BAPTISING “THE CHURCH”

A NOTE CONCERNING BAPTISM IN MATTHEW’S GOSPEL

baptism-Ro6

As “THE CHURCH”, we need to re-think our requirements about baptising converts. When it comes to ‘baptising’, shouldn’t JB (John, The Baptist) be our model?! JB required evidence of repentance as a prerequisite to being a candidate for baptism. His call to “Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for Him.” [Mt.3:3,NIV ] was preparation for salvation through repentance. He preached (Mt.3:2), “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand (NASB)…Turn from your sins and turn to God, because the Kingdom of Heaven is near (NLT)…Change your life (MSG).” Only when the people showed evidence of living Godly ways, and only then, did he allow the people into the baptismal waters. He baptized them with water as a sign they had “cleansed” their lives through repentance (see v.7-11 below).

In verse 11, JB says, “the one coming after me is more powerful than I am… (Jesus) will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire”. The reference to “baptize with Holy Spirit” is a reference to the actual NEW BIRTH at the point of Salvation. The old spirit man dies and a NEW SPIRIT comes into existence IN YOU! Note that ‘fire’ is a term to mean a total purification would take place, not just a ‘washing’. The salvation Jesus brings* does not just wash sins away, it rebirths every “whosoever” who believes and confesses~ brings forth evidence! 

I found a good explanation of Biblical baptism (#907) at NETBible.org:

“The clearest example that shows the meaning of ‘baptizo’ (#907) is a text from the Greek poet and physician Nicander, who lived about 200 B.C. It is a recipe for making pickles and is helpful because it uses both words (‘bapto’ and ‘baptizo’). Nicander says that in order to make a pickle, the vegetable should first be ‘dipped’ (bapto-#911) into boiling water and then ‘baptised’ (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. “When used in the New Testament, this word (#907) more often refers to our union and identification with Christ than to our water baptism. e.g. Mr 16:16. ‘He that believes and is baptised shall be saved’. Christ is saying that mere intellectual assent is not enough. There must be a union with him, a real change, like the vegetable to the pickle!” (Bible Study Magazine, James Montgomery Boice, May 1989).

My point?

Jesus said, “GO! Make disciples….” I know of few denominations and even fewer local church facilities that follow JB’s example of established, evidenced repentance as a prerequisite.  However, I am convicted that DISCIPLESHIP classes should be offered as an integral part of The Church’s baptising services. Otherwise, it is a disservice to ‘the world’~ SELAH!

~*~

Mt.3:7-11, VOICE, including commentary-in bold.
But John is not exactly warm to all those who come to him seeking cleansing.

He (JB) told some Pharisees and Sadducees who came for the ritual baptism,… “You children of serpents! You brood of vipers! Did someone suggest you flee from the wrath that is upon us? 8-9 If you think that simply hopping in the Jordan will cleanse you, then you are sorely mistaken. Your life must bear the fruits of turning toward righteousness. Nor are you correct if you think that being descended from Abraham is enough to make you holy and right with God.Yes, the children of Abraham are God’s chosen children,but God can adopt as daughters and sons anyone He likesHe can turn these stones into sons if He likes.”

To be made right with God, one must truly repent.
It means to turn completely away from sin and completely toward God.

“…I ritually cleanse you through baptism as a mark of turning your life around. But someone is coming after me, someone whose sandals I am not fit to carry, someone who is more powerful than I. He will wash you not in water but in fire and with the Holy Spirit. He carries a winnowing fork in His hand, and He will clear His threshing floor; He will gather up the good wheat in His barn, and He will burn the chaff with a fire that cannot be put out.”

~*~

Romans 5:20-6:6, VOICE

5:20 “When the law came into the picture, sin grew and grew; but wherever sin grew and spread, God’s grace was there in fuller, greater measure. No matter how much sin crept in, there was always more grace. 21 In the same way that sin reigned in the sphere of death, now grace reigns through God’s restorative justice, eclipsing death and leading to eternal life through the Anointed One, Jesus our Lord, the Liberating King.
6:1-6″How should we respond to all of this? Is it good to persist in a life of sin so that grace may multiply even more? Absolutely not! How can we die to a life where sin ruled over us and then invite sin back into our lives? Did someone forget to tell you that when we were initiated into Jesus the Anointed through baptism’s ceremonial washing, we entered into His death? Therefore, we were buried with Him through this baptism into death so that just as God the Father, in all His glory, resurrected the Anointed One, we, too, might walk confidently out of the grave into a new life. To put it another way: if we have been united with Him to share in a death like His, don’t you understand that we will also share in His resurrection? We know this: whatever we used to be with our old sinful ways has been nailed to His cross. So our entire record of sin has been canceled, and we no longer have to bow down to sin’s power.” 

~*~

*For further understanding of the New Birth/Salvation brought by Jesus’ Blood, see the  New Testament letters to the Romans and Ephesians.
Bible Versions: NIV~New International Version; NASB~New American Standard Bible; NLT~New Living Testament; MSG~The Message Bible; VOICE~The Voice Bible.
Picture source: QuotesGram (It is my understanding it is a public domain image.)

MOVING UP IN THE SPIRIT (Part 2)

Dear Followers (Seekers), This is an exhortative wake-up call to The Church from MOVING UP IN THE SPIRIT (Part 2) by Bert Farias. I personally know full-gospel churches that are beginning to “stinketh” so do not think it could happen to yours! Read and be encouraged to keep being filled.
~NeeterWoman

“Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord” (Eph. 5:17-19).

“…Wise believers know that the will of the Lord is to be full of the Spirit as a drunk man would be full of wine. …When one is full of the Spirit his heart moves in prayer; he is moved for lost souls; he is holy and consecrated. …He’s full of love; he’s full of praise and thanksgiving; and he’s full of power. 

These Ephesian believers were already initially filled or baptized with the Holy Spirit. The baptism of the Holy Spirit was part of the essentials of first century Christian life. Unlike today it was not an option but a vital necessity in every single church. Since then the devil has diluted this essential and clouded it with so much controversy. The Church as a whole will never fully do the works of Jesus until they are filled with the Spirit and maintain that infilling.
“The Holy Spirit is the life of the Church. Being filled with the Spirit and staying filled with the Spirit produces a fresh anointing. The psalmist of old said, “I shall be anointed with fresh oil” (Ps. 92:10). Without the free flowing move of the Holy Spirit the Church dries up and becomes full of dead formalism. …

“Here’s an interesting verse:

“Dead flies cause the ointment of the apothecary to send forth a stinking savour.”
(Ec. 10:1).

“Here is the Farias translation:

“Dead formalism kills the anointing
and stinks up the place.”

“…churches can lose their fresh oil if they don’t stay full of the Spirit. To be anointed with fresh oil means the oil can become old and stale which requires a replenishing. It means the psalmist was once anointed with oil but it’s not fresh any more. …”

“Here is a twin scripture to Eph. 5:18-19:

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord” (Col. 3:16).

via MOVING UP IN THE SPIRIT (Part 2).

Dear Readers/Seekers, This is only an excerpt of the article. If you have read thus far, you truly are a “seeker”.  I exhort you to click on the link to The Flaming Herald page; read Part 1, “How To Move Up In The Spirit” and Part 2 (this post) in their entireties. Read and be encouraged! Farias says, “Stay tuned for more…” ~NeeterWoman

TONGUES AND INTERPRETATION

TONGUES AND INTERPRETATION.
“…The initial physical evidence of receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit is speaking in tongues. These tongues are attached to the baptism of the Holy Spirit and are for our devotional use. They belong to every born again Christian, but the tongues is not the gift. The Holy Spirit is the gift (Acts 2:38-39). ….”

via The Flaming Herald, TONGUES AND INTERPRETATION.
Click to read more from The Flaming Herald by Bert Farias. 

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Shortcomings and Recovery

“To be aware of one shortcoming* in oneself
is better than to be aware of one thousand in someone else.”
~ANONYMOUS

Recently, a Facebook friend whom I have known since high school posted the above quote*. She copied it from an AA recovery website of which she is a member. Keep in mind that ‘shortcoming‘ simply means “an imperfection or lack that detracts from the whole”. My friend and countless others have recovered from their their common ‘shortcoming’ to regain the essence of their lives.

The quote reminds me of  Matthew’s (7:1-5) and Luke’s (6:27-49) summaries of Jesus’ teachings about dealing with people mercifully, about not judging our neighbors when ‘we’ have not yet taken care of our own flaws.  Flaws such as addictions, bitterness, and other sins stemming from selfishness are the very imperfections we usually see in others, but somehow the same seem less obvious when looking in the mirror.  However, The Bible encourages us to examine ourselves and to seek God’s instruction in order to overcome the areas we “come short”. The Good Book calls this process ‘sanctification’.

Sanctification is gradual; it comes from faith-to-faith and glory-to-glory. It is a process which begins in each of us at our rebirths (new birth)  and continues until we reach our total glorifications when we meet Jesus face-to-face. However, we don’t all grow at the same pace. Therefore when dealing with others’ shortcomings and they with us, we find ourselves in need of a little love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, and faithfulness. As well and more often than not, this life requires a whole lot of long-suffering before the growing process is finished. These essential attributes are referred to as “Fruit of The Spirit”. The are developed in us as we allow Holy Spirit to lead us through this life, teaching us God’s ways of dealing with each other and as we worship God in “spirit and truth”, getting to know Him better.  The “fruit” simply describe God’s character, His nature, His essence of life. In other words, we become more like Him, more like Jesus!

GRAPE CLUSTERS-Carmenere_grapes_close
“What happens when we live God’s way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard–” GAL.5:22
Jesus tells us that as long as we stay connected to Him (The Vine), we (the branches) will grow this fruit, abundant crops of it, enough to share with our neighbors. It is beneficial that we all grow in sanctification; it brings peace into the world in which we live and glory to The Kingdom of which we belong!

~ ♥ ~

“What happens when we live God’s way?
He brings gifts into our lives,
much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard–things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity.
We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people.
We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments,
…able to marshal and direct our energies wisely.
Gal.5:22,23, MSG

~ ♥ ~

Ro.1:17
NKJV

…the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith;
…”The just shall live by faith.”

NLT
This Good News tells us how God makes us right in his sight.
This is accomplished from start to finish by faith…

MSG
God’s way of putting people right shows up in the acts of faith,
confirming what Scripture has said all along:
“The person in right standing before God by trusting him really lives.

AMP
For in the Gospel a righteousness which God ascribes is revealed, both springing from faith and leading to faith…

 ~ ♥ ~

SOURCES
*DISCLAIMER– The quote at the top of this post was originally quoted using the word ‘shortfall’ instead of ‘shortcoming’. Perhaps the person used “shortfall” on purpose in reference to occurrences of “falling off the wagon” so-to-speak, but I changed it to make it grammatically correct for this blog posting. I have no way of verifying my thoughts on the original intent of the wording. I quoted it “anonymous” due to AA policy, and my source is not named in order to protect her privacy.

“Shortcoming.” Merriam-Webster.com. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 10 Oct. 2014. <http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/shortcoming&gt;.

PHOTO— By Agne27 at en.wikipedia [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)%5D, from Wikimedia Commons

BIBLE VERSIONS– MSG– The Message Bible; NKJV– New King James Version;  NLT– New Living Translation; AMP– The Amplified Bible;