Ephesians 2:4-10

“But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5¬†even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ”

But you take your Bibles this morning to Ephesians chapter two, as Randy mentioned, and did Jared, we are going to be looking at some people getting baptized this morning here in their stories, but I’d like to look at a passage that really highlights what they’re celebrating. And we are celebrating with them this morning.

In Ephesians chapter two, we have a pre and post picture of people’s lives. Um, we are familiar with what up until 2012 was called the BC a D a method of, uh, time reckoning, uh, BC standing for before Christ. Uh, Ady standing for ANOVA Domini a year of our Lord. Literally that meant that’s been changed now to BC and BCE.

Um, but still both, even with the modern day change of the tourmanent terms from BC Ady to BCE BC, they’re still dividing time into two categories. There was before the time of Christ there is after the time of Christ. And even though we’re calling it the common error and before the common error, basically the common error that is, is recognized in the world as a time, uh, after, uh, Jesus was born is pointing back to the point that Christ was the, the changer of all of world history.

As we come to Ephesians chapter two, the apostle Paul is writing the book of Ephesians. Telling the believers that they also can divide their lives into two eras, a pre Christ error, BC, a post Christ error, a D. And I’d like to just simply this morning, take a few minutes to remind us what that means, because that’s what we’re visualizing this morning and being baptized.

And you’ll actually hear, uh, statements made that reference that change. But I’d say, like to look first at verses one through three eight, Ephesians chapter two, and here’s what we read. And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience, among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind.

And we’re by nature, children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. Let’s pray together. As we dive into this passage, Lord, we come and we celebrate the entrance of new life into our world, into our own individual worlds because Christ came and Lord, as we look at this passage, I pray that you would speak to all of us who have embraced the new life in Christ, just reminding of what that means and the, the beauty of that experience.

But then you would also speak to people that may have not entered into the new life in Christ, and to see what you are offering them in this passage in Jesus’ name. Amen. BC. We see a couple of things here. And the first phrase that jumps out to us immediately is he says that as for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins.

We are in our humanist, the walking dead, spiritually dead. We are dead spiritually. Verse one tells us and death in the Bible. As I’ve said, a million times in this pulpit death in the Bible is always is, is defined as separation. We look at physical death that way as well. We look at when we die, we talk about giving up the ghost or giving up the spirit.

We recognize that the, the immaterial part, the real us, the soul spirit has gone, but our physical body has remained our earth. Certs left behind and physical death is the separation of the material from the immaterial. That’s how the Bible looks at it, but there is not only physical death in the scripture.

As this passage is reminding us, there is what is called spiritual death. It is. Separation. It is our spirit separated from a relationship with God verse one and two, go on to talk more about this, this separation. And in terms that, that, that clarify that it’s talking about a disconnect that we’re still walking around physically alive, but there is a disconnect in our relationship with God and he describes it with terms like these.

All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. He said, this is the way all humans lived, including us and do live. And what are you saying is among other things? We live our lives under the influence of what is called the flesh or the sinful nature.

And here’s is not talking about the physical flesh. He’s talking about the bent of the whole person to live independently from. And you may be our bent may orient you to be, uh, may manifest itself. That you’re a violent person. You may even be a criminal. You may be an immoral person, or you may be a moral, generous giving person, but BC, your bent is towards living your life independently from God.

This is what he means by. We lived in the flash. We were living our lives independently and we follow these various things. But even if there was morality in our lives, it was goodness in our lives. It was religious practices in our lives. Our bent is to live independently. Ultimately again, to be in the flesh.

What he’s describing here in verses one through three does not mean you’re constantly breaking God’s laws or, or an obviously wicked person to be in the flesh means that you are using. Either obviously bad conduct or potentially seeming good conduct to avoid having depend on Christ as your savior and to avoid having God as your king.

So this is what he’s saying. We live this way, that, that even if we were re religious person, ultimately we are bent towards living independently. We’ll do it. We’ll take it from here. We’re going to live our lives, maybe moral to here in moral here. But our conduct was marked by living separately from God disconnected, from a personal relationship with him.

Even if we were doing moral and religious things, she says, this is the way we all are living our lives, ultimately. But then the Bible here in this passage, beginning with verse four, says two of the sweetest words that are in the entire. And verse four begins with these tours, but God, but God, and they talks now about how God moves into people’s lives and offers them to be freed from the BC way of life to come into the Ady way of life.

But God being rich in mercy in verse four and five, but God being rich in mercy because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ by grace, you have been saved. The first thing we find is we get connection with God. We were living in separation and spiritual death is just we’re dead men walking.

We may be a religious person. We may be a moral person. We may be a violently wicked person, either way. We’re living independent. We have not been made alive in the relationship with God that Christ came to offer. So what he does is provide a way for us to be spiritually connected, reconnected with God.

First, Peter three verse 18 says it this way for Christ died for our sins. Once for all the righteous, for the unrighteous, why to bring you to God, to restore the relationship, to bring connection in the place of disconnection, Jesus, even promises. This is what’s going to happen. I am the way the truth and the life, no one comes to the father, but through me, Jesus is the venue for connection with.

We can’t bring about this change. We can’t move from BC where God is distant, where God seems we may know about. And we may know Bible stories. We may know nothing, but either place, we are disconnected from a relationship with God and every person on earth experiences, the practical impact of this lack of connection though.

Many don’t realize that it is God that they are missing Augustine, the great church father and the fourth century stayed. This statement. You made us for yourself and our hearts are restless until they rest in you. This sense of, of abject continual restlessness with checking with a baptismal tank is for all of you that are hoping I’m going to keep going.

There’s a restlessness. That ultimately X is explained by this disconnect with God in our BC state, Paul trip, current theologian says it this way in his book, a shelter in the time of storm, as a rational, purposeful, emotional being, you cry for a deep and abiding sense of wellbeing. In your quest, you are actually discovering what you are actually discovering is that you are hardwired to be connected to another in this way.

Every human being is on a quest for God. The problem is we don’t know that. And in our quest for stability, we attempt to stand on an endless catalog of God replacements that end up sinking us, but there is a rock to be found. That rock is Christ and you were hardwired to find what you are seeking in him.

He says Christ has come as the, the, the means of, of restoring a relationship with God, without which there is a restlessness. There is a lack of really landing in our humanist. And we constantly live our lives feeling like there’s gotta be more, there’s gotta be more.

And Christ came to offer that more. The second reality that he offers us in this bah, but God’s section of the AED that we experienced in Christ is that we get a whole new orientation to spiritual things. Listen to this statement. As he says it in verse six, a couple of phrases, he says we’re raised with Christ.

We’re seated with Christ in the heavenlies in verse two and three, we saw that our whole orientation is toward things of the. It’s it’s horizontal ultimately, but in verse four and five verse six, he is highlighting that there’s a new orientation that the vertical connection is now operative. We’ve passed from before Christ into the, the, the antidotal anti untied Domini of, of life experience, where now we are reconnected into a relationship with God, and I’d like to suggest, and I’m going to wrap with this, that there were four practical results that take place in our lives.

When we have embraced Christ as our savior and who have received life. And I’d like to run through them. Number one, there’s a different view of the Bible that the moral person might admire applaud. The truth may even believe some of the truth, but the Christian. And by that, I mean, the person that has embraced Christ as savior, the Christian feeds on the truth in the BC state, before you’re a Christian, you need, you could never really imagine wanting to read the Bible.

At least not habitually, at least not continually enjoying the Bible just for itself, for pleasure. Maybe you went to it in a crisis, but to just feed on it every day, as, as your guide, as your, as your food spiritually, it isn’t there. But when a person embrace this Christ, when a person is reconnected to God through Christ, what happens is that there is a hunger for the scriptures.

And so you start hearing preaching, lead, preaching differently. And you’re listening to somebody talk about the Bible and you say, I know what you’re saying. Matter of fact, I’ve understood this for years. But you don’t therefore go. So I don’t want to hear it anymore. You say, but I love it. As a matter of fact, I want more, even though I’ve heard this, I want to know more of the scripture.

It’s like a guy that says I had a fantastic pinky week breakfast two weeks ago on Tuesday. I haven’t eaten since it’s been wonderful. I just, every day I start to feel hungry. I think. Awe. Oh, but those pancakes, no, you want more pancakes, right? You want something else? Does a continuing hunger for more because the scripture becomes our food.

We love it. It speaks into us and brings us hope. It brings clarity. It brings to election. It brings direction. It really is a light to. This is what happens when a person passes from BC before Christ to, to after Christ. When a person passes from being the walking spiritually dead, even though maybe a very religious person into being alive and their relationship with God is second thing that takes place.

And this, this, I love there’s different views of failure, different views of failure. All of the religions say to us and philosophy say, pull yourself together, get a grip. This is what salvation means. You do it, you work and you accomplish it to, to, to other faith. The agent’s religions would faith.

Christians know we are failures, Christians embrace failure. Everybody here, census that you should be perfect to have a relationship to God, to be acceptable to God. And everybody here recognizes that ain’t going to work too well. Well, I’ll say Christians agree. We believe that the standard of acceptance with God is perfection.

It is total righteousness. The difference for the born again, Christian is where every other religion says, you got to do it. You got to do your best. And, and hopefully it’ll be enough. The Christian says, no, the standard is perfection and none of us will make it. But someone did the Jesus Christ lived the life that I should have lived.

And he died the death that I should have died. And it is in him that I find my hope and my acceptance. Now, how does that play out in our lives? Well, the compelling reality for the spiritual life person becomes the mercy of God. It becomes the reality that we have, like parents that God operates us the same way we do with as parents of little kids that your kids, or one of them gets the croup or the flu.

And of course, what does is it draws your heart to them and you feel for them, unless of course you completely exhausted in which case you want to kill them. But, but, but you, your heart is drawn. You feel their pain and, and, and you want to help them in their need. Your child’s suffering, awakens your pity, and you reach out to relieve the condition in any way possible.

Your child’s mercy, your misery has called forth your.

When you enter into a relationship with God through Christ in the aid of life, you are beginning to realize you have come to know a God for whom your murder, your misery always elicits his mercy that you begin to realize I don’t have to get it. All right. I operate on the basis of a merciful. God who embraces my failures.

It is what changes even the way you look at other people, Liat wall or Lee Atwater was a henchman in the, in the Republican movement in years past and was a master at it. Perfected the art of reputation, destroying room. He used many of them against Michael Dukakis, Scott word got any was hated by, uh, the opposing party.

And they characterized him as the happy hatchet man and the Darth Vader of the Republican party. But something happened to Lee, Atwater Lee Atwater got cancer and faced his own potential end. And it began to cause him to look at his life and he repented of what he’d done. And he turned towards Christ and he actually wrote letters to Michael caucus and asked his forgiveness.

It was another man. You may have heard of him. His name is Ted Bundy, 10 Bundy, brutally murdered, at least 30 women. And on his deathbed profess to renounce his sin. Sought to apologized and turn to Christ. Now, the question in both cases is how do people respond? Well, the world has no perspective to a Ted Bundy, even to some degree to a Leo Atwater, but to say, who do they think they are at this point in time to just say, I’m sorry, forgive me.

It sounds so heinous. So blind to think that you can just, okay, now deathbed confession it’s done. But when you have been the recipient of God’s mercy in Christ, when you have embraced the reality, and you’re starting to realize, you know, the seed of every known sin is in my. I may not have done them all, but they’re there.

The potential is there. And that the basis of my acceptance with God is not because I’m a good Christian. The basis of my acceptance of God with God is Christ that he provided a way that I could be forgiven. It begins to change the way you look at failures, that you begin to embrace failure, begin to realize that God’s mercy is moved by people’s misery.

It changes the way you look at your own life and your own screw ups. It changes the way you look at others and, and your happiest moments are when other people begin to embrace their failures and say, and be able to say, I am a selfish person. I am a proud person. I’m an envious person. I’m a gossip, but in Christ, I’m, I’m finding his mercy.

And his love of me is freeing me for a lot of the reasons I lived that. It’s just to be approved. It’s be accepted it’s to be loved, but I, but I have it. I have the love of the one that knows me best and he still loves me most there’s different views of failure that come to the person that’s spiritually alive to others.

And they’ll be quick with these. Another result of the AAD life is there’s different views of God. The spiritual renewed person is drawn to God as a, as a shepherd, as a father, they become the compelling realities in their life. That God though invisible is as real to them as any flesh and blood associate, they sense his presence discern his guidance.

They find real answers to their prayers. They can trace his hand in all the circumstances of their lives. This is the third characteristic of spiritually alive. And then fourth, there are different views of living with God. The spiritually alive person is focused on how to please and enjoy God as a response.

It’s not, I’ve got to do it because he’s going to zap me. It’s not, I’m going to do it because the heavenly policemen is going to come after me. If I don’t it’s how could I not want to live a holy life and a life that is pleasing to him because of what he is to me. If people who really know God, don’t tend to press the envelope on what they can do without God tests coming down.

Another one say, I wonder how much I can really do of this before God is going to come after me. I mean, it’s like a, it’s like a kid with a beloved grandparent and grandfather and the kid says. You know, I, I know my, I know my granddad is excited about my playing a game with them, but I’ll get it. I’ll bet I can get him to go spend three hours with me at the mall.

Or the thought is, I know he hates red ties, but he’ll wear it if I get it for him, or I know he’d probably prefer watching an older suspense movie or something, you know, with me, but, but he’ll watch Ernest goes to camp. If I ask him to sure he will, because he’s for you. And he’s crazy about you, but why would you want to constantly be treating him like an enemy or a person who’s not really wholly on your side

when you have embraced Christ and been embraced by Christ and you’ve passed from spiritual death into spiritually alive, from disconnected to connected. You find out living the Christian life. Isn’t because you’re scared. He’s going to be after you. It’s because you love him. You know him, your mercy by him.

This is the reality. And this is the glory of saying that we’ve passed from, from this dead state, even being a religious person, even being a person, never missing church. But when we embrace Christ as our savior, the whole thing changes, failure changes. Our view of God changes. Our view of the Bible changes our view of living with God changes.

Why ’cause, he’s changing us. He’s letting us know and walk with him and enjoy him every day. If you’ve been born again, if you’ve passed from BC to Ady the old life of disconnection and independence from God is. It’s because you have been made alive, reconnected to God. It’s now our journey to just keep living it out and embracing it and imbibing it more.

It’s a gift given. It’s not a goal. You attain, it’s a gift. Jesus paid it all and offered it all to us. And when we talked this morning, then the baptismal tank and these folks are share their brief testimony is basically what they’re saying is, you know what he’s saying? It’s true. I tasted it. I’m experiencing it.

I’ve passed from BC to a D because Jesus paid it all. Lord, we come this morning and our gathering here on a Sunday morning with those that are in the room with those that are watching on.

It’s because of Jesus, Lord Jesus. Thank you for coming. Thank you for coming that there could be a way that we could be connected with God, your father, that we could do life with the Godhead and the Bible has become so different to us. Even our own screw ups and failures have been seen differently in light of your mercy.

You become so precious to us. We love living life with you because you, Jesus, you took care of it all there on the cross for us, and we love you for it in Jesus name. Amen.

I’m reading from Romans chapter six, Romans chapter six, verse three and four says this. Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death. We were buried therefore with him by baptism into. In order to just as Christ was raised from the dead, by the glory of the father, we too might walk in newness of life.

That passage highlights two things in light of what we’re doing this morning. It says what baptism is about is the visual baptism is the expression, uh, the outward expression of an inner reality. And as individuals have done what is described here, that before we lived in death, but now we’ve been raised to a new way of life in Christ.

They’re visualizing that in their baptism and though their testimonies we’re going to hear, there are three or four minute testimony this morning. Their biggest testimony is what they’re doing this morning. And you’ll hear me say, as I baptized. Um, in the likeness of his death, which is what’s pictured there picturing by their action.

I died to an old way of life and I’ve risen to a new way of life in Christ, BC EDD, because of Christ. Now we’re doing something a little special this morning. They’re actually good. This is gonna be our, uh, we’re going to have three pastors involved in this baptism. This is the most spiritual baptism we have ever had.

I’m going to be baptizing. Um, Gladys and Jessica pastor Ben is going to come and baptize, uh, Deanna and Michael, a couple that he has been, uh, doing premarital counseling with. And pastor Jared is going to baptize. Um, Ben, uh, Dan, Dan, um, uh, who’s a part of the youth ministry and requested Jared to do that.

So I want you to know why there’s a little more up and down going on here this morning. Hopefully it will be smooth. Jared will show up on time and everything will happen. All right. We’re going to have, uh, Gladys is going to join me.

Gladys. Have you received Jesus Christ as your savior? Yes, I have. Okay. We’re going to hear about that right now. Hello, this is Gladys sequel. And today I’m here for show my miracle testimony about what happened in my life on June 19th, 2019, I was diagnosed with a very rare illness called. I blessed tic anemia.

It’s only 25 people in this country have that. And of course I got it. Only few. They recover completely the rest for the rest of their life. They need to take medication. University of Penn became to be my second home with that, the wild shack, my specialist, the whole team, my husband, my incredible kids, my grandkids, and a group of friends they’re always released sustain me and helped me by their most important thing is I feel unbelievable help for my Lord, Jesus Christ, who sustain me every moment, every situation and crucial pain.

I had it in the hospital bed and in my house, I was for almost a year and a half dealing with this until. Just recently two weeks ago, I was really completely in recovery with no medications. And I feel like this is the great miracle I receive. Um, I had a group of warrior prayers who they really sustained me and helped me to run.

I know that’s this again, another help God gave it to me and put me people around around me. And today I am here to proclaim my testimony and also my belief and publicly to say, I’m a sinner and God is my savior. And he died for me on a rice again. And I have a Proverbs 3, 5, 6, where I read. Um, sustain me all the time.

And I really remind and my back and my beliefs, and I always say trust in the Lord with all my heart lean, not on my own understanding and knowledge, the law in all my ways. And he will make my path straight. Thank you again for being with me.

Thank you, pastor mark and everybody. Thank you very much.

the loudest. Is that your desire to publicly testify of that relationship to Christ by being baptized?

Gladys. It’s my joy to baptize you in the name of the father, the son, and the holy spirit in the likeness of his death, the likeness of his resurrection.

Jessica is now going to come.

Jessica, have you received Jesus as your savior? Yes. All right, we’re going to hear it. Hi, my name is Jessica. I was baptized as a child, but I wasn’t raised in the church. My parents stopped taking me at about seven or eight years old. So I never really learned Jesus’ message until much later in life. I was going through life and with my own broken moral compass, when I was in my early thirties, I got married and had two kids.

When my youngest was eight months old, my husband Steve died. Well, it wasn’t a happy marriage. I was suddenly alone with two children and it was overwhelming and terrifying, and I felt really alone. And I didn’t realize that God was there the whole time with me. He was planning for me the whole time too.

And. In February of 2019, it was when Steve died. And that September was w I had my 20 year high school reunion. And I was really looking forward to it. By that time I was out of the fog of grief and, um, but a few days prior to it, I started feeling anxious and thought, oh, who am I going to have to talk to you?

None of my good friends from high school were going to be there, but I’m glad I went because that’s when I met Jackson, he happened to stop being, as I was walking across the room at the reunion, and we started talking when you really hit it off and talk the whole night though, it took a bit of convincing for him to get, uh, from him to get me to go out with him.

But eventually I said, yes, and as I got to know, He taught me about Jesus, his message. He actually explained a lot of things to me about God and Bible and Jesus that I had misunderstood with my limited spiritual education. And soon after that, I asked God for forgiveness for my sins and asked Jesus to be the Lord of my life and my heart.

And, um, it’s funny because the occasional times that I would go to church before this, as an adult, every once in a while, I’d feel the holy Spirit’s presence in me. And, but once I accepted Jesus into my heart, I can feel him anytime. I really reach out to God, which is an amazing feeling. And so long, not long after.

And Matt Jackson, we got married and we had a baby together and we really look forward to raising our kids in to know Christ Psalm 68 5 says a father to the fatherless defender of widows is God in his holy dwelling. It really means a lot to me because he, he didn’t provide a father to my children and husband to me and brought me to know him throughout the, in the process.

And his plan is just, was just amazing. It was just wonderful. And that’s why I want to get baptized. I wanted to share that story with everyone and, uh, just let everyone know how amazing God is.

Jessica is your desire to publicly testify of Christ by being baptized? Yes,

Jessica, it’s my joy to baptize you in the name of the father, the son, and the holy spirit in the likeness of his death likeness, resurrection

this is Deanna and, uh, I’m very excited and honor to be here with you today. It’s a really special person. Deanna, have you profess Christ as your personal savior, we’re gonna watch a video. See a little bit more about that. Good morning. My name is Deanna and it is my desire to be baptized today. My journey of faith started at a very young age and I wasn’t even aware of it yet.

During my birth, there were a lot of complications due to my mom’s pregnancy. One being, uh, she had really high blood pressure and that calls me to have a stroke along with other complicated. And this resulted in permanent left side weakness and other issues. And I was born premature and I was only three pounds at the time of my birth.

And I was in the NICU for a couple months and there were some close calls, but the Lord had some other plans for me. And I was able to pull through the doctors said that I would never walk or talk, but he allowed it to happen that I’m here today. And I always say that I am a living miracle and I faced a lot of challenges along the way, particularly during the school years.

And I was always behind in school and I had a lot of physical issues. They, I always grew up in a Christian home, a supportive Christian home, and I went to school or Sunday school and church on a regular basis. And, uh, I knew off the Lord, but I never had a personal relationship with him until the middle of my middle school years.

We went on a, a weekend retreat and, um, there was one night during that weekend, there was, uh, an invitation to accept the Lord into our hearts. And I felt in that moment that the Lord was talking to me and prompting me to accept him into my heart. And I knew as soon as I said, the prayer, that my life has changed for the better.

And it was the best decision that I had made in my life. And since then, um, I have still faced the challenges. They continue to be there every day, but thanks to him. He, I know that he is there every step of the way, and he is. I have the S his strength to carry me through. And when I hit high school, my faith in Christ gave me a desire to become a member of the fellowship of Christian athletes.

And I assume, felt called to become a co-captain of the fellowship of Christian athletes. And this was an awesome experience because I was able to share my faith and deepen my faith, as well as, um, bring others to the Lord as well. Having a relationship with the Lord has really been awesome. And it has really given me a purpose for my life.

And I just want to live for him. I no longer want to live for myself. I want my actions and my words to reflect him. And that is why. I want to be baptized today. And I know that it’s not always going to be easy, but that is why Proverbs three, five to six are some of my favorite verses. They say trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean, not on your own understanding in all your ways, acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight.

And I just continually remember that verse because it reminds me that I don’t have to lean on my own strength that I have his strength with me at all times. And I can just call on his name. So that leads me to why I want to be baptized today. And that is because I have fully embraced Jesus Christ as my savior.

And I have my trust in him and I want to live for him and put him first above everything else. And I want to follow him and make disciples and spread the gospel. So I appreciate you being here today to celebrate this next step in my journey. And I am excited to be able to share this with my fiance, Mike safe, and who also be being baptized today.

And I appreciate you being here. Thank you.

Michael. You can come around from the corner if you’d like, there you go. See, Michael wanted to get some pictures. He’s next. But just to tell, you know, he wants some pictures, the Ana it is an incredible honor to be here. I agree with you getting to know you more. A living miracle is a wonderful way to describe your life.

Is it your desire today in the presence of these friends and family to declare your faith in Christ through baptism

is my honor to baptize you in the name of the. The son and the holy spirit, the likeness and the likeness of his resurrection.

this is Michael and wanting to ask you, can you guys see the video you can now? Oh, okay. I was going to say you could turn around, but if you can see it there, that’s great. Michael, it’s an honor to be here with you today. Have you accepted Jesus as your personal savior? Yes. The video. Tell us a little bit more about them.

I know all you awesome people out there today. My name is Mike safe, and I’m here to get baptized today. Well, it all begins in a normal Christian home, myself, my sister and parents, pretty much. I was not to get baptized. And my sister also, until we understood what Jesus Christ stood for, this is what my mom wanted from me and my sister.

But today I know what Jesus Christ is. He died on the cross for my sins and for others. And he rose from the dead on the third day, a few years passed and I was in middle school, my first middle school, and I had a disability and this disability held me back from. Going the same pace as other students. So me and my parents decided to transfer it to a new middle school, which is quite in township.

And I met this wonderful woman named Mrs. Austin. She was my one-on-one aid. She helped me stay on track with math, English, social studies, all those great school subjects. But now like a few years passed and it was CNF eighth grade year, Mrs. Austin Noster husband. And he died. So I was invited to the Vietnam wall and I thought it was going to be a sad time and everything.

But when I got there, I looked at everyone and they were happy and they celebrated his tonight. They celebrating knowing him. He was such an impact every once in knives. And that made my Christian faith stronger. And Jesus Christ. Well, a few years past, and this is after high school, I was going to call a niche and I felt the press.

I found a node and I went back and forth between my Christian faith. I didn’t have that many friends or barely had any friends at all. Then I didn’t feel supported. And during those start times, I just turned to my study center. I went and I I’m just going to get a job. After my college degree, I got a $10 per hour job in my engineering field.

And I felt like, eh, it’s not the best thing by any say I have the job, but like I prayed out to the Nord, cried out to the north, going like priests helped me find something better. And two years ago, 2015 head. I got a job in Boeing as a contractor, but I still pray because it wasn’t a permanent stable job.

And then I got a job with the Navy and this wonderful man that gave me the job, which I still consider as my mentor today, he has helped me grow into the man that I am today. Why do I want to get baptized today? That’s pretty much an easy answer for me to this question. I want to tell people that I’m a Christian, that I’m a firm believer in Jesus Christ.

I want to say God, I am with you all the way, and I don’t want to stop anything. And I want to tell everyone out there that I’m affirmed bunny for

Michael, is it your desire to do. And the presence of these witnesses to publicly declare your faith through baptism.

Now you got to bend your knees. This one, I, we say this back there, but this one I have to remind them. Um, we do this in the name of the father, the son, and the holy spirit and the likeness of his death and the likeness of his resurrection.

Danny, have you received Jesus Christ as your Lord and savior? Yes, let’s hear about it. Hello. Um, I’m Dan baker. I’m 15 years old and today I’ve decided to be baptized. I grew up here at FCC, which has played an immense role in my coming to Jesus. I grew up in a Christian household with God loving parents and two older brothers.

And because of that, I always knew of the fact that Jesus died for my sins. Even though I went to Sunday school with my family and hearing that God loved me. I never understood the weight of that. But when I got older around 10, 11 years old really is when I understood that being saved was an important thing in a Christian’s life.

So when Sunday school, what came around. I asked one of the teachers to pray with me and I asked Jesus to be part of my life. So yeah, years after that passed and I sort of entered this cycle, I entered just a cycle of trying to get through life through struggles, just on my own. But I realized that I couldn’t do it.

And I had the epiphany that like, oh, I need Jesus. And then I kind of entered the spiritual high, I guess. And then I would just be really happy. But then I would just drift back to that struggle that I was really going through. And that kind of cycle was just basically my entire pre-teen years. And then my biggest struggle so far hit.

And that was COVID and during COVID, it really just was a terrible time for me. I was kind of just lonely disconnected from my friends. Locked in my house. It was just really tough. It was tough for everyone. I know I would waste hours watching TV or being on my phone. And just because of that, there would be nights where I wouldn’t sleep well or sleep at all.

It was a time when I needed God, but looking back now, it was pride that kept me from realizing that I ran to other things to try and fulfill me, but none of them worked and I just became really depressed. And my mental health was just not at a good state and I had so much to rely on, but I just felt so much selfishness and shame that I couldn’t really do it.

I didn’t really tell anyone how I was feeling, not a soul, not my parents or my brothers. And so just one night in like may of 2021, I. Kinda just broke down. I cried out to God, lamented, I guess I was just praying to God and I don’t really recall exactly what I said, but a phrase I remember saying is God, I’m scared.

And it was just the time where I was just vulnerable and broken is the term I like to keep using for that. And so just after that night, it took a while for me to just heal and recovered. I could definitely see Jesus working in me. I could see God giving me opportunities to enhance my faith in him. He’s given me opportunities and some are ministries that.

Especially this mission trip to West Virginia, where I really grew closer to him and that tons of amazing people. And also just other things at FCC, like youth group and Sunday school and all sorts of things. And even today, uh, he still works in me, still brings me down low to try and teach me things. And he’s working in me to try and be more open about my faith in my more secular relationships in communities.

All in all, I was made new in Christ. I call out to him and he answered me and he gave me something to live for a purpose and identity. And I understand that as I’m entering high school right now, figuring out my identity is important. So identifying in Christ is I is what I believe to be key. And so, because of all that I’ve said to.

I’m getting baptized as an act of obedience to God. And did you use this? A proclamation of my identity and faith in Jesus and just the celebration of what Jesus did, not just for me, but for everyone I’d like to thank you all for celebrating with me today. I hope you all have a good day.

Danny. Is it your desire to publicly testify of that work? The work of Christ in your life today? Publicly by baptism. It’s my absolute joy to baptize you in the name of the father, the son, and the holy spirit, the likeness of his death, the likeness of his resurrection.

It is amazing to hear people’s stories. Um, the stories of Christ working through breaking down walls, breaking through. And struggles and disease and whatever he needs to, to enter into their heart. Maybe, um, you are sitting here in the sanctuary today and you’re thinking, man, I would love to do that, man.

I just saw someone my age in high school or middle school or, or someone older than me that saying, no, this is the time right now to do that. We would love to talk to you about that. We would love for you to do that. And I asked that you would just reach out to one of the pastors or the staff. Um, if that is your desire to publicly testify of that faith, um, let’s go before the Lord, before we dispense

gal, we seen and heard a lot of victories this morning. A lot of triumphs Lord, you are so much bigger than whatever this life throws at us. God, you meet us in our lowest, in our darkest. God, and you are truly the hope that we can hold on to God. I pray that you would use each and every one of the stories heard today, got to impact everyone in this room or that my hope God, but that even that the stories spoken today would be the reason for someone leading them to you, God.

Or if there’s anyone in this room who was saying to me, maybe this is for me, or maybe I don’t actually know the Lord. Like I thought I did God, would you continue that work? Or would you bring us all to a knowledge of your saving grace? That saves us God, that brings us out of the darkness and into light Lord.

We love you. I want to give you pray. Praise this morning in Jesus name. Amen.