Monday, September 12, 2011
Today’s Topic: It’s Free
Today’s Text: Isaiah 52:3 “For this is what the LORD says: ‘You were sold for nothing, and without money you will be redeemed.’”
Over the last two days we have had an incredible celebration of God’s grace at our church. It started on Saturday afternoon with a baptism service in the Chippewa River. Three people stood on the banks of the river and declared the joy of their salvation. Each testimony of salvation was unique and deeply moving as one by one they spoke to us the words of faith in Jesus Christ as the only hope for man’s soul. There were tears in their eyes as there were in the eyes of the audience that stood with them.
Each one then came down into the river with me, and a declaration of truth was made over their lives as they prepared to be immersed under the water. “This baptism does not save you. This water cannot wash away your sins. No act of man can, except the act of death on a cross by the Son of Man. This baptism is a public testimony of your faith in the saving power of Jesus Christ, who was buried in sin yet conquered the grave by being raised from the dead. This step of obedience to your Savior begins a life of power in the Holy Spirit to be a public witness for Jesus. You are declaring today that the old life of sin has been buried with Christ, and that you are now raised to new life in the risen Lord.”
Then, with their arms folded in front of them, in a symbolic act of surrendering their lives to Jesus, they completely surrendered their strength to me to bury them under the water and bring them back up again. As they were leaned backwards into the water, the words of Scripture were spoken over them: “You are buried with Christ in the likeness of His death.” Complete immersion representing complete burial of the old life. Then, as they were raised up out of the water, more Scripture was spoken: “So you are raised to newness of life.” Up from the symbolic grave of sin and death they arose to live for the rest of their lives as representatives of Jesus Christ.
I NEVER grow tired of seeing people make a public commitment to follow Jesus. They know they are not worthy. They know that they were in sin destined for eternal death. Yet without money or works of any kind, they were redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ on the cross. Jesus is the full purchase price for the sin of man, and is the only payment acceptable by the Father – Jehovah God. There is nothing we bring as an offering. There is no exchange of anything of value, for we have nothing of value to offer God. In His eternal love for the human race created in His image but separated from Him by sin, He sent His One and Only Son to pay the price for our sin – death. Then, to validate the payment, God raised Jesus from the dead and sin was conquered for eternity for any and all who will come to Jesus for salvation.
That’s how the weekend started. It culminated with a worship service under our huge tent on top of the hill God has given us for a future building – a building I still hope and pray to be able to construct as soon as God provides the resources. What a time of worship it was, as God’s people came together to sing and serve together. In the middle of the service, two of those who had been baptized, and one additional new sister in Christ who will be baptized in the river on October 1st, gave their testimonies.
Their feet were beautiful.
Isaiah 52:7 says, “How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to the people “Your God Reigns!’”
It was a time of celebration and true joy, as we sang together these words – Oh happy day, happy day,
You washed my sin away. Oh happy day, happy day, I’ll never be the same; Forever I am changed.
And it’s FREE! Never get tired of celebrating your salvation!