Our theme this year is one, and that comes from our theme scripture from Ephesians four versus three through six make every effort to keep the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace. There’s one body and one spirit, just as you recall, to one hope that belongs to your call. One Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and father of all who is overall and through all and in all. And these are the sacred ones that bond us all together as one in the Orlando Church of Christ. All of these ones that you see specifically in verses four and five and six, all these ones, these are the foundational pillars for our church.
They hold us together. And what we believe, that’s all the same. They are the glue in what we teach about the church, what we teach about the Holy Spirit. It’s our standard of lordship and Jesus for every disciple in the church. And it’s our shared faith and the saving waters of baptism.
And we went through each one of these leading up to baptism this entire year, which has been exciting to be able to dive deeply into what is the one body, the one spirit, the one hope, the one Lord, one faith, and now the one baptism is the culmination. But I think what’s exciting to remember is that it is more than just a belief in these things. It is doing it, living it and making every effort toward it.
And when you imagine one body running a race or running toward a goal, it’s. Every piece is doing something different in the body, but it’s together. The goal is in common. The brain isn’t trying to run backwards while the legs move forward. And the spirit, the one spirit. And there’s so many wonderful verses about how the spirit is actually the Lord. It’s the master. And we each have that identical spirit living inside of us if we have the Holy Spirit.
So when we’re in touch with it, it unifies us because it’s giving us one cohesive message and direction, a need to burn on all of our hearts together to meet or something in Orlando that the spirit wants to to change or edify or grow or encourage. And one hope we’re hoping for something together and where we’re wanting it and where we’re going to God in prayer for that hope that we have. One Lord we are that we worship and we serve in common.
And we’re not all bowing down to the different false gods of the world. And of course, one faith and our faith is under attack by the evil spirits all the time. And so as we are unified and working together and helping each other, we are working in common to protect our common faith.
Amen. This is our theme scripture for the first part of the year and really Ephesians four. We’re going to be studying this out for the majority of twenty twenty one. In case you’re just joining us, I’m Marcus Overstreet. I’m sharing the lessons today and my wife Amy is going to share a few things as well. But as we read this scripture, don’t miss this. And Amy began to touch on this. As a church, we can list our shared doctrines on an official document.
We can state what we believe in bullet points on the Orlando Church of Christ Web site. Right. We can do those things, but that’s incomplete when it comes to our unity. That’s just unity on paper. It’s stating and teaching what we officially believe, but that’s just half the picture. As some of us know the old illustration, that’s just one wing on the airplane. Right. What about our lives together? True unity in our church is when we work, when we bend over backwards for one another.
It’s what’s beautiful. It’s what’s amazing about the church is when we make every effort to work as a team to live out these sacred ones we see in Ephesians Chapter four, we’re not just bonded together by what we believe as one, but we’re also bonded together by what we do as one. And I tell you what, I don’t think there’s a more beautiful example of this than with baptism. And that’s our specific focus for this month, one baptism, so that one baptism in mind, think about it if you’ve been baptized into Christ think back to that time, OK? Try to look back at this time to your baptism moment. Think about what happened for you to get to that point when you were dumped into the water. Ponder the supernatural unity specifically that it took place in the church for your one baptism to take place. I mean, it’s one thing to believe in baptism as a teaching, a sacred teaching that we all share. But I want us to think deeply about all the spiritual team work that happened behind the scenes to get you in the water.
Right. Think about how you benefited from people making every effort to stay connected to get you in the water. Think about all the people, people who may have had very little in common by the world’s standards, and yet they made every effort to bond together, to put aside their differences, to get you saved by Jesus. This is extraordinary. All the phone calls. And for some of us, it was a person in a completely different small group than maybe you began the church in okay? People working from different groups of the church, different small groups, the church, different regions in the church, perhaps working together, maybe even a different ministry in the church or different life stages. Coming together to save your soul. Is that what happened with you?
Yeah, I. I mean, my parents were disciples, so I grew up going to church. So of course Kingdom kids, teachers helped with my spiritual formation. I think my parents friends were indispensable in helping me become Christians because I saw their lives as well. They were a safe place for me. I felt the love of the family of God from other people besides just my own parents. And then the teen ministry was very helpful and watching teens come to faith and feeling like even if I’m the only kid at my school, I’m not alone.
So they shared the scriptures with me. They had quiet times with me. They asked me about my faith. They prayed with me. I had teen workers, people in their 20s and 30s that also had great conversations with me and helped me. I went to campus services. I felt I’ve gone through every part of the church at me to help me become a Christian. And I’m I’m really grateful for all of those people working together and really loving God ultimately and wanting to please him and that came to help me in my life.
And, you know, another scenario as well as maybe someone from a completely different city that had a connection to the Church of Christ where you lived, made some kind of connection to get you where you could learn about Jesus and get into the water. I mean, these two people from these different cities may not have even known each other, but because of the unity established in our church long before we became Christians, they then worked together to get the ball rolling to save our soul.
And that’s what happened to me twenty one years ago. My sister, who was a Christian, who is a Christian, she just kept calling people no matter where I live. She just kept calling people she didn’t know but that she knew were near me and the Church of Christ and believed in these ones and believed, yeah, and believed that these these ones and that we could that she could work together with people she didn’t know. She would call them and say, I think my brother’s open to the gospel.
Here’s his phone number. And of course, they would call me and many times they’d be like, your brother is not open. But she kept trying and kept trying. And that’s what I’m what I’m sharing here. And I’m a I get to benefit from it. This unity is that’s the beautiful unity in the Orlando Church of Christ that I believe is worth fighting for. That’s teamwork, and that’s the title of today’s lesson, and we want to look at that, but I and the title, today’s lesson is one baptism, teamwork.
But I want to go back to this point that I mentioned earlier, and it’s worth really contemplating when we think about how we came into the waters of baptism and view of the sacred ones that we read in Ephesians four. True unity in our church is when we make every effort to work as a team to live out all the sacred ones of Ephesians Chapter four. That’s, I think, what it’s all about. It’s life and doctrine, it’s believing together in the sacred ones, but it’s also making every effort to work as a team to live them out together.
So, again, the title today is Teamwork under the theme of one baptism. And I’ll show several different pictures today, different slides that highlight some of our recent baptisms here in the Orlando church. And Amy, if you look at this picture, this is Teresa Arya’s. It’s been exactly one year since she was baptized into Christ. It was early June 20,20. And Amy Teresa’s one baptism took a team. It really did take a team of men and women from all parts of the church working together to get Teresa in the water.
Yes, Teresa sister is a disciple. And so she’s connected with with our church. She was here and now she’s in another state. But they stayed unified, stayed close, so that as Teresa became more and more curious about Jesus and about her faith, her sister was able to reach out to disciples here. So Debbie Hadaway really just has has been a sister to Teresa, has showed her her love in every way, meeting her physical needs, her emotional needs, her spiritual needs.
And then that family group came alongside and helped Teresa and Debbie Hardaway and Debbie Maddox and their husbands helped to help spend some time with Teresa’s husband so that she would have a little bit of free mental space and time to think about the scriptures to be able to be in Bible studies. Jeanette filled in a lot of gaps, having Bible studies over the phone when when things were not as convenient for Teresa with what was going on with her husband’s health. And even covid just being able to be creative at the early stages of covid to share the gospel and have great conversations over the phone and look at scriptures that way.
There you see in the picture, Jeanette and I were able to baptize her. And I mean, I played a very small part in it, but I was able to to pray for her, to speak to her on the side, to speak to a church. There were, I’m sure, men who delivered sermons that helped to get Teresa close to becoming a Christian. And even the pool that we’re in, in that picture, many of you know, was the next door neighbor of Barry and Debbie.
And so Barry and Debbie have worked really hard to be great neighbors to this to this couple, so that when it came time and we needed to find a pool and a lot of public spaces were shut down at the beginning of covid, and we needed we needed and preferred to be outdoors to baptize her. The the neighbor said, sure, come on over. So even the next door neighbors were able to participate. So it certainly took a team and there’s probably even some other people known but to God who helped Theresa come to faith.
Yeah. And it’s just an amazing story. And I think that’s all of our stories in some way, shape or form. It’s making every effort and some teamwork to get people in the water. And when you start involving people, you know, there you know, there’s conversations to be had and everyone’s kind of figuring out their roles and how they’re going to serve. And there can be some tension. But to God be the glory. God’s doing a great work.
We see that recently with a baptism of Gabriel. And I love this picture only. Gil Hidalgo, you take this picture, it’s an underwater camera. And I will confess this one was staged right after the baptism. But we wanted to get this really graphic picture of our campus student, Gabriel Evans, becoming a Christian about three weeks ago. But this is what we started out at midweek was the Colossians to scripture of there’s a death to ourselves and a death to sin that happens in the water.
But again, it was an incredible team effort to get Gabriel in the water. And I remember being at the baptism and just all the genuine sharing by both men and women, not just in the campus, but of all ages that played some kind of role in bringing him into the body of Christ. Again, I’ll use this word a lot. It is beautiful. And you know what I’m talking about here, if all of it was easy, we would all do it right, if it was that easy.
Anything worth doing, it can be really, really hard. And as many of you know, I want to go into our text for today. The first century church in Corinth experienced growing pains. They were an outstanding church, but they had some growing pains, some things they needed to get through. And here in First Corinthians three, Paul reminds the Corinthians, he reminds them, as I’ve been reminding you today, he reminds them of how they became Christians, how this process happened to get them in the waters of baptism and what Paul does is he paints for us a beautiful picture of unity. I’m gonna read First Corinthians, three verses, five through nine from the new living translation. And Paul writes, After all, who is Apollos? Who is Paul? We are only God’s servants through whom you believed the good news. Each of us did the work the Lord gave us. I planted the seeds in your hearts and Apollos watered it.
But it was God who made it grow. It’s not important who does the planting or who does the watering. What’s important is that God makes the seed grow, the one who plants and the one who waters worked together with the same purpose. And both will be rewarded for their own hard work, for we are both God’s workers. You are God’s field, you are God’s building. And just some key points here for us. Who are we in the grand scheme of things?
We are workers. You and I are servants of God. And when we join in on helping someone on their journey to becoming a Christian, they make no mistake, we’re late to the party, right? Even if we were the one that initially invited them out and got them initially connected with people that could help them become a Christian. We’re late to the party spiritually. Jesus has already been drawing them to him for a long, long time. God does the heavy lifting here.
God never stops working in the lives of people to help them see his love and hope that they return his love. I think we can see that when we think about our own lives. The pursuit of Jesus after each one of us. But what happens is we’re late to the party. So we then we come in and we’re trying to catch up and see what the Holy Spirit has already been doing in this person’s life. And then we get the privilege to join God now in his sacred work to save souls.
I think the key point here is as well that God makes it grow. We get to do the work. We get to join God in his work, but God makes it grow, not us, it all belongs to God. It’s God’s field. It’s God’s building. And we all have a role to play. I like verse eight as well, and it’ll lead into one of the last things we’ll share here in verse eight. And I want to really hopefully encourage you and give you a vision today for the last six months of the year here in verse eight, we see we all have a role to play as workers.
We have a role to play as workers and as a team, Jesus says in matthew, nine, and he loved this illustration. He he sees all the people in the world and he knows their sheep without a shepherd. They’re helpless and harassed and he prays for workers. We have lots of workers over here on the east side of town. We all have the ability. To share the joy of being a worker in God’s field to be a worker and what God is building and what he’s doing to save souls, it’s not just for a select few group of people.
All right. We all have a role to play as workers to help people get into the waters of baptism and then mature them and Christ as we ourselves mature as well. We’re a team. There’s no competition in this. God even in verse 8 God will reward our work, even though he’s doing most of the work here, even though that he’s doing the bulk of it for us. We work together as a team. And it’s this spirit of humility we see here from Paul.
It’s a spirit as we work together of deferring to one another. And how can I help here? How can you help here? Let’s do this together as one. So I want to share just for you to make this very, very practical for us is there are so many opportunities as one for everyone on this call today to plant and to water. And I do want us to put aside what I think is a false teaching that sometimes we can think this way is OK in order to be a part of God’s plan to help someone become a Christian, I must meet the person, study with the person and baptize the person.
Or I have got to be the one leading the study or I’m going to be the one in the water. I know we won’t say that out loud, but I think we really minimize the teamwork it takes and the many, many different ways that everyone in the entire church can work together to get someone saved by the blood of Jesus. And I think we can overemphasize certain roles here. They’re all vital. We all need to get involved in God’s business of saving souls.
And it’s not just in two or three glamorous areas. I mean, and and I think we’re expected to to do some of all these. If you look at this bullet list, it’s not just what I’ll just do this one thing. Now, you may be better at one thing than another, but we can get involved. I think we all need to be formed into more of our skills to be able to help people become Christians in many different ways.
But we do have people that are gifted in some ways are more available at that season of their life or more experienced to do these different things on this list. But all of them are vital. I mean, you got some people who, man, they excel at inviting and bringing people. They just have a way to say, come along, you got to do this. You’ve got to get this Bible study. You got to come to this small group, come to this meal, be with my Christian friends.
Not that we all we all need to be involved in that and say, let’s imitate those people, you know, prayer, you know. Do you know who’s studying the Bible on your side of town? Do you know who’s interested, do you know the names of teenagers in the church and preteens who could be coming of age to make these kinds of decisions? If you don’t know who they are you can’t pray. But it’s praying for them by name.
That’s part of planting and watering those seeds and being a part of this saving process for your neighbors, praying for your coworkers by name, praying for your family members on a regular basis.
Yeah, it’s I mean, you look at the different things on this list. Amy mentioned part of Teresa becoming a Christian, and you would think, well, that’s a women’s Bible study. Well, the men were involved. The men were spending time with her husband, Luis, who who needs a lot of care because of his physical condition. All right. The men, we’re spending time with him, taking care of his needs so she could be free.
Teresa could be free to study the Bible. It’s working together. It’s maybe at some stage you’re like you’re the baby sitter. So this family can study the Bible with this family or, you know, we even had for Theresa to get baptized. She got baptized in the pool, the next door neighbors of the Maddox’s who are not members of our church. But, hey, they served as a host for the baptism. And the Maddox’s weren’t even in town.
The Maddox’s were not in town. But the Maddox’s had built that relationship where we could use that pool as a place to baptize. Its being the babysitter. Of course, we know that you can be the baptizer in there. And that’s that’s fun. But it’s easy. You know, you just dump the person. Just keep them down a long time, right back up, you know. But you got the note taker. It’s people studying the Bible being involved.
You got the advisor. Those side conversations. I love just getting to know regardless if it’s a man or woman in the fellowship being able to say, hey, how’s it going? What’s your name, what can I pray for you about? And maybe they need some kind of outside advice outside of the Bible study. Anything you want to add here, I think we had a lot of them.
I think what I would just say, as Marcus mentioned on the previous slide, because God makes it grow and we’re late to the party and there are so many roles for us to fill, no matter our life stage, no matter our talent, no matter our skill set or even our time availability, if it feels more limited at the particular life stage that you’re at. There are things that we can do to participate in this, to be a worker and in God’s harvest field.
And really we can do all of these things and God can help us to do all of these things and they really, truly are necessary. Marcus mentioned the side conversation, and I would credit a particular side conversation that I had with one person one time and never saw her again. As a real lightbulb moment. You become, for me, becoming a Christian. All of the other people helped and gave many hours to helping me. But that one little side conversation really, really helped me to make some connections I had not yet made.
And so when we are working and really trusting that God is doing the work, I think it brings a lot of confidence to it and it’s just exciting.
I would encourage you to take a screenshot of this slide. I think everyone in the church can be involved in making a new disciple. Everyone can do that. And we just have to get out of this little box of, well, if I’m not in the Bible study or if it’s not my group or or whatever, no like we’re in this together, we’re so much better together as one living out our doctrines. Right. Specifically the beauty of what it takes to get baptized.
Again, think back to your baptism. I think sometimes we forget we remember maybe the moment in the water, but man, let the wheels start turning of all the things that were happening behind the scenes for men and women to get together, to help you, to help you, to see who Jesus is. So I encourage you, like I know we can feel discouraged at times if we haven’t been apart of someone getting baptized or, you know, we can feel like, man, it’s been a long time.
There are so many things you can do. You just have to engage and find ways and be creative to get involved, to help lift that person on your shoulders as well, to get them into the water of baptism. You may never get credit for it, but it says in first Corinthians, first Corinthians three, God will reward you, God will reward God will reward you for joining with him to save a soul. So I just want to leave you with this and we’ll transition here to Tyler and sharing communion.
But I want to give you this vision. Just imagine if I really think this can happen for everyone in the church this year. At the next baptism, how exciting it will be to know you helped plant or water and God made it grow. We have to have that vision. I think everyone needs that vision. It’s our lifeblood as Christians, it’s us doing what we’ve been born or reborn to do. It’s in our DNA. So don’t just limit yourself to some of these traditional roles and helping someone get into the water.
It takes a team. Believing together in baptism, in the miracle baptism to get someone to the water. Now, we haven’t even started about what happens when they come out of the water. That takes a team to. All right. But at the next baptism how exciting it will be for you to know you helped plant or water and God made it grow.