Weddings are universal; they’ve been practiced across the globe since before recorded time. Different cultures have added their own flavors and traditions, but some elements never change. One thing is certain – marriage will change your life! And it’s also the perfect illustration for another major life event.
Before we get to that, welcome to “Mornings with Bishop Robert” — where we’re all about seeing lives changed. My goal is to introduce people to the Jesus they never knew, and help them get to know Him and His word personally – and better ! If our time together today speaks to your heart, then let me invite you to like, subscribe and share it with a friend!
Weddings join two people and make them into one family. Over time that family may grow through the addition of children, and that will surely change many elements of its nature; but at the core remain the two who became one. God designed marriage. Jesus taught that, “from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female. For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” In a Christian marriage the couple are joined together by God, not the minister leading the service. That’s why Jesus said that what God has joined together man should not separate. It’s not a mere civil act but a spiritual one.
Now we’re going to round a corner and apply the illustration of marriage to another life changing event. You’ll want to focus in close for a bit. I want to share something that’s important, and it goes a little deeper than I typically do. But it’s important, and worth the extra effort. So let’s dive into it together, shall we?
Today’s verse says REPENT AND BE BAPTIZED
A couple of days ago in “Finding Love” we spoke about knowing true love when you see it. Not just recognizing it, but taking hold of it. Yesterday in “Simple Math” we spoke about what repentance is. Turning around, changing direction. But that begs the question, “If I’ve decided to turn around and begin walking with Jesus – How do I do that??” Once you’ve recognized the love of Jesus, once you know how much He wants a relationship with you and have decided that you want a relationship with Him, too; what’s next?
The first part of the verse talks about establishing the relationship. That’s the REPENT part. You recognize that you’ve been going in the wrong direction, and you decide to change that. So, instead of walking alone, you decide to turn around and start following Jesus. It’s a commitment of faith that begins a relationship of love. You tell God that your thoughts, words and actions have been leading you away from Him, and you know it. You thank Him for forgiving all of your sin through the death and resurrection of His Son, Jesus. You give Him your life and ask Him to fill you with His.
In the realm of human relationships, when one person has agreed to give themselves to one another exclusively and forever they get married. It’s a public statement of the depth of their love and the strength of their commitment. In the realm of spiritual relationships, when a person has agreed to give themselves to Jesus Christ exclusively and forever they get baptized. It, too, is a public statement of the depth of their love and the strength of their commitment. In both cases, God does something spiritual and significant that is above and beyond the mere physical actions that can be seen with the naked eye.
Baptism is to faith what marriage is to a couple.
The couple already love one another deeply, the marriage is intended to declare that officially and publicly. Already joined together emotionally, God joins them spiritually and invites them to be joined together physically. As the two become one they become the channel from which new life can flow. They have become a unique family, and at the same time have been joined to one another’s existing families in a true and legal manner. The outward and visible signs of marriage are the vows and often a ring. But only part of what is taking place can be seen with our physical eyes, the spiritual changes are the most significant.
Baptism has striking parallels. You already love God deeply, baptism is intended to declare that officially and publicly. In baptism God joins you spiritually with Christ in His death and resurrection and invites you to be joined together physically as you live out your life for Him. Thus joined to Him, you become the channel from which new life can flow as you allow Him to empower you by His Spirit and you use the gifts and talents He has given you to advance His Kingdom here on earth. In baptism you are joined to His Church, which is His existing family on earth, in a true and legal manner. Only part of what is taking place can be seen with our physical eyes, the spiritual changes are the most significant.
Marriage doesn’t create the relationship between the couple, it codifies it, makes it “official” and marks it off as something that everyone recognizes as focused and dedicated. It’s a public proclamation that the couple intends to stay together till death parts them. Baptism says all the same things. (Except that death will not part you from Christ!)
In both marriage and baptism, God does something specific and deliberate. As He does, the very nature of the affected relationship is forever changed. Both marriage and baptism are acts of incredible faith, trust, love and commitment to the other party. Both will change your life forever.
If you’ve come to love Jesus and have turned around to walk with Him, He’s proposing. He’s asking who wants to publicly and permanently commit their life to Him. Isn’t it time to say “I DO” ?
REPENT AND BE BAPTIZED