Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Baptizing New Believers

"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age," Matthew 28:19-20.
The performance of baptism in water, of and by itself, does not wash away our sins, 1 Peter 3:21.  The first step towards baptism is the conversion of the heart and mind, as in the last moments of the thief on the cross, who was being crucified next to Jesus.  He had no chance to come down from the cross to be baptized, Luke 23:43.  But, he believed in Jesus and was therewith saved.  Baptism is an important moment in the life of a believer, but Salvation is not based on works, but on a relationship based on faith in Jesus, the Christ, Ephesians 2:8-9.  However, water baptism, is an intentional act to stand for the spiritual joining together with Jesus, that does save us, Galatians 3:27.  Public baptism is the outward expression of an inward experience of the soul´s desire to serve God and to obey the teachings of Jesus.  With faith the believer makes a steadfast decision to live a life based upon the Bible´s teachings and to carry out a right relationship with God, in which we are forgiven of our sins and have a conscience of fellowship with Jesus, our Lord and Savior.
When carried out as an act of obedience, based upon faith in Jesus, Acts 2:36-39, water baptism augments our faith, in a very positive way, James 2:17.  It also serves as an evidence of our repentance and spiritual alliance with Jesus.  As the Scriptures say, This water baptism symbolizes that you are now rescued, not by the removal of dirt from the body, but by baptism, you declare your pledge of living a life with a good conscience toward God, 1 Peter 3:21, (Paraphrased Version).  Given the chance, every individual who accepts Jesus as his or her personal Lord and Savior, should observe the Lord's example and be baptized in water.

In this little video, men at a local drug and alcohol rehab center are lining up to be baptized.  Frequent base visitor and mission friend, Stephen Gould, is leading the baptismal service and is always happy to get in the water with the guys and lead them in a prayer before being baptized.  We hold baptismal services usually four times a year or when anybody would like us to help them in this way, we are always receptive, eager and delighted to lend a hand.

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