Baptized with Water and Spirit

As we continued our series “Power in Preparation” this past weekend at Eastbrook Church we explored the brief but highly significant episode of Jesus’ baptism by John in Matthew 3:13-17. This passage caused a lot of debate in the early church, primarily around the question: why did Jesus, who was without sin, need to be baptized with John’s baptism of repentance? While I do address that question in this message, my focus moves from four key theological truths of Jesus’ baptism toward application of that truth for a baptismal spirituality for our life with God.

You can view the message video and outline below. You can follow along with the entire series here and the devotional that accompanies the series here. You could always join us for weekend worship in-person or remotely via Eastbrook at Home.


“Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John.”  (Matthew 3:13)

Facts of Jesus’ Baptism

  • timing
  • setting

Theological Truths of Jesus’ Baptism

  • Representative Messiah: John’s hesitation and Jesus’ purpose
  • The Descent of the Dove: the coming of the Holy Spirit
  • Jesus the Unique Son of God: The declaration of the Father
  • The Triune God Revealed: The Son’s baptism, the Spirit’s descent, the Father’s declaration

Spiritual Implications of Jesus’ Baptism

  • The pattern of dying and rising in baptism and the spiritual life (Romans 6:1-14)
  • The call to suffering in baptism and the spiritual life (Mark 10:38-40)
  • The joy of God’s delight in baptism and the spiritual life (Matthew 3:17; Acts 2:38)

Dig Deeper

This week dig deeper into the significance of Jesus’ baptism in one or more of the following ways:

  • Memorize the Father’s declaration over Jesus in Matthew 3:17
  • Set aside some time this week to read Matthew 3:13-17 again. Then write, draw, paint, or pray aloud your own response to this series of events in Jesus’ life.
  • Explore the theme of baptism in the New Testament through these Scripture readings:
    • Matthew 21:23-27
    • Mark 10:35-45
    • Luke 12:49-53
    • Acts 19:3-6
    • Romans 6:1-14
    • Colossians 2:9-12
  • Although it is drawn from the Gospel of Luke, you may enjoy watching “The Baptism of Jesus” by the Bible Project

Bibliography for One: The Being of God in the Life of the Church

When I conclude a sermon series, I usually share resources I utilized in my study and preparation for sermons. Here is the bibliography for our recent series, “One: The Being of God in the Life of the Church.”

Bibliography for “One: The Being of God in the Life of the Church”

Gregory K. Beale. The Book of Revelation. NIGTC. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1998.

Raymond E. Brown. The Gospel of John, I-XII. Anchor Bible. Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Company, 1966.

Tim Chester. Delighting in the Trinity. Oxford: Monarch Books, 2005.

Marva J. Dawn. Truly the Community: Romans 12 and How to Be the Church. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1997.

Michael O. Emerson and George Yancey. Transcending Racial Barriers: Toward a Mutual Obligations Approach. New York: Oxford University Press, 2011.

Irwyn L. Ince, Jr. The Beautiful Community: Unity, Diversity, and the Church at Its Best. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 2020.

Andrew T. Lincoln. Ephesians. WBC. Dallas, TX: Word Books, 1990.

________. “God’s Name, Jesus’ Name, and Prayer in the Fourth Gospel.” In Into God’s Presence: Prayer in the New Testament, edited by Richard N. Longenecker, 155-180. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2002.

D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones. The Assurance of Our Salvation (Studies in John 17): Exploring the Depth of Jesus’ Prayer for His Own. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2013.

Scot McKnight. A Fellowship of Differents: Showing the World God’s Design for Life Together. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2015.

Christine D. Pohl. Living Into Community: Cultivating Practices that Sustain Us. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2012.

Ephraim Radner. Hope Among the Fragments: The Broken Church and Its Engagement of Scripture. Grand Rapids, MI: Brazos, 2004.

Michael Reeves. Delighting in the Trinity: An Introduction to the Christian Faith. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2012.

Ken Sande. The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict, 3rd ed. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2004.

C. Christopher Smith. How the Body of Christ Talks: Recovering the Practice of Conversations in the Church. Grand Rapids, MI: Brazos, 2019.

Gerhard Von Rad. Genesis. Translated by John H. Marks. OTL. Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1961.

Bruce K. Waltke with Cathi J. Fredricks. Genesis: A Commentary. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2001.

The Divine Dance and Christian Unity

This past weekend in my message at Eastbrook, I mentioned that we have to learn to live in the dance of the Triune God if we want to walk in unity as believers. Let me explain. One of the great theological descriptions of the Trinity is the Greek word perichoresis, which conveys the sense of both differentiation and interpenetration of the three persons of the One God. Perichoresis means that the Triune God sits together and shares one with another without losing their differentiation nor shedding their utter unity.

In his book, The Reason for God, Tim Keller describes this aspect of God as follows:

Each of the divine persons centers upon the others. None demands that the others revolve around him. Each voluntarily circles the other two, pouring love, delight, and adoration into them. Each person of the Trinity loves, adores, defers to, and rejoices in the others. That creates a dynamic, pulsating dance of joy and love.

Timothy Keller, The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism (New York: Penguin Books, 2009), 224.

The created universe is a dance with the inner life of God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—written through every incandescent atom and far-flung galaxy. Human beings were made to live within the divine dance from the moment of their creation. However, we lost the dance in the refusal to serve God and participate in his community through sin since the time of Adam and Eve.

As we reach out to God by faith through the complete work of Christ and by the power of the Holy Spirit, we dwell in God and God dwells in us. We are brought back into the dance of God through God’s gracious, forgiving, restoring, and reconciling work in us.

The people of God, in a sense, live by entering into the dance of the Triune God. We are in God and God is in us through faith in Jesus Christ. It is this divine dance that brings unity to us individually and as a community, not our efforts or our abilities. Certainly, as in all good dancing, there must be a partner who leads and a partner who follows. When that relationships exists well, the dance is beautiful but when the follower resists the leader, the dance ends in chaos. The Triune God leads us in the divine dance, and true unity arrives as we yield to His divine life in us.

God is One: Monotheism and the Triune God

This past weekend at Eastbrook Church we began a new series entitled “One: The Being of God in the Life of the Church.” This first message in the series explored how unity must have its origin not in human invention or speculation but in the gift of God’s indwelling presence within the Christian community as the Triune God.

You can view the message video and outline for the message is below. You can follow along with the entire series here and the devotional that accompanies the series here. You could always join us for weekend worship in-person or remotely via Eastbrook at Home.


“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.” (Deuteronomy 6:4)

God is One (Exodus 20:2-3; Deuteronomy 6:4-5)
• The One God who exists
• The One God who has no peers
• The One God who is relational

The One God is Triune (Genesis 1:1-3; John 1:1; Matthew 3:16-17; 28:19)
• The Father is God; the Son is God; the Holy Spirit is God
• God is three-in-one (the Trinity)

Humanity Made Alive in the Triune God

  1. Enter into relationship with the Triune God.
  2. Recognize the unity and distinctness of the three persons of the Triune God.
  3. Live in the dance of the Triune God.

Dig Deeper

This week dig deeper into the theme of the unity of our Triune God in one or more of the following ways:

One: The Being of God in the Life of the Church – a new series at Eastbrook

ONE Series GFX_16x9 Title

This coming weekend at Eastbrook Church we began a five-week preaching series entitled “One: The Being of God in the Life of the Church.”

Unity is one of the most popular words about human relationships, yet one of the most elusive realities of human existence. In this series we will explore unity from both theological and practical angles, beginning with the nature of God before moving into the positional and developmental unity of the church, the place of prayer in unity, and the ultimate vision of unity for the church. Along the way, we will also talk about practical guidance for living in unity.

You can also join in with a daily devotional for this series here.

Join us each weekend of this series in-person or via Eastbrook at Home.