Sunday, July 5, 2015

BAPTISM: A Simple and Direct Response (no fluff about it)

Let’s get right into it shall we. What is baptism? Simply put, it is an outward expression of an inward decision. What is that decision? To do what is right in the sight of God. What is right in the sight of God? To follow Jesus in baptism. With that said and described, I now invite you Into My HEART...
Baptism in the Greek is baptizo meaning ‘to immerse.’ The picture word baptism, paints the portrait of a cleansing act of sin yet more importantly a joining with God’s Son and what He represents—Newness of life.
When Jesus died on the Cross, He died for the sin of the world [the entire body of the human race from beginning to end]. He was then placed into a tomb and three days later by the power of God and confirming the promise and declaration of Jesus: “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up” and again, “No one can take my life from me. I sacrifice it voluntarily. For I have the authority to lay it down when I want to and also to take it up again. For this is what my Father has commanded.” revealing Himself to be God Himself, Jesus rose from the grave three days later.
When we get immersed into the water it is a response to God; a righteous response. A response that is in effect, proclaiming to God and the World, “God, I want to be right in your sight just as your Son Jesus always is.”
When Jesus was baptized there was a great spectacle that took place that would forever define properly what baptism means to us. When Jesus was lowered into the river Jordan and lifted back up the heavens parted and a voice was heard. It was God the Father and He said of His Son to all, “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.” If that weren’t enough, the Holy Spirit descended onto Jesus like a dove and alighted on Him. What does the picture word ‘dove’ and ‘alighted’ mean to a believer? A dove is a symbol for peace and to alight means to remain. Therefore, when Jesus rose from the water, He experienced the Spirit of God coming upon Him through an act of peace and not forced upon Him and the Holy Spirit being of God is a permanent transformation that takes place in the newly baptized believer’s life.
Now this is all quite extraordinary and amazing. And you may have realized that I used a word above that I hadn’t used before—believer.
For the man, woman or child who follows Jesus into baptism showing that they too, want to do what is right in God’s sight, so He [our heavenly Father] too, just like with His Son, will be well pleased with you.
Before baptism takes place a confession of sin must be done. This is part of baptism and it is a cleansing act. As the one who baptized Jesus and was baptizing in the Jordan River was John the Baptist and all who were getting baptized for the [remission] of sin were doing so with confession of their sin first.
Baptism is a public act just like confession of sin is a public act. We may not openly shout it out in public making a scene, nonetheless, it is a public act of confession, whether it be before a pastor, before God or before the one who is performing the baptism.
Jesus publicly lived His life and His earthly ministry. He publicly declared the glory of God and expressed the love of God to all especially when He was on the Cross dying for the sin of the world.
And furthermore and I come to my close on baptism: “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes, and he is the one to whom we are accountable. (Hebrews 4:13 NLT)
The above, some may choose to show it in a bad light but not so with me. For God is good and all He does is good and I have known this for 6 years now. No one enjoys being seen in a poor light but in a good one. It shows us for who we really are and God does just that! And confession does that! And baptism is the sealing act before God and the world that reveals that!
So upon being baptized you can know with absolute assurance that you now know what it means to be baptized and furthermore, time is of the essence. Let us not look to follow rituals or the religious pomp that many may want to do. As God’s Word reveals, if upon hearing about Jesus and receiving the Gospel and coming to understanding of it and of Him, if a body of water be present, may you have the mind of this man and say, “here is a body of water. What is to hinder me from being baptized?”
The above quote is compressed from three translations from the Book of Acts concerning a certain Ethiopian who heard the Gospel message for the very first time and by his words above we can confidently know he was taught what was baptism. I include it below in the New Living Translation of the Bible passage so it is easily readable as it seems fitting for the moment.
“As for Philip, an angel of the Lord said to him, “Go south down the desert road that runs from Jerusalem to Gaza.” So he started out, and he met the treasurer of Ethiopia, a eunuch of great authority under the Kandake, the queen of Ethiopia. The eunuch had gone to Jerusalem to worship, and he was now returning. Seated in his carriage, he was reading aloud from the book of the prophet Isaiah.
The Holy Spirit said to Philip, “Go over and walk along beside the carriage.” Philip ran over and heard the man reading from the prophet Isaiah. Philip asked, “Do you understand what you are reading?” The man replied, “How can I, unless someone instructs me?” And he urged Philip to come up into the carriage and sit with him.
The passage of Scripture he had been reading was this: “He was led like a sheep to the slaughter. And as a lamb is silent before the shearers, he did not open his mouth. He was humiliated and received no justice. Who can speak of his descendants? For his life was taken from the earth.”
The eunuch asked Philip, “Tell me, was the prophet talking about himself or someone else?” So beginning with this same Scripture, Philip told him the Good News about Jesus.
As they rode along, they came to some water, and the eunuch said, “Look! There’s some water! Why can’t I be baptized?” He ordered the carriage to stop, and they went down into the water, and Philip baptized him.
When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away. The eunuch never saw him again but went on his way rejoicing” (Acts 8:26-39 NLT).
Beloved one, you have heard the Gospel message above. It is quite beautiful and simple. God sent His Son to die for us, because without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. He was crucified in our place as we are the sinners and He is the Saint. As the penalty or payment for sin is death, Jesus, God’s Son, willingly paid that great price for us, and God demonstrated His great unwavering love for us, in this manner, that while we are still sinners, Christ the Son of God in which is Jesus, died for us. Now death isn’t the end, but new life in Christ is the beginning.
Therefore, with all the above you are fully educated concerning Jesus, baptism and salvation that comes through Jesus Christ the Son of God’s love. Through that proper educating and through that confession of sin, and through that belief in Jesus, you are now able to enter into baptism confident that you know what you are doing and what you are saying by it. With that, I ask you now…What is to stop you from getting baptized?
As always…YOU ARE LOVED.

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