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Lane January 21 - 23, 1991 No sound files are available for the interview with Justice Coleman. Some would say that they dona€™t believe it is necessary to be baptized at all to be saved.
And if you think thata€™s bizarre, consider the two latest incidents involving men of the cloth. Their radical modes of seeking salvation were based largely on pagan tradition or ignorance of the Scriptures.
It is faith in the saving merits of the cross that produces the miraculous change that baptism by water symbolizes.
He could not come down from the cross where he was being executed by the Roman authorities. There has been a death of the old life of sin, which is identified as the a€?old man.a€? Now that body of evil must be properly disposed of, and Paul says baptism is the occasion for a€?buryinga€? that crucified nature. How could one ideally symbolize this entire experience of death to sin, burial with Jesus, and rising to a new life? Even though He had been filled with the Spirit while still in His mothera€™s womb, Jesus urged John to baptize Him anyway. In fact, in all the inspired accounts of apostolic evangelism and church activities, we have no indication that this practice ever varied from the pattern established by the two cousins at the Jordan.
In every instance where Jesus referred to baptism, He used the Greek word a€?baptizoa€? from which we derive our English word. There were other Greek words that could have been used which signify either sprinkling or immersion, but Christ did not ever employ such terms in describing baptism.
Without an understanding of the plan of salvation, none could participate in its bountiful provisions. No sins could be forgiven and no conversion effected without personal faith on the part of the candidate. All the elements of accepting Jesus and being born again must be present before any person is spiritually prepared for baptism. Ia€™ve seen the ancient cathedrals in the East with large baptistries to accommodate several people at the same time. My caller that day was a stranger to me, but his urgent appeal arrested my attention and sent me scurrying to get dressed. After sharing words of comfort, I assured them that their failure to have a few drops of water sprinkled on their baby would have nothing to do with its salvation.
What a pagan concept it is that man can sanctify the very ground that God cursed in the beginning because of sin! We cannot deny that there is a deep spiritual meaning attached to each stage of the physical event of being gently lowered beneath the water. I wish it were possible to give assurance that it would remove obstacles and resolve all problems, but that is not what the Bible portrays. Indeed, it should not be a frightening prospect to a single person, because special spiritual resources are bestowed upon each one who accepts the covenant of baptism.
Is it a denial of the original commitment if a person chooses to enter the water of baptism a second time, or perhaps even more? Not only was it a legitimate baptism, but also they had accepted Christ as the Messiah from Johna€™s careful instruction. His reply was, a€?I dona€™t know, but Ia€™ll ask my mother and let you know.a€? There can be no doubt that this man needed to be baptized again, regardless of what his mother said.
It is without question that public apostasy, marked by open disobedience to Goda€™s law, should be just as openly renounced by a renewal of the baptism experience. Apparently they believed that the greater light of truth shared with them by Paul was of such a life-changing nature that they felt it necessary to be baptized again.
For many years, I have listened to excuses offered for not going all the way with Jesus, and particularly for not yielding the life in baptism. Of course, we can choose to neglect those spiritual exercises at any or every moment of our lives. Others would answer that true baptism is to go forward three times completely under the water.
One preacher gathered his new converts in a Baltimore Street and turned the fire hose on them, declaring them now baptized.
This statement is probably the most definitive and assertive that Christ ever made on any subject. Conversion is the powerful inward change, and baptism is the outward physical sign that the change has taken place. By going into the water to conduct a spiritual funeral and to celebrate the new life which has been begotten in the candidate through the Holy Spirit, Paul says we are also memorializing the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Himself. An angel commanded Philip to travel south into the Gaza desert, where the prominent government leader was sitting in a chariot.
Again, the Bible includes this interesting bit of inspired information to show us that there is only one proper way to wash away sin and enter the body of Christ. Scholars and language experts have traced the history of that word through two thousand years of usage. He always used the only word which reflected the full symbolism of that solemn ceremonya€”death, burial, and resurrection. Christ stipulated that every candidate should be instructed in His basic doctrines before entering the water of baptism. Instruction, faith, repentance, and true conversion will always precede the public renouncing of the old life of sinful bondage. Those facilities gradually fell into disuse as the shift was made to receive every member of the family into fellowship of the church.

In my outrage at the actions of their pastor, I made the statement that the little infant had much more assurance of salvation than the priest who had refused to be present that day.
But is there not a similar foreshadowing of spiritual truth in the communion bread and wine? The recurrence of that word a€?burieda€? is a striking common denominator among the descriptive phrases about baptism in the New Testament.
Immediately after His baptism Jesus was driven into the wilderness where He experienced the awful encounter with Satan.
Every candidate walks out of the water in the strength of a new relationship that guarantees protection against all attacks of the enemy. But under Paula€™s questioning, they confessed to a lack of knowledge regarding the Holy Spirit. The personal witness of a turning around in the lifestyle is one of the important aspects of being baptized. Many may feel the same today as they learn new biblical teachings that revolutionize their way of believing and worshiping God. Some would contend that a few drops of sprinkled water on the head would constitute a valid baptism, while others would insist on pouring the water over the candidate. Another minister met a lady in the grocery store who wanted to be baptized, and he sprinkled her right there on the spota€”with a bottle of Coca-Cola.
It is in the testimony of the Bible alone that we find the real truth about the meaning and method of true baptism.
His words are too clear to be misunderstooda€”that there are two absolute requirements for entrance into heaven.
The context of the conversation with the rich Pharisee leaves no doubt as to what the Master meant by those words.
He would have turned from his life of crime, made restitution for all he had stolen, and walked in full conformity to truth he now understood. We get in my car to drive to a nearby lake where there is a convenient place to conduct the service.
Even though there are numerous counterfeit faiths, gods, and baptisms, there is only one that is true. There is no more perfect way to represent all those steps than to have the eyes closed, breath suspended, hands folded, and to be lowered gently beneath the water.
Jesus was totally immersed in the water in order to a€?fulfill all righteousnessa€? and to set a perfect example for His followers ever afterward.
There the Spirit told Philip to join the Ethiopian treasurer, who was reading from the book of Isaiah. John could not take a jug of water and fulfill his appointed ministry by sprinkling or pouring. They discovered that every possible branch of learning and communication has used it, and never once deviated from ita€™s original root meaning of burial or being totally covered up. The inspired Peter, on the day of Pentecost, gave support to the words of Jesus by adding a third prerequisite for baptism.
Therefore, we must conclude that all the ritualistic sprinkling of water on gurgling infants at christening ceremonies has absolutely nothing to do with Bible baptism. Because tiny babies could not safely be put under the water, they were exposed first to maximum dousing, then ample pouring, then liberal sprinkling, and finally a touch of wetness between the eyes. He was an Indian Christian whose next-door neighbours had lost their little baby during the night. As I helped the father finish the handmade coffin, he explained in more detail what his own pastor had told him about the baby. In fact, that service points to the very same events in the life of Jesus that baptism commemorates.
In order to represent the various aspects of what Jesus did for us, baptism must include a symbol of death, burial, and resurrection. Even the proper form of administering the ordinance does not guarantee the slightest change in the life of the candidate. It may well be that every newly baptized Christian will have to suffer similar struggles with the powers of darkness. The power that existed only in promises begins to flow into the daily life experience of these fresh young Christians. The message that Paul shared with them on this subject was of such a nature that they felt it necessary to be baptized again. Some indeed discover that their previous Christian walk, though sincere, was actually violating some very important principles of Scripture.
Such a person is very aware of the weakness of the flesh and the impossibility of measuring up to Goda€™s standard in human strength.
Your walk with Jesus does not depend on your ability to overcome temptation and human weakness. The transforming grace of Jesus has brought peace and assurance into your life for the first time.
A few would strongly hold that a proper baptism consists of a single immersion backwards into the water.
But since it was physically impossible to do any of those things, the obedient life of Jesus was imputed to him. They are giving public witness to the inward transformation that has taken place in their life and are symbolically walking forth into the joys of a new life of obedience and victory. When the man confessed that he did not understand what he was reading, Philip began to preach to him about Jesus, who fulfilled the messianic prophecy of the submissive Lamb. He was compelled to remain in cities along the Jordan River where there was sufficient water for total immersion.

We can dedicate tiny newborns to God and pray for them and for their parents, but it should never be a substitute for Bible baptism. Like many other divine ordinances, this one suffered and died slowly under the relentless pressures of cultural compromise and convenience. Because they had neglected to have an official baptism for their child, it was now supposedly doomed to a fiery punishment in hell, and the pastor would neither officiate at the funeral nor grant them a consecrated place of burial in the cemetery. There are many dramatic stories in the Bible that prove that God is indeed very particular about His commandments.
Yet how many of us would condone the blasphemy being practiced by a contemporary underground church of young people who have substituted Coca-Cola and hamburger for the elements Jesus offered His disciples on that Thursday night? Those are the major events connected with the atonement, and not one mode of baptism except immersion even approaches the required symbolic elements. Such persons, after entering a true conversion, should follow the meaningful burial-baptism to commemorate the death of sin in their lives. None should feel that they are denying their earlier experience by choosing to wash the past clean through a renewing of the baptismal experience.
Only if we are making plans to live for self would we be fearful of making those solemn baptismal vows of eternal faithfulness.
But they must be perfectly settled in their innermost soul that Christ has performed the new birth miracle in their lives.
If you think in terms of what you are able to do, you may remain in the twilight zone of indecision forever.
Then Jesus continued in verses 7 and 8 to describe the mysterious, silent work of the Spirit in its transforming mission. That is why God could accept him and Jesus could give him such a glorious assurance of salvation. The people had to come to him in order to have their old sinful lives a€?burieda€? in the waters of baptism. The pagan custom of sprinkling not only pervaded the Catholic and Orthodox traditions, but passed finally into the various Protestant persuasions as well. Consider, for example, how many of the 600,000 Hebrews who left Egypt actually entered the Promised Land.
No matter that it all merely represented something; we believe it is vitally important to utilize the very same symbols that our Lord used when He introduced the service. The very worst sinner could be coerced into the baptistry and immersed 50 times with absolutely no effect.
The very same inquiries apparently were raised in the early apostolic church, and Acts 19:1-5 explains how Paul dealt with it in Ephesus. Obviously if one discovers that his first baptism was not in harmony with the example of Jesus, he should submit to the proper form in order to fulfill a€?all righteousnessa€?.
But the truly con-veiled step out by faith in that public commitment, trusting fully in Goda€™s power to uphold them. They must be able to comfortably put their own name into the beautiful messianic promise of Isaiah 53.
You must focus every thought upon the strength and power of the One who invites you to be His friend forever.
The baptism of Jesus was credited to hima€”an act that would have been required of the thief had he been able to fulfill it.
Concerning the word a€?baptizo,a€? he said: a€?In all, the word has retained its ground meaning without change. Then why should we not feel the urgency to maintain the same symbolic form that Jesus used when He introduced baptism at the Jordan River long, long ago? Sprinkling, for example, although performed under the name of baptism, could never meet the required symbolism of death and burial.
They recognize the possibility of stumbling as they grow stronger day by day, but they know the loving Jesus will be there to pick them up, forgive, and surround them with encouragement if they make a mistake. It is the unfailing nature of His promises that can give you perfect trust in living the Christian life. From the earliest age of Greek literature down to its close, a period of nearly 2,000 years, not an example has been found in which the word has any other meaning. The Bible reveals that 599,998 died before they could cross the river into their promised possession.
Unfortunately, religious leaders and pastors long have buried large numbers of people alive before they had met the requirements of being dead to sin.
All the confederacies of Satan may be arrayed against us, but they cannot contrive a strategy that will separate us from the angelic legions that are assigned to defend us. This means that babies, regardless of the sincerity of their parents or godparents, must be considered unbaptized until they take the step after their own spiritual awakening at a responsible age. Those who are too fearful and faithless to begin the Christian journey are simply confirming their spiritual unpreparedness for the baptism experience. God assumes the responsibility for creating an escape route by which we can elude the cleverest snare that Satan can design.
Sometimes it is difficult for sprinkled adults to grasp the idea that they have never really been baptized at all and should arrange for a true immersion baptism as soon as possible. However, based on what we have learned from the lips of Jesus, one can confidently conclude that if a person has the opportunity to be baptized and refuses to be, that man cannot enter the kingdom of heaven. Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.

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