The Heart of the Baptized
Thank God! Today, the church will conduct its 11th Baptism service. There are 14 members who will be baptized in water before God and the multitude, pronouncing that they have been reborn and saved and are the children of God. Today, they consent to unite with Jesus Christ through the ceremony of Baptism, to be gathered under the name of the Lord, to die and to live with the Lord, and to manifest the powerful changes in their lives by God. May all glory, praise and thanks be to our everlasting, loving, righteous and faithful Father in Heaven and to our Gracious Lord, Jesus Christ, who is the Head of the Church.
The significance of the ceremony of Baptism is to express how God performed His miraculous work on the persons of sinners, and demonstrate His great power of change and grace of salvation. Since we have been recipients of God’s mercy, our lives should be equal to the power and grace of the Gospel and reflect the example of Christ. We should all live imbued with the heart of the Baptized as follows:
1. “With purpose of heart …. continue with the Lord.” (Acts 11:23) The heart is the core of a person’s feelings, thoughts and wills. Those being baptized into the Lord must resolve to follow Him, submit to Him emotionally, mentally and mindfully, and live their whole lives by Him. After Baptism, Satan will still employ the desires of the flesh and the attractions of the world to test, entice, obstruct and attack the disciples of the Lord so that we would stumble and even abandon God. Therefore, we must constantly submit to the Holy Spirit and resist the devil with a steadfast faith.
2. “Brethren, do not be children in understanding; however, in malice be babes, but in understanding be mature.” (1 Corinthians 14:20) Here, heart should be translated as understanding or mind. We would rather be ignorant of all evil or bad things in fear of offending God, but grow constantly in spiritual awareness and become more sensitive to the will of God. Not only should we be discerning of right and wrong, but we should have the wisdom to discern goodness and perfection, and the courage to obey the word of God.
3. “That you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.” (Ephesians 4:22-24) The original word denoting heart here is comprised of two words: spirit and mind. Baptism is a new milestone in a person’s dedication to the Lord and following Him. We must continuously replace old with new in our spirit and mind, constantly renewing with the help of the Holy Spirit, so that people will see in us the Lord.
4. “Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so …. that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel.” (Philippians 1:27) Heart here refers to having one spirit. Baptized members are joining the church. Therefore they must coordinate with and support the goals and directions of the church, strive to unite as one in the Holy Spirit, be at peace with one another, and vitalize the church.
5. “Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind.” (1 Peter 4:1) Here, heart should be translated as thoughtfulness or intent. Baptizing into the Lord and uniting with Him is having a part in the life and death, glory and shame of Jesus Christ. We must be mentally prepared to suffer for the sake of the Lord and the Gospel at any time and in any place, not fearing the cost, and not fearing humiliation for the name of Christ because we will receive the greatest reward in heaven.