March 29, 2015

What a joy it was Sunday morning to baptize Bessie Hershberger into Jesus Christ!  She visited us initially at the invitation of Wayne Gregg and has been attending South Fork worship assemblies and Bible classes for quite some time.

She’s been very involved in one of our Shepherd Groups as well.  Stan Matthews and I have had a couple Bible studies with her, but it is the influence and example and joy of this church family that I think has had the most impact on Bessie.

She came forward Sunday morning saying through tears, “I just couldn’t wait any longer!”  Praise God!

I couldn’t help but think of the Ethiopian official in Acts 8 who saw enough water for a baptism while they were traveling in his chariot and stopped the trip so that Philip could baptize him right then and there.

Or the Philippian jailer in Acts 16 who was baptized, along with his family, in the middle of the night, right after hearing the message of Jesus and seeing that message lived out in the life of the two missionaries Paul and Silas in his very own jail.

Or the 3000 people who were baptized after that very first gospel sermon on the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2.

Or Saul of Tarsus, who was baptized in response to the question and call of Ananias, “What are you waiting for?  Get up, be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on his name.” (Acts 22:16)

The response of faith—believing in Jesus, repenting of your sins and changing your life, confessing this inward faith, and being baptized into Christ—is a response of love, to love.

In our sermons last Sunday we focused on “Living with Love.”  We focused on these three great truths:

  • Our Love for God
  • Our Love for Others
  • God’s Love for Us

We reminded ourselves that we, as “dearly loved children,” in response are to “walk in the way of love” ourselves, since Christ first “loved us and gave himself up for us.” (Eph. 5:1-2)

The lessons we’ve shared on living with faith, joy, and love seem very connected don’t they?

This week the lesson is “Living With Peace” and will continue that connection.

We’ll end this series on Easter Sunday when the lesson will be “Living With Hope.”

I hope you’ll invite some family, friends and neighbors to attend with you and be a part of this encouraging and assuring assembly!  They want to go to church somewhere that day.  Why not with you?

And one more thing: have you been reminding yourself of God’s love, as we challenged each other to do this past Sunday?

Start again today, and say this to yourself three times each day: “Jesus loves me, this I know.”

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.

Leave a Reply