Today, Emmaus Christian Fellowship will be holding it’s first baptism and for that we are grateful. It’s no small thing to baptize a follower of Jesus Christ!
For the one being baptized, the moment is of great significance. There is a lot that is communicated through baptism. First of all, the one being baptized is saying to the Lord, and to all who observe, “I am trusting in Christ for my salvation, my sins have been washed, I have been given new life, the old way of life is gone, and I am now set apart as unto the Lord for His service!” But we must remember that God is also speaking through Baptism. He is saying to all who observe, “trust in Jesus, be washed, be made new, My Son passed through the waters of My wrath so that you could pass through unharmed.” Baptism proclaims the Gospel through symbolism and it is for this reason that we consistently baptize those who believe.
For the one baptizing (in this case, Jon Severns and myself as representatives of Emmaus) this is also a significant event. It reminds us that our primary mission is to make disciples. We love it when someone comes to Christ and is baptized, but it is only the start. We celebrate the new life in Christ and the power of the gospel but we are also reminded that we, as the church, are to play a large role in the sanctification process of the one being baptized.
My prayer for us, Emmaus, is that every time we perform a baptism we would rejoice in new life, be reminded of the gospel, and also see the one baptized as a new part of the Christian family – one to be cared for, encouraged, and exhorted within the context of Christian Community where a love for God and a love for one another reigns supreme.
One of the steps in the baptism preparation process at Emmaus is for the baptism candidate to write out their personal testimony.
Below is the testimony of Carolina Gutierrez:
“Sometimes it’s not until you sit down and actually think about how far God’s sovereignty has brought you are able to just how unworthy you are and how great He is.
I was raised Catholic and my entire family is Catholic. I grew up going to a small church in San Jacinto. In High School I stopped attending and did not start to attend again until I was 19. As many other teens do, I found myself caught up in parties and completely lacked a passion for The Lord.
I came to Christ sometime around January 2011 but the work in my heart started October 2010. At the time I was still attending both my childhood Catholic perish and regularly attending a college aged Christian Bible study. I was also “church hoping” between Christian churches. I swiftly found myself identifying with my brothers and sisters in Christ at this Bible study and feeling completely overwhelmed with a sense of awe during worship to the degree that I would be brought to tears on different occasions. God began to move in my life, giving me a desire to know Him, to seek Him above all other things.
I am still challenged in who I am daily, but God’s faithfulness in every factor of my life is what I hold strong to. I always knew I wanted to teach but the Lord has placed in me a passion for His suffering children. He has given me a thirst to be uncomfortable in means of severing these children.
Aside from what He has done inside of me, He has blessed me abundantly with a diverse church family that is constantly challenging me and uplifting me. But above all these things that I have listed the greatest gift of all is God’s love and saving grace. I am constantly reminded of how imperfect I am and how mighty He is, and the yet in all my imperfection I am still His child and He is in control of it all.
The relationship I have with Christ is something I had longed for my entire life. He has filled the emptiness that nothing else was able to fill. His sovereignty and His timing in bringing me to salvation is something I will forever stand in awe of.”