Baptism – raised to LIFE!

For over two Millenia, Christians have been dunking people under water and pulling them back up again as a confessional sign of faith, saying “I’m all in!” when it comes to following Christ.

They’re raising a banner, saying, “I was dead; now I’m alive forevermore!”

But it goes back even further than 2000 years actually as Jewish leaders Moses and Joshua both led God’s people through the waters of the Red Sea and the Jordan – a type of immersion or baptism (mentioned in the New Testament) not to mention that the JewisCCLF-5795h people have long had a ceremonial practice of a type of baptism, a ritual cleansing, which took place before making a sacrifice, before going to the temple, or even as a general purification rite. It was done in a Mikvah pool. This is why there are so many ritual baths (Mikva-ot) around the Old City of Jerusalem. It’s reported in Acts that 3000 people were added to the church in one day in Jerusalem just after the resurrection of Jesus Christ… directly after the Apostle Peter answered their question of “what shall we do?” – with the response being “repent and be baptized.” And so they did.

But where would 3000 people get baptized in the middle of a desert mountain city? In the ritual baths around the city, and there are many – bath pools called Mikvahs from the 1st Century are still being discovered archeologically. The fact that there was a readiness to enter into baptism was all prepared ahead of time – the water was ready, the practice of immersion common. All they needed was a new reason. And that reason came in the form of Jesus Christ and Him crucified, dead, buried and risen again as preached by the early Church.

In a culture where ritual cleansing was so common, Peter told the people to repent (turn from your sin) and be baptized.

At that time, it had only been about three years since that wild man “Yohanan the Immerser” came out of the desert preaching the Kingdom of God and calling people to be “baptized” as a sign of repentance. Full immersion, under water and back up again – John the Baptist would not have sprinkled people — in fact, many Jews responded. At one point, this last-of-the-Old-Testament prophets who ate locusts and wild honey, said, “I must decrease, He must increase” speaking of Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God.

This Jesus, whom we believe to be the unique Son of God, truly God and truly man, was also baptized by “John” to fulfill all righteousness, he said. Think of that. Jesus Christ the Third Person of the Triune God, was baptized by a human being. If Jesus said yes to being baptized, shouldn’t you? He had no sin; we are full of sin.

And yet, it’s amazing to me that there are so many Christians who feel they do not need to bother.

“God knows my heart,” they say.

Hmmm.

It’s true He does know their hearts but there’s another side to baptism called obedience… and then there’s the public declaration, as a testimony of following Christ.

In a world that is full of man-made religions and ‘ways’ we proclaim to be true, Jesus Christ actually is the Way, the Truth and the Life! We need to let people know this! We have a duty and the privilege of joining with the hundreds of thousands believers who have gone before us through the waters of baptism over the centuries proclaiming Jesus as their Lord. Many, many of them have given their very lives to be baptized when persecution was prevalent in their neck of the Kingdom.

Some believers don’t seem to understand that the Lord actually wants them to put feet to their faith and be part of the historic church making this public declaration about following Jesus. Some Christians also fail to acknowledge that the command to ‘repent and be baptized’ is just that – a command! So yes, obedience is also part of the call. Many folks unemotionally and straight up intellectually are baptized simply as a step of obedience in their walk of faith. And it’s a beautiful thing to see adults do this. It really is a testimony to God’s work in their lives.SAM_1891

“Well, the thief on the cross – he wasn’t baptized!” They often say that as a hold out onto the last loop of foregoing baptism. And I get that. He had no time to be baptized, preach the Gospel, hand out tracts, or teach Sunday School. But he still preaches a pretty amazing message even today – and he was not ashamed to call Jesus His Lord in a very public and humiliating place.

Besides, unless you happen to be nailed to a first century cross beside the Unique Son of God, I don’t think you can use that as an excuse anyway.

So are we saved by being baptized? No. We are baptized because we are saved!

But do we have to be baptized in order to get into heaven? No. We get to. And it’s because we are going to heaven, we get baptized.

Yeah, but do we have to do this? No. But the question isn’t why should you; it’s why shouldn’t you? I know there are some instances where immersion baptism is impossible, sick bed, not enough water, legitimate reasons where it might be more appropriate to pour water over someone while they stand in a kiddie pool for instance – it’s been done. But for the most part, a full immersion dunk is possible. The opportunity comes around CCLF quite often.

In fact, well look at that, we happen to be having a baptism opportunity on the weekend of Dec. 4-5. How about you? Will you take the plunge? It can be at the Saturday Night Church at 5:30 p.m., the 9 a.m. service or the 11 a.m. service. Let’s do this!

For more information contact info@cclf.ca or Pastor Rick at rick@cclf.ca.

 

 

 

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