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  • James Pate

Baptism

Dear friends


Baptism is the way the church says a big ‘yes’ to those who are joining it.


And this means baptism should be done carefully. In times of persecution there’s always the danger that the person who wants to be baptised is a spy. Churches in persecution may make it hard for people to attend worship, let alone be baptised. You need to be careful before you say the big ‘yes.’


The book of Acts contains some examples of the big ‘yes.’ ‘There’s Peter’s ‘yes’ to Cornelius, after God said ‘yes’ by pouring out the Holy Spirit on Cornelius and his household. There’s the big ‘yes’ of Ananias to Saul of Tarsus after God said his big ‘yes’ and backed it up by healing Saul’s blindness. There’s Philip’s big ‘yes’ to the Ethiopian eunuch, to someone who was already trying to find the truth in the Scriptures. The link between these stories is that there were (what seemed to be) good reasons to avoid the big ‘yes.’ If you want to know more, the book of Acts is a great book. The church learned that when God said ‘yes’ the church had to give its ‘yes’ too.


Since baptism is a big ‘yes,’ we need to take care before we do it. On the Day of Pentecost, the church baptised thousands of people, but only after Peter spoke many words to them. Because once they were baptised it was all go, and the church became an incredible community, devoted to each other. When the person who is baptised gives a big ‘yes’ and the church gives its big ‘yes’ the results are amazing.


A big ‘yes’ means ‘you are in, you are really in.’ It’s not just about an individual’s response to Jesus, important though that is. It’s about entry into the church family. That’s why I always encourage people who are baptised to become church members.


Let’s always be ready to say the big ‘yes.’


In the grace of the one who says the big ‘yes’ to us.


James


PS In case you were wondering ‘a big yes’ is a rough translation of the Hebrew ‘amen.’


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