April 10, 2011
God wants every one of us to experience a life of swagger. He wants us to walk with our heads held high and our shoulders back—confident in who we are and what we can accomplish. But that journey doesn’t just happen; it begins with intentionally taking a step.
In this message, Ed Young looks at one of the first and most important steps anyone can take—baptism. And he shows us what the plan God has for us to step up, step out and step into a life of swagger.
I want to share with you the most swaggeristic or swaggerific snack known to man, the powdered sugar donut. I love powdered sugar donuts! They’re delicious and nutritious. Packed with protein! The sublime simplicity, I just love the powdered sugar donut. There’s just something about it. Also, I love all the additives. When the additives take up most of the back of the bag you know you’re in trouble, but mmmmmm…
Who would like some powdered sugar donuts? Anybody? <Ed tosses donuts into the audience> I hope I don’t hurt anybody but we have great legal representation here. There’s nothing like a powdered sugar donut, I’m telling you. It’s unfair I’ve got milk.
If you have your Bible turn to the book of Acts 8. If you don’t have your Bibles you can follow along, because we’re going to put the main scriptures on the side screens. If you’re watching by television we’ll put them right there on the bottom of the screen, or if you’re watching them online, the bottom of the screen. Or, if you’re doing some kind of a podcast, the bottom of the screen. You can hear it and refer to it, etc.
Acts 8:26-39. I’m going to fly through these verses because these verses are about swagger. You’ve got some serious swag going on. You’ve got a guy who basically is saying, “I’m the man.”
This guy is a heavy-hitter, a multibillionaire, if he lived on today’s world. He’s going to meet up with a guy who had Godfidence. And this guy who had Godfidence listened to God and walked the way God wanted him to. They have this collision and it’s a really, really cool story about swagger. Acts 8:26: “An angel of the Lord said to Philip (he’s the guy with Godfidence), ‘Get ready and go south to the road that leads down to Gaza from Jerusalem, the Desert Road.’”
Philip was one of the leaders in the early church. He understood that Christianity was not just a Jewish thing. He went to Samaria and began this incredible campaign where he led many, many people, non-Jews, to faith in Christ. So he was like, “OK, I’m ready. I will go where you want me to go.”
Well, God sends him to J-town, Jerusalem. Verse 27: “Philip got ready and went. On the road he saw a man from Ethiopia, a eunuch. He was an important officer in the service of Candace, the queen of the Ethiopians.
He was responsible for taking care of all of her money. He had gone to Jerusalem to worship. So this dude who had pride going on, this dude who had worldly swagger going on, obviously is seeking God. He’s going to Jerusalem to worship. And Judaism had infiltrated some of the Ethiopians so he was just seeking God. He was investigating God.
When someone is truly seeking, when someone is truly investigating the claims of Jesus, God always will reveal himself to that person. Always. Some people are pseudo seekers. They just talk smack and don’t do jack. If you talk it and really walk it and seek God, I’m telling you again, he will always reveal himself to you. He will put a person in your path like he put Philip in the Ethiopian eunuch’s path, to share with him the good news.
Verse 28: “He was on his way home (I’m talking about the Ethiopian eunuch, in his swaggin’ wagon, probably a Bentley chariot), he was sitting in his chariot reading from the book of Isaiah, the prophet.”
Isaiah, of course, an Old Testament figure. Isaiah is prophesying in this text and the Ethiopian eunuch is reading about Jesus. Jesus fulfilled over 300 Old Testament prophecies. That’s crazy! In detail! All of these people pointed to the birth, death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus.
So, he was reading from the book of Isaiah, and I love verse 29, “The Spirit said to Philip (just whispered to him), ‘Go to that chariot and stay near it.’” He had to see the chariot, right? I mean, it’s a Bentley. It’s a swaggin’ wagon. I mean, “Whoa, look at that car! Wow! Dude’s rolling on twenty-fo’s man! Look at that! Unbelievable!” So the Spirit said to get near, stay near the chariot.
God does that in any Christ-follower’s life. We have many people here on the floor, in the balcony, many people here in the family worship room where you have your babies right now. We have many people here at all of our environments, many people here listening from Downtown, Dallas, and Fort Worth, Plano, Miami. Many, many people are believers hearing my voice right now. You’re followers of Christ. You have responded to the good news and that’s great.
Also, we have a lot of people that show up here who are like the Ethiopian eunuch. You’re seeking, you’re investigating, you’ve not stepped over the line yet. You’re not a follower of Christ.
Let me talk to the Christians for just a second. If you’re a believer, God will call you and call me so often to get near people who are far away from God. One of our missions as believers is to get near people who are far away from God. When we respond to the promptings, when we respond to the whisper of the Spirit of God, he will always draw us near people who are far away from God. Are you staying near to people who are far away from God? It’s a great question. The question is very convicting. It’s a question I ask myself regularly, a question we challenge the pastors here with regularly, a question I challenge you with regularly. Are you getting near people who are far away from God. In other words, who are you reaching?
So when Philip ran toward the chariot, verse 30, he heard this guy reading the book of Isaiah. Philip asked. I like that, he asked him a question. “Do you understand what you’re reading?”
So many people are just one question away, one ask away from following Christ, from making that decision. Some are just one question away, who are saying, “I’m the man! I’m the woman!” Some are just one question away, who are freaked out with fear, who are apprehensive, who are afraid to take a risk, who are just one question away.
Will you go for the ask? Will I go for the ask? Here very soon we have Easter coming up, in a couple of weeks. We have squillions of people who show up at Fellowship Church when we have our Easter celebration. It’s awesome. We’re going to have a ginormous service Easter morning out by our lake. We have all of these services, and we have these monstrous crowds, and that is great! It’s stunning to see all the people that show up. What God has tasked me with, and what he’s tasked you with, I’m talking again to Christians, is we’ve got to get near those Ethiopian eunuchs in our life, near those people who are far away from God, near those people who are seeking and simply ask them to show up.
This church is an absolutely amazing evangelistic tool. This church is a church like I’ve never seen before. I have complete confidence, Godfidence, in inviting anybody, anywhere, any time to hear the good news of Jesus. I don’t care where they are. I don’t care if they’re an Ethiopian eunuch riding in a Bentley chariot, they can hear it and experience it right here. What are you doing? Who are you praying for? Who are you drawing near? Who are you asking?
Well, Philip asked, “Do you understand what you’re reading?” In verse 31 he answered, “Well, how can I understand it unless someone explains it to me?” That’s what we should do as believers. Just explain your life to others.
“Well, man, I don’t know the Bible.”
I don’t know all the Bible either. I don’t have an answer to all the questions. I don’t either and I’ve been to seminary. I’ve studied the original languages and all that. There are some questions I still have that aren’t answered.
When I talk to people I explain to them, “OK, here’s what God has done in my life and in the lives of people I’ve met all over the world. I was this way before God, I was seeking him. I came to a point where I bowed the knee to him, where I said, God, I’m not “the man.” I’m going to man down, or if I’m inferior, man up, and I said, “God, I am your man.” And he’s changed my life. And he’s changed the lives of scores and scores of people I’ve met who have the same story.”
You share what God has done in your life as a believer. If you have questions or if you have issues or whatever, go to our resource center. There are a bunch of books you can give people if they want to read and talk about these questions or deal with some of these issues. We’ve got to explain to people, use words about the message of Christ.
At Fellowship Church one of the things we want to do is we want to talk about things where people can understand the things we’re talking about. We have people who attend Fellowship Church who are professors at different seminaries and colleges, brilliant people! Earned doctorates. We have other people who are brand new believers. We have still others who have never crossed the line.
When men of God and women of God open up the word of God and talk to the people of God, something supernatural takes place. The most difficult thing that any communicator does is to take something complex (and this book, I could easily keep it complex) and make it simple. I didn’t say shallow…. Simple. You’ve got to be able to understand what it’s talking about and apply it. That’s why 69% of Christ’s words were words of application, words of “so what?” About 31% were words of information. The rest, application.
We want to explain it. So when you walk out of here, I don’t want you to say, “Wow, man, that was muddy!” I don’t want you to say that. I want you to say, “Whoa! That was clear! That was simple. I understand what was being talked about.”
Because in any profession, whatever you do for a living, whatever I do, which is pastor, I could talk over your heads like that. And people would walk away and go, “Oh, wow, Ed’s deep man. He’s muddy, but he’s deep.” I’m not going to do that. I want to know it so well that I can explain it to you where you get it.
I go to a doctor, I go to a dentist, I talk to someone in the real estate world, I talk to someone who’s a teacher, or an author. The brilliant people explain stuff where everyone can understand. And that’s what Philip did, and that’s what we’re called to do as believers. Tell your story. Tell your story.
He answered, and this is the Ethiopian eunuch, verse 31. “How can I understand it unless someone explains it to me?” Then he invited Philip to climb in and sit with him. I love that!
“Hey Philip! Come on, man. Sit down, in the leather, the Corinthian leather! Sit down and just chill. Let’s talk about this situation.”
Here’s what’s going to happen (I’m talking to believers). You get near people who are far away from God, they will invite you into their lives. Why? It’s not because of you, it’s because of Jesus. They’re looking for Jesus. They’re searching for Jesus.
Illus: There’s a family that my wife and I know and the Spirit of God whispered to us to draw near to them. This family is far away from God, never been to church in their life. We just got near them. And amazingly, they began to engage us and ask us questions and they began to invite us into their sphere of influence and into their lifestyle. And we got invited to these parties where they’ve known people for years and years and year. And we’re like the newbies, man. We’re just barely there on the scene. They see, though (and they’ve not said ‘Jesus’), they see something different in our lives. We’re not perfect. We mess up all the time. They’ve invited us to conversations that Lisa has had, that I’ve had, that have been absolutely rich about the good news of Jesus. And I was at a party several months ago where they were asking me some of the deep questions about life. All of these people who are totally clueless about the claims of Jesus.
When you’re around people like that, you think differently, you pray differently, you read the Bible differently, you preach differently, you sing differently, you do life differently, you get coffee differently, you work out differently, you ride on the freeway differently, you work differently. Everything is radically changed.
Why? Because we’re doing what Jesus told us to do. The bookends of his ministry. When he started his public ministry he said what? Reach out. When he ended his public ministry, after the resurrection, right before he ascended, he said “Reach out.”
A church is only a church, a New Testament church, if it’s about the unchurched. A church is only a church if it’s about the unchurched. Because if it’s not about the unchurched, you don’t have discipleship. If it’s not about the unchurched, you don’t have growth. If it’s not about the unchurched, you don’t have evangelism. If it’s not about the unchurched, you don’t have real worship. So you give me a true church, you’ll give me a church that’s about the unchurched. It’s about people like the Ethiopian eunuch.
Well, the plot clots. Check it out. Look at Acts 8:34-39. “The officer said to Philip, ‘Please tell me who the prophet is talking about.’” And of course Philip gave him the good news. Verse 36 says that he tells him the good news about Jesus, and the good news is the gospel. That’s what the word ‘gospel’ means. But it’s not all good news.
I could talk just about the good news, good news, good news, good news, good, good, good, good, good news every time I speak but that would not be all of the gospel. We have to realize how bad the bad news is first before we realize how awesome and how good the good news is.
There’s some bad news. The bad news is we’re all sinners. We face the judgment of God without Jesus; we face a Christ-less eternity. That’s the bad news, man. If I’m prideful I’ve gotta man down. If I’m fearful I’ve gotta man up. “God, you’re the man. I’m your man, I’m your woman.” We have to make that decision and we can only make it.
The good news is about Jesus. They were traveling down the road and they came to some water. And this dude, the Ethiopian eunuch, I mean in his designer wardrobe and his Bentley chariot goes, “There’s some water. I wanna get baptized!” What?! Look at verse 37, Philip said, “Whoa, whoa, whoa, man. Do you believe in your heart? Do you believe with everything? With the totality of who you are? Tax, title and license, do you believe that Jesus died on the cross for your sins and rose again?”
Now, when you see the word ‘believe’ he’s not saying believe without doubt. He’s not saying believe without questions. We all have doubts and questions. You feed your faith and you doubt your doubts. You should feed your faith and doubt your doubts. We have doubts. As I say all the time around here, if you have no doubt you’ve got no faith. Because with no doubt you’ve got certainty, and it’s faith. So we’re going to have doubt. Doubt means you have faith. You can have doubts. Doubt your doubts, feed your faith. You go for the faith, you go for the doubt.
This guy’s investigating. “I’m going to have Godfidence. I’m going to step over the line. I am going to believe, I’m going to invite Jesus Christ to come into my life and I love this. “Then the officer commanded the chariot to stop, and both Philip and the officer went down into the water. Philip baptized him. The Ethiopian eunuch. When they came up out of the water the Spirit of the Lord took Philip away.
The officer never saw him again. And the officer continued on his way home full of joy.
Many people believe that the continent of Africa heard the gospel because of Philip’s exchange with the Ethiopian eunuch. Is that powerful? Here’s somebody, a multibillionaire, big-time Jones, in the government, “I’m the man. I handle the money.”
But he was seeking. Even though he had everything, there was something empty in his life. God put Philip in his life. He was dealing with pride and fear, insecurity. He put someone with Godfidence in his life that shared with him the good news. The guy became a believer and then what happened? He was baptized. He became a believer.
That’s a private thing, right? We’ve got to have private swagger to become a follower of Christ. We face our pride, we face our fear. “God it’s you. I give myself to you.” It’s a private thing.
Then, though, the private swagger goes public. The Bible commands us after we become followers of Christ to step up, to step out, and to step into liquid swagger. I’m talking about baptism. That’s right. Jesus. Step up, step out, step into liquid swagger.
What’s the prerequisite of baptism? Repentance. Faith in Christ. It’s a private thing. Then we go public. Godfidence. Public swagger. There’s no such thing as saying, “Well, it’s just a private thing.” Every time Jesus called somebody he called them publically. Every single time.
Do you have your swag on? Are you walking with that pimp limp? How’s your style? How’s your fashion, man? How is it? How is it?
T.S. Do you know that fashion is important to God? Did you know that? A lot of us are fashion unconscious. Totally clueless. It’s important to God. How’s your fashion? How’re your clothes, man? What? The Bible talks about clothes? Yeah! You better be dressed in the latest fashion. What’s that? Galatians 3: 26-27. I’m gonna teach you how to dress.
Galatians 3:26-27. “You’re sons of God through faith…” (Read here: faith, repentance, Godfidence in Christ.) I’m a son, I’m a daughter. We sing that song here that we wrote at Fellowship Church and now it’s gone all over the world. “Sons and Daughters,” is that cool? Have you ever heard the song “Sons and Daughters?” It’s now being played all over the world. It was written right here, produced right here. We can clap better than that. See, we can’t let the other campuses beat us in clapping. We’ve got to dominate here, yeah man! Those cats in Downtown, Fort Worth, and Miami go crazy so I’m telling you we have some competition going on. Anyway…
You’re a son or daughter based on what? Your faith in Christ Jesus. Verse 27: “For all of you were baptized…”
Faith in Christ, prerequisite – repentance, prerequisite – then what happens? We represent. We repent then we represent. Say it with me. We repent, then we represent. How do we represent? We get baptized. We step up, we step out, we step into liquid swagger. Now here’s the fashion statement, are you ready? I told you it’s about dressing, man. It’s about the clothes. Turn to your neighbor and say, “It’s about the clothes.”
“All of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.”
Godfidence. So, I become a follower of Christ, repentance, faith. I’m clothed in Christ. I’m baptized, I’m enveloped, I’m enclosed in Christ. I repent, then I represent. Watch this.
If you repent but don’t represent, you’re a knock-off in the fashion world. If you don’t repent and represent, you’re a knock-on what Jesus did for you on the cross and through the empty tomb. If you repent and represent, you’re a knock out on the runway of fashion.
You know what that’s going to be? How many people on here are into Twitter? Are you into Twitter? That’s the Tweet of the day. Let me say it again so you can write. Galatians 3:26-27. It’s very important. If you repent and don’t represent (baptize, right, get baptized), you’re a knock-off. You know. Fake Louis Vuitton, fake Gucci, fake whatever you want to say.
There are a lot of fake watches, everything is fake these days. The knock-off industry is a multibillion dollar industry. People say, “Fake it until you make it.” Whatever. It’s pretty funny, isn’t it?
If you don’t repent and just represent, it’s a knock on what Jesus did for you and me. His death, burial, and resurrection, the substitutionary atonement.
If you repent and represent; if you step up, step out, and step into liquid swagger, after you have made this decision, you are a knockout in the fashion world. Put that down. I did not even come up with that line, either. I had some help on that line. I did not just make it up. I had to say it several times because I get mixed up saying it. Repent, represent, represent, repent. You start talking and get nervous, but I got it right. Thank you, Lord. You’re feeling me, aren’t you? Say, “Ed, I’m feeling you man.” Say, “Ed, I understand what it means to be fashion forward, right?”
T.S. While I was preparing this talk I was thinking, OK, what are you gonna be thinking while I’m doing this talk? What are you thinking while I’m talking about this? I know what you’re thinking.
You’re thinking, “OK, Ed, you’re talking about baptism. Stepping up, stepping out, stepping into liquid swagger.” What about baptism? What about baptism? I mean, I got sprinkled as a child, so did Lisa, my wife. I got spritzed, I got poured, I mean what’s the deal? Why is baptism so BIG?”
When Jesus started his ministry he stepped up, he stepped out, he stepped into liquid swagger. John the Baptist baptized him. Jesus went 60 miles out of the way to be baptized by immersion. Right before he ascended, once again, he said, “Go (not yo)… Go (not yo)… Go into all the world! Make disciples! Baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”
Think about it. Jesus taught his disciples about all of these subjects. The last thing he said was what? B-b-b-b-b-baptism. Step up. Step out. Step into liquid swagger. Challenge new believers from this day forward. Because he was gonna wait 2,000 years and some change to come back. Challenge new believers from this day forward, after they’ve repented, to step up, to step out, to step into liquid swagger. So it’s about swagger. Liquid swagger.
Say ‘swag’ with me. SWAG. Give me an S! That stands for our sentence. That’s the first part of baptism, our sentence, that we deserve judgment. Baptism is about judgment. People all the time are like, “Oh man, don’t judge me. You’re judging me, man! You’re judging me! I don’t wanna judge!”
It’s all politically correct. Well, the Bible was all about judgment. It’s a theme in the Bible. God’s a God of grace, God’s a god of love. People are like, “Well my God (well it might be your god but it’s not the God of the bible)…” God has perfect symmetry. He’s about love, about grace, but you can’t talk about the mercy of God unless you talk about the judgment of God. Baptism is about the judgment of God. It’s about S… the sentence we deserve.
Think about water in the Bible. Water and judgment are comingled in Scripture. Chips and hot sauce. Or if you’re in Miami, milk and coffee, café con leche.
Noah was spared, Noah and his family. The ark floated above the judgment of water that took out mankind because of their rebellion.
The last session I talked about the children of Israel fleeing, going to the Promised Land, walking through the Red Sea. God split the waters, right? They walked through the waters of judgment. When the Egyptians got there the waters drowned them.
Jonah, God’s running man. God said, “Go this way.” He went the other way. Was tossed overboard, in the belly of a fish three days, finally the fish barfed him up on land and he did it God’s way. Passing through the waters of judgment.
When you are baptized, when you have Godfidence, when you go into liquid swagger, what happens? You are passing through the waters of judgment. It’s the sentence you deserve but you don’t because of the mercy of God.
W… give me a W. W stands for washing. The blood of Jesus, the Bible says, cleanses us from all sin. Some of you are fearful right now. You’re like, “Ed, oh man, you don’t realize what I’m into, bro! You don’t realize what I did last night. You don’t realize how bad I’ve been. I’ve done this, I’ve done that. It would freak you out if you knew what I’m about!” The blood of Jesus cleanses us from ALL SIN, ALL IMMORAL BEHAVIOR. No matter what you’ve done, no matter what you’ve thought of, no matter what I’ve committed. Isn’t that great? Isn’t that good news? It’s washing, washing! When you’re baptized, when you step into liquid swagger, you’re immersed. It symbolizes the blood that cleanses us from all sin… all sin!
Give me an A. It stands for alliance. We’re sons and daughters of the King. We’re a part of God’s team. All of us have played athletics before. You remember when you got your uniform? Maybe as a little kid, soccer. You were like, “Oh wow! This is incredible! Man, I’m representing!” There’s nothing like a uniform, is there? I don’t care if you were in the band… “I got this jersey! It’s awesome! How do I look?” We love that, right?
When we get baptized, when we get advertised, we say, “I’m a part of your team. I’m representing. Jesus, I am hooked into my family.
Really my last name is no longer Young, it’s Christian. It’s Ed Christian. It’s Lisa Christian. It’s Laurie Christian. It’s Landra Christian. It’s Lee Beth Christian. It’s E.J. Christian. That’s my last name. Wow.
Give me a G! Stands for Godfidence. That’s what we have. Privately and publicly. When you’re baptized you’re saying, “I’ve got Godfidence, man.” So, if pride is your deal you go under the water briefly, you come out of the water… BOOM! Godfidence! You’ve got the swag, man, that will deal with the pride. Man down! God, that stuff is buried, gone. BOOM! I’ve got your confidence, I’ve got your Godfidence. I’ve got your swag. I’ve got your look, your flow. I’m in on your plan for my life.
If fear is your deal, “Oh man, I’m fearful! What will I look like? My hair will be all jacked up if I get baptized. I don’t know, Ed. I’m fearful of the water. There might be sharks and maybe they lose people now and then when they baptize at Fellowship. I don’t know, man. I’m just so fearful. I’m fearful of fear. I’m fearful of fear… False Evidence Appearing Real. AAAAAHHH!”
Pride? Man down! Fear? Man up! Woman up! Say, “I’m gonna get baptized… ba-bouche! You come out of the water… Godfidence. You have the Godfidence to face the fear. The Godfidence to face the pride.
People ask questions about baptism whenever I talk about it, liquid swagger.
“I was baptized, Ed, as a baby.” Infant baptism. If you were baptized as an infant, lift your hand. A lot of people were. OK, balcony, way up there. Give it up for that. Good for you. I went to an infant baptism a couple of years ago and the pastor carried this little baby boy up and down the aisle. He was singing this song, “Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world…” His parents are smiling, taking pictures. And I’m thinking, this is great for the family. But I said, that little baby doesn’t know if that’s a Christian song or a song by Jay-Z. The baby has no clue.
I want to tell you what the Bible says about infant baptism. I want to tell you how many times the Bible mentions infant baptism, I tried to find it… wow… it’s not in here! There’s nothing about infant baptism in the Bible. We’re not at all saying, “Hey, your baptism didn’t take.” It’s awesome you were baptized by being sprinkled as a kid, that’s great. So was my wife. Amazing!
I’ve had the opportunity personally of baptizing a bunch of people, thousands of people in my life. Many of those had already been sprinkled as infants. I’ve never had one come up out of the water and go, “Man, I wish I hadn’t have done that! I wish I hadn’t been baptized the way Jesus was baptized! My hair all messed up, people laughing at the way I look. Eyeliner all running down. I feel terrible.” I’ve never met that person!
If you’re worried about the way you look, think about Jesus. He was beaten beyond recognition. And you’re telling me you’re gonna trust him with repentance and faith, you’re gonna trust him for your forever, and you will not humble yourself? You will not face your fear and get baptized?
At Fellowship Church we have infant, parent/child dedication. We, though, baptize the way Scripture baptized. When a child is old enough to understand that they’re a sinner, they need a savior, and they make that decision, then we baptize them. And we’ve baptized a lot of children. But we know that they know the 4-1-1 on the deal.
The Clorox question is another one. People go, “OK, I’m a Christian because I’ve been baptized.” OK, I’ve eaten a bunch of donuts. Am I a donut? I guess you could argue if I kept on eating donuts I would turn into a donut-looking person but it does not make me a donut. So baptism does not make you a believer, just like eating a donut does not make you a Hostess Donette.
Then there’s the attorney question. Any attorneys we have in the house? Don’t lift your hand. I love lawyers. Lawyers are great, lawyers ask great questions, and you can say, “Technically, can you be a follower of Christ without being baptized? Technically, can you be a believer without being baptized?” The answer is yes. You’re saved by grace through faith, period. Sela. End of story. However, if you’re able, you take that private decision and step up and step out and step into liquid swagger.
The only excuse you have for not being baptized is if you are being nailed to a cross right now. And as I look around I do not see anybody being nailed to a cross. “Ed, how can you say something so cruel?” It’s not cruel, it’s Bible.
Jesus was what? Crucified between two common criminals. One of the criminals said, “Jesus, I want to follow you.” He had faith, he had Godfidence. Jesus said, “From this day forward you will spend eternity with me in Paradise.” He didn’t say, “Oh, jump down off the cross, get baptized, then we can talk!” No, he did not. The only excuse you have. “Ed, I’m nailed to a cross right now.”
We have such a phenomenal ministry to people who are physically challenged, we have baptized hundreds and hundreds of people who have physical challenges. And I’m telling you it is so emotional. All of us leave the baptismal area with wet eyes when we see wheelchair after wheelchair, or person after person, physically challenged, entering the waters of that liquid swagger.
One more question, and then we’ll shut ‘er down. The H2O question. “Ed, how should I be baptized? Should I be sprinkled, spritzed, poured, whatever?”
Illus: Let’s go back to the donut, that’s right. The sublime simplicity, symmetry, the nutrition, it’s unbelievable. Well, if I’m going to immerse this donut, which best symbolizes the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ (the word in the Greek, baptizo, means to make fully wet, to submerge), I’m not gonna take some milk and just sprinkle it, I’m not gonna take a little bit of milk and just pour it. No. I’m gonna take this donut and dunk it! That makes it complete. That makes it complete!
I want to do something I’ve never done before in the history of our church. I’m going to ask you a question, a great question. How many of you have been baptized here at Fellowship Church? How many of you? Keep your hands up, in the balcony. That’s unbelievable! Unreal! Let’s give them a crazy round of applause, because that’s what we are about! We are about, listening to be very carefully, conversion growth. We’re not about swapping sheeple. Sheeple would be other Christians from other churches coming in and out. We’re about conversion growth.
Some of you here have never been baptized the way that Bible challenges us to be baptized. Some of you here, maybe just maybe, have never made the decision to become a follower of Christ. I’m gonna give you a chance right now to do that. And if you’ve done that and not been baptized I’m gonna give you a chance to be baptized. If you’ve not done it and when you do it, we’ll give you a chance to be baptized.
I’m going to pray a prayer, it’s a free prayer. It lasts 20 seconds. I want every single person to say this prayer with me, out loud. Many are saying it for the first time. Those of us who have said it before, we’re saying it to help those along who are doing it for the first time. Bow your heads with me for a moment and say this prayer after me:
“Dear God, I admit to you the obvious, that I’m a sinner. I turn from my sins, I repent, and turn to you. I believe with my heart that you sent Jesus Christ to die on the cross for my sins and rise again. And right now I give you everything, tax, title, and license, to you.”
Would you look at me for a second. I believe scores of you, SCORES of you prayed that prayer for the first time. Let me be the first to congratulate you. The Bible says this. The Bible says there is a par-tay going on in Heaven right now as you prayed that prayer here and at all of our environments, in Heaven. So let’s give somebody a crazy round of applause! Awesome! Awesome!
[ED LEADS IN SPONTANEOUS CALL FOR BAPTISM]
All right. Now, at this time we’re gonna have some children come in, and these children have been baptized at Fellowship Church. Everyone remain seated. See these kids coming through? See these kids coming through? Man, that’s the next generation. These kids have made this faith decision and they’ve been baptized. I’m telling you, guys, the kids are exposed to things today that I was not exposed to when I was in college, man. And we spend so much time and energy and resources with our kids’ ministry. That’s why we spent $40 million at Allaso Ranch for our kids and for our church. And it’s still not paid for yet but we’re working on it. But we love our kids. It’s the next generation and we’re so thankful. That’s what we’re about.
Now, if you have been baptized at Fellowship Church, I mean hundreds of you have been baptized before, but if you got baptized here at Fellowship Church over the last 12 months, over the last year, if you’ve been baptized here I want you to stand and join them down front. I’ve never done this. You stand and join them right now. If you got baptized over the last year. No one moving unless you’re coming forward. This is gonna be awesome. Let’s give it up, man! Is this awesome? Incredible!
Now, I remember when my kids were smaller watching them play soccer and at the end of the game all the parents would do like that, a little tunnel type thing, and have people run through. And I thought, let’s do that today as we baptize, wait a second… I want to get all these people right here to make like a tunnel. Just line up the aisle, do like that. Because on the count of 3 many of you need go get up out of your seat and come forward and get baptized.
“OK, Ed, what are you talking about? Do you mean now?”
I mean right now. The book of Acts says 3,000 people became followes of Christ, and they said, “What do we do?” and the leaders said, “Get baptized.” And it says 3,000 were baptized that day.
Question: How does this day become that day? Spontaneous baptism. It’s the power of the now.
“But Ed, I got no clothes, man, to wear!” We’ll baptize you in your clothes! I mean, you’re going to go to the lake this afternoon and go swimming, we’ll baptize you in your clothes.
“But.. but,.. get baptized in my clothes? How about when I’m driving home?” We’ve got a seat cover for your Bentley chariot. We’ve got a floor mat! We’ll give you a free T-shirt! Godfidence! Come on, somebody!
“OK, well, Ed, I’ve got a really cool outfit on. I don’t want to get it all wet.” That’s fine. We have private changing rooms, we’ll give you some cool shorts. We have all sizes. Again, the Godfidence shirt and you go up there and change and then hit the baptistery. The baptismal area that we have ready for you right now.
So many of you who have made this decision, maybe a while back or maybe today. Faith in Christ. You’ve repented. We had a guy last night show up. He had never been to church. Made the decision. He walked out there and we baptized him. He’d never been to church.
We had others who were standing around last night watching baptism and were like, “Man, I’m gonna get baptized.” They just walked right there in the water. So this is church, man. This is New Testament! This is what we are all about at Fellowship Church. We’re all about this. We’re all about this.
So I’m going to count to 3 and on #3, I want all of you, hundreds of you from all of our campuses, everywhere, to stand and make your way forward. We’re gonna make this big tunnel, we’re gonna play some crazy music, it’s gonna be a celebration. You guys come down, walk out, and walk right out and we’ll take you to your respective changing areas. Or if you’re like, “OK, I’m going in with my clothes.” Cool man! I don’t care if you drive a Bentley, let’s get the Bentley seat wet today in Jesus’ name. What do you say?
All right, on the count of 3 I want everybody to move. Don’t delay. You stand. It’s time to step up and step out and step into liquid swagger. Are you ready? Say it with me… 1-2- now come on… 3!. Let’s stand and come forward! Come on! Let’s go! All right, man. Come on down, bro! Everybody come on down. From the balcony, we’ll wait for you, come on down! Awesome!
Here we cheer all these NASCAR events, we cheer at basketball games, we cheer at graduations, we cheer at weddings, we should really cheer right here at Fellowship Church, man! Look at this! You guys keep coming. Don’t delay! It’s time to step up and step out and step into liquid swagger. Somebody swagger somebody, somebody baptize somebody.
“Ed, I’ve repented. I’ve changed my mind, I’m going the opposite direction. I want to get baptized!” Come on! All right! Anybody else? Come on, man! Come on.