Identity of Jesus
Acts 19:5 On hearing this, they were baptised in the name of the Lord Jesus.
Baptism is a word that was used to dye clothes. As clothes were baptised they were changed.
The practice of Christian baptism is to show that our identity has been changed because we have been submerged into the person of Jesus.
When people are with you, do they see Jesus? I mean do they see THE Jesus, for who He is and not what we have made him?
Jesus came to die.
The church that does not die is the church that does not look like Jesus.
The church wants to live. God wants the church to die. And by death I mean surrender, laying our agenda and our wants down. It means becoming so unselfish that life is not about us. It is to live so that at the centre of our lives it is not what we feel but about the other person. It is to hold on to the faith and the practice of discipleship even when it is difficult.
This last week I received reports of the growing persecution of Christians in Eritrea. Officials are seeking out Christians and taking them to a concentration camp. 175 people have been arrested and taken there. Christians are in hiding in the city, wondering if they will be taken next.
Throughout history it always has been like this.
Maria Skobtsova began her early life as an atheist then a catholic and then by a fresh look at the humanity of Christ became a Christian.
Her and her father helped many Jews escape the occupation. On Easter Sunday 1945 at the Ravensbruck concentration camp she took the place of a Jewish woman who was going to the gas chamber, one day before the Red Cross liberated the camp. She spoke these words as she went, “Lord, I am your messenger. Throw me like a blazing torch into the night.”
Richard Wurmbrand spent 14 years in a communist Romanian prison “A man really believes not what he recites in a creed, but only the things he is ready to die for.”
“Come to Jesus and he will fix all your problems” is lightweight and simply not true.
When one is baptised into Jesus then they carry HIS identity and live for HIS cause, a purpose which needs devotion, focus and discipline.
You may thankfully today not be in some of the difficult places in the world. But in your difficult place today you can decide to lay your life down and surrender YOU to HIM so that others may see JESUS.