There I was, standing at the edge of the water shivering as I was making eye contact with my parents. Through the speakers I could hear my story being read out loud for the community that was supporting me. My dad, Pastor Dan, was smiling from ear to ear waiting for me to take the next step in my relationship with God.
I was preparing to take my faith public and be baptized.
At Crossbridge, we believe that baptism is an outward expression of an inward decision. We do not believe that baptism secures our salvation, rather, it is a reflection of a choice we've made to follow God. We believe that every follower of Christ should take this next step because it encourages us to drop our fear, pursue humility, and invite God into our lives publicly.
Baptism is an act of surrender that receives it's significance from the cousin of Jesus: John the Baptist. John prepares the way for his cousin by baptizing people with water, preparing their hearts with humility, and challenging them to look onward towards someone greater. Luke writes in his testimonial account of Jesus this description of the role that John played in preparing the world for Jesus:
Luke 3:7-18 NIV,
"7 John said to the crowds coming out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? 8 Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. 9 The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.”10 “What should we do then?” the crowd asked. 11 John answered, “Anyone who has two shirts should share with the one who has none, and anyone who has food should do the same.”12 Even tax collectors came to be baptized. “Teacher,” they asked, “what should we do?” 13 “Don’t collect any more than you are required to,” he told them. 14 Then some soldiers asked him, “And what should we do?” He replied, “Don’t extort money and don’t accuse people falsely—be content with your pay.” 15 The people were waiting expectantly and were all wondering in their hearts if John might possibly be the Messiah. 16 John answered them all, “I baptize you with water. But one who is more powerful than I will come, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 17 His winnowing fork is in his hand to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” 18 And with many other words John exhorted the people and proclaimed the good news to them."
John the Baptist prepared the way for Jesus. He challenged individuals to pursue the poor, treat others fairly, and look onward towards someone greater. John was preparing the hearts of everyone to expect a revolution to begin. He encouraged everyone to have a heart check with their faith. He shared that Jesus was coming for the world, not just for the Jews.
For the poor.
For the tax collector.
For the soldier.
For the castaway.
For the Roman.
For the atheist.
For the world.
The revolution was itching forward. John the Baptist prepared the way for Jesus to take the reigns.
Taking my faith publicly through baptism gave the community I was apart of permission to hold me accountable. It challenged everyone else to consider their relationship with God as well. As Pastor Brad kicks off week 2 of Revolution this weekend, here are some next steps we challenge you to take in order to prepare your heart for the Jesus that changes everything...
1) Is baptism a step that you have already taken? Why or why not? For any of you that are considering being baptized, we would love to have a conversation with you about it.
2) Consider getting involved in one of our small groups launching Monday nights at 6:30 throughout the month of February starting February 4th. One small group will be meeting in the Shed and will be following the sermon series, the second small group will be in the Hub and will be a group on fasting.
3) Read Luke 4 to prepare your heart for the message this weekend.
Join us Saturday night at 6:00 or Sunday morning at 9 & 10:30.