YOU CAN'T CHANGE ME: Unraveling the Lie

PART 5 GOD OF THE LIVING

Chapter 28

JESUS CHANGED EVERYTHING: TAKE ME TO THE WATER

 

Acts 8:14-17New International Version (NIV)

14 When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to Samaria.

15 When they arrived, they prayed for the new believers there that they might receive the Holy Spirit,

16 because the Holy Spirit had not yet come on any of them; they had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.

17 Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.


Narrator: Luke's second semester of classes was even more interesting than the first. He was introduced to a very jolly Believer, Dr. Heinrich Schmidt, who very emphatically explained to the class the purpose of Baptism. It went like this...


Professor Schmidt: When we talk about repentance, remission of sins, deliverance, change and our relationship with God, we must not leave out the most important thing, Jesus changed EVERYTHING, by His sacrifice for us. We can get so caught up in details that we forget that God has empowered us through Jesus.

I don't want to overwhelm you, in this first night of my class, but it is imperative that you understand what Baptism is.

Is it a ritual or a gift? Is it an act created by GOD or ritual added by man? To determine that, we must look at origin, effect and direction.

Some might think that the ORIGIN begins with John the Baptist, but where did John get it from? Did he make it up or was he given divine inspiration and a mission? Your text books will explain the different types of baptism throughout history within Greek, Egyptian, pagan and Judaic cultures and religions.

But, the act of baptism within Christianity today is not just for the affirmation of your faith and becoming a member of the church. NO! It has a greater and more powerful purpose!

We are immersed in water for spiritual cleansing, in repentance of our sins, that we may emerge, having gained remission (forgiveness) of our sins, through the precious, sacrificial blood of Jesus! Is this a necessary act? No? Yes? Consider this...

It is important to note that before Jesus' death and resurrection baptism was only repentance and cleansing, a preparation for what was to follow. Then, through the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus, we became COVERED by the precious blood He shed for us, worthy of the salvation that His sacrifice granted us. Only then did we become worthy to come before our Holy Heavenly Father to surrender our will, inviting His Holy Spirit to rest, rule and abide within us. This pleases God and this is the EFFECT! What do I mean by this? As God's Son pleased Him, so must we please God, also.

John the Baptist knew that Jesus was already WORTHY! He was without sin and in no need of repentance. That is why he did not want to baptize Him. He knew that Jesus should be baptizing him! Praise God! Praise God!

Does this mean that he who has no water in which to be immersed in cannot and will not please God? Does this mean that he who has no bread or wine to share in remembrance of Jesus cannot and does not please Jesus? NO, by no means! It is our WILLINGNESS from our heart that God looks at; to take that which he has GIVEN us and use it to please HIM!

As Mary did with the expensive fragrant oil, she took what was GIVEN to her from God to PLEASE Him.

So WHY would Jesus come before John to be baptized? --To announce His arrival? --To validate John and his ministry? Let us move past our carnal thinking to the SPIRITUAL RELATIONSHIP between Jesus and His Father to UNDERSTAND that Jesus did what He knew pleased His Father, taking what was GIVEN to man by GOD and using it to please Him. THIS is the DIRECTION in which our hearts SHOULD be turned, seeking ALWAYS to bear GOOD FRUIT! It is because of this HUMBLE gesture; the humble heart within Jesus, always wanting to please His Father, that we ought to come running, crying out, "TAKE ME TO THE WATER, TO BE BAPTIZED!!! "

We tend to forget that God is omnipresent, thus, we leave Him out of things. However, we must remind ourselves that we are not alone, God is here with us. He promised NEVER to leave us alone and His angels are around us. Just as the angel was sent to stir the healing waters in the pool of Bethesda. When we baptize, we must remember, that God's eyes are upon us, witnessing the act of repentance; for if not, our actions and efforts are in vain; for only God can grant us remission of our sins.

From the emergence of the water in the womb, we are given LIFE by God! This is the ORIGIN!

From the emergence of the water of baptism and the LIVING WATER (The Word of God) OF JESUS CHRIST, we are given NEW LIFE by God!

God sent John to baptize His children, because they had been so corrupted with sin, they needed to REPENT and be BORN ANEW! John was preparing them for NEW LIFE! Baptism is not a RITUAL, but like a newborn child, it is a GIFT from God! --PREPARATION FOR NEW LIFE! It is EXCITING and WONDROUS! God created man from the dust of the earth and RECREATES him with...

WATER AND FIRE!!! (Professor Schmidt gives a little jump and waves his arms imitating an explosion to make a dramatic effect to emphasize his point.)

We are given a new chance to live in the fullness of His Glory, having DIED with Jesus, BURYING the old man, the FIRE of the Holy Spirit purges us, removing the dross and welding our spirit to The Vine to inherit a NEW MIND--THE MIND OF CHRIST! Covered by the blood of Jesus, we can walk in the Light of our Heavenly Father and commune with Him friend to Friend.

If we honor the commandments of God, there should be no debate about baptism. Do we love God with ALL of our being? Do we want to PLEASE Him, like Jesus? When we have a RELATIONSHIP with God, we move beyond practicing doctrine and rituals and enter into desiring to PLEASE God. If I say that my soul's desire is to serve God and God says to me, "HEINRICH, my son, teach my children about repentance and baptism," then I must be an EXAMPLE, like Jesus! The enemy uses doctrine to separate us, but I believe that what is good enough for God's Son, is a PRIVILEGE for me!

Have you decided? Is Baptism necessary, my Brothers and Sisters? Just remember, before you can be received by our Holy Father to become One, you must be prepared in mind (soul), body and spirit, humbled, repentant, cleansed and covered. As He ALWAYS does, God has prepared a way. Will you accept the Will and Way of God?

I would like for you to write a two-page paper on why you believe or don't believe baptismal is a vital part of our rebirth. Remember, we are not arguing the origin or direction, but the effect to achieve the direction! Read the pages in your books listed in the syllabus and prepare for a test next class. Class dismissed!

[The professor wipes the sweat from his brow and takes a seat.]

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SELF REFLECTION: A Look in the Mirror

Once again, when we look at Jesus' parables, He is challenging us to examine where our heart lies. Closely examining your heart, answer the questions below.

DISCUSS your answers with a mature Believer who can guide you in your spiritual relationship with Jesus and our Father, and/or have group discussions to learn from those who have different experiences and perspectives.


QUESTIONS: Write down your questions and discuss them with a mature Believer or submit them to this blog.

  1. Have you every told God you are sorry for your sins? Why or why not?
  2. Has God witnessed your repentance?
  3. To repent means to turn away from sin and change your ways. How do you feel about repenting of your sins? Why do you feel this way?
  4. Do you want to please God? Why or why not?
  5. Do you think we should be an example for others in showing them how to repent?
  6. Christ died and paid the price for our sins so that we could receive salvation. Do you consider yourself to be saved? Why or why not?
  7. Do you want to be saved?
  8. Do you understand what you are saved from?
  9. Christ conquered death and overcame the world. Would you like to share in Christ's Victory?
  10. Do you know how to become saved?
  11. Do you better understand baptism now as THE CLEANSING WATER FOR REPENTANCE OF SINS TO PREPARE YOU FOR THE FIRE, that is, God's Holy Spirit, Who, Himself grants REMISSION (FORGIVENESS) because that which is UNCLEAN and UNHOLY cannot dwell with that which is HOLY?
  12. When they pierced the side of Jesus upon the cross, LIVING WATER flowed from His side signifying NEW LIFE that had been given to man through the sacrifice and salvation of Christ. When we repent and accept Jesus, His LIFE GIVING WATER, that flowed from Calvary, washes over us as His sacrificial blood covers us. God uses cleansing, Life-giving water and Fire to make us over, just as a potter works with clay to create a jar or vase. If the potter leaves out a step, will the jar or vase be made correctly or be whole?
  13. We know that salvation is free because Jesus paid it all, but we must DESIRE what it has to OFFER. By REPENTING we are choosing ANOTHER WAY--the WAY given to us through acceptance of Jesus, The Truth, The Way and The Life. By being baptized, we SHOW God that we are ready and willing to ACCEPT and SURRENDER to His Will and Way. We can also accept Jesus with our mouth, but we must ask ourselves, "Why hadn't the Holy Spirit fallen on ANY of the Samarians, who had accepted the Word of God and been baptized ONLY in Jesus' name? Why did it require the prayers of John and Peter? What was missing? What and WHO had been OMITTED? Acts 8:14-17 New International Version (NIV)
  14. Without God there can be no REMISSION (forgiveness) of sins, for it is He, whom we have offended and HIS presence that manifests the ONE, the Father, Son and Holy Ghost within us. Therefore, we MUST baptize in the name of the Father, Son and (God's) Holy Ghost. Are Baptism (WATER AND FIRE) vital steps in our REBIRTH?


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REFERENCED SCRIPTURE

Acts 8 King James Version (KJV)

8 And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles.

2 And devout men carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation over him.

3 As for Saul, he made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison.

4 Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word.

5 Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them.

6 And the people with one accord gave heed unto those things which Philip spake, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did.

7 For unclean spirits, crying with loud voice, came out of many that were possessed with them: and many taken with palsies, and that were lame, were healed.

8 And there was great joy in that city.

9 But there was a certain man, called Simon, which beforetime in the same city used sorcery, and bewitched the people of Samaria, giving out that himself was some great one:

10 To whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, This man is the great power of God.

11 And to him they had regard, because that of long time he had bewitched them with sorceries.

12 But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.

13 Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done.

14 Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John:

15 Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost:

16 (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.)

17 Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.

18 And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles' hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money,

19 Saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost.

20 But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money.

21 Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God.

22 Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee.

23 For I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity.

24 Then answered Simon, and said, Pray ye to the Lord for me, that none of these things which ye have spoken come upon me.

25 And they, when they had testified and preached the word of the Lord, returned to Jerusalem, and preached the gospel in many villages of the Samaritans.

26 And the angel of the Lord spake unto Philip, saying, Arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert.

27 And he arose and went: and, behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem for to worship,

28 Was returning, and sitting in his chariot read Esaias the prophet.

29 Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot.

30 And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest?

31 And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him.

32 The place of the scripture which he read was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth:

33 In his humiliation his judgment was taken away: and who shall declare his generation? for his life is taken from the earth.

34 And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man?

35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus.

36 And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?

37 And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

38 And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.

39 And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing.

40 But Philip was found at Azotus: and passing through he preached in all the cities, till he came to Caesarea.




 

Published by Mishael T