Celebrating New Life!
I love this time of year! The seasonal changes are so exhilarating, especially moving from the lifeless winter to the new life of spring. There is something inspiring about barren branches giving way to blooming buds of life. The Easter season is always marked by new, resurrected life!
On Sunday, Watermark had the opportunity to celebrate new life as 13 believers took a huge faith step into the baptismal waters to mark their new lives in Christ. Each one wore a shirt with the inscription, “Made New” and the reference to this verse: 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 2 Corinthians 5:17
There is nothing more inspiring than changed lives! And at Watermark, we are so grateful to be a part of the faith journey of these new Believers. We are looking forward to seeing the Lord work in their lives in the months and years to come to grow them into fully devoted disciples. We are committed to doing our part to help them mature in their faith.
After Jesus’ resurrection, He spent the next 40 days appearing to hundreds, teaching His disciples and preparing them for His departure. Just before His ascension, Jesus gave His disciples, and us, our marching orders. We call it The Great Commission because it is the great, driving force and the ultimate purpose for us as Believers and for the New Testament Church!
18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20
Jesus doesn’t have limited authority, He has infinite authority. (Matthew 28:18; Philippians 2:9-11))
Weeks before this, Jesus had been humiliated on the cross, as He bore our sins, but the time of humiliation was over. At this point, Jesus makes crystal clear that He has all the authority in the world and in heaven, and with His infinite authority clearly noted, Jesus gives us our marching orders.
The Great Commission is not The Great Suggestion
Jesus’ powerful, authoritative directive is not a suggestion; and let’s face it, sometimes we don’t take it seriously enough. Jesus didn’t leave any room for waffling on this one.
Christ-followers are commanded to “make disciples.” (Matthew 28:19a) Then Jesus tells us exactly how to do that, giving us the three essential ingredients for disciple-making.
1) Going. (Matthew 28:19a; Acts 1:8)
Jesus’ desire is for us to make disciples of all people, around the globe. That includes those who are lost and far from God in Zambia and Somalia and those who are lost and far from God where we work out and hang out every day. Making disciples is not a passive endeavor for Believers; it is a conscious, intentional, daily mission. Going could mean boarding a plane to travel to the far reaches of the earth, or more often, going means being intentional where you work, play, and spend your day making disciples!
Look for opportunities to strike up faith conversations, invest in a newer Believer to help them mature in their faith, attend a life group or two to come alongside other Believers. Making disciples is our mission as we are going through life on a daily basis.
2) Baptizing. (Matthew 28:19b)
Baptism is important for so many reasons:
Baptism is a public profession of faith and discipleship.
Baptism is an act of obedience following salvation. (Acts 2:41)
Baptism signifies a person is a part of the family of Believers. (1 Cor. 12:13)
Baptism illustrates our death to sin and our new life in Christ. (Rom. 6:4;11)
The old life is ruled by sin, but the new life is ruled by righteousness. There is a change that takes place in our lives when we surrender to Christ as Savior and baptism vividly illustrates that real, life change. At Watermark, we talk a lot about lives being changed. We want to see lives changed! (Ezekiel 36:26; 2 Cor. 5:17; Eph. 2:1-5)
3) Teaching. (Matthew 20:20)
Committing to be a disciple of Jesus is not the end of the faith journey; it is really just the beginning of a life-long journey of learning what it means to fully follow Him. God has new lessons for us every day as we mature in our faith and learn His Word. His instruction for our lives is rich and when when follow His commands, life works; and when we don’t, life doesn’t work. Everyday, you and I can choose to allow God to teach us more about what it means to live our new life in Christ! (Eph. 4:22-24)
For much more, click here to watch our worship service and baptism celebration.