Celebrating New Life

Below is the story of a baptism event at Vintage21 Church in Raleigh, NC. Pastor Matt Stevens beautifully describes the event and the work of Jesus in the lives of those who were baptized.

These words were the response of a man about to be baptized in Jordan Lake this past Sunday at our annual BBQ Baptism. The look on his face as he said this caused a burst of joy to well up within me, and even now brings a smile. I had just shared with him that going under the water represented an identification with the death and burial of Jesus Christ, the Son of God who was crucified for our sins. And when he burst up out of the water, he’s declaring to all who gathered that he is no longer enslaved to sin, but through Christ is an adopted child of God. I asked if he was ready for this.

“I’ve never been more ready for anything.”

The look on his face was peace, contentment, and joy. In that moment, there was no guilt over his sin; he believed that Jesus Christ had completely forgiven him. In that moment, he was not striving to make himself right with God, but resting in the work of Jesus. The look on his face was someone who had experienced grace from the good Father.

Hundreds of people from all campuses of Vintage21 Church were gathered on the shore, and erupted in applause and shouts of praise whenever someone came up out of the water. For most of us there, it was a reminder of our identity with God as his children, and that we too have been made right with God. For others, it was yet another invitation to the free grace of Jesus. For all, it was a picture of the reason Vintage21 Church exists. We are Christ’s church, and through the church he’s carrying out his mission to make disciples.

I’m grateful to everyone who came out, brought food, and supported those who were baptized. Praise God for what he has done in the lives of those nine people at Vintage21 Church! Let’s pray that more people would experience the freedom found in Jesus. Be encouraged, church – God is on the move!

Matt Stevens