Feb 15, 2015

In the sermon Sunday morning we looked at some different options in answer to the question, “Who do people say Jesus is?”  We listed four—Legend; Lunatic; Liar; Lord.  The idea of “Lunatic, Liar or Lord”—also characterized as “Mad, Bad or God”—has been used by scholars, writers and preachers from the 19th century to today.

Most notably, C. S. Lewis named these in his book Mere Christianity and the radio messages from which that book sprang.  Many others in the decades since have used “Lewis’ Trilemma” or something similar to call on people to reject the possibility of saying Jesus was a good man but not God.

But acknowledging and confessing that Jesus is not just the Lord, but my Lord, is always a difficult decision.

I’m so thankful and overjoyed to share the news with you of the baptism of Craig Stroud this past Tuesday here at South Fork.  Many of you know Craig from the times he has worshiped with us over the past several years.  And though you may not know him by name, you likely know the guy with the beard who used to come all the time and always sat in the balcony.

Craig lives near East Bend and has not been able to attend in quite a while, but he and I have been meeting most every Tuesday morning through ongoing Bible studies and visits over the last three years.  Though he has been around the church all his life, and has read through the Bible more times than most of us put together, he had never made that decision to be baptized himself, to name Jesus as his Lord, trusting in the life and death and resurrection of Jesus for his salvation.

Until Tuesday.  We were talking about different days and times and places that were options for him to be baptized, because I had told him a while back, “Whenever you’re ready, I’m ready!”  Tuesday he said, “Well, what are you doing today?”  I said, “Do you want to go right now?”  Craig answered, “If you have time.”  And that was that!

As I was taking him back home afterward, I asked him if it was any different than what he thought it would be, knowing that he had witnessed plenty of baptisms throughout his life, and had been thinking about this decision for a long time.

He said, “Well, when we were in the water, I knew it was just me.  No one else was there.”

I told him, “That’s exactly right!  At that moment, it is just you and Jesus.  Everyone else is out of the picture.”

There are times in our lives when we do feel that way, that it’s just me and Jesus.  But this is the most significant one.  It’s that moment when the Lord’s saving grace takes effect in my life; when everyone else is out of the picture.  No matter what we’ve been through; no matter how others have blessed or failed me; no matter how I’ve blessed or failed them.

Just me and Jesus.  Not just a good man, but the Lord of all.  My Lord.

Bill Allen

Dr. Bill Allen preached at South Fork from 2005 to 2015. He received a Bachelors degree in Bible from Oklahoma Christian in 1978, a Masters in Bible from Abilene Christian (ACU) in 1988, and a Doctor of Ministry from ACU in 1992. He now preaches at the West Erwin Church of Christ in Tyler, Texas.

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