Welcome to BCNN1’s The Gospel According to Greenleaf Episode #15. The title for today’s episode: Sophia’s Beautiful Baptism Will Rank High With the Best Television and Movie Baptisms of All Time and is Greenleaf at its Very Best — and We Say Again Keith David Deserves an Emmy and A Golden Globe or Something
In “Revival”, the fourth episode of the second season of Greenleaf, we get to see one of the show’s most beautiful and moving scenes. On the last day of Calvary’s Fall Revival, Grace’s daughter Sophia gives her life to Christ, and in the next scene, she is baptized by her grandfather Bishop James Greenleaf.
Baptism is a very important experience in the life of the Christian as it speaks to us indentifying with the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 6:3-6 says: “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.”
Jesus Christ was baptized at the beginning of His ministry, setting an example for all who would follow Him. And the apostles regarded baptism as one of the key rites new believers should undertake. Before He returned to Heaven, Jesus told them, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.”
Of course, something we have to make clear, especially in the black church, is that baptism does not save us. I got baptized at the age of 12, I went down a dry sinner and came up a wet sinner and still lost and on my way to hell. Baptism cannot save your soul, although it is a good thing to do after you get saved. Many of our people have been baptized as children or as adultse, yet they were not saved, they were not born again, thus we have so many problems in our churches. Baptism is only an outward expression of what is happening on the inside of us. So, what is happening inside of us when one is baptized after they are saved? Colossians 2:11 says that we are “putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision [sanctification] of Christ: Buried with him in baptism, wherein also we are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.” Notice the term “operation of God”. Salvation is God’s work through Jesus; we do nothing to save ourselves, nor can we. Baptism is our opportunity to publicly declare that God has saved us and that we are now identified with Jesus.
In The Moody Handbook of Theology, Dr. Paul Enns writes, “New Testament baptism had its origin in the command of Christ to make disciples and baptize them. In the origination of this ordinance there is a particular order established. The first act was to make disciples, then those disciples were to be baptized. This is the pattern that is carried out in the book of Acts. Peter commanded that his hearers should first repent, then be baptized. Only those who heard the Gospel, understood it, and responded to it through faith and repentance could be baptized. The result was that the people received the Word, then were baptized. Those who responded to Philip’s message first believed, then were baptized, similarly with the Ethiopian, with Paul, the Caesarean Gentiles, Lydia, the Philippian jailer, and Crispus. All of these references indicate that baptism follows belief; repentance and faith precede the ordinance of baptism.
“Baptism means identification. New Testament baptism involves identification with Christ in His death and resurrection. Being baptized in the name of Christ stresses association with Christ in the rite. Although Romans 6:4-5 refers to Spirit baptism and not water baptism, the passage nonetheless illustrates the meaning of water baptism. It is a public declaration that the believer has been united to Christ by faith in His death and resurrection.
“It is generally acknowledged that the early church immersed the people coming for baptism. A lexical study of the Greek word baptizo indicates it means to ‘dip or immerse.’ One commentator shows how this word was used in such meanings as ‘to sink a ship,’ ;to drown,’ and ‘to perish.’ This basic meaning accords with the emphasis of Scripture: Jesus was baptized by John “in the Jordan” and He came up “out of the water.” On the other hand, the Greek has words for ‘sprinkle’ and ‘pour’ that are not used for baptism. The many pools in Jerusalem would have been used for immersion and would likely have been used to immerse a large group like the three thousand on the day of Pentecost. It is also known that proselytes to Judaism were self-immersed, and immersion was also the mode practiced by the early church. Immersion best illustrates the truth of death and resurrection with Christ.”
If you are a believer who has not been baptized, we strongly encourage you to join with a local Bible-believing church and make this public declaration of your identification with Christ.
We are glad to see Greenleaf depicting the church at its best. In a show that mostly focuses on the negative aspects of day-to-day Christian living, it was a rare and refreshing scene indeed.
In closing, if you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, allow me to show you how you can be forgiven of your wicked sins of the past no matter how dark, God is available to hear your prayer of confession and to hear you ask to be saved from sin and from the punishment of sin which is eternal hell and separation from God. And you can begin a light-filled relationship with God Almighty today.
First, accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s laws. You have done some bad things. You have broken the commandments of God. So have I. And so has the Pope. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”
Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…” We die physically because of sin and we go to hell to burn forever, to be tormented forever because of our sin. God does not put us into hell; we put ourselves into hell because of our sin.
Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ, the loving Lord of glory, preached more on hell than anybody in the Bible. He preached more on hell than he did about Heaven. He said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”
Now that is bad news, and I know most people do not want to hear any bad news. But you have to hear the bad news because the good news is good news because there is bad news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins. He is the Lamb of God who took away the sins of the world, your sins and mine. And all we have to do is trust Him and believe that He died for our sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you and me so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.
And please believe these words found in Romans 10:9 & 13: “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved… For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Saved from what? Saved from sin and the punishment of sin which is hell.
If you believe in your heart on the Lord Jesus Christ, that He died on the cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead, and you want to trust Him for your salvation today, please pray with me this simple prayer and mean it from your heart: Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life — even some of the sins being brought out in this show called Greenleaf. I am sorry for my sins, and today, please have mercy upon me a sinner. I believe with all of my heart that You died for me, was buried, and rose again. Now, Lord I pray that You would fill me with Your Holy Spirit and help me to repent of my sins and to follow You for the rest of my life for Your glory, praise, and honor, and, from this point on, to be the shining light that You want me to be. In Jesus Christ’s name I pray, and for His sake, Amen.
Beloved friend, if you just trusted Jesus Christ as your Saviour, and you prayed that prayer and meant it from your heart, I declare to you that based upon the Word of God, you are now saved from Hell and you are on your way to Heaven. Welcome to the family of God! Congratulations on doing the most important thing in life and that is trusting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour. For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light Society.com and read my pamphlet titled, “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door.” Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”
Until next time, my beloved, may God bless you and keep you. We look forward to seeing you for the next Gospel According to Greenleaf podcast.