These are the first two in a series of devotionals written for our congregation as we prepare this week for several baptisms. Written by Pastor Josh, they consider the question, “why do we baptize?”
After seeing the baptisms on Easter Sunday, I know that my kids are going to ask me to baptize them the next time we are in a pool together. I love how my kids watch what is going on in church. I’m excited that they want to imitate other believers in steps of obedience. But baptizing my kids in a pool is just dunking my kids!
We have 6 baptisms this Easter Sunday at 8:00 AM (4 baptisms) and 11:00 AM (2 baptisms). The testimonies are powerful because they are God-glorifying in his grace to save, his power to transform, and his grace to sustain through the difficulties of life.
I encourage you to help your family prepare for what they will see and hear by discussing baptism this week.
“Why do we baptize?” (Part 1)
Jesus Christ gave two visible signs of his special presence to his people. These signs are baptism and the Lord’s Supper. Sometimes they are called “ordinances,” emphasizing the fact that they were ordained by Christ. Christ ordained these practices both by example and by command. (Matt. 3:15-16; Mark 1:9; Luke 3:21; John 1:29-34; Matt. 28:19). When churches practice baptism and the Lord’s Supper, they obey Christ’s teaching and example. In so doing, they portray Christ’s death and resurrection (Rom. 6:4).
“Why Do We Baptize?” (Part 2)
In Roe vs. Wade, the Court struck down abortion law of all fifty states based on a broad “right to privacy.” The right to privacy has become an inalienable right in America. Even teens resist parental access to their phone in terms of warfare—it’s an invasion of my privacy.
The right to privacy has impacted our morals as well as our religion in America. Consider most of our cherished evangelistic methods. “Just bow your head,” the preacher says. “Close your eyes, with no one looking around, if you are ready to accept Jesus as your Savior, then in the quiet of your own heart, pray these words after me.” Our culture and our churches have trained Christians to think about their salvation as “It’s between me and God” or “Only God can judge me.”
But does the Bible picture salvation as an invisible transaction between your invisible soul and the invisible God? Jesus says in Matt 10:32-33,“So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.” That doesn’t sound very private. Therefore, we have said often at FCBC, becoming a Christian is personal, but it is never private.
Take time to read through Acts 2:14-41. Think about what Peter is asking people in the crowd to do (vss. 38-39). You’re in a crowd of Jewish people, some of whom called for Jesus’ execution just a few weeks ago. Jesus’ disciples are causing a public spectacle. And they’re calling others to join them by believing in Jesus and getting dunked in water in right in front of everyone. One commentator says, “to turn to Jesus in faith and baptism is to identify yourself with him and his followers and to distance yourself from those who reject him” (G.R. Beasley-Murray, Baptism in the New Testament, Grand Rapids, Eerdmans: 1973, 98). The New Testament knows of no secret Christians. To be a Christ is to be a public witness to Christ. Baptism is where our faith in Jesus goes public.