Elder Jonathan Cook, our Pastor, then presented a strong sermon from John 19:30, with support from 1st Timothy 1:15 and 2:5, Matthew 20:28, 1:21 and 3:11, Galatians 4:4-7, John 6:35-39, Exodus 30:9, Hebrews 9:11-14 and 1:3, Acts 2:40-47 and 19:1-5, 1st Peter 3:20-22 and various other scriptures. In his presentation, Elder Cook emphasized that the work of our eternal salvation is already finished and is not hinged on some unfinished task that we must complete. Jesus didn’t just try to save His people from their sins, nor simply make an offer of salvation to us that awaits our acceptance – – He finished the work that He was sent to accomplish and now sits at the right hand of the Father because that work was finished once and for all time. Elder Cook also taught that God’s grace is irresistible to His people and only after one is already made alive can they believe the gospel, repent and come forth to be baptized. Our Pastor also reflected on how we can rest in His finished work, knowing that there is nothing we need, or can add, to it. Knowing this, we are then able to accomplish the practical things of our temporal salvation such as believing, repentance and baptism. Baptism does not contribute to our eternal salvation but rather represents an outward and public expression of what has already occurred inward and privately in our own hearts through the finished work of Jesus Christ.
“It Is Finished” was sung as our closing hymn as we shook hands and exchanged hugs of affection one with another, followed by a tender closing prayer by Brother Robert Cook.
After the close of services, Brother Joe Anderson offered prayer of thanksgiving and blessing on our food before we shared a delicious lunch and time of sweet fellowship in the lunch room.
After lunch we reassembled along the banks of the Potomac River for the glorious baptism of Brother Bruce Black. We sang “O Christ, He Is The Fountain,” then Elder Cook, with assistance from Deacon Brian Dixon, immersed Brother Bruce into the water and baptized him in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. After coming up out of the water we sang “Amazing Grace” as all our members were provided the opportunity to offer the right hand of fellowship to Brother Bruce and to share hugs of affection one with another in joyful celebration. It not only was a very sweet and emotional moment for the entire congregation and for Brother Bruce and his family, but one that glorified the Lord. Elder Bill Stephens closed the proceedings in prayer.
Baptism video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JXpUcrNNNPE