Why Baptism?

Jesus' public ministry started shortly after his very public water baptism.  After Peter had preached his first gospel message those who responded were told to "repent and be baptized."  All through the Acts of the Apostles we see a common trend.  People hear the gospel, repent, are water baptized and they receive the Holy Spirit.  I was recently convicted by my lack of zeal concerning baptism.  Sure, with new believers I was very adamant about them being water baptized by immersion in order to identify with Christ and publicly profess Christ as their Lord and savior.  If a person approached me and wanted to recommit themselves to Jesus I would ask them about baptism and if their response was "oh, I already done that."  I moved on.  Not anymore.  Why?  Because someone was bold enough to preach truth and the Spirit let me know I was walking in disobedience.  

My story is not that unfamiliar.  I was baptized when I was young, I do not remember the exact date or even how old I was.  I do remember vacation bible school and the church where I was water baptized, but that is it.  The one thing I do know is that I did not follow Christ very well growing up, in fact, I am not even sure if I was saved in my teenage years.  My life was fruitless and I was playing the game, church was the one place I could fit in and was accepted.  As an adult in my late 20's I remember the moment God spoke to me in a very clear voice.  (no not an audible one, although that would be cool).  Shortly after that, I began to be obedient to the Lord and the direction he wanted to go with my life.  He sent me the right friend, the right job and the right church to minister to me and disciple me.  But there was one thing I didn't do, I did not get baptized again.  I am now convinced that I was saved during a morning drive to work while listening to a preacher on the radio.  I called it a rededication, which I found later is not even described in the New Testament.  My walk with the Lord began on I-20 as a sorta young adult.  

I would continue in my spiritual growth eventually entering into full time ministry as a youth pastor then eventually becoming a senior pastor.  I still struggled with water baptism, mostly thinking I should have done it a long time ago and now it would just be weird.  I discussed it with a friend and he did not seem to think it would be a big deal to go through with water baptism but I still could not let my pride go until I attended a leadership conference in 2019 at Gateway.  It was there that Pastor Jimmy Evans preached a timely word on "The Supernatural Church." One of his points hit home concerning water baptism.  After all, water baptism is the covenant seal of the New Testament (Colossians 2:11-12) .  Did I do that as a child?  I was not transformed, sure I could put on a good act, but it was not genuine.  I was once again convicted about water baptism and decided to return home, confess my disobedience to the church and be water baptized.  After my message and confession we baptized 14 people the following Sunday, most of whom were in the same boat as I was, some were adults who had never been baptized!  We have baptized lined up for the next few weeks with new believers.  It is so awesome to see God work as a result of an act of obedience.  

Some, like myself, had discounted water baptism as a religious act since it has no bearing on your salvation, because that is by grace alone, through faith alone (Eph 2:8-9).  Baptism is important, vital even and should not be taken lightly.  It is an act of obedience.  If you are reading this and have been struggling with water baptism and its importance please hear me, walk in obedience and do it.  If a pastor can swallow his pride and do it, so can you.  

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