Sunday, June 10, 2007

Part 4 - The Baptism of Jesus

SCRIPTURE READING

Matthew 3:11 – 17

11 I (John) baptize you with water for repentance. But after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. 12 His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire."

The Baptism of Jesus

13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. 14 But John tried to deter him, saying, "I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?"

15 Jesus replied, "Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness." Then John consented.

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. 17 And a voice from heaven said, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased."

The word “baptism” comes from the Greek word baptidzo, which simply means “to identify” or “to be made one with.”

In the Greek culture, this word had both religious and secular meanings, and in general referred to the act of identifying one thing with another in such a way that its nature or character changed, or the representation that a real change has already taken place.

There are two types of baptisms in the Bible, with many examples of each of the two types.

There are REAL baptisms, which involve actually identifying a person with something or someone.

There are also RITUAL baptisms, or CEREMONIAL baptisms, when water is used as a symbol for something else. The water represents something.

The individual is placed in the water, which means, symbolically, that he is identified with that which the water represents.

In the scripture here we see three examples of baptisms.

JOHN BAPTIZED WITH WATER

Water

In verse 11 “I (John) baptize with water unto repentance:”

The Greek word translated “baptize” here means to make fully wet. John was dunking.

And the scriptures tell us he was baptizing unto repentance. Repentance here means reversal.

The Greek word translated “unto” is ice, and means “a point that has been reached”, so John was baptizing those who had reached the point of repentance.

This baptism of John was an outward act of an inward work already carried out.

An inward work of what?

Of a confession, and repentance of sin because the Kingdom of God was at hand.

And the baptism of John was also an example of what was to come, the real baptism of Jesus.

Just as the sacrifices in Old Testament times showed of the coming real sacrifice, Jesus Christ.

John also tells us that he is the one mentioned in Isaiah who was to prepare the way for the messiah, who is Jesus.

He prepares the way by preaching confession of sin, repentance and the baptism of John to show what must take place within you, a reversal.

He then tells them that Jesus is coming, but he will not baptize with water, because the water baptism is a ritual, a symbolic meaning of something else.

A symbol of what Jesus was GOING to do when He came.

Water baptism is an outward confession to the world that you have confessed your sin and repented.

Is the baptism of John what saves us? No.

Faith and Grace saves, not works or anything we could “do”.

Faith in Jesus Christ and the work of the cross and God’s grace of dying for us as the scriptures say “while we were yet sinners.”

Is water baptism our salvation? No.

1 Peter 3:21

“…and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a good conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ,”

We are saved by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, not the baptism of water. The scriptures tell us so.

Act 18:24

“And a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man, and mighty in the scriptures, came to Ephesus. 25 This man was instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in the spirit, he spake and taught diligently the things of the Lord, knowing only the baptism of John.”

Yet he knew only the baptism of John; he was instructed in the gospel of Christ as far as John's ministry would carry him, and no further; he knew the preparing of the way of the Lord by that voice crying in the wilderness, rather than the way of the Lord itself.

We cannot but think he had heard of Christ's death and resurrection, but he was not let into the mystery of them, he either had not had opportunity of conversing with any of the apostles since the pouring out of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost; or he himself had been baptized only with the baptism of John, but was not baptized with the Holy Ghost, as the disciples were at the day of Pentecost.

John himself told us in the scriptures John’s baptism with water was symbolic of what was to come with Christ.

I (John) baptize with water, BUT the one who comes, who is GREATER than I, will baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire.

Act 19:1

“And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples,

2 He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost. 3 And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John's baptism.(this is water baptism) 4 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. 5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.”

Water baptism, what the scriptures call “the baptism of John” is not what Christ came for.

It was symbolic of what Christ would bring through His death and resurrection, the promise of the Father in heaven, the Holy Spirit.

John tells us in the scripture, When Jesus comes, He will baptize you with the real baptism, not a symbol.

He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit, and with fire.

Where John’s baptism represents an inward change, it is only symbolic.

Jesus was water baptized, then baptized with the Holy Spirit to show the connection. To tell us what the water baptism represented.

He did the same thing when He was the perfect sacrifice.

He was crucified during the Passover at the same time the high priests were performing the ritual sacrifice of the lambs which represented the real sacrifice of Christ.

He died on the same day, to tell us what ritual represented.

Is baptism important?

Yes, or Jesus wouldn’t have been baptized.

Does baptism get us into heaven?

Not water baptism.

How do I know? Jesus tells us so, from the cross in the Holy Word of God.

Luke 23:40

“But answering (one thief to the other), the other rebuked him, saying, Do you not fear God, for you are in the same judgment? 41 And we indeed justly, for we receive things worthy of what we did. But this One did nothing wrong. 42 And he said to Jesus, Lord, remember me when You come in Your kingdom. 43 And Jesus said to him, Truly I say to you, Today you will be with Me in Paradise.”

RECOGNIZED JESUS AS GOD

Do you not fear God

CONFESSED SIN

And we indeed justly, for we receive things worthy of what we did.

ACKNOWLEDGED JESUS WAS SINLESS

But this One did nothing wrong

HE ASKED JESUS TO LET HIM INTO JESUS’ KINGDOM

Lord, remember me when You come in Your kingdom

AND Jesus said to him…

Truly I say to you, Today you will be with Me in Paradise.

The Word of God.

Is water baptism necessary at all?

First of all, public confession that you have confessed your sin to God, and repented of that sin and have submitted yourself to the Lord to become a new creation in His hands and through His Spirit.

Secondly, you must be baptized if you expect to serve the Lord here on earth.

Without the baptism, without your public confession and submission to the Lord, you have not come to a place where you have made yourself available for the Holy Spirit.

You cannot serve the Lord here on earth without the Holy Spirit, and you can only receive the Holy Spirit after your confession of sin, repentance, and public confession of your conversion which is done symbolically through the water baptism.

Do you have to be baptized to go to heaven?

The bible does not say that. We are saved through our faith, and God’s grace, not through any acts or “things” we do.

We can do nothing to save ourselves; we can not earn or work our ways into heaven. It is only through our faith in Jesus Christ and His grace that saves us, and this is only possible because of His payment for our sins as the atoning sacrifice on the cross.

The scriptures do show us that you can go to heaven without baptism. The thief on the cross next to Jesus Christ, confessed he was a sinner and deserved the cross, and he also exclaimed that Jesus was innocent, after that he believed in Jesus to be the King, and asked Jesus to remember him when He entered His kingdom.

Jesus promised this man, today you will be with me in paradise.

BUT…

The thief was on the cross, he was not going to be serving Jesus on earth, he was about to die.

He did not need the Holy Spirit.

Holy Spirit is where we receive our Spiritual Gifts, which are for “building & edifying the body of Christ.”

Jesus shows us, that if you are saved, you need to be baptized so that you can receive the Holy Spirit, this is your power and authority on earth through Christ, where you receive your Spiritual Gifts so that you can serve our Lord here on earth.

You can NOT serve Jesus without the Holy Spirit.

If you do anything on your own, this is a work of the flesh, and is unworthy in the kingdom.

Only the work of the Holy Spirit through us is worthy.

John tells us that when Jesus comes, He will baptize with the Holy Spirit & Fire!

The Holy Spirit

To serve the Lord on earth, we MUST have the Holy Spirit. And only Jesus can give the Holy Spirit to you.

Fire

Fire in the scriptures represents judgment, and purifying. Jesus will be judging ALL we do in His name. Works of the Holy Spirit through us are acceptable and Holy to the Lord.

Works of the flesh will be burned up, and not counted. Because there is nothing we can DO, no work from us is holy, only the work of the Holy Spirit through us.

Wheat & Chaff

Jesus will baptize us with fire, purifying our deeds, separating the works of the flesh and the works of the Spirit.

He will thoroughly purge His floor so that He may bring forth more fruit.

Chaff is what covers the wheat.

It is useless and worthless and must be removed so that the seed within the chaff can be exposed.

In the same way, Jesus through His judgment will remove the chaff so that the seed can bear fruit.

Our flesh gets in the way of the seed of God within us, and sometimes God must make judgments against our flesh, the chaff which is our flesh, so that the seed of God within us, we received through the Holy Spirit, can be exposed and produce fruit.

The Lord had to do this with Paul.

A judgment was made on Paul’s flesh, the chaff so that the seed of God within Him could be exposed and produce fruit.

The scriptures tell us Paul prayed three times for this “thorn” to be removed, and God said “No, my grace is sufficient.”

We read that Paul says that he found this was necessary, so that he would remain humble.

The Lord’s fire (judgment) on Paul, Paul’s thorn, allowed Paul to remain humble, and in remaining humble, the seed within the chaff was exposed and produced much fruit.

The scriptures tell us that God seeks out the humble, but resists the proud.

The scripture tells us, Jesus will gather His Wheat into the harvest; but He will burn up the chaff (works of the flesh) with an unquenchable fire.

JESUS FULFILLED ALL RIGHTEOUSNESS

The scriptures say that Jesus fulfills all righteousness when He was baptized.

Romans 6:3 – 5

Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? 4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:”

We are told here by Paul, that when we are submerged in baptism, it is symbolic of dying with Christ, and when we rise again, it is like when Christ rose again, therefore, we should be walking in NEWNESS of life!

We are a new creature, and a new creation. And if we are claiming Christianity, claiming that we too have died, been buried and rose again with Christ, we should be living it!

Jesus, at the baptism, symbolically died to Himself, making a public statement that He was submitting completely to God the Father’s will for Him in His life.

Have you done this?

Have you fulfilled the righteousness that you claim by your confession, repentance and baptism?

Are you WALKING IN NEWNESS OF LIFE, as Paul says?

JESUS RECEIVES THE HOLY SPIRIT AFTER HIS BAPTISM

The Heavens opened to Him

Heaven – ouranos = sky

The Spirit of God descends on Him

Spirit – breath = reconciled with the Father in Heaven through the Holy Spirit.

This was lost at the fall, when God first created man and breathed His spirit in him.

Sin caused the separation of man and God, and we lost the Holy Spirit.

Through Jesus’ sacrifice, it is possible to regain relationship with the Father in heaven through the Holy Spirit once again.

The Fathers blessing

There is blessings, benefits and protection with receiving the Holy Spirit.

The Whole armor of God as David had when facing Goliath.

Spiritual gifts for building and edifying the body of Christ.

Spiritual fruits, which are the works of the Holy Spirit through us, love, joy, peace.

By receiving the Holy Spirit, we are members of the Kingdom of God here on earth, with Jesus Christ as our Lord. We are ambassadors to the Kingdom.

God the Father speaks at Jesus’ baptism.

“This is my son, whom I love, with Him “I AM WELL PLEASED”

I am well pleased – the Greek word here (eudokeo) means approved act.

JESUS BEGINS HIS MINISTRY

Jesus begins His ministry

CONCLUSION

Have you confessed your sins to the Father in Heaven?

Have you repented, or recognized your wrong direction, and turned from it?

Have you been baptized so that you too can receive the Holy Spirit and all God’s blessings that come with it?

If not, come forward and I will pray with you.

If you were not baptized with an understanding of what you were doing or what it was about, or you were never baptized, as soon as the weather breaks, we will be having a baptism service in Tawas Lake behind Gale Wojahn’s mother’s house and everyone is invited.

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