Brother Jeff's Message
It started innocently enough, “If you could have anything in the world what would it be?” Solomon was given this choice in I Kings 3:5 and that was our story for the day. My preconceived notion of the answers left me a bit unprepared for the responses I received. Take just a moment and think what you would choose – anything. One child would ask for one hundred dollars in case she died her parents would have something to live on after she was gone. One said he would just like to ride his bike all day. Many said they would ask to go to heaven. Keep in mind these are 5 to 11 year olds. Then the surprise, “I just want to know why God’s makin’ all these people get baptized!” I replied, rather stutteringly (I know that is not a word but it gets the point across), “Let’s talk about that after Solomon.” While I am telling the story of Solomon, I’m also trying to think how I am going to have a one-on-one discussion with a five year old about baptism and God “makin’” us do it. Alas, at the end of devotional the thought was forgotten by the youngster but not by me. I am intrigued by the powers of observation in the young. My first thought is that God does not make us get baptized but clearly there is some force that compels us to put our fears aside and be buried with Christ in baptism. I recall a conversation with several youths regarding baptism and the comment was made, “We do not want you to be baptized because of pressure from the outside (i.e. parents, youth minister, friends), but we want you to become a Christian because of pressure from the inside (a conviction that baptism is necessary for salvation).” When we teach the steps of salvation, baptism is always last. This is right because it would be completely useless without believing, repentance and confession, but baptism is not the end of salvation. It is the beginning. It is the end of an old life for we died to sin, but it is the beginning of a new life in Christ (Romans 6:2-4). God does not make us become Christians. A desire to be in His presence eternally does. There is a force that makes us obey Him, but it is driven by our love for Him not our fear of Him. So what would you wish for? Wouldn’t it be great to feel the constant pressure from within to do what the Lord commanded because we want to please Him?