On a blustery cold evening, we gathered together at Gospel Light Bible Baptist church to witness the baptism of two of our women and to hear our Pastor preach. Sunday evening’s service began with Pastor Vince Giardino stepping down into the baptismal tank to give us a short lesson on believer’s baptism. He used John 3 to explain that baptism does not save a person, as some religions claim, twisting the scriptures. Being “born again” is through the Word of God. A person must die to self. “Baptism is a picture, out outward testimony to the church”, Pastor said. Erma G. and Sue S. both gave their personal testimonies before Pastor immersed them in the tank.
Our music special was a lively duet by Brenda D. and her son Derek M. singing “My Lord, He’s Real”. Cassandra M. played piano during the offering, with her mom (Carolyn) at her side turning the pages.Pastor Giardino delivered his third sermon on “Just a Thought” or how to think as a Christian. Pastor began by reading I Peter 4:1-11 to show that we should arm ourselves with the same mind as Christ since the battleground for the Christian is the mind. Pastor referred to the work of Noah Hutchins of Southwest Radio Ministries, who claimed that rampant mental illness is a sign of the last days. “In latter times, people will be led astray by alien spirits and doctrines by deceiving devils”, Pastor G. added. Relationships will be thrown out of balance. “Our thinker is a stinker”, Pastor interjected.
The last two Sunday evening sermons were reviewed to help us catch up. In week 1, Pastor explained how we are to be insulated, not isolated, from the world. “The devil at a distance can control your actions; he knows you like your mother knows you, ” our pastor warned. In week 2, he spoke of three things about the heart: our intellect, our emotions and affections, and our will (or what you want). Unless you have the mind of Christ, a Christian can appear to be a hypocrite, being double-minded with a double life.
1.) Working In – God needs to work inside of you. In Phil 2:1, there are four “ifs”; these are choices you need to make if you are to “be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind” Phil 2:2. Pastor G. warned that “there are a lot of things going on in this world that will mess up your mind so you won’t be able to have joy in your Christianity.” The solution is in Phil 2:5, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus“. “Get anything that is not in line with this out!” exclaimed Pastor G. Phil 2:7-8 teaches us how Jesus humbled himself and “took upon him the form of a servant“. For us to think right as Christians, we need to think like God and get the mind of Jesus. Likewise, in Mark 8:34, Jesus said “Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” Christians need to concentrate on serving others and doing the work of Christ.
2.) Working Out – In Phil 9-11, we are told that God exalted Jesus for doing the will of His Father. “God will not exalt you if you haven’t denied yourself”, our pastor said. You will not find the peace of God and you will be miserable – you will not be comforted. In Phil 2:12-13, we see that we must obey God and “work out your own salvation (not working for salvation) with fear and trembling.” Then will God work in you. “Work it in so you can work it out”, said Pastor, “is a formula on how to think right.”
3.) Working Up – Pastor Giardino said, “We owe each other love … You are indebted to each other because Christ died for all of us.” In Phil 2:14-17, Paul asks the church to be blameless and harmless, sons of God, and without rebuke, so that they can “shine as lights in the world“. Their reward, and ours, is treasure in heaven, if we can work in and work out. “God is going to exalt you as He did Christ”, Pastor G. promised. And we will find joy in our lives.