogatory- like “Mud” or “Donkey” or “Dummy.”? So when the missionaries come to these folks and say, “God gives you a name- and knows who you are.”? It is like a new world.
He calls you in baptism to not live an ordinary life- but to live that makes a difference.?? The word ?holy? means ?different.?? We not only are called to not live, speak, and act like everyone else, but we are also called to make a difference for Christ in our world.
So do not think that God doesn?t know you, or care for you.? Do not think that God could care less.? God loves you with an everlasting love.? He gives you an identity.
I have had friends who wonder around- taking travel trips?studying any philosophy or religion they run into trying to find out ?Who they are.?? For Christians- we will find who we are when we look at the One who gives us our identity- Jesus Christ.? Let me say this clearly- if you claim to be a Christian but are wondering off into a life that you know He will not approve of- you will wonder who you really are.?? The classic term that we don?t use much because it is such strong language is ?lost.?? If you are trying to find yourself apart from Christ you will wander and wonder.? Augustine tried to find meaning in philosophy, wine, women and song- until he came back to his faith.? He said, ?Our hearts are restless until they find their rest in Thee.?? Find your rest, your home, your identity in remembering your baptism.
II. HAVING A GOOD NAME- If a restaurant has a bad name- say a C rating- you won?t go there.? If a college is on probation for academics- you may not want to go there. ??But it is true if someone has a reputation of selfishness or betrayal- you may want to avoid such a person.? The good news is the possibility of things with God.? In God we can be made new.? In God repentance is possible, and fresh second starts are realities- made real by the very person of Jesus- who speaks of transformation, new birth, hope.
They asked John how do you repent?? He told the tax collectors not to use their power to be greedy.? He told them if you have two coats share with him who has none.? If someone asks you to go one mile out of your way, go two.? Don?t extort people but be content with your pay.? ??????In other words- don?t be greedy but be fair and considerate.? That is how you have a good name.? remember who you are and whose you are.
Remembering your baptism is like remembering your name.? My mother used to tell me to not forget who I was.? By that she was telling me that when I did something bad it reflected on the rest of us.? This is the same for any Christian.? When we mess up- it reflects on the name of the whole church.? Baptism stands against degrading someone’s name- for it is the?chance to give us?new names.
But God calls us who had no name- into being- into being born again.? He gives us identity, meaning, hope.? When we fail- we should be patient with ourselves- knowing God is able to forgive us.? When others fail- we should be patient with them as well.
III. KEEPING A GOOD NAME- there are websites and magazines that publish their idea of ?best of?- like US News best colleges; or best of Columbia or Angie?s List or Yelp- in which people review your store or work.
To keep a good name- do not wander away from your identity.? Remember your brand- what makes you who you are. The Creator of the Universe has made you for a purpose.? Part of our job is to find out what that purpose is.? We will have a hard time finding direction, meaning, and real lasting hope for our lives apart from the One who made us.?? Do not reject your creator.? One of the saddest verses in the Bible is the verse in John 1:10-12- ?He came to that which was his own and his own did not receive Him.?? But then it gives the good news that if we do receive Him- we can be His children.
Baptism is a concrete sign, a concrete event that we can look back on- that we can take pictures of- that we can see a certificate if we want to remind us that at one point in our lives we claimed the One who claims us.? When I pray for my children- and the prayer is at a tough time in their lives- I will often add, ?Lord they have been baptized!? They are your children more than mine.?????? So today, we want you to remember your baptism.? Remember you are His child.? You cannot be unbaptized.? Your head has been under the water.