Baptism is an awesome Celebration!
We are having a baptism on Sunday May29th at the Hinshaw’s place in Murray at 10:00 am. We will have brunch together, so bring something to share. If you would like to be baptized contact me at 260-450-8515.
I gave this explanation of baptism in a post last year:
The Church has argued a lot over the proper way to do baptism, so I want to cut to the chase. Paul says there is only, “one Lord, one faith, one baptism” (Eph 4:5). So no church or denomination has a corner on the market. I know my place and it is to point people to Jesus. I do not baptize anyone in the name of Neighbors Home Church, no, it is in the name of Jesus Christ.
Baptism is a public declaration of alignment to God, an outward message of a previous confession of sin and faith in Jesus.
It is a covenant relationship. It centers on someone taking a stand that Jesus is Lord and accepting the benefits and hardships of following Him. Paul is pretty clear about this when he says, “That if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved” (Rom 10:9-10).
The act of going under the water symbolizes the person’s identification with Jesus in death and resurrection. As described in Romans 6:4, “We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. And in Galatians 3:27, “For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.”
Baptism is a command that all believers need to obey, a key part of the Great Commission.
“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matt. 28:19-20).
I see many parallels between marriage and baptism. Both are a public declaration of loyalty, forsaking all others. In baptism we are declaring God to be our superior relationship and in submission to Him, we will have no other gods before Him.
Both are a covenant relationship, a sacred promise.
Both have a lot of rich symbolism and meaningful ritual. But it all feeds the main purpose of the ceremony; namely a sacred alignment with one other. The white wedding dress is nice, but not essential. Immersion is the best method of baptism, but also not essential. In the first century document, of the practices of the disciples, called the Didache, it is written, “If you do not have running water, baptize in other water. If you are not able to use cold water, use warm. And if you have neither, pour water on the head three times, in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.” It is not the method, but the meaning that is important.
Baptism is a rite of passage, a time of serious ceremony and a time of celebration, a memory to be cherished and a new beginning.
In order for us to have a dynamic faith, we must not accept the status quo. We should all be afraid of being lukewarm and be willing to do what needs to be done to shake things up and break free from our spiritual rut. The goal is for us to experience transformational growth on a personal level, all the while using our God given gifts to build up the Church.
Here is one great way to foster life transformation. Be willing to be with people who challenge what you believe. We all have what I call a box of beliefs. Our box is filled with beliefs that we as individuals have picked up in our life experiences; from our personal study of the Bible, influences from what our family and friends believe, what our church taught us. They may be accurate or inaccurate. Many beliefs may not matter, but may be a precious difference that adds diversity to the church.
Of course, I am not talking about questioning the essential beliefs of the Bible which are:
- The Authority of Scripture
- Triune God – Father, Jesus, Holy Spirit: self-existent, eternal, unchanging, omnipotent, omnipresent, holy, righteous, and loving.
- Mankind is physical and spiritual, yet fallen, having a sin nature.
- Jesus Christ – Fully God and fully man, died on the cross to redeem humankind from his sinful nature.
- Salvation – By grace through faith in Jesus’ atonement
- Church – An assembly of believers
We have 44,000 denominations that have split the Church because of a variety of reasons from slavery, baptism, the timing of the rapture, eternal security, structure etc. Most believers have strong feelings about these issues, I do. I don’t mind distinction in minor beliefs and practices, but I contend that the church has far too much division. Rather than remaining united and wrestling with those differences of interpretations we have divided. I think we would be much stronger of we stay together struggle with the differences and unify against evil. Don’t we all agree that we are followers of Jesus and that the Bible is our source of truth? The group of 12 disciples were as diverse as any church group. Yet Jesus demanded that they love each other with their differences. He also prayed that the Church would be one as He and the Father are one. (John 17:20-23)
My experience in the house church has been that, as I interact with others, I am pulled into a more balanced understanding. One will talk about an emphasis on mans free will and another on the sovereignty of God. If both allow their own box to be challenged they will learn balance.
Here is my practical point when it comes to the house church gatherings. Study a chapter of the Bible together and discuss it and how it applies to life. Allow everyone in the group to contribute as Paul says in 1Cor. 14:26, “…When you come together, everyone has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. All of these must be done for the strengthening of the church.” Consider the following when you gather in the house church:
- Be willing to listen to someone who has an opposing interpretation of a Bible passage.
- Listen carefully to the young or new believer. I have gained great insight to what the Holy Spirit has revealed to them.
- Be willing to evaluate your box of beliefs based on the discussion. Perhaps you need to grow in an area, allow your box to adjust if necessary.
- I believe this process of interaction and discussion is a great way to deter false teaching and deception.
- By having an open atmosphere to discuss opposing views, new believers will be comfortable participating and asking questions.
- If an opposing view doesn’t stand up to the test of scripture, then you have affirmed that what you believe is solid. And perhaps you have helped another find truth.
Jesus the greatest power, came in the weakest human form. He preached peace to us who were far away, that we could be brought close through his blood. He is coming again soon! This time in great power as lightening penetrates the darkness. Rest in His peace as you celebrate the birth of our King and God.
Ok this is an easy topic this year. My Grandson was born a few days ago. And even though I heard stories how amazing it is from grandfathers before me, I was not prepared. Grady Cole Abbott was born early on Saturday morning and on Sunday morning we began the 640 mile trip to meet the little 7lb 9 oz guy. Grammy, Angie held him first, of course, then it was my turn. I can’t describe the love that welled up inside of me, but I was keenly aware in that instant that I would l have driven both ways, to have just five minutes with him. I have never experienced love so powerful for someone who is incapable of returning that love. I would die for him and sacrifice to give him a greater future. I know what Agape love is, but now I have experienced its power in a greater degree. Yet it Is just a thimble full of love that God must have for us. “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only son.” Thank you God Almighty for a healthy grandson and for your great love for all of us.
What does that mean? Is a follower of Jesus to passively allow an evil person to run over him? Is this talking about not defending yourself when a bully is punching you? How about when a friend of yours, who is being physically abused by her husband, asks you for advice?
If it is in our power to help or protect someone from evil, we should do so. Christ confronted evil and He normally did it in a nonviolent way. In Rom. 12:18 we read, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”
The context of Matthew 5 is talking about going way above the norm. For example Jesus said, “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.” (Matt 5:38-39).
This phrase “Turn the other cheek” has to do with giving a calm answer to a harsh verbal attack. In other words, “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Prov. 15:1). I picture starting a fire by rubbing two sticks together. The friction makes heat, starts a fire and both sticks are consumed. When we turn the other cheek we don’t allow ourselves to be the other stick.
This week, think about the value of small things. In John 6:9 a small boy gave five small barley loaves and two small fish to Jesus. You know the story, with the small, Jesus fed 5000. You may think you are small, but through Jesus, you can have a great impact on another life. “If you think you are too small to be effective, you have never gone to bed with a mosquito” (Betty Reese). I know I have a goofy sense of humor. Do a small act of kindness this week, give a word of encouragement or help someone in need. Seek an opportunity to share the hope that you have in Jesus Christ. Your small act and God’s great power will have dynamic results.