a serious matter
The Upward Look, by Jon Forrest
A Serious Matter
Before performing a baptism, the pastor approached the young father and said solemnly, "Baptism is a serious step. Are you prepared for it?"
"I think so," the man replied. "My wife has made appetizers and we have a caterer coming to provide plenty of cookies and cakes for all of our guests."
"I don`t mean that," the pastor responded. "I mean, are you prepared spiritually?"
"Oh, sure," came the reply. "I`ve got a keg of beer and a case of whiskey."
Baptism is a powerful step in a person’s life. Scripture ties it very closely with the decision to embrace Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. In Matthew 28:18-20 the disciples were commanded to go out and make disciples everywhere, to baptize them and teach them.
On the day of Pentecost, when Peter was preaching the very first gospel sermon, the crowds felt convicted for their sinfulness and cried out to Peter asking what they should do. Peter’s response is found in Acts 2:38, Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
When Jesus asked John to baptize him, John resisted. Matthew 3:15 tells us how Jesus persuaded him. Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John consented.
Baptism is not to be entered into lightly. It is a beautiful picture of the death, burial and resurrection of Christ connecting to that of the follower as described in Romans chapter 6.
This is why we offer Baptism classes, especially for young people. But, if you look at the instances of baptism in the book of Acts, baptism was a direct response to the proclamation of the Gospel, the good news of forgiveness of sins and eternal life through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God. The Acts 2 account of Peter’s sermon indicates that 3,000 people were baptized the very same day. There were no classes, simply obedience to the gospel. Please understand that we are not talking about instant fire insurance, or a “get out of hell free” card.
We are talking about a fierce commitment to a relationship to Jesus Christ because of faith in Him.
When Jesus commanded his disciples to go into the world it was not for the purpose of getting church members or simply getting people saved, it was to make disciples. The word disciple literally means learner. In New Testament times a disciple was someone committed to learn everything he/she could from a rabbi, or teacher. Jesus wants us to become his disciples. When we come to Christ through faith, repentance, confession and baptism, we are embracing that life of commitment to him. We are embracing Jesus as our Master or Boss. Everything else is secondary. Yes, baptism is a serious matter.
This Sunday, we are having a Baptism Sunday as a result, in part, of our most recent Baptism Class. Several people will be baptized because of their faith in and commitment to Jesus. This will be an exciting day. I will share a message titled “Jesus and John” from Matthew 3 as we learn from Jesus’ own desire to be baptized by his cousin, John.
If you have never been baptized by immersion into Jesus and would like more information or, if you would like to be baptized, please call me and I will be happy to help you with it. I am pumped about this Sunday! How about you?
Serious about Jesus,