Don't Be Baptized Unless …

This weekend our church is hosting a spring revival for youth. Already, before the main event has started, plans are afoot for a follow-up night next Friday. I was asked to "man" one of the booths that are to be set up for this second event. The primary purpose of the booths is to focus on next steps that young people are going to asked to consider during this weekend's conference.

My booth is the baptism booth. If that sounds weird to you, it does to me too. Who ever heard of a "Baptism Booth" and how does one go about setting up one of them?

Then I got an idea. It's not really original. In fact the thought came to me as I was reading a synopsis of The Radical Question: What is Jesus Worth to You? by David Platt.

In the book, Platt tells his readers about an incident between one of his professors and the members of the class, a sort of reverse psychology that, Platt confesses, didn't work when he tried it sometime later.

But I'm going to try it anyway.

I've decided to put up a big banner over my booth which will say: "Don't be Baptized." That should get some attention—the right kind, I hope.

My idea is to explain to those who come over to my booth that baptism is not a step that should be taken lightly. Baptism is a public confession of faith and a public commitment to live a life that is sold out for God. It's a little like the Old Testament illustration of the slave who wants to stay with his owner for the rest of his life and goes to the public authorities to have his master drill a hole in his ear as a sign of that lifetime commitment.

Don't be baptized unless you are willing to tell the world that you are committed to serving and living for Christ wholeheartedly for the rest of your life.

Personally, and I believe the Scriptures strongly support this, a true faith in Christ brings about a radical change in ownership. The Holy Spirit comes to take possession of our mortal "house" and our immortal soul. When He really takes residence, baptism and what it means, is a no-brainer. The person who has the Spirit of God can do no less that follow God—at all costs.

The Lord Jesus never made it easy for those who were interested in His message. He often spoke of the cost attached to being His disciple. Matthew quotes Christ when he writes: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me" (16:24 NIV).

Baptism tells the world that the cross has been taken up and self-denial has become a way of life.


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