Pastor Scott Summers
Student & Young Adult Pastor, Shiloh Community Church
Back in 2011, when Brooke and I were dating, I was a terrible person and broke up with her. At the time I had a 3-month rule, and I even told her on our first date, “Hey just to let you know, my longest relationship has been 3 months” (not the best thing to share on a first date). Anyway, we reached 3 months in our relationship so I met her at the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf right by Costco and I broke up with her. After I said what I wanted to say, she had a few things to share as well, and before we parted ways she said, “So how can I be praying for you?” I was not expecting that kind of response. I was thinking she might yell at me or something. I even made her order an iced drink instead of a hot one just in case she threw it at me—that’s a joke we didn’t order drinks. You don’t want to be there that long when you’re breaking up with someone. You want to start with, “It’s not you it’s me,” then she says, “you’re the worst,” then you say, “I know, if you never want to talk with me again I understand,” then she says, “I won’t!”(wash hands…end of relationship). Her response shook me though, and it even made me second-guess my decision to end things with her (clearly…7 years and 3 kids later). I left our break-up meeting and then called her when I realized that I didn’t ask her the same question. She’ll say that it was at that moment she knew that our break-up was only temporary.
Fast-forward a couple weeks and Brooke and I were at a young adult retreat with our
church at Lake Havasu (not together, still broken up). She had a mentor at the time who
encouraged her to get baptized, so she gave her testimony and was baptized in Lake
Havasu. It was a beautiful moment, and looking back, God gave me that sweet gift of
hearing my future wife’s testimony and witnessing her baptism. After her baptism, she
walked back to the shore and people were giving her hugs and congratulating her, so I
thought it would be good to go over to her as well. But instead of reaching out to hug her,
like a moron I lifted my hand to give her a high-five. She stopped, looked at my hand,
stared at my face in disgust, and said something like, “Are you really about to give me a
high-five for getting baptized?!” Realizing I had made the wrong gesture, I reached over
and I gave her a “Sanctified Side-hug.” Here’s the point to all of this. She had the correct
perspective on baptism, and rightly called me out when I tried to give a high-five. Baptism isn’t a high-five kind of event. Baptism is a hug event, and here’s why:
1. Baptism is a symbol of salvation – Literally the greatest decision that anyone will
make is one to follow Jesus. The Bible describes this as a passing from death to life,
from being lost to being found, from enslavement to sin to being set free in Christ.
When we get baptized we’re physically demonstrating Romans 6:4 – “We were
buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was
raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of
life.” While this took place spiritually at the moment we believed, this witnesses to
our saving faith.
2. Baptism is an act of o-b-e-d-i-e-n-c-e – Jesus commanded His disciples to go out
and make disciples, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy
Spirit, teaching them to obey all that He commanded. This is one of those, “let me
show you my faith through my works” kind of things. It’s a great first step as a new
believer and can act as a launching point for future steps of faith. It really is the very
best way to show that you believe (thank you “Wee Sing” cassette tapes).
3. Baptism is a declaration that we belong to Jesus – 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 “Or do
you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you
have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify
God in your body.” We are publicly declaring that we have renounced our wicked
claim as our own masters, and that we have given the rightful lordship to the One
who created us. What better way to demonstrate this than to symbolically reenact
how we were purchased?! In doing so, we acknowledge God’s love and our great
value to Him.
4. Baptism is a declaration of unity and commitment to the Church – We recently went through a study in Colossians, but I encourage you to re-read Colossians 3:1-17. In getting baptized, we are letting the local church know that we are a part of the body of Christ, and that we are committing to the kind of life described in that passage (and other passages as well). Not only that, but we are inviting accountability and reproof by the local church should our lives not reflect Christ in this way.
Moral of the story: baptisms are not a high-five event, but a welcome to the family, big hug kind of event (for the reasons I listed and many more). If you’ve never been baptized, please consider doing so. Our next baptism service is Nov. 18, and any of the pastors would love to talk to you about this decision. When you get out of the water, I promise I won’t give you a high-five.