All about baptism

Baptism-2011We are planning a baptism service on September 4, 2016, during Sunday morning worship at 9:30am!

Why should you be baptized? Should you be a member of our church? These are deep questions, but with deep spiritual significance, but the answers start simply: for your spiritual growth and encouragement. They are a “means of grace” for all believers: they are a powerful way God’s blessings come to us.  As others have said: “Baptism is a visible symbol of God’s saving work within a person. It is the outward sign of belonging to the people of God—those who have repented and put their faith in Jesus Christ. You should be baptized if you have repented of your sins and believed on Christ alone for salvation and have not already been baptized as a believer by immersion.”

Baptism is our opportunity to declare to the world, to the church, and to ourselves that we belong to Jesus. Jesus commanded the church to “make disciples, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19-20). When you go under the waters of baptism, the church declares that you are indeed a Christian: you are “buried with [Jesus] in baptism” (Colossians 2:12), and when you rise up out of the waters of baptism you proclaim “you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God.” (Colossians 2:12) The scriptures make clear that baptism itself doesn’t save us: we are saved only by faith in Jesus. Yet it is through baptism that we affirm our faith, obey our Lord’s command, and identify with our Savior. It is a rich blessing to do so.

Are you interested in baptism or learning more about baptism? Please contact Pastor Bob to start the process. This includes meeting with Pastor Bob at least once to ask questions and come to a clear Biblical understanding of baptism and your readiness to be baptized.  Those coming for baptism should be at least 12 years old and be able to profess their faith as best as they are able.

During a baptism here at First Baptist Church, we have those being baptized give a brief testimonial about how they came to know and trust Jesus as their savior and why they want to be baptized. While public speaking may seem intimidating, it is always a rich blessing (to others and to you) to publicly share how God is working in your life. We can hold baptisms at local bodies of water (such as Lake Paran or Lake Shaftsbury), or in our baptism pool on the stage of our church building.

During the baptism service itself (either a special service outdoors or during a Sunday morning worship service), Pastor Bob will ask the candidate for baptism the following:

  • Are you now trusting in Jesus Christ alone for the forgiveness of your sins and the fulfillment of all God’s promises to you, even eternal life?
  • Do you intend with God’s help to obey Jesus’s teaching and follow him as your Lord?

The pastor will then immerse the candidate after saying: “On the profession of your faith in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior and in obedience to his command, I now baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”

Similarly, church membership is how we formally identify ourselves with the local church. Why is this important? The short answer is that we cannot live the Christian life alone. We need each other! When you join the church, you make a commitment to love and serve God and others with this group (or “body”) of believers, to support its worship and work. Likewise, the members of the church are committed to you and your spiritual growth. The pastor and leaders of the church promise to care for you in prayer and teaching and discipleship. When difficulties arise, we bind together in love and seek to strengthen our faith together. In all of this you have the comfort and privilege and assurance of knowing that you are indeed part of the true Christian church both now and forever. This is one of the primary ways God blesses us and grows our faith as we look to him together.

Upcoming Bible Study

We will begin a new week Bible study on Monday, June 6 from 5:30pm to 7pm. We will share a meal, watch a Bible study video together, and discuss. The video series is called “A Life Worth Living” and is a 9-part study of the New Testament book of Philippians. We will meet weekly on Monday nights through the summer at the church. All are welcome!

Why did Jesus have to die?

crown-of-thornsMatthew 27:46: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

Why did Jesus have to die? This is a question asked by little children and scholars, believers, skeptics and seekers, women and men, smart and simple. Have you ever asked this question? We know it is true that Jesus died on a cross. But why? Why did Jesus have to die?

This is a question that Jesus himself asked, and he asked it more than once. In the garden of Gethsemane, the night before he died, knowing something of what was coming, he prayed, “Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me…” Behind this prayer is perhaps the question: Is this really the only way? Why?

And there on the cross, suffering an agonizing death, Jesus asks why once more: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Yes, Jesus is suffering excruciating physical anguish, but even more, we hear in this cry the anguish of his spirit. Jesus, who is one with the Father, the closest of all possible relationships, was torn away, ripping his body, and his heart, in two.

Why? Why did Jesus become literally God-forsaken? Why did he become cursed? Because it is the only way to rescue his beloved people from eternal God-forsakenness. It is the only way to release us from the curse. Someone had to pay the price, and only Jesus, the Son of God, could do it.

Why did God forsake Jesus on the cross? Why did Jesus have to die? So you, and I, and all his beloved people who look to him in faith, could be rescued from the curse of sin, redeemed from the penalty we’ve earned, and no longer forsaken, but adopted as God’s children.

Why did God forsake Jesus? Why did Jesus have to die? Because he loves you.

“For our sake God made Jesus to be sin who knew no sin, that in Jesus we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21 paraphrase)

Holy Week Services

easterEaster Worship Service 9:30am at First Baptist Church at 601 Main Street. Come worship and celebrate our risen Savior together! Featuring music of the pipe organ, trumpet, and an acoustic ensemble. All are welcome!

Maundy Thursday Dinner and Worship 6pm at First Baptist Church at 601 Main Street. Come share soup (potluck) and bread (provided), as well as a worship service around the table featuring communion and acoustic music. All are welcome!

Good Friday Service 7pm at the Missionary Alliance Church (198 Crescent Blvd) in conjunction with other area churches. All are welcome!

Easter Breakfast 8am at First Baptist Church at 601 Main Street. Breakfast potluck and pancakes. All are welcome!

Easter Candy Hunt after the worship service at First Baptist Church at 601 Main Street. All (kids) are welcome!

As always, all are welcome to come worship with us every Sunday at 9:30am at 601 Main Street in Bennington, Vermont. Childcare is provided. We are a welcoming group that loves to worship God together in prayer, singing (usually the classic hymns), fellowship, and faithful preaching of God’s word. We all need God’s grace, so come join us to experience it together!

Please have a look around our website to learn a little more about us, or visit our Facebook page or come by any time.

We pray that God will bless you with his grace through Jesus.