Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Years ago I preached at a conference in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Actually there were night time crusades with Egon Falk and a daytime leader’s conference where I was teaching throughout the week. It was an incredible time of ministry to the pastors and leaders during the day and a powerful evangelistic and healing crusade at night. There were large crowds in the evening with about 2000 people in the daytime meetings. As the week went on, Egon decided to have a water baptism. Many people were being born again and he wanted an opportunity for a public decision and testimony to take place. Of course we were in Africa, nothing is ever easy in Africa. After a lot of thought and searching, we finally came up with a plan. We took this giant cooking pot (we had been preparing meals for the pastors and leaders all week), filled it up with water, and set it up on the stage. It was quite a scene, watching several hundred people line up to be baptized in a cooking pot, only in Africa!
What an incredible scene began to unfold, there were the young and the old, male and female, farmers, businessmen, laborers, even a witch doctor. They all had one thing in common, Jesus had come into their lives, they were turning away from sin, they could never be the same again. Some were turning away from drug use, others were being freed from alcohol, some from a life of crime, and others from a promiscuous life style. They were all being baptized as they were giving their lives to Jesus. As they testified to their faith in Christ and repentance from their old life, it sent waves through the crowd of their families and friends. These new converts were having a profound effect on their community.
That public stand is very important. It is important for you because you are declaring publicly you are never going back. It is also important to everyone of your family and friends, your life is becoming a testimony to the amazing grace of God.
Baptism has always been special to me. Since that Friday night in August in 1973 on the lakefront in New Orleans, when I followed Jesus in baptism, my life has never been the same. It was as if I left that other person in the watery grave. That night, I considered myself dead to that other life, there was no going back. I had been crucified with Christ and buried with Him in baptism. Have you given your old, dead life a decent burial. Maybe it’s time for you to take a visit to that watery grave.