I cannot remember what day of the week it was or exactly who all was at the church building with me the day Mel walked inside the building. I just remember being blown away by his request. A man none of us knew, a local from our own community, wanted to be baptized.
The congregation was a seed planter. We had a TV program. Our website was informative, filled with distinctive, New Testament teaching. We had done door-knockings, though we never went to his door. We had an organized evangelism program, but none of these led us to him.
Mel showed up at our building because of the study he had done. He had read his New Testament and learned the truth. Then, he began looking for a local church that looked like the church about which he had read in Acts and the epistles. Stumbling upon our website and later watching our TV program, he became convinced that we were that church. Understanding what he read, he knew he needed baptism for the remission of sins. That led him to knock on our door that day.
I am sure that what I have just described is a rarity. However, it points out the inherent power of the Word upon an honest heart. With eyes unjaundiced by denominational doctrine and rhetoric, a simple searcher discovered divine truth. He had no one to debate the biblical facts. It was his own heart wrestling with the powerful gospel. The word worked on his heart (cf. Heb. 4:12), and he acted upon truth.
Mel was like the man who found the treasure hidden in the field or the pearl of great price (Mt. 13:44-46). He was a Bible-believer who believed the Bible. He did what God commanded, even though his search began as a self-guided tour.
God’s Word, when we approach it without our personal prejudices, is plain and penetrating. It exposes our hearts, our sins, and our need. It explains how we can meet that need. It encourages a response. No one is an impediment to us but ourselves. Thank God for examples like Mel that show us the simplicity of God’s message of redemption!