Sermon # 6          Series: Matthew


      Text:    Matthew 3:13-17
      Subject:    The Baptism of the Lord Jesus by John The Baptist
      Date:   Tuesday Evening – July 5, 1994
      Tape:  # Q-24




      Our Lord Jesus spent the first thirty years of his life on this earth in obscurity. But the time had come for him to embark upon his public ministry and prophetic office. He did so by coming from Galilee to Jordan to be baptized by John the Baptist. We have Matthew’s account of this momentous event in chapter three, verses thirteen through seventeen. (Read the text with me). As the Jewish priest of the Old Testament, when they entered the priestly office, consecrated themselves to God by being washed with water (Ex. 29:4), so our great High Priest began the great work which he came into the world to accomplish by consecrating himself to God in public baptism.




      Being baptized by John the Baptist, our Lord Jesus here sits before us an example of obedience to God which he later commanded all his disciples to follow.




      I want you to hold your Bibles open at Matthew 3:13-17 and follow along with me as I show you five things from these five verses of Inspiration.


1.      The Great Honor Christ Placed Upon This Ordinance of Divine Worship (v. 13).

2.      The Humility of Our Lord Jesus and His Servant (vv. 14-15).

3.      The Necessity of Our Lord’s Baptism (v. 15).

4.      The Method of Baptism Exemplified by Our Savior (v. 16).

5.      The Interest of The Triune God in the Work of Redemption (vv. 16-17).


I.  First, I want us to notice The Great Honor Christ Placed Upon This Ordinance of Divine Worship (v. 13).


      Do any imagine that Baptism is an insignificant thing? Do any dare assert that this ordinance of Christ is a “non-essential”? The Son of God did not look upon it as such the journey from Nazareth to Jerusalem took three days. Yet, our Savior took that long journey so that he might be baptized by John the Baptist. I take it, from such an example, that this ordinance of divine worship is not to be lightly esteemed. If Christ our Lord, the Head of the Church honored the ordinance of baptism by submitting to it, surely all who profess to follow him must do the same.


A.  Two words of caution are necessary because this ordinance has been greatly perverted by lost religious men.


      Whenever men begin to tamper with the Word of God souls are ruined. Let us throw away the creeds and confessions of men and simply obey the Word of God as it stands, without addition or alteration.


1.  We must never attach any idolatrous, superstitious importance to the ordinance of baptism.


a.      Baptism is a picture of redemption. But baptism is not redemption.

b.      Baptism is a picture of the remission of sins. But baptism is not the remission of sins.

c.      Baptism is a picture of regeneration. But baptism is not regeneration.

d.      Baptism is a picture of salvation. But baptism is not salvation.


We are redeemed by the blood of Christ. We are born again by the Spirit of God. We are saved by the grace of God. Baptism pictures and confesses these blessings of grace. But baptism has absolutely no redeeming, saving merit and efficacy!


2.  Having said that, I want you to hear this too – We must never dishonor the ordinance of baptism.


·        By Refusing to Submit to It.

·        By Making it a Mere Ritual without Moaning.

·        By Altering its Form.


B.  We must never allow inconvenience or trouble to keep us from the worship of God.


      The Lord Jesus went to considerable trouble and inconvenience to observe this ordinance of worship. Today, multitudes who call themselves believers and followers of Christ quickly justify themselves in the neglect of worship. But you will find no justification for it in the Word of God.


1.      The Shunammite woman rode on horseback every sabbath day to hear God’s prophet at Carmel, though her husband hindered her (II Kings 4:23).

2.      In David’s time, the saints of God “passed through the valley of Baca” to worship God at Zion (Ps. 84:6).

3.      In Daniel’s days, believers ran to and fro “to increase knowledge,” to know more of the Lord God (Dan. 12:4).

4.      In Zechariah’s days, the inhabitants of one city went to another, saying, “Let us go speedily to pray before the Lord and to seek the Lord of hosts” (Zech. 8:21).

5.      In the Book of Acts we read of The Eunuch who journeyed from Ethiopia to Jerusalem to worship God (Acts 8:25).


Any man or woman who talks about being a Christian, who talks about worshipping God, who talks about being a believer and yet willfully neglect the worship of God ought to blush with shame!


II.  Next, I think we must not fail to observe The Humility of Our Lord Jesus and His Servant (vv. 14-15).


      In all things our Savior constantly strikes a blow at our foolish pride. He never misses an opportunity to expose and condemn it, both by his words and by his actions. He constantly teaches all who follow him to walk in humility.


A.  It was a great act of condescension and humility for the Son of God to come to John the Baptist to be baptized.


      Our Savior was ever the meek and lowly one. He was born to lowly parents, laid in a manger, and raised in obscurity. When he rode into Jerusalem as the King of Zion, he rode not upon a white charger, but a lowly ass. And when he began his public ministry, it was not with pomp and pageantry, but by being baptized by a man in a muddy river. (II Cor. 8:9).


B.  When the Lord came to John for baptism, John forbad him.


      He strenuously objected, not out of a spirit of rebellion but out of a spirit of reverence and awe.


1.  John knew who Christ is –


·        The Infinite though Incarnate God!

·        The Great and Glorious Lamb of God!


2.  John knew himself too -


·        A sinner in need of grace!

·        A man in need of mercy!

·        A felon in need of pardon!


C.  Though he was conscious of his personal sin and unworthiness to do so, when the Lord commanded him to do it. John baptized him. (v. 15).


1.  No man is worthy to do anything in the worship and service of the Holy Lord God.


2.  Our worthiness is Christ.


3.  We have no right, in a pretense of humility, to refuse any command or duty clearly set before us by our God.


·        Baptism.

·        The Lord’s Supper.

·        Public Prayer.

·        Teaching.

·        Preaching.


III.  Thirdly, we need to understand The Necessity of Our Lord’s Baptism (v. 15).


      He had know sins to confess. He had no transgressions of which to repent. He had no iniquities to be washed away. Yet, it was necessary for him to be baptized “to fulfil all righteousness,” to do what was right.


A.  Not only did our Lord fulfil all the righteous requirements of God’s holy law for us as our Representative, freeing us from its….


·        Curse

·        Constraint

·        Covenant

·        And Condemnation


He also fulfilled all the will of God as a Man on our behalf; and part of that will was his baptism.


B.   More than that, by his baptism the Lord Jesus symbolically demonstrated how he would fulfil all righteousness as our Sin-Atoning Substitute.


1.      When he was made to be sin, he was slain under the wrath of God, and buried.

2.      When he had put away sin, he rose from the dead.


IV.  Fourthly, I would be remiss in my calling as the servant of God if I did not show you from this passage The Method of Baptism Exemplified by Our Savior (v. 16).


      “Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water.” There is absolutely no reason for Matthew to make that statement except to show us that baptism must be performed by immersion. Without immersion, there is no baptism. “Since it is said that he came out of the water, he must have first gone down into it.” (Gill).


A.  Baptism is always represented in the Scriptures as a Burial.


·        Romans 6:3-5

·        Colossians 2:12

·        I Corinthians 15:1, 29


B.  Any Alternation of the baptismal mode is a perversion of the ordinance and a denial of what it represents – The Gospel.


V.  Lastly, this passage of Scripture shows us The Interest of The Triune God in the Work of Redemption (vv. 16-17).


Here is


A.  A Display of The Trinity.


B.  An Identification of the Messiah.


C. A Declaration from Heaven – “This is my beloved Son, In whom I am well pleased.”


·        With His Person!

·        With His Obedience!

·        With His Sacrifice! (Pictured!)

·        With His Members!


Here we have a most majestic meeting of the three Persons of the Holy Trinity about the work of redemption. As in the beginning of creation the triune God said, “Let us make man;” so in the beginning of redemption, he said, “Let us redeem man!” (Eph. 1:3-14). Salvation was…


·        Planned by God the Father.

·        Purchased by God the Son.

·        Performed in Us by God the Holy Spirit.




      As was our Lord’s Baptism, so our Baptism is…


1.      An Act of Identification!

2.      An Act of Confession!

3.      An Act of Consecration!

4.      An Act of Anticipation!

5.      An Act of Obedience!


Baptism is the answer of a good conscience toward God. Let us therefore observe the ordinance conscientiously before God – For Believers Only! – For All Believers!