Water baptism symbolizes the believer’s total trust in and total reliance on the Lord Jesus Christ, as well as a commitment to live obediently to Him. It also expresses unity with all the saints (Ephesians 2:19), that is, with every person in every nation on earth who is a member of the Body of Christ (Galatians 3:27–28). Water baptism conveys this and more, but it is not what saves us. Instead, we are saved by grace through faith, apart from works (Ephesians 2:8–9). We are baptized because our Lord commanded it: “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19).
Throughout December, our Christmas and Advent theme has been: Joy to Your World, with an emphasis on “your” world. It’s pretty evident if you have any familiarity with the Christmas story, that the birth of Christ was a monumental event, both historically and spiritually. And that event was marked by incredible joy.
On nearly every page of scripture that details the events of the Christmas story, there’s some reference to an expression of extreme joy. The central passage of the Christmas story is the announcement of the birth of Christ by the angelic hosts and the thesis, or the principal theme of that announcement is “great joy.” Listen to it:
Luke 2: 8-7 NLT
8 That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. 9 Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, 10 but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. 11 The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David!
Here’s the challenge, we read it, and we sing it: Joy To the World, The Lord has Come. Let Earth Receive Her King! But while we’re reading and singing “Joy to the World,” that joy never seems to get to us. The commercials this time of year sure make it look like everybody else has joy. All the festivities and parties seem to ignite the atmosphere and environment of the holiday season with more “jolly” feelings. But while the world appears to have a little more joy this time of year…it seems to be passing some of us by.
So yes, joy has come the world, but has it come to you? Has joy come to your world, your life, your circle of influence?
We were made to live in community with others, and one way to find that at Northplace is to get in a group! No matter what kind of group you’re looking for or what stage of life you’re in, we want you to be in a community with people who encourage you, help you grow, and have fun!
Freedom groups equip believers to live the victorious and abundant life Christ came to give us. In addition to the 12-week Small Group is a powerful conference focused on overcoming the past and laying a foundation for walking in daily freedom.
The purpose of Serving & Outreach at Northplace Church is to train and equip ordinary people to go and do extraordinary things in the name of Jesus so that all might see, hear and experience God’s love in tangible ways.