Into the Water

Read this featured blog post by Bethel Christian Center

Pastor Don presents a perpetually open invitation this week. Will you answer the call?

John the Baptist

John the Baptist is a man standing in the distance, a voice is thundering through the crowd. There is something different about this man. Out in the wilderness, he declares the Word of God to the gathered crowd and presents himself with an authority not found in the marketplace or synagogues. Something seems as if this is akin to the prophets of old heard through the years. As he speaks of this One that is to come, many are drawn to him and the news of this coming King is spreading.

The Message of Repentance

The message is a simple one of repentance but one the Jewish people and Gentiles had not heard before. There is no mention of the law, something the culture was very accustomed to. In fact, John harshly rebukes those law teachers who do come out to hear him. Many people are dunked into the water at the river Jordan, as he does what is called “baptizing,” or “baptizo” literally meaning to immerse, getting his namesake as John the Baptist.

In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah, saying: “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord; Make His paths straight.’ ” Now John himself was clothed in camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist; and his food was locusts and wild honey. Then Jerusalem, all Judea, and all the region around the Jordan went out to him and were baptized by him in the Jordan, confessing their sins. But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, “Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance, and do not think to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones. And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather His wheat into the barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” John Baptizes Jesus Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him. And John tried to prevent Him, saying, “I need to be baptized by You, and are You coming to me?” But Jesus answered and said to him, “Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he allowed Him. When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” Matthew 3:1-17 NKJV

Jesus is Baptized

Everything comes together as the one John has been announcing comes on the scene and reveals himself. Why, it is none other than John's cousin, Jesus, who is here to be baptized by John. John proclaims that he is not worthy, but Jesus insists, confirming this practice is an example to follow and a message to embrace fully as the only way to salvation! Repent and be saved. This is the Way! Even though Jesus had no sin to repent of, He is the new "Adam" setting forth a path for all to follow.

So he commanded the chariot to stand still. And both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and he baptized him. Now when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught Philip away, so that the eunuch saw him no more; and he went on his way rejoicing. Acts 8:38-39 NKJV

Water Baptism

We are commanded to be baptized. It is the very first step in our Christian walk after we initially believe on and confess Jesus as our Savior. This first work of grace is one of the commanded ordinances of the church, along with remembering him with the sacraments of Holy Communion. As communion itself is a means of remembering, baptism in water is a means of proclaiming what Christ has done in your life. This baptism of repentance does not literally remove your sins but testifies to the fact that Christ has! In one moment, we become symbolically united with Christ in death, burial, and resurrection.

Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent. Revelation 2:5 NKJV

Fan the flame of your First Love

In Revelation we are told to “do first works again” and, as baptism is the very first work of a Christian, there is a biblical precedent to be rebaptized. Immersion is the biblical model of baptism, and this public declaration best follows a definitively intentional commitment of faith. In this way, a believer may be rebaptized if they're are returning to the Lord or if they are in any way not satisfied with their previous baptism. 

 

Is the Lord stirring your heart to return to your first works?

 

Contact us at any time if you would like to be baptized!

Push into His presence in a deeper way this week! You will be surprised the difference in your experience with God when you connect with a Spirit-filled community to encourage you and spur you on when things get difficult. The Holy Spirit is moving around the world, and we are preparing for a great local move of His Holy Spirit here in Durham before Jesus's soon return.


God's Word is both timeless and powerful today!

We hope that you will consider this week's message in greater depth in the days ahead and meditate on God's Word in the attached pdf outline.

You can find the sermon and all resource attachments by clicking here.


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