When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus. (Acts 4:13)
The book of Acts has some of my favorite stories in scripture. That might sound strange considering all the stories of war, betrayal, love, and miracles happen most in the Old Testament and the Gospels but Acts is a special kind of book that acts as both a blueprint and a testimony for us. It is a testimony of the boldness of those who followed Christ after he ascended. It’s also a blueprint in that we can glean many important truths about what it means to follow Christ and become a church. What I like the most, however, is that Acts testifies to the fact that it was ordinary people who led this movement. There are no grand characters like David, Samson, or Goliath in these stories. Instead, there’s unschooled fishermen and women who simply learned to love Christ and as a result love others. Armed with this new way of life (which is what the book of Acts calls it – “The Way”) the people began to testify to all that God had done. This, of course, is exactly what Jesus promised/commanded would happen when the Holy Spirit filled people.
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 2:8)
In the last couple weeks we’ve shared about the opportunity to be baptized. In last week’s post we looked at what happens when we’re baptized and with the scriptures above in our minds I want us to think about why we should be baptized.
First, you should know God uses the ordinary things of this world to display his amazing grace at work in the world. Paul takes this line of thinking even a step further when he writes to the church in Corinth,
Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. (1 Corinthians 1:26-30)
God uses what the rest of the world considers of little value to show the world that his grace works. Baptism is not a work that saves us but it is a work of God’s grace in the ordinary. Ordinary water is used as a sign of what God is doing in his grace. It’s a sign that a new life, a new identity, and a new family member have been created! And while the world may look upon what is happening as trivial or unimportant we know that God uses even the most ordinary or foolish things of this world to prove the world wrong. In baptism we are living proof that God uses ordinary people to move his kingdom forward.
Second, you are called to witness to what God’s grace has done in your life. Just as Jesus said would happen when the Spirit filled people, we too are called to witness to the grace that has been given to us. In baptism we testify to the places we’ve been and the new life we are now living. It’s the same testimony that Jesus commands of all his followers in Acts 2 and it’s the same testimony we hear from Peter and John in Acts 4 which led the religious leaders to know they had been with Jesus. It’s our calling to share our story and make a public confession of faith in Christ.
Third, your baptism is a sign that God’s grace is still working in the world no matter how hard things get. One of the more remarkable parts of the story of Acts is that no matter how many roadblocks, trials, prisons, or punishments the disciples faced they always kept going. When some of them died, they kept testifying to God’s grace. When some were imprisoned, they kept speaking of Jesus. No matter how hard their lives became it never stopped them from sharing Christ with people. When you’re baptized you join a family of people who are doing the same. In our family we face trials, troubles, challenges, and tests everyday. People struggling to make ends meet, people dealing with the mental illness of a loved one, people broken by sin, and yet, we are a family who does not give up because even the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength. In baptism we witness to the God who despite all odds continues to pour out his grace on people no matter how hard their situations can be.
You should be baptized because God has poured out his grace in your life. Baptism is the sign that you have accepted that grace – and that continually. It is the sign you have been given a new life, a new identity, and you’re joining a family of people walking the same journey as you.
You should be baptized because it shows the world that God’s grace has not run out but it’s only the beginning.
The only question is, “Have you been baptized?” Email Pastor Jarrod to talk more about baptism on Sunday, October 11th.