The story of the Ethiopian eunuch is one of the most foundational stories in the book of acts concerning salvation.
Not only does it create a fully linear description of the conversion process — culminating with baptism — but it also describes the steps that someone would logically take to get there.
But what a lot of people miss in this story is the sense of urgency that the Ethiopian eunuch had. When they approached water, the Eunich eagerly asked Philip, “what prevents me from being baptized?”
The very fact that he asked that question implied that (A) baptism was discussed during their conversation in the chariot, and (B) it was described as being of importance.
We see this in other places too:
- Acts 22:16 – “Now why do you delay? Get up and be baptized, and wash away your sins by calling on His name.’”
- Acts 10:47-48 – “’Surely no one can refuse the water for these to be baptized, who have received the Holy Spirit just as we did, can he?’ And he ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to stay on for a few days.”
- Acts 2:41 – “So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls.”
- Acts 16:31-33 – “They said, ‘Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.’ And they spoke the word of God to him together with all who were in his house. And he took them that very hour of the night and washed their wounds, and immediately he was baptized, he and all his household.”
Why is baptism so urgent? Why do Scriptures talk about this process is something you should only do, but you should do quickly?
Here are a few reasons.
Because You Never Know When You’ll Die
The story of the rich man in Luke 12:15-21 is intentionally haunting.
With a myriad of assets at his disposal, he faces and interesting conundrum — one in which most of us would consider ourselves lucky to be faced with.
He looks around at his wealth and asks himself what the next step of his life is. Eventually, he decides that he’s going to tear down his adequate barns and build bigger ones. Nothing sinful about that.
Except when God observes the situation, He calls him foolish for his decisions. “This night,” God says, “your life will be required of you. Who will spend all that you’ve amassed?”
The teaching for us is not just a matter of priorities, but also identity. Just a few verses before, Jesus had said “not even when you’re wealthy does your life consist of your possessions.”
Most of us spend our entire life trying to create a comfortable existence for ourselves. Where that meets crossways with God is when we put our trust in our identity and that wealth, instead of with Christ.
After all, it can all be taken from you in the blink of an eye. What will define your life then?
Consider too just how fast your life can change.
In Acts 16, the Philippian jailer went to work like any normal night. The span of a few hours, he went from bored out of his mind (most likely), to on the verge of suicide, to rejoicing with his whole family with the prisoner because he had devoted his life to God – an act that included baptism.
Never forget the fact that you could die at any one time. You could die before the end of today. You could die before you read the end of this…sentence. Never take your life for granted.
Because You Plan on Living After Death
After Jimmy Carter left the presidency, he went back to his native Georgia and taught Bible classes for the better part of the last 30 years.
One morning, he asked the group that is gathered how many of them believed in life after death. To his shock (and dismay), only 75% raise their hands.
That’s way too low of a number. Anything less than 100% is unacceptable.
Regardless of any other reason you may have for becoming a Christian, the core of your devotion is because you plan on living after you die. That’s exactly what first rate things chapter 15 is all about. If you don’t think that the Resurrection is a big deal, read that chapter and consider Paul’s arguments.
Hebrews 2 claims that that’s one of the benefits of Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection. In conquering death, Jesus proved to us that we don’t have anything to fear from it.
Many people have done insane things and sacrificed all of their integrity and credibility just to survive. Christians don’t have to worry about that. We have the hope of Mary in John 11, who confidently stated that she would see her brother in the resurrection.
Are you that confident?
Because You Need to Get To Work
These days, churches are filled with spectators. There are a lot of people that attend worship not because they’re trying to contribute, but because they’re trying to see what they can get from the “experience.”
That’s not how the church is supposed to operate, though. Paul talks in Ephesians 4 about how “every joint supplies,” and in 1 Corinthians 12 – 14 about how every person contributes to the work.
To the person that is reading this and delaying baptism, let me just tell you one thing: We need you.
We need your strength.
We need your talents.
We need your heart.
We need you to put your hand to the plow and get to work in your local church. Hold yourself accountable and take that first step.
For Christians, this act is second-nature. When Paul was converted in Acts 9, it says that “immediately” after his baptism, he said about teaching and spreading the Gospel.
He knew what all Christians know, which is that we possess the greatest message the world has ever heard. And if we truly care about others, we’ll get to work spreading it.
Because Your Family is Waiting On You
Waiting to do that work alongside you is your spiritual family. This is a group of people that have been down this road for some time, and know about the distinct struggles that you’ll experience in your walk with God and your work for Him.
It’s also the greatest collection of individuals that this world has ever known. Who would want to be a part of it?
I know that there are people reading this that come from broken families. Maybe your perception of God is skewed because your physical father was a reprobate. Maybe your home was filled with screaming matches and physical abuse.
Maybe you didn’t even know your family.
The family of God is different.
In Genesis 4, after Cain kills Abel, God asks Cain about the whereabouts of his brother. Cain responds with arguably the most callous statement a human could use in that situation: “Am I my brother’s keeper?”
That’s not a statement you make about spiritual brethren. For people that are united in faith and devotion, taking care of your brother is a given. It’s not something you say when blood is the only thing that binds you.
Is Baptism Urgent?
There are some who would accuse us of being obsessed with baptism, almost to the point of making it an idol. That misses the boat completely.
I’m emphatic about baptism not just because it’s the best thing for your eternal soul, but I know that in doing so, you’ll be helping to contribute to mine and others’ eternity as well.
I can’t wait to help you get started.Last modified: August 7, 2023