We want to encourage and help you in your next step in following Jesus! Salem offers a Next Steps breakfast and classes on a quarterly basis. This time together covers salvation, baptism, church membership and common questions. Our pastors also regularly meet with individuals and families to discuss their Next Steps.
God loves you. He wants you to have a personal relationship with Him through Jesus, His Son. There is just one thing that separates you from God. That one thing is sin.
The Bible describes sin in many ways. Most simply, sin is our failure to measure up to God’s holiness and His righteous standards. We sin by things we do, choices we make, attitudes we show, and thoughts we entertain. We also sin when we fail to do right things. The Bible affirms our own experience – “there is none righteous, not even one.” No matter how good we try to be, none of us does right things all the time.
People tend to divide themselves into groups - good people and bad people. But God says that every person who has ever lived is a sinner, and that any sin separates us from God. No matter how we might classify ourselves, this includes you and me. We are all sinners.
"For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God." Romans 3:23
Many people are confused about the way to God. Some think they will be punished or rewarded according to how good they are. Some think they should make things right in their lives before they try to come to God. Others find it hard to understand how Jesus could love them when other people don't seem to. But I have great news for you! God DOES love you! More than you can ever imagine! And there's nothing you can do to make Him stop! Yes, our sins demand punishment - the punishment of death and separation from God. But, because of His great love, God sent His only Son Jesus to die for our sins.
"God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:8
For you to come to God you have to get rid of your sin problem. But, in our own strength, not one of us can do this! You can't make yourself right with God by being a better person. Only God can rescue us from our sins. He is willing to do this not because of anything you can offer Him, but JUST BECAUSE HE LOVES YOU!
"He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy." Titus 3:5
It's God's grace that allows you to come to Him - not your efforts to "clean up your life" or work your way to Heaven. You can't earn it. It's a free gift.
"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - not by works, so that no one can boast." Ephesians 2:8-9
For you to come to God, the penalty for your sin must be paid. God's gift to you is His son, Jesus, who paid the debt for you when He died on the Cross.
"For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord." Romans 6:23
Jesus paid the price for your sin and mine by giving His life on a cross at a place called Calvary, just outside of the city walls of Jerusalem in ancient Israel. God brought Jesus back from the dead. He provided the way for you to have a personal relationship with Him through Jesus. When we realize how deeply our sin grieves the heart of God and how desperately we need a Savior, we are ready to receive God's offer of salvation. To admit we are sinners means turning away from our sin and selfishness and turning to follow Jesus. The Bible word for this is "repentance" - to change our thinking about how grievous sin is, so our thinking is in line with God's.
All that's left for you to do is to accept the gift that Jesus is holding out for you right now.
"If you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved." Romans 10:9-10
God says that if you believe in His son, Jesus, you can live forever with Him in glory.
"For God so loved the world that He gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish, but have eternal life." John 3:16
Are you ready to accept the gift of eternal life that Jesus is offering you right now? Let's review what this commitment involves:
If it is your sincere desire to receive Jesus into your heart as your personal Lord and Savior, then talk to God from your heart. Here's a Suggested Prayer:
"Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner and I do not deserve eternal life. But, I believe You died and rose from the grave to make me a new creation and to prepare me to dwell in your presence forever. Jesus, come into my life, take control of my life, forgive my sins and save me. I am now placing my trust in You alone for my salvation and I accept your free gift of eternal life."
If you have trusted Jesus as your Lord and Savior, please let us know. We want to rejoice in what God has done in your life and help you to grow spiritually.
Baptism is the Next Step that follows salvation.
“In those days Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized in the Jordan by John.” (Mark 1:9)
“Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” (Matthew 28:19–20)
“This is how we are sure that we have come to know Him: by keeping His commands.” (1 John 2:3)
“For I passed on to you as most important what I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day…” (1 Corinthians 15:3–4)
“Having been buried with Him in baptism, you were also raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.” (Colossians 2:12)
"Therefore if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation; old things have passed away, and look, new things have come." (2 Cor. 5:17)
"Therefore we were buried with Him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead… so we too may walk in a new way of life." (Rom.6:4)
“And after Jesus was baptized, He went up immediately from the water.” (Matthew 3:16a)
“As Jesus was coming up out of the water…” (Mark 1:10)
(For example) “Then… both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and he baptized him. When they came up out of the water…” (Acts 8:38–39)
Martin Luther... "I would have those who are to be baptized to be entirely immersed, as the work imports and the mystery signifies."
John Calvin... "The word ´baptize´ signifies to immerse. It is certain that immersion was the practice of the ancient church."
John Wesley... "Buried with Him, alludes to baptizing by immersion according to the custom of the first church."
Baptism is an important step of obedience that shows others that someone has personally trusted Jesus for their salvation. Every person who believes in Jesus should be baptized. Having decided to trust Jesus alone for their salvation, they follow Him in baptism as a symbol of their new life in Him.
"So those who accepted his message were baptized, and that day about 3,000 people were added to them.” (Acts 2:41)
“Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,” (Matthew 28:19)
All instances of baptism follow an individual’s decision to trust Jesus alone for their salvation. At Salem, we wait until children are old enough to believe and understand the true meaning of baptism before we baptize them. When a child makes a decision for Christ, we gladly baptize them as a symbol of their faith in Christ.
“But when they believed Philip, as he proclaimed the good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were baptized.” (Acts 8:12)
“Can anyone withhold water and prevent these from being baptized, who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have? And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to stay for a few days.” (Acts 10:47-48)
In the Bible we find parents bringing children to Jesus. He held them and prayed for them and told us to welcome them (parent/child dedication services are scheduled in our church to reflect this) but He did not baptize them, and He did not tell anyone to baptize them.
Baptism is a public profession of salvation (as the Bible teaches), and only people who have intentionally received salvation should experience baptism.
If you have only experienced baptism as an infant, the full meaning and significance of baptism has yet to take place in your life. We strongly encourage you to be baptized as an adult believer in Christ.
As soon as you have believed in Christ for salvation.
The Bible teaches that baptism should follow your decision to become a believer. There is no reason to delay. If you wait until you are “good” enough, you will never feel ready for baptism. Since baptism is not a part of your salvation but a symbol of it, it is ok to wait until the next scheduled baptism.
If you have not been baptized by immersion since asking Jesus into your life, your next step is baptism. If you have been baptized by immersion since asking Jesus into your life, there is no need to be baptized again.
Dress in clothes you don’t mind getting wet (e.g. dark shirt and shorts). Remember to bring a change of clothes to wear home. There are changing rooms, towels and hair dryers available.
Our Baptism team will tell you when and where to show up on the Sunday of your baptism. One of the pastors will introduce you, briefly lower you just under the water and then lift you back to the standing position. Next, you will leave the baptistry, change into dry clothes, and rejoin the congregation for the remainder of the service.
Later you will be given a certificate and photograph of your baptism. You can also request a DVD.
We encourage you to invite all your relatives and friends to attend your baptism.
Additional information coming soon..
God has given you unique gifts and abilities to use in His Body, the Church. Your role is significant in God’s plan for Salem and together we can make a difference (1 Corinthians 12, Romans 12). Whether you can volunteer a lot every week or a few hours occasionally, there is place for you to serve.
To get take this Next Step, complete the Servant Leader Survey below or make an appointment to meet with one of our staff. Contact Us