This past Sunday we welcomed Rodger into membership as he confirmed his acceptance of Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior and submitted himself to baptism. These are significant public steps taken in our walk as Christians. Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
As we read the Scripture in Acts 8 the Eunuch asked an interesting question;
Acts 8:36; NLT; As they rode along, they came to some water, and the eunuch said, “Look! There’s some water! Why can’t I be baptized?”
Why can’t I be Baptized? You can and should if you have accepted Christ into your heart as your Lord and Savior. There is an order to things that the Scripture lays out for us. We find it in the passage that Jesus spoke to his disciples when he left them after His resurrection.
Matthew 28:18-20; NLT; Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
Jesus explained He had all authority and commanded the disciples to go. That is to say, as you go. As we live our lives, we are to behave in such a way, thought, speech and action, that draws people to Christ. The objective is to make disciples. Again, we break that down to mean, help people decide to accept the gift of grace and forgiveness that Christ offers.
Here is where the confusion sets in; we are to meet people where they are and not have an expectation that they need to change before they accept Christ. The change will come later. Think about the thief on the cross, what could he do to change? Nothing, his life was in the process of ending, in fact he would perish before the sun set. He had no opportunity to change anything he did in his life. I can imagine the things he did were quite terrible, after all society determined he needed to die.
How did Jesus respond? Even with the weight of the world on his shoulders, Jesus received his request to remember him and said, today you will be with me in paradise. Imagine that, no change required to receive grace and forgiveness.
Christ asks us to meet people where they are and help them find a way to him. Not by a change in their life but by the example of change in our lives. That is to say, our testimony. Where were we when someone introduced us to Christ, how did we choose to acknowledge him, accept him and where has He brought us. Explaining how the relationship with Christ changes us, the changes that He has made in us.
The first step is to introduce people to Christ. We do that by the way we live our lives. When they make the choice to acknowledge Him, state that publicly and submit themselves to baptism they now are ready to learn more than knowledge of God but to enter into a personal journey with Christ. That’s when the change begins, with the presence of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit starts to work in their lives.
I encourage each of us to reflect on the way we are living. Do we live in a way as to attract people to Christ? As we go through life do others see the evidence in our lives that Christ is present? If there is, great! If not, ask the Holy Spirit to come alongside and help us reflect the character of God.