Word for Word 6/19/19

Rev. Steve Oden
Rev. Steve Oden

Baptism ceremonies held June 9 at Yellow River ... Rev. Steve Oden of New Life Christian Church of Waukon is pictured above during a baptism ceremony, five of which were performed June 9 at Yellow River. Pictured below, over 40 friends and family members were in attendance. Submitted photos.

“Then Philip opened his mouth and began at the same Scripture, and preached unto Him Jesus” (refers to Isaiah 53:7-8; Philip explains to the Ethiopian that the prophet Isaiah is speaking and prophesying of Jesus).

“And as they (Philip and the Ethiopian) went on their way, they came to some water, and the Ethiopian eunuch said, ‘See, here is water; what hinders me from being baptized?’ And Philip said,’ If you believe with all your heart, you may!’ And he answered and said, ‘I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.’ So he commanded the chariot to stand still. And both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and he baptized him.” Acts 8: 35-38

This Bible story is about an important dignitary who served Candace, queen of Ethiopia. This man was traveling back in his chariot from worshiping in Jerusalem to Ethiopia. While traveling, he was reading the book of Isaiah aloud. God miraculously sent Philip alongside him to explain to him what he was reading.

As they journeyed together, they came upon some water. Evidently Philip had explained to this Ethiopian that water baptism was the outward sign that Jesus had been received in the heart. When the eunuch saw the water, he asked if he could be baptized. He evidently had received the message that Philip explained about Jesus Christ and was now eager to follow the Lord in water baptism.

Philip emphasized that if the Ethiopian believed with all his heart that Jesus was the Son of God, he could be baptized. To believe is the only scriptural requirement in conjunction with repentance for salvation. The fact that both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water together tells us that water baptism is by immersion. The definition of the Greek word “baptize” (from Classical Greek down to New Testament Greek) is of one being dipped or immersed below the surface of water or some other fluid.

This is a very similar picture of what took place on Sunday morning, June 9, at the Yellow River. Five adults ranging in ages from 24-61 identified with Christ’s death, burial and resurrection in the waters of baptism. The feast of Pentecost was also noted during this baptismal service. Some 40-50 friends, family (some traveling over three hours) and kayakers witnessed and heard public confessions and declarations of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

As explained in the Bible, each one experienced the circumcision made without hands by the putting off of the body of sins of the flesh and receiving the circumcision of Christ, buried with Him in baptism, in which they were also raised with Him through faith in the working of God who raised Christ from the dead.” (Colossians 2:11-12)

Those who have come to faith in Christ and are identified with Him through water baptism have been made free from the power and bondage of sin and are pressing into what God has prepared in advance for them to walk in. Songs were shared at the river’s bank along with prayers and words of encouragement. Many pictures were taken, witnesses signed baptism certificates, and a very tasty cookout capped off a special day for five of God’s obedient sons and daughters. A special butterfly was witnessed flying over those in the water, God’s sign of a transformed life.

Rev. Steve Oden
New Life Christian Church

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