The most important step in your faith journey is making the decision to follow Jesus. Will you leave your old life and receive the new life he wants to give you? How you answer this question will determine the rest of your journey.
Being a follower of Jesus is not about being good enough. It is certainly not about being perfect. It is not about earning forgiveness. It is simply about accepting the fact that God loved you enough to send his Son to die for you. Are you willing to respond by following him?
“There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.”
Proverbs 14:12 (NIV)
The problem is not our lack of good works but sin.
“…all our righteous acts are like filthy rags…”
Isaiah 64:6 (NIV)
“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
Romans 3:23 (NIV)
“For the wages of sin is death… ”
Romans 6:23a (NIV)
“While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Romans 5:8 (NIV)
“…but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Roman 6:23b (NIV)
God’s way involves a gift and His name is Jesus.
“God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.”
Ephesians 2:8-9 (NLT)
ADMIT that you are a sinner.
BELIEVE that Jesus died for you.
CONFESS that Jesus is Lord.
“If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it by confessing with your mouth that you are saved.”
Romans 10:9-10 (NLT)
There is no magic prayer or ritual. All you have to do is receive God’s free gift of salvation.
After taking the step of salvation, the next step for a follower of Jesus is baptism. In the act of baptism, a follower of Jesus is immersed in water and then lifted up out of the water. This in fact is what the Greek word baptizo means “to immerse or dip under water.”
Baptism is not salvation (Ephesians 2:8-9). It is a symbol of salvation. Just as married couples wear rings to symbolize their union, baptism is the public expression of the change that Jesus has made in one’s heart.
1. To follow the example set by Christ.
“One day Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee, and he was baptized.”
Mark 1:9 (NLT)
2. Because Christ commands it.
“Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.”
Matthew 28:19-20 (NLT)
3. It demonstrates that I really am a believer.
“Crispus, the leader of the synagogue, and all his household believed in the Lord. Many others in Corinth also became believers and were baptized.“
Acts 18:8 (NLT)
1. It illustrates Christ’s burial and resurrection.
“For you were buried with Christ when you were baptized. And with him you were raised to a new life because you trusted the mighty power of God, who raised Christ from the dead.”
Colossians 2:12 (NLT)
2. It illustrates my new life as a Christian.
“For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives.”
Romans 6:4 (NLT)
“What this means is that those who become Christians become new persons. They are not the same anymore, for the old life is gone. A new life has begun!”
2 Corinthians 5:17 (NLT)
1. Because Jesus was baptized that way.
“After his baptism, as Jesus came up out of the water, the heavens were opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove… on him.“
Matthew 3:16 (NLT)
2. Every baptism in the Bible was by immersion.
“He ordered the carriage to stop, and they went down into the water, and Philip baptized him. When they came up out of the water, the Lord the Spirit of the Lord caught Philip away. The eunuch never saw him again but went on his way rejoicing.“
Acts 8:38-39 (NLT)
Every person who believes in Christ.
“Those who believed what Peter said were baptized and added to the church…”
Acts 2:41 (NLT)
Some churches practice a “baptism of confirmation” for children. This ceremony is intended to be a covenant between the parents and God on the behalf of the child. The parents promise to raise their child in the faith until the child is old enough to make his own personal confession of Christ. This custom began about 300 years after the Bible was completed.
At Stone Ridge, we wait until our children are old enough to believe and understand the true meaning of baptism before we baptize them. We do, however, have child dedication. This is a special time for parents to make a commitment before the Lord to submit a child to God’s will and to raise that child according to God’s Word.
As soon as you believe! Baptism is for anyone who has chosen to become a follower of Jesus. Baptism will not give someone eternal life. That comes through faith in Jesus. Baptism is a way of publicly identifying with Jesus. If we waited until we were perfect before being baptized, we would never be baptized!