If I say the word Church the first thing that most likely comes to mind is a local house of worship with a steeple on the top. If I say the word salvation the first thought we have is of baptism. What if I were to tell you that the Church building and your baptism do not equate to salvation. Church is not a building – it is a place where the Church gathers to worship. Baptism is a physical marker of a spiritual reality in our lives that comes from making a confession of faith in Jesus Christ. Our worship and spiritual lives begin from our confession and salvation. Salvation does not come as a result of worship or baptism. Many people get confused quickly because we jump over confession and we do that because we think it is tricky or hard to do. Please join me for a six week series on Discovering God’s purpose for us as individuals and His purpose for us as His people – the Church. The areas of Discovery are Confession, Contrition, Covenant, Community, Connection & Church. Notice that Church is last – without understanding the simpler steps being an effective positive part of the Church is not possible.
As a pastor one of the most fulfilling moments for me is when a young person comes and asks to talk about their desire to be baptized. Baptism is, and should be, a very significant moment in any person’s life. Often when asking people about their own baptism many seem to be able to recall very few details about the time or place of the event. That has always presented both a challenge and an opportunity for me as a pastor. I am called to help others find both their path to Jesus Christ as well as their purpose in living a life of faith that includes baptism but only after a confession of faith and repentance. Many one time events in our lives can often be forgotten in the details of our busy lives if they lack structure and foundation. The baptism of a believer, having made a free will confession of faith in Jesus Christ, should not be one of those events. Baptism is a physical marker of our confession of faith and a beginning point for our life of faith. It is not an “ I have arrived” place that we reach as an end goal on our faith journey. Baptism cannot be understood and appreciated until it can be supported by knowing our confession of faith, accepting God’s gift of forgiveness, and His covenant with us that provides our foundation for a life of purpose. If these are the process by which we come to baptism it will not be a one time event but rather a life choice we make to allow God into our lives through Jesus Christ. Baptism without confession and repentance is simply getting wet ……… The physical marker of baptism should be a spiritual reality that we carry with us to share with others through our lives.
It is my hope that this study and time will better help us understand our role as God’s Church in this world. That we really take into our hearts our place in each being the Church under our confession of faith in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. When we come to understand that WE are the Church – the hands, feet and voices of Jesus Christ in this world. We are living witnesses of a living God that empowers us for His purpose and as such WE are much more than a building with a steeple where the Church gathers.
If you have any questions, please contact Pastor Sam Blackman at 919-628-2112 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.