In 2001, I was an eighteen-year-old college freshman who was wrestling with spiritual questions. I wanted to know if God was real and if he was, what He was like. I wanted to know if He loved me and would ever forgive me for the evil I had done.
Within the first week of being on campus a group of students started inviting me to Bible studies and events on campus where the gospel was presented. As I learned about Jesus my heart came alive and within a month, I asked a friend to help me accept Christ. I had no idea what to do, so in a living room of a house that smelled like a bad frat party, my friend led me in a prayer. There was nothing magical about the words, but my heart genuinely wanted to know the Jesus that lived, died, and rose from the grave for me!
Soon I started reading my Bible because I wanted to know more about Jesus. I had a new hunger for God’s Word. At the same time, God was changing my desires, and sin was becoming something I wanted to run from and not run to. And then there was the church. I used to see it as a place for good people to hang out on Sundays, but now I started to see it as a spiritual family filled with big brothers and big sisters who all loved Jesus and were quick to celebrate my young faith in Christ!
After about a year of walking with Jesus and attending a small Bible believing church, a friend asked me if I had been baptized. The question seemed a little odd because I didn’t fully understand the role or purpose of baptism. This drove me to read my Bible, where I discovered there was a simple pattern in the new testament. People would believe in Jesus, and then they would get baptized publicly to celebrate what God had done in their lives.
Additionally, I observed that Jesus not only modeled baptism, but commanded us to baptize new disciples.
So, I decided to get baptized. I shared my decision with some family members and some old high school friends, and many of them mocked my decision to follow Jesus. But it didn’t matter. I wanted to obey Jesus and publicly declare my love and affection for him.
In 2002, I was baptized at the Evangelical Church in Wayne, Nebraska. That morning the church family that had seen me slowly start to mature, celebrated me, prayed over me, and helped me to feel the tangible love of God. I got the great joy of sharing how God had taken a dead man and made him alive!
Why You Should Consider Getting Baptized
Citylight, if you have not yet been baptized, I want to encourage you to consider getting baptized this summer!
Often, when I talk to people about baptism, their primary reason for not getting baptized is, “I’m worried what other people will think about me.” Maybe you think people will judge you or people will assume you just became a Christian. Maybe you’re introverted and don’t like people looking at you, or you think you will look silly and be embarrassed.
As you think about being baptized, let me give you a few reasons why you should consider getting baptized this summer.
Walk in Obedience to Jesus.
First, Jesus modeled baptism for us, in that he was baptized. Then Jesus instructed his disciples to baptized those who would come to faith in Christ (Matt. 28:19). Baptism is not necessary for salvation, but it is something Jesus has called his people to participate in. So, if you’re planning on getting baptized, celebrate that it is an act of obedience to God and will be used by God to bring you great joy and give Him glory! Also, as you get baptized you will get to experience physically what is true of you spiritually. Baptism is one of the tangible ways we get to experience the new life we have in Christ.
Encourage God’s People
Second, by getting baptized publicly, you are allowing our whole church family to celebrate what God has done in you. As a church member, I often wonder, “God, are you moving or are we just staying busy with gatherings?” What I want more than church growth are stories of God transforming lives. There is nothing that encourages the people of God more than seeing the gospel do a new work in a person’s life! So, baptism celebrations matter and bless not just those being baptized, but the whole church family! I always walk away from baptism celebrations praising God for how He is saving people, redeeming stories, making things new, and bringing more people into His family. So, if you’re considering being baptized, know that your step of faith to trust Jesus and be baptized only encourages me in my faith!
Tell God’s Story
Thirdly, there is nothing more powerful to a watching world than when people share how God has done a work in them. People may want to debate different issues, but one of the most powerful ways to share the gospel with those outside of the family of God is by sharing the story God has written in your life. As recovering addicts stand up and share how God has made them whole and as workaholics stand up and share how God has given them a new purpose, those far from God see the power of God at work in people’s lives and God can and does often use those testimonies to call new people to faith in Christ.
If you’re considering being baptized, I simply want you to know that it matters, it will bless you, bless our church, and be a testimony to a watching world!
Would you pray about being baptized this summer? If God is leading you to be baptized, please join us Sunday, July 16th or Sunday, July 23rd at 9:30am in the Omar East for the baptism class!