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August 16, 2008 at 9:55 am #19348
Baptism: Option or Obligation? (Part 3)
Acts 8:26-39; John 4:1-2; Acts 2:37-38; John 3:1-6; Mark 16:12-16;
2 Timothy 1:8 NIV
What is the relationship of baptism to salvation?
Baptism is not essential for salvation. Some people believe that baptism is essential to your salvation; meaning that you can trust Jesus Christ as your Saviour, but if not baptized will not go to heaven. They call it “baptismal regeneration” – that is, you are only fully saved after you are baptized. The word of God does not teach that.
If that were true, Jesus would have said; “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whoever believes in him and is baptized, shall be saved”. Paul would have not said; “whosoever should call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved”. There should be no question at all about your personal eternal destiny.
Let us turn to Acts 2:37-38:
Peter preached this rather long sermon. This was at the beginning of the church. When he finished preaching this is what happened:
37When the people heard this, (his message) they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”
38Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
When you first read that, you may think that when you are not baptized you are not saved. What Peter was saying is that when you repent of your sins, placing your trust in him, and be baptized, you are taking a firm stand of what you believe. This was the beginning of the church, and they were living in a very hostile environment. Baptism was very essential, that is, to make a public stand of your willingness to confess Christ.
Let’s read John 3:1-2.
1Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish ruling council. 2He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him.”
This is Jesus’ response to this very important Jew.
3In reply Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.”
4″How can a man be born when he is old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb to be born!”
5Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. 6Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.
You see, that was very important. Their whole eternity rested on the fact that they believed being a Jew, or being in the family of Judaism, or being a Hebrew, they were absolutely secure. What Jesus was saying is that you can be an important Jew, born of a Jewish mother, Jewish heritage. But your heritage is not enough, except a man be born again, of water and the Spirit of God.
When you and I were born again, what happened? The Holy Spirit of the living God convicted you and me of our sins, and that we can no longer live in that condition. We asked him to forgive us of our sins. We trusted him as our personal savior. We repented our sins and we have never been the same since. That was the work of the Holy Spirit. Our heritage was not enough; is not sufficient and won’t work.
That is what God is saying to some people today. To those who think that because their parents were Christians, they too are alright. Your grandfather was a preacher, your grandmother taught in Sunday school, your mother teaches in Sunday school too. Some people say that their family has always been Christians, and they therefore claim, with all sincerity, that they have also always been saved. No, your heritage is not enough. A definite decision must be made by you in order to be a believer. That is what those scriptures mean.
Let us turn to Mark 16:12-16:
12Afterward Jesus appeared in a different form to two of them while they were walking in the country. 13These returned and reported it to the rest; but they did not believe them either. 14Later Jesus appeared to the Eleven as they were eating; he rebuked them for their lack of faith and their stubborn refusal to believe those who had seen him after he had risen. 15He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. 16Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.
Baptism is not an act of salvation. It is an act of obedience, because we are saved.
So now I ask you again; why won’t you be baptized? Are you afraid of the water? No one has ever drowned in the baptism pool. No one is left floating around. You do not even need to know how to swim. It is very simple. We immerse you into the water and bring you right back up. You will not find any excuse for not getting baptized. The water is usually warm, and you will not be lost in the baptism pool. You do not need to be afraid. If you are worried about your hair, and your makeup, that is pure flesh. Remember Jesus was baptized and he is saying; “follow me”. What does he mean by “follow me”? Do what he says do, the way he says do it, when he says do it.
Why should we be baptized?
– Jesus commanded it, and it is clear in the scripture.
– It is a public confession that we are following Jesus.
You are following Jesus publicly. You are not ashamed of your confession of faith in Jesus Christ, which is very important in the eyes of God. Paul said to Timothy; “do not be ashamed”.
2 Timothy 1:8 states:
8So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me his prisoner. But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God…
Some one might say; “what are my friends going to say?” When it comes to obeying God, this is not the question. The question is; “what does God think?” Any other question is unnecessary. When you are baptized God approves and he will reward you.
– To portray what happened to us.
When somebody says; ”have you ever been saved”? You say yes. “Have you ever been baptized”? You say yes. And when they say; “Why were you baptized?” Here is your answer. First of all Jesus commanded it. Secondly Jesus was baptized, and thirdly because it pictures what happened to Jesus. He died and was buried and raised to walk, not in the newness of life for him, but in God’s will for his life. And your forth answer is; that is what happened to me. When I was saved I died to my old ways, buried in Jesus Christ, that is, connected to him, and now risen to walk a godly life. That is why I was baptized.
– It is an identification with the body of Christ.
In those New Testament times, how did the people identify themselves with the church? It was through baptism. They trusted Christ as their Saviour.
– It declares our faith in our future bodily resurrection.
If I would ask you; Do you truly believe that when you die, that you are going to be bodily resurrected in a body which in form and substance is like the body of Jesus Christ? Me I believe that? Well, why would you be ashamed of being baptized? Baptism pictures what happened to you. It pictures what Jesus did. It is identification with the body of Christ, but it is also a public declaration: “I am going to trust Jesus Christ as my personal Saviour. I am walking in the will of God, and I know that one of these days, ‘absent from the body present with the Lord’. Jesus was bodily resurrected; I too shall be bodily resurrected and on my way to heaven because of his atoning death at Calvary. And if he loved me enough to identify himself with sinful mankind I too love him enough to do what he says when he said ‘follow me’”.
If you say to your 10-year old son, when for example, you are walking through a very dangerous part of the woods, and you say to your son; ‘follow me’. But he instead goes off strolling in the woods somewhere and you say again; ‘follow me’. Why? It’s because you want to protect him. Jesus has a very specific reason; first of all it pleases the father; secondly it is part of his purpose for your life.
I want to encourage you, if you have never been baptized. I am not giving you my opinion. I am giving you those three verses, which the word of God teaches so clearly. To follow Jesus means to do what he said. To follow his path and to be baptized is part of obedience. I want to challenge you to ask yourself two questions; “why have I not been baptized?” You may say, “Well, today I realize because I have never been saved”. Good answer.
If you will ask Jesus Christ to forgive you of your sins; tell him you place your trust in what he did in Calvary to pay your sin debt in full. He will save you right now.
Then ask yourself another question; “when am I going to be baptized?” That is the question you need to answer, and I trust that you will. I pray that the Holy Spirit will convict you in the most loving way to act in obedience to Jesus’ command.August 17, 2008 at 7:24 pm #19358
Baptism is a central biblical principle to all Christians. It is a command.
It is not a debate or a discussion.
38Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
> The Bible teaches, that when you are baptised, that is, in the right way, according to the word of God, you get a gift. None other than the Holy Spirit. Anyone who is properly baptised gets the gift of the Holy Spirit, says Jesus Christ.
The majority of people today were baptised as babies. Considering what is going on today, would anyone say that all those baptised as babies have the Holy Spirit, a divine gift that would follow automatically to them?
It is impossible that anyone who has (that is, those who have not quenched) the Holy Spirit, will murder, steal, rape, use drugs, be drunkards, be dictators, etc., as is the case with many people today. It is impossible. They received a fake baptism.
We are all sinners, but the Holy Spirit really transforms and improves people’s lives. He is a holy, divine gift.
Jesus loves babies and children. No doubt about that. But there are certain issues in the christian life which Jesus reserves for adults only. Baptism is one of them.
If a reader was baptised as a baby, and you continued to be a christian into adulthood, then, compare what you know today, and judge whether the baptism you got as a baby is enough or whether it was fake. The dicision is yours.August 18, 2008 at 6:50 pm #19362
Thanks Tonto for this sermon. Let’s accompany it with a hymn about blessings to the tie that binds our hearts in love.
1. Blest be the tie that binds
our hearts in Christian love;
the fellowship of kindred minds
is like to that above.
2. Before our Father’s throne
we pour our ardent prayers;
our fears, our hopes, our aims are one,
our comforts and our cares.
3. We share each other’s woes,
our mutual burdens bear;
and often for each other flows
the sympathizing tear.
4. When we asunder part,
it gives us inward pain;
but we shall still be joined in heart,
and hope to meet again.August 18, 2008 at 6:59 pm #19363
Let’s sing one more hymn in worship of our Good Lord.
Amen.August 22, 2008 at 3:03 pm #19422
The Word of God Today
Your Heavenly Home
I am going…to prepare a place for you. – John 14:2 NIV
All that stuff you see in the movies, like fog banks and disembodied spirits floating around in some netherworld to the eerie sounds of Celtic music – forget it! Heaven will be:
(1) A home built just for you. Are you worried about where you go when you die, or where your loved ones have gone? Don’t be! Jesus said, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in Me.
In My Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with Me that you also may be where I am” (John 14:1-3 NIV).
(2) A city you’ll love! “I, John, saw the Holy city, new Jerusalem” (Rev 21:2). It’s an exact square of 2,250 kilometres (Rev 21:16). It stretches from the Carolinas to California, and from Canada to Mexico. It’s 40 times the size of England, 10 times the size of France, and larger than India.
And that’s just the ground floor; it’s as tall as it is wide; 600,000 stories, more than enough space for billions of people to come and go. And come and go they will. The gates never close. Why shut them? The enemies of God will be banished, leaving only a perfect place of perfected people.
(3) With Christ, the One you love most! Paul, who had the privilege of visiting Heaven, wrote, “I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far” (Philp 1:23 NIV).
So don’t get too comfortable here on earth!
SoulFood Bible Readings:
Judg 16:1 – 19:15, Luke 17:11-19, Ps 119:137-144, Pr 18:22-24August 22, 2008 at 6:13 pm #19423
We thank you Tonto for today’s good word. Swing Low Sweet chariot has the words and tune to match.August 23, 2008 at 4:03 pm #19430
Stick To The Plan (1)
I know the plans I have for you. – Jeremiah 29:11 NIV
Today God is saying to you, “While in process, stick to the plan!” Nothing takes God by surprise. He’s a master planner. Joseph discovered that when your family turns against you, your friends let you down and you finish up in trouble, God still has a plan. Looking back Joseph could say, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good” (Gen 50:20 NIV). When your situation seems too hard to handle and downright impossible to explain, remind yourself that God said, “I know the plans I have for you.”
Some of us are not sure God has made up His mind about us, so we keep trying to earn His favour. Give it up! Receive the truth that God, for Christ’s sake, has decided to bless you. And when God decides, temporary situations or the actions of others don’t change His decision. There’s nothing the enemy devises against you that God hasn’t already made ‘a way of escape’ for. Paul writes, “God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that you are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it” (1 Cor 10:13).
(1) In times of testing you discover how faithful God is.
(2) He knows what you can handle.
(3) He will “make a way” so you can exit this season stronger, and ready for what He has next. So stick to the plan. The fact that you have a problem is a sign that you have a promise.
It’s only a matter of time before God reveals the solution.
SoulFood Bible Readings: John 10:1-18, Rev 7:13-17, Ps 23, Luke 15:1-7August 23, 2008 at 4:13 pm #19431
Please note: page one of The Word of God Today contains the same contents as on page 4.
I suggest that this be put right.August 23, 2008 at 8:54 pm #19432
Thanks Tonto for The Word Of God Today. Very relevant to the times. This is a short video that makes God’s plan in the past and the promise of tomorrow.
Now let’s sing this hymn.August 24, 2008 at 5:22 pm #19433
The Word of God Today
Stick To The Plan (2)
My God, why have You forsaken Me? – Matthew 27:46 NIV
Jesus knew that Judas would betray Him, yet He didn’t stop him. He could have summoned twelve legions of angels to help Him, yet He didn’t call on them. Under the weight of our sins He cried from the cross, “My God, why have You forsaken Me?”
That’s because He understood it was all part of God’s plan for Him. His words, “God, where are You?” teach us that:
(a) You can be in God’s plan yet at times feel overwhelmed and alone.
(b) When God doesn’t answer you must stand on the Word He has given you.
(c) The pain of this season will eventually give way to the joy God has waiting for you on the other side of it. So stick to the plan; that’s what disciples do.
The word ‘disciple’ means to be disciplined. It means sticking to the plan when you’re under attack. It teaches you how to function when you don’t feel like it. The enemy will come against the plan of God in your life, because that plan is like a hedge of protection around you. As long as you stay in God’s plan, nothing that the enemy does can destroy you.
So, when you feel like you’ve reached the end of your rope and you can’t go another step, do what Jesus did – pray, “Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit” (Luke 23:46 NIV).
Give it to God! Look up and say, “Lord, I’m trusting You to do what I cannot do. Bring me through this. Here it is; I’m turning it over to You. My life, my future, and my all are in Your hands!”
SoulFood Bible Readings: Judg 19:16 – 21:25, Luke 17:20-37, Ps 119:145-160, Pr 19:1-2August 24, 2008 at 8:28 pm #19437
Let’s those of us who haven’t been sticking to the plan pray that God forgives us. Thanks Tonto for reminding us.
And let’s get back in line, back to the plan.August 26, 2008 at 5:43 pm #19461
Stick To The Plan (3)
Then Peter got…out of the boat, walked on the water… toward Jesus. – Matthew 14:28-29 NIV
Peter proved that as long as you keep your eyes on Jesus and stick to the plan, you won’t go under. Notice:
(1) Before you get into something, make sure it’s God’s will for you! Peter said, “Lord, if it’s You, bid me to come to You on the water” and Jesus said, “Come.” Before you take on something like water-walking, pray and be sure God’s in it. In other words, get God’s plan and stick to it.
(2) Don’t expect everybody in the boat to go with you. Water-walking is a lonely calling; it sets you apart from those who are timid and security-minded. It also tends to bring criticism from those who think you’re making them look bad by contrast.
(3) If you wait for good weather you’ll miss your moment. When Jesus said, “Come,” they were in the middle of a storm. Face it; we’d all like the stars to line up, or some big donor to underwrite the whole project before we make a move. But how often does that happen? Peter wasn’t walking on the water; he was walking on the Word! What has God told you to do? Stop waiting for ideal conditions and start doing it!
(4) Don’t expect a mistake-free performance. Nobody walks without fluctuation. The Bible describes its heroes in one sentence: “Whose weakness was turned to strength” (Heb 11:34 NIV). All the great men and women of God you admire go through sinking spells when they cry out, “Lord, save me.” And do you know what? He does! And He’ll do the same for you.
SoulFood Bible Readings: Gal 1-3, Luke 18:1-17, Ps 119:161-168, Pr 19:3-8
Stick To The Plan (4)
Peter replied, ‘Tell me to come to You on the water.’ – Matthew 14:28 NIV
Peter didn’t walk on the water all by himself, he did it with Jesus. Today Christ invites you to walk with Him and experience His miracles. Why don’t we see more of them in our lives? Because:
(1) We don’t pray and believe God for them. Jesus said, “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you” (John 15:7). Your prayers give God an invitation, an entry point and a channel through which His miraculous power can flow to change your circumstances. But you have to pray and believe Him to do it!
(2) We think the day of miracles is past. The Scriptures declare, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Heb 13:. In reality there never has been ‘a day of miracles’; there’s only a God of miracles, and He never changes. So don’t limit Him!
(3) We allow sin to sabotage our confidence. John writes, “If our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive from Him anything we ask, because we obey His commands and do what pleases Him” (1 John 3:21-22 NIV).
(4) We look at the situation instead of the Saviour, and our faith falters. When Jesus told Peter, “Why do you doubt?” He was saying, “Don’t allow this storm to overwhelm you. I’m right here with you. Your problem is under My feet, therefore it’s under your feet too. Just keep your eyes on Me, keep walking by faith and stick to the plan!”
SoulFood Bible Readings: Gal 4-6, Luke 18:18-30, Ps 119:169-176, Pr 19:9-10August 27, 2008 at 12:17 pm #19465
Very inspiring message. Thank you Tonto. May the Lord’s name be glorified. Amen.August 30, 2008 at 3:20 pm #19484
Do It While You Still Can
You will be missed, because your seat will be empty. – 1 Samuel 20:18 NIV
When you lose a loved one you realise that relationships are much more important than possessions. But we forget that in our scramble to the top of the heap. Being told you’ve only a short time to live puts you into shock, then re-orders your priorities.
It makes you want to fill each precious moment with the words you’ve left unsaid and the things you’ve neglected to do. Don’t allow self-centredness, masquerading as ambition (or religious zeal!), to keep you from showing love to those who need it.
Make that call. Send that email. Buy those flowers. Say, “I love you.” In other words, ‘be there’. Most of the time people don’t need our wise analysis or brilliant answers, they just need our love – and support – and they’ll find their own answers.
If you are a leader, you’re particularly at risk. Don’t sacrifice your family on the altar of your career, or you’ll end up with regrets you can’t resolve.
The son of a well-known missionary stood at his dad’s grave without shedding a tear. He told someone, “You never miss what you never had. My dad loved people on the other side of the world, but I’m not sure he loved me.” Wake up! The clock’s ticking and the days are flying by. Yes, you must fulfil your God-given assignment in life, but not at the cost of the people who matter.
Take a moment and think about these words: “And Jonathan had David reaffirm his…love for him…Then Jonathan said to David…You will be missed, because your seat will be empty (1 Sam 20:17,18 NIV).”
SoulFood Bible Readings: Amos 1:1 – 5:17, Luke 19:11-27, Ps 103:13-22, Pr 19:17August 30, 2008 at 5:18 pm #19488
Beautiful sermon Tonto. We thank you. May the Lord Our God have mercy on us.
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