Do you remember to do these things?
I sat by the open front door at home this morning and looked out at the field and trees in front and enjoyed the chirping of birds. However, it was like sitting in a sauna because the Indonesian haze was like a shroud over Singapore. The haze emanates from the wildfires or the unauthorized jungle clearing by burning, from Sumatra. When the wind blows at this time of the year, it either drives the haze with strong choking smell of burning wood, towards Singapore or away from Singapore. Today the haze was with us in the morning, and now in the afternoon, the wind has blown it away – Thank God, for it is more breezy and much cooler now. Throughout the year, we do not appreciate the clear skies and air, until we are once more shrouded with the hot haze and wish it would go away. Then, we remember, how fortunate we are to have clean air to breathe and clear skies for the rest of the year.
It is so like our experience with God. We believe simply in faith at first, but over time the enemy puts a haze over our lives and doubts and fears creep in to question the very basics of our faith. Then we want and need the clarity of faith again. Jesus instituted two ordinances as memorials to protect our personal faith.
1. The Believer’s Baptism
Jesus instructed his disciples in Matthew 28: 19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost.
If you have not been baptized and are constantly living under the haze of the enemy with doubts and fears and not consistently clear of your salvation, then obey the Word fully and be baptized as a believer. Jesus forgave your sins when you believed His Word, and accepted Him as your Savior and Lord. However, when the storms of life beat upon you and the enemy’s fiery darts are thrown in your direction, sometimes you doubt that forgiveness was given freely to you and that you belong to Him. You hear the voice of your enemy say “Are you sure your sins are forgiven? ” Your mind joins “indeed, has He forgiven me? Does He love me still?”
When you forget the Word, and become uncertain about your faith, your Believer’s baptism will help you remember that indeed salvation took place and it was affirmed after that in baptism.
1 John 1:9 – If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
John 1:12 – As many as received Him, to them gave He the power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name.
The Believer’s baptism will be an outward expression of the inward change which He initiated in your life when you accepted Jesus as Savior and Lord.
It is an opportunity to
– tell the world – your family and friends and unbelievers – that you have committed to be a child of God and that you are now a new creature in Christ Jesus (l Corinthians 5:17) after you accepted Jesus as Savior and Lord .
– tell the devil in no uncertain terms that henceforth you belong to Jesus, because symbolically you died to self when you went into the waters of baptism and you rose out of the waters in newness of life. He has no hold on you anymore.
– tell yourself that you are determined to trust and commit to Him and that you have received His forgiveness and life everlasting and his victory over sin and death.
2. The Holy Communion
Jesus instituted the Holy Communion to protect our remembrance of His love and finished redemptive work for us and His soon return. Perhaps, you often forget to be appreciative of His atoning work for you, and you are sickly and need periodic reminders. Perhaps, you feel like giving up, and the hope of that day in heaven with Jesus will cause you to hang in there.
Luke 22:18.20 For I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come. And He took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them saying, “This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me”. Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.”
When He instituted the Communion He knew that we are frail and we forget so easily. He instituted a practice which if done as often as it could be done, would remind us of His shed blood and sacrifice for the cleansing of our sins, and remind us that His body was broken for our healing of body, soul and spirit.
In this remembrance we are reminded to get back our faith focus
– remember our faith has been built on the work accomplished by Christ on the Cross
– have right relationship with God in repentance for sins known and unknown
– have right relationships by forgiving one another
– appropriate His cleansing and healing in our lives.
– look forward in hope to the day in the Kingdom of God with Christ.
Have you been blessed by these two remembrances lately?
How long has it been since you have told Him you appreciate His salvation and thanked Him, and appropriated His saving grace and healing in your life? Are you living in hope when He shall reign King of kings, and Lord of lords?