Baptism Exhortation for Sophie Leonard and Ephraim Brito

Grace, Mercy, and Peace be with You from God our Father, and Our Lord Jesus Christ.

Our Scripture reading this morning is from Matthew 3:16-17:

And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”

The first words spoken are rarely forgotten. When Adam spoke his first words to Eve they were poetic words:[1]

Then the man said,

“This at last is bone of my bones

and flesh of my flesh;

she shall be called Woman,

because she was taken out of Man.”

(Genesis 2:23 ESV)

Opening words form our impression of a person or an event. Everyone knows the first words of Genesis: “In the beginning…” Those words express the commencement of something. If there is a beginning, then there is a middle and an end.

We must pay attention to the first words.

This morning we bring two infants, Ephraim Brito and Sophia Leonard, to be baptized into a holy covenant with the Triune God and His people. And upon these baptisms we remember the first words of our Heavenly Father upon the baptism of his only Son, Jesus Christ. God is the great Father in Matthew three, and He is the master of first words. His first words to his Son are remarkably appropriate for such a powerful event. We notice from our reading that when Jesus was baptized the Father was present. He signified His profound care for His Son, and he also understood the magnificence of such an event as baptism. In the same manner, these little ones are surrounded by faithful parents who are present in their lives in this baptismal celebration.

Also, the Father made His presence felt by sending His Spirit to descend like a dove in order to rest upon Jesus. Parents, your presence is not enough. Your presence must be felt in the lives of your little covenant children. They must know from their earliest days that you are with them, not just bodily, but emotionally. They will need both. They will need your affection as well as your presence.

Thirdly, the God and Father of us all spoke to His Son. He said: “This is my Beloved Son.” Covenant parents speak to their children. They communicate their children’s sonship. Ephraim and Sophia are children of the most High God, and they need to hear from their parents this declaration again and again. “My son/Mydaughter,” you belong to your Heavenly Father. He has chosen you as His own treasured possession. He has made you His child. He has marked you in baptism. And so when your little children sin, when they walk according to their own understanding, remind them who they are: “My Son/My Daughter,” you are not your own. You belong to God. Live like a child of the King.

Finally, God the Father, upon his Son’s baptism, said: “My Son, in You I am well-pleased.” The Father expressed His pleasure in His Son. The first thing we are told about the relationship of the Father to the Son is that the Father encouraged His son in His baptism and mission. This is our calling as parents: Pastor Brito, Melinda Brito, Todd Leonard, and Trina Leonard. Our agenda is to express our pleasure to our children before they utter their first word, before they give us their first kiss, and before we discipline them for the first time. Why? Because they are baptized members of God’s family. They are identified with our Lord and God, and they are called by Jesus Himself to ascend with Him.

First words matter. And this is why our words as parents, and as members of Providence Church are important. In these baptisms, the Father of us all calls us, fathers and mothers, to declare and act in the same way He acted at the baptism of His beloved Son, Jesus Christ.

[1] The majority of these thoughts are taken from Douglas Wilson’s Father Hunger and my lecture on the Trinitarian Father to be delivered on November 9th, 2012 at the 22nd Family Advance Conference.


About Uri Brito

I am the Pastor of Providence Church (CREC) in Pensacola, Fl.
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