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Baptism

Jan 24, 2022

The 3rd elementary teaching in Hebrews 6 is teaching on baptism which is important to understand and believe from God’s word and not what others wants it to be. In Luke 20, Jesus asked this question to the Pharisees in verse 3 “Tell me, ‘John’s baptism was it from heaven or from men?”
Jesus asked the Pharisees if they believed John’s baptism was from God or was it John’s own idea. I know there are different teachings on water baptism, so we need to be very careful in how we interpret baptisms in the Bible by trusting and seeking the Holy Spirit guidance for its truth because when misinterpreted it becomes harmful.
I remember a church sister once said to me that someone she believed was a Christian told her when her mother passed away that her mother would not go to heaven because she was not water baptized. I also know of a person who goes to a church that teaches this need to be water baptized to be saved. There is also a belief that babies need to be water baptized so if they should die before accepting Jesus they still will be saved.
When people believe the act of water baptism is required for a person to be saved it takes away God’s salvation by his grace through faith in his Son. Paul teaches salvation is by faith and not by works. Our salvation has nothing to do with being water baptized, if it did is it becomes a work to be saved and not grace by faith.
Baptize is first found in the NT when John the Baptist began baptizing Jews. In John 3 we learn what water baptism meant to the Jews at that time.
John 3: 23 Now John also was baptizing at Aenon near Salim, because there was plenty of water, and people were constantly coming to be baptized. 24 (This was before John was put in prison.) 25 An argument developed between some of John's disciples and a certain Jew over the matter of ceremonial washing. 26 They came to John and said to him, "Rabbi, that man who was with you on the other side of the Jordan--the one you testified about--well, he is baptizing, and everyone is going to him." 27 To this John replied, "A man can receive only what is given him from heaven.
Water baptism was a ceremonial washing meaning it is a formal observance of a ritual. The Jews also practiced this ceremonial washing by baptizing a Gentile when they wanted to convert to Judaism.
John was baptizing Jews to ceremonially wash them to show that they accepted what he was preaching to repent from their sins.
Jesus’ disciples were baptizing Jews who accepted what Jesus was preaching the coming of God’s kingdom. There is another Biblical baptism which comes only by faith in Jesus is the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
Matthew 3: 11 "I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will
baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.
This baptism is what Jesus commissioned his disciples to do before he left commanding them to baptize disciples in the name of the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit.
The Greek meaning of baptize is to completely soak, so the baptism Jesus commands us to do is to completely immerse a believer to know and believe in the Father, Son and Holy Spirit and obeying his teaching and by this faith they are baptized by the Holy Spirit coming and dwelling in them.
This is what disciples and apostles were doing in Acts.
Acts 18: 24 Meanwhile a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus. He was a learned man, with a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures. 25 He had been instructed in the way of the Lord, and he spoke with great fervor
and taught about Jesus accurately, though he knew only the baptism of John. 26 He began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they invited him to their home and explained to him the way of God more adequately.
Acts 19: While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul took the road through the interior and arrived at Ephesus. There he found some disciples 2 and asked them, "Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?" They answered, "No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit." 3 So Paul asked, "Then what baptism did you receive?" "John's baptism," they replied. 4 Paul said, "John's baptism was a baptism of repentance. He told the people to believe in the one coming
after him, that is, in Jesus." 5 On hearing this, they were baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus. 6 When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied.
Both Apollos and the disciples only knew the baptism of John the Baptist, but Priscilla and Aquila explained to Apollos more adequately the way of having faith in God’s grace and faith in his Son. With this faith in Jesus, Apollos was baptized by the Holy Spirit and given the gift to teach Christ church.
In Acts 19, Paul first asked the disciples if they received the Holy Spirit, but they never heard of the Holy Spirit but only knew of what John the Baptist preached about repentance. So, Paul explained to them to believe in Jesus the one John said would come after him. Hearing this the disciples believed in what Paul said and were baptized by the Holy Spirit into Jesus’ name. Paul did not water baptize them they were baptized the Holy Spirit because of their faith in Jesus..
Paul did not know if these disciples believe in his words, so he laid his hand on them to find out if they received the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit confirmed this to Paul when they began speaking in tongues and prophesying. Paul now believed that the Holy Spirit was with these disciples making him confident that he could use these disciples to help him build the body of Christ.
The baptism of the Holy Spirit is not something a person can give to another person by laying their hands just because Paul did. Remember Paul was an apostle of Jesus, and this happen for Paul for his ministry given to him by Jesus. The Holy Spirit only comes to those who have a genuine faith in Jesus.
Paul teaches in Corinthians 14 that tongues is for the unbeliever to hear which Paul needed to believe that these new disciples of Christ had the Holy Spirit dwelling in them.
It is a false teaching when people say they can give the gift of tongues to someone. The Bible teaches that gifts are given by the will of the Holy Spirit as he decides and not the will of people.
Paul teaches when we are baptized by the Holy Spirit, he give us a spiritual gift for the building up of the church to be united in its faith in Jesus. Gifts are not to be prideful in but used humbly in servitude to Jesus. The gift of tongues is not needed to prove you are saved or the evidence to be a church leader. Read Timothy and Titus which Paul outlines the qualities of an Overseer. There is no mention of having tongues. Spiritual gifts are never used for gaining a personal following or for aggrandizing. Only tongues have a dual purpose when spoken, to edify the church only when it can be interpreted or to be used in private or in quiet prayer to God.
There is only one baptism that Jesus commanded his followers to do and that is to baptize disciples to completely know the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit through Jesus’ teaching and obey it so that the Holy Spirit will always remain as their seal guaranteeing their eternal inheritance.
Understanding the elementary teaching of baptisms will help you understand the reason why the apostles water baptized Gentile and Jewish believers to believe that Jesus suffered and died and rose on the third day and to repent and receive the forgiveness of sins. This is the same for a church member who choose to be water baptized they are confessing the same belief before the body of Christ so that the body can help them to be true to that confession to Jesus.
Hebrews 5 teaches we must constantly train ourselves in God’s word to mature in knowing his Father’s will so that we can distinguish what is good from evil.
Do not be satisfied or be overconfident in knowing the heart and mind of Jesus for we will fully know everything only when we see Jesus, face to face.
So, continually seek the wisdom of the Holy Spirit to know his truth and he will give his wisdom generously to those who ask him.
Be safe in Jesus,
Ps Glenn