Everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
As I prepared to preach this past Sunday about Peter’s sermon on the day of Pentecost, I couldn’t help but feel the Spirit telling me that the gospel does the same thing today for people that it did back on that day. I knew that I needed to make a strong appeal for anyone who wanted to identify with Jesus as Savior and Lord to be baptized. It was a beautiful morning as 23 people came forward and were immersed in his Name.
I believe that God still speaks today, and yesterday was evidence of that. No one who was baptized yesterday came to church with baptism on their to do list. Yet God has a way of ambushing us in the moment, and when he does, the only choice before us is to say yes to him. I’ve found that decisions made in those moments can alter the course of our lives.
I knew some of the people and a piece of their stories. A child from a broken family who’s had a life tougher than most. The pastor’s child who never adopted the faith of the parents. A couple had spouses praying for them for many years, that they would take this step of faith. Each person with a unique backdrop, yet they all meeting the same Jesus in the same place.
I wish you could have seen up close their facial expressions. I saw the joy of being set free. I saw the peace that comes when we obey the Lord. I saw determination in wanting to follow Jesus more seriously. I saw tears of joy as years of pain and sin were being washed away. I saw spiritual breakthroughs.
Someone said to me this week that it was touching to see me look in the eyes of the people after they were baptized and speak directly to them. In that moment, I felt like a proud spiritual father encouraging his children in their next steps. What did I say to them? It was a bit different for each, yet there were common themes.
I reminded them that no matter how they felt tomorrow, God was with them and promises never to leave them or forsake them. I warned them about the evil one and how he would seek to discourage them and doubt that anything had changed. I told them that God’s Spirit was in them, and that he would guide them in this journey. I told some who were nervous that they exhibited great courage in making this public decision today. I reminded couples who were baptized together that they now shared something beautiful in their relationship.
Keep those twenty-three people in your prayers. And praise God that the gospel of Jesus Christ continues to be the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes. (Romans 1:16)