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BELIEVER'S BAPTISM

By Lien of OZ


baptism

baptism

baptism

baptism

baptism

BAPTISM

 

BAPTISM

 

BELIEVER'S BAPTISM

 

 

HISTORY:

The "FALL" and Restoration of Believers Baptism.

Baptism has always occupied a place of great importance in any Christian community. It is commonly referred to as a Sacrament in Catholic or Anglican communions. The one irreducible minimum for valid baptism has always been the use of water and the invocation of the Trinitarian name- Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Nevertheless, persons baptised and mode of baptism have changed significantly from the methods accepted as normal in the early days of the New Testament. For instance the introduction of child baptism can be traced to the early 2nd century. In fact Tertullian is known to have expressed his objection to this widespread practice in the 2nd century AD.

Historically the importance of baptism is further affirmed by the construction of substantial baptisteries as separate halls or chapels near, but separate from, main church buildings. These baptisteries capable of holding large numbers of people were needed to accommodate the increasing numbers of converts seeking to associate or become members of particular local or city churches. The "Sacrament" of baptism then being held only three times each year during the holiday periods:-Easter, Pentecost and Epiphany.

Baptisteries of architectural grandeur date from the early 4th century. For example one such structure was constructed by Pope Sixtus 111; 432-440AD. Other baptisteries of note remain at Piza, Florence, Parma and Norera in Italy; at Kantara in Algeria and in Portiers in France. Many of these buildings are octagonal in construction. Many believe this is symbolic of the Numbers 8 as representative of a new beginning into the Christian life which follows baptism.

During the first millennia (1000 years AD) both immersion in, and pouring water upon, candidates for admission into the Christian church was practiced. Often, in the case of adult converts, they were dipped three times corresponding with the invocation of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

From the 10th century onward separate baptistery buildings were no longer constructed as baptism by immersion gradually declined and was replaced by affusion; simply pouring water over the head. A small stone font near the door of each church now sufficed. Moreover, infant baptism was increasingly performed.

This changed pattern is also confirmed by artistic records of the baptism of Jesus by John. Until the 12th century Jesus is shown baptised by immersion or at least being substantially up to his waste in the water of the Jordan River. From the 12th century onward Jesus is shown only ankle deep in the River Jordan while John pours but a small cup of water over His head.

During the time of the reformation Lutheran and Anglican Churches retained the Catholic practice of infant baptism by either simply pouring or sprinkling water on the child's head.

The Anabaptists, characterised by various radical apologists were the first to reintroduce adult or "believers" baptism. They made every effort to return to the patterns of the early church and insisted that persons to be admitted to the church must be sufficiently mature and capable of making a profession of faith before receiving the "Sacrament " of baptism. However, they did not in all cases necessarily re-establish immersion in water.

These Anabaptists were persecuted by Catholic and Protestant alike as they insisted on separation of Church and State. Their movement was regarded by the "establishment" as a Peasant revolt.

The first group of Anabaptists were lead by Conrad Grebel in 1525 breaking away from the Zwingite reformers. Parallel groups were established in Moravia in Southern Germany and the Mennonites in the Netherlands.

Restoration of immersion in water to fulfil Christ's command, "Go and make disciples, baptising them.........." appears to have been the principal "cause" of the Baptist' Fathers in the first half of the 17th century, mainly in England. Baptists are regarded as the ecclesiastical heirs of one or other of the main Anabaptist groups. However, no organic link can clearly be identified.

In England from 1608 to 1641 these Baptists passed through various stages of persecution and Roger Williams "escaping" to Massachusets in 1632 is credited for introducing Baptist principles to the USA.

Baptists as a broad denominational group speak of "believers Baptism", while the majority of orthodox Protestant Churches and the Roman Catholics still retain infant Christening as baptism. Salvation Army and Society of Friends (Quakers) are unique in that they do not practice baptism of any kind, though the Quakers do acknowledge "baptism in the Spirit" as a spiritual experience.

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BAPTISM:- The Meaning of the word.

In addressing the important significance of BAPTISM in Christian experience, it is necessary to fully understand the meaning, and common usage, of the word in the informal or colloquial language of the New Testament (or Koine) Greek. Upon this point there now seems no special point of debate. It is only concerning the importance (and mode) of baptism, as a doctrine and means of entry into the organised (or particular denominational) church, that controversy arises. It seems an unfortunate parody of history that the translators of the word baptizo (BAPTIZO) failed to use the most obvious English word, immerse or dip, and simply transliterated the word to BAPTISE to conform with acceptable tradition.

BAPTIZO in the New Testament pertains to both baptism in water and in the Holy Spirit (though other expressions such as baptism of suffering are also used.) However, no such thing as infant baptism can be found in the Scriptures

In the Old Testament Septuagint (Greek O.T. ); 1 Kings 5:14; tells the story of Naaman who is described as having been directed to dip ( ie. Baptizo) himself in the Jordan River seven times.

BAPTIZO, in New Testament language, comes from BAPTO: to dip into water, to whelm, or to dye. Thus, BAPTIZO means to immerse, to sink or overwhelm , so as to submerge, as in shipwreck or to plunge under, as in bathing oneself, or of dying a garment a new colour. Other references in the N T speak of vessels which were cleansed by dipping or submerging them. The use of BAPTIZO here being to make clean. (see Mar 7:4; Luke 11:38)

The NT. Greek does not allow for any interpretation of sprinkling as a substitute for baptism. An entirely different word describes sprinkling RATISMOS. The word is used in reference to the sprinkling of blood denoting the cleansing achieved through the blood of Jesus. (see Heb 12:24; 1Pe 1:2)

In Heb 6:2 reference is made to doctrines of BAPTIMOI or BAPTISMA usually regarded as applying to divers washings appropriate to Old Testament ceremonial. Namely the carnal ablutions conducted under Mosaic ritual. (see also Heb 9:10). The reference may also be seen in context to other first principles of the New Covenant to water and spirit baptism and possibly even baptism of suffering. (see Mat 28:10; Acts 1:5 and Mat 20:23 resp.)

While these interpretations seem clear, we should nevertheless, not make light of those who genuinely believe and hold to public Christening of infants as part of the pattern of a Christian household or family, where parents of a new child solemnly announce their vow to bring up this child as an act of worship and to rear him/her toward conversion into Christ Jesus. However, this common practice cannot be seen as a substitute for what Jesus commanded in Mat 28; ....to make disciples baptising them............

Infant baptism does not confirm to Mat 28. Infant children cannot fit into this pattern. Moreover, it cannot be fulfilled in simply sprinkling or pouring water.

The question still remains, if this pattern (of infant sprinkling) does not conform to the authority of Jesus, to whom all authority is given, under whose lesser human authority is it condoned?

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OLD TESTAMENT BAPTISMS:

In the O.T. context, baptism is used in connection with various purifications in the statutes and ordinances of Tabernacle and Temple worship. Purification by water was required of:

(a) Priests before entering the Tabernacle; ( Exo 30:17-21)

Aaron and his sons who were wholly bathed in water in their consecration to the Priesthood. Exo 29:4; Lev 8:6.

(b) The High Priest on the Day of Atonement. ( Lev 16:23,24.)

(c) Individuals considered ceremonially unclean. ( Lev 14:15,16.)

(d) Lepers, before returning to the camp of the people. ( Lev 13:8,9; 17:15; 22:4-6.)

Waters-of-separation were required of all people for them to remain in the 'camp of the Lord'. Num 19.

This use of water in the O.T. rituals was always associated with the approach of people to the God of Israel to retain His favour and blessing. In Israel, these BAPTISMOI, in type or in shadow, were to act, in part, as 'school-master' to bring them to Christ.

Following the agreement of Israel as a nation to obey and serve God, Moses demanded that the people sanctify themselves and wash. This was an ordinance of national sanctification over a three-day period. On the third day God said He would come down in the sight of the Israel nation, upon Mt. Sinai. "............ and it come to pass on the third day, in the morning, there were thunders and lightnings and a thick cloud upon the mountain ......... the Lord descended upon it in fire----."

Moses spoke and God answered Him by a Voice. see Exo 19:10-25.

In the O.T. no man could serve God unless he was clean- (eg.: Num 8:7). Likewise, in the N.T., no man is free to serve Jesus as Lord unless he is free from the grime and grip of sin.

Before entering unto service Aaron, the appointed High Priest and his Priestly sons, were washed in water (Lev 8:6), and anointed in oil (symbolic of the Holy Spirit anointing), from tip to toe; over their heads and beards, to the very borders of their garments, right down to their feet. (Psa 133, cf. Exo 29:7).

Aaron, as the High Priest of the People of Israel, was also commanded to wash his flesh in the Holy Place. The whole pattern of uncleanness and sin and the need for washing (in water) is exemplified in the O.T. --"If any man bathe not his flesh, he shall still bear his iniquity".( Lev 17:16)

In like manner, Jesus commands "He that believes and is baptised shall be saved. He that believeth not (does not obey), shall be damned [or remain in condemnation]". ie.: the burden of his iniquity remains upon him -- death rules. (see Mar 16:16)

Paul, in 1Co 10:1-3, takes up the historical record of Israel as the nation, having passed through the Red Sea and the Cloud, representing in type the baptism of the Nation of Israel in water and in Spirit. (see later Chap. Baptism in Cloud and Sea).

When Jesus walked amongst His fellow Judahites ( the Jews), ceremonial washing no longer possessed any real significance other than as an outward show of liturgical purification, which had become so over-laid with rules and forms, that such rituals had lost their meaning. (see eg.: Mark 7:4,5.)

However, one pattern of ceremony which did retain more significance concerned the baptism of proselytes to Judaism. In this the heathen's conversion was illustrated by his total immersion. Initially he was to sit up to his neck in water and then plunge himself under the water to identify himself as being cleansed of all the defilement's of heathenism. Thus, he was then able to enter clean into a new relationship with God's covenanted people.

Perhaps we can see from these practices that baptism was not something invented by John, but something which he restored and re-constituted. In contrast to the perverted rigmarole within Pharisaic Judaism. Ceremonial washing's (Baptismoi) of the O.T. effected nothing but external purification and "could not make him that did the service perfect as pertaining to conscience". (Heb 9:9)

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JOHN the BAPTIST

JOHN!

Herald of the coming Jesus. Came as a Messenger
to tell of, and to identify, "the Lamb of God who
would take away the sin of the whole world--
for all men!" (Joh 1:29)

YOCHANAN            BEN                 ZACHARIAH

God is Gracious      Son        of The Lord remembers.

John the Baptist.

John burst on the scene after 400 years of prophetic silence (cf Amos 8:11).."A voice crying in the wilderness"- in the countryside about Judea and Jerusalem. (Mat 3:3) He quickly drew attention because of his Hermit like appearance and life style. One dressed in camels hair and eating little more than honey and locusts. Nevertheless a man sent by God. (Joh 1:6)

"Hark there is one calling. Clear a path in the wilderness the way of the Lord, make a plain in the desert, a highway for our God." see Isa 40:3

John identified himself with this prophecy, and as any orthodox Jewish school boy would appreciate both in Jesus day as in ours, before Messiah ( the anointed Servant of Israel) a messenger would come to herald the coming Messiah. He would go before him as a forerunner.

" Behold I send my messenger, and he shall clear the way before me." (Mal 3:1) Malachi wrote of the coming Elijah; the one who would announce the Messianic age. The age of the Kingdom of God .

Of this Jesus Himself affirmed ,"For all the prophets and the Law prophesied until John and if you care to accept it, he is Elijah who was to come. He who has ears to hear let him hear." No man who born of woman is greater than he! Yet he who is least in the Kingdom of heaven is greater even than he. (see Mat 11:13-15; 11:11)

WHAT DID HE DO? What new thing did this John do? This John, Son of Zachariah and Elizabeth.

He preached repentance and a baptism for the forgiveness of sin declaring that the Kingdom ( the RULE of GOD was at hand.

Jews, through their priestly leaders for hundreds of years (even before John came on the scene) practiced baptism; a washing of purification preparatory to the giving of the Law (Exo 19:10) and of Priests before ministering in the Tabernacle of Moses- Aaron and his sons. (Lev 8:6) The laver moreover, both in the Tabernacle and the Temple was used for 'divers washing's'. Ritual purification demanded of those defiled by various form of uncleanness. They also practiced a baptism ( immersion) of "Gentile Converts". Proselytes entering into Judaism.

MIKVEH* TEVILAH#. meaning literally # immersion in *gathered water".

Judaic baptism however, had degenerated into a mere ritual cleansing. Nevertheless, John used this- ritual of Rabbinical Judaism in a strikingly different way. To signify repentance from dead works in preparation for the Kingdom of God and its King - THE King YESHUA Ha MASHIAH - Jesus Messiah- Jesus Christ. The Anointed ONE.

When any Gentile desired to enter into the covenant of Abraham and, into what had then become the religion of Judah, he first submitted to circumcision, then to baptism and he brought a sacrifice.

Talmudic (Jewish) tradition declared that when a Gentile was made a Proselyte (of Judaism) and a slave, he was as one who was made free, but at the same time he was to become like a child new born. His uncleanness was not in the mud or filth of the flesh which the water of Jewish baptism (MIKVAH TEVILAH) removed but was a matter of scriptural decree to be made spiritually clean from the trappings of Heathenism. Participation was dependent upon the intention of the heart. (cf. 1Pe 3:21)

This baptism John revitalised. He brought it back to life as a baptism of repentance, preparatory to the one - JESUS - who would baptise in Spirit.

To become Christian today, is also to be new born. Requiring that a man or woman become circumcised of heart offering themselves, or submitting to baptism in water and in the Holy Spirit, and then to present themselves as living sacrifices.

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JOHN'S BAPTISM:

When John came up out of the deserts proclaiming the Baptism of Repentance, he was a revolutionary who was prepared to overthrow 400 years of Priestly formalism; a radical, "the voice of one crying in the wilderness"; (Mat 3:3). The word of God had come to John in the wilderness for him to preach repentance and to herald the soon coming Messiah.

"Repent for the Kingdom of God is at hand".

The interesting thing is that many even of the Pharisees and Sadducees recognised John's baptism. They came out to see his baptism and were embarrassingly rebuked by him.

"O generation of vipers, who has warned you to flee from the wrath to come. Why don't you bear fruit that befits repentance" .......see Mat 3:7-9. "What did you come out to see?"

It is very likely that these "keepers-of-the-Law" knew that their 'divers washings' pointed to the washing which Messiah was to bring. Hence, they questioned John, "Why do you baptize if you are not the Christ, nor Elias, nor that prophet?" John simply answered that he was but the 'voice' commissioned to declare that the greater one would come and '...baptise with the Holy Spirit and fire.' ( Mat 3:11; Joh 1:29-34).

Later on Jesus, in His turn, questioned the Pharisees, "Is the Baptism of John from heaven or is it of men?" see. Mat 21:25; Mar 11:30; Luke 20:4.

They dare not answer, for, if they said of 'men', all the people would repel them and if they said, "of heaven", then they would be challenged as to why they did not themselves submit to it? (Luke 7:30).

It was mainly the common people who acknowledged John as a Prophet.

When Jesus came to be baptised by John, He identified himself with the value of the message of repentance proclaimed by John (though He had no need to repent). He also identified himself, by example, as a man with/of the people.

"Why do you come to be baptised by me?" said John.

"Let it be so------- for it is fitting for US to fulfil all righteousness".............see Mat 3:15.

Indeed Jesus' baptism by John in water fulfilled the requirements of the Levitical Law in His consecration as Priest; just an any other Son of the Law when they "began to be about 30 years of age".( see Num 4:3. cf and NB. Luke 3:23.)

His further anointing in the Holy Spirit perfected , in type, what had been the oil of anointing experienced by the Priests of Moses. (see Exo 29:4-7; Lev 8:6-36;Psa 133.)

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JESUS ' BAPTISM:

Then cometh JESUS from Galilee to Jordan unto John to be BAPTISED by him. But John forbade Him, saying, " I have need to be baptised by Thee -- why do You come to me? ".

Jesus, answering said "Suffer it to be so now, for thus it becometh US to fulfil all righteousness. (Mat 3:13-15)

And so Jesus was baptised of John (going down into the water of the Jordan river and coming up out of the water) . Why? What sin had Jesus to repent of or to confess?

For this indeed was demanded of all who came to John: repentance and confession of sin. But why Jesus ? " He did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth".(1Pe 2:2)

Jesus, by being baptised by John was deliberately setting an example, and a pattern, in which all believers were expected to follow .

"........................because Christ suffered for us, (leaving for us an example), that we should follow His steps. " ( see 1Pe 2:21).

"Thus, it becometh US", said Jesus, "To fulfil ALL righteousness".

Thus, it becometh US-----in this or like manner it is fitting that we should follow Jesus' example in order to fulfil or to make complete, all righteousness. A righteousness which, for believers in Christ Jesus, can only be imparted ,to us, by or through) our total confidence or faith in Him."........being justified (ie. made righteousness), by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ". (Rom 5:1).

The paramount reasons why, as believers, we offer our-selves in baptism is firstly, to identify with Jesus and secondly, to complete or fulfil all righteousness to show by an outward act of obedience the inward righteousness afforded by the grace of God .

Jesus always possessed within Himself the righteousness (and peace) with His Father. However, by offering Himself for baptism by John, Jesus fulfilled it; He completed this inward righteousness with the outward act of obedience to the will of His heavenly Father.

Thus, when Jesus was baptised-------the heavens opened unto Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting upon Him--and then a voice from heaven declared:

"This is my beloved SON, in whom I am well pleased". (Mat 3:16,17).

Thus, it becometh US.........we who know sin and need His salvation.

****************************

CHRISTIAN BAPTISM:

Christian baptism in water exceeds and now supersedes John's baptism. John's baptism was but a temporary expedient to cover repentance and confession of sin until Jesus provided complete righteousness. Thus, for the 'Christian' believer baptism not only covers repentance and confession of sin, but also promotes identification, by faith, in the atoning death and resurrection of Jesus. It is an outward expression of obedience toward God. A responsive act made to affirm the inward desires of a repentant heart.

Any candidate for baptism must firstly, have been taught or instructed concerning the Gospel and the way of salvation. Second, he must have made a decisive decision to repent from his sin, and to place whole-hearted confidence in the atoning death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus as Lord. And further, he must be able, [by submitting to baptism], answer God with a good conscience. These four conditions automatically rule out infants.

An infant:

  • cannot be taught or instructed;

  • is unable to repent of sin;

  • has no way of believing in Jesus; and

  • cannot answer with a good conscience.

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THE COMMAND TO BE BAPTISED.

"Go therefore and make disciples of all nations baptising them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.".(Mat 28:19 noting also Mar 16:15-18; Luke 24:47-49, Joh 20:21-23; Acts 1:2,8)

Jesus here commanded his disciples to baptise in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit and as we trace the scriptural record we find 9 accounts of baptism. However, in these accounts, baptism is never recorded as following the pattern directed by Jesus. Baptism is always in the name of Jesus Christ or Lord Jesus Christ, not Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

1. At Jerusalem following Pentecost...In the name of Jesus Christ................. Acts 2:38

2. In Samaria...........In the name of the Lord Jesus...................... Acts 8:12

3. In the Gaza Desert.....upon confession of faith in the lord Jesus as Son of God... Acts 8:37

4. Of Paul in Damascus.....Calling on the name of the Lord.............. Acts 9:18; 22:16

5. Of the household or family of Cornelius....administered in the name of the Lord...Acts 10:48

6. Lydia and her household on being judged faithful to the Lord.......... Acts 16:15

7. The Phillipian jailer and his family by believing on the Lord Jesus Christ.... Acts 16:30-34

8. Of the Corinthians, including Crispus and his household,

in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ..... Acts 18:8;1Co 1:14

9. The 12 Ephesians -in the name of the Lord Jesus............. Acts 19:4

Did the disciples fail to fulfil Jesus' command?

What did Jesus mean when he directed that baptism should be in the name of the FATHER, SON and HOLY SPIRIT?

The book of the Acts of the Apostles is the only infallible account we have of the Apostles interpretation of Jesus' commands. For consistency between the Gospel command and the Acts execution of this command, we must conclude that the name, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, is also to be found in the name Lord Jesus Christ.

Indeed in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ is (triune) Godhead bodily, for it pleased the Father that in the Son should dwell ALL the fullness of the Godhead.(see Col 1:19; 2:9) This is the family name: "For this cause," writes Paul, "I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is NAMED."(Eph 3:14,15)

The name Father, Son and Holy Spirit, is completely expressed in Jesus................................

  • LORD-----identifying the Father God.

  • JESUS-------manifestly the Son.

  • CHRIST---- the anointed/anointer of the Holy Spirit

No command of any kind is fulfilled merely by quoting it (Mat 28:19). No war was ever won simply by Generals mouthing orders. Those orders have to be interpreted and acted upon. The Apostles did not just quote Jesus command they OBEYED it!

  • The Gospels record the commands of Jesus.

  • The Acts exemplify their fulfilment in obedience to the commands.

  • The Epistles reveal the spiritual significance of Jesus' orders.

The Gospels outline the history of Jesus earthly walk and exemplary deeds. They give an account of Jesus' life and death but very little is revealed of its purpose.Then follows Acts, giving the record of the outworking responses of Holy Spirit inspired men and women. The Epistles interpret and reveal the spiritual significance of what was (and is still) taking place in the outworking of HIS STORY.

Thus we find the progressive unfolding and revelation of truth; moving from the Gospels, to Acts and through the Epistles of Paul, Peter, John and others. These are the fundamentals of the "Doctrines of Faith; once delivered to the Saints."(see Jude 1:3.)

As a counterpart to baptism, a similar parallel is found in regard to the Lord's table or Communion:-

  • In the Gospels Jesus instituted, or ordered, The Table as a remembrance and memorial of his body and blood.

  • In Acts on the first day of each week was set aside by the Churches (Assemblies of saints) to break bread and remember Jesus' death.

  • The spiritual importance of this memorial 'feast and fellowship' however, and the identification of the bread and wine, to define the essential truths of COMMON...... UNION, is found mainly in the Epistles.

What's in a Name?

Baptising into the name speaks of relationship and the name identifies with whom the relationship is established. The action of immersion into, and emersion out of, the water speaks of union with Christ in burial and resurrection. New birth then is personal regeneration achieved by receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit.

To be baptised into the name is to become submitted to the leadership of the one whose name has been invoked. This excludes any supreme religious loyalty to any Paul or Apollos as Paul directed to the Corinthian Church.(1Co 1:12,13)

To understand name we must begin to appreciate that in Hebrew or Jewish mentality it is far more than mere identification of a person. Name carries representation of character and embodies the personality and integrity of the one named. Thus whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, calls upon his character and integrity.

In the name of Jesus God is revealed:-

  • as Saviour.

  • as Sovereign.

  • as the fullness of Godhead.

  • as perfect Love.

To be baptised into the name embraces the one God who is:-

Father     Son     and Holy Spirit.

Lord       Jesus    Christ.

Lord      Word      Glory.

  • Whose follower you become.

  • Whose teaching you obey.

  • Whose order you adhere to as rule of life.

  • By whose name confession is made unto salvation.

  • Accepting the Father God of Jesus as your father.

  • Acknowledging His Son as one and only saviour.

  • Embracing Him as Prophet Priest and King;

    Prophet to teach; Priest to forgive;

    King to rule and reign in life.

    Looking in anticipation to receive and

    welcome the Holy Spirit. As sanctifier; as guide

    and comforter; one to quicken and enliven

    to re-birth after the image and nature of God.

Even so there are still those who have joined or attend a particular organised Church who know that they do not want to belong to the pattern and behaviour of the world but they are not yet joined o Christ as Head of the Body of Christ. They have been told by some church that they are sanctified and regularly partake of communion recognising the death of Jesus but they have not yet identified with His burial and resurrection nor ascension.

Baptism both in water and Holy Spirit is a contract, or covenant, of espousal with Christ as Bridegroom.

Baptism as believers baptism is not especially adult, nor child baptism, but is for those able to comprehend and obey. It is for those able to confess Jesus Christ. To put on Christ and put off the old sinful life. (Col 3:9,10; Gal 3:27). By faith we then become united to Christ. We share in the nature of His death, burial and resurrection. If anyone has not been so united, and your own personal spiritual experience does not express that the Living God, Father ,Son and Holy Spirit, has become your God, your Father, your Saviour, then how can you then claim to be in Christ or claim the name Christian?

The Gospel in baptism is Christ crucified, Christ buried, Christ raised.

**************************************************

AUTHORITY AND PURPOSE OF BAPTISM

In the last chapter of Matthew's gospel these words of authority come from the risen Lord Jesus:" All authority is given to me in heaven and upon earth. Go therefore and make (teach) disciples of (or out of) all nations, baptising them in (into) the name of the FATHER, and of the SON and of the HOLY SPIRIT, teaching them to observe ALL that I have commanded you and lo, I am with you always, even to the end (i.e. the consummation) of the age." (Mat 23:18-20)

Here we note, that upon the authority of Jesus (Him to whom all authority belongs), the command to be baptised. Who then would dare to contradict the need and necessity to be baptised? (note Acts 4:12) '....there is salvation in (absolutely) no other. For there is no other name, under heaven, given amongst men by which, we must be saved!' No man comes to the Father but by (or through) me" says the Lord Jesus. There is no other authority to whom you can appeal and, by this authority you are commanded to be baptised. Whose authority should you respect? Jesus to whom all authority is given, or some lesser human authority trying to convince you otherwise and, consequently, lead you into disobedience from the sovereign authority of the Lord Jesus Christ.

The command is to make (teach) disciples of or out of all nations. Not nations in total, but representatives out of, or from, all nations. Jews, Greeks, Romans, Australians...... Such as are to be capable of being taught, of hearing and responding to the Gospel; the word of Salvation. Thus, infants are excluded. Furthermore, the command is to baptise them, ie. the ones who have responded in teachableness; those who have been disciplined by the words heard; chastened to yield to authority.

Baptising them >>>>>> ie. the ones responding to the word preached.

Thus, it is clear that the context of baptism is to be found in responsiveness to the word of the gospel proclaimed, to the word preached. THE Gospel, and in response to what is seen and heard in the gospel. Baptism is the firstly an affirmative, tangibly active, response to the hearing of the good news of the gospel.

This response need not be as a result of some long drawn out program of instruction but an immediate reply. On the same day, within an hour of hearing the Pentecostal challenge by Peter, over 3000 were baptised. The Ethiopian eunuch, the very hour he reacted favourably, to the gospel, proclaimed by Philip, said " .... .here is water what hinders me from being baptised? " Acts 8:35. After midnight, in the early hours of the morning, the Roman officer, the gaoler and his whole family were baptised (Acts 16:33,34) and of course, Cornelius, the Roman Centurion and his household were baptised immediately following their infilling of the Holy Spirit. Even while Peter was speaking the words of salvation in the gospel, the Holy Spirit enveloped them and they spoke in tongues, "Can anyone keep these people from being baptised in water? for, they have received the Holy Spirit exactly the same as we have." (Acts 10:44-48).

Response to the word and immediate. Acceptance followed and in obedience to the authority given by Jesus, they were baptised in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Power in a Name?

We have noted already that behind the name is authority; all authority in heaven and upon earth. In Hebrews 1:3,4 we note that Jesus, the Son, is in the express image of God and, by inheritance has obtained a name more excellent than any angel or messenger of God. And, in Philippians 2:9,10 God has highly exalted Him and given Him a name which is above every name. A name to which every knee should (and will) bow, in heaven and in earth; even under the earth.

In Hebrew mentality, name is far more than just mere identification. It is representative of character. A persons name embodies both character and personality , i.e. it is synonymous with the particular person and all that he represents, all his principal characteristics and personality. Thus, whomsoever shall call upon the name of the Lord Jesus Christ (i.e. to call upon HIS character and alibility) shall be saved. Jesus is revealed in His name and there is no other name by which we must be saved (Acts 4:12).

In the name of Jesus, God is revealed who is saviour, and sovereign, all the fullness of the Godhead. In submitting to baptism a relationship is formed between the one being baptised and God; who is Himself revealed in Jesus Christ, (of the Gospel preached), He is revealed as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Jesus Himself having declared "I and the Father are one." (John 17:21,22)

The gospel by which you and I, (or any who seek to be baptised), are made disciples, is by first believing, then accepting what is preached and then to enter into one God, who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit and who has the name Lord, Jesus and Christ.

In submitting to baptism a confession is made. "I accept and receive the Father, God of Jesus, who died and gave Himself for me. I accept God as my Father, as my creator, provider and sustainer. I acknowledge Him as the One to whom I should now live. I praise Him now for His love in sending His own own to be my Saviour from all my sin. I acknowledge Jesus the Son as my only Saviour, I embrace Him as my prophet, priest and king.

  • My prophet to teach me.

  • My priest to intercede and forgive me.

  • My King to rule and reign as Sovereign Lord of my life.

"I embrace Jesus as the one and only mediator. I am content and assured to know that His perfect life, His sacrificial death and His rising again from death, are my only means of being freed from the guilt and penalty of sin and my one ground of acceptance before God as righteous. (see Rom 4:25)

"I look now, in anticipation as I claim Jesus as 'Lord of my Life', to receive, welcome and be filled with Holy Spirit. This Holy spirit given by Jesus as the promised gift of God, that He might sanctify me, comfort and guide me. He it is who will quicken me to newness of life, in order that I might be reborn after the image of my heavenly father."

While all these things remain largely unsaid, by the one being baptised, these expressions are proclaimed symbolically in the act of baptism.

Baptism symbolically proclaims in conscience and public affirmation, (by the one being baptised), his whole hearted submission to and reception of, the one God who is revealed as Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

In the act of baptism the candidate acknowledges his death to sin, because of Jesus who died for sin. He is then buried into death, like as Jesus was also buried. Buried into Christ's death and burial, to rise again out of this death by the effectual working of God. Faith in the power of God who raised Jesus also from the dead; by the self same Spirit of God (see Col 2:12, Rom 6:4, 1Co 6:14).

In these acts sin is put of and Christ Jesus in put on# (Gal 3:27). Believing on His name. YOU are then baptised into* the name. Believing on His name as a repentant sinner but believing in (or into) His name as a believing saint.

# as a garment.

* into- see examples in Acts 8:16; 19:5, Rom 6:3, 1Co 1:13; 10:2 and Gal 3:27

It has been said that "baptism is the contract of our espousal to Christ",
.for the Church, the ecclesia of saints, is His bride, He is the head - we are the Church, His body. (see Col 1:18; Eph 1:22,23; 4:15,16)

The formula of Mat 28 "baptising them into the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit" is not recorded as having been used by the Apostles in the accounts of baptism given in Acts. Nevertheless, as the Son is central in Father, Son and Holy Spirit, so He is central in the commission of baptism. "ln everything that He might be pre-eminent." Sinners come into relationship with the tri-une Father, Son and Holy Spirit through:-

  • Jesus as Lord and eternal Father as one,

  • Jesus as Son,

  • Christ as the anointer in Holy Spirit.

Union with Christ Jesus brings union with the Father through the Holy Spirit.

"If a man love Me" said Jesus, "He will KEEP My word, the Father will love him and we will come and dwell in you".

Where the Spirit is there is the Son and Father also:- inseparable.

The only approach to the Father is through the Son. "I am the way, the truth, The life" said Jesus, "No man comes to the Father but by me." (John 14:6,7).

He is the one mediator (1Ti 2:5). Able to save those who come to the Father God through Him (Heb 7:25).

"If any man thirst" said Jesus, "let him come to Me and drink" (John 7:37).- "He that believeth on Me out of his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water" Thus he spoke of the Holy Spirit which was to be given. (John 7:38-40)

It is not possible to have direct dealings with the Spirit except through recognition of the Son, Jesus. Nor can you go to the Son except the Father draw you (John 6:44) and moreover, you cannot receive the Holy Spirit without knowing Him (Jesus) who is the giver. (Acts 2:33).

Formula perhaps is of least importance in baptism. What is important is that any candidate must have sufficient knowledge of his need for baptism resulting from the gospel preached so that he can set his mind and thoughts to believe on the Son as saviour of sinners and believe in, and have faith to know, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

You do not receive the Spirit 'by believing or observing the law but believing the gospel you hear. Knowing that Christ has redeemed you in order that the promise of the Spirit is made available to you. The blessing of Abraham that comes through faith (Gal 3:2,14).

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We have thus far only been addressing the words, spoken in command by Jesus, as recorded by Matthew. Mark similarly records the command to preach the gospel, noting that those who do not believe, and are not baptised, remain under condemnation (Mark 16:16). Luke records that the gospel to be preached contains the good news of forgiveness to those who repent (Luke 24:47), and on the day of Pentecost, in reply to the anguished cry from the heart of the convicted throng of Jews and proselytes - "what must we do to be saved?" Peter said, "God has exalted Jesus to His right hand and He (Jesus) has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit. That which you have seen and heard, therefore, repent and be baptised everyone of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, so that YOUR SINS may be forgiven and that you (too) can receive the promised gift of the Holy Spirit" (Acts 2:33,38).

From all these accounts we see that baptism is a command under the authority of Jesus Christ, acted out in response, in faith and believing the word preached, ie. hearing and acting upon the knowledge of sins forgiven; repenting of that sin, and submitting to the will and command of God, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Thereby to come into relationship with God the Father, Jesus the Son and Christ, the Holy Spirit.

In baptism sinner and Saviour meet.

This is the making of disciples. Jesus goes on further to say, "...teach them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you. " Thus, disciples (teachable ones) must enter a community of believers where they can learn more. Where they can be instructed to follow the ways of Jesus Christ, i.e. to become subject to the word of God.

In passing we might note that where baptism occur without the preaching of the gospel, it becomes no more than a mere mystic superstition and further, where there is no confessed discipleship, the performance of baptism is a charade and a violation of Jesus expressed authority. It might also be added that where any confessed discipleship is made, that is not also followed by baptism, then this is a clear act of blatant disobedience to the instruction of the Lord Jesus Christ.

The community into which baptised believers learn more of the Word and instruction of God is one moreover, in which clear evidence of the power and presence of God are manifested. "These signs shall follow them that believe..." said Jesus as recorded in Mark 16: deliverance, healing, speaking in tongues and note also from 1 Corinthians 12, prophecy, faith, words of wisdom and knowledge.

Enter YOU then into this community of saints, enjoy being sanctified by the Holy Spirit as a heavenly response and seal confirming your faith and obedience in baptism and become added to Jesus body the Church of Christ.

'These commands; these principles; all these activities of preaching; baptising and teaching shall persist,' declares Jesus, 'until the end; until the consummation of the age.' (Mat 28:20).

"Surely then I will be with you always." signed, Jesus. Let no man claim or teach otherwise!

"These things are written that you may continue to believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God, and that by believing you may have life in His name" (John 20:31)

How long does it take for anyone to go into water and come out clean?-Sometimes but a moment! God says then, "I'm telling you that is what I have done with your sins. I've cancelled them."

"My Son has paid the penalty in dying for your sin. In His death, burial and resurrection I've forgiven you."

In baptism this message is explained in symbol for you to identify. Death to sin, burial of this old man, resurrection by My power in the Holy Spirit to resurrection life.

As Jesus Himself was baptised of John calling on the Lord and the Holy Spirit descended upon Him and likewise Paul, when he was baptised, he also called upon the name - The Lord Jesus Christ (Luke 3:21;Acts 22:16).

"Whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved." (Acts 2:21).

If physica1 water can wash away the filth of the body; in the bath dirty out clean. How much more then can the infinite Christ cleanse you from all uncleanness of sin and iniquity.

Be baptised and call on His name.

Be visibly baptised in water, surrender to Jesus, be washed clean in death to sin, bury the old man, and rise to powerful new life through baptism in the Holy Spirit.

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BAPTISM IN WATER:

The act of being immersed in water has, in many 'evangelical' church circles, come to be identified as being synonymous with joining 'their' Church or a particular denominational branch of the church. There is however little scriptural mandate for entry into the church by baptism as a ritual act. You do not join, or rather, you cannot be admitted into 'The Church' simply by baptism in water. Such understanding of the act of baptism may simply result in the person being baptised entering into the water dry, state, or human condition, of sin. Other concepts of baptism attach more mysterious aspects such as baptismal regeneration. There is nothing mystical or magical in water baptism and moreover, regeneration to new (sin free) life is wholly the work of the Holy Spirit.

Water baptism is a public 'advertisement' of a believer's faith; an acknowledgment that Jesus is Lord--by this one essential act of obedience and of personal identification with the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.--------"the presentation of a good conscience----an appeal to God" (1Pe 3:21); that as you put to death the flesh, in symbolic burial, He (God), through and by your appeal to Jesus, will make you alive in the Spirit. The physical and spiritual meet to produce the super-natural.

"Know you not, that so many of you were (or are) baptised into Jesus Christ (do put on Christ) for you were (are) baptised into His death". Rom 6:3)

"If you have been 'planted' together in the likeness of His death in like manner you shall also be raised in His resurrection". (Rom 6:5)

In baptism we identify ourselves with the fact of Jesus' death, already accomplished on our behalf at Calvary. We are thus, symbolically immersed (buried) into His death. Baptism does not cause death. Rather, we consider ourselves as dead. Dead to self and certainly dead to sin. For our normal human state is in a condition of death, insensitive to the things of the spirit.. Thus, baptism is in some sense is firstly a funeral, and secondly, a resurrection.

"Put to death a11 that which is earthly in you". Col 3:5 Putting away the old human nature is emphasised in baptism. No man by choice is buried before he is dead and furthermore, there can be no more ceremonial washing (as in the Old Testament) for a corpse.

In water baptism the objective is to identify with and enter into Christs' death, anticipating that He, in return, will also enter into us. In order that we might 'KNOW' resurrection power. To rise in 'newness' of life. For, if Jesus rose again, so do we by the same spirit that raised Him.

"If you do not have the Spirit of Christ you are none of His". (Rom 8:9)

When the Holy Spirit comes, He reproves, convinces and convicts the world of sin (and your own life of sin) of righteousness and of judgement. (see Joh 16:8)

  • Water baptism is usually the first act of obedient submission; of any individual's own ratification and agreement with what Jesus achieved on Calvary on his/her behalf.

  • Spirit baptism is God's ratification. It is His confirming seal of faith and obedience.

Spirit baptism may precede water baptism in response to any humble appeal to God when any sinner yields his life (self) to God and claims Jesus as Lord and Saviour.

The confirming Spirit baptism (and attendant tongues speaking in adulation of Jesus as Lord and Saviour) is God's confirming welcome and identification into and with the Church -- the Body of Christ. "For it is by one Spirit that we are baptised into one body -- Jews or Greeks, bond slaves or free -- all are (were) made to drink of one Spirit". (1Co 12:13)

Thus, the identification of which Paul speaks in Col 2:12 becomes a reality --- "if you were buried with Him (Jesus) in (water) baptism, you were also raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead".

The same "working" Spirit which raised Jesus now "Works" in each baptised 're-born' child of God. The mighty working of God's power demonstrated in the resurrection of Jesus is our confidence.

After water baptism the physical body, limbs, eyes and even the mind of the old nature human frame remains the same. It is still the target of temptation, but now as the temple of the Holy Spirit (1Co 3:16; 6:19) in Spirit Baptism, yieldedness to temptation is no longer an irresistible urge for now this body is possessed with the authority and power of the Spirit. To rebuke the 'tempter', knowing that he must flee. The old "sense" knowledge of the body (of flesh) no longer has the same control. These functions are now under the 'command' of the new inner or spiritual man.

The putting away of the old, yielding (SIN) nature, is emphasised in baptism, responding to the commands (and demands) of the flesh; this having been buried into Jesus' death, and rising to new life through the impartation of the "Spirit of Life". Thus, when Christ who now is your life appears, you shall be like Him.(sec Col 3:4,5). "Put to death what is earthly in you".

Peter describes baptism as an antitype (Greek: ANTITUPOS, cf. Heb 9:24), or figure of the way of salvation; comparing also the salvation of Noah and his family. Hence, water baptism speaks of death which befell Jesus; a death due to sinners, from which a believer is saved, and by which he is saved in the anticipation (by faith) of entering into Christ's resurrection and sharing in His new life.

Many find difficulty in appreciating the picture given of baptism in reference to Noah and his family since they were always on top of the water. The significance is that this flood save and separated them from the sinful world of the past.

Peter explains that it is not the mere participation in the outward form of baptism that saves. Those who would share in SALVATION must enter into or put on Christ and Him crucified and risen through the infilling presence and power of the gift of the Holy spirit. Entrance and incorporation into Christ is outwardly witnessed by water baptism and inwardly sealed by Spirit baptism.

As Peter explains that water baptism is an answer [from Greek EPEROTEMA and translated answer in AV 1Pe 3:21] of a good conscience toward God. This may also read the PLEDGE( or appeal) of a good conscience, for EPEROTEMA carries the meaning of pledge as in a business transaction. That is ' I pledge that I am going to live according to the terms of the contract'. This word also carries the meaning in the legal sense of an appeal or plea. Thus, lPet.3:21 may read as shown in the RSV.. 'baptism which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of the dirt of the body but as an appeal to (or to earnestly seek) God for a clear (or the good) conscience. This latter consideration matches up with other Scriptures regarding God's response to this appeal. For instance in Heb 9:9 we note that gifts and sacrifices could not perfect the conscience of anyone under the law. However, clearly the presentation of a humble and a contrite heart (or poor and broken spirit)................'calling on the Lord'# in faith, is an appeal to Him and leads to the receiving of the good (perfected) conscience. Furthermore , as Paul explains to Timothy ' you were (or are ) not given a spirit of fear (i.e. a bad conscience) but a spirit of power and love and a sound mind (i.e. the good conscience) (see 2Ti 1:7)

# NB Paul's baptism as recorded in Acts 22:16)

Paul had earlier instructed Timothy (1Ti 1:19) to hold fast the faith and the good conscience Otherwise , by rejecting this conscience , faith is made shipwreck.

This appeal to God in water baptism must lead to the response of the Judge of the 'Heavenly High Court' replying in our favour with the gift of the promised Holy Spirit. Our line of appeal (though guilty in sin) is through our 'Advocate with the Father' (1Jo 2:1); now appearing in the presence of God on our behalf; exalted at His right hand and eager to receive and pour out the Holy Spirit as a seal of acquittal. (see Heb 9:24 & Act 2:33). Thus , promoting the good (or clear) conscience.

Because we now keep His commandments, as Lord of our lives, we do what pleases Him.( Joh 3:22 and NB also 1Jo 5:14) ...... Repent and be Baptised.

When presented with the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, any man can either accept or reject it. There is no halfway measure, no middle ground, either yes or no. In positive action the believer in being baptised, appeals to God and enters into contract saying "to the world" -- I accept God's verdict and the terms of the contract which God has prepared ( or foreordained). I hereby give notice (pledge) that by my faith I accept salvation mediated by the death (penalty) burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. I offer myself (for burial) in baptism and appeal to God for the good conscience. I accept that Jesus has paid a high price for my liberation. And just as Jesus Himself at his own baptism( by John) declared :- "It is fitting for US to fulfil all righteousness (see Mat 3:15), should not we likewise follow His example.

.God's (and Jesus') seal, guarantee or earnest of this agreement is the baptism in the Holy Spirit. (see Eph 1:13.)

If having been crucified (buried in baptism) into Christ you put on Christ (Gal 3:27; cf. also Rom 13:14) you can now join with Paul to declare, "It is no longer I that live , but Christ that lives in me. The life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God who love me and gave Himself for me." (Gal 3:20)

The significance of burial in baptism is clearly acknowledged by the Orthodox Jew. For, when any Jew is baptised into Christ he thus throws off the yoke of Judaism. His family then conducts a traditional burial service. To them he is now considered as dead. This same behaviour is exemplified by families of High Caste Hindus when any of their family accepts salvation in Christ Jesus and identifies to this, by submitting to believers baptism.

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BAPTISED IN THE CLOUD AND SEA

Paul, in his letter to the Church at Corinth, takes time to remind them of the nature of God's deliverance (salvation) of Israel ("Your Fathers..............." He says to the Corinthian believers, (1Co 10:1-6).

Note: this letter was not written to the Corinthians only, but to "all those in every place call on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ; both as their Lord and ours".(1Co 1:2)

Thus, it behoves us to appreciate that these experiences of Israel were not merely interesting historical events of the past . NO!

  • "-----these things were our examples" -------

  • "-----all these things happened unto them as examples for

  • " They are written for our admonition-------" (1Co 10:6-11)

Without exception, these patterns of instruction are for a11 of God's people. Consequently we do well to give heed:

  • ALL our Fathers were under the cloud-----

  • all passed through the sea---------

  • all ate of the same spiritual food--

  • all drank the same spiritual drink.

What lessons are we to learn from these instructions?

Note: Passing through the cloud and the sea were uniquely singular (never to be repeated) experiences. While eating and drinking spiritual food were daily habitual patterns for sustaining their walk through the wilderness.

The cloud and the sea are defined, by Paul, as baptismal experiences. "All were baptised unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea." These can be seen as two aspects of baptismal separation by God. "In the cloud." can be "seen" as baptism in the Holy Spirit and "in the sea", obviously corresponding to water baptism.

The original historical accounts of these events in the life of the nation Israel, after the sacrifice of the Passover lambs and the progress of their deliverance (salvation) from Egypt, is given in Exo 13; 14. The Israelites were guided out from Egypt, to their miraculous deliverance through the Red Sea by :- " ---------a pillar of cloud by day and by night a pillar of fire........"(Exo 13:20-22)

"All our Father's (ancestors)", writes Paul, "were under the cloud."

By day the cloud gave protection and shadowed the people from heat of the sun. The pillar of fire by night gave light and warmth. Day and night Israel were provided with Divine guidance. Separated and protected from the Egyptians. The Lord Himself--as the Angel (The messenger) of Jehovah (JHVH) was present in person. (see Exo 14:19,20,24)

The Lord here interposed His presence between Israel and the Egyptians. He was protecting His chosen people from their enemies. The pillar of fire and the cloud troubled the Egyptians, but gave light and protection to the Israelites.

How accurately can we see just how this represents the outpouring Baptism of the Holy Spirit?

This cloud was not merely an invisible presence, but rather it was tangible and clearly perceptible. It provided protection, guidance and comfort to Israel, but at the same time bringing fear and uncertainty to their enemies. Likewise the BAPTISM in the Holy Spirit. To this day, this seal of covenant, provides God's chosen people with a barrier of separation from the sinful and corrupting influences of the world. But, to the world at large (as Egypt is typical) this supernatural experience is incomprehensible. It is something of which many are afraid. "The natural man cannot receive the things of the Spirit of God" --- they seem foolish.

Let us now consider Israel's "baptism in the sea" as described in Exo 14. This story is well-known to many since infancy and has been spectacularzed by Cecil B. de Mille in his extravagant movie presentation. But for now, simply let us examine the scriptural account and the lessons contained therein.

"Moses stretched out his hand over the sea and the Lord caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all through the night. This made a path of dry land through the sea. The waters were divided. "The children of Israel went into the midst of the sea upon the dry ground and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand and on their left". Meanwhile the Egyptians tried to follow also, BUT "Moses stretched forth his hand over the sea and the sea returned to its normal strength when the morning appeared, and the Egyptians fled against it, and the Lord overthrew the Egyptians in the midst of the sea". (NB. Exo 14:21-27 and see also Heb 11:29)

"By FAITH they (i.e. Israel) passed through the Red Sea as by dry ground: which the Egyptians attempted to do, but were drowned".

By faith the Israelites went down into the waters, confident in the supernatural provisions of God to make the way through and enter into the new land of their salvation. The waters opened and closed again as Moses acted in faith and the people likewise were baptised; like unto Moses. Passing through the waters Israel was separated from Egypt. Their enslavement to the Egyptians was no more a threat. They came up out of the waters to a new land; to a new leader and to abide by new Laws.

How well this parallels water baptism into Christ Jesus. An experience made possible by identifying with His death and supernatural resurrection, and which is effectual to each believer by personal faith, thereafter to become separated from an old way of life; entering into a new kind of life. A new life with a new leader; Jesus as Lord and a new law for living. The Law of the Spirit and Life. (see Rom 6:4)

Note that as baptism in the cloud and in the sea was the common way of salvation for the Israel as a Nation of old covenant time, likewise baptism by water, and the spirit, remains the common scriptural path to salvation in this new covenant age.

Paul wrote to the Church: ' I would not that you should be ignorant (or uninformed) about these (past) things. They happened as ensamples (i.e. examples or warnings see 1Co 10:1,6-11). A further key is verse 5. "Nevertheless with many (or most) of them God WAS not pleased."

Baptism in cloud and sea was but the start of salvation for Israel. In like manner, baptism in water and in Spirit is but the beginning of salvation for believers in Christ. God does, however, provide spiritual food and drink just as He did natural food for Israel. He provides the sustenance for each believer to survive and maintain salvation in the "wilderness" trials and tribulations of the world in which we now dwell.

The natural food God provided for Israel (by supernatural intervention) was the manna from heaven. The spiritual supernatural food for the Christian is not bread only, but "every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God". (Mat 4:4) If, having been freed by God's word, how much more should we "feed" on His word to stay (spiritually) alive.

Jesus of Himself declared: "I am the living bread which came down from heaven" . (Joh 6:51)

Finally , there is that appointed spiritual drink for God's chosen people. For Israel, it was the river which flowed out of the rock which Paul identifies as being for US .." that ROCK is CHRIST." While, our divinely appointed drink is the river of living water: the Holy Spirit.

"If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the Scripture has said, out of his belly (his innermost being) shall flow rivers of living water." (Joh 7:37,38)

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BAPTISM and NEW BIRTH:

"I assure you" declared Jesus, "Most solemnly I tell you. Except a man is born of water---even the spirit, he cannot see, or ever enter the Kingdom of God". (Joh 3:5. Amp. Bible)

Many consider that water here is typical of either natural waters of birth or to be linked closely with water baptism.#Notwithstanding, the stronger scriptural support remains consistent with the WATER of the Spirit and power of the Word of God by which NEW Birth is accomplished.

  • By washing of water with / by the Word. Giving us birth by His Word of Truth. Being cleansed because of the Word. (Eph 5:26, James 1:18, Joh 15:3)

  • By the washing of regeneration (even the) renewing of the Holy Spirit. (Titus 3:5)

  • Born again by the ever living and lasting Word of God. (1Pe 1:23).

  • Which is shed (poured) on us abundantly (ie. richly), by or through Jesus Christ. (cf Acts 2:32,33)

  • Note:- My word is Spirit and Life.( Joh 6:63)

These references can even be considered the fulfilment of Ezekiel 36:25,26* where water and spirit denote cleansing and regeneration respectively.

# There may also be an allusion to Proselyte baptism from paganism to Judaism.

* Sprinkling clean water noted in Ezekiel 36:25 cannot however, be deemed, in any scriptural sense, as justification for a "sprinkling" baptism.

There is a gulf between flesh and spirit. The flesh or sense nature is continually at war with the spirit. Conflict rages between that which is basic to human nature, in the uncleanness of sin and that which is totally of divine nature--both flesh and spirit each bringing forth their respective fruit; the produce of death, or the harvest of life.( cf. Joh 6:52-55,62,63.) "Let us therefore draw near with a true heart, in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from all evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water". (Heb 10:22) "Holding fast the profession (or confession) of your faith (as pledged in water baptism) without wavering, for He is faithful that promised." His promises are irrevocable.( cf. Heb 6:17; 11:11; 13:15)

Where these aspects of spiritual unity reflect baptism, our confession of faith and obedience in water baptism, it is to affirm that which was typical under the Law of Moses in the ordination of Priests; (cf. Lev 8:30; Exo 29:4; 30:20; 40:30.) It can thus be revealed that as each believer enters into Christ through obedience in baptism, he stands in place as a Priest, ordained by the anointing of the Spirit, in order to worship and serve God.

-"True worshippers will worship in spirit and in truth, for such the Father seeks to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in Spirit and truth". (Joh 4:23,24)

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There are many who strongly adhere to the conviction that in water baptism a kind of "mystical" regenerative spiritual transformation occurs which corresponds to being "born-again." An even greater number of "Christians" consider that the "born-again" experience is simply synonymous with making a declaration to "accept Jesus" or "to give their heart to the Lord" or other similar such statements. Few if any of them finding scriptural foundation (ie without chapter and verse).

Submitting to water baptism is an act of surrender. It is an acknowledgment of repentance corresponding essentially with the baptisms introduced by John the Baptist and Jesus but with much greater significance

to believers in Christ Jesus.

Believers baptism in this post -Pentecostal age still retains aspects of repentant obedience but it is more. It is identification and a sacramental ordinance in which the Gospel of salvation is preached symbolically. In very much the same as it is also proclaimed in Communion ( The Lords Table) This latter speaking of the sacrificial body and blood (His death) of the Lord Jesus (see 1Co 11:23-26) and the former, Baptism in Water, speaks of His burial and resurrection ( Rom 6). While Baptism in Holy Spirit highlights His Ascension.[ ...having received of the Father the promise of the Holy spirit He has poured forth this which you see and hear. Acts 2:33]

Water baptism becomes the visible boundary between sinful rebellion and identification with the Church (the assembly of Believers) of the Living God; with His House of representatives and place of dwelling.

John (the Baptist) when administering his baptism of repentance clearly distinguished between his baptism in water and a baptism in the Holy Spirit. " The coming one," declared john, " Will baptise with the Holy spirit and fire............(Joh 1:33)

These thoughts suggest that water baptism is but a preparation a willing act of faith looking forward to the baptism in the Holy Spirit. In the one the repentant sinner identifies with Jesus as Saviour and with His Church, His believing Body. While in the other, Spirit baptism, God recognises and seals; stamps with His approving acceptance, the one baptised in water. Notwithstanding, in some instances (eg Cornelius and his household Acts 10 ) God accepts a repentant heart by giving the Holy Spirit (baptism) before opportunity is provided for water baptism to take place.

What is to be achieved if in all good conscience one takes a step of faith, expresses repentance and acts obediently to Christ Jesus' authority and is baptised in water but then rejects, or fails to accept God's acknowledging seal of the Holy Spirit baptism. " How much more then will your Heavenly Father give the Holy spirit tho them that ask." (Luke 11:13)

Only by receiving The Spirit+, through spirit baptism, can anyone enter the Kingdom (Realm, Dominion, Family) of God, and thereafter, function with His authority.

+Holy Spirit; Spirit of God;

       Spirit of Christ etc

To receive the Holy Spirit, as some would have it after you have been admitted to the Kingdom or Family of God, simply does not make sense. What more could anyone ever ask for than to be welcomed into God's Realm; into His Family to relate with brother Jesus as a son and co-heir (see Rom 8:9-17). God alone admits repentant sinners into His Dominion. He also grants, "repentance unto Life." (Acts 11:18)

"Marvel not! You must be born-again to enter the Kingdom of god," said Jesus. (Joh 3:5-7; cf. Rom 8:9)

John clearly appreciated that spiritual birth meant being born of the spirit from above not by way of the spirit already within. All a believer is to receive from the Heavenly Father, through the Son Jesus, he receives because he receives the Holy Spirit.

  • Forgiveness.

  • Justification.

  • Righteousness.

  • Adoption/Sonship.

  • Full Salvation .

  • Deliverance.

It is the guaranteed assurance of God's Salvation, the earnest of our inheritance. (Eph 1:13)

 

  • Peter reminds us that we were born again through the Living Word of God. (1Pe 1:23) and in his second letter that we have received the Divine nature of God.

  • Paul writing to Titus (Tit 3:5) speaks of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit.

  • John in his letter (1Jo 3:1,2,9; 4:7; 5:1,4) addresses the children of God as possessing the nature of God.

This does not mean that individual men and women suddenly, in some mysterious way, become Divine beings but rather, that they have imparted to them the spirit of God enlivening their own, otherwise dead human spirit. They are no longer destitute, orphaned or Fatherless Joh 14:16-18.

To be born-again, from above, is to experience spiritual conception by the Spirit of God. Flesh is Flesh, and Spirit is Spirit. Marvel not that you must be born-again. (Joh 3:5-9), to become subjects of the Kingdom of God; offspring and heirs of the Father.

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It is often argued that the disciples were "born again" on resurrection evening, in the upper room, when Jesus breathed upon them with the accompanying exclamation, "Receive ye the Holy Spirit!" (Joh 20:20) Nevertheless, the resurrected Lord Jesus still had to instruct them at His Ascension, some 40 days later, that they were to stay in Jerusalem until they were endued with power from on high. (Luke 24:44-49 cf. also Acts 1:4,5 ). This was still 10 days before the celebration of Pentecost, where and when indeed the Holy Spirit was poured out upon them; falling upon the assembled disciples. Most probably the whole company of 120. Not just the Apostles (Acts 2:1-4)

 

When the risen Jesus first "breathed" on the disciples on resurrection evening Thomas was not then present (Joh 20:24). He did not then see Jesus. Indeed for a whole week he questioned the reality of the resurrection appearances. However, eight days after the resurrection (Joh 20:26) Thomas was the first to acknowledge the risen Jesus as both Lord and God. Moreover, there is no record of Jesus ever commanding that Thomas needed to receive the Holy Spirit until the day of Pentecost, together with the other assembled disciples.

 

If the disciples, the 10 present with Jesus on resurrection evening (and Thomas), did not actually "receive" the Holy Spirit until the Pentecost outpouring, then Jesus' "expressed" breathe upon the 10 with the words "receive ye the Holy Spirit" was very likely a directive command rather than an actual "birthing" of the Spirit in them (ie. the 10) on that resurrection evening in the upper room. A command fulfilled in all their lives on the day of Pentecost.

 

It is furthermore, hard to appreciate why Peter, if he was enlivened (or born-again) by the Holy Spirit, (when Jesus breathed upon him on resurrection evening), why ,[on a subsequent occasion, when they both communed together on the shores of Lake Tiberias (Joh 21:15,16)], he was unable to express true (agape) love toward the risen Lord when he was questioned by Jesus concerning Peter's personal love for the Lord Jesus Himself . Indeed Peter was preparing to return to his old fisherman's way of life. (Joh 21:3)

 

However, this same unlearned fisherman - Peter- "enlivened by the Holy Spirit at Pentecost", was able then to confidently proclaim Jesus as Saviour to over 3000 Jews and Proselytes gathered from over 15 nations. To Jews both near, and to as many as the Lord would call to Himself; even the far off Gentiles (the Goyim). Peter inspired (or in-spirited), and standing proud above the assembled crowd, declared to all men everywhere that they should repent, be baptised (in water) for forgiveness and receive the Holy Spirit. The Promise of the Father. ( The Baptism in the Holy Spirit.)

 

Until the Holy Spirit was received, none of the disciples possessed any capacity to exhibit either gift or fruit of the Spirit. But most assuredly they all did after the their Pentecost experience. The same clearly obtains for this post-Pentecostal era. Few can claim to manifest either gift or fruit of the spirit without first receiving the Holy Spirit.

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INSEPARABLE ATTENDANTS OF BAPTISM

1. Teaching to Precede Baptism: - Make Disciples

Candidates for baptism must first of all hear or be taught sufficient of the gospel - the good news of salvation, in Jesus Christ, in order that they might be sufficiently assured to place their trust in His finished work. The fact that He has paid the penalty for their sin; that He has died for sin in order that they might die to sin.

"Know this", says Paul, "that when you are/were baptised you are/were baptised INTO His death."

Knowing this; your old man - your old sin nature, is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed. (Rom 6:6). Then bury it!.

Be confident that as Jesus also was raised from death to life, likewise see yourself dieing to sin and rising again in expectation of new life through the working of God. " ----- raised with Him through faith in the working of God." (Col 2:12). " ----- to put on Christ." (Gal 3:27).

2. Repentance

Repentance means to turn from being against God and in rebellion, to a turning to God. There to find His peace - freedom from condemnation "He who does not believe and is not baptised remains condemned - damnation is upon him." (Mar 16:16).

"Save yourselves," says Peter "from this un toward generation - this crooked perverse breed." (Acts 2:40).

In Acts 20:20,21 Paul states, "I kept nothing back that was profitable. I showed you - I taught you publicly --- repentance toward God and faith to ward our Lord Jesus Christ."

Jesus Himself in the record of His very first ministry declared "the time is fulfilled; the Kingdom of God is at hand; repent ye and believe the gospel" (Mark 1:14,15). and later, "Except ye repent ye perish" (Luke 13:3,5) He commanded the Apostles to preach repentance for and unto the remission (or forgiveness of) sins. (Luke 24:46,47).

Paul affirmed this same message ---- "God Himself now commandeth all men everywhere to repent." (Acts 17:30).

At Pentecost Peter proclaims "Repent and be baptised ---- that you too receive Holy Spirit" (Acts 2:38).

John baptised in water unto repentance and unto remission or forgiveness of sins. (Mat 3:11, Mar 1:4).

Jesus baptises a baptism of repentance unto life. Granting of repentance as a gift toward a living salvation (Acts 11:18)

God provides repentance as a gift (2Ti 2:25) . He draws the repentant unto the Son. (Joh 6:44).

"Turn us again, O Lord --- and we shall be saved" Psa 80:3,7,19 cf . also Lam 5:21 .

"No man can come to me, except the Father draw Him" says Jesus. (Joh 6:44).

God's goodness (kindness) leads you toward repentance. (Rom 12:4).

Like the prodigal (wasteful) son "arise and return to your father." (Luke 15:11-32)

3. Believe on the Lord Jesus

Do you believe that Jesus died for your sin, that He was buried and rose again for our justification? For you to be made righteous, free from sin and, right before your heavenly Father.

In Acts 16:29-34 the Roman gaoler asked of Paul and Silas "Sirs what must I do to be saved?" They (Paul and Silas) spake unto him and all that were in his house, the word of the Lord - "Believe on the Lord Jesus and both you and your household will be saved." The gaoler and all his household were baptised and they all rejoiced in that they believed in God."

Romans 10:10,11. A man first believes in his heart - in the very core of his being, that Jesus IS LORD, and he is then, out of the abundance of his heart, able to confess Him as Lord with his lips. No man who believes in Him (in Jesus) in this way will ever be put to shame.

Like the Roman gaoler and his household they believed, they put their faith and belief into action and were baptised then they all rejoiced.

Jesus said, "He that believeth and is baptised shall be saved." - (Mar 16:16).

Thus Phillip said to the Ethiopian eunuch "If you believe with all your heart you may (should now) be baptised". The Ethiopian answered "I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Acts 8:37).

Clearly the position of baptism in the Scriptures is 'believe and be baptised.' Never do we note, 'to baptise and then believe.' Any baptism that occurs before you see or learn that Jesus died for you and that you have also effectively died in Him, is not truly valid. Baptism that parallels that found in the Scriptures occurs only after one sees that Christ died for you and rose again for your justification. Response to this belief is to recognise the need to be free from your old life and to tell the world that such a life is no longer worth living. You bury it in baptism. Baptism by immersion, tells this story; burial under the water and coming up out of the water speaks of rising again to new life. To die into Christ and to rise again in the power of His resurrection.

4. Calling - on God; Calling - on The Name of Jesus as Lord

When Jesus was baptised of John, to fulfil all righteousness, He prayed (He called to) God. The resultant reply from His heavenly Father was the opening of the heavens and the Holy Spirit descending upon the Son in the likeness of a dove. "Thou art my beloved Son." He was anointed with power as the begotten of God. Born from above. (Luke 3:21,22).

Paul when he was baptised was instructed to call on The Name - Jesus, and be filled with the Holy Spirit. (Acts 9:17; 22:16). Immediately Paul, filled with Godly zeal - began to proclaim Jesus as Son of God in the synagogues of Damascus. In his letter to the Church at Corinth Paul affirmed, "I thank God I speak in tongues more than you all." (1Co 14:1)

To Cornelius, who called to God - God answered "Cornelius, your prayer has been answered ---" Peter came and proclaimed Jesus - The Holy Spirit came and Cornelius and all his household were filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke in tongues. Peter said "Then I remembered the WORD of the LORD. "John baptised with water, but you shall be baptised with the Holy Spirit."

Find your answer of the "good conscience"

1 Peter 3:21. Baptism now saves you not by the washing of the filth of the flesh but by the - plea - the answer of a good conscience before and from God.

"God does not, "says Paul to Timothy, "Give you a spirit of timidity or fear, but a spirit of power and of a sound mind." - a good conscience. (2Ti 1:7)

"For by one Spirit we are/were baptised into one body --- Jews, Greeks, slaves or free - and made to drink (participate and enjoy) of (the) one Spirit." (1Co 12:13).

' To have this mind in you which was in Christ Jesus."

5. Teaching to Follow Baptism

After baptism it is necessary that each one baptised be welcomed into a community of believers to receive instruction on, and in, their new found belief in Jesus as Lord and Saviour.

"They need to be taught to observe all things what-so-ever I have commanded," declared the risen Christ (Mat 28:20).

Note Acts 2:42 "And they (ie. the ones baptised) - continued steadfastly in the apostles doctrine - teaching and instruction, in breaking bread and in prayers."

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ONE BAPTISM:

Eph 4:5 speaks of the importance of keeping the unity of the faith and unites one baptism as part of seven unities to be identified in Christian living:

One body;

one Spirit:

one hope;

one Lord,

one faith,

one baptism;

one God and Father.

These can also be compared with a similar but less complete list of 4 set out in 1Co 12:4-13: One Spirit; one Lord; one God; one body. These latter deal more especially with the unity produced by baptism in Spirit. In both Eph 4 and 1Co 12, the one Lord stands central.

LORD.

One body related toward God and Jesus at its head.

One spirit related to baptism and the body as the

Temple; residence of the Holy Spirit.

One hope related to faith.

Paul does not consider the oneness of each as separate entities. Notice, Paul is here beseeching the Ephesian Christians to be lowly, meek, long-suffering, forbearing one another in love to "KEEP the unity of the SPIRIT in the bond of peace." Reminding them of their common harmony as :--

  1. parts of the one and same body;

  2. indwelt by one and same Spirit;

  3. having one and the same hope;

  4. the one and the same Saviour;

  5. the one and same faith and doctrine;

  6. having participated in one and same baptism;

  7. being with one and the same God and
    Father in one family relationship.

Concerning the one baptism, baptism in water stands ineffectual without the seal of the Holy Spirit baptism; Jesus' (God's) ratification of your pledge* of good conscience.

*or plea for the good conscience.

Conversely, baptism in Holy Spirit, if separate from or preceding water baptism, is accepted dishonourably without obedience in water baptism, i.e. without any public affirmation of identification into the death and resurrection of Jesus, the Christ.

It is not possible in any spiritual sense, to separate water baptism and Spirit baptism or even, for that matter, baptism in suffering or situations. (cf. Mat 20:22,23.) [i.e. to place each as events in distinct and separate compartments ]

As we daily reckon ourselves dead to sin, we now confidently know that our lives remain hid in Jesus Christ; in and with God (Col 3:3). Consequently, our former life style, sponsored by the flesh and sense knowledge, no longer has the same power over us (see Rom 6:11). This is a daily reckoning of baptism into death, only to find life in Christ's abundant resurrection, to keep our in-spirited bodies raised from death. "Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers them out of them all". (Psa 34:19)

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THE PROMISE OF THE FATHER : BAPTISM IN THE HOLY SPIRIT

"I tell you the truth" said Jesus, "it is expedient for you that I go away .... I WILL send the comforter (the Holy Spirit) unto you". (Joh 15:7; 15:26)

"This Jesus, did God raise up", proclaimed Peter, "having received of the Father the PROMISE of the Holy Spirit, He has poured forth this, which ye see and hear". (Acts 2:32,33)

Luke's record of the Gospel closes with the PROMISE of the FATHER while, his historical account of the Acts of the Apostles opens with the risen Lord's command to wait in Jerusalem for this prophecied promise. (Luke 24:49, Acts 1:4)

"John indeed baptised with water but ye shall be BAPTISED in the HOLY SPIRIT not many days hence". (Acts 1:5)

 

THE PROMISE OF MY FATHER Luke 24:49

THE PROMISE OF THE FATHER Acts 1:4

THE PROMISED HOLY SPIRIT Acts 2:33

THE PROMISED GIFT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT Acts 2:38,39

God is faithful to all His promises, (Heb 10:23). He is NOT as a man who is prone to lie, (Tit 1:2, Heb 6:18, Num 23:19) having declared in ages past, through His prophets, of His ultimate intention to pour out His SPIRIT on ALL FLESH, (Joel 2:28 see also Isa 32:15; 44:3, Ezekiel 36:26,27 and cf Isa 28:11, Zechariah 12:10)

All these prophecies pointed forward in time to the events of Pentecost and the re-creation of a chosen people of, and for, God. John in ministering a baptism of repentance foresaw this spiritual out-pouring and recognised Jesus as the one who would deliver this new BAPTISM in HOLY SPIRIT.

"I baptise with water" said John, "but, He that comes after me ...................He shall baptise you with HOLY SPIRIT and FIRE". (Mat 3:11, Mar 1:8, Luke 3:16, Joh 1:21-33)

The Holy Spirit of Promise (Eph 1:13-15), wherein redemption in Christ is sealed is the earnest (or pledge) or, as implied from Greek usage, an engagement ring signifying betrothal.

The Baptism in Spirit exemplifying an affair of the heart between the believer and his saviour God; the chords of a love song between the Church; the Bride (and body) and Jesus as Lord. The Baptism in/of the Holy Spirit is the initiation into life with God; a gateway to a life of fellowship and communion with the Father. Bringing freedom from slavery to the desires of our sensual human nature. An engagement in salvation. Looking forward in eager anticipation to the heavenly marriage.

This promised Holy Spirit baptism is still in effect for, "the Promise is unto you and your children; to all that are afar off*, even as many as the Lord our God shall call". (Acts 2:39). "Those afar off"* embraces all those outside the national promises to Israel (including those Jews who first heard these words).

*This Rabbinical expression identifies all nations, the Heathen and Gentile of the world. (Isa 49:1; 57:19, Eph 2:12,13,19).

* The far off are the Gentiles; the nigh are the Jews. (cf Deu 4:7)

Manifestly God is still calling, for the Gospel is still being preached.

On the day of Pentecost, immediately after the disciples were baptised with (filled or received) the Holy Spirit, Peter answered the question of the crowd, "What meaneth this?" He rplied, "This is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel how the Lord would pour out His (PROMISED) Holy Spirit". (Acts 2:16)

Peter recognised and experienced how the Holy Spirit would guide unto all truth. From Scriptural first principles it is difficult to see how any experience different from this initial experience, can be called the baptism in/of the Holy Spirit. If experience does not correspond with the Bible pattern it cannot be identified as "THIS IS THAT!"

All the prophecies before the Day of Pentecost point forward to the pattern of that event; the initial Baptism with the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:4). But now, since this day we must look back to the pattern in order to determine if experience measures up. This is the birthright of all who would come to be called Christian. The Scriptural norm with no end yet in view before the return of Jesus as Lord. Thus, He continues to pour forth "this which you see and hear".

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WHY TONGUES ?

In the realm of the supernatural there are but two sources of power:-

  • DIVINE from God;   or

  • SATANIC, of the Devil.

Pentecost was, following Jesus' victory over death, the Devil's most significant defeat for there he lost his power over men to hold them forever in a state of death. God in His gracious wisdom here manifest His power - exhibiting sensible proof of His energy. In their Baptism in Holy Spirit 120 disciples lost all personal presence as they were immersed in the PRESENCE OF JESUS' SPIRIT. This was the true being of Jesus. Not just some phantom persuader.

As the tongue acts as an indicator of thoughts and convictions within the mind and heart, it also demonstrates a measure of yeildedness, either to SELF or to GOD. Thus, the "tongues" of Pentecost were GOD's (new) creation of the fruit of the lips (cf Isa 57:19). God had tamed the untameable (cf James 3:7,8). They spoke forth not in any excellency of man's wisdom but words that God inspirited.

The superiority of tongues over the manifestation of wind and fire is that the latter were both natural forces and not of human will. The 'speaking in tongues' resulted when God became totally sovereign in the lives of the 120 assembled disciples. Each individual had voluntarily surrendered his/her total being unto their LORD - JESUS. Each had yielded not only will but their whole being - physical, mental, vocal and spiritual faculties.

The reason why such surrender and exaltation in tongues, as an expression of the miraculous sovereignty of God, is not more often manifest is not because "the faith" has become established. Rather, it is because unbelief has infiltrated.

"With the mouth confession is made unto SALVATION." ( Rom 10:10)

"Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks." (Mat 12:34)

"By man shall the unsearchable riches of Christ be proclaimed." (Eph 3:8 ; NB Mat 12:37)

"Ye shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be MY witnesses ...... " Acts 1:8

"These signs shall follow them that believe ..... the devil cast out...............and they will speak in new tongues ... " Mar 16:16

"Tongues for a sign are, not to the ones believing but to the unbelievers - " (1Co 14:22< Lit. Greek)

"By men of other tongues and other lips will I speak unto this people ..... " (Isa 28:11; 1Co 14:21)

Since intelligent speech demands an intelligent speaker behind that speech there must also be intelligent thought and understanding. Thus, the disciples utterance was of the wonderful works of God. The pattern remains for ever the same. Anyone uttering, under God's spiritual enduement, speaks forth from a mind, saturated with the joy of the "wonderful works of God". But, since all mental, emotional, and physical response to Spirit Baptism is not the same - because all men are not equal in age, maturity, education or intellect, there is therefore this one common factor - the common denominator , supernaturally directed speaking - unlearned language ie. 'tongues'.

What man can restrain his vocal reaction and remain silent when endued - for the first time - with God's almighty power.

If Cornelius' and his household had not "spoken-in-tongues" - i.e., if they had not received the Holy Spirit, "as at the beginning", their experience would not have been recognised as standard. The same can be said of the Ephesians in Acts 19. Concerning the Caesarean out pouring Peter could never nave been able to recall the words of Jesus, "John baptised with water, but you shall be baptised with the Holy Spirit".

"Who was I that I could withstand God?", said Peter, "The Spirit fell on them just as on us at the beginning". Acts 11:15,16.

"Just as on us at the beginning" does not imply an exact duplication of the events of Pentecost - wind and tongues like fire - as well as languages - unknown to the speakers but recognised by those overhearing; the basic manifestation of "tongues" was all that was needed to convince Peter and his six companions (of the circumcision party [of Jews] Acts 11:2,12)

Speaking in tongues is not the most important element in the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. However, it is fundamentally the one consistent and initial outward expression as the sign of the Spiritual Baptism.