God wants the best for the family!  Godly families are the foundational piece that can change communities, cities, states, nations and the world.

God knows the potential for a great marriage and great kids.  As a matter of fact, this family series may be the most important series this year as far as having a potential to change our world.

Do you have an ideal family?  Or are you like the rest of us who find ourselves asking, “How do I deal with my real family?”

Join us this week at Believers at 9 or 11 a.m. as we learn more about how to deal with ourselves and our families, as we focus in on “Ideal Children”.

ideal family  “Ideal Family”             Believers Statesboro 05-21-17

Do you have an ideal family, or are you like the rest of us who find ourselves asking, “How do I deal with my real family?”

So, if you are nervous about this topic today, you can just relax.

There really is no such thing as an ideal family, ideal marriage, ideal teenagers, or ideal children.

For the next six weeks we will learn together how to deal with ourselves and our families God’s way.

There is hope!  There is a real Jesus, for your real family!

God wants the best for the family.  It’s the foundational piece that can change communities, cities, states, nations and the world.  God knows the potential for a great marriage and great kids.  As a matter of fact, this family series may be the most important series this year as far as having a potential to change our world.

Back to our question, “How do I deal with my real family?”  We begin by lining our families up according to Gods divine order for our families, “God’s Positioning System” (GPS).  As long as we live according to His GPS, we can expect that our real family is moving in the right direction toward ideal.

GPS – GOD’S POSITIONING SYSTEM

1)         God

Ephesians 5:1 “Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children”  

Ephesians 5:1-2 (MSG) – Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents.  Mostly what God does is love you.  Keep company with Him and learn a life of love.  Observe how Christ loved us.  His love was not cautious but extravagant.  He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of Himself to us.  Love like that.

2)         Marriage

Ephesians 5:22-23 (MSG) – Wives, understand and support your husbands in ways that show your support for Christ. The husband provides leadership to his wife the way Christ does to His church, not by domineering but by cherishing.

Ephesians 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her. 

3)         Children

Ephesians 6:1-3 (MSG) – Children, do what your parents tell you.  This is only right. 2 “Honor your father and mother” is the first commandment that has a promise attached to it, namely, 3 “so you will live well and have a long life.”

Obey your parents.  This is only right. / Honor your father and mother and you will live well (be blessed).  You will have a long, good life. OR Disobey and dishonor and pay the price, possibly not living well or blessed!  The choice is yours.

But what do we do?  We put kids first, marriage second and God third.  We invert God’s flow chart.

This inversion has become a perversion of what God wants in every single-family unit.

Do we every lose direction in our families.  One day you look around and say, “How did we wind up here?”  Is your family is quickly moving forward, but you have no idea where you are going?

GPS for the family, God, marriage, and children, brings God’s direction and destination back to the family.

  • I don’t care if you are in a blended family.
  • I don’t care if you are in a single-parent situation.
  • I don’t care if you are in a typical nuclear family with 2.3 kids.
  • I don’t care if you are single. 90% of you, stats show, will get married.
  • Children and students listen up because these principles and these precepts will give you a great focus and a great trajectory when one day you have your own family.

NEXT LIFE STEP:  Honestly list the order of your family.  Commit to GPS.

Six Ways to Deal with Your Real Family

  1. Make Sure Everyone Knows, They Matter.

Your husband, wife, children, and parents need to know that they matter, and they are valued.

How they perceive that you see them will change what they feel and think about themselves.  They will either feel important or worthless.

When children are raised in an atmosphere where they are valued and they matter, it will change how they live their lives.

  • They will make wiser decisions.
  • They will be able to overcome the temptation that will come their way in life.
  • They will live their lives with purpose.  MY LIFE MATTERS!

Psalm 37:23 (NLT)  The steps of the godly are directed by the Lord.  He delights in every detail of their lives.

If they feel worthless, they may mistakenly feel like Isaiah did in Isaiah 49:4

Isaiah 49:4 …I have labored in vain; I have spent my strength for nothing at all

Job said, in Job 7:6, “My life drags by – day after hopeless day.” (TLB)

Job 7:16 (GNT) “I give up; I am tired of living. Leave me alone.  My life makes no sense.”

The Greatest Tragedy in Life is not Death.  The Greatest Tragedy is Living Your Life Without Purpose!

  1. Express to Them That They are Loved.

Your family needs to know that they matter and they are loved.

John 3:16-17 (TLB) – For God loved the world so much that He gave His only Son so that anyone who believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 God did not send His Son into the world to condemn it, but to save it.

Your family needs to know they are loved.  Loved when they are good and loved when they are bad.

They need to know that they don’t have to deserve your love; that your love is not performance based.

When our children mess up, they need to know that they can still come to us …because we love them.

The first person you should go to when you are in trouble should be your heavenly Father.

Let your family know they can come to Him even when the children are in trouble or struggling.

  1. 3. Tell Them to Choose Their Friends

Friends will shape your life.  This applies to adult family members as well as the children of the family.

Philippians 2:4 (GNT)  And look out for one another’s interests, not just for your own.

When your children are young, you need to choose your children’s friends for them.

It’s ok to say, “No, you can’t play with them.”  You need to be the parent and make those choices for them.

  • Children that you want your children to be like.
  • Children with parents that reinforce the values you are teaching your children.

Adult children should choose their own friends.

We want kids who are moving in the direction of Christ.  Start with PromiseLand, Believing Kids, and then EDGE.  Take advantage of Family Worship times, Family VBS, Kid Camps, Family Life Groups.

(They tell you they don’t like it, take them anyway.  If they don’t have any fun there, they aren’t having fun anywhere!)  Put them in the right boat.

Your kids need to know that who they hang around with will shape their lives!  You know that, don’t you?

  1. You Must Work for a Fulfilled Life.

Work brings satisfaction and value to life.  This is how your family will feel good about themselves.

2 Timothy 2:6 (TLB) Work hard like a farmer who gets paid well if he raises a large crop. 

2 Thessalonians 3:10-12 (TLB) – Even while we were still there with you, we gave you this rule: “He who does not work shall not eat.”  11Yet we hear that some of you are living in laziness, refusing to work, and wasting your time in gossiping.  12In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ we appeal to such people–we command them – to quiet down, get to work, and earn their own living.

Every child needs to know how to work, and as parents, we have to teach them the importance of work by our example and work ethic.

1 Corinthians 10:31 – So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.

You can do just enough to get by, but if you realize that you are working to bring glory to God, and all you do should bring glory to God, it will change the way you do things.  It will change your attitude while you work.

Colossians 3:23 – Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.

  1. You Must Remember Your Steps Take You Somewhere.

Relationally, Financially, Physically, Spiritually?

  • School: If you play rather than study, those play steps won’t get you an “A”.

Your family needs to know there are consequences to the decisions they make.

  1. Christ Jesus Must Be the Center of Your Family

Matthew 6:33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

The journey can be difficult with many winding paths and ups and downs.  It’s easy to lose your way. We need Gods Positioning System for our Family to keep us on course.

NEXT LIFE STEP: THE IDEAL FAMILY TEST

Today, we are going to take a little test.  We’re going to find out how real or ideal your family is.

“But, Scott, I’m single, man.  I’ll just skip this test.” No. Don’t do that.  You fill the test out like your family of origin treated you.  Because when you fill it out through your parents’ eyes, you’re going to see what kind of mate you will probably become.

In fact, I could probably say this is almost as much for singles as it is for those of us who are married.

If you are a single parent, blended family, whatever, let’s take this test.  Please, don’t show other people your scores or your answers.  This is kind of some personal stuff, so kind of cover it like that, okay?

NEXT LIFE STEP:        THE IDEAL FAMILY TEST

How to score yourself:   1 = Never.   2 = Sometimes.   3 = Always.

#1: Do you go on a date with your spouse at least twice a month?

#2: Do you eat dinner as a family around the dinner table at least 3 times per week?

#3: Do your children sleep in their own beds (not your bed) every night?

#4: Do you and your spouse have TLC (Touch, Look, and Conversation) on a daily basis?

#5: Do you get away for a weekend alone as a couple (without your kids) at least twice a year?

#6: Do you have sexual intimacy with your spouse at least two times a week?

#7: Do you and your spouse present a unified front when your children question your authority?

#8: Do you have a set bedtime for your kids/teens that’s consistently enforced?

#9: Do you regularly evaluate your calendar to prevent overscheduling extra-curricular activities?

#10: Is weekly church attendance (age-appropriate worship and family worship) a priority for you and your children?

The Ideal Family Test Score Results 

Score 10-17

You are lost and need directions, but, it’s not the end of the world.  You can get back on track and potentially discover the greatness that God has for your marriage and family.

Score 18-24

You are headed in the wrong direction, but you are not lost yet.  Your family is out of order.

Score 25-30

You should be preaching; not me.  Good for you, but don’t rest on your laurels.  Don’t say, “I’ve got that down!  I’ve cracked the marriage code.”  Keep it fresh!  Be the best that God wants you to be.

Life App Group and Family Devotional Application

  1. Which of the six ways to deal with your family are you doing well and which ones do you need to work on?
  1. Discuss the Ideal Family Test. What do you think this test is revealing to you about your family life?

 

Do you have an ideal family?  Or are you like the rest of us who find ourselves asking, “How do I deal with my real family?”  If you are nervous about this topic today, you can just relax.  Because there really is no such thing as an ideal family, ideal marriage, ideal teenagers, and ideal children.

Join us this Sunday at 9 or 11 a.m. as we will learn together how to deal with ourselves and our families God’s way.

There is hope!  There is a real Jesus, for your real family!

 

 

Jesus in the 80s  “Every Believer a Minister” Believers Statesboro  05-14-17 Mother’s Day

It was during the 80s that Janet and I married, established careers, moved six times, had three children together, and learned a lot about the joy and the harsh realities of life as we became “responsible adults’.

  • I realized I needed the Resurrection Power of Jesus Christ!
  • We had to rise above the Scandals of the 80s…Beware of the Three G’s, Gold, Girls, Glory.
  • Janet and I were baptized in an Ocean Baptism, declaring we belonged to Christ Jesus.
  • In 1984, I realized that every man, woman, and child deserved, “Love, Acceptance, and Forgiveness”

In 1985, Janet, Marissa our 2-year-old, and I, moved from Oklahoma, back to Georgia.  I was working as a Landscape draftsman in Sea Island and preaching at a country church on the weekend (50 dollars a week to preach to about 50 people).  In order to be a good provider for my family, I went back to work for GPC.  I was at Plant Hatch briefly and then settled in at Plant Vogtle, for what I believed would be a short delay in my career as a Pastor.  I ended up staying there about 20 years.

As I meet new people and we shared our past experiences, they would find out that I used to be a full-time Pastor. They would often ask a question that really bothered and haunted me.

They would say, “So tell me, why did you leave the ministry?”

Did I leave the ministry?  Had I forsaken by calling for the sake of money?

Early one morning as I was traveling my normal long drive to Plant Vogtle past the hyperbolic cooling towers coming in and out of my view as I weaved down the hilly and curvy road.  I kept replaying that question in my head, “So why did you leave the ministry.”  As I had done many times before, I was wrestling with God in prayer and saying, “Lord is this what I have done, have I left the ministry?”

It was then, on this particular morning, that I felt the Holy Spirit saying, “No… you are still in the ministry, I’ve just given you a new assignment.  This is your mission field.  You are to minister the love of Jesus to the people you work with at Plant Vogtle.”

It was then that I began to live out and experience what my mom had taught me, what I had seen in the scriptures, and what I believed in my heart to be true, that every believer is called to be a minister.

I believed it then and I still believe very strongly today, that every Christian is called to be a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, as well as to be an available vessel for the Holy Spirit to work through.

Therefore, no matter what your occupation or trade, be it a doctor, lawyer, nurse, farmer, peace officer, banker, baker, factory worker, teacher, or homemaker, you all serve a vital role in God’s redemptive plan for humanity.      We all work for Jesus.  He just has us assigned to different locations.

Created for Good Works

Paul tells us that not only are we saved by Christ Jesus, but that Christ also created us for a specific purpose. Ephesians 2:8-10 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. 

We Are A Royal Priesthood

1 Peter 2:9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.

Throughout my childhood, and into adulthood, my mom modeled this for me.  She was always showing people the love of Jesus inside the church walls and outside the church walls.

As she encouraged me, on this Mother’s Day, I want to encourage you to begin to live like the ambassador for Christ that you are and to walk in the good works for which God created you.

Where do you do the “good works” God called you to do, the work of the Royal Priest?

As I mentioned before, in the 80s, I read a Jerry Cook book “Love, Acceptance, and Forgiveness” that changed my thinking and influenced my view of ministry.

The Bible uses a lot of agriculture examples and Jesus calls His followers to go into the fields and bring in a great harvest.  The question is, where is the field?

Jerry Cook points out that the church can exist in one of two states.  The church as a field or the church as a force. 

 

The Church as a Field

When the church is the field, all ministry, work, and energies go into the local church.

The church is the field where all ministry takes place.  Now there needs to be a lot of ministry going into the local church, but of all of the activities and energies are inverted, there will be very little time or energy left to reach outward to our lost and dying community.

The people in a field type church often realize that they may be called to do the work of ministry, so they tend to pool their money and they hired a “Full Time Minister” so he can do all the works of the ministry.”

So, you might have a church of 300-500 paying someone else to do the work of ministry for them.

But hey, why not?  It’s ok to pay someone else to cut your grass, clean your house, to buy or sell your home, to invest your money, to perform surgery on a loved one.  Trained professionals are helpful!

So, it stands to reason that we pay someone to do for us what they can do better than ourselves or what we don’t want to do.    Right?

But, there are some things that we can’t pay other people to do for us.

  • We can’t hire someone to love our spouse for us. (Date Night?)
  • We can’t hire someone to be the primary one responsible for teaching our children God’s ways.
  • We can’t hire someone to spend time with our family for us.

This is true for ministry.  We have all been called to be ministers of Christ, and it is a responsibility that we just can’t avoid, push off on others, or hire someone to do it for us.

I’m sure that at one time or another we have all found ourselves thinking, if not saying something like.

“I am saved, and I will faithfully attend church, but the work of the ministry is the pastor’s job!”

If someone needs salvation — call the pastor.    If someone needs prayer — call the pastor.

If someone needs healing — call the pastor.         If someone needs biblical understanding — call the pastor.

The Church as a Force 

On the other hand, when we realize that Jesus is teaching us the World is our field to work in, the church begins to function as a force, the ministry, work, and energies are focused outward.

When we all rise up to do the works of ministry, the world is our field and lives, homes, and communities are reached and touched by the life changing Gospel of Jesus Christ.

I want to be part of a church that is a force, not a farce, in our community, a church that makes a positive difference in people’s lives and effectively builds the Kingdom of God. 

EVERY BELIEVER A MINISTER 

The only way that a church can begin to be a force is for each of us to realize that “Every Believer is Called to be a Minister!

  • We will never be a force in this world if we believe the work of the ministry is only for the pastor.
  • If we don’t start seeing ourselves as a minister of the Love of Jesus, we will never have a part in seeing our community reached for Jesus. And sadly, we will never walk in the good works that God has created for us to do.

So why have a Pastor?

As your Pastor I am to minister the love of Jesus to a lost and dying world, right there beside you.

1 Corinthians 3:9 We are co-workers in God’s service…

We are co-labors in the field of the world, bringing in the harvest together.

Paul teaches us in Ephesians 4:11-12 that Jesus gives the church apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers for the equipping of the saints.  11 So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, (works of Ministry) so that the body of Christ may be built up…

Next Life Step:  Memorize Ephesians 4:11-12

So, not only am I to be a co-laborer with you, my primary job and responsibility to Equip You, God’s people, for works of service, to walk in your ministry.

This only makes good sense when you stop to think about it.

  • Humanly, one pastor can only get so much accomplished.  He may be very faithful and an extremely hard worker, but he will never be able to perform the work of two men.
  • Now instead of 300-500 people hiring one man, or one staff to do the works of ministry, wouldn’t it be better to equip, train and release 300 – 500 ministers into the field of the world, where Jesus said Himself, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.” (Matthew 9:37) 

Multi-Site Churches 

Multi-Site Churches are very popular right now.  That is to have a church meeting in multiple locations.  Many think, “If your church isn’t meeting in multiple sites, you’re just not cool or hip.”

Believers Church of Statesboro has had a multi-site church for a long time, way before it was cool.

Yes, we are a multi-site church and we have somewhere around 72,000 thousand attending our various campuses.

This week we will be holding services at:

The hospital, at various schools, in a principal’s office, a tire store, some doctor’s offices, at Viracon, at Great Dane,  at Walmart and Walmart Distribution Center, at Plant Vogtle, On GSU, and other colleges, in various departments and in the classes.  In a photography studio at Sack Company,  in board rooms, at all of the various law enforcement agencies, on buses, at Willingway, at Bites and other Restaurants,  at Food World,  in the cabs of trucks, In homes all across the country, and oh yes, we will be holding some services right here in this building too, at Believers Church, 6495 Harville Road location. And when we come to services here on Sundays and Wednesday Nights, or in our Life Groups, church will be our time of refreshing, training, equipping and encouragement.  As we gain new hope, and renewed vision, we will then go boldly right back into the world to do the works that Christ has called us to do.

Remember, you will go places that your pastor will never go.  You will meet people that I may never meet.  Someone must share the love of Jesus with those people… If not you, who will be salt and light in those places?

NEXT LIFE STEP:  This week…

  • Ask the Lord what He is calling you to do.
  • Ask Him to help you to begin to minister His love to others.
  • Begin to walk in the good works that He has prepared for you. 

Life App Group and Family Devotional Application

  1. What will happen when we are equipped, sent out, and released to minister?
  1. Explain the difference in a church as the field and a church as a force.
  1. What is the primary role of your pastor?
  1. How can you get equipped?
  1. What do you feel like God is calling you to do?

One Hour On Wednesday

May 10th, 2017

 

One Hour on Wednesday is a verse by verse Bible Study held on Wednesday nights in the sanctuary. We worship, pray and learn. Join us for this great time together. Our EDGE Youth and College Ministry meet at the same time as well our Children’s Ministry. See you tonight at 7:00 p.m. for One Hour on Wednesday!

 

It was during the 80s that Janet and I married, established careers, moved six times, had three children together, and learned a lot about the joy and the harsh realities of life.  You might say we were becoming what you would call “responsible adults’.

  • I realized, I couldn’t do it alone. The 80s were either going to “Make Me” or “Break Me”.
  • If I was going to make it, I needed something more than “Casual Christianity” and the “Bible Belt” good old boy life
  • I needed my Father’s faith to be MY faith. I needed more, I needed what we are celebrating today, the Resurrection Power of Jesus Christ!

Shortly after we were married, our Church, Christian Renewal, announced that they would have a water baptism and unlike the baptisms that I was accustomed to at  church, this one would be an outdoor, public, “Ocean Baptism”, on Saint Simons Island.

God was moving greatly in Janet’s life, saved as child, she too had been baptized in the Holy Spirit and desired to walk in resurrection power too.  So, she told me that she wanted to be baptized in the Ocean Baptism.  We talked about it and I thought about it and I decided that I wanted to be baptized with her.

We would be baptized together as a couple!

Why An Ocean Baptism?

Well, there is nothing special about ocean water, as compared to river water, or fresh water in a trough, chlorinated water in a pool, or water in a baptism pool in a church building.  Water is water.  So, the fact that it was an ocean baptism, and yes; we loved the beach, was not why we were being baptized.

Now as far as a public baptism goes, the ocean baptism was very public.  We had it on the beach at Neptune Park, right near the lighthouse area.  But, that wasn’t why we were being baptized either.  Let me share with you why we both were baptized that Sunday afternoon in an Ocean Baptism. 

  1. We Wanted to identify with the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ Jesus.

Remember I told you on Easter Sunday that I now realize that Resurrection Power came with a price?

Philippians 3:10 I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection

I would say and pray, “God I want to know your resurrection power!”  But I never wanted to come to grips with the rest of the verse…the suffering part.  Philippians 3:10-11 I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death 11 and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.

Janet and I both realized that before you have a resurrection, you must have a death.  Before we could experience the Resurrection Life, we had to die to ourselves.

Romans 6:3-11 Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?

4  We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. 5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6  For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— 7    because anyone who has died has been set free from sin. (Dead People don’t sin.) 8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9   For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. 10 The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. 11 In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. When we came up out of the water, we were coming up as a new people in Christ Jesus.  We were no longer controlled by sin, but we were alive in Christ Jesus!  Dead to sin; alive in Christ!

Now, I was baptized when I was seven years old at Norwich Street Baptist Church.  Looking back, I know I had a clear understanding of Jesus loving me and paying the price for my sins, and I was truly born again, but I only had a limited understanding of what I was declaring in Public Baptism.

Being a Southern Baptist, salvation, baptism, and joining the church were sort of rolled up into one big package and when you walked down the aisle to surrender your life to Christ Jesus. You were going to be baptized soon after.  I understand now what they were doing.

Was it wrong for me to be baptized at seven with limited understanding?  Absolutely not!  I was responding to the command of Jesus to the best of my understanding.

But in 1980, understanding more fully what baptism represents, and after “becoming one” with my beautiful bride, we both wanted to declare that we had died to ourselves and we would continue to live together for Jesus.

I John 2:28  And now, dear children, continue in him, so that when he appears we may be confident and unashamed before him at his coming.

Baptism was our outward expression of something that has already occurred within us at salvation.

We were both declaring, what Paul pined in Galatians 2:20.  “I died on the cross with Christ.  And my present life is not that of the old “I”, but the living Christ within me.  The bodily life I now live, I live believing in the Son of God who loved me and sacrificed himself for me.” [JBP] 

  1. A Public declaration that we were living for Jesus!

When I asked Janet to marry me, we pledged our unending love to one another.  Then, following the engagement, we publicly declared our love for one another on our wedding day.  Friends and family were there to witness our vows, and God Himself saw, heard, and blessed our union. There was a sense of finality about our commitment to one another, a commitment that would continue to be lived out daily.

In times of personal prayer, I chose to serve God with my calling to be a pastor, but my public ordination as a pastor declared my intention to others and helped confirm my commitment within me.

Salvation itself includes two things:  1) Believing in your heart.  2) Confessing with your mouth.

Romans 10:9-10 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10    For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.

Jesus set an ordinance in His church that allows the believer a wonderful opportunity to make a public declaration of their salvation.  The Believer’s Baptism in water is an outward expression of what has already taken place within.

So, our public baptism was a great way to continue to confess to our friends, family, and the world that Jesus was our Lord and we would be dedicating the rest of our married life to His leadership and Lordship!

  1. EVERYONE NEEDED TO KNOW THAT WE BELONGED TO JESUS.

1 Corinthians 12:13 NLT Some of us are Jews, some are Gentiles, some are slaves, and some are free. But we have all been baptized into one body by one Spirit, and we all share the same Spirit.

Here again, Baptism is an outward picture of something that has occurred within.  No matter what your background or ethnic origin, by one Spirit, we are baptized into one body.

Baptism represents your adoption into the family of God.  You now belong to Christ’s family and are members of His body.

When new believers are baptized, we are welcoming them into our family.  We are saying, “This person is now one of us!  And as family, we can love, support, care, and pray for one another.

  1. We wanted to be like Jesus and Jesus was baptized.

Janet and I believed that it was important to follow Jesus’ example and be baptized in water.  If Jesus did it, I wanted to do it!

Matthew 3:16-17 As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water.  At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. 17 And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” 

  • As Jesus commissioned His followers, He established baptism as an eternal ordinance of His church.

Matthew 28:19 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

We as Believers would not be fulfilling our commission if we are not being baptized ourselves and baptizing others.

  • Janet and I were joining millions of other Believers who had been baptized too.
    • Beginning at Pentecost: Acts 2:37-38; 41 When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” 38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 41 Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their

number that day. (3000 Believed and 3000 were baptized)

    • The Ethiopian Eunuch: Acts 8:26-40.  When Phillip shared the gospel with the Ethiopian eunuch, he immediately asked, “Here is water, what is hindering me from being baptized?”
    • Cornelius’ Gentile Household:  In Acts 10 when salvation and the Baptism of the Holy Spirit came to the Gentiles, they were also instructed to be baptized in water. Acts 10:44-48
    • Many Others: Lydia’s Household, Acts 16:14-15 / The Jailer and His Family, Acts 16:33 / Crispus, the synagogue ruler and his household. Acts 18:8 / The Disciples at Corinth, Acts 19:1-6 / Paul, after his conversion, Acts 22:15-16And the list goes on and on.

In our modernized, “comfort zone Christianity,” we do, sad to say, tend to take God’s commandments far too lightly.  As Chuck Colson points out: “Most Westerners take baptism for granted, but for many in the world the act requires immense courage. In countries like Nepal, it once meant imprisonment. For Soviet or Chinese or Eastern bloc believers, it was like signing their own death warrant.[1]

WE WERE BAPTIZED BECAUSE Jesus told us to.

  • After we make a faith decision, Jesus tells all of us to go public, to go on record, and to come out of the shadows into the light.

Next Life Step:  This week I will memorize Mark 16:16.

Mark 16:16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.

  • Jesus’ call for us to believe in Him also includes a call to be baptized, showing us the importance and high value that the Lord places on Baptism.
  • Notice that even though we are expected to be baptized, Baptism is not what saves us, the believing does.  “He who does not believe will be condemned.”  Baptism is an outward display of an inward change.

It may seem a little simple to you, but Janet and I decided a long time ago that if Jesus told us to do something we were going to do it.  John 14:15 “If you love me, keep my commands.

Many of you have made a faith decision. Have you gone public yet with water baptism?

Next Life Step:  I choose to go public and be baptized next Sunday, May 7th, at the Outdoor Water Baptism. 

Salvation Call

Acts 2:37-38 When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” 38   Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 

Next Life Step: Today I am taking the Five Week Choose Life Challenge and will attend all Five Jesus in the 80s events. (Check on your communication card and put your card in the offering basket.)

___ 4-16-17 REZ POWER   ___ 4-23-17 SCANDALS  ___ 4-30-17 OCEAN BAPTISM (Family Worship Day)

___ 5-07-17 LOVE, ACCEPTANCE, FORGIVENESS (Sweet 16 Celebration Picnic and Outdoor Baptism)

___ 5-14-17 EVERY BELIEVER A MINISTER (Mother’s Day) 

Life App Group and Family Devotional Application

  1. In your own words, tell about your baptism experience and what it meant to you.
  2. If you have not been baptized, honestly share with your group or family your reservations, reasons, and concerns.
  3. Share about your salvation experience. At what point did you believe with your heart and how did you begin to confess it?
  4. Why do you think a public declaration is so important? What other major events in your life required “going public”.
  5. Pastor Scott does not believe that baptism saves you. But do you agree with him when he says, “Jesus commands us to be baptized”?  Do you think it is a commandment to be obeyed?

 

[1] ¹ “The Body: Being Light In Darkness” by Charles Colson and Ellen Santilli Vaughn, 1992, Word Publishing, page 137