Sermon: Water Baptism

Written by Timothy

Water Baptism

The minute you start talking about water baptism, people say you make it a salvation by works issue. Jesus warned us about the wide road Christianity, and how it teaches that only faith is necessary in order to be saved. That is a true statement if your definition of faith is correct. If your definition of faith is wrong, then it is a lie. The definition for faith, according to most churches, is to just acknowledge that Jesus is God. Even the demons do that! They are smart enough to know they need to shudder. James 2:14 is very, very clear about the definition of faith each of us should have.

James 2:14 – What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him?

James said that it doesn’t matter if you say you have faith in Jesus Christ if there are no deeds to match it. To say the word “faith” is to say the word “action.” They are one and the same. To say the word “faith” is to automatically say “obedience.” When people say they are saved by faith only, they are really saying they are saved by obedience to God. That is not making it salvation by work. It is a free gift of grace. Grace really gives me the power to obey. If people say they have faith apart from obedience, they are really saying that the grace of God has no effect in their lives. When I say I’m saved by grace, I’m saying God has given me obedient heart and life. It is a reflection of faith that is real.

James 2:20 -You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless?

This concept of faith without obedience saved by faith and that’s it was evident even in the New Testament Days. Their concept of faith was not of obedience, but of just acknowledging that Jesus was God or some other aspect about Christianity. That is where most people live their life in God.

James 2:21-22 – Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did.

To not do anything with faith is not to have a true faith in God. It is half of faith half a gospel. It is a wide-road Christianity. This kind of faith takes away the cross, because the cross means obedience. Jesus said if you don’t pick up your cross and follow him, you couldn’t be his disciple. You have to do something. Faith causes us to obey. When some people look at water baptism, they immediately shy away from it or do not see the significance of it because they don’t want to obey. When others tell them, “You need to be water baptized,” or “This is what water baptism means,” they say that it makes it salvation by works and that somehow you are earning it. No! It is a reflection of the true grace that comes from God.

James 2:23 – And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend.

Faith and belief are mixed together in this passage. It was credited to Abraham as faith, but it was a true faith mixed with obedience. It was a complete and true faith. “And the scripture was fulfilled that says, ‘Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,’ and he was called God’s friend.” So, it not just a matter of God saying, “You’re saved and that’s it. You don’t have to do anything there is nothing involved in faith.” Faith is the attitude of the whole man; it affects the body, the spirit, and the soul. The gospel affects everything about man or it is not complete. Many churches take out water baptism; others take out the Spirit, and some remove the blood. Some take out all three and still say they believe in Jesus. Verse 24 sums it up again:

James 2:24 – You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone.

Most churches would have labeled James a heretic because they do not really believe that faith means obedience, and that the two go hand in hand. How foolish people are to think there can be a belief in God but no action, or obedience to God. Faith is action. Faith is obedience. Faith responds to God. Even those who say that it is a gift, that it is given freely by God, and you don’t have to do anything even try to do something. They make you say the Believer’s Prayer you’re not saved! I mean, if we took their teaching literally, I would not have to do anything; I would not have to confess that Jesus is Lord. I would not have to say a single word because it is a free gift. The truth, in saying, “Jesus is Lord,” the Believer’s Prayer, being sprinkled, or any number of things you want to make up, you do something. When people start to object when you talk about God’s righteousness and the way he wants you to come to him, it is because they don’t want the cross. They don’t want to accept God’s way. They don’t want to take the narrow road, so they rebel against it. That is why James wrote the letter, and why some people have that same attitude today. Verse 24 again: “You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone.” True faith is action, movement, obedience, and surrender to God.

Of course grace is a free gift. If someone was drowning in a lake and I threw him a life preserver and reeled him in, then he ran up and down the shore saying, “Look, I worked! I saved myself!” we would say he was fool an idiot. He didn’t save himself, and he just received a free gift. Even though he had to grab hold of it, and hold on to it, he didn’t save himself. The man who threw the life preserver saved him. So, it is not salvation by works to say that water baptism is where salvation and grace come together. I would be an idiot to say I save myself. It was a free gift. God said, “This is the way you save yourself; grab the life preserver and I’ll pull you in.” What if God came to Noah and said, “Noah, I want you to build an ark,” and Noah said, “No! You are making this a salvation by works issue. Just lift me up and save me”? The truth is, in order for his faith to be of God, he had to build the ark in order to save himself, didn’t he? It was all a gift. It was all by grace, but there was obedience. That is true faith.

1 Peter 3:18-20 – For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit, through whom also he went and preached to the spirits in prison who disobeyed long ago when God patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water.

How were they saved? They were saved through water. They weren’t saved by just asking Jesus in their heart or saying the Believer’s Prayer. They were saved through water.

1 Peter 3:21 – and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also

You see, a powerful and significant thing takes place when somebody is baptized. The old nature is crucified. Baptism breaks off the chains of the sinful nature that hold us in bondage. A tremendous thing takes place. That is why men fight against it so much. They take out the Spirit so there is no life in it.

1 Peter 3:21 – and this water symbolizes baptism that now save you also not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a good conscience toward God.

In other words, it is not the water itself that save you. It is not the fact that you went down into the water and came up out of it. You are saved by faith in God.

1 Peter 3:21 – It save you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ,

Water baptism is equal to the resurrection of Jesus Christ. How many churches associate water baptism with the resurrection of Jesus Christ? There is much power in that act of obedience. Just as Noah saved his family and the world by his obedience, so too we respond to the grace of God and receive that free gift of grace. But it is a true faith that leads to obedience.

1 Peter 3:22 – who has gone into heaven and is at God’s right hand with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him.

It is baptism through water that now saves us. This next passage is one that most people use to back up their gospel. If you say the Believer’s Prayer in Romans 10:5, then you are saved. In fact, in the back of a lot of Bibles especially those paperback ones you can read the Believer’s Prayer, sign your name, and mail it in. Nowhere in Scripture does it say that Noah signed a piece of paper in the back of a Bible sent to God, and said, “Now I’m saved from the great deluge that is coming.”

Romans 10:5-10 – Moses describes in this way the righteousness that is by the law: “The man who does these things will live by them.” But the righteousness that is by faith says: “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’” (That is, to bring Christ down)” or “Who will descend into the deep?’” (That is, to bring Christ up from the dead). But what does it say? “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,” that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming: That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.

Now, those who preach this Believer’s Prayer, (also called the Sinner’s Prayer), do as much as when I tell somebody, “You need to be water baptized in order to be saved,” and they would say, “No, no, no! You are making that salvation by works.” When they tell you to say this Believer’s Prayer, they make you do something, also. You have to say the prayer in order to know you have received the grace of God. Even then in their hypocrisy of accusing people who put an emphasis upon water baptism they do the very same thing they accuse those who they claim make salvation by works. “You have to say the Believer’s Prayer, you have to believe it with your heart.” You have to do something. Faith always involves action. It is just a question of what you will choose the full message or half of the message?

Romans 10:10-13 – For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. As the Scripture says, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame.” For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

Now, that can be taken in a very literal fashion, and most people do. If someone says, “I have accepted Jesus Christ as Lord!” then we believe they are saved, and will go to heaven no matter what. They don’t realize what it means to confess Jesus in their heart as Lord. What does it mean to say this with our mouth? What is involved in that process? Again, it involves the whole man, doesn’t it? For Noah to trust and believe in God meant he had to build an ark. They are all one and the same. If Noah stopped building the ark, would he have been saved? Suppose he started to build the ark, and then quit and said, “This is becoming nothing more than a salvation by works game.” He would not have been saved. He would have been drowned with everybody else. In the same way it is preaching half a gospel to say, “Well, if you just say it with your mouth and believe it in your heart.” Why not show them what that really means? When you say you trust Jesus in your heart, it should involve some action and obedience to God’s word according to his commandments. So, when somebody says, “I have confessed with my mouth and believe in my heart that Jesus is Lord,” but there is no obedience according to the word of the Lord, they haven’t really confessed that Jesus is Lord. To accept Jesus as Lord is to surrender our opinions and be obedient to what he has to say. This is the very basics of what it means to come to God. It means that I will no longer do what I want to do or believe what I want to believe I just follow Jesus Christ. If people say, “I have called upon the name of the Lord and I’ll be saved,” without doing what God wants, they tell a lie. Roman 6:1 tells us how we confess Jesus with our mouth and believe in our heart, how it involves the whole man.

Romans 6:1-2 – What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?

Well, how do we die to sin? What is the process by which God makes us dead to sin so that it no longer has power in our life?

Romans 6:3 – Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?

Don’t you know that when you go into water when you are baptized in Jesus you are baptized in his death? That is, you are put to death. That sinful nature is crucified with Jesus Christ. So, when somebody says to “just confess Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart” and doesn’t lead them to a baptism in the Lord, how they are freed from sin? Another way to read this is to say that those of you who were not baptized in Christ Jesus have not been freed from sin.

Romans 6:4 – We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.

The new life being born again takes place in baptism. Whether you talk about a baptism of the Spirit, baptism of fire, or baptism of water, all that takes place when you go down into the water. You are buried with Jesus Christ just as he went into the grave, and when you are lifted up out of the water you are a new creation something that has been totally remade. It is like the resurrection of Jesus Christ and being conformed to his image. That is the power and significance that takes place when the baptism is in Jesus Christ. It is not a matter of just joining a church. It is not some small doctrine. It is a deep, mysterious doctrine and something spiritual takes place when you are baptized.

Romans 6:5 – If we have been united with him like this in his death…

Some people want to taste a little bit of the cross or they just want to look at it a little bit, but, how few people even those who have been water baptized have really gone in and been crucified with Jesus Christ when they go into that water? Few people are really taught what that means.

Romans 6:5-6 – If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin

If we have not been baptized with Jesus Christ, then we haven’t been freed from sin. He said in essence, “Don’t you know, all those who were baptized all of those who went down because of the death of Jesus Christ and came out resurrected have been freed from sin?” Therefore, those who have not been baptized like this are not free from sin. Many people confess Jesus is Lord without any obedience or understanding of what takes place. Their sinful nature is not crucified and they don’t even know they need to be crucified. They think they are saved. This is wide-road Christianity.

Colossians 2:9-11 – For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority. In him you were also circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature, not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ,

Jesus powerfully takes hold of individuals who go down into that water who give themselves to him and begins to circumcise their sinful nature to make them sensitive again to the Spirit of God, and give them a brand-new life.

Colossians 2:12 – having been buried with him in baptized and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead.

You see, that is all faith! Even though that faith is manifested in action being buried with Jesus Christ it is not by works unto salvation. It is a true faith with actions and deeds working together. All it says is, “I believe and obey God.” You could substitute one word for the other. Obedience and faith should be one and the same thing. Some people obey without faith and others claim to have faith without obedience. They are the extremes, of course.

Colossians 2:12-13 – having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead. When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins,

He did it through baptism! He circumcised that sinful nature and forgave our sins through baptism! It doesn’t say, “Confess with your mouth that you were circumcised.” It doesn’t say that as you believe with your heart you are forgiven. It says that circumcision your confession of God, believing in your heart, and responding in baptism was done as you were baptized in Jesus Christ.

Many people who have never been water baptized will go to heaven. Some people who have never been water baptized will condemn those who have been water baptized, yet did not live a life of obedience. The church of Christ, for example, baptizes people in water, but deny the power of the Holy Spirit. They became foolish Galatians. Galatians says they have fallen from grace. Even though the church of Christ has a correct understanding of water baptism and they do for the most part they will be condemned by those who do not believe in water baptism because those who were not baptized sought to obey everything else about the law. They sought to have a trust in Goda true faith in God. Those who obeyed but were not baptized didn’t deny the power of the Spirit. Remember again that baptism is compared to circumcision.

Romans 2:21-24 – You, then, who teach others, do you not teach yourself? You who preach against stealing, do you steal? You who say that people should not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? You who brag about the law, do you dishonor God by breaking the law? As it is written: “God’s name is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.”

In other words, people will say they have the law and water baptism down to a “t.” They understand it and doctrinally they are correct. Some people can correctly teach that when you go down into the water, you are being crucified. They could draw nice little charts, and it is all correct! But they do not live a life of true faith and obedience in God. Then, there are others who have not been taught about water baptism, have never been water baptized or the resurrection of Christ that would condemn those who had it down correct because they didn’t live anything else. It is not just an outward act or a matter of saying, “Well, I was water baptized, therefore I’m saved.” It involves a complete surrender to God.

Romans 2:25 – Circumcision has value…

Now you can substitute “baptism” for “circumcision,” can’t you? They are one and the same thing.

Romans 2:25 – Circumcision has value if you observe the law, but if you break the law, you have become as though you have not been circumcised.

In other words, somebody becomes baptized, but they don’t live a life of obedience. It is just as though they were never baptized. You lose salvation again. That is what Hebrews says they treat the blood as if it were a light thing. They don’t live a life of true faith and obedience in God. Many people who have been water baptized will not go to heaven, and yet other people who honestly seek God and have good hearts, but have either never been taught about water baptism or they have a really tough area and won’t respond, God will work through all of that, and they will condemn those who had it all down correct, but lived a life of disobedience and never really had a true trust and love for God.

Romans 2:26 – If those who are not circumcised keep the law’s requirements, will they not be regarded as though they were circumcised?

People try to trap me in a corner because I do preach with fire that you need to be water baptized that is the full gospel. I will not preach anything else. I won’t let you get by with anything else, for that matter. All that leads to is everybody preaching a lot of different stuff that really isn’t the gospel at all. They will say, “So, you mean that if somebody is in the Mojave Desert and there is no water around and he dies, or we drive all the way to the baptismal and get into a car wreck, he will not go to heaven?” Of course not! The word never said that, the law didn’t say that, and grace doesn’t say that. The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. That is an easy one. Yet, that answer still doesn’t satisfy them because too much importance is placed on water baptism. Remember that something deep and spiritual takes place. Jesus takes hold of you and circumcises your sinful nature, and that hurts! That is no light matter! Many people go down into the water and nothing spiritual takes place. They don’t even know what really goes on. A lot of you were in those kinds of churches and situations.

Romans 2:27 – The one who is not circumcised physically and yet obeys the law will condemn you who, even though you have the written code and circumcision, are a lawbreaker.

You have it all down right. You understand it. You could teach fine seminars about water baptism. But those who keep the law who know nothing about water baptism, or have been taught incorrectly, but have pure hearts and seek to love God as their first love will condemn you even though you have it all down correctly.

Romans 2:28 – A man is not a Jew if he is only one outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical.

Water baptism is not a mere outward action, yet it is required and significant. God places great power and significance in it, but it doesn’t make you a Christian just because you have been water baptized. It doesn’t make you saved just because you have been water baptized.

Romans 2:29 – No, a man is a Jew if he is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a man’s praise is not from men, but from God.

It is an action that takes place. You see, Paul came back to the Spirit. He said, “Look, you are being circumcised, but it is done by the Spirit’s hand.” Something powerful takes place in baptism. But, for man to say he is a Jew, that he really believes in Jesus, and belongs to him, but not obey, or participate in the circumcision of Christ, proves himself to be liar. If we love God, we obey him and submit to what he has to say. Noah didn’t say, “Gee, God. I’ve got to build the ark.” He didn’t complain to God that he made this a salvation by works or that it was too difficult. Noah just responded to it! If God came to you today and said, “Tomorrow I will destroy everybody in the world but you if you do this one thing,” you wouldn’t say, “Well, gee whiz, God, why do I have to do that much?” You probably wouldn’t ask, “Well, what about So-and-So?” You would let it go and be content that you were being saved. It is ridiculous to ask, “Well, if you drive over to the baptismal and you get into a car wreck, will you go to hell?” You would get in the ark, shut your mouth, and praise God that you got in. That is all it amounts to! When the water comes and you are baptized, cleansed, and immersed, you just praise God for his work. What does James say? “Humbly accept the word that can save you.” (James 1:21). Quit all of the arguing, debating, and saying, “Well, you really mean this,” and just simply say what Scripture says. That is all we are looking at. “Such a man’s praise is not from men, but from God.” People tell me it is important that each person is able to say they have honestly asked Jesus in their heart and that proves they are saved. That is wrong. It doesn’t matter that somebody tells me they have honestly asked Jesus into their heart and are saved, because it is not whether man prays himself or not. It doesn’t matter if a man says, “Hey, I’ve been saved. I’ve asked Jesus into my heart.” It only means something if God accepts that salvation and if he has accepted that man. Read it again: “Such a man’s praise is not from men…” In other words, he submitted to this, therefore he is saved he asked Jesus into his heart, he was water baptized or whatever else he did. It is not whether I say that I’m saved. That is not significant at all. It doesn’t matter if I come to you and say, “Now look, I’ve been water baptized, I carry my cross, and do all these things this is why I’m saved.“ That means absolutely nothing. All that is important is whether God says, “Yes, that is acceptable. Yes, you are saved and you are my child.” How few people really seek to hear the Spirit of God as to whether they are saved or not. They try to justify their lives with all the things they did and all of the things they believe. All through Scripture, whenever God saves his people, water is always there. There is always a baptism. There are a lot of different baptisms in God. Right now we are just talking about water baptism. There is a baptism of fire. Jesus spoke about the baptism he had to undergo which was the cross. There is the blood. There are all different aspects of the baptism, but it all comes together under one thing. At least, that is the beginning point.

1 Corinthians 10:1 – For I do not want you to be ignorant of the fact, brothers, that our forefathers were all under the cloud and that they all passed through the sea.

All of the Israelites passed down to the sea. It was split and a cloud was over them. They were surrounded by water! Let’s not play a legalistic Pharisee game and say, “But the ground was dry.” If you want to do that game, then get into the baptismal, keep your feet on the cement and I’ll lay you down in the water. It doesn’t matter if you want to do that. The point is, they were surrounded by water, and that is what God is trying to say. They were baptized because there was water on both sides and a cloud on top. They were immersed. They came out of Egypt and followed God in the desert. Now, I can just see itI really cana group of Baptists coming out of Egypt, the water splits, and Moses says, “You need to get down to that water and go on across.” They say, “Moses, you are making this salvation by works. Now, you know that we have just accepted Jesus in our hearts and accepted what God has done, so we’ll be transported onto the other side.” Moses would say, “You fool! You will be struck dead.” That is exactly what would happen. You either get down into the water, be obedient and have a true faith or you die in Egypt. That is all it amounts to.

1 Corinthians 10:2 – They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea.

He repeated it again. How many times does God have to say it?

1 Corinthians 10:3-4 – They all ate the same spiritual food and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ.

Don’t tell me that this is the Old Testament story because the New Testament just told me that was a New Testament story in the Old Testament. Therefore, it is all one testament. Okay? We can see water baptism, and its significance. The people were set free. They went to serve God in the desert. The Egyptians were destroyed by water. Noah was saved through water. That was how he was saved from this world. So we should not think it is a deep mystery or some new commandment came along when Jesus tells us to be baptized.

1 Corinthians 10:5 – Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them; their bodies were scattered over the desert.

Water baptism is the beginning of obedience to God. Understanding its significance is all-important because that is the call of the Christian life. When Jesus says my sinful nature needs to be crucified, I need to give up my will, and learn to hate my own life and carry my cross. Then baptism is the place where I state to God that I will do these things. God takes me serious and says, “Okay, I take your sinful nature and crucify and circumcise it, and now I will deal with you.” We can get out in the desert with God. We can pass through water baptism or any other baptism you want to talk about. But if we live a life of disobedience and go back to our sin, our bodies will be scattered in the desert, and we will die. Hebrews bears it out.

In Matthew 28:16, Jesus gives the great commission of what we are to teach and preach the message we are to proclaim.

Matthew 28:16 – Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go.

That is a nice little piece of information, isn’t it? No, it is more significant than that. We ought to be at the mountain where God has told us to go. I know a lot of you would say, “But, that other mountain over there is a lot prettier. I get a better view of the resurrection.” We’d be over here building our little temple when Jesus is over there. Or, “We like this nice little pet doctrine over there, so we will go over to this other mountain.” No! They went to the mountain where Jesus told them to go. Many people wait on different mountains and they will not see the Lord come back.

Matthew 28:17 – When they saw him, they worshipped him; but some doubted.

Unbelievable! You see a resurrected Jesus Christ before your very eyes. He went back up into heaven and they doubted! I say this in love, but that is where the church of Christ started. That is where it began. You can see the resurrection and the miracles. You look at all of the things in the world and come to the grand conclusion of doubting. It is an amazing thing to know that we can be so faithless as we witness the very works and acts of God. So, you can be water baptized and yet it meant nothing. It is through faith.

Matthew 28:18-20 – Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and makes disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

What was the last thing he said to go and do? Baptize! Baptize “in the name of the Father of the Son and of the Holy Spirit “the complete gospel, the whole message. How little that is done. But, that is the call that is to go out. We are to teach people to obey everything, and baptizing somebody in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit is baptizing them in obedience. We baptize them in obedience and God gives them a grace that teaches them to say, “No” to sin. It frees us from the sin that holds us in bondage. That means we’re free to obey and know God. To say that I have received grace is to say that I have received freedom to do the things of God and be free from my sinful nature. Even as I wrestle with it and struggle against it, I gain the victory. “…and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” You see, there is really a condition there. Preach this, teach this, baptize this, and I will be with you. Leave it out and there is no guarantee that Jesus is with you.

People will ask, “What do you believe you have to do be saved?” or, “What must you do?” That is exactly the question that was asked in Acts 2:37. I guarantee, that if you tell somebody, “Repent and be baptized,” they will debate with you, and say, “That’s your opinion,” or “That’s way you interpret it.” Yet, you haven’t interpreted anything. You have just repeated what was in Scripture. One time, one guy and I read Acts 2:38 and I said, “See, it says ‘Repent and be baptized.’” He said, “Yes, it says ‘Repent.’” I said, “‘And be baptized,’” and he said, “No, it says ‘Repent.’” He just would not look at the next three words. He refused to do it. Men refuse to look at it because there is something spiritual that takes place. It is not a matter of some tradition to go down into the water. It is a powerful act of God when somebody gives himself or herself to be water baptized. It is no light matter.

Acts 2:37 – When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart…

They felt guilty. The preacher stepped on their toes, right? He was a little rough.

Acts 2:37 – …and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”

Now they would form a committee and ask what to do with the guy that is preaching…

Acts 2:37-38 – “Brothers, what shall we do?” Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins…”

For what? For the forgiveness of sin! He doesn’t say, “Confess with your mouth, believe in your heart, say the Believer’s Prayer, sign the back of the Bible, and send it in.” Or “Call our prayer counselors at such and such a number, and just say the Believer’s Prayer.”

Acts 2:38 – Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

It all comes together under that baptism the receiving of the Holy Spirit, repentance, and the forgiveness of sin. It all comes together. The blood, the water, and the Spirit are all to come together at water baptism. That is where it is to take place. “What shall we do?” Well, the only response can be to repent and be baptized for the forgiveness of sin and we will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Acts 2:39 – The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off for all whom the Lord our God will call.

This wasn’t something to do with some tradition of the Jews, so Peter therefore conformed to that and told them to be immersed in water. He said, “This promise is for everybody,” the promise of water repenting and being baptized and receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit for the forgiveness of sins. That is for everyone. Again, we won’t play a law game. If you are at the North Pole, then you can’t baptize somebody in the water. But, the minute you hit a warmer climate or a place where you can guess what you will do? Guess what the desire of that individual will be? There should be a hunger for obeying Scripture.

Acts 2:40 – With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupted generation.”

He didn’t baptize them immediately. He warned them; “Now, look, this is what it means to follow God”… “With many other words” is a long sermon. “…and he pleaded with them.” He begged and pleaded. He was emotional. He didn’t manipulate and say, “Okay, everybody close your eyes and all of you raise your hand. Oh yes, I see one up there. Yes, over there,” and all of that kind of business. “With many other words he warned them, and he pleaded with them, ‘Save yourselves from this corrupted generation.’” If I stood up and preached that at some church and said, “Save yourselves from this corrupted generation,” they would jump all over me! “You can’t save yourself! That is a gift from God.” Honestly, Peter knew what he said. He didn’t say they would save themselves and merit something before God. It means that they could save themselves by grabbing a life preserver and being pulled in. That is all it is saying.

Acts 2:41 – Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.

In other words, those who didn’t, weren’t baptized. No doubt there was a group saying, “That’s too hard,” and “That’s being legalistic. I’ve already asked Jesus into my heart so I am saved.” “And about three thousand were added to their number that day.” Praise God! Three thousand people and there was not a raging debate going on about what Peter just said. It is pretty clear.

Everywhere you look in the Book of Acts it shows to believe is to be baptized and to be baptized is to believe. They go hand in hand.

Acts 8:12 – But when they believed Philip as he preached the good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.

No more can be said. They go hand in hand. He didn’t say, “Well, guys, look… baptism really is an ‘extra’ kind of thing in the Lord. You know, if you feel convicted to do it I’ll tell you what, let’s save it up for the six month of the year and on the third Sunday we’ll fill up the baptismal. You know, you don’t want to hold the water. It costs money to keep it heated and all that stuff. We’ll just baptize everybody at one time.” To believe to be baptized they are one and the same action. It is foolish to debate, “Well, if you are walking on the way to the baptismal, you fall down, hit your head on a rock and die, you will go to hell.” Of course not!

Acts 8:13-14 – Simon himself believed and was baptized. And he followed Philip everywhere, astonished by the great signs and miracles he saw. When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them.

I want you to know something. It is all right to go check out a message. When they heard about a certain group that had received Jesus Christ they sent some apostles to check it out. And sure enough, there was a problem when they arrived.

Acts 8:15-16 – When they arrived, they prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit, because the Holy Spirit had not yet come upon any of them;

There was a problem with part of the gospel. They taught about Jesus, but left out the Spirit.

Acts 8:16 – they had simply been baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus.

That was all they had been taught aboutthat was all they knew. So they sent people down to check out the message and say, “Look, you are missing this one area.” How many people can you find with a soft heart like that? Some people have received Jesus, but they haven’t taught about the Spirit. Others have received the Spirit, but don’t know anything significant about water baptism. I know some people who have love for God, but don’t really understand what the cost is. It is a matter of knowing the full message and then asking somebody, “What message did you receive and what did you respond to? I see you have a love for God, but you are missing this aspect.” Few people are teachable enough to learn it. If I wasn’t teachable enough, I’d still believe that musical instruments are a sin in church. There has to be that responding and saying, “Okay, I need to change. My doctrine needs to change.”

Acts 18:16 – because the Holy Spirit had not yet come upon any of them; they had simply been baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus.

I mentioned in passing that there are a group of people that believe the only proper way to baptize somebody is in the name of Jesus. In other words, you put them in the water and say, “I baptize you in the name of Jesus,” and to say, “Father and Holy Spirit” is wrong. They will condemn you for that. They are the ones who make a grave mistake. To baptize somebody in the name of Jesus Christ only is to rob them of the Holy Spirit.

Acts 18:17 – Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.

I want you to notice something here. It is very proper for us to baptize somebody in the name of Jesus and then to lay hands on him or her to receive the Holy Spirit. You could do that. The point is, the full message needs to be preached in all of the ways that the Word says it can be preached. You don’t see people saying, “You need to receive a baptism of the Spirit and it might be six months down the road. Don’t sweat it God will eventually bring it.” It all comes together at one time. Every preaching of the gospel should lead to one thing to baptism. I don’t care what Scripture you start with, or how you begin to talk with somebody about Jesus Christ. I don’t care where you begin to tell them of the good news about Jesus, but it should end with water baptism. However some people will bring them only so far and say, “They are not yet ready for water baptism. They are just ready to do this much.” Or, “We just had them ask Jesus into their heart at this moment but it should lead to that point down the road.”

Acts 8:29-31 – The Spirit told Philip, “Go to that chariot and stay near it.” Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet. “Do you understand what you are reading?” Philip asked. “How can I,” he said, “unless someone explains it to me?” So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.

It would be nice if people would throw out the pride they keep. They said, “I don’t need any man to teach me. God will show it to me. God will reveal it and convict me. I don’t need anybody to tell me that. I’m just not convicted of that yet.” If only there were a little more humility then they would say, “I don’t know. I wouldn’t understand it unless you explained to me. What does it mean?” That is how God works with people who are humble.

Acts 8:32-34 – The eunuch was reading this passage of Scripture “He was led like a sheep to the slaughter, and as a lamb before the shearer is silent, so he did not open his mouth. In his humiliation he was deprived of justice. Who can speak of his descendants? For his life was taken from the earth.” The eunuch asked Philip, “Tell me, please, who is the prophet talking about, himself or someone else?”

He was at least humble enough to ask the question.

Acts 8:35 – Then Philip began with that very passage of scripture and told him the good news about Jesus.

Think about this for a moment. They read from the Book of Isaiah. They talked about Jesus going to the cross where he died, and look at what the very next verse said.

Acts 8:36 – As they traveled along the road, they came to some water and the eunuch said, “Look, here is water. Why shouldn’t I be baptized?”

What was his conclusion? What did he hunger for? He started with a Scripture that had nothing to do with water baptism at least on the surface and yet it had everything to do with water baptism. It ended up with the eunuch saying, “Look, there is water. I want to be baptized.” He pleaded for the privilege of it to be done. Then the eunuch understood the significance when he started reading about the cross. He understood about Jesus dying for his sin, and his reaction was, “I want to be water baptized.” Now, is there this kind of hunger that kind of understanding about the significance of water baptism in the church? You don’t find people saying, “There’s water!” and running for it to be done. No, instead you walk down the aisle, bend your knees, say your prayers, and go out.

Acts 8:38 – And he gave orders to stop the chariot.

It would be nice to see people that would stop their daily activities where they are going and what they are doing to take out time for God. How many people try to work their baptism into their plans? “Well, I need to check my schedule.” Or, “I’m just not quite ready yet,” or “I have these plans.” It invariably happens. You see somebody get close to God and there is always a plan. Your mom comes to visit. “Oh my mom! You know, she really gets in the way and you can’t turn her down.” Or, “I need to think about it.” But, the eunuch didn’t do that. He stopped the chariot. He gave orders and that was it. No other plan was more important than that plan.

Acts 8:38-39 – And he gave orders to stop the chariot. Then both Philip and the eunuch went down the water and Philip baptized him. When they came up out of the water, …

I don’t know what other idea you can get from this scripture but an immersion. Sprinkling babies is not baptism, it’s just sprinkling babies, you can’t find that anywhere in Scripture.

Acts 8:39 – When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord suddenly took Philip away, and the eunuch did not see him again, but went on his way rejoicing.

Philip was spiritually transported somewhere else. The point is they went down in to the water. The eunuch demanded that it be done. He said, “Let’s do it.” That is the kind of zeal each of us needs to have in understanding about water baptism. It is not a light debate or minor doctrine. We should preach the full message, tell about baptism, and help them understand what it means. This is not a debatable issue. In fact, we are bold enough to order people to be water baptized. It is not an option. It is true that some people have received the Holy Spirit ten years before they were water baptized and have had a relationship with God, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t need to walk in more obedience.

Acts 10:44-47 – While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message. The circumcised believers who had come to with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles. For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God. Then Peter said, “Can anyone keep…?”

Those were the first words out of Peter’s mouth. He saw the Holy Spirit come upon these people. He saw them praising God and speaking in tongues. A tremendous thing happened, and what was his first reaction? “Praise God that they have accepted Jesus Christ. There is no more to be done. Thank you, Lord”? The first thing out of his mouth:

Acts 10:47-48 – “Can anyone keep these people from being baptized with water? They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have.” So he ordered that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked Peter to stay with them for a few days.

It is not less significant in the Lord to be water baptized than it is to be immersed in the Spirit. “‘Can anyone keep these people from being baptized with water? They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have.’ So he ordered…” He ordered! “…that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.” This was not an option or a choice! He didn’t wait six month later for a baptismal service. He ordered them to be water baptized! That is the full message receive the Spirit, and be filled with the Spirit, but I order you to get in the water and be baptized. Don’t become so smug and self-righteous and say, “Well, I have already received the Spirit.” Good! If you have received the Spirit then you will understand the significance of water baptism. It is that simple.

Acts 16:13 – On the Sabbath we went outside the city gate to the river, where we expected to find a place of prayer. We sat down and began to speak to the women who had gathered there.

Let us have that kind of zeal. Let us never be so caught up in worship and prayer that we don’t take every opportunity to preach the gospel.

Acts 16:14-15 – One of these listening was a woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth from the city of Thyatira, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message. When she and the members of her household were baptized, she invited us to her home. “If you consider me a believer in the Lord,” she said, “come and stay at my house.” And she persuaded us.

After she had been water baptized she convinced them she was a believer. In other words, they baptized her in water and she said, “Good, now if you consider me a believer, come to my house.” She understood the significance of what took place. She knew what it was to give herself fully to Jesus. It is the place where you become a believer. To say you are a believer in Jesus Christ is to be baptized. To say you have faith is to be obedient. That kind of faith saves and it is true grace.

Acts 18:7-8 – Then Paul left the synagogue and went next door to the house of Titius Justus, a worshiper of God. Crispus, the synagogue ruler, and his entire household believed in the Lord; and many of the Corinthians who heard him believed and were baptized.

It is one and the same thing. You can put “believe” before “baptize.” They are all one and the same thing; believe baptism, baptize believe. They are not two words that can be separated. They are one complete surrender and action to God.

Acts 19:1-6 – While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul took the road through the interior and arrived at Ephesus. There he found some disciples 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.” So Paul asked, “Then what baptism did you receive?” “John’s baptism,” they replied. 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.” On hearing this, they were baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus. When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in languages and prophesied.

These gentlemen were re-baptized. They were baptized in John, then they were baptized in Jesus, and Paul laid hands on them. That is how completely it all goes together. He didn’t say, “Well, the baptism under John was acceptable.” I think a lot of us have responded to John’s baptism in the churches we have been to in the past. You know, people will come here and begin to doubt their baptism and whether they need to be re-baptized. The reason is because theirs is a baptism of repentance. That is, there was a conviction there toward God. There was a movement of the Spirit in their life and they felt God work in their life so they responded. The teaching was lousy or the spiritual quality was sloppy and so they never really knew what it was to be baptized in Jesus and to receive the Spirit. So they are baptized again, but this time they are baptized in Jesus. All that took place here was a living obedience to the complete message that is in Jesus Christ. It is all blessings. They didn’t complain that it was some law or works, or, “Gee, Paul, are you saying that we’re not saved? How dare you condemn us like that! We’ve been living obedient lives.” That is how everybody usually takes it. The disciples considered it a blessing to receive the Holy Spirit and be baptized in Jesus. We ought to consider it a great treasure. For God to show us one more gem to obey.

Acts 22:6 – About noon as I came near Damascus…

God comes at noon, at the height of our religious activities. When everything is the brightest, when all of our work shines out for everybody to see, when we think we are spiritually right there with God, he shows up. We don’ t think there is anybody in the world that can convict us. I mean, we are just right there, serving the Lord! We never dreamed there was any another part of the gospel. Right at noon comes humility.

Acts 22:6 – About noon as I came near Damascus, suddenly a bright light from heaven flashed around me.

A light brighter than any work man can do, brighter than the sun. It divides bone from marrow and soul from spirit. It separates true humility from self-righteousness and false humility. Let the light sine brighter than noon, and lay down your work, your doctrines, and your opinions about baptism or any other aspect of God.

Acts 22:7 – I fell to the ground and heard a voice say to me, “Saul! Saul! Why do you persecute me?”

He didn’t have any idea that he persecuted Jesus or opposed the gospel. He thought he wad doing God a favor. Some people think they are doing God a favor by opposing water baptism or by removing the life and significance of it. They have no idea that their noonday activities are darkness in the eyes of the Lord.

Acts 22:8-9 – “Who are you, Lord?” I asked…

He didn’t know the gospel. He didn’t know who Jesus was. “Who in the world are you and what are you about?”

Acts 22:8-9 – “Who are you, Lord?” I asked. “I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are persecuting,” he replied. My companions saw the light, but they did not understand the voice of him who was speaking to me.

Some people see the light of the gospel, but never can understand it. For them, they see the light and the glimmer. Yes, that is what water baptism is about, but they never understand it in the heart. It never sinks in. Let’s not be that kind of people.

Acts 22:10 – “What shall I do, Lord?” I asked.

These are familiar word, aren’t they? Ah, there is faith true faith in God. “What shall I do, Lord?” What did they say in Acts 2:38? “What shall we do?”

Acts 22:10-11 – “What shall I do, Lord?” I asked. “Get up,” the Lord said, “and go into Damascus. There you will be told all that you have been assigned to do.” My companions led me by the hand into Damascus, because the brilliance of the light had blinded me.

How is it that we let ourselves be humbled and guided by people? God won’t let you be taken in by a cult leader. It is humility and brokenness that we surrender to the Lord God. “I don’t understand this passage. How can I understand it unless somebody explains it to me?” “Lead me by the hand. Take me into it. I don’t know what to do.”

Acts 22:12-14 – A man named Ananias came to see me. He was a devout observer of the law and highly respected by all the Jews living there. He stood beside me and said, “Brother Saul, receive your sight!” And at that very moment I was able to see him. Then he said, “The God of our fathers has chosen you to know his will and to see the Righteous One and to hear works from his mouth.”

That is an awesome and glorious promise! God has chosen us to know his will not your own will, or what you choose not even a part of it! Just his will alone.

Acts 22:14 – …and to see the Righteous One…

A greater promise even that just knowing his will.

Acts 22:14 – …and to hear words from his mouth.

Paul was led by the hands of men, and because of his humility and surrender he would hear the voice of God. Ephesians says that God has given us teachers to prepare us for works of service so that we might hear the voice of the Almighty God. Every preacher that doesn’t lead his flock to that point is just like any Jim Jones that ever walked the face of the earth.

Acts 22:15-16 – You will be his witness to all men of what you have seen and heard. And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized, and wash your sins away, calling on his name.

What does it mean to call upon the name of the Lord, wash away your sins and to be baptized? It is all one action. It is the starting point. Where do you wash away your sins but in baptism? Where is the freeing of the sinful nature but in baptism? It is the beginning place. John 3:1 has been overused everywhere. It is the famous “be born again” passage, where Jesus said you have to be born of water and the Spirit. Someone will tell you, “Well, the water means that as you are born as water comes out of the womb.” That is the classic explanation.

John 3:1-3 – Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish ruling council. He 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.” In reply Jesus declared, “I tell you truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.”

Basically, Jesus told him, “Nicodemus, you haven’t seen anything. You really don’t understand what the kingdom of God is about. Outwardly, you have observed all of these things, but there is just nothing inwardly.” “In reply Jesus declared, ‘I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.’” What do we expect Jesus to talk about here? How to be born again, right? He set up the situation. “Nicodemus, you’ll never see the kingdom of God until you are born again.” Here he spoke on how to be born again. This is not about a woman giving birth to a baby.

John 3:4 – “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!”

Nicodemus probably thought, “What are you talking about?” “Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb to be born!” Jesus was not even talking about the womb. This was how spiritual Nicodemus was. “You can’t go back into the womb, Jesus. What are you talking about?” For someone to teach that the water Jesus referred to had to do with the womb is to be on the level of Nicodemus actually, worse.

John 3:5-6 – Jesus answered, “I tell you truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.”

Now, if he spoke about fleshy water, then he would not have added that last sentence. He would not have said that you must be born of water in the Spirit because the flesh counts for nothing. Therefore, if the water is equal to the flesh it doesn’t mean anything. So, it has got to be a spiritual thing that takes place.

John 3:7-8 – You should not be surprised at my saying, “You must be born again.” The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.

We just don’t know who will come to God. The wind blows one way and we think, “Ah, that one will come to the Lord,” and pretty soon it is someone else. You just don’t know which way the wind will blow.

We’ve just been looking at water baptism, but you must count the cost. There is the blood, walking by the Spirit how we live the Christian life only by the power of the Holy Spirit and the water that cleanses and is the sign of a good conscience toward God. When you put all of those together in one gospel you have the full message. If you take out the blood, you have taken out the cost. Nobody has to pick up the cross anymore. If you take out the Spirit you say, “You have been sanctified and washed clean. Now, pick up your cross but without the power of the Spirit.” That is a miserable Christianity. If you take out the water and the blood, and give the Spirit, then you have the entertainment gospels that are out there. If you put them all together, then you have the narrow road.

1 John 5:1 – Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well.

We see that to believe in Jesus is to obey. They are one and the same word. That is what he said in verse 2:

1 John 5:2 – This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands.

How do I know I have faith? How do I know that I love the children of God? By obeying God’s commands. It is one and the same thing. Can faith save a man that has no deeds? No absolutely not! It is not a true faith.

1 John 5:3 – This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome,

There is no heavy law to say to be water baptized. It is not a heavy, legalistic law that places significance on what God places significance on. It is liberty and freedom, unless you don’t want to die.

1 John 5:4 – for everyone born of God overcomes the world

We’ve already seen how you are born again, and if you are not born again, according to the word of the Lord, then you have not overcome the world. It is that simple.

1 John 5:4-6 – This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God. This is the one who came by water and blood Jesus Christ. He did not come by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth.

The Holy Spirit said that Jesus came by water and by blood. If you take out the Spirit and talk about water, there is no life in it. If you take out the Spirit and talk about the flood there is no life in it. But, if you listen to the Spirit of Truth then you will honestly hear the Spirit of Truth say that the water and the blood are significant. How many people say that they are baptized in the Spirit, and have received God, but they didn’t find significance in the water and in the blood of Jesus Christ? You can tell by how little they carry the cross. But, if we listen to the Spirit of Truth, the Spirit declares loud and clear that these three are in agreement. They are equal.

1 John 5:7-8 – For there are three that testify: the Spirit, the water and the blood; and the three are in agreement.


1 John 5:6 – This is the one who came by water and blood Jesus Christ. He did not come by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth.

It is the truth! If there was anyone who did not need to be water baptized it was Jesus Christ. He was righteous and holy. There was no reason for him to stand in line with all the other sinners, lepers, and other people that were unclean. John the Baptist felt that knife cut his heart. He said, “I am not worthy to unite your shoes and you come to me to be baptized?” If Jesus took all that care and time, what does that say about water baptism? It is the beginning place. The moment somebody says, “I need God!” and then, “What shall I do?” You say, “Repent and be baptized!” Be it midnight… Be it 3:00 o’clock… Be it the bathtub…Be it whatever…That is the significance.

Matthew 3:13 – Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John.

He came with that purpose in mind. He hadn’t been led into the woods and tempted. He hadn’t received the Spirit in this sense.

Matthew 3:14 – But John tried to deter him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?”

“You don’t need this, Jesus! John thought Jesus was exempt from it! Yet, there are men everywhere teaching the gospel and saying that you don’t have to be water baptized you can get into heaven without it. But Jesus wasn’t exempt from it. He didn’t want to be exempt from it. Yet, gospels everywhere proclaim that you don’t need water baptism. All you need to do is ask Jesus into your heart and that’s it you’re saved! These aren’t burdensome commands. They are rich for those who understand them.

Matthew 3:14-15 – But John tried to deter him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John consented.

It is always proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness. John knew it was the command and the will of God. John said, “Okay, I understand now. It is a commandment from God. It is a work of the Lord. It is something that is deep and a mystery in Jesus Christ. I understand now! This is not any light thing that I do. I will baptize youI understand. “‘Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.’ Then John consented.”

Matthew 3:16 – As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him.

Does that sound like Acts 2:38? Jesus didn’t need to repent. It all comes together in water baptism. There is no separate baptism of the Spirit where you receive tongues six months later. It is all supposed to come together at the same time. You will be filled and renewed at different times in your life by the Spirit, but not necessarily with tongues. The point is that you don’t teach people in weeks. “Okay, we’ll accept Jesus here and, in six months from now we will crucify the sinful nature, so in the meantime, just stumble around in it.” Then six months later, “Now you have walked in the law a little bit and we have crucified the sinful nature with water, now you need to receive the Spirit.” That is not teaching a full gospel. That is not freedom for anybody. As soon as Jesus was baptized the sentence of obedience was there. What does Acts say? “God gives the Holy Spirit to those who obey him.” Who did God give Holy Spirit to but to Jesus who obeyed him? It is proper to fulfill all righteousness.

Matthew 3:16-17 – As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”

This whole discussion about water baptism can be summed up with verse 17. There really should be no cause for any minister or church to preach any differently. Any other discussions about water baptism should fall totally aside. It should melt away. God said: “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” If I was there and heard God say that, I would be next in line! If that is what pleases God and causes him to say he loves me, I’m in line! That should silence every wicked man and every doctrine that is halfway complete. If God says, “I love you,” at this point then let us begin here.

Let’s go ahead and pray:

Father, we praise you for your word that does give life, for your commands that are not a burden, but are so rich. We pray, Father, that you place these things in our hearts and remind each of us of the baptism and how we committed ourselves to you, how we gave ourselves the pledge of a good conscience towards you and the work, you began here. Let us hear again, Father, “This is my Son whom I love,” and that we too might just stand in line to walk in the footsteps of Jesus, to walk as he walked. Father, let our gospel be nothing else but the full message. If we every stray from anything or emphasize or leave anything behind, Father, then deal with us severely that we might not teach any errors to anyone. We pray, Father, that you wake up others that we know love you, but due to men or even stubbornness in their own hearts they just refuse to accept the full message. Let us do as you told Peter to do to stand in the temple courts and to declare the full message. We pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

This transcription has been edited to a reader friendly format. Every effort has been made to be true to the speaker’s original message. Any mistranslations are unintentional.


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Host of The Consider Podcast
Examining today’s wisdom, madness, and folly.