ALTAR CALL – Becoming creatures in Christ
MANY HAD LEFT their homes in St Andrew, just past 5:15 a.m. last Saturday, and had driven to Brandon’s Beach for what was an important life-changing occasion for them.
By the time I arrived around 5:48 a.m., a few were already at this popular beach either to support those being baptised or to witness a family member or friend fully committing their lives as new-found brothers and sisters in Christ.
By the time Pastor Trevor Hoyte gathered his flock for prayers and worship, the sun had not even risen.
Just after 6 a.m., as they stood close to the ocean, prayers went up to Almighty God for His blessings, as well as on behalf of the additional church family.
Soon after, Hoyte led the congregation of Faith and Word Assembly, Belleplaine, St Andrew, to Matthew 3:1-17.
His message was clear and to the point: Repent, and be baptised! It was the message of John The Baptist as he preached in the wilderness of Judea.
Hoyte was clearly reminding those who were about to publicly confess their acceptance of – and decision to – follow Christ in the waters of baptism, that they were biblically right in so doing.
In his short exhortation, which followed after the singing of I Love You Lord and Amazing Grace, Hoyte told his new church members they first needed to apply God’s grace to their lives, and follow Him in the waters of baptism. But he also reminded them that their walk with Christ would not be an easy one.
He quoted from 2 Corinthians 5:17: “Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: Old things are passed away, behold all things are become new.”
Hoyte added: “You are a new creature in Christ Jesus.
“There is so much to thank God for, especially for His unmerited favour, which He has bestowed on our lives.
“It is sweet to serve the Lord. It might and can be a rough road ahead, but the same grace which has saved you will keep you, but you have to persevere,” he told the new converts.
He added: “You can, and will make it by God’s grace.”
He told them it was necessary to have persons who would support and inspire them at times when the going got rough.
“It is never time to quit. Keep your vehicle in D, keep driving. There is no reverse in the Church of Jesus,” he added.
Reward at the end
“When you come to the end of your journey, it’s then you will hear, ‘Well done you good and faithful servant’, so keep going forward,” he admonished.
After his short sermon, Hoyte, together with the church’s organist Benjamin Licorish, and Kirt Murray, the church’s accountant, led the new converts one by one into the ocean, where they “died and rose again”: new creatures in Christ.
Further prayers were said on their behalf, after which they took oaths to put their past behind them and to confess Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour.
Before bringing the early morning baptism and ministry to an end, Hoyte encouraged them to strengthen one another.
By then the sun had started to peep over the horizon, almost an indication of the dawning of a new day for those who had just publicly affirmed their faith.
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