Today, I was given the opportunity to baptize my first born daughter. We walked out into the ocean to meet our Campus Pastor Ben Phillips, and two other gentlemen who were helping with the service. As I was walking her out into the surf, my mind was whirling. Her little hand clasped onto mine, and I walked her down to show the world that she had met her Maker. We turned and saw the thousands of people from The Church of Eleven22 cheering as Ashlyn made her profession of faith public before her church body. I asked her: “Who is Jesus?” She replied: “My Lord and Savior.” Then she went down into the water, and came back up symbolizing the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. We then went out of the water as swiftly as we entered, as there were lines of people awaiting this moment before their fellow Christians.
In thinking about the events of the day, my mind keeps coming back to an idea in Scripture. I will get a little wordy here in the next few lines, but bear with me and try to follow. I guarantee it will be worth it. The word the New Testament uses for “church” is “ekklesia.” Without any context there isn’t anything new for you to know about what that word means, but in ancient Greek literature it denotes assemblies that are put together for a purpose. Furthermore, the Greek translation of the Old Testament text, called the Septuagint, uses this word for describing the “Congregation” of Israel. When we study the Hebrew word used to describe this “called out body” of people, we see the first reference to be in Exodus 12:3. Why was all of that important? Because, it points to Christ. The first reference was surrounding the shed blood of the lamb that allowed God’s righteous judgment to pass over the one’s who aligned themselves to the will of God. Exodus 12:3 is the Passover. Even the word “church” begins to be used with an account of grace covering over sin and death through the shed blood of the Lamb.
I was reminded today about what the word “church” means. It doesn’t simply mean the building that we attend in worship. That is a contemporary idea that exists only in our culture. It does mean, Biblically, that at the Passover an idea was established within the Biblical narrative. That idea is that there is a group of people that our God has saved from our self-initiated wretched state. He has called us out to His service in accomplishing His will on this wretched planet spinning through time and space. He calls all people to this amazing group established in His divine, all encompassing and surrounding grace.
This group of people is also called the “Bride of Christ” in Scripture, and this was going through my mind today as I was walking her down to the water. Many fathers think of the day they will walk their little girls down the aisle when they are married to their husbands, but today that is where my mind was. I was walking her down the “aisle” to publicly say that she is now a part of the Bride of Christ. I find much greater pleasure in this marriage than any one on this planet.
I am part of this group of people that have been called out for His purpose. My wife is, and now my oldest daughter Ashlyn is. It is a good day.
If you are not a part of this “church,” the door is open to you. If you are please accept this as an encouragement. He has called you out for His purpose. Find it, and Do it.
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Mattew 5:3 – “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”