I was recently at an open baptism in a city near to where I live. The scene of over 40 people that made a decision for public baptism played out on a beautiful sunny and warm afternoon. Crowds of on-lookers also took in the scene as a lively band played and sang songs of loving Jesus.
For many of the spectators, this may have been the only chance they got to hear the name of Jesus spoken or sung in a song. Perhaps this event will bring to mind, even for a crucial moment that there is a battle happening in our lives daily and that a decision must be made by each of us. A decision on whom we will serve. There are many thoughts on this type of baptism.
This post is not about right or wrong, but I will quote from Luke 9:49-50, “And John answered and said, Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name; and we forbade him, because he followeth not with us. And Jesus said unto him, Forbid him not: for he that is not against us is for us.” It could be said this way, “we saw people baptizing by immersion in the park but they didn’t do it our way so we criticized them.” Would Jesus say “Criticize them not, for he who is not against us is for us?”
This discussion is about loving God and showing our love for Jesus.
There is a lot of talk among Christians about loving Jesus. But how? Goes God understand love the way we do in 2017. What does the Bible say?
1 John 4:7-11, “ Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.”
There it was, on display on this sunny afternoon. There was a lot of prayer after each person was baptized. There were separate meetings happening and uplifting songs. Matthew 28:19-20, “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, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
John 14:15, Jesus says, “If you love me, keep my commandments.”
What commandments is Jesus talking about? Are not the commandments nailed to the cross? In John 13:34-35, Jesus gives a new commandment. “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”
Matthew 25, 34-40, “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”
Love and compassion.
To believe in God is to believe that He loves us and wants us to be saved. And that He has promised to come again redeem us. Love for our neighbor means to share the gospel to our neighbor, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It means having compassion on our neighbor that is sick, or the fatherless, or those in prison, or those who are hungry or in need of shelter. Love and compassion was demonstrated in the life of Jesus, and required in our lives of service to God.
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