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Baptism Today

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So this week, we’re actually going to PAUSE from our walk through the gospel of John...
and we’re going to stay on this topic that we’ve come across in the 1st chapter of John...
Baptism
Two weeks ago, we looked at how John the Baptist was sent by God the Father to prepare the way for Jesus Christ...
to prepare the way for - The Word Becoming Flesh...
And what we saw was how John came on the scene - WATER BAPTIZING people with a Baptism of Repentance...
John told us that he was SENT BY God to - Baptize with Water…BUT...
That Jesus Christ would baptize - ANOTHER WAY…with the Holy Spirit...
John’s baptism was - POINTING to another type of Baptism that was coming!
And then last week, we looked at the Baptism of Jesus Christ...
When He came to be baptized BY JOHN....
And what we saw was that the Baptism of Christ REVEALED 3 things...
it revealed the Lamb of God to the world… (John tells us this)
it happened in order that all righteousness might be fulfilled… (Jesus tells us this)
it revealed the power that sustains the Christian life (Holy Spirit)
And so with that now in our MINDS - this week, we’re going to look at what Baptism is for us today...
As you can see from the title today - baptism for us - on THIS SIDE of the cross...
…is an Outward Sign of an Inner Reality
It is a public testimony to the faith we claim to have...
NOW...
We need to start out with a question today...
Does Baptism save us?
OK - let me FLIP the question - lest you all are just sleeping...
Who believes that Baptism does NOT save us?
Ok, well let’s look at what the Bible says...
1 Peter 3:18–22 ESV
18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, 19 in which he went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison, 20 because they formerly did not obey, when God’s patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water. 21 Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22 who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to him.
Peter says here - Baptism NOW saves you.
This is important.
Why did we all get that wrong?
We all got that wrong, because when we hear the word - baptism - we think...
WATER
I myself was baptized when I was 21.
Prior to getting baptized - I had never looked into the matter...
I never studied the topic...
I just knew what I had learned growing up -
that water baptism was a command of Christ...
That Jesus commands us to be water baptized...
That’s what I learned growing up...
And so - NOT UNTIL I became an elder here at Abiding Faith...
And not until the elders here started having conversations about Membership…and requirements for membership...
ONLY THEN did i begin to look into baptism - as we practice it today.
That was 5 years ago…and I’ve been looking into it ever since...
WHY?
Because - the more I looked into water baptism, the MORE QUESTIONS i had about it.
The more I read the Bible - The more I saw in Scripture that made me - SCRATCH my head… (lost my hair)
And I realized this -
That the TEXT of the Bible, IF YOU STUDY this topic, will BEG the QUESTION....time after time...
DO WE HAVE THIS WRONG?
And so the point of the sermon today is NOT to give you 3 solid points of APPLICATION that you can take home with you work into your life...
I’m just being HONEST with you - the point of the sermon today - is to LAY out before you SOME of the THINGS that I’ve seen in Scripture regarding water baptism...
And the questions that have arisen in my heart regarding this topic.
UNDERSTAND THIS - I get it - I KNOW this is a TABOO topic within Christianity...
I’ve taken multiple theological Master’s classes in recent years - and I can tell you this...
I’ve asked professors AND pastors about the things that I’ve seen....
And I’m just being honest - I’ve been ignored.
By and large - I’ve been ignored.
And so before we “DIVE” in to this topic today - Let’s look again at our title for this sermon...
You need to see this again...
SLIDE: Baptism Today: Outward Sign of Inner Reality

BAPTISM TODAY

The point of this sermon - is NOT to bash baptism.
If someone came to the elders and wanted to get baptized, and they professed to be a follower of Jesus Christ, I would water baptize them.
It is a testimony of the faith we claim to have...
That WON’T change...
The point of today’s sermon though - is to examine this question:
Is water baptism a command of Jesus Christ?
And so - right now - I’m going to give you this in response - “I’m not 100% certain”...
And I’m thinking - after the sermon today - you may not be 100% certain either...
So let’s begin...
The verse that Christianity looks to - to say that YES - Jesus does command us to be water baptized...
Is found in Matthew...
It’s what Christianity has deemed - The Great Commission...
It’s Matthew 28:16-20
Matthew 28:16–20 ESV
16 Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. 17 And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. 18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
EXPLAIN what mainstream Christianity believes regarding v19
Ok, so let’s look at v19
Matthew 28:19 ESV
19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
Most of Christianity looks at this verse and thinks - Ok, it says - Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit...
and the thought is - well obviously that’s water baptism.
It says - baptism. It must mean water. AND we see some water baptisms in the book of Acts, so it must be referring to Water Baptism...
BUT YET - there are so many angles to approach this thinking from...
And when you truly look into this - the TEXT itself BEGS the questions!
- Now - first thing i want to say is this - Don’t FORGET the past 2 weeks.
Don’t forget John’s baptism…and it’s PURPOSE
Don’t forget Christ’s baptism…and what it revealed...
Remember - what did Christ say to John when John was DOUBTING whether he should baptize Jesus?
Matthew 3:15 ESV
15 But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he consented.
Now - Christ said this to John BEFORE His ministry...
BEFORE He fulfilled ALL righteousness...
Right?
Remember - when Christ was baptized, what came down UPON HIM after He came up out of the water?
Matthew 3:16 ESV
16 And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him;
The HOLY SPIRIT came and rested on Christ -
Last week we walked through ALL that the Spirit did in the life and ministry of Christ....remember?
Birth
Baptism
Temptation
Public Ministry
Miracles
The Resurrection
NOW - in the Great Commission - back to it…THINK of WHEN Christ spoke THESE WORDS…of the GREAT COMMISSION
Matthew 28:18–19 ESV
18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
Mainstream Christianity believes THIS Great Commission is speaking of WATER BAPTISM...
But think of what had JUST BEEN ACCOMPLISHED!
What does Jesus say in verse 18…READ BELOW
Matthew 28:18 ESV
18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
18 - ALL authority in HEAVEN and on EARTH has been given to me!
WHY?
Because He had just FULFILLED ALL RIGHTEOUSNESS!
He had LIVED a perfect, SINLESS life...
He had defeated the devil...
He had gained VICTORY over death...
And He had now assumed DOMINION over ALL spiritual forces in heaven and on earth...
IT WAS FINISHED!
IT WAS OVER!
AND ALL OF IT - done in the power of - the Holy Spirit!
AND HE SAYS -
BECAUSE i have FINISHED this thing....BECAUSE I now have ALL authority...
GO therefore - and MAKE DISCIPLES!
When is a DISCIPLE made?
Does water baptism make a disciple?
next verse - Does teaching people to observe all that Christ commanded make a disciple?
What makes someone a disciple?
Answer - Spiritual Baptism!
1 Corinthians 12:13 ESV
13 For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.
THIS here is - Spiritual Baptism. - - NO WATER in this verse! And NO ONE debates that!
[ALL] believers - HAVE BEEN spiritually baptized!
And so WHAT was Jesus saying - when in Matt 28:19 he said
Matthew 28:19 ESV
19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
Was Christ speaking of The Actual Baptism that ACTUALLY makes disciples (the Baptism of the Holy Spirit)...
Or was Jesus referring to water baptism - which is the REPRESENTATION of the real thing?
Is He speaking to the ACTUAL MAKING of the Disciple - Spiritually - or is He speaking to a water ritual that only MERELY represents the real thing?
OK - let’s assume Jesus IS talking about water baptism.
IF Matthew 28:19 is speaking of water baptism...
Then that means that Mark 16:16 is also speaking of water baptism - why?
because Mark 16:16 is also referring to the Great Commission of Christ - just in the gospel of Mark.
This is Mark’s account of what Christ said during the Great Commission!
Mark 16:15–17 ESV
15 And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues;
Now - mainstream Christianity says - v16 is speaking about WATER baptism.
That if you believe and are WATER baptized…you’ll be saved.
And what they say is - that the second half of verse 16, teaches that BELIEF is the MAIN THING...
the IMPORTANT thing....NOT the water baptism.
That if you DON’T believe - even if you GOT water baptized…you’re condemned...
But what about this scenario?
What about the person who BELIEVES, but is NOT water baptized?
That scenario isn’t even IN this verse.
BUT - we KNOW the answer don’t we?
If I believe in Jesus Christ - but I DON’T get water baptized…am I saved?
Answer - Yes!
Ok, so if this is water baptism in this verse, it’s a THROW AWAY phrase…a throw away word.
It’s rendered USELESS in this text…if it’s a water baptism.
Believe and be baptized, and you will be saved…OR don’t get water baptized...
whatever...
But if this is speaking of a Spiritual Baptism - let’s read it that way… READ 16
And now v17 is actually really important in this. What does it say?
Read 17
Remember last week we looked at HOW IMPORTANT / VITAL / NECESSARY the Holy Spirit was in the ministry of Christ?
Remember when we looked at the MIRACLES of Christ?
What did Jesus say about CASTING OUT DEMONS?
Let’s set up the story:
Matthew 12:22–24 ESV
22 Then a demon-oppressed man who was blind and mute was brought to him, and he healed him, so that the man spoke and saw. 23 And all the people were amazed, and said, “Can this be the Son of David?” 24 But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, “It is only by Beelzebul, the prince of demons, that this man casts out demons.”
Ok, so Jesus is CASTING out demons…and the people are like - Isn’t this the Son of David?
How is he doing this?
And the Pharisees come over and say - It’s ONLY BY THE POWER of Beelzebul that this man casts out demons..
- And Jesus KNOWS their thoughts and replies...
Matthew 12:26 ESV
26 And if Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then will his kingdom stand?
**So Jesus lays out their absurd thinking before them and says...
Matthew 12:28 ESV
28 But if it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.
Matthew 12:32 ESV
32 And whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.
We see - that it’s BY THE POWER of the HOLY SPIRIT that demons are CAST OUT...
Back to the Great Commission…in Mark
Mark 16:16–17 ESV
16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues;
By what power will VERSE 17 be LIVED OUT…?
By the POWER of the Holy Spirit!
It is the SPIRIT that Casts out demons…!!
And so could v16 be saying - Whoever BELIEVES and is Baptized with the Holy Spirit WILL be saved...
and THOSE people - THOSE WITH THE SPIRIT - will Cast out demons and speak new tongues!
Something to think about no?
NOW - another aspect of this to consider goes back to what we looked at the past 2 weeks...
John the Baptist came baptizing people with water - in order to the REVEAL the ONE WHO WOULD BAPTIZE with the Holy Spirit.
And so Jesus - in thinking about His own water baptism…in how it also REVEALED that which EMPOWERS Christian ministry…(the HOLY SPIRIT)
Jesus lived His perfect life…died for sins…conquered death…rose again...
FULFILLED ALL RIGHTEOUSNESS...
AND NOW -
Jesus - was about to UNLEASH HIS OWN form of Baptism on the world…the Baptism of the Holy Spirit...
And John the Baptist SPOKE to this - He said - there’s a baptism that’s coming that’s NOT WITH WATER!!
Let’s look at the very beginning of the book of Acts...
The book of Acts discusses the EARLY CHURCH… (the gospels, and then Acts)
Acts 1:1–5 ESV
1 In the first book, O Theophilus, I have dealt with all that Jesus began to do and teach, 2 until the day when he was taken up, after he had given commands through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. 3 He presented himself alive to them after his suffering by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God. 4 And while staying with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, “you heard from me; 5 for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”
So think through this...
The apostles were with Jesus - AFTER his resurrection…TALKING to Him…!
They KNEW He had DIED!
They were HIDING - Afraid - fearful that they would be next to be killed!
BUT THEN - Jesus APPEARED to them…NOW...
THEY KNEW He was alive!
They KNEW that He ROSE from the DEAD!
THINK how badly they wanted to go TELL the world!!??
AND YET...
Jesus ORDERS them to - NOT depart from Jerusalem...
Jesus said - DO NOT head out into your ministry! Just yet!
You need something to happen to you!
Just like I had the Holy Spirit fall on me to EMPOWER my ministry...
You ALSO must wait for MY Baptism - the Baptism of the Holy Spirit - before you TAKE ONE STEP into spreading my message!
You must wait to be EMPOWERED by the Holy Spirit!
Now don’t forget - the Apostles prior to this - they had already been water baptizing people…!
They had ALREADY been performing the water ritual...
They had been doing all of that! - They didn’t need the HOLY SPIRIT to water baptize people...
They didn’t need to be EMPOWERED in order to water baptize people!
BUT THIS NOW WAS DIFFERENT!
We see here that the ABSOLUTE PREREQUISITE for the Apostles to be able to CARRY out the Great Commission was -
That they themselves be Baptized by the Holy Spirit
And it seems that THIS prerequisite actually tells us what KIND of baptism the apostles are going to effect by their ministry.
And so this Baptism of the Holy Spirit which prepared them for preaching the gospel would be the baptism effected through their proclamation of the gospel.
We know - that FAITH comes by - Hearing, and hearing by - the WORD of God!
We know - that the GOSPEL itself is - the POWER of God unto Salvation (Romans 1:16)
and if THIS is TRUE....
then wouldn’t it make sense that in the Great Commission, when Jesus said -
Matthew 28:19 ESV
19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
…that He’s speaking of the Baptism that actually UNITES us to Christ…that actually PLACES US - IN Christ!??
Let’s look at Acts 10, to see the apostle Peter explaining to Jews and Gentiles in Caesarea, what Jesus told them during the Great Commission call… (v42 - Great Commission)
Acts 10:34–43 ESV
34 So Peter opened his mouth and said: “Truly I understand that God shows no partiality, 35 but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. 36 As for the word that he sent to Israel, preaching good news of peace through Jesus Christ (he is Lord of all), 37 you yourselves know what happened throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee after the baptism that John proclaimed: 38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. 39 And we are witnesses of all that he did both in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree, 40 but God raised him on the third day and made him to appear, 41 not to all the people but to us who had been chosen by God as witnesses, who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. 42 And he commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one appointed by God to be judge of the living and the dead. 43 To him all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”
So Peter explains here what Christ told them right before He ascended...
What did Jesus command them to do?
Preach the gospel
And in preaching the gospel - people would be SPIRITUALLY BAPTIZED...
That’s how people GET SAVED! - that’s HOW YOU got SAVED!!!
And in case you think what I’m saying is a far stretch....all we have to do is keep reading here in Acts...
v44 - Explain 47
Acts 10:44–48 ESV
44 While Peter was still saying these things, the Holy Spirit fell on all who heard the word. 45 And the believers from among the circumcised who had come with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit was poured out even on the Gentiles. 46 For they were hearing them speaking in tongues and extolling God. Then Peter declared, 47 “Can anyone withhold water for baptizing these people, who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?” 48 And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to remain for some days.
v47 - This verse tells us a couple of things! Let’s set the story..**
1st thing - We see that the apostles were still WITHOUT full knowledge about WHO could get saved…WHO could become a Child of God…WHO could receive the Holy Spirit...
The JEWS were amazed that the Gentiles could ALSO receive the Holy Spirit
2nd thing - We see Peter, upon seeing these Gentiles receive the Holy Spirit based on faith, ASK everyone else there if it was OK for them to get water baptized.
And then v48 (read it)
NOW - v48 is a verse where you read it and think - OK, here is Peter commanding these new believers to be water baptized...
Yes - he did do that…but what’s the context?
Peter was the apostle to the Jews / where Paul was the apostle to the Gentiles...
These new believers here, were Gentiles...
And as we see a bit later in this book of Acts, the Jews were still at this time, very ZEALOUS for the law...
And so - these Gentiles would have been water baptized to identify themselves with the Messianic hopes of Israel.
And so it seems they would just been merely ritually purified unto Israel’s Messianic Kingdom hope...
This same thing happened earlier with John the Baptists baptism in Luke 3:14 (Roman Soldiers were coming to John to be baptized)...
And so it seems that this baptism here by Peter was just a temporary continuation of John’s Baptism...
Notice - Did Peter say to them - Get baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit? NO (we’ll come back to that point later)
Now - back to Peter...
We just read how Peter was perplexed that the Gentiles would also receive the Holy Spirit...
And so you can see that in Acts, during this transition from Judaism to Christianity...
you can almost see the Apostles gaining knowledge as they go...
And you can actually read this in the next chapter of Acts…regarding Peter…as he describes what happened when the Holy Spirit fell on the Gentiles...
So here in ACTS 11, we have Peter standing before the church in Jerusalem, having to explain to the Jews that the Holy Spirit had fallen on the Gentiles…That the Gentiles had RECEIVED the word of God.
See the Jews were criticizing Peter for going to the Gentiles...
And so Peter is explaining the situation to them...
And he says - ...
Acts 11:15–16 ESV
15 As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell on them just as on us at the beginning. 16 And I remembered the word of the Lord, how he said, ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’
It seems that this situation caused Peter to - REMEMBER - that John baptized with WATER - but Jesus would baptize with the Holy Spirit...
When the Spirit fell on the Gentiles - it caused Peter to stop and REMEMBER - what?
The Different MEANS of baptism...
That John baptized with water -
But that Jesus would baptize with the Holy Spirit...
And so it SEEMS (I’m not 100% positive), but it seems that prior to this - Peter maybe equated the Holy Spirit coming - with water baptism.
When did the Holy Spirit fall on Christ? - After He came out of the water!
Earlier in Acts - in Acts 2 - we find Peter saying this:
Acts 2:38 ESV
38 And Peter said to them, “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.
Now - we know that we don’t receive the Holy Spirit following a water baptism...
We know that - but could it be - that Peter - not having full knowledge - tied Holy Spirit with the water...
AND then ONLY LATER in the book of Acts - chapter 11 - we hear how when the Spirit fell on the Gentiles APART from water - it caused Peter to REMEMBER that the Spirit comes apart from water...
It seems you can see - Peter - learning - gaining more understanding as this thing goes along...
And so NOW - understanding that there is much more we could get into, but that time would prevent us today from getting through it...
Let’s just look at one last question, and then close this out.
Matthew 28:19 ESV
19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
If you were to come to a water baptism here at AFBC next week - and ANY ONE OF OUR ELDERS was to perform the baptism...
What would you hear?
You would hear us say - I baptize you in “the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”
WHY do you think we use THAT formula?
I’ll tell you why - BECAUSE of this verse...
Does that seem like an EASY thing to interpret.
Who in here thinks it was HARD for us to figure out which formula to use in water baptism??
NO? - ok so here’s my question.
Another question i had when I actually looked into this topic.
Why is it that no one in scripture is ever water baptized using the formula found in Matthew 28:19?
Not one person in the Bible is ever water baptized - In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
All the baptisms that we do see in the book of Acts are - In the name of Jesus Christ, and for the remission of sins (which is John’s Baptism).
Something to consider....
AND THEN - something else to consider is what else we find in the book of Acts…in chapter 15
In chapter 15 of Acts, we find that there was a Conference or a council…in Jerusalem...
Between Acts 10 and Acts 15 many thousands of Gentiles were saved under the ministry of Paul, who is called—“The Apostle to the Gentiles (nations).”
An issue that was taking place was this...
Acts 15:5–6 ESV
5 But some believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees rose up and said, “It is necessary to circumcise them and to order them to keep the law of Moses.” 6 The apostles and the elders were gathered together to consider this matter.
See - there were those who wanted the Gentile converts to Christianity, to ADHERE to the physical laws of Moses...
They wanted them to get circumcised...
to adhere to the dietary laws...
to adhere to the various washings - and this would have included the water baptism of Gentile converts...
....it seems it also would have included John’s baptism…which would have been the last act of righteous purity under the Law system...
SO what was the conclusion by this Counsel in Jerusalem....the Spirit-led counsel?
Acts 21:25 ESV
25 But as for the Gentiles who have believed, we have sent a letter with our judgment that they should abstain from what has been sacrificed to idols, and from blood, and from what has been strangled, and from sexual immorality.”
And so, according to judgment by the Spirit-led counsel in Jerusalem, the Gentiles were totally free from the Jewish ritual law system.
All of the Law’s “meats, and drinks, and variety of washings” were not to be imposed upon the Gentiles...
And this is confirmed in Hebrews...
Hebrews 8:13 ESV
13 In speaking of a new covenant, he makes the first one obsolete. And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.
AND - Hebrews 9 actually sheds light on this as well
it speaks about the Tabernacle in the OT, and the REASON it was set up the way that it was… (**v8)
Hebrews 9:6–10 ESV
6 These preparations having thus been made, the priests go regularly into the first section, performing their ritual duties, 7 but into the second only the high priest goes, and he but once a year, and not without taking blood, which he offers for himself and for the unintentional sins of the people. 8 By this the Holy Spirit indicates that the way into the holy places is not yet opened as long as the first section is still standing 9 (which is symbolic for the present age). According to this arrangement, gifts and sacrifices are offered that cannot perfect the conscience of the worshiper, 10 but deal only with food and drink and various washings, regulations for the body imposed until the time of reformation.
You can see in v9 how it says - These physical rituals cannot PERFECT the conscience of the worshiper...
AND - that these rituals were set up - ONLY FOR A TIME
Now this is OT so far…what about the NT?
Luke 16:16 ESV
16 “The Law and the Prophets were until John; since then the good news of the kingdom of God is preached, and everyone forces his way into it.
Jesus says here - Up until the time when John the Baptist came...
…The Law and the Prophets had POINTED to - the coming Kingdom of God...
The Law was our KEEPER (paul says) UNTIL Christ came...
And Jesus says - SINCE John’s appearance, the good news of the Kingdom of God is BEING PREACHED!...
…and people are DRAWING near to the TRUTH (forcing their way to the truth)
The PHARISEES however, who Jesus is speaking to here - they STAND outside the TRUTH, and they RESIST it!
AND SO - what did we see here:
The Book of Acts is the history of the transition out of Judaism and into pure Christianity
And as we saw in Hebrews, the Bible seems to teach that these rituals would, over time, FADE AWAY...
And this makes sense with what we see in some of Paul’s other writings...
And to close this out now - let’s look at Ephesians 4:1-6
Ephesians 4:1–6 ESV
1 I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3 eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
How many God’s are there?
1 - How many of you would spend the rest of your days searching the scripture for other Gods?
The Bible teaches us - there is 1 Lord - and we agree and say - Amen
The bible teaches us - there is 1 faith - and we agree and say - Amen
The bible teaches us - there is 1 baptism - and we...
There is 1 baptism…and it’s the baptism that MADE you a DISCIPLE of God...
The same baptism spoken of here...
Titus 3:5 ESV
5 he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit,
Is this referring to the WATER ritual that represents the REAL baptism?
NO - this is speaking of - REGENERATION - Salvation
These Ritualistic Rites were UNTIL John…and these RITES, were ALWAYS…and WILL ALWAYS be - inferior to the REALITY that was to COME...
Well - REALITY CAME…!
The REAL Baptism - The Baptism of Jesus Christ - the Baptism of the Holy Spirit - CAME with the Ascension of Christ and the Unleashing of the Holy Spirit.
And so as we read these words:
Matthew 28:19 ESV
19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
On what grounds SHOULD we believe that Jesus Christ - having JUST FULFILLED ALL RIGHTEOUSNESS....
Commands his followers to ADHERE to a SHADOW of the REAL THING?
Jesus Christ - in what has been deemed - the GREAT Commission - Elevates the Shadow?
Could we have gotten this ALL WRONG?
Would it be SHOCKING if we did?
Or is there evidence throughout the Bible that mankind OFTEN “got it wrong” when it came to the teachings of Christ?
How did the Jews MISS their Messiah?
They were expecting PHYSICAL freedom
They were expecting a PHYSICAL kingdom to be set up
They were hung up on - THE PHYSICAL
They didn’t UNDERSTAND that IN Christ DYING - He brought Spiritual FREEDOM!
When Jesus spoke to the woman at the well...
He said to her - Will you give me a drink?
And she says - you’re a Jew and I’m a Samaritan...
Jesus says - If you knew who I was, you would have asked Me for a drink, and I would have given you LIVING WATER.
Her reply?
Well sir, you don’t have a bucket to draw up the water with, and this well is very deep...
…Where is this living water?
Did she get it?
No - Jesus spoke using PHYSICAL language, yet was speaking - Spiritually
When Jesus spoke with Nicodemus, the most Religious man of the time...
Jesus said to him - You must be born again if you want to see the Kingdom of God.
What did Nicodemus reply?
“Uhhhhh, How can a man be born when he is old?
how am I supposed to RE-ENTER my mothers womb?”
Did he get it?
No - Jesus spoke using PHYSICAL language, yet was speaking - Spiritually
When Jesus was washing the apostles feet...
Jesus is about to wash Peter’s feet...
And Peter says - “Jesus, you will NEVER wash my feet”
Jesus says to him - “If i don’t WASH YOU, then you have no share with Me”...
Did Peter get it?
NO - he was hung up on the physical - and what Jesus did had a Spiritual meaning!
When Jesus told the apostles of His coming Death....
Peter took Jesus over in the corner and said - “Nope - this will NEVER happen to you!”
Jesus replied - “Get behind me satan”
What was Peter’s problem…? Jesus tells us....
Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”
Peter didn’t get it...
NO - he was hung up on the physical - and couldn’t GRASP the Spiritual side of it...
At the sermon on the mount...
Jesus said - You’ve heard it said before, you shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery...
The Jews understood it - PHYSICALLY...
But what did Jesus do?
He defined what Murder meant...
Defined what Adultery meant...
Jesus revealed it WASN’T merely PHYSICAL...
It was a HEART issue...
When Jesus said…Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life...
How did the people respond?
“How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”
Did they get it?
No - Jesus spoke using PHYSICAL language, yet was speaking - Spiritually
When Jesus said - Whoever comes to Me shall never hunger, whoever believes in Me shall never thirst...
Did the people get it?
No - Jesus spoke using PHYSICAL language, yet was speaking - Spiritually
Jesus was ALWAYS speaking to the Spiritual side of life...
Which is why we read this in the gospel...
I could go ON and ON and ON - examples of Christ using PHYSICAL language...
YET - speaking to the Spiritual side of Reality!
We - mankind have CONSISTENTLY misunderstood Jesus Christ!
We’re constantly TURNING that which is spiritual - into something - tangible...
Remember the Golden Calf? - Moses goes up on the Mountain to converse with God...
well - he was gone too long!
He comes back down and sees what?
A Golden Calf - something tangible to worship!
This is WHO WE ARE!!!
And so Matt 28:18-20
Matthew 28:18–20 ESV
18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism
Our call is to GO to the nations, and PREACH the Gospel...
And we close now with our initial question:
Does Baptism Save Us?

BAPTISM TODAY

Yes it does…the Baptism of the Holy Spirit seals us Into Christ Jesus...
NEVER to be separated from Him...
THIS Baptism and this Baptism ALONE brings ASSURANCE…FULL ASSURANCE...
and in that we can say - AMEN!!
As we leave this week, and contemplate what we have heard today...
Let’s have Christ himself close us out...
In John chapter 6, Right after Jesus was proclaiming that he who eats His flesh and drinks His blood will have eternal life...
The apostles comes to Jesus and say - JESUS - this is a difficult statement, who can listen to this?
Jesus replies with this -
John 6:63 ESV
63 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.
And Jesus has told us - One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism
Let’s Pray
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