“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20.
In obedience to the Great Commission, everyone who is a disciple of Jesus should be baptised in the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
Many churches hold fast to Jesus Christ’s instruction and they hold water baptism services at Easter time after candidates have undergone preparatory baptismal lessons confirming the fundamentals of their faith, the significance of baptism, the position of the believer in the body of Christ and the believer’s responsibility in the church.
These churches take baptism seriously for it is a declaration by the believer that confirms a commitment has been made by the believer to The Lord Jesus Christ, and an affirmation that an inward change has taken place in the heart of the believer by the miraculous working of the Holy Spirit of God. It speaks of conversion in Christ. It declares to the world and the devil that the believer from henceforth belongs to The Lord. It is a cut off point where the believer declares publicly “now I belong to Jesus and Jesus belongs to me, not for the years of time alone, but for eternity.” It is a serious declaration for the believer and all in the body of Christ who have mutual responsibility to watch out for each other during our pilgrim journey from earth to glory. Many unbelieving parents in the East know the significance of baptism and commitment, and would allow their children to attend church but not to be baptised.
The ritual of baptism by immersion, is for a believer a proclamation to the enemy of our souls who cannot see what has happened inside us, that we henceforth totally belong to The Lord. It is
– burying the past in the waters of baptism
– And rising from the waters alive unto God.
Today, baptism is an ordinance which is usually carried out by a Pastor, elder or someone authorised to baptise under church auspices. It is in obedience to The Lord’s command to the church. Usually, not always, it is a requirement for church membership for it is an identifying moment with Christ and the local body of Christ, the church.
Wonder why so many believers today trip and fall and even leave their first love and faith in Jesus Christ? It is probably because they have not been taught the gospel, not been discipled and not baptised. They have as new-borns been left exposed to the enemy’s attack and kill. They are not delivered as a baby, nurtured, protected in the environment of the church, designed so that brothers and sisters could care, love and cover each other in the Word, prayer and support while being united and opposed to the world, the enemy and even their unsurrendered selves.
Jesus in His Great Commission, provided for the survival of every Christian against all odds. However, being human, man yes, even converted man has failed to fully obey the commission of The Lord. We cannot blame God for man’s failures when a believer gives up and falls into temptation, or walks out of the will of God and into the unpardonable sin.
If we want to remain as faithful and strong followers of The Lord, we must obey the Great Commission to the full. We have starving sheep because they have not been taught the Word – so they are sick or stunted spiritually. There are many isolated, wounded and dying believers, because they are wandering out in the desert alone, and in the wilderness of sin and strife, outside the protective wing of God and His representative on earth, the Church.
Let us get back to basics and encourage and uphold the ordinance that The Lord Himself was subjected to – let us have commitment publicly to The Lord by baptism, a defining moment in the life of any obedient believer. It will be a remembrance milestone to periodically counter any doubts that may arise, regarding our commitment by word of mouth in faith, and the inward conversion which took place when we first fell in love with The Lord, while in our sorry state of sin ,and from which He rescued us, gave us a fresh slate to begin with, and to live abundantly in Him.
Let us pause this Easter and consider
Have I been nurtured by my spiritual leaders to become disciples of Christ?
– If yes, am I in turn nurturing some babe in Christ?
– If not nurtured, I would do well to get under the wing of a spiritual mentor. I will not survive if I am not fed and strengthened and protected by the Word of God.
Have I publicly committed myself to Jesus Christ by baptism so that no one ( including myself and the devil) can gainsay and make me doubt that I belong to Jesus?
– If yes, it is good to periodically renew our commitment, perhaps when we partake of Holy Communio n, and as often as we do it until He comes.
– If not baptised , why not? Why not through baptism come under the auspices, protection, fellowship of the local church?
The Lord has provided for our spiritual well- being – let us stay within His boundaries of fellowship and discipline against the enemy and the world.
There is no perfect church yet, till its perfection in glory. We the people are only perfect in Christ, so don’t be disappointed by unfaithful man in the church. Let us purpose to add and not subtract to the perfection of the church today.
For my own spiritual good, Lord, please let me be mindful of Your Great Commission. Let me be humble and commit myself to You, for full obedience so to accomplish Your plan and work in and through me. Forgive me for negligence to follow You completely, and accept me into Your service Lord now, according to Your plan and time. In Jesus’ Name, I pray that Your kingdom come to earth as we Your children follow You, love, care and support each other in agape love as You ordained. Amen.