The Original Flavor


Message Title:  The Original Flavor
Baptism of Jesus
Season: Epiphany
Main Text: Acts 8:14-17
Scripture Reading: ALL
RCL Scripture: Isaiah 43:1-7; Psalm 29; Acts 8:14-17; Luke 3:15-17, 21-22
Focus: God claims us not just through waters but also through the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.  
Function:To learn some basics about baptism, consider baptism or ‘remember’ our baptism.
Other Notes:
introduction to series next week?


Isaiah 43:1-7 But now, says the Lord—the one who created you, Jacob, the one who formed you, Israel: Don’t fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are mine. 2When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; when through the rivers, they won’t sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you won’t be scorched and flame won’t burn you. 3I am the Lord your God, the holy one of Israel, your savior. I have given Egypt as your ransom, Cush and Seba in your place. 4Because you are precious in my eyes, you are honored, and I love you. I give people in your place, and nations in exchange for your life. 5Don’t fear, I am with you. From the east I’ll bring your children; from the west I’ll gather you. 6I’ll say to the north, “Give them back!” and to the south, “Don’t detain them.” Bring my sons from far away, and my daughters from the end of the earth, 7everyone who is called by my name and whom I created for my glory, whom I have formed and made.

Psalm 29 You, divine beings! Give to the Lordgive to the Lord glory and power! 2Give to the Lord the glory due his name! Bow down to the Lord in holy splendor! 3The Lord’s voice is over the waters; the glorious God thunders;the Lord is over the mighty waters. 4The Lord’s voice is strong; the Lord’s voice is majestic. 5The Lord’s voice breaks cedar trees—yes, the Lord shatters the cedars of Lebanon. 6He makes Lebanon jump around like a young bull, makes Sirion jump around like a young wild ox. 7The Lord’s voice unleashes fiery flames; 8the Lord’s voice shakes the wilderness—yes, the Lord shakes the wilderness of Kadesh. 9The Lord’s voice convulses the oaks, strips the forests bare, but in his temple everyone shouts, “Glory!” 10The Lord sits enthroned over the floodwaters; the Lord sits enthroned—king forever! 11Let the Lord give strength to his people! Let the Lord bless his people with peace!

Luke 3:15-17, 21-22 15The people were filled with expectation, and everyone wondered whether John might be the Christ. 16John replied to them all, “I baptize you with water, but the one who is more powerful than me is coming. I’m not worthy to loosen the strap of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 17The shovel he uses to sift the wheat from the husks is in his hands. He will clean out his threshing area and bring the wheat into his barn. But he will burn the husks with a fire that can’t be put out.”… 21When everyone was being baptized, Jesus also was baptized. While he was praying, heaven was opened 22and the Holy Spirit came down on him in bodily form like a dove. And there was a voice from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I dearly love; in you I find happiness.”


  1. AUDIENCE ENGAGEMENT: Are you a tap or bottled water drinker? For the tap drinkers—well water or city water? For the bottle drinkers—do you have a favorite brand?
    1. I know that there are some people who exist who can tell the difference between different types of water—I am not one of them.
    2. Here’s your motherly reminder that it is important to drink water every day.
  2. While I can’t tell the difference between types of water—I CAN tell the difference between types of Coke or types of Dr. Pepper. With both I grew up experiencing the glass bottle, cane sugar versions, which are obviously the best.
    1. Dublin, Texas used to have a Dr. Pepper Plant you could tour that still made the original recipe in glass bottles and had a soda parlor where you could get milk shakes or Dr. Pepper floats.
    2. I believe it is now run by a different company that has since changed the name. But I cherish those memories.

TRANSITION: There’s nothing quite like the original soda flavor to fill you with joy. Today, We will engaged with scripture to see how some disciples saw God open up the flavor profile of his plan. … or perhaps he was going back to the original recipe?  Let’s dive in!

MAIN TEXT: Acts 8:14-17 14When word reached the apostles in Jerusalem that Samaria had accepted God’s word, they commissioned Peter and John to go to Samaria. 15Peter and John went down to Samaria where they prayed that the new believers would receive the Holy Spirit. (16This was because the Holy Spirit had not yet fallen on any of them; they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.) 17So Peter and John laid their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.


  1. Philip in Samaria: Philip was one of Jesus’ 12 disciples, now called an apostle. Saul was persecuting the church and helping with murder of the followers (i.e. Stephen) but Philip went to Samaria any way to share the message of Christ.
    1. Our text is sandwiched in between a story about a sorcerer named Simon. Yes, a man who did magic—healing, fortune-telling, cursing enemies, etc. 
  2. Peter & John giving the Holy Spirit
    1. Peter and John came to see the work Philip was doing and affirm what Philip was seeing. They didn’t show up because Philip wasn’t capable of giving the HS.
    2. These Samaritans received the Holy Spirit.


  1. Background:
    1. Bad Blood: Samaritans—were Israel’s siblings… though neither liked to claim the other.
      1. MAPs- 12 tribes, 2 kingdoms, Jesus’ contemporary map
        1. The Samaritan Israelites that have survived to this day, believe they are the remnant from the Northern Kingdom’s exile. Yet their Jewish siblings do not see them as family.
      2. Jesus’ contemporary Jews would have seen Samaritans as their rejected half sibling.
  2. Samaritans in Jesus’ ministry: Samaritans and Jews hated each other—this is why Jesus used the Good Samaritan as the hero in his parable. And how important it was that the first-person Jesus affirms his messiahship to was the woman at the well in Samaria. – He did things unexpected.
  3. Great Commission: When Jesus had commissioned the disciples, he told them – Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and to the ends of the earth baptizing in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
  4. The Jewish/Samaritan Struggle
    1. I think the other disciples came because they needed affirmation for their own jewish faith, that Samaritans were included.
    2. Acts 10 Peter has a vision where God makes in quite clear to him that YES GOD IS INCLUDING GENTILES IN THE PLAN.
      1. No one that Peter wanted to exclude was actually excluded.
      2. Then this event was punctuated by Peter witnessing the presence of the Holy Spirit pouring out on a group of Gentiles. He realized he couldn’t hold back baptism from those that God had already chosen.

TRANSITION: Today is the day we celebrate the baptism of Jesus; we’ve talked previous years about the different cultural aspects of baptism both Jewish and Christian. If you want to listen to past recordings, let me know and I can get them for you.

  1. While the Jewish followers of Jesus may have been freaking out about the inclusion of Gentiles, “OH NO THEY’RE CHANGING THE FLAVOR OF DR. PEPPER!!!”, the reality is that God was going back to the original design.
    1. All creation was intended to be part of God’s plan.
  2. What’s fascinating is how Christians have shifted the plan to have hoops to jump through in order to see if you “truly” are a follower. “ARE YOU REALLY ONE OF US?”
    1. A lot of this came through the trauma of persecution and trying to protect themselves from martyrdom—Special baptism rites, special communion rites, secret meeting places, etc.
  3. As you read through the book of Acts, baptism and following Jesus is difficult in practice, but not in concept:
    1. Believe. – Boom done!—ok let’s baptize you!
    1. Be transformed— OOOOOOF THAT’S HARD! Yep, it’s going to take you the rest of your life to work on this.

APPLICATION: To learn some basics about baptism, consider baptism or ‘remember’ our baptism.

  1. Stances & Definitions of Baptism
    1. Traditional Baptist Belief: “For the one who experiences it, baptism should indicate an acceptance of Christ, a desire to be united in Spirit and in fellowship with Christ, and should function as a sign of discipleship in the times to come.” (The New Hiscox Guide for Baptist Churches)
    2. ABC Baptism: Believer’s baptism by immersion
      1. Policy at Liberty:
        1. “By Baptism – Any person who confesses Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, adopts substantially the views of faith and principles of this church and is baptized by immersion may be received into the fellowship of this church.” (and you become a member)
    3. For Baptists, baptism is a symbolic gesture you make to express your commitment to believing in Jesus and walking in your faith with a group of people (ideally the ones witnessing your baptism).
  2. Baptism FAQ—Baptist Edition
    1. Are you required to be baptized in order to follow Jesus? No
    2. Is baptism a ticket into heaven? No
    3. Is there a test you can take to determine if you are ready? No
    4. Can you get baptized again to reaffirm your faith? – it depends on the church and the pastor. Catholics, Methodists, Lutherans and more would all say no. Baptists have been known to re-baptize and it is a criticism many have of Baptists.
      1. If you would like to talk to me about this (or a first time baptism)—we totally can.
      2. There is also an affirmation ceremony that we could perform for those interested in ‘remembering their baptism.’
  3. Practice: On your way out today, there will be a bowl of water at the front and back of the sanctuary for those who would like to dip their hand in and remember those waters.

CONCLUSION: The beauty of Jesus’ baptism? That he opened the waters for the rest of us. We enter those same waters with Christ at our baptism.

Our waters of baptism are the “Original Flavor,” God didn’t change the recipe to include us. Just as God intended Samaritans to receive the Holy Spirit, God intends us to be part of the family.

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