Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Understanding Water Baptism

Jesus commanded all those who believe in Him to be baptized in water (Matthew 28:18-19). See also Acts 2:38-41.

To be “baptized” means to be “total immersed”. The act of going under the water and rising up from it again is a picture demonstrating what has happened to the Christian believers.

There are four stages of Christ’s work pictured in His death, burial, resurrection, and ascension.

1. He Died—I died in Him. ”Knowing this, that our old man (old nature) is crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin; for he that is dead is freed from sin.” (Romans 6:6-7)

2. He was buried—I was buried with him. ”Therefore, we are buried with Him by baptism into death; that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we should walk in newness of life.” (Romans 6:4)

Water baptism is your funeral service! A burial service is not to kill a person. It is only performed when the person is dead already. And so, because you have “died” in Christ, you bury your old life in water baptism.

3. He was raised—”I was raised from the watery grave to live a new life in Him.” (Romans 6:4)

4. He ascended—I ascended in Him. “He has raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.”

Water baptism is a symbolic proclamation of the fact that believers have been buried with Christ and raised with Him. Water baptism is for all who believe in Christ and who repent of their sins (Acts 2:38). See also Mark 16:16. Baptism in water “fulfills all righteousness” (Matthew 4:15). Water baptism is an “answer of a good conscience toward God.” (1 Peter 3:21)

- Pastor Virgil Amundson

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Parental Responsibility to Train Children

The Apostle Paul writes in I Timothy 3:4, “One who rules well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity.” Paul considered the condition of the home so important that he wrote that a leader must have “….his children in subjection with all gravity.” This is important to understand because what happens in a person’s home is usually the true picture about what kind of leader their children will be. I know that when I look for new leaders or for people who will represent the ministry, I look at their children to see if they are respectful and understand authority. If children aren’t being taught that at home, this may be a sign that the parents do not value the things I count as important.

The word “gravity” comes from the Greek word ‘semnotes.’ It presents the idea of a person who carries himself with dignity and treats other people with courtesy and respect.

Through the years, I’ve learned that the way a person’s children speak to each other and to others outside the home is very revealing about what’s really happening behind closed doors in that home. Children usually mirror the true situation in a home. In other words, how they speak, carry themselves, and treat others usually reflects the quality of relationships in their home.

If a home is filled with love, respect, and teamwork, this is also evident in the way the children conduct themselves. Children who show respect and courtesy toward each other and toward other people have had that passed down to them by their parent’s example. When children are disrespectful toward authority and resentful when they’re asked to do something they think is too low for them to do, it usually means that they come from a home where a servant mentality is non-existent. Leaders who are servants most often have children who are servants.

If your children show disrespect toward each other and toward authority, you might ask the Lord to help you analyze the real situation in your life and your home so He can show you what is out of order. Then once He reveals it to you, determine to start today the proper steps to put things into good shape.

Confess that you are growing and developing as a parent. You are rearing your children to be godly leaders to the next generation. God’s Word is your guide. The Holy Spirit is your teacher. You are leading your family in a way that pleases God and is a good example to others. Declare this by faith in Jesus Name!

- Pastor Virgil Amundson

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Comfort to All Believers

“But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep (refers to believers who have died) that you sorrow not, even as others who have no hope.” (This concerns those who do not know the Lord who will have no part in the First Resurrection of Life and, therefore, no hope for Heaven.) I Thes. 4:13

While reflecting on the thoughts I shared this week for the funeral of Sharon Green, I was struck by this truth. Believers in Christ have a tremendous advantage of living without any fear of the future. We have such a powerful hope for our future.

Our life is a temporary assignment on this earth. To make the best of life we should never forget two important truths. First, compared with eternity, life, is extremely brief. Job 8:9 says, “For we were born but yesterday,…..our days on earth are as fleeting as a shadow.” Secondly, earth is only a temporary residence - it is not our permanent home nor is it our final destination.

The Psalmist David wrote “I am only a foreigner in the land.” (119:19) Our regal citizenship is in heaven. (Philippines 3:20) As believers, our identity is eternity! Our homeland is Heaven!

I believe that in order to keep us from becoming too attached to this earth, God allows us to feel a certain amount of discontent and dissatisfaction in life - longings that are never fulfilled this side of eternity. We are not completely happy here because we’re not supposed to be. Earth is not our final home. We were created for something much better! Of course we will have happy moments here, but nothing compared to what God has planned for our future.

Our time on earth is not the complete story of our life. We must wait until Heaven for the rest of the chapters. “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.” (I Corinthians 15:19) But it is in the “hope of Eternal Life, which God, who cannot lie, promised before the world began.” (Titus 1:2)

Unbelievers don’t have this hope. Philippians 3:19 NLT says “They think only about this life on earth.” Vs. 20 “But we are citizens of Heaven where the Lord Jesus Christ lives.” We all should be so thankful for our hope of heaven!

Pastor Virgil Amundson