Plus, I am looking forward to teaching our preschool - 5th graders about the what and why of baptism, during our Kids Church. They are going to learn a lot, and then go into our sanctuary to hear the testimonies and witness the baptisms.
Jesus famously said, as recorded in Matthew 28:18-20:
"All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 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."
So, Jesus-followers are to be baptized. And so it happened in the book of Acts.
- Peter preaches that the people are to "repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." (Acts 2:38-39)
- New believers were immediately baptized. (Acts 2:41)
- As Philip was preaching, as people believed, they were baptized. (Acts 8:12)
- When Simon believed what Philip was saying, he was baptized. (Acts 8:13)
- After the Ethiopian eunuch heard the good news about Jesus as presented by Philip, he asked, "What is to prevent me from being baptized?" It became chariot-stopping time, because Philip needed to baptize the man immediately. Why wait?
- Saul met Jesus on the road, scales fell from his eyes, and he got up and was baptized. (Acts 9:18)
- People who received the Holy Spirit were baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. (Acts 10:47-48)
- Lydia's heart was opened up to Jesus, and she and her household were baptized. (Acts 16:14-15)
- Paul's jailer gets saved, and immediately he and all his family were baptized. (Acts 16:32-34)
- The synagogue ruler Crispus (!!!) gets saved, along with his household, and a lot of people in Corinth, and they get baptized. (Acts 18:8)
- Some Ephesian Jesus-followers are baptized by Paul. (Acts 19:3-5)
- Paul is preaching to his fellow Jews in Jerusalem, gives his life-witness, and says: 'The God of our fathers has chosen you to know his will and to see the Righteous One and to hear words from his mouth. You will be his witness to all men of what you have seen and heard. And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name.' (Acts 22:14-16)
I was baptized when I became a follower of Jesus, because Jesus commands me to identify with his death and resurrection in baptism. (See Romans ch. 6.) My pastors were teaching me to obey everything Jesus commanded me to do. My baptismal experience, witnessed by my family and friends, remains one of the most significant events in my life with Christ.
Baptism is an experiential sign, signifying the spiritual conversion that has taken place in a person, accompanied by an empowering of the Spirit, who can manifest himself in a variety of ways. Bruce Ware writes: "Baptism is the sign and seal of the new covenant, inaugurated by Christ's death and resurrection, signifying the promise for the one baptized that sins are forgiven, that new life in Christ is received, and that God gives the person a new heart and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, by faith." (In Baptism: Three Views, Kindle 520-29)
Daniel Reid, in his Introduction to Baptism: Three Views, writes of the most interesting baptism he has ever seen. It was in a Baptist church, where a young man was being baptized. Reid writes: "As the boy came up from the water, his father stood up in the congregation and in a loud voice declared, 'This is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased!'" (Kindle edition, 120-130)
I love that!
This Sunday morning we're having baptisms at our church. To be baptized in Jesus' name is an important kairos-moment in the life of every real Jesus-follower. As this happens, God surely is very pleased. I expect that we'll be experiencing the pleasure of God at Redeemer this Sunday morning!