This Sunday, much of America will be excited about the NFL Divisional playoff games, determining who will go to Super Bowl 50. But I’m excited for this Sunday for an entirely different reason.
On Sunday, we are going to be celebrating our first baptisms ever in the life of Riverwood Church! I’m so excited that we have some people who want to go public with their faith, identifying fully as Jesus-followers.
But in our local culture where many people attend churches that practice infant baptism, it's natural for someone to ask, "why should someone get 'dunked'" (as we will do this Sunday at The W)?
If you read Romans 6:2-4, you see that Paul (writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit) assumes that if you follow Jesus, you’ve been baptized. He sees baptism as full identification with the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus.
While there are some church denominations that say you aren’t “saved” or truly forgiven of your sins until you are baptized, I personally believe that according to Ephesians 2:8-9 our salvation is ONLY the work of God. Baptism simply reveals outwardly the inward work God has already done and is doing in us through the gospel.
The four gospel accounts of the life of Jesus highlight different stories and teachings, giving us a well-rounded view of Jesus’ life and theology. But there are only a handful of stories that all four gospel accounts share. The most well-known is the death & resurrection of Jesus (no surprise there). But another one is His baptism!
Jesus did not need “saved” since He was the sinless Son of God. Yet he was baptized by his cousin John to launch the public aspect of his ministry. It is after this point that Jesus recruited disciples and began to travel around the Palestinian region proclaiming the Kingdom of God.
If we are to “live like Jesus lived,” then we should also go public via baptism as well.
No, you don’t “need” baptism in order to be “saved,” or to prove anything to God. Getting baptized doesn’t make you any spiritually cleaner, nor does it gain you super-saint status.
But it does help you put a "stake" down in your spiritual journey. It’s a moment when you say, “I will follow Jesus, no matter what the future holds.” Just as a married couple going through tough times need to remember their vows on a stage in front of God and witnesses, we need moments where we remember that we knew the truth and knew what we believed, so we can look back at those moments when the doubts and struggle come crashing in. Your baptism can serve as an anchor in your spiritual journey, so that no matter how the winds blow, you know your life is tied to Jesus and His gospel.
(In fact, we'll be talking about this third point even more this Sunday as we study James 1:2-5.)
It’s not too late to be baptized this Sunday. Our next one won’t be until this summer when we’ll do an outdoor baptism and family potluck. But you don’t have to wait until then. You can publicly announce that your faith is attached to Jesus this Sunday at The W. Simply [bspam mail="[email protected]"]shoot me an email[/bspam] or call me on the Riverwood # at (319) 529-9924.
Super excited to celebrate Jesus and His work in us, this Sunday at the W!
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