As the Director of Evangelism for the SBC of Virginia, I am excited about the Southern Baptist Convention’s renewed emphasis on sharing the Gospel. As I have been praying for my neighbors and the unsaved people that the Lord has placed on my heart, I am asking Him to direct me to someone in whom I can generate Gospel conversation. Depending on the circumstance, I could use the Three Circles tool, or show The Story video, or simply share my testimony of how the Lord saved me. But most importantly, I must invite them to trust the Lord Jesus as their personal Savior too.
And if they do, we will rejoice together with the Angels in Heaven over this one who repented and turned to Christ. I will also encourage them to be doers of The Word by confessing Jesus to others as an indication of their genuine decision. But soon after, I will charge them to be baptized, just like Jesus, by immersion as their first public expression of obedience to Christ.
According to our Southern Baptist Confession of faith, The Baptist Faith and Message, article VII on Baptism and the Lord’s Supper, Christian baptism is the immersion of a believer in water in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. It is an act of obedience symbolizing the believer’s faith in a crucified, buried, and risen Saviour, the believer’s death to sin, the burial of the old life, and the resurrection to walk in newness of life in Christ Jesus. It is a testimony to his faith in the final resurrection of the dead.
So, baptism connects the believer.
· It connects the believer to Jesus. It says, I am one of His. I identify with Christ.
· It connects the believer to other believers. It says, I am one of them. I identify with Christians.
Now, it is important to note here, that soon after baptism, we encourage believers to find a local church where they can be discipled and transformed into the likeness of Jesus.
Acts 2:41–42 (HCSB)
41 So those who accepted his message were baptized, and that day about 3,000 people were added to them. 42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and to the prayers.
On September 8, 2019, churches across the Southern Baptist Convention will be celebrating “Baptism Sunday” as they #FillTheTank in anticipation of the need for spontaneous baptisms in our churches that day. Through this special emphasis, there will be preaching on this topic, a call for response to the gospel, and an opportunity to be obedient through baptism immediately following their decision.
If you have never trusted Jesus, or never been baptized as an outward symbol of your inward conversion, we invite you to do so.
For more information about “Baptism Sunday” visit the links below.
J.D. Greear article in Baptist Press promoting Baptism Sunday from 08/12/2019
Baptism Sunday Resources for your church
Steve Bradshaw is the Director of Evangelism and Strategic Initiatives, SBC of Virginia