May 23, 2016
(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)
I have a close friend I have known for a long time, most of my life. I began praying for his salvation shortly after I accepted Jesus as my Savior, when I was 19 and in the Air Force. So I have been praying for him to come to faith in Christ for at least 50 years! About six weeks ago, my friend had a serious health scare, and if it turned out to be true, his life would have been in grave danger! He told me that he wanted to get baptized – He needed all the help he could get! That shocked me, because several years ago he had let me know he did not want me to share Christ with him anymore. There was no way he was going to become a Christian! I was with him last week. Considering what he had said about being baptized, I asked what baptism meant to him. He told me, “It means that you accept Christ and are following Him.” True! This is what I believe as a Baptist is the meaning of baptism – believer’s baptism, we call it. The order is apparent in the Bible in such passages as…
• Mark 16:16 – “He who believes and is baptized will be saved….”
• Acts 2:41 – “Then those who gladly received his word were baptized….”
• Acts 16:30-34 (Paul and Silas interacting with the Philippian jailer) – “‘Sirs, what must I do to be saved?’ So they said, ‘Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.’ Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house….And immediately he and all his family were baptized….and he rejoiced, having believed in God with all his household.”
The biblical order is: Believe first, and then be baptized (immersed) as a testimony to the fact that, “I am identified with Jesus Christ, in His death, burial and resurrection!”
Fifty years is a long time! What sustained me to continue praying during all that time? As that children’s song – Jesus Love Me – says it in the first verse, “…the Bible tells me so.” Here is what the Lord told us in Matthew 7:7-11:
Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be
opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and
to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man is there among you who,
if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will
he give him a serpent? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts
to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give
good things to those who ask Him?
In the Greek, ask, seek, and knock literally mean, keep on asking, keep on seeking, and keep on knocking at heavens door in prayer until you get your answer! Because, as it say in verse 8 of our passage, “For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.” Jesus then gives two examples concerning why we can trust God to answer our asking, seeking, and knocking:
• Verse 9 – “…what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone?” Bread was baked from a lump of dough placed on a flat surface. The result was a roundish loaf that looked like a smooth stone. It was possible that such a stone could be mistaken for bread.
• Verse 10 – “…what man is there…if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent?” First century houses in Palestine were often invaded by unwanted critters! A snake might be drawn to a bowl of dried fish. In a darkened house, reaching into the container for a piece of fish might actually produce a serpent!
The Lord then compares us in verse 11 – human parents with a sin nature, yet still careful to give good and proper gifts to our children – to our perfect heavenly Father who will always “…give good things to those who ask Him….”
So I kept on asking, seeking, and knocking at God’s door for the salvation of my dear friend!
Do not give up! Keep on asking, seeking, and knocking!
But there is more! And we will explore in Monday’s blog other Scriptures that influenced my 50 Years Of Praying!