Reforming church, culture and our city

Reforming church, culture and our city

Archive for June 2008

Baptism …

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Over the last few weeks, I’ve had the opportunity to revisit ‘baptism’ with some of our regulars at GracePoint preparing for baptism. It’s been both refreshing and challenging in reminding me of the importance of baptism for those who are followers Jesus. One of the questions people at church have often asked me is, ‘why should I get baptized?’ The answer is simply, because Jesus commanded it (Matt.28:18-20). And in obedience to Jesus command we see that whenever the first disciples of Jesus preached the gospel and men and women responded, they were baptized. Right after Peter preached at Pentecost and people believed, he baptized them (Acts 2:38-41). When the Philippian jailer believed, Paul baptized him and his whole family in the middle of the night (Acts 16:29-34). When the Ethiopian eunuch was converted, Philip baptized him in the desert (Acts 8:34-38). To neglect baptism is to disregard the command of Jesus, and to reject the sign of the gospel that God himself gives us for our benefit.

What many Christians fail to realize is that baptism is a sign of the saving work of Jesus in cleansing, forgiving and bringing us new life. Baptism is not my act of repentance, and neither does it signify repentance. In fact, in the New Testament, baptism is used as a sign of our being buried with Christ so as to share his risen life; being born again; having our sins washed away; having God’s judgment dealt with and being adopted into God’s family (Rom.6:3-4; John 3:5; Acts 22:16; 1 Cor.6:9-11l 1 Pet.3:21; Gal.3:27-29). Baptism is a sign of the saving work of Jesus! (Col.2:11-15) Baptism is not something that we should ignore if we’re Bible believing and Jesus loving Christians. That’s not to say that baptism saves you or that you are any less spiritual if you aren’t baptized. We’re saved by grace alone, through faith alone in Jesus alone (Eph.2:8-9)

But I would still ask the question, ‘why aren’t you baptized?’ Because baptism was not only commanded by Jesus, but also given for your benefit as an outward sign to symbolize an inward spiritual reality for those of you who have repented and trusted in Jesus and his saving work – a sign of the gospel’s promise to save or a sign of God’s salvation in cleansing, forgiving and giving you new life. Like a wedding ring that’s given with promises, every time a Christian looks at their baptism, it is a sign that serves as a reminder to them of God’s saving work in Jesus in saving them, cleansing them, forgiving them, and giving them new life.

As I said to those preparing for baptism, ‘baptism is God’s gift to you – a visible sign of the gospel that he gives you to encourage you, to strengthen you, to remind you of what Jesus has done for you’. When you are baptized, you are baptized on the authority of Jesus who is Lord of all things and holds all authority in heaven and on earth (Matt.28:19), effectively saying you belong to Him. When you are baptized, you are receiving the visible sign of God’s saving work in Jesus and what he’s done in cleansing, forgiving and giving you new life.

Let me encourage you if you haven’t been baptized, to do so, in obedience to the command of Jesus and for your own benefit and encouragement as a disciple of Jesus.


Written by eugenehor

June 27, 2008 at 2:47 pm

Following The Right Kind Of Leaders

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It’s crucial that we understand the Bible’s teaching on leadership rather than take our cues from our culture. Firstly, we must recognize that the church is not a company or a business. It’s not even an organization. The church is the body of Jesus where He is the head; the bride of Christ where He is the groom; a building of living stones where He is the cornerstone. The church is the gathering that Jesus died for and gathered (Acts 20:28). We are people who belong to Jesus, and set apart for Jesus in our city. As such we must take our cues on leadership not from our culture, but from God’s Word as a church. We are a Bible believing, Word-driven church. And the predominant criteria for leadership in the church is their character and ability to teach God’s word – leadership that is built on truth and godliness as exemplified in their home, in their relationships inside and outside the church, and in their teaching (Titus 1:5-9; 1 Timothy 3:1-7). Good leaders know their Bibles, are able to teach it to others, and live out what they believe and teach. It is evident to all around them.

Secondly, if we are to build a church that will fulfill the mission of Jesus in our city and world – it will take the right kind of leadership. It’s important that we grow the right kind of leaders, but it’s also important that we follow the right kind of leaders. It’s important that we model our lives on the good leaders. Because ultimately in the church what you see in your leaders is what we should all aspire to – because leaders are supposed to be models of what it means love and follow Jesus in life. As Paul said to the church in Corinth, ‘follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ’ (1 Cor.11:1). Who do you model your life of in our church community? Who do you follow as examples in the way you make decisions, and in the way you think of your career or study? Who impresses you as a leader? Are you looking to and following the right kind of leaders?

If you’re a father – who models for you what it means to manage your home or love your children as a Christian father? If you’re a wife – who models for you what it means to love your husband as a Christian wife? If you’re a working professional – who models for you what it means to be a Christian in the marketplace or how you should view your career? If you’re a student – who models for you what it means to be a Christian at university or how you should view your studies? The more important questions is – are the people you’re following or modeling your life after, the right kind of leaders?

It is absolutely crucial that we build our lives on the right kind of leadership – good leadership … Biblical leadership. To do anything less is to build our Christian lives on sinking sand. In 1 Tim.4:11, Paul tells Timothy to set an example to those at church in his speech, life, love, faith and purity. Why? Because the way Timothy leads in what he teaches and how he lives has eternal significance. He will either be a bad example leading people away from Jesus, or a good and faithful one leading people to Jesus (1 Tim.4:15-16). We need both good leaders to teach us and model the Christian life for us, but we also need to be discerning in making sure that we are actually following the right kind of leaders as well. Who are you following?

Written by eugenehor

June 1, 2008 at 2:36 pm