Sermon for Saturday

I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He that cometh after me is mightier than I… Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. Matthew 3:11,13

John baptized many people. And many different kinds of people, from the poor and illiterate to the wealthy and well-read, from the pious farmer to the hypocritical Pharisee, from the well-mannered ladies to the scandal-mongers and louts, all came to John, were convicted of their sins, and were baptized to signify their repentance. But they needed more than repentance, and John knew that. He told them he was preparing the way for One Who was to come with an even greater mission and message. How shocked John must have been when Jesus came and requested baptism. This sinless Man had nothing of which to repent. But His active and public ministry began with baptism. So does ours.

I remember when I was baptized, and I was not thinking at all about repentance. Did that subject cross your mind when you were baptized? If you are not baptized yet, do not proceed with it unless repentance is in your past. Repentance is a preliminary step to salvation; unless we repent, we cannot be saved. On the other hand, baptism, believers’ baptism, is a preliminary step to a life of service to the One in Whom we have believed. The example set for us by the Lord Jesus is the pattern that we follow today.

John’s baptism was to signify repentance; believers’ baptism is to signify identification. When a Christian is baptized, he or she is acknowledging submission to the lordship of Christ and to a life of devotion and service to Him. Jesus’ example is important.

A young man in his teens attended the meetings of the Assembly regularly, and had a good testimony as a Christian among his friends and classmates. But he wasn’t baptized. He showed no apparent interest in baptism even though most of the other young Christians around him had been baptized and some were in Assembly fellowship. Finally, an older Christian questioned him on his reluctance to obey the Lord in baptism. He replied that, once he was baptized, he would be expected to participate in many more activities of service for the Lord, and he wasn’t ready for that yet. That is a sad attitude for a young Christian to have. So different from another young Christian, only nine, who asked to be baptized shortly after he was saved, so he could start serving his Lord as best he could. We could surely use more young people like him.

Baptism, as our Saviour taught by example, is an important step in the start of our service for Him. And service for Him is a critical part of our salvation. -Jim MacIntosh

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