Every Christian has the ability to become closer to Jesus through the act of baptism, Pastor Perry Noble says.
Noble, who oversees NewSpring Church in Anderson, South Carolina, said in his most recent sermon that his church is betting that all Christians have "what it takes to follow Jesus."
Although it's easy for a Christian to make excuses, such as "I can't follow Christ […] I can't read my Bible […] I can't pray," Noble tells his congregation that he believes each and every person has the ability to make their next step in their walk with Christ.
Noble adds that "your next step is your best step," calling on all Christians to seek out baptism as their next major move in their growing faith.
He uses the example of wearing a football jersey, saying that it is important that you wear the jersey of the team that you think is best for you.
"Baptism is putting on the jersey of the one who is invested in me," Noble says, suggesting that Jesus wants us as Christians to "go public [and] put on the jersey" of His "Jesus" team.
Additionally, the pastor tells his congregation that baptism serves as an "an outward profession of an inner connection" with Jesus.
Noble points specifically to multiple Scripture passages that speak on the importance of baptism, including Matthew 3:13-17, which details Jesus' journey from Galilee to Jordan to be baptized.
As the verse notes, John tried to dissuade Jesus from baptism, saying: "'I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?'"
Noble says that this verse is especially important, as there will always be barriers in our way when we are trying to further our connection with Jesus.
It's important to note that these roadblocks aren't always obviously evil, Noble continues. "The opposition [doesn't always have] a pitch fork, horns, and a devil costume."
While opposition is a barrier, it also serves as "an opportunity to continually say 'yes' to Jesus."
Noble also points to Acts 2:38, in which Peter calls on Christians to "repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit."
It's important to note that Peter didn't just tell us to repent for our sins, but also to be baptized, as repentance is internal and baptism is external.
"Baptism is something that every single follower of Christ is told to do," Noble says.
Lastly, he points to Romans 6:3-4, which reads: "Or don't you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?"
When you experience the cleansing, immersive act of baptism, "the old you is buried" and a new you is born through Christ.
"When we come back up, it's symbolic of the fact that we have a brand new life in Christ," Noble says.