Today is one of those special days in the life of our church. You almost call it a holy day, or even a holiday.
Today is Baptism Sunday. Over the course of our 2 services today, we will witness the baptism of over 30 men and women. Isn't that incredible?
There is a book in the Bible called the Acts of the Apostles, or Acts for short. This book traces the beautiful and painful and messy stories of the very first generation of Christians.
This is the generation that heard Jesus himself. They heard his apostles. And they were closely following the apostolic marching orders.
For my summer series of messages, we are looking together at the amazing work of God.
I'm calling this series OUR TURN.
Because we believe that the Acts of God through his church didn't end, but God is still working through his people, the church.
So because of our baptisms today, I thought it would be good to trace out what the Book of Acts tells us about baptism. So that's my talk today...
Our turn to...
The early Christians baptized in the book of Acts, so now it's our turn to baptize in the book of Pathway.
There are many places in the book of Acts where somebody is baptized. So let's race through them and piece together what baptism is all about.
Six Facts About Baptism
The Requirement of Baptism:
"Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them." (Acts 2:41)
So in this verse, a very large group of people were gathered in Jerusalem. A man stood up and Preached. He proclaimed the way of salvation.
That man was Peter, the way of salvation was through Jesus Christ.
Jesus died for our sins and rose again.
The sacrifice of Jesus is the doorway to salvation. Not being religious. Not being moral. Obeying God's laws.
Peter's message was very counterintuitive.
We think we reach up to God. But in Peter's message, God is reaching down to us in mercy and forgiveness and grace... all the time.
We think we are to earn our own salvation. But in Peter's message, salvation is a free gift.
And we tend to think that salvation is something that must be worked out over years of performance and behavior and religious production. But in Peter's message, salvation was a free gift for right now... Receive Jesus Christ and put your faith in him, right here, right now, today.
That message Peter preached is called the Gospel. When the gospel is preached, the listener has a very important choice to make. You will receive that gospel, or you will reject that gospel.
So the first fact we have to make clear is that the requirement of baptism is to receive for yourself the word (message) of the gospel... because that is a non-negotiable requirement before a person is baptized.
In the Bible, only saved people can be baptized.
Only saved people were baptized.
You have to have a testimony.
You should know that every person we baptize has a person conversation with one of the leaders in our church. In that conversation, they give their testimony—they tell of the day they gladly received the word of the gospel and were saved.
That's the requirement of baptism.