Be of Good Cheer, For I Have Overcome The World (Matthew 28:16-20)Ken Miller, July 27, 2014
Part of the Baptism Messages series, preached at a Sunday Morning service
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What is your morale based on right now? Why do I feel the way I do? Why does Jesus say "Be of good cheer"? Is it because I had a good week in the shop, or business was extra good, or my children were more respectful this week? No, it is because Jesus has overcome the world.
We believe baptism should follow faith - we do not baptize babies because they cannot believe.
What mode of baptism do we practice? The earliest sketches in the Catacombs of Rome show the people standing in the water and the baptism being given by pouring on water from a container. We also accept immersion if someone comes for church membership who was immersed, but we don't practice it ourselves.
During the time of the Roman Empire, a group of forty elite men wrestled for the emperor. The Gospel came to them, and they refused to offer sacrifice to the emperor. Because of this they were thrown into prison and tortured. They were then made to strip their clothes and stand on the frozen lake until they either froze to death or renounced their faith. If they renounced their faith, they could come to the huts where warm baths were waiting. They sang, "We wrestle for Thee, O God", until midnight when their voices became faint. At that point one of the men left the circle and came into the warm bath, where he immediately died. At that moment one of the guards dropped his armor, ripped off his clothes, and sprang out on the ice and took the place of the now missing man. The next morning there were forty men frozen on the ice for God.
When the believer puts faith in Jesus, he is spiritually identified with Jesus and His death and resurrection. Think of yourselves as being dead and totally unresponsive to sin. He who abides with Him does not sin. Our new nature is that of Christ, alive with God.
"Yes, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God" came from our African brother. Baptism must follow faith. Both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water. The result of baptism was that he went on his way rejoicing. So we have joy as we go on our way; when we stop fighting God, we have joy.
We can base our morale on the fact that Jesus came to overcome the world.