Last week I received a call from one of my oldest and dearest friends. We played football against each other in high school (he has been reminding me for nearly 35 years that he intercepted one of my passes, and I have been reminding him that long that my team won the game!), as young preachers we lived close to one another in our very first preaching jobs, he had family members who worshipped where I preached for ten years, and we have stayed in close contact through all of these years. We have been through some very tough times together and my appreciation for him grows with age.
Okay, back to the phone call. He called to tell me about a wonderful success story that occurred recently in his work. He had lunch and a couple of meetings with a preacher in a religious group in his community. This preacher asked my friend if he would come speak for his church about how drugs/narcotics affect lives (my friend has worked the past several years in the DA’s office in his county). They continued to meet and my friend had the opportunity to talk to this preacher about the church.
The preacher called my friend one day and informed him that after their discussion he had been teaching the people in the church where he preaches. He told him that he had taken the entire congregation down to the river and they were all baptized for the remission of their sins!!! He further stated that they were all baptized just like Matthew 28:18-20 and Acts 2:38 teaches! Isn't the Word of God amazing?
The preacher also reported that they had removed their sign from the building and had replaced it with a sign that reads, “The Church – Practicing New Testament Christianity!!” He further said that they were continuing to study and they were determined to teach and practice only what they find in the New Testament. It may take some time to work through some issues and practices, but with God’s help they will continue to move in the right direction.
Praise God!! No wonder Paul declared, “For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation, to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” (Romans 1:16) The Gospel of Jesus still works.
When we teach/preach the Gospel it still convicts the hearts of men and causes them to want to obey God (Acts 2:37-38). Some in the church would have us quit teaching about the accounts of salvation in Acts and quit teaching the necessity of baptism.
One preacher said we should quit teaching baptism because it has become a barrier to church growth. That is an incredible statement. The very act that, according to the Word of God, saves us, has become a barrier???
Friends, here is an entire congregation of people who crossed over what some contend is a barrier and became children of God! Praise God for His powerful Word that convicts the hearts of men, Praise God for men like my friend who continue to teach this Good News to others, praise God for open and honest hearts that are willing to obey the Gospel.
Dear Father, we thank You for your Word that changes the lives and hearts of those who hear and obey. Thank You for opening doors of opportunity for us to study Your Word with others. Thank You, dear God for Your people who are willing to share the Good News with those around them.