Here’s a little humor in celebration of our recent baptismal service when we welcomed three more brothers and sisters into God’s family following their public confession of their sins, acknowledgement of their trust in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and obedience to the command to be baptised (Three Went Through the Waters).
It also illustrates the difference between what is important and what is not important; what is a central truth or requirement and what is just methodology or tradition. Baptism is a command from Jesus and it is important that Christians take this step of obedience but while it may be nice to be baptised in a similar fashion as Jesus was – in the open and in the middle of the Jordan River, that can be difficult or inappropriate in a different setting or situation (as in the cartoon below). Yet sometimes we get caught up way too much on the methodology or the ritual when we should be focusing on what is on the heart of the individual. How strange that we do this when the bible repeatedly tells us that God is more concerned with our hearts than our rituals. Rituals carried out as an outward representation of our inner contrite hearts and our worship is received by God joyously but rituals carried out by hardened and rebellious hearts is not welcomed by God.
“16You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it;
you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. 17 My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart
you, God, will not despise.”
Nevertheless, we should not also be outright dismissive of rituals and traditions. Many rituals and traditions of the church were developed after much thought and time, with the intent that the symbolism would help express those very inner testimonies of our heart in a way that could be easily understood by all. However these rituals and traditions can sometimes be limited by time, geography and cultural differences. When that happens, it is important to maintain the message and meaning of those rituals and traditions rather than its form.
As for baptism, let us be of the same spirit as the Ethiopian eunuch as recorded for us in Acts 8: 36. “36 As they traveled along the road, they came to some water and the eunuch said, “Look, here is water. What can stand in the way of my being baptized?” It did not matter if it was not the River Jordan, nor that it was not in a baptismal font, nor that it was not in a church, nor that it was so spontaneous but what was important was the heart, faith, obedience and testimony of that Ethiopian eunuch. And as our Eskimo friends learn below, river baptism may not be so practical where they are.
We ended the month of September with a baptismal service on the 30th which saw two brothers and a sister publicly proclaim Jesus Christ as their Saviour and Lord of their lives by going through the waters of baptism.
We now warmly welcome our brothers, Daniel Hong Aan Lee, Kenny Teh and our sister, Ivy Chong Wan Chuin into God’s family and into the fellowship at Bangsar Gospel Centre. Our prayer is that they may walk close to the Lord and grow spiritually, exercising their gifts for the building of the Body of Christ, the church, and for the blessing of those around them.
Below is Brother Daniel’s testimony which he shared at the baptismal service;
Good evening Brothers & Sisters-In-Christ, I’m indeed so glad and excited to share my personal testimony with each and everyone of you on this very special night. Before knowing Christ, I always feel that there’s no one I could talk to; not even my closest friends & parents could I trust to share my thoughts and my sadness with. I know that they being human beings, won’t be able to know and understand my problems & intentions like how our God does. For as human beings, we are all guilty of making flawed judgements and each of us have our own mental blocks & misguided interpretations, which makes it difficult for people like me at the time, to find a satisfying answer or to find someone who hears my pleas & sadness without having an opinion to judge my feelings.
After I knew Christ and accepted Him as my personal Lord and Saviour, I felt a warmth in my heart (a joy like no other), a feeling of ease and then I knew, that there is someone who truly understands me. One who is on call 24/7 and ready to hear me when I need Him. One who won’t judge me for the sins of my past, present & future, for He has already taken it all upon Himself when He died on the cross. To be reconciled with God is a gift like no other, something which no other human being can give. And knowing that God has sent His Holy Spirit to dwell inside me is assurance enough that I have nothing to fear because if God is for us, who can be against us?
I stand before you now Brothers & Sisters-In-Christ to joyfully proclaim that I am a Christian – a child of the Most High God and member of this wonderful household, where each of us are Brothers & Sisters and Christ is the Head of this household. All praise be given to Jesus Christ, our Lord, forever and ever. Amen.
It was a great time of rejoicing on April 18th 2012 as we witnessed 9 of our brothers and sisters make a profession of their faith in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour and took the step of obedience by being baptised.
The service was chaired by Andrew Wong and a message was given by Titus Ma. We also got to hear the testimonies from each of the baptisimal candidates which were so varied but all spoke of how God met them and their needs and how their life has been transformed by God’s love and redeeming grace. The vast majority of the baptisimal candidates were from our youth and young people and it is always a joy to see God touching the lives of these young ones who are very much still at the start of their life journey. It is our hope and prayer that their walk with God will grow closer over time and they will be both blessed and be a blessing to others through their lives surrendered to Christ. Of course, brother Choo Chan Fatt also took to the waters of baptism and we were encouraged and reminded that one is never too old and set in one’s ways to receive God’s grace and His gift of salvation. Finally, one has to mention sister Sary. We are so thankful to God for bringing our Cambodian sister into our midst and for the great help she has been to the Thomases. And now our joy is further multiplied to see her joy at receiving the Lord Jesus into her life.
Our Elder, Uncle Tee Fatt, took on the responsibility and privilege to lead each of them through the waters of baptism.
The very next Sunday worship (April 25th), Elder Calvin Tan welcomed all the newly baptised brothers and sisters to take part in the partaking of the bread and wine at the Lord’s Table.
Once again, our congratulations, best wishes and prayers go to the 9 newly baptised believers – Choo Chan Fatt, Deborah Chew, Emma Oh, Jonathan Chew, Karen Ng Yen Ling, Kee Ming Zhen, Seow Jane Jayne, Seow June Juan and Toung Sary,
The Celebrated Nine
Giving Testimony about God’s Goodness
Why I am Getting Baptised….
Uncle Tee Fatt: “Don’t forget to hold your breath…..”