Acts 2:36-41; "Repent With Baptism"
Many years ago The Reverend T. T. Shields was addressing a convention of Baptists here in Canada. For those of you who are familiar with the name you know that Mr. Shields, Reverend Shields is a Titan in Canadian Baptist life. He was a stalwart of the old convention. In those days, in the 50s and 60s, evangelical, specifically Baptist theology and Baptist practice had fallen on hard times. Dr Shields was raised up I believe by the Lord to call his people back to a faithful walk. He gave an address, at that time, to the convention and he made this introductory remark. He said quote, "I have sometimes thought that we need a kind of rescue mission for fallen words. For words like persons sometimes go astray. They walk" ( and he's quoting Psalm 1), "They walk in the council of the unGodly, they stand in the path of the wicked, and they often sit in the seat of the scoffers, with the inevitable result that they lose their proper influence and power. These words need to be rescued and brought back again into a right relationship." and then going further to critique at that time the status of Baptists, he said, " Regarding Baptists, I am not particularly wedded to a name. I told our convention that why yes I am a Baptist, I am a Baptist in the sense that I believe the principles for which Baptists have historically stood, but if you empty the name Baptist of its content and make it mean something opposite to that for which it has historically stood then you may have the name and I will keep the principles." I wonder if Dr. Shields were alive today what he would think of our modern Baptist movement. In response to Dr. Shields I would probably say, "Sir, most churches are also jettisoning the name so you can keep both the name and the principles if you’d like.” As we look around it is not a name that is endearing to many. “First Baptist Church” is a bit of an anachronism in the sense that we hold to an old name and a peculiar way of expressing it, putting the word "First” in front of it. We are a Baptist church and we are the first one here in Kamloops so Yay us, First Baptist that's who we are. At the same time, we look around and there aren't really too many other churches that hold the name Baptist, which leads us to a question. What do we actually mean when we say this? What are we getting at when we say we're Baptists? What are we intending to convey to the world around us. If it's worthy of putting in our name, is it worthy to explain what it is that is happening when we say the word Baptize or when we call ourselves Baptists? If you've ever wondered where exactly it is we are going when we make that statement to the world when we identify ourselves that way, I want you to understand that that comes right here from Acts chapter 2 and what’s happening at Pentecost. Now we've been walking through this event, you'll recall Peter and The 11 along with a number of others stood up and began preaching having been filled with the Holy Spirit, having been empowered to proclaim the gospel in various other languages and various other tongues they began to proclaim the truth about Jesus Christ and who He was. Now I want you to image yourself there that day, it's you and your friend Bob and you’re sitting there listening to this sermon unfold and as you’re hearing what Peter is proclaiming, your friend Bob leans over and begins to chuckle and begins to scorn Peter and says " Man these guys! They've been drinking, it's only 9 in the morning but look at them, they've obviously popped the cork off the ol' wineskin just a little early and here they are acting like a bunch of hooligans and preaching drunk." and while you initially laugh along with your friend Bob, you can't help but listen to Peter as he begins to expound The Word of God, he takes you to several of the Psalms written by David. He helps you to understand David’s intention in those Psalms .He shows you how the Psalm which David has written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit could not be referencing David. He quotes a Psalm regarding The Holy One not being allowed to see corruption and He expounds. He says this isn't talking about David because David’s tomb is with us to this day. David has died, his body is still here. He quotes another Psalm in which he says, " The Lord said to My Lord sit at my right hand until I make your enemies your footstool" and of course we would assume that this is a reference to David, that David has gone home to be with The Lord, that he is the messianic king the one we are to be waiting for. We might misinterpret the Psalm that way, that David is waiting to be restored, but Peter makes it explicitly clear. There you are listening with your friend Bob as he's chuckling and scorning and mocking these guys whom he presents to you as being drunk and being filled with new wine a little too early in the morning. And Peter says to you I'm not talking about David, the hero of Israel, the one to whom all the nation of Israel, all Jews everywhere look up to and revere. He says there is one who is greater than David who has risen from the dead. This Psalm is not talking about David it is talking about Jesus and he makes it very clear verse 36, let all the house of Israel, let all of you know therefore know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you and he points the finger, you crucified. Of course by the hands of lawless men, yet all of us as a part of this fallen world were participants in that grisly murder. Though your friend Bob is laughing and chuckling and saying "get a load of this guys, standing on a soap box here in the middle of the compound preaching away about this Jesus” ... you know it's true. Scripture says that there were many that were there that were cut to the heart. The Spirit has come as Jesus promised in John 15. Convicting the world of sin in righteousness and judgement and though Peter is giving a very simple gospel sermon and though there are many gathered there who are mocking him, who are belittling his message, there are at least 3,000 in the crowd that day who sensed the weight of the moment who understand that a decision is being presented to them. So you call out, “What should we do brothers? We killed Jesus now what? We crucified the Son of God. What recourse do we have? We have taken the Messiah, The Holy One, The Anointed One of Israel and we snuffed out His life and we failed even at that. What can we do?" to which Peter then says, "Repent" number 1. Number 1 repent and number 2, “be Baptised.” His statement here in this particular sermon as a conclusion, he offers an invitation. They say what should we do, and he says if you want to square this away, if you want to get right, the first thing you need to do is you need to repent of your sins, you need to change your way of life and you do that through the process of baptism. Now that's a controversial statement and I want to walk you carefully through it but we need to understand that in the apostle Peters mind, when he finishes this sermon, here at Pentecost, he does not see the distinction which we all emphasis in the current day that there is somehow a profound world of being a Christian and walking with Jesus and that Baptism is a sort of optional add on when you're ready. That’s not the way that Peter presents it, that's not the way that we believe, that is not the way The Scriptures hold it forth for us this morning. Number 1, Peter says repent. Historically Christians, Orthodox Christians have always understood that when we enter into a relationship with Jesus it means a separation from who we used to be to whom we are now called to be. It means a distinction between the lives that we used to live between the lives that we are now living. Theologians refer to this as a "separation', a coming out from the world and there are numerous Scriptures that speak to this. Jesus himself taught this, don't flip there but just listen. In Mathew chapter 10, Jesus teaching of the Kingdom of Heaven makes the statement, "Everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in Heaven, but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in Heaven." Now right off the bat as Jesus is saying that, you begin to get the impression that although Christianity although beginning a relationship with Jesus Christ is intensely personal a personal transaction that happens between you and The King, although it is personal, listen to me carefully, it is never private. Say it again; although it is personal it is never private. Jesus’ statement is if anyone would be a follower of Christ, He says you will acknowledge Him before men and if you do not want to acknowledge Him before man, if you would keep it private such that no one would know, such that the no one would know that you are a follower of Jesus ,if you would be ashamed of Christ and what He has done for you on the cross, such that the world around you would not know your faith, would not know that you are a Christian, Jesus' statement following that first statement is, "If you deny me before men, I also will deny you before my Father who is in Heaven. " There's this mentality that's out there, it's prevalent even to this day, that somehow Jesus is this sort of kind old aunt that just shows up whenever you need Him to give you little chocolates and goodies and He's full of sentimental notions that are intended to reassure you in the moment you fall down and scrap your knee. That He's there just to be some sort of a cosmic genie, some sort of a wonderful Santa Clause that is going to make everything perfect for you. This is not the Jesus that Peter is preaching. Peter is preaching a King who could not be killed. I don't know how many of you who have ever had tough aunts that came with tough love and would wrap your knuckles with a ruler and say, "you better smarten up and straighten up!" Whatever we may think about Jesus, the idea that He is some sort of sentimental old maid that's just there to speak to us in a squeaky voice and reassure us with hollow and empty words, that is foreign to New Testament Christianity as alien to the true Gospel. Peter preaching Jesus says,” You killed Him, He could not be killed. He came back.” Their response is “what now?” They understand the significance of what they’ve done before Almighty God." Brothers what should we do?" Peter's statement is repent. That is, your life must now become profoundly different. Your direction must be totally reoriented. The way that you approach the world, the way that you approach life, the way that you interact with your friends, the way that you interact with your colleagues at work, and even people who are members of your own family, even within your own house hold, that must change. In case you're wondering again this is Jesus' exact words in Mathew chapter 10. He says, “If you acknowledge me before men, I acknowledge you before my Father. If you deny me before men, I will deny you before my Father.” So we know that this is a faith that requires confession and hardship. Because His next statement is, “Do not think that I have come to bring peace on the Earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father and a daughter against her mother and daughter in-law against her mother in- law and a person's enemies will be those of his own household." Time and again we encounter people who say, “I love Jesus, I want to be saved, I'm not prepared to share this with my family, I'm not prepared to share this with my collogues at work, I'm not prepared to say out loud what is happening in my heart.” and this is where for you and me as Christians who believe in what baptism is really all about, this is where things get really difficult. We recognize that faith is absolutely a transaction that takes place in the hidden part of a man's heart within his soul, yet the Scriptures universally proclaim, that when a transformation takes place in a person’s heart, you will be able to observe a manifold change on the outside, such that his life will be different, such that his behavior will be different. Jesus says it's going to involve acknowledging and confessing Him before men but there are other passages that speak to this issue. For example, 2nd Corinthians 6:14-18, the apostle Paul speaking to the church at Corinth makes the statement “do not be unequally yoked with un believers” employing the metaphor of yoke that is used on the back of oxen. You have two oxen pulling a plow, they work together, they're yoked together and Paul's statement is “you're not to be unequally yoked,” that is in an unfair way strapped to an unbeliever, someone who rejects Christ. " What partnership,” He goes on, “what partnership has righteousness to do with lawlessness, what fellowship has light to do with darkness, what accord has Christ with Belial , what portion does a believe share with an unbeliever, what agreement has the Temple of God with idols, we are the temple of The Living God as God has said, " and he's going to quote, "I will make My dwelling among them, I will walk among them, I will be their God and they shall be my people, therefore go out from their midst and be separate, touch no unclean thing, touch no unclean thing, and I will welcome you and I will be a Father to you and you shall be sons and daughters to me, say's The Lord Almighty." I've shared this story before but many years ago when I was living in Bryan Texas with my wife Shanti, we were attending a church there and our nearly wed/ newlywed Sunday school class that we were a part of, there was another lady there, her name was Jen and she was engaged to a man named Quinn and I've told you about Quinn before. Quinn was not a Christian; Jen was a passionate follower of Jesus. Quinn proposed, she accepted, they got engaged, Quinn and Jen did, but as their engagement progressed, Jen came to realize that there were just too many differences in their lives; too many things that they just viewed differently because she was a follower of Jesus and Quinn was not. And it came to a point where she began to say to Quinn, "I don't think I can go through with the marriage." Low and behold, Quinn started showing up to church every week, started coming to Sunday school every week. I'd been witnessing to Quinn for several years, we had gotten together, we had played chess on a regular basis on our lunch hour and I shared the gospel with him many, many times. This wasn't a man who hadn't heard the Bible; this wasn't a man who hadn't had it explained to him multiple times. He'd had after the course of many, many lunch meetings after the course of many, many chess matches, ample opportunity to ask questions, to understand, to think about it and so we were thrilled when he came forward one Sunday and he said that he wanted to become a Christian. We were thrilled! Of course I sit down with him because I'd been working with him. Began to talk about discipleship and what the next steps of his faith look like and when he begins to walk with Christ how he should begin to think about his involvement in church and he began to ask lots of questions and he was very enthusiastic and very eager and very zealous. Of course I've shared this with you there came a moment in time, a couple weeks thereafter in which I said we need to talk about baptism, he said okay. I went to my pastor, reverend Chris Osborn, I said, “Pastor Chris, Quinn has given his life to the Lord, we need to sit down, we need to have a meeting, we need to talk about Baptism." So I set it up, it's going to be Saturday morning, 9:00 in the morning; we're going to meet for breakfast. I show up, my pastor shows up, Quinn is a no show. He's not there. Now he's a university student, I was a bit of an older university student I served for a few years in the marine core so I had like punctuality being on time. That sort of stuff was drilled into me, but I understood the average university student they kinda come and go, there not really on time, they show whenever they want. I love you university students! Love you! But you know this is true. So I called him up I said "Hey, you missed breakfast the other day what's going on?" He was like,
"Oh yah, I slept in, I was out late the night before, I forgot" blah, blah, blah, "Let's set it up next Saturday." So I set it up for him. Next Saturday, me, my pastor, Quinn, he doesn't show up. Talking with Jen, I said, "What's going on with Quinn is he getting cold feet? What's going on?" Jen's statement was, "You know, he can say to you guys that he wants Jesus, but he can't say it to all the rest of his friends. He can't say it to all the rest of his family; in fact outside of the Sunday school where we've been attending these last several weeks, He can't say it to anyone. And we began to see less and less of Quinn at Sunday school as it turned out and I pursued him. All of us have been there we've had friends who we thought were right there ready to do it and then something happened and we lovingly chased after them and I had called him multiple times, multiple times, finally we got together after him avoiding me, having quit playing chess with me, having quit showing up for all of our usual times together. I finally got together with him, and I said "listen what's the deal?" and he said,
“I love Jen, and I wanted Jesus to make my marriage with her, my engagement with her, work.” He said, “ Just between you and me and please don't repeat this to the rest of the Sunday School, just between you and me, I will never ever like Jesus, going to church, worshipping Him, reading the Bible. I will never ever turn away from all of the other activities that I'm involved in with all of my friends. Just between you and me, Jesus will never ever have the final say, the final authority of what happens in my life, and I will not come for baptism, because I will not make that statement to anyone." Now in that moment, it's not a failure of the gospel to be proclaimed, in that moment the gospel has been faithfully proclaimed and it has cut exactly as The Lord has intended it to. Quinn's statement to me was I wanted Jesus for my marriage; I didn't want Jesus for Jesus. We're sitting here today, the 21st century. We say we're Baptist's we invite people into church, we say love Christ, trust in Jesus, accept what He's done for you on the cross, and all too often what we turn it into is, you just sit there quietly in your chair thinking about whether or not you believe these things are true and if you think that they are true, the end, case closed, the finished story has been written, you need not say anything further, you need not do anything further, that's it for you. But that was not it for Peter at Pentecost. The decisions that we make when we hear the gospel are just the same time of the decisions as what they had to make back in the 1st century, and many of us have a story which we can recall being at a meeting somewhere at a church worship service somewhere, somebody began to proclaim the gospel for the first time in our lives, Christ began to work in our lives, the Holy Spirit began to draw us, we came to a place where we knew it was real. Many of you, I've heard you tell stories where you gripped the pew in front of you, you knew you had to go forward, you knew you had to say that Jesus was King, you knew that was the call from Him on your life and you were fighting it and wrestling and yet you still came. There are people who hear that call and do not come. This is the call, "What do we do brothers? We recognize Jesus has been crucified. We understand our complicity in His murder, we know that the Son of God has been given up for all the sins of the world, what now?!" Peter does not say just sit there quietly and say a little prayer in your own heart and you are good to go. He says, " Repent," that is you got to come out and be different from the world, your whole life has to change, your whole orientation, the way that you make decisions, the things that you do, everything now is on the table, everything is up for The Lords scrutiny, and everything is going to be given to him and he follows that with this, once you make that commitment, you will come and be baptized. You're standing there in Acts Chapter2 on the day of Pentecost. Your friend Bob is making fun of all these hooligans and saying they're a bunch of drunkards drinking wine too early in the morning, I guarantee you the guy that was there that heard the call to come forward and be baptized, did his own version of gripping the pew, thinking about his friend and all the other Jews in Jerusalem who are gathered together for Pentecost have been a part of the murder of Jesus and here you are thinking, you are to go forward in front of all of them and acknowledge Christ as Savior and Lord. It was no easier for them then it was for you. In fact it was harder for them than it is for you. We do baptism in a free country, we have been blessed by Lord Almighty to worship in a country that at least for the time being grants us the privilege the freedom to worship according to the dictates of our own conscience as we see fit and at least for the time being no one is going to come in here and hurt us or tell us that we can't do it. They did not enjoy that luxury in the 1st century. They did not have the freedom of worship here in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost that you and I enjoy here in 2018 at First Baptist Church. If you choose to surrender your life to Christ, you come forward, you say, I want to make a public statement of my faith in Jesus, we're going to put you in a baptistery that has relatively warm water in it, heated-sort of... You're going to share your testimony amongst friends, they will be happy to hear your testimony although when you look out at first you're going to be nervous because it's not going to look like they're happy because they're all like very intently looking at you but they are delighted to hear what Christ has done in your life. In the 1st century the call to surrender, the call to yield to Jesus as king did not come in a private sanctuary in a free country; it did not come in a secluded area where we knew all the rest of the people watching us were believers just like we were. It came in the nitty gritty down and dirty public streets. The call was to acknowledge Jesus, to repent of your sins and to acknowledge Him through the act of baptism. Christ was saying that the way that you acknowledge Him before men, through this sermon at Pentecost is by proclaiming that your old life has ended that you have died to your sins and that by the power of Christ you've been raised to walk a new life. Now we're looking here at Acts and I know that there are the scholars and the theologians in the room and you say the book of Acts is historical narrative, it's of a particular type of genre, there are things in The Book of Acts which are descriptive talking about what happened in the first century church in Jerusalem thousands of years ago, it is descriptive and sure there are things we can learn from it that would be helpful for us today, but we shouldn't run into the danger of saying that a 1st century text that is descriptive of a 1st century church is necessarily prescriptive, that is to prescribe how we are to be living today. You read this statement from Peters and he says, hey repent and be baptized for the forgiveness of sins and you say "Hey pastor, I know for a fact there's guy that dies on a cross next to Jesus and Jesus' is getting made fun of on the guy on the one side of him, and the one thief says, “ hey leave him alone, we deserve what is happening to us but this guy hasn't done anything wrong, he doesn't deserve to be made fun of and ridiculed, he doesn't deserve what is happening to him.” That guy then turns to Jesus and say's “hey Jesus remember me when You come into your kingdom.” Pastor I know I've read that, it's in one of the gospels it may be in more than one. What about that preacher?" We take an event such as salvation, this is what we do, as systematic theologians, as good Bible scholars, what we do is we take this thing and we put it under a microscope and then we take our little knobs on the microscope and we zoom in, and we zoom in and we get it in focus and we get it all nice and neat under the microscope and what we discover is that you're right. Baptism, the actually act of being dunked in water of a symbolic portrayal of dying to your old way of life and being raised to a new way of life is not essential, not necessary to salvation. We step back and we see the thief on the cross crying out to Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom, we recognize Jesus response today you will be with me in paradise, Jesus promising him salvation. We can look at the whole process of Salvation, we know that the Holy Spirit comes, that it begins to open our hearts, it begins to reveal to us truth from the Scripture. We know that even though it may be a process of slowly coming into a proper view and a proper perspective of Jesus that there is never the less a point in time. It is in fact punctiliar, in which we click, something happens. It may have been a long process. For some of us we may not even know the exact moment when we decided to surrender our lives to Jesus, for some of us it's an awareness that comes to us. However you may have experienced it, we know that it is a point in time. We know that there is a decision that is made and that that point in time then leads to God willing, a public confession as Peter prescribes in here in Acts chapter 2, through baptism. I think any pastor who ever pastored for any length of time, has a story they can share with you in which they knew a guy in the hospital who's on his death bed, he's in the intensive care unit and he's not going to make it and there's really no way to move him from there over to the church and dunk him and water and he's on his death bed and he's like I've made a hash of my life and I want forgiveness of sins, I want to be forgiven, I want to have Jesus and I think most every pastor can share with you a story in which they've gone to the ICU they've prayed at the 11th 12th hour. They shared the gospel this man has affirmed his faith in Jesus and when it comes to the topic of baptism the issue is never raised, because it is impossible for him, just as it was impossible for thief of the cross. We all can share stories like that but here's the danger, we come to a passage like Acts chapter 2 we see the call to come forward and acknowledge Jesus as Lord which Peter gives. We look at this passage and we say this is purely descriptive of what's happening it's not prescriptive, we put it all under the microscope we zoom in we say nope, it is possible and the atomic molecular level to see a distinction between a person getting save by faith and surrendering in baptism. The problem that we make when we do all of that is that we lose the true picture of the gospel. The gospel isn't to be viewed all the time under a microscope. You can lose sight of the forest by starring intently at the leaf of one tree. There's a picture that Christ gives to the world as a beautiful forest and we can become so enamored with the microscopical, what's happening on one little nano meter of one section of one leaf, that we forget the fact that we are standing in a beautiful forest. We hear Peter making this statement repent and be baptized. Our little Baptist, theological wheels start to spin and we say well but baptism isn't necessary for Salvation he probably wasn't saying that. Go with me to 1st Peter chapter 3, same guy, different book. Acts we have historical narrative, but 1 Peter is what we call didactic in genre that is it is prescriptive for the church. It is teaching certain truths that are to be honored and obeyed by those who would follow Christ as king. Now listen to what Peter says here in 1st Peter chapter 3. I want you to pick it up with me in verse 21. He's been talking about Noah and the Ark and how God saved through judgment the men and women who would become the basis for the future of the human race as well as all the animals that would then provide for all the rest of the creatures that would live on the earth. He says that God saved through the waters of judgment on an Ark. Noah and his family and all the animals and now notices what he draws a comparison to, verse 21. Baptism which corresponds to this, to the Ark, now saves you. Did you hear what he said? Now read a little bit further. “Baptism now saves you not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience through the resurrection of Jesus Christ who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God with angels, authorities and power and having been subjected to Him. Now I'm a grammar nerd. There's a subject and a verb in that sentence. The verb is saved, what is the subject of the verb? What is the thing that is doing the action of the verb? The subject of that sentence is baptism. We can look at it under a microscope and we can say definitively you are saved as a result of your faith in what Jesus Christ through the drawing and the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit. We can put it under a microscope, we can zoom in, and we can say yes this is what it looks like at the molecular atomic level, but guys, this is real life. Theology from The Word of God can be picked apart and looked at the atomic molecular level but at the end of the day when we preach the gospel when we call for people to make a decision, when we ask people to confess Christ, we're not talking molecular, we're not talking atomic, we're talking real life. Peter's sermon at Pentecost was, you want to know what to do? You come to a place where you recognize you are complicit in the execution of The Holy One of Israel, Repent! And be baptized! We should never allow our theology to function in such a way that we start to talk about the Christian life in ways that foster and cultivate ongoing, continued rebellion to Jesus Christ. Your King commands you yield. We're preaching a sermon about a King. In the medieval days you come to this king whomever he may be, whether it was King Edward or King Richard and you would kneel before him, you would swear allegiance and fealty to him and you would commit to upholding his crown as the rightful sovereign. Here in the 21st century we come to our King and we say, “we love you we want your salvation I'll you know when I'm ready to yield publicly to you and declare allegiance to you.” Does that sound like any other king you've ever read about in any other story book? I get that Salvation is not tied to baptism but let me apply this to us really clearly today. As you were walking in this morning, you passed a sign that said " First Baptist Church " We're Baptists. You want to know what that mean, that means that we believe in proclaiming the gospel that is free to all men but that is not free. We believe in preaching a grace that is a gift but comes at a terrible cost and we preach you can have it, if you will repent in your heart, place your faith in Jesus Christ and if you will then acknowledge that and confess that before the world through the act of baptism. We're Baptists. Many, many years ago again in Texas working at a place "The Texas Engineering Extension Service." I was a Christian going to church. I'd been witnessing to everyone I was working with. There was a fellow there by the name of Tony Palmasado, Italian fellow, didn't talk like an Italian, we're in Texas, and we all talk like Texans. We use words like "Howdy" and "Ya'll." I got that question this morning, did he talk Italian? Not really. I'd been sharing with this guy for 2 straight years. We had talked about everything from abortion, homosexual marriage, we talked about what it meant to be a follower of Jesus, we disputed back and forth over the evidences of an intelligent design verses an evolved sort of creation. Every Sunday I would go to church, every Monday I'd come into work after school, Monday afternoon. I sit down before we began the day’s assignments, I'd sit down in the office there and like a passionate, crazy follower of Jesus, I began to talk about what the sermon was the Sunday before. I'd come into Monday it'd be about 1:00, I come in after church, I'd sit down, everybody is just finishing their lunch and I would always, almost always begin with the statement, "you guys want to hear what I heard yesterday?" and there would this groan like "oh no not again! He's going to start talking about something that has to do with the Bible." This one fellow, Tony Palmesado, still my dear friend to this day, love this guy! Time and again I invited him to come to church, give your life to Jesus. We worked together. There was another fellow who worked not in our office but across the way in a different department and one Sunday I was at church. This guy’s name was Dan and the church that Shanti and I went to at that time was a large church over a thousand people. And we are at church one Sunday and there was a baptism and low and behold Dan was getting baptized. I didn't even know Dan went to my church it was that large and I stood up and I was like yes! I'm not the only one anymore at “The Texas engineering extension service.” Now we're two! And Dan read his testimony, my pastor baptized him and I thought Yes! Yes! Because Dan was also really good friends with my buddy Tony. I said , “this is my moment.” Go to work Monday, I'm on cloud nine, I'm happy as can be, it's go time. I sit down it's about 1, 1:30. I get to work I said, “Hey Guys,” they say
“hey how it is going.”
“You want to know what happened at church yesterday."
“Oh no here we go again.” I said,
“no no no, I'm not going to talk to you about The Bible I got something else for you" They’re like,
“Oh really what's that?" I said
"Dan from the electrical department got baptized yesterday!" They said,
"What!?" I said,
"Yeah! He got saved, he came forward he acknowledge Jesus as Lord over His Life! He got baptized!" Tony, whose good friends with Dan says to me,
“No way!" I said
“Yes!" He said,
"Yesterday?!" I say
“Yes!" He says,
"No Way!" I said,
“Why do you find that impossible to believe? Do you not think that Jesus can save people?" He says,
“I was out drinking with Dan last night." … ‘Okay not the end of the world.’ I said
“okay", I mean it did take a bit of the wind out of my sails. We're working, latter in the day, he's says,
“hey it's our 15! Let's go down and visit Dan in the electrical department." So okay. Now I didn't know Dan very well, Dan didn't know me. I just knew Dan was there and he was friends with Tony and I had seen him get baptized the day before at our church. So we go down to the electrical department, my buddy Tony walks in and as is the custom, the standard for this particular work environment, he lets loose with a string of epithets’ and swear words. Dan greats him in a similar manner, and I think to myself, "oh man, I don't know how this is going to go." and Tony walks up to him and they shake hands and I'm kinda trying along. He says " So hey Dan I hear a funny story about you." He says,” I heard you got baptised yesterday." and Dan turns several shades of bright red and he began to curse and swear and he said,” who told you that filthy lie?!” He says “ you know me, I'd never become a Bible thumping’, Christian!" To which Tony then turns and points right at me. “This guy said he was there and he saw you yesterday." and I didn't say a word. I looked him in his eyes and I do believe he was a Christian cause in that moment I sensed his shame. In that moment I understood, he and I both, his cowardice. His king died for him, but he couldn't share his faith with his own best friend and I didn't say a word. Conversation continued, I went home that night, I wept before my wife, because I believed at the time that there were not two of us, there were only one of us and another that was a lair. We moved on, life took us to other places; I received a letter about a year ago. 15 years after the fact… Tony got saved! Couple years after we moved on, Dan had gone to Tony and said, “I owe you an apology, I did in fact surrender to Christ and I do desire to acknowledge him before you. All the partying that we do is over, all the women chasing that we used to engage in is finished, I belong to Jesus.” And though I had spent 2 years sharing to Tony, none of that had had any effect, but Dan was able to lead Tony to the Lord. Christ calls for a public acknowledgment, that He is Lord. I can sit here and say well it's meant to be a witness of this, it's meant to speak of this theological truth, it's meant to point to that issue of there. I can give you all the reasons but is it not enough that your King commands you to yield? And if it's not, then is He really your King? If Dr. Shields were here today I really don't know what he would say regarding the state of affairs of Baptist life. He probably would not have a high regard for it, but this is true, I'm a Baptist and you're a Baptist because we believe that we've been given a gift in baptism to proclaim what Christ has done in our hearts. It's a sacred opportunity though nothing sacred happens in the water. It's a great privilege and one which we should all take advantage of. Let's pray, Father I pray God that as we come to the end of this message as we hear Peter's word's Repent and be Baptized that we would acknowledge that in Baptism we have an opportunity to appeal to You for a clean conscience, that we have an opportunity to proclaim to the world that through Your Son and what He has done for us by raising from the dead, we too can walk in a new life. We recognize that You are Our King and that we are called to proclaim Your Kingship to all the world. We also know Lord that we are also not always faithful in doing that, help us Father to obey, we pray these things in Jesus name Amen."