What do you listen for when you hear a gospel song? Some of the greatest hymns were inspired by personal experiences. Most song writers and singers tell their story through their songs. Just listen to the lyrics in your favorite song, and you’ll hear a message. One of the most powerful songs that I have heard recently and have listened to several times, is titled Build Your Church, by Maverick City & Elevation Worship.
How to build a church
How does God build His church from the ground up? One of the cornerstones He uses to build His church is “The Great Commission.” It is a foundational tool that is often overlooked and underutilized. In it, we are called to be participators and not spectators. Its instructions have power and clarity of directions, and its success is guarantee by Jesus himself.
Listen to Jesus’ words in Matthew 28:18-20 (AMP): “Jesus came up and said to them, ‘All authority (all power of absolute rule) in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations [help the people to learn of Me, believe in Me, and obey My words], baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always [remaining with you perpetually—regardless of circumstance, and on every occasion], even to the end of the age.’”
What caught my attention in the Great Commission is that Jesus tells his inner circle to baptize. So, let’s talk a little about baptism and how it helps to build the Kingdom of God.
What is baptism?
The word “baptism” comes from the Greek word “baptize” and it literally means immersion. So, when we talk about baptism in water, we’re talking about full immersion into water, not just a little sprinkle. You must be immersed to be baptized. Baptism is an outward expression of an inward change. It’s a public declaration of how Jesus changed your life and acknowledges your confession of faith and belief in Him and His Word. Being baptized shows others that you’ve decided to follow Jesus and allows others to celebrate this decision with you (Acts 16:31-34, AMP).
Baptism is a physical reality
It’s bigger than just a symbolic gesture. In Romans 6:1-11(AMP), Paul paints a perfect picture of what happens during baptism. We go into the water as the old man/woman dying with Christ. Through baptism the body of sins is being put off and we then rise with Christ as a brand-new man/woman, free from sin. We are doing a physical act, by faith, reflecting a spiritual reality.
“Therefore if anyone is in Christ [that is, grafted in, joined to Him by faith in Him as Savior], he is a new creature [reborn and renewed by the Holy Spirit]; the old things [the previous moral and spiritual condition] have passed away. Behold, new things have come [because spiritual awakening brings a new life].” 2 Corinthians 5:17(AMP).
In real time
Recently, I had the privilege of teaming with two great men of God, Dr. Mark G. Van Dorn (Pastor Marcos), Florida Faith Church, and Pastor Desmond Cook, Fellowship of Christian Athletes. This was a teachable moment in the spirit. We came together because God had placed on our hearts to do a seaside baptism. As I sat with these men and explained the vision and purpose of the baptism, the Holy Spirit declared to me that building the church in 2022 must be a collaborative effort. It must be built one believer at a time, and each believer must own it. Additionally, it also affirmed that when God gives a vision, He has already put the provision in place. This was a great example of the scripture text that explains some will plant, some will water, but God will give the increase (1 Corinthians 3:6, NIV). The more we conversed, the more we realize that though we did not have the “Sea of Galilee,” we had God’s Ocean. As we departed from our first meeting we prayed for each other, and that God’s will be done.
We have talked and prayed over the vision several times since our first meeting. The date for the seaside baptism was set for Sunday, July 31, 2022, at 7am. What this has taught us is that when you do all you can, God will do the rest. One of the most extraordinary moments in the Bible is when Peter encouraged the people to repent and be baptized. It was then when the body of Christ grew by over 3,000 people in one day. The part we often overlook is what he said after that: “The promise is for you and your children, and for all who are far off – for all whom the Lord our God will call” (Acts 2:37-41, NIV).
I look at my young adult children as they prepare to go back to school, and I wonder how many other young people need to enter a relationship with Christ and be baptized? How many teachers and administrators? The list goes on. There is anxiety and tension in the air of the unknown. Nonetheless, the Great Commission is still required of us all. On Christ the solid rock (His Word) we stand all other ground is sinking sand.
Sunday July 31,2022, started off with some doubt caused by cloudy skies and some heavy showers. Press towards the beach was my mindset. By the time I arrive at the beach one hour later, the weather was absolutely beautiful, the sun was coming up through the clouds, and it was as if the day was pre-arrange for worship in baptism. Over fifty people came together and 19 were baptized. What a picture. Not to mention the numerous bystanders just looking on. “If I be lifted up, I’ll draw all men, boys and girls unto me.” Baptism, what a way to lift the name of Jesus and build the church of God.
Read last month’s article by Newton Fairchild at: https://www.goodnewsfl.org/dont-worry-get-busy-living/