There are few things that get me more excited than a baptism. Seriously, it’s thrilling. I find it especially exciting when I get to perform the baptism, but just witnessing someone’s new birth in the Triune name of God does it for me too. It’s such a deep reaction. It must be the Holy Spirit in me rejoicing that He has given His perfect peace to my new brother or sister. Am I alone in this? Do you get that feeling too? Or… am I just a baptism junkie?
This brings up a really good question. Deep down, do we want others to be baptized? Not like, “I want a peanut butter sandwich,” or “I want world peace.” Do we have a passionate hunger and thirst for people to be baptized? Do our hearts break when we find out someone hasn’t been baptized? Do we ever even bother to find out if they are? This might seem rather direct, but Jesus’ Great Commission is challenging me these days and Jesus is rather direct too.
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. Matthew 28:19-20
So, let’s work on this. We only want something for others when we value it ourselves. If we have anything less than a passionate hunger and thirst for people to be baptized, then maybe we don’t really appreciate what God has done in our own baptism. It’s got to be front and center in our lives that we are baptized. Our identity and purpose for life is found in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. I wrote on that last month. Check it out.
The next step is to find out if your friends, neighbors, coworkers and family members are baptized. Yes, that means you need find a way to ask them. “Are you baptized?” Just the thought of asking this question makes many Christians shrink back in fear. What are we so afraid of? Let’s weigh the cost. What is the risk of asking if someone is baptized? What is the potential benefit if you do?
Let’s just say you asked and someone said they aren’t baptized. Now what? Love them. Remember? Love is patient, kind, not envious or boastful, not arrogant or rude, doesn’t insist on its own way, isn’t irritable or resentful, it doesn’t rejoice in the wrong, but rejoices in the truth. God is love. Love is Jesus crucified and risen for us. Love is telling people the truth even when it’s uncomfortable. Love is telling them how much you love being baptized. Love them to baptism. In the end, only God can convert someone to believe the truth. Our job is to speak the truth in love, patiently and persistently.
Here’s where things often fall apart. Time goes on and nothing seems to be happening. Don’t give up. Pray for them. Expect God to work, either through you or someone else. Keep an eye out for the Holy Spirit to work in their heart and don’t be afraid to ask the question, “Are you ready to be baptized?” The worst they could say is “No.” Then it’s back to patience and persistence. If it’s “Yes,” praise God! Don’t waste time; be their advocate and bring them to be baptized.
Don’t abandon them now! Too many people are baptized only to fall away because they weren’t taught to observe all that Jesus has commanded us. Now, if you’ve had the privilege to walk with this person from unbelief to baptism, who is more qualified than you to walk with them through the teachings of Jesus? Don’t just assume the pastor will do it. Disciple them into someone who can disciple others. Wouldn’t it be cool if they could bring someone else to baptism too? Thrilling!