We are coming to the end of the age. The curtain is about to fall on the Church Age which is the Age of Grace. We are constantly amazed at what has happened to that which is called "church". Many churches have simply become social clubs where people join and agree with their set of rules. They agree to maintain their buildings and whoever the headquarters send to be their Spiritual leader. Other churches have become "bless me groups". Their services consist of ways to try to manipulate God to get what they can from Him. Others come together believing their whole service to God consists of their attendance at the Sunday morning service.
The Apostle Peter informs us Jesus is our example that we should follow, I Peter 2:21. An example is a pattern. Jesus is our pattern and we should follow in His steps. When someone is making a garment, they need a pattern to go by. If they do not follow the pattern, it is hard to tell what they will end up with. It certainly will not look like the pattern when they are done. This is the case with modern churches who have not followed their pattern Jesus Christ. It is uncertain what they have become. One thing for certain is the modern church does not resemble their pattern in the least. More emphasis is put on how they are dressed, what they drive, and where they live, than their Spiritual maturity to come again into the image and likeness of their Creator.
Many churches have forgotten Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith. Jesus was given to the church as our example. These tenants of faith were passed down through the ages by our fathers of faith. Today many of these tenants are not recognizable in the modern church system. Such is the case with the foundational principle of baptism. Today, many denominations agree it is not necessary to baptize any more at all. While others are still sprinkling and pouring. Then there are those who proclaim water of any kind is not necessary, that baptism is all Spiritual. They proclaim we are simply immersed into the life of Christ at our conversion.
Baptism did not begin with the Christian faith. The Jews baptized also. From the beginning, baptism has been a sign of cleansing. About one thousand years after the creation, God destroyed all life on earth with the flood, except for eight people and two of everything He created. This was a form of baptism when God cleansed the earth from all unrighteousness. Noah was the only man on earth who had found grace in God's sight.
When God delivered His people Israel from their bondage in Egypt, they came face to face with the Red Sea, the sea before and the enemy behind. Things looked rather bleak for the sons of Jacob:
"And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the Lord caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided. And 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." Exodus 14:21-22
The children of Israel went into the midst of the water. Spiritually speaking the waters covered Israel. Paul wrote of this baptism of the whole nation Israel:
"Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea;" I Corinthians 10:1:2
Israel was baptized unto Moses in the cloud that followed them in the daytime and in the water of the Red Sea. Moses was their lawgiver, their deliverer, and their judge, just as Jesus is our Lawgiver. Jesus wrote His laws upon our hearts, He delivered us from our sin, and He is our Judge at the end of time.
When Israel entered into their promise land they were baptized again, this time in the Jordan River:
"And as they that bare the ark were come unto Jordan, and the feet of the priests that bare the ark were dipped in the brim of the water, (for Jordan overfloweth all his banks all the time of harvest,)
That the waters which came down from above stood and rose up upon an heap very far from the city Adam, that is beside Zaretan: and those that came down toward the sea of the plain, even the salt sea, failed, and were cut off: and the people passed over right against Jericho.
And the priests that bare the ark of the covenant of the Lord stood firm on dry ground in the midst of Jordan, and all the Israelites passed over on dry ground, until all the people were passed clean over Jordan." Joshua 3:15-17
Again, the waters were above Israel. Again, the whole nation of Israel was baptized. It may be asked, "Why was it necessary for Israel to be baptized again?" When we realize Israel was in the wilderness forty years, all those over twenty perished and a whole new generation was born in the wilderness. Spiritually speaking the old wine skins were broken, and God put His wine (anointing) into new wine skins. But before they could possess their promise land, it was necessary for them to go through the water to be cleansed from all the sin in their wilderness wanderings. The Jordan is the river of death. Before anyone can enter into their promise land they must be dead from their old sin, and their old sin nature. As Paul related to the church at Corinth:
"Now all these things happened unto them (Israel) for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come." I Corinthians 10:11
Jesus was given to us as an example of how we should live. Israel was also given to us as an example. By Israel's example we know we will not enter into our promise land until God's baptism has completed its work in our lives.
As our adventure in God's Word brings us to the New Testament, we read about a man by the name of John. John was the son of Zacharias. We know him as John the Baptist, or John the Baptizer. He was sent before Jesus to prepare the way for His coming. Mark quoted the prophets when he wrote of John:
"As it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send My messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make His paths straight. John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins." Mark 1:2-4
Before Jesus could come the first time, a people had to be prepared. The same is true of His second coming. Before He can come again, a people must be prepared.
John baptized in the wilderness. Jesus, our example, found it necessary to be baptized with the baptism of repentance even though there was no sin in His life.
"Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. But John forbad Him, saying, I have need to be baptized of Thee, and comest Thou to me? And Jesus answering said unto him, suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness.Then he suffered Him." Matthew 3:13-15
When Jesus came to be baptized of John, John knew he needed the baptism Jesus would bring upon the earth. Jesus' words were "...for thus it becometh us...". Jesus included the baptism of John in the fulfillment of all righteousness He would bring upon the earth. Jesus knew it was necessary to be baptized by John. One may ask, "Since there was no sin in Jesus' life, why was baptism necessary?" To understand this we must follow on to know what came next in Jesus' life:
"And Jesus, when He was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon Him: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." Matthew 3:16-17
Jesus was given to be our example. Jesus knew the progression of coming into God's righteousness. He knew water baptism was a necessary step to come into God's anointing.
The apostle Peter, who was given the keys to the Kingdom, proclaimed: "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God", Matthew 16:16. On the Day of Pentecost, Peter revealed the progression necessary for all those who would enter the Kingdom:
". . .Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost." Acts 2:38
If our goal is to receive the Holy Spirit anointing in our lives, then we must first repent by confessing our sins before our God. Then we must be baptized by being completely immersed in water. Then we are in a position to receive the Holy Spirit anointing. To answer the question, "Why did Jesus need to be baptized?" It was because He was the pattern. The baptism of the dove did not come upon Him until He came out of the water and stood on the banks of the Jordan.
When John proclaimed, "I need to be baptized of thee", John recognized the baptisms Jesus would bring upon the whole earth:
"John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire:" Luke 3:16
John spoke not only of the baptism of the Holy Ghost that came on the Day of Pentecost, he also spoke of a baptism of fire God would bring upon the whole earth.
As we search the Scriptures to uncover the Spiritual truth hidden in water baptism, we look to Paul's letter to the Romans:
"Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into His death?" Romans 6:3
When we are baptized we are baptized into Jesus Christ and His death. To understand baptism we must have a thorough understanding of the word baptism. The Greek word for baptism is BAPTIZO. It is taken from the base word BAPTO which means "to dip repeatedly, to immerse, to submerge". To understand the word BAPTIZO we have an example in ancient writings. The poet Nicander who lived about 200 B.C. wrote about making pickles; quote...
". . . the vegetable should first be `dipped' (bapto) into boiling water, and then `baptized' (baptizo) in the vinegar solution."
Both verbs concern the immersing of vegetables in a solution. But the first is temporary. The second, the act of baptising the vegetable, produces a permanent change. Baptism is to perform a permanent change in our lives. When we are immersed in water it is only the initial act of dipping. Baptism is to continue being dipped until we are baptized fully into Jesus Christ.
To be baptized into Jesus Christ means to be baptized into His name. We may ask, "What's in a name?" In ancient times people named their children with names which meant the nature they would possess. Most of the prophets, kings, and great people of the Bible were given their names by God. Their names were prophetic descriptions of their character qualities or the job God would have them perform.
A few examples would be:
Samuel - "his name is of God"
David - "beloved"
Elijah - "My God is Jehovah"
Jeremiah - "My God is salvation
God changed the names of some men to match their changed nature:
Abram - Abraham
Jacob - Israel
The name Abram meant "father". Abram's nature was that of a father. His one desire was to have a son. When God gave him a son, He made Abram another promise. God promised to make Abram a father of many nations. This was accomplished through Abram's natural seed Ishmael and the promised seed Isaac. After Isaac's birth Abram's name was changed to Abraham. The name Abraham means "the father of a great multitude, or the father of nations". When Abraham's situation changed, God changed his name.
Another who had his name changed was Jacob. The name Jacob meant "supplanter or deceiver". Jacob was the youngest of twins. His older brother was Esau. Both Jacob and Esau are examples of the carnal man. Being the eldest Esau was to obtain the birthright. Carnal man has no respect for their birthright in God, and Esau sold his for a pot of beans. Jacob's desire was toward God, but his old, carnal nature was that of a deceiver. God had to bring Jacob to a change of heart (thinking). After Jacob had supplanted (taken the place of) Esau in obtaining Isaac's blessing, he fled to his mother's homeland. There he took two wives, Leah and Rachel. After some thirty years, God spoke to Jacob to go home to face Esau. As Jacob journeyed home, he came to Peniel, where he was visited by an angel of the Lord. Jacob wrestled with the angel till dawn, and his name was changed from Jacob to Israel. Jacob refused to let go of the angel until he received a blessing. The blessing was a change in Jacob's nature. God spoke to Jacob:
"And He said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed." Genesis 32:28
Jacob had become a prince. A prince is the son of a king. Jacob had become a son of the king. Why? Because he had a change in his way of thinking. As Jacob wrestled with the angel, the angel touched Jacob upon the thigh:
"And as he passed over Peniel the sun rose upon him, and he halted upon his thigh." Genesis 32:31
From that day forward Jacob or Israel walked leaning upon his staff. The staff represents our authority in God. When God changes our nature we no longer walk in our own strength, but by the strength and will of God.
When we are baptized into Jesus Christ, we are to have a change in our nature. When there is a change in our nature, there is a change in our position in God. When there is a change in our position we will be given a new name, and that name will be His name. When we possess His name, then we have all authority to use His name. In his letter to the church at Ephesus, Paul declared:
"For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and He is the Saviour of the body." Ephesians 5:23
The husband is the head of the wife. When marriage between man and woman takes place, the wife takes the name of the husband. In doing so she has every legal right to use his name, and she has all authority associated with his name. Paul used this example to show us the authority we have when Christ becomes our head. Christ cannot truly become our head until we have a change in our nature. As long as we are serving the old man, Christ has not become our head. As long as we are still lusting after the things of the flesh, Christ has not become our head. As long as Christ does not have preeminence in everything we say, think, and do, Christ has not become our head. In order for Christ to become our head, our baptism into Jesus Christ must be complete. In his letter to the churches in Galatia, Paul proclaimed:
"For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ." Galatians 3:27
How do we put on Christ? Paul explains this process:
"For if we have been planted together in the likeness of His death, we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin." Romans 6:5-6
If we have been immersed into Jesus' death, then the old man has been crucified. If the old man is still demanding his way, then we are still serving the old sin nature. Truly we have not become part of the first resurrection that must take place in our earth. When we are baptized into Jesus Christ, our lives will be an extension of His life.
As we come into an understanding of what God's salvation plan is all about we need to re-look at how Jesus called His disciples, because we are also His disciples:
"And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. And He saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." Matthew 4:18-19
What were Jesus' words to Peter and Andrew? "Follow Me"!
"And another of His disciples said unto Him, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. But Jesus said unto him, Follow me; and let the dead bury their dead." Matthew 8:21-22
Jesus' only declaration was, "Follow Me!"
"And as Jesus passed forth from thence, He saw a man, named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom: and He saith unto him, Follow Me. And he arose, and followed Him." Matthew 9:9
Jesus spoke two words to His disciples, "Follow Me"! The word follow means "to come into unison with, to come into the likeness of, and to be companion to". Is this what is taught to those who are coming into God's salvation plan in the church? Those who desire to be saved are asked to repeat Romans 10:9 & 10:
"That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation." Romans 10:9-10
When the new convert repeats these words, the pronouncement is made, "You are saved." We need to ask ourselves, "Is this what Jesus our example did?" Let us look closely at what Paul declared.
How do we confess the Lord Jesus with our mouth? This is when our mouth expresses our desire to follow Jesus. To do this we must believe with all our heart He is the risen, glorified Christ possessing all power in heaven and in earth. When our mouth professes this belief in the risen, glorified Christ, the Scriptures says:
"Thou shalt be saved."
The verb phrase "shalt be" is a futuristic term. It does not mean we are saved at that instant. It means we have begun our journey in God's salvation process. [see Three Fold Salvation by George Kirkpatrick] In Romans 10:9-10, Paul mentioned nothing of water baptism or our immersion into the Holy Spirit. When we confess with our mouth what we believe in our heart, we have only taken the first step in God's salvation plan for His creation man.
Paul continues, "With the heart man believes unto righteousness." There must be a change in man's thinking to believe unto righteousness. Righteousness is not obtained simply by repeating words. In his letter to the church at Philippi, Paul declared:
"Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God." Philippians 1:11
Righteousness is a fruit of the Spirit. It is impossible for the heart of man to believe unto righteousness until the cleansing power of the Holy Spirit and the washing of water by the Word changes his way of thinking. Paul declared:
"With our mouth, confession is made unto salvation."
Paul did not say confession is salvation, but unto salvation. The word unto again is a progressive word.
Nothing is mentioned in Romans 10:9-10 about baptism. It is speaking of acting upon what we have been taught. The only problem is that the sovereignty of God in our lives is no longer taught in the church. Most times, baptism is taught so the people will fulfill church doctrine. It is not taught as the beginning of a new life and crucifying the old man nature.
How are we to know what Jesus wants us to do? We better look again at His words:
"Then said Jesus unto His disciples, If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me." Matthew 16:24
Jesus told His disciples if they wanted to follow Him they were to deny self. We cannot deny self and go on doing what the flesh desires. Then Jesus directed His disciples to take up their cross. Why did His disciples need their cross? So the old flesh man could be crucified daily. The message to Christ's disciples is no different today. We must deny self, take up our cross daily, and follow Him. This is necessary so when the old man raises his ugly head, we have the instrument of death at our disposal.
The rich young ruler asked Jesus, "What good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?" Matthew 19:16.
"Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow Me." Matthew 19:21
Jesus' word to the rich young ruler was to free himself from all his earthly ties. When we come to Christ there must be nothing in our lives we value more than our relationship with Him. Unfortunately the young ruler valued the things of this life more than having a relationship with Jesus. The church is full of rich young rulers who have not learned the value of giving. Jesus gave us direction in our giving:
"Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again." Luke 6:38
If the rich young ruler had been obedient to Jesus' words how much God would have blessed him. Instead, he went away brokenhearted, knowing he would perish in his disobedient state.
A great controversy has arisen as to what name we are to be baptized. Most Pentecostal denominations say we must baptize in the name of Jesus. While others emphatically insist we baptize in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Both can back their beliefs with Scripture. Jesus' instructions were:
"Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:" Matthew 28:19
The Pentecostals ascribe their belief to Peter's direction:
"Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost." Acts 2:38
All were to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.
If we are going to the Scriptures to decide what name should be used, we should consider other Scriptures. When Peter was sent to the house of Cornelius, and the Holy Spirit fell upon all present, Peter...
". . .commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord..." Acts 10:48
Here Peter directed to baptize in the name of the Lord. When Peter and John were sent to Samaria to pray for the gift of the Holy Spirit on the new converts...
". . .they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus." Acts 8:16
Here the people were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. When Paul came to Ephesus he found disciples...
"When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus." Acts 19:5
So what is the proper name to be baptized in: Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; Jesus Christ; Lord; or Lord Jesus? Are all the Scriptures contradicting, or do we need understanding. When Jesus stated, "...teach all nations, baptising them in the NAME of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, the word name is singular, not plural. The words Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are not names, they are titles. The problem comes because man wants to believe in three Gods. They have made the Father a God, the Son a God, and the Holy Ghost a God. They overlook the Scriptures that teach:
"One Lord, one faith, one baptism," Ephesians 4:5
"For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one." I John 5:7
We have one God, one name with the titles Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. To overcome the confusion connected with what name to use in baptism, we need to identify the Father. Jesus promised:
"These things have I spoken unto you in proverbs: but the time cometh, when I shall no more speak unto you in proverbs, but I shall shew you plainly of the Father." John 16:25
Jesus promised He would show us plainly who our Father is. To come to this understanding we must search the Scriptures. The prophet Isaiah foretold the birth of Jesus:
"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace." Isaiah 9:6
If Jesus' name is Wonderful, Counselor, and the Prince of Peace, then He is also the Mighty God and the Everlasting Father. Jesus spoke this truth to His disciples:
"Philip saith unto Him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us. Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known Me, Philip? He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?" John 14:8-9
When we truly see who Jesus is today we have seen the Father.
"Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:" Colossians 1:15
Jesus came in the image of the invisible God. His flesh was not that image. God is Spirit, and Spiritually speaking Jesus was perfect in every aspect in His Spiritual walk before His Father.
This brings us to a question, "Who fathered Jesus?" Matthew proclaimed:
"Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as His mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost." Matthew 1:18
Mary was with child of the Holy Ghost. Luke recorded:
"And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God." Luke 1:35
The Holy Ghost overshadowed Mary and conceived Jesus in her womb. When Joseph doubted if he should marry her...
"But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost." Matthew 1:20
What was conceived in Mary was of the Holy Ghost. So who is the Father? The Father is the Holy Ghost. When the Holy Ghost came upon Jesus on the banks of the Jordan, He spoke, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." The Holy Ghost is the Father. When Jesus prayed to the Father, He was praying to the Holy Ghost.
We also need to understand who the Word is? We have already quoted I John 5:7 which spoke of the Father, Word, and Holy Ghost. By this Scripture we know the Son (Jesus) is the Word. John informs us:
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." John 1:1
The Word was in the beginning. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. So the Word (the Son, Jesus) was in the beginning. Was Jesus there in His flesh? No, He was there in the Spirit as the image of the invisible God.
We need to understand who the Holy Ghost is? To answer this, we must go again to the Word. We know the Holy Ghost is the Father. We also know the Holy Ghost is the anointing. Speaking of the anointing Jesus related to His disciples:
"And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you for ever;" John 14:16
Because Jesus knew He was nearing the end of His earthly ministry, He promised to give another Comforter. He was their first Comforter, and He would also be their second Comforter.
"Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth Him not, neither knoweth Him: but ye know Him; for He dwelleth with you, and shall be in you." John 14:17
The second Comforter is the Spirit of truth. The world cannot receive the Spirit of truth because there is no anointing in their lives. Jesus informed His disciples, "Ye know Him, for He dwelleth with you, and shall be in you". The disciples would know the second Comforter because He was dwelling with them. This second Comforter came upon Jesus on the banks of the Jordan. From this time forward, the second Comforter was dwelling with Jesus. His disciples witnessed the anointing of the second Comforter on Jesus' life.
Jesus also stated the second Comforter shall be in you. Again the verb phrase shall be is futuristic. Then Jesus made them a promise:
"I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you." John 14:18
Jesus came to His disciples as the second Comforter on the Day of Pentecost. He came as a rushing mighty wind and as cloven tongues of fire and sat upon each of them, Acts 2:2-3. Peter relating this event revealed:
"Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ," Acts 2:36
The term hath made indicates Jesus had become something He was not in the flesh. He became both Lord and Christ. The word Lord means "supreme in authority". The word Christ means "anointing". After His resurrection, Jesus informed His disciples:
"And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth." Matthew 28:18
All power is resident in the risen, glorified Christ Jesus in the earth realm and in heaven, (the Spiritual realm). Truly He has become Lord. He has also became Christ (the anointing).
When Jesus told His disciples to baptize in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost we need to know the name. When the Pentecostals baptize in the name of Jesus Christ, they use the name. When others baptize in the name of the Lord, or the Lord Jesus they use the name. So what name should we use? We should use the name of our Lord (Father), Jesus, (Son), Christ (Anointing). We can use His name or His titles. In reality it is not the name we use but it is the change it brings in the life of the believer.
The main question in every believers' heart should be, "Why should we be baptized?" Many churches teach their people when they are baptized they join their denomination. This brings baptism into the realm of bondage. Baptism should be an act of deliverance. Concerning baptism, Paul related to the church at Rome:
"Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin." Romans 6:6-7
When our old way of thinking is destroyed we are free from the sinful nature of man. As we study the Bible it becomes clear we are born into the Kingdom of God, and we do not need to join a church to be a part of His Kingdom. The church is to be a place of instruction, a house of prayer, where God's people can be taught His way, and how they can become as their example.
God never intended baptism to become part of a joining process. So why are we to be baptized? We need to look again at the words of Peter on the Day of Pentecost:
"Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost." Acts 2:38
Water baptism prepares us to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit (Christ) anointing. Only those who receive the gift of the Holy Ghost can call themselves Christian. The word Christian means "Christ-like, or in-Christed ones". If asking Jesus for forgiveness of our sin and water baptism was all that was necessary to bring us into a right standing with our Father, then we would be called "Jesusonians", not "Christians".
To understand the necessity of the baptism of the Holy Spirit we must look at the words of Jesus. The mother of James and John, Jesus' disciples, made a request of Jesus:
"And He said unto her, What wilt thou? She saith unto Him, Grant that these my two sons may sit, the one on thy right hand, and the other on the left, in thy Kingdom." Matthew 20:21
Jesus replied to His disciples:
". . .Ye know not what ye ask. Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? They say unto Him, We are able." Matthew 20:22
Those who will sit on Jesus' right and left hand must drink of His cup, and be baptized with the same baptism He was baptized with. What was the cup Jesus drank of that we must also partake of?
"Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in My blood, which is shed for you." Luke 22:20
The cup Jesus drank of was the cup of suffering and death. As Jesus prayed in the garden He asked the Father:
". . .if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me: nevertheless not as I will, but as Thou wilt." Matthew 26:39
Jesus was totally submitted to the will of the Father. If the Father would not remove the cup, He would drink of it. He proved this when the mob came to take Him the same night. When Peter drew his sword to protect Him, Jesus said to Peter:
". . .Put up thy sword into the sheath: the cup which my Father hath given Me, shall I not drink it?" John 18:11
Jesus was given a cup to drink of, and if we are to sit on His right and left hand, we, too, must drink of the same cup. Paul spoke of this cup in his letter to the Corinthians:
"The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?" I Corinthians 10:16
The cup is a cup of blessing. The Old Testament informs us the life is in the blood. If we are to partake of the life of Christ and come into His image and likeness we must drink of the cup Jesus drank of. Jesus' words to His disciples were:
"...Ye shall drink indeed of My cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with: but to sit on My right hand, and on My left, is not Mine to give, but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared of My Father." Matthew 20:23
If we are to sit on the right and left hand of God, we must be prepared of the Father. Being prepared of the Father begins with the anointing of the Holy Ghost. Many have taught the evidence of receiving the Holy Ghost is speaking in tongues. Our example is Jesus, and there is no evidence of His ever speaking in tongues.
As we consider the things of nature, the evidence that an apple tree is an apple tree is its fruit. The same with a peach tree or a cherry tree. The same is true with the baptism of the Holy Spirit. If we have received the baptism of the Holy Spirit, we will produce the fruit of the Spirit in our lives. Paul listed nine of these fruits in his letter to the Galatians:
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law." Galatians 5:22-23
Right after love, joy, and peace comes "longsuffering". The word longsuffering means simply "to suffer long". Yet the message of suffering and dying to self is never taught in modern churches. The message of ruling and reigning is taught as automatic because they have accepted Christ. By the Scriptures we know we do not accept Christ, He accepts us. We also know by the Scriptures:
"If we suffer, we shall also reign with Him: if we deny Him, He also will deny us:" II Timothy 2:12
Longsuffering is necessary if we are to reign with Him. Paul also went on to explain to Timothy:
"Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution." II Timothy 3:12
All who live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer. If we deny His anointing, then He will deny He ever knew us. Paul made this very clear in His letter to the Romans:
"But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, He is none of His." Romans 8:9
If we deny His anointing we are none of His. When we refuse to drink of the cup He drank of, we have refused His baptism of the Holy Spirit. Paul related to the churches at Galatia:
"For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ." Galatians 3:27
When we are baptized into Christ, we put on Christ. This is when we take on His nature. We are then able to use His name and operate in all the authority due His name. This change must come into our lives if we are to enter again into His presence.
When we come into the cloven tongues baptism of fire, we enter the overcoming realm. Here we must overcome the flesh and die to the old self-nature if we are to enter into His Kingdom. We overcome by and through the Spirit. Paul spoke of this overcoming in his letter to the Corinthians:
"And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly." I Corinthians 15:49
Jesus Christ was the image of the earthy. John informed us:
"Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as He is, so are we in this world." I John 4:17
John wrote, "...as He is, so are we in this world". Through the anointing we are to emulate Jesus' life in this world. This can only be accomplished through longsuffering. This continual cloven tongues baptism of fire will change us into the image of the heavenly, or Spiritual man. The inner man of the Spirit will come forth in all God's glory. The inner man of the heart will come forth in the image and likeness of our Creator, acceptable in His sight, to dwell in His presence forever.
John the Baptist spoke of one more baptism the earth is to go through, the Baptism of Fire. This is when God's judgment will be poured out on all unrighteousness. This fire will be poured out on all those who have not dealt with all unrighteousness in their lives.
There are two aspects to fire:
1. Fire is used for cleansing
2. Fire is used for destruction
It is a cleansing fire for the righteous. To the unrighteous it is the destroying fire. The prophet Joel wrote of God's judgment upon the earth. Peter quoted what Joel wrote concerning the Day of Pentecost:
"And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of My Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of My Spirit; and they shall prophesy: And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke: The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come:" Acts 2:17-20
God is going to pour out His fury upon all the earth. Our God is a God of judgment. Before God pours out His judgment upon the earth, He is going to judge His house first. Those who are called by His name can expect judgment before His full fury is poured out upon all the earth. Peter informed us:
"For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?" I Peter 4:17
God's judgment begins with His people, then judgment will come upon the whole earth. Peter declared there would be blood and fire and vapor of smoke. These are all a part of God's wrath. Jesus declared His coming wrath to John on the Isle of Patmos:
"And the angel thrust in His sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God." Revelation 14:19
The vine are all those who have not become fruit. The fruit was taken into God's presence, His place of protection. The vine was cast into the Winepress which is the wrath of God.
"And the winepress was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the winepress, even unto the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs." Revelation 14:20
The winepress is for all those who have not become the righteousness of God. Jesus shed His blood so all could live. When God pours out the fire of His wrath, the earth will be baptized in blood. Those who refuse to come into God's righteousness or follow the example Jesus gave us will suffer God's judgment. Jesus revealed to John on the Isle of Patmos:
"And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God. And the winepress was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the winepress, even unto the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs." Revelation 14:19-20
It is the vine that is cast into the winepress of the wrath of God. No where in the Bible does the vine represent worldly people. The vine are those who never allowed the Spirit to produce fruit in their lives. The blood that runs to the horses' bridles is Christian blood.
In the time of Noah, the earth was baptized in water to cleanse it from all the unrighteous. God is calling His people to be baptized with the baptism He was baptized with. We also must drink of the cup He drank from, so we can bear the image of the heavenly. Our lives must display His nature, and we must become one with His name. We need to heed the words of the all-wise Solomon:
"Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out My hand, and no man regarded; But ye have set at nought all My counsel, and would none of My reproof: I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh;" When your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you. Then shall they call upon Me, but I will not answer; they shall seek Me early, but they shall not find Me: For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the Lord: They would none of My counsel: they despised all My reproof. Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices. Proverbs 1:24-31
The church only teaches a kind, loving, merciful God. He truly is all these things. But we must also remember He is a God of judgment and severity, Romans 11:22
As Solomon warned, ". . . those who despise His reproof will eat the fruit of their own way". Those who are filled with their own devices will partake of His wrath. Yes, we need water baptism. But we also need to be baptized with the baptism Jesus was baptized with. We also need to drink of the cup He drank of. Then we can put off the image of the earthly and put on the image of the heavenly.
God's arm is stretched out to us. We need to take His hand and walk as He walked so we can be where He is on the right hand of the Father. Seek God and find eternal life.
For Further Discussion
Baptism of the Flood
Baptism in the Red Sea
Baptism in the Cloud
Baptism in the Jordan River
The Baptism of Repentance
The Permanent Pickling Process
A New Name and A New Nature
God's Progressive Salvation Plan
Take Up Thy Cross and Follow Me
Loosed From Earthy Ties
"And These Three Are One"
The Father, the Holy Ghost
The Necessary Fruit of Long Suffering
The Necessary Overcoming Realm
The Necessary Baptism of Fire
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