On September 23, 2018 we will baptize two new members.  A mother and son.  It is always a great honor and true joy to share with a person the life-giving power of the gospel.  Seeing how that gospel can change lives, setting people free, mending relationships and shaping their identity in Christ.  Securing their future in Heaven and guiding their work on earth.

Baptism is not salvation, but it is important.  Following Jesus into the waters of baptism is an act of obedience, and a public symbol of faith.  Baptism was part of the instructions that Jesus gave right before he ascended.  You may have heard of the Great Commission before, “As you go, make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.  And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”  Matthew 28:19-20

Baptism is a powerful symbol of what we have in Christ.  It is not a washing away of sins, but a symbol of identity with Christ and his community.  In baptism by emersion the water we are placed under serves as a symbol of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus.  It is a symbol of dying with Christ as well as our sin dying with Christ on the cross.  The person rising from the waters of baptism is like the water of birth.  Being born again a new creation in Christ.

Baptism is an outward symbol of a personal profession of faith.  In the early Christian community there was great persecution and even death for those who profess Christ because baptism was a public act.  Many who died to their old way of life in the waters of baptism were signing their own death notices.  Often the baptisms would take place on Easter and would be facing East to the rising sun, symbolizing resurrection morning.

In Baptist life, it is one of only two ordinances along with the Lord’s Supper.  It is usually part of a public worship service.  It serves as a reminder to those gathered of their own baptisms and commitment to Christ.  It is in this remembering that a collective identity is formed.  Observing and remembering strengthens and energizes the family of faith and expands the Kingdom of God.  In our communal identity in Christ we are bound to him and one another as we work, worship, and witness.  We hope you will join us for service on September 23, 2018.

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