BAPTIZING PEOPLE IMMEDIATELY FOLLOWING
THEIR BELIEVING IN THE LORD
We should baptize someone, if possible, immediately after he believes in the Lord. The Bible does not tell us that a person has to wait to be baptized after he believes. We do not need to wait so that we can baptize people in the baptistry of the meeting hall. Acts 8 shows us that the Ethiopian eunuch was baptized by Philip immediately after believing in the Lord (vv. 35-39). The Philippian jailor was baptized by Paul and Silas immediately after he believed. Acts 16:33b and 34a say, "He was baptized immediately, he and all his household. And he brought them up into his house...." After his baptism, the jailor brought Paul and Silas "up" into his house. This indicates that this must have been done downstairs in the bathing pool at the place where they were (see note 1 of verse 33—Recovery Version). When we practiced this, many people were shocked, but this is recorded in the Bible. The Bible shows us that baptism is practiced immediately after someone believes in the Lord.
BEING DESPERATE FOR THE LORD’S INCREASE
We need to reconsider our situation. The elders should take the lead to visit people with the gospel. Then meetings should be set up in the homes of the newly baptized ones. We need to teach them the truth and help them to grow in life and to know Christ in an experiential way. Eventually, they will be perfected to do what we do. We all have to be revolutionized to learn something new. We should not practice the church life in the old way. We need to pick up the new way, beginning with preaching the gospel by visiting people.
The number one thing in preaching the gospel is that we need to be desperate to gain new ones for the Lord’s increase. We also have to exercise our faith to apply the Lord’s authority, standing on Matthew 28:18-19, where the Lord said, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and disciple all the nations." When we go out to preach the gospel we should pray, "Lord, I stand on this word. Your authority is mine. I go with Your authority." When we are sharing the gospel with people, we should not ask them if they would like to receive the Lord and be baptized. If we do this, they will say "no" most of the time. Instead, we need to exercise the Lord’s authority and direct them to believe and be baptized.
Before we go out to preach the gospel, we must be cleared up with the Lord. We must practice making a thorough confession of our failures, sinfulness, and wrongdoings so that we can receive the filling of the Holy Spirit. Then we will not go empty and alone. Instead, we will go to people filled with the Spirit.
I hope that from now on the leading ones in the churches would take the lead to preach the gospel by visiting people. Going out to visit people is the most effective way to spread the gospel for the kingdom of God. Those of us who go out for the spread of the gospel must be strict with ourselves. Any looseness can bring in death. We must be serious, not only before man but also before God’s enemy. We are not here for doctrines. We are here for the Lord Christ, and we want to give Him a way to come back.
(Elders' Training, Book 09: The Eldership and the God-Ordained Way (1), Chapter 2, by Witness Lee)