“Baptism” Fraternities, Clubs, Sororities and Religions often have initiatory rites and/or ceremonies. Some are secret, known only to the members. Some are public, know to all. Baptism is a symbolic action that is designed to be public. Followers of Jesus are not supposed to be “secret disciples.” God intended believers to be salt and light. We are saved to shine. No one lights a candle only to hide it under a basket. As Baptists, we practice what is referred to as “believer’s baptism.” That means we baptize people who have made the choice on their own to follow Jesus. As a church we are simply facilitating a way for them to make their commitment to Christ known. For thousands of years, baptism symbolized two things; 1) cleansing and 2) a new direction. John the Baptist called for repentance, for a change of mind about God’s reign and how to be a part of it. The outward symbol of that inward change was baptism. This coming Sunday morning we’ll be baptizing some followers of Jesus. They have made this decision on their own. They want you to know that they have received Jesus by faith and want to walk in His ways. Baptism is a commitment point. It is a milestone. It is a symbol of commitment to new priorities and practices. If you have been baptized, you’ll be reminded what you committed to. If you are a believer and you have not been baptized, you’ll be reminded what you should do. And, if you are not a believer, you’ll be reminded of what is available to you through the loving provision of God in Christ Jesus.
How Did That Happen? You can call it coincidence, luck, good fortune or happenstance but those of us who have studied God’s ways refer to the aligning of unusual circumstances as God’s providence. God is sovereign. That doesn’t mean He causes all things, it means that He reigns over all things, knows all outcomes and arranges the circumstances of our lives for His purposes. Fatalism is the idea that all things are predetermined by “fate,” and therefore “whatever will be will be.” As believers, we don’t resign ourselves to fate, we trust in a Father. We have a Father that knows all, sees all, reigns over all and loves all people. While we go through our lives making decisions and living with the decisions of others we can be confident that no decision ever surprises God or alters His long term plan. He will have a people for Himself that enjoy Him forever. He will establish a new heaven and a new earth. He will save everyone who calls upon Him to do so. He will answer prayer (even though all the answers will not be yes😊 ). The letter we plan to study this coming Sunday is a beautiful illustration of God’s sovereign work. If the eyes of your heart are open, you’ve probably seen God’s sovereign care lately. Your seemingly random experiences are not outside the realm of His good care. Be ready. There’s more going on than you know. And, if you say, “How did that happen?” The answer probably has something to do with a good, good Father. 😊