This Day in Presbyterian History:
Have You Cashed In Your Baptism?
At the PCA Historical Center listed on the web, there is a sermon preached by the Rev. Donald Dunkerley at Mcllwain Presbyterian Church in Pensacola, Florida, on November 26, 1972. For those who know the history of the Presbyterian Church in America, this would have been a full year almost to the day when the latter church began her witness as a separate denomination outside of the Presbyterian Church in the United States. The theme of this message by the veteran pastor was that of the sacrament of baptism, in the light of the Word of God. This writer would like to quote its concluding paragraphs which have an excellent gospel challenge to them. Pastor Dunkerley writes:
“One must not trust in baptism. One must not trust in anything that he has done or in any works of man, but only in Jesus who died for us. Baptism is a sign that God offers us a Savior and promised to cleanse us if we believe in Him, if we stop trusting in anything in ourselves — even in our baptism — and put all our trust in Jesus alone. Then we will be cleansed from sin. But until we come to that point of renouncing all self-trust and put our trust in Jesus alone, then our baptism is sign of our condemnation.
“A pastor I know was once calling on a man who was not a converted person. He frequently attended the church where this man pastored, he had lived in that town all his life and indeed, years before as an infant, he had been baptized in that very church. He was showing the pastor around his house, and the pastor noticed a frame certificate on the wall and he turned to the man and he said ‘What is this?’ ‘Oh,’ the man said, ‘that’s my baptismal certificate. I was baptized in our church, you know!’ The pastor said, ‘Ah, your baptismal certificate. Very good! Tell me, when are you going to cash it in?'”
To read the rest of Rev. Dunkerley’s sermon, click here. [PDF file]
Words to live by: The pastor of this sermon asks a serious question to those who have been baptized in their infancy by godly parents. When are you, the adult now, going to claim the promise signified by your outward baptism? You are baptized for sure. You may even have the baptismal certificate signed by the preacher and any witnesses who were there to see it. But unless you have put your personal faith and trust in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, that baptism is a sign of your condemnation, not a sign of the covenant. Reader, how is it with you? Have you received the gift of eternal life?
Through the Standards: The manner of partaking the Lord’s Supper
“Worthy receivers, outwardly partaking of the visible elements, in this sacrament, do then also, inwardly by faith, really and indeed, yet not carnally and corporally but spiritually, receive, and feed upon, Christ crucified, and all benefits of His death: the body and blood of Christ being then, not corporally or carnally, in, with, or under the bread and wine; yet, as really, but spiritually, present to the faith of believers in that ordinance, as the elements themselves are to their outward senses.”