Asking questions is how we learn. Children in school are taught to ask questions. The answers to fundamental questions have been the pivot on which great changes in people's lives have depended.
Paul, on the way to Damascus was blinded by the light which was brighter than the mid-day sun. He asked, "Who art thou Lord?" The realisation that he had seen the risen Christ was to change completely the direction of his life.
The people who heard Peter on the day of Pentecost had their minds opened to a new understanding of who the Messiah was, and what God's purpose was through the risen Christ. They asked, "Men and brethren, what shall we do?" Peter answered their question and told them to repent (to change the direction of your lives, is what the word really means), and be baptized for the remission of their sins. The record in Acts tells us that they gladly received his word and were baptized. And they continued steadfast in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship and in breaking of bread, and in prayers (Acts 2:37-42).
The African official returning home from Jerusalem in his chariot, was reading the book of Isaiah, but he did not understand what he was reading. Philip explained that the prophet was writing about Jesus. The Ethiopian, when he understood the gospel message, said "Here is water. What stops me from being baptized?" Philip gave an answer which was to change the African's life. "If thou believest with all thy heart, thou mayest" (Acts 8:37).
Before we were baptized, we were asked many questions about our beliefs. This was to make sure that the body of believers is of one mind in matters of belief and practice as we are commanded in the New Testament. Do you believe the things concerning the Kingdom and the name Jesus Christ? This question is based on the words of Acts 8:12 and summarises the confidence of our faith, so we respond, "I do". Then at the baptism, the brother taking the service will say: "Upon the public confession of your faith, you are baptized by God's command into the name of the Lord Jesus Christ for the remission of your sins".
Our baptism marks a fundamental change in our direction:
The past has been washed away (Acts 22:16) We have changed our allegiance, so that we will not be serving sin but we will be making our service to God our life's aim (Rom 6:16-22). By our baptism we have also associated ourselves with the death, burial and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. "Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life" (Rom 6:3-4). Our baptism was not the end of our search for God: it marks a new beginning and one that should prompt more questions:
How can we continue steadfast in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship? (Acts 2:42). How can we be perfect, thoroughly equipped for every good work? (2 Timothy 3:17 NIV). How can we seek first the kingdom of God? (Matthew 6:33).
How can we use our talents in a way that will please our Master so that when he comes he will give the answer to our unspoken question that we want to hear more than anything else? "Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your Master's happiness!" (Matt 25:21). If you want to know what God wants you to do, ask Him, and he will gladly tell you, for He is always ready to give a generous supply of wisdom to all who ask Him. He will not resent it. (James 1:5 Living Bible)
Bro Mumbelunga Green (Ndola, Zambia)