*Baptism

*The enemies of truth deleted some 400 words from this article.

The term ‘baptism’ does not occur in the Old Testament. Circumcision was a sign of God’s covenant with Abraham which children of Abraham must observe. Circumcision is not for Christians. According to the King James Version (KJV), baptism occurs only 22 times in the New Testament. However, baptism appears in various forms such as baptize, baptized, Baptist, in addition to baptism.

Baptism by itself does not and cannot save.

1. Baptism is a Christian rite.

Mat 3:7,“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?”

Luk 3:7,“Then he said to the multitudes that came out to be baptized by him: Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?”

Note: Baptism in Greek is baptisma which means immersion, submersion; - it occurs about 22 times in the New Testament. The standard rite of baptism is through immersion, not sprinkling. Only through immersion or submersion can symbolize to be baptized into Jesus’death, burial and resurrection. The baptism of John the Baptist, that purification rite by which men on confessing their sins were bound to spiritual reformation, obtained the pardon of their past sins and became qualified for the benefits of the Messiah's kingdom soon to be set up. This was valid Christian baptism, as this was the only baptism the apostles received and it is not recorded anywhere that they were ever rebaptized after Pentecost. The Christian baptism is a rite of immersion in water as commanded by Christ, by which one after confessing his sins and professing his faith in Christ, having been born again by the Holy Spirit unto a new life, identifies publicly with the fellowship of Christ and the church. There are controversies about the form or format of baptism, in particular regarding sprinkling. Knowing that baptism is only a rite or ritual or ceremony which does and can not save soul, we should not let baptism divide among Christians. For example, you cannot immerse an ill or terminal patient into water. The Bible is silent on what to do when a person is unfit physically to be baptized. In that situation sprinkling may suffice. A person can be baptized and still not be born again. Not all who have been baptized are saved. Water baptism does not save anyone. However, it is a duty of believers to repent and be baptized. Baptism is like a wedding ceremony. If a man and woman love each other, they must get married. The marriage declares from now on they are husband and wife, they belong to each other. In a baptism, a believer confesses his/her sins and identifies with Jesus Christ, and declares to the world he/she is a follower of Jesus Christ, and belongs to Christ once and for all. Vipers in Greek is echidna which means a poisonous snake, offspring of vipers; cunning, malignant and wicked men. John the Baptist did not use nice words, he called the Pharisees and Sadducees “brood of vipers!” They were rightly so. Many politicians and officials today who call themselves Christians are also brood of vipers. There are preachers trying to flatter them, these preachers like money and power. Imperialists, hegemonists, supremacists, capitalists, monopolists, dictators and oppressors, and terrorists are brood of vipers. Wrath in Greek is orgē which means anger, indignation, anger exhibited in punishment, punishment; - it occurs about 36 times in the New Testament. Anger or wrath in the New Testament that is attributed to God is that in God which stands opposed to man’s disobedience, stubbornness (in resisting the Gospel), and sin, and manifests itself in punishing the sinner.

Mat 12:34,“Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.”

Note: Jesus Christ also calls the Pharisees and evildoers ‘brood of vipers!’A hypocrite, being evil, speaks good things. An imperialist and warmonger, being evil, speaks of freedom and democracy. Crooked bankers, being evil, speak of economic catastrophe if the government does not bail out failing banks. There are so many evildoers who pretend to be good.

Jhn 3:36,“He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”

Note: God’s attitude toward you depends on your attitude toward the Son of God Jesus Christ. Abide in Greek is menō  which means to remain, continue to be present, stay on; - it occurs about 120 times in the New Testament. The wrath of God stays on unbelievers.

Rom 1:18,“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness.”

Note: Ungodly and unrighteous men always suppress the truth in unrighteousness. Suppress in Greek is katechō which means to hold back, detain, retain, restrain, hinder; - it occurs 19 times in the New Testament. To suppress the truth is to hold back or hinder the truth.

Rom 2:5,“But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God.”

Note: Impenitent in Greek is ametanoētos which means admitting no change of mind, unrepented; - it occurs only once in the New Testament. Man’s problem is not his head, but his heart – his hardness and his unrepentant heart. This prevents man from repentance of his sins. Treasure up in Greek is thēsaurizō which means to gather and lay up, to heap up, store up, accumulate, increase; - it occurs only 8 times in the New Testament. The day of wrath is the Day of Judgment.

Eph 2:3,“Among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.”

Note: The wicked and unbelievers are by nature children of wrath. No man is by nature good, only God is good. Children of wrath do not mean people who have a right to be angry. Children of wrath are people who deserve to be punished by the wrath of God. Lusts of the flesh consist of the desires of the flesh and of the mind. Desires of the flesh such as fornication, adultery, promiscuity, homosexuality, etc. Desires of the mind include power, money, fame, fortune, vainglory, position, wealth, etc.

Rom 2:8,“But to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness--indignation and wrath.”

Note: The reason America is in deep trouble is because there are too many self-seeking politicians and officials and serving the special interests.

Self-seeking politicians and officials will not obey the truth and do what is right. Watch the nations which are prepared for destruction.

Question: How shall sinners flee from the wrath of God?

Rom 5:9,“Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.”

Note: When you repent of your sins and accept the Lord as your Savior, His precious blood cleanses you from all sins and justifies you before God. When God counts you as righteous, there will be no judgment and thus you are saved from the wrath of God by grace through faith.

Eph 5:6,“Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.”

Rev 6:16-17,“And said to the mountains and rocks: Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?”

Note: It is awesome and awful to fall into the hand of the angry God. The wrath of the Lamb is the wrath of God.

Rom 6:4,“Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.”

Note: The Christian baptism signifies baptism into Christ’s death, buried with Him, and raised with Him from the dead by the glory of the Father so that we walk in the newness of life. Oh, how little we know and experience the power of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Mar 16:16,“He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.”

Note: If you believe in Christ, you must obey Him to be baptized. The repentant thief on the cross did not have a chance to be baptized. Luk 23:43“And Jesus said to him: Truly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”

NoteParadise in Greek is paradeisos which means the blessed place to which true Christians will be taken after death waiting for the resurrection; - it occurs only 3 times in the New Testament. So you see purgatory taught by the Catholic Church is a lie.

On the other hand a person who has been baptized is not necessarily saved.

Act 8:13,“Then Simon himself also believed; and when he was baptized he continued with Philip, and was amazed, seeing the miracles and signs which were done.”

Note: Simon liked the power of miracles and signs. Act 8:18-23,“And when Simon saw that through the laying on of the apostles' hands the Holy Spirit was given, he offered them money, saying: Give me this power also, that anyone on whom I lay hands may receive the Holy Spirit. But Peter said to him: Your money perish with you, because you thought that the gift of God could be purchased with money! You have neither part nor portion in this matter, for your heart is not right in the sight of God. Repent therefore of this your wickedness, and pray God if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you. For I see that you are poisoned by bitterness and bound by iniquity.” It is possible that a man may have been baptized and yet not repented and has not received the gift of the Holy Spirit like Simon who previously practiced sorcery. Not only the act, even the thought of your heart will be judged by God.

Act 9:18,“Immediately there fell from his eyes something like scales, and he received his sight at once; and he arose and was baptized.”

Note: The Scripture tells the conversion of Saul into Paul. The Lord sent Ananias to put his hand on Paul; Paul was filled with the Holy Spirit first and then he was baptized.

Act 8:26-39,“Now an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip, saying: Arise and go toward the south along the road which goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza. This is desert. So he arose and went. And behold, a man of Ethiopia, a eunuch of great authority under Candace the queen of the Ethiopians, who had charge of all her treasury, and had come to Jerusalem to worship, was returning. And sitting in his chariot, he was reading Isaiah the prophet. Then the Spirit said to Philip: Go near and overtake this chariot. So Philip ran to him, and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah, and said: Do you understand what you are reading? And he said: How can I, unless someone guides me? And he asked Philip to come up and sit with him. The place in the Scripture which he read was this: He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and as a lamb before its shearer is silent, So He opened not His mouth. In His humiliation His justice was taken away, and who will declare His generation? For His life is taken from the earth. So the eunuch answered Philip and said: I ask you, of whom does the prophet say this, of himself or of some other man? Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning at this Scripture, preached Jesus to him. Now as they went down the road, they came to some water. And the eunuch said: See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized? Then Philip said: If you believe with all your heart, you may. And he answered and said: I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. 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.”

Note: It is possible that you read the Bible and do not understand what you are reading. All who sincerely want to serve the Lord and preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ should bow in shame, because where can you find the servant of the Lord today who is directed by the Holy Spirit like Philip? Some evangelists and preachers are so proud that they have preached to presidents, kings and queens, prime ministers and high ranking officials, but is there a preacher whom the Spirit said to him? There was once an American TV evangelist who claimed that he had a vision that Jesus Christ demanded Christians to send him a sum of money! What a shame! Capitalistic gospel is a false gospel. Prosperity gospel is a false gospel without the power of the Holy Spirit.

2. Baptism of afflictions.

Mat 20:22-23,“But Jesus answered and said: You do not know what you ask. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? They said to Him: We are able.

So He said to them: You will indeed drink My cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with; but to sit on My right hand and on My left is not Mine to give, but it is for those for whom it is prepared by My Father.”

Mar 10:38-39,“But Jesus said to them: You do not know what you ask. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? They said to Him: We are able. So Jesus said to them: You will indeed drink the cup that I drink, and with the baptism I am baptized with you will be baptized.”

Note: Although the word ‘baptism” used in Mat 3:7 is the same original word used in  Mat 20:23, but it has a different meaning. It is not the cup of joy; it is the cup of sorrow.

Mat 20:23,“So He said to them: You will indeed drink My cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with; but to sit on My right hand and on My left is not Mine to give, but it is for those for whom it is prepared by My Father.”

Note: To be baptized with afflictions is to drink the cup of sufferings. Christians will suffer many hardships in this world for Jesus’ sake for one’s own sake. Be sure you know what you ask or pray for. It is often we do not know what we ask or pray for. For example, a little boy or girl plays with the loaded gun. Due to the powerful gun lobby, America is the only industrialized nation that allows possession of guns, weapons of death. Children who play with guns often kill each other not knowing the danger thereof. If we seek self-glory and wealth or power, we certainly do not know what we ask.

Luk 12:50,“But I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how distressed I am till it is accomplished!”

Note: To be distressed in Greek is synechō which means to hold together with constraint, to compress, press on every side, of ills laying hold of one and distressing, afflicted with; - it occurs 12 times in the New Testament. How distressed it was to bear the sins of the world!

Mat 7:11,“If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!”

Note: Children of God, God wants to give good things to those who ask Him. Do you know that? Ask God for good things, not material things.

Luk 11:13,“If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!”

Note: There is no better gift than the Holy Spirit. For a child of God, the Holy Spirit will live in him and guide him and help him.

Jhn 14:13,“And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.”

Note: Christians must ask things that the Father may be glorified in the Son. Anything that will dishonor God we should not ask.

Col 1:9,“For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding.”

Note: Among the good things we can ask are the Holy Spirit, the knowledge of God’s will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding. Unbelieving scientists do not have the Holy Spirit, and so they do not know the will of God, and do not have wisdom and spiritual understanding. That is the reason why they are ignorant of the things of God.

Jam 1:5,“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.”

Note: If you ask God for wisdom, God will not blame you but give you liberally or generously.

1Jo 3:22,“And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight.”

Note: To keep God’s commandments is to please God.

1Jo 5:14,“Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.”

Note: If we ask anything according to the will of God, we have confidence in Him. We cannot have confidence in God if we ask for money, power and pleasure and the things of the world.

3. The baptism of John.

Mat 3:1,“In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea.”

Note: John was preaching in the wilderness, people went out to the wilderness to hear him. Wilderness was a natural and free and open location for preaching the Word of God. How many preachers today seek to preach at palace, White House, famous locations and prestigious institutions. John was the lonely voice in the wilderness in an evil generation. Where is the voice crying in the wilderness today in a cooked and corrupt world?

Mat 3:6,“And were baptized by him in the Jordan, confessing their sins.”

Note: Those who repent must confess their sins to God, not to a Catholic priest. Only God can forgive sins.

Mat 3:11,“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.”

Mar 1:8, “I indeed baptized you with water, but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”

Luk 3:16, “John answered, saying to all: I indeed baptize you with water; but One mightier than I is coming, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”

Jhn 1:26, “John answered them, saying: I baptize with water, but there stands One among you whom you do not know.”

Note: Jesus was mightier than John, for John was the servant. Worthy in Greek is hikanos which means sufficient, good enough, meet, fit; - it occurs about 41 times in the New Testament. John was not good enough to carry the sandals of Jesus, or to loose the sandal strap of Jesus. No one is worthy to go to heaven, no one is worthy to be saved.

Jhn 3:23,“Now John also was baptizing in Aenon near Salim, because there was much water there. And they came and were baptized.”

Note: To have baptism by immersion, much water is necessary. In modern days, swimming pool or a pool is a good place for baptism. Some churches have built-in baptisteries.

Act 13:24,“After John had first preached, before His coming, the baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel.”

Note: John preached the baptism of repentance, not regeneration because only the Lord can give the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit gives life to believers of Christ.

Mar 1:4-5,“John came baptizing in the wilderness and preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. Then all the land of Judea, and those from Jerusalem, went out to him and were all baptized by him in the Jordan River, confessing their sins.”

Note: Repentance in Greek is metanoia which means a change of mind, as it appears to one who repents, of a purpose he has formed or of something he has done; - it occurs about 24 times in the New Testament. Repentance is the change of mind of those who have begun to abhor their sins and misdeeds, and have determined to enter upon a better course of life, so that it embraces both a recognition of sin and sorrow for it and hearty amendment, the tokens and effects of which are good deeds.

Luk 3:2-16,“While Annas and Caiaphas were high priests, the Word of God came to John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness. And he went into all the region around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins, as it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet, saying: The voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the LORD; Make His paths straight. Every valley shall be filled and every mountain and hill brought low; the crooked places shall be made straight and the rough ways smooth; and all flesh shall see the salvation of God. Then he said to the multitudes that came out to be baptized by him: Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance, and do not begin 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. So the people asked him, saying: What shall we do then? He answered and said to them: He who has two tunics, let him give to him who has none; and he who has food, let him do likewise. Then tax collectors also came to be baptized, and said to him: Teacher, what shall we do? And he said to them: Collect no more than what is appointed for you. Likewise the soldiers asked him, saying: And what shall we do? So he said to them: Do not intimidate anyone or accuse falsely, and be content with your wages. Now as the people were in expectation, and all reasoned in their hearts about John, whether he was the Christ or not, John answered, saying to all: I indeed baptize you with water; but One mightier than I is coming, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”

Note: The ministry of John fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah. John outlined the deeds of repentance. Interesting is the instruction for the soldiers which in today would mean police and law enforcement officials. In America the military do not have any contact with the people. Intimidate in Greek is diaseiō which means to shake thoroughly, make to tremble, terrify, extort from one money or other property by intimidation; - it occurs only once in the New Testament. Even today police often abuse their power and use force to shake down from people. To accuse falsely in Greek is sykophanteō which means to accuse wrongfully, to calumniate, to attack by malicious devices, exact money wrongfully, extort from, defraud; - it occurs only twice in the New Testament.  Police, prosecutors and lawyers (legal professionals) are in a position to falsely accuse somebody. The legal system is often used to extort money from the innocent by blackmail. The innocent are often forced to hire layers to defend themselves. Be content in Greek is arkeō which means to be satisfied, to be enough, to be contented; - it occurs only 8 times in the New Testament. 

Phl 4:11, “Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content.” 

1Ti 6:8, “And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content.” 

Hbr 13:5,“Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said: I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Despicable are the preachers who think because they preach the gospel they are entitled to nice things and luxuries. Capitalism is born with greed. In a capitalistic society no one is contented with his wages. Greed is the cause of corruption in government and business. Greed is the cause that doctors and hospital owners overcharge and defraud patients and insurance companies and the government in Medicare and Medicaid. Greed causes the American health care system to be the most costly and ineffective in the world. Greed is the father of all frauds. It was instructive that John did not command the soldiers to overthrow the brutal Roman Empire or start a revolution. Repentance is personal and individual.

Mat 3:1,“In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea.”

Luk 3:7,“Then he said to the multitudes that came out to be baptized by him: Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?”

Luk 9:19,“So they answered and said: John the Baptist, but some say Elijah; and others say that one of the old prophets has risen again.”

Act 18:25, “This man had been instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things of the Lord, though he knew only the baptism of John.”

Note: A person maybe well meaning, being fervent in spirit, yet his knowledge of the things of the Lord may not be accurate. Zeal is not enough by itself, one must have knowledge of the truth. To rightly interpret the Word of God is to teach accurately the whole counsel of God.

Act 19:3,“And he said to them: Into what then were you baptized? So they said: Into John's baptism.”

Note: Although the baptism of John was good, but it was preliminary. It became obsolete when Jesus Christ appeared. John baptized with water but Jesus baptized with fire which symbolizes the Holy Spirit.

Jhn 1:23-27,“He said: I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness: Make straight the way of the LORD, as the prophet Isaiah said. Now those who were sent were from the Pharisees; and they asked him, saying: Why then do you baptize if you are not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet? John answered them, saying: I baptize with water, but there stands One among you whom you do not know. It is He who, coming after me, is preferred before me, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose.”

Note: A servant of God must know who he is, not pretending what he is not. All ministries which are true and sound must point to the Lamb of God, the Savior of the world.

Act 1:22,“Beginning from the baptism of John to that day when He was taken up from us, one of these must become a witness with us of His resurrection.”

Note: The apostles had been with Jesus from the baptism of John to that day when He was take up (ascended to heaven) from them. They all were witnesses of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Act 10:37, “That word you know, which was proclaimed throughout all Judea, and began from Galilee after the baptism which John preached:”

Act 13:24, “After John had first preached, before His coming, the baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel.”

4.     The testimony of John.

Jhn 1:29, “The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said: Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”

Note: Take away in Greek is airō which means to take upon one's self and carry what has been raised up, to bear, to bear away what has been raised, carry off, remove; - it occurs about 102 times in the New Testament.

Question: How does the Lamb of God take away the sin of the world?

To remove the guilt and punishment of sin by expiation, that is, by dying on the cross for sinners. 

Hbr 2:17,“Therefore He (Christ) had to be made like His brethren in every respect, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make expiation for the sins of the people.” 

1Jo 2:2, “And He is the expiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.” 

1Jo 4:10, “In this is love, not that we loved God but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the expiation for our sins.” Expiation in Greek is hilastērion  which means a means of appeasing or expiating, a propitiation, an appeasing, an expiatory sacrifice; - it occurs only twice in the New Testament.

Jhn 1:33,“I did not know Him, but He who sent me to baptize with water said to me: Upon whom you see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.”

Note: God said and says to His prophets. John was nothing without Jesus. The knowledge of Jesus Christ comes from the revelation of God. God revealed to John the Baptist that upon whom he saw the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, this was He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit. This was the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. The voice of the wilderness was something of significance, when John, so soon as he had accomplished his mission, passing away, having no continual significance for the Church of God; but Jesus, of whom John had told, and to whom he witnessed, abiding for ever as the Son of God, the Savior of the world.

Luk 3:19,“But Herod the tetrarch, being rebuked by him concerning Herodias, his brother Philip's wife, and for all the evils which Herod had done.”

Mar 6:18,“Because John had said to Herod: It is not lawful for you to have your brother's wife.”

Note: Rebuke in Greek is elegchō  which means to reprimand, convict, refute, confute, find fault with, correct, reprehend severely, chide, admonish, reprove; - it occurs 17 times in the New Testament. All preacher of righteousness must preach against sins, against evils. Preachers who flatter kings and queens, presidents and prime ministers, the rich and powerful, etc. are not preachers of righteousness no matter how popular they are. Evil in Greek is ponēros which means wicked thing, causing pain and trouble, bad thing, evil deed; - it occurs about 76 times in the New Testament. Wicked and evil deeds always cause pain and trouble. The greed of Wall Street that created the 2008 economic and financial crisis causes so much pain and trouble all over the world because it looted the world more than $50 trillion dollars. The evil deeds of warmongers caused lives lost in the millions and miseries of untold nature. Wicked deeds are always unlawful before God may not be a crime in a flawed criminal justice system. When a great power commits war crimes and crimes against humanity, no nation can take it to the International Court of Justice.

Mat 14:8,“So she, having been prompted by her mother, said: Give me John the Baptist's head here on a platter.”

Mar 6:22-25,“And when Herodias' daughter herself came in and danced, and pleased Herod and those who sat with him, the king said to the girl: Ask me whatever you want, and I will give it to you. He also swore to her, whatever you ask me, I will give you, up to half my kingdom. So she went out and said to her mother: What shall I ask? And she said: The head of John the Baptist! Immediately she came in with haste to the king and asked, saying: I want you to give me at once the head of John the Baptist on a platter.”

Note: The head of John the Baptist was worth more than half of Herod’s kingdom. Cursed are the children who have an evil mother. Blessed are the children who have a good mother. The influence of a mother upon her children is tremendous whether it is for good or evil. Alas the preacher of righteousness, the great prophet John the Baptist, ended on his head on a platter! Do you say John was a success or failure? The success or failure of a ministry does not depend on the result of one’s end; it depends whether he has done the will of God or not. John the Baptist, Paul, Peter, Stephen and others had done the will of God for their lives, and so they had the greatest achievement.

Act 19:4,“Then Paul said: John indeed baptized with a baptism of repentance, saying to the people that they should believe on Him who would come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.”

Note: The central message of John was that people believe in Christ Jesus, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.

5. The baptism of Jesus.

Mat 3:13-17,“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.”

Note: Need in Greek is chreia which means necessity, duty; - it occurs 49 times in the New Testament. Wise is the person who knows what he has need to do. We have need to study the Word of God and do the will of God. We have need to pray always. We have need to be thankful. We have need to witness for Christ. Do you know what you have need to do? Permit in Greek is aphiēmi which means to allow, not to hinder, let alone; - it occurs about 146 times in the New Testament. To be fit in Greek is prepō which means to be becoming, seemly; - it occurs only 7 times in the New Testament.

Righteousness in Greek here is dikaiosynē which means state of him who is as he ought to be, the condition acceptable to God, correctness of acting; - it occurs about 92 times in the New Testament. The Lord knows what is befitting, what is acceptable to God. John saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Jesus. The Holy Spirit was descending like a dove; dove is not the Holy Spirit. Alight in Greek is erchomai which means to come down upon; - it occurs about 643 times in the New Testament.

Mar 1:8-9,“I indeed baptized you with water, but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit. It came to pass in those days that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized by John in the Jordan.”

Luk 3:21-22,“When all the people were baptized, it came to pass that Jesus also was baptized; and while He prayed, the heaven was opened.

And the Holy Spirit descended in bodily form like a dove upon Him, and a voice came from heaven which said: You are My beloved Son; in You I am well pleased.”

Note: Jesus was baptized by John; the baptism of Jesus was different from all John had baptized. To be baptized in Greek is baptizō which means to dip repeatedly, to immerse, to submerge; - it occurs about 80 times in the New Testament. Undoubtedly, the mode of baptism is immersion.

Baptism in water (such as John's) is distinguished from baptism with the Holy Spirit. Those who receive the latter, however, may also be baptized in water; and there is one example of people who had previously received John's baptism receiving Christian baptism as a preliminary to receiving the Spirit. 

Act 19:1-7,“It happened that while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul passed through the upper country and came to Ephesus, and found some disciples. He said to them: Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed? And they said to him: No, we have not even heard whether there is a Holy Spirit. And he said: Into what then were you baptized? And they said: Into John's baptism. Paul said: John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in Him who was coming after him, that is, in Jesus. When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking with tongues and prophesying. There were in all about twelve men.”

Note: John's was a baptism of repentance, as was also Christian baptism, but John's baptism became obsolete when Christ came. Christian baptism followed faith in the Lord Jesus; it was associated with His name, which was invoked by the person baptized; it signified the remission or washing away of sins; sometimes it preceded, sometimes followed the receiving of the Spirit.

Act 8:16, “For as yet He had fallen upon none of them. They had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.”

Note: The formulary concept of salvation is not what presented in the Bible. There were disciples who knew only the water baptism of John. There were believers who were baptized in the name of Lord Jesus, but had not received the Holy Spirit. For example, Paul received the Holy Spirit and then he was baptized.

This is a most important message to millions and millions of church members all over the world. Do you know you have the Holy Spirit testify with your spirits that you are children of God? 

Rom 8:9,“However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.” If you do not have the Spirit of Christ, you do not belong to Christ. This is very serious. How can you know you have the Spirit of Christ?

Rom 8:16,“The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God.” You have been baptized, you have observed the Lord’s Supper, and you have been a church member for many years; but these are useless as far as your salvation is concerned. If the Spirit does not testify with your spirit that you are a child of God, then you are not a child of God. If you do not have the Spirit of Christ, you do not belong to Him. I cannot know whether you have the Spirit of Christ in you or not, just as I cannot tell whether you are hungry or full. You can know for sure if the Holy Spirit testifies with your spirit or not that you are a child of God. Testify in Greek is symmartyreō  which means to bear witness with, bear joint witness; - it occurs only 4 times in the New Testament. It simply means the Holy Spirit will tell you that you are a child of God. If the Holy Spirit has never told you that you are a child of God, it is not too late. You can pray something like this:

Dear Lord Jesus, I have believed and accepted you as my Lord and Savior; have mercy on me, because I still do not know and do not have the testimony of the Holy Spirit that I am a child of God. Please send your Spirit into my heart and live in me, and tell me that I belong to you and that I am a child of God. I ask earnestly in Jesus name, Amen.

You must continuously pray day and night until the Spirit of Christ speaks to your spirit that you are a child of God. Then you can praise the Lord.

6. The testimony of Jesus about John.

Mat 11:11,“Truly, I say to you, among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist; but he who is least in the Kingdom of heaven is greater than he.”

Luk 7:28,“For I say to you, among those born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist; but he who is least in the Kingdom of God is greater than he.”

Note: Jesus sometimes makes comparative statement which is hard to understand. I understand the first part of Christ’s statement cited above, but I honestly do not understand the second part of the statement although I am familiar with the comments of Bible scholars. I may be the least in the Kingdom of God; I am definitely not greater than John the Baptist. Suffice to say there are many things that Christ says and we do not fully understand. The important thing is to believe what Jesus Christ says about God, about Himself, and about the Gospel – the way of salvation.

Mat 21:25,“The baptism of John--where was it from? From heaven or from men? And they reasoned among themselves, saying, If we say: From heaven, He will say to us: Why then did you not believe him?”

Mar 11:30,“The baptism of John--was it from heaven or from men? Answer Me.”

Luk 20:4,“The baptism of John--was it from heaven or from men?”

Note: The baptism of John was certainly from heaven, not from men. John the Baptist was sent to prepare the way for the Lord Jesus. His water baptism was calling people to repent of their sins so that they may receive the salvation of God in Jesus Christ.

Luk 7:33,“For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine, and you say: He has a demon.”

Note: Often the opinion of men is so diabolical that they said the great prophet John the Baptist had a demon. It was those who made such a statement about John who had a demon in themselves.

Luk 7:29,“And when all the people heard Him, even the tax collectors justified God, having been baptized with the baptism of John.”

Note: Justify in Greek is dikaioō which means to render righteous or such he ought to be, declare, pronounce, one to be just, righteous, or such as he ought to be; - it occurs about 40 times in the New Testament. All who repent and believe in God would justify God for what Jesus Christ said, only the Pharisees who rejected the will of God would not believe.

Luk 7:20,“When the men had come to Him, they said: John the Baptist has sent us to You, saying: Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?

NoteThe Scripture cited above proves again the Bible is the Word of God. If a book is written by man, it would not raise the question: Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another? No matter who you are, you will have time of despondency. Even the mighty prophet Elijah wanted to die when he was hunted by Jezebel. There is no perfect servant of God. There is no perfect Christian down on earth.

7. Jesus did not baptize.

Jhn 4:1-3,“Therefore, when the Lord knew that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John (though Jesus Himself did not baptize, but His disciples), He left Judea and departed again to Galilee.”

Note: No slave is greater than the master. John was a servant, Jesus was the Son of God who attracted more disciples than John. Besides, John never performed any miracle; and Jesus performed mighty miracles from telling the wind and waves to calm down to raising Lazarus who had been dead for four days. John was right when he said: Jhn 3:30, “He must increase, but I must decrease.”

 Luk 7:29-30,“And when all the people heard Him, even the tax collectors justified God, having been baptized with the baptism of John. But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the will of God for themselves, not having been baptized by him.”

Note: Those rejected the will of God for themselves would not accept the baptism of John, and would not accept the baptism of Jesus.

Luk 12:50,“But I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how distressed I am till it is accomplished!”

Note: We do not fully understand how distressed it was to bear the sin of the world.

Jhn 3:22,“After these things Jesus and His disciples came into the land of Judea, and there He remained with them and baptized.”

Jhn 4:1, “Therefore, when the Lord knew that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John.”

Note: No servant is greater than the Master. I must decrease, but my Lord must increase.

Act 1:5,“For John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”

Note: Jesus did not baptize people with water; Jesus baptizes believers with the Holy Spirit.

Act 2:38,“Then Peter said to them: Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

Note: Water baptism of repentance prepares the way for receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Act 2:41,“Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them.”

Note: At the Pentecost, three thousand souls received the Lord as their Savior and they were baptized.

Act 8:12,“But when they believed Philip as he preached the things concerning the Kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were baptized.”

Note: Those who believed the things concerning the Kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were baptized. Notice children were not baptized.

Act 10:47-48,“Can anyone forbid water, that these should not be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have? And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then they asked him to stay a few days.”

Note: When the Gentiles received the Holy Spirit as they heard the Word of God, so Peter commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord.

Act 11:16, “Then I remembered the Word of the Lord, how He said: John indeed baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”

Note: Peter remembered the Word of the Lord, he saw the Holy Spirit fell upon the Gentiles and knew God had also granted to the Gentiles repentance to life.

Act 16:33, “And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their stripes. And immediately he and all his family were baptized.”

Note: The Philippian jailer saw the power of God, immediately he and his household were baptized.

Act 18:8, “Then Crispus, the ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his household. And many of the Corinthians, hearing, believed and were baptized.”

Note: Crispus, the head of his household led them believe and were baptized.

Act 19:3-5,“And he said to them: Into what then were you baptized? So they said: Into John's baptism. Then Paul said: John indeed baptized with a baptism of repentance, saying to the people that they should believe on Him who would come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.”

Note: John’s baptism led people to believe on Christ Jesus.

Act 22:16,“And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.”

Note: If you believe in Jesus Christ and receive the Holy Spirit, there is no reason why you are waiting. Arise and be baptized, and let the blood of Christ wash away your sins and call on the name of the Lord you will be saved.

Rom 6:3,“Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?”

Note: We are baptized into Christ’s death meaning that we are not only dead to our former ways, but they are buried. To return to them is as unthinkable for a Christian as for one to dig up a dead corpse!

1Cr 1:13-16, “Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, lest anyone should say that I had baptized in my own name. Yes, I also baptized the household of Stephanas. Besides, I do not know whether I baptized any other.”

Note: Christ is not divided. We are baptized in the name of the Lord. Some churches are wrong to rebaptize people who want to join their churches. One baptism in the name of Christ is enough.

1Cr 12:13,“For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body--whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free--and have all been made to drink into one Spirit.”

Note: By one Spirit, the Spirit of Christ, all believers were baptized into one body, the body of Christ which is the church—whether Jews or Gentiles, whatever social status—and have all been made to drink into one Spirit, to be filled with the Holy Spirit.

Mat 11:12,“And from the days of John the Baptist until now the Kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force.”

Note: Suffer violence in Greek is biazō which means to use force, to apply force; - it occurs only twice in the New Testament. The Kingdom of heaven is taken by violence means to get a share in the heavenly Kingdom is sought for with most ardent zeal and most intense exertion, by the utmost earnestness and effort.

Mat 14:2,“And said to his servants: This is John the Baptist; he is risen from the dead, and therefore these powers are at work in him.”

Mar 6:14,“Now King Herod heard of Him, for His name had become well known. And he said: John the Baptist is risen from the dead, and therefore these powers are at work in him.”

Note: Although John was beheaded, yet he still spoke that King Herod mistook Jesus for John risen from the dead.

8. The baptism that Jesus does.

Mat 3:11,“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.”

Mar 1:8,“I indeed baptized you with water, but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”

Note: John the Baptist baptized people with water baptism that called people to repent. It was a baptism of spiritual reformation. Jesus Christ baptizes people with the Holy Spirit and fire. It is a baptism of spiritual regeneration. The baptism of the Holy Sprit is to regenerate those who repent and believe in Jesus Christ to give them a new life, to participate in the divine nature, to have eternal life.

Luk 3:16,“John answered, saying to all: I indeed baptize you with water; but One mightier than I is coming, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”

Note: Jesus Christ was mightier than John the Baptist because Jesus Christ is the Lord of John, the Son of God. If the great prophet was not worthy to loose the sandal strap of Jesus, how much more unworthy we are. Something is seriously wrong with any preacher or evangelist who thinks he is somebody and demands special treatment.

1 Cr 1:16-17,“Now I did baptize also the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I do not know whether I baptized any other. For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the Gospel, not in cleverness of speech, so that the cross of Christ would not be made void.”

Note: Paul considered the preaching of the Gospel much more important than the baptizing people with water.

Mat 11:12,“And from the days of John the Baptist until now the Kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force.”

Note: It takes great efforts to enter the Kingdom of heaven because the way is narrow and not many find the way.

Act 8:16, “For as yet He had fallen upon none of them. They had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.”

Note: Water baptism is important. Repentance is important. Most important is to have the Spirit of Christ living in you.

9. The meaning of baptism.

Mar 16:15-16,“And He said to them: Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who disbelieves will be condemned.”

Note: Before the Ascension, Jesus Christ commanded disciples to go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature. He who trusts in Christ must be baptized. Baptism is the first obedient act of a believer.

All who repent and believe in Christ and be baptized will be saved. That means saved from their sins, saved from eternal death and receive eternal life. Disbelieve in Greek is apisteō which means to have no belief, do not believe; - it occurs only 7 times in the New Testament. Condemn in Greek is katakrinō which means to give judgment against, to judge worthy of punishment, adjudge one to death, damn; - it occurs about 19 times in the New Testament. It is as certain as the Lord lives; he who does not believe in the Gospel of Jesus Christ will be condemned. 

Jhn 3:18,“He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” Unbelievers are already condemned even before the Judgment Day.  

2Th 2:12,“That they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”  Those who do not believe the truth always have pleasure in unrighteousness. It is impossible to believe the truth and have pleasure in unrighteousness. Those who defraud people do not believe the truth and have pleasure in unrighteousness. Corrupt Wall Street executives, doctors, hospital owners, lawyers, politicians and officials, etc. who commit frauds have pleasure in unrighteousness.

Act 16:13-15,“And on the Sabbath day we went outside the gate to a riverside, where we were supposing that there would be a place of prayer; and we sat down and began speaking to the women who had assembled. Now a certain woman named Lydia heard us. She was a seller of purple from the city of Thyatira, who worshiped God. The Lord opened her heart to heed the things spoken by Paul. And when she and her household were baptized, she begged us, saying: If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay. So she persuaded us.”

Note: Lydia is one of many noble Christian women in the New Testament. Lydia in Greek is Lydia which means travail; it occurs only twice in the New Testament. Lydia was a woman of Thyatira, a seller of purple, the first European convert of Paul, and afterward his hostess during his first stay at Philippi. Lydia was an example how a person who was religious and yet did not know the Lord, but the Lord opened her heart to heed the Gospel preached by Paul. She and her household were baptized and served the Lord.

Act 19:4,“Then Paul said: John indeed baptized with a baptism of repentance, saying to the people that they should believe on Him who would come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.”

Note: The baptism of John was not an end in itself, it was a means to proclaim to the people that they should believe in Christ Jesus, the Lamb of God, the Savior of the world.

Eph 4:5,“One Lord, one faith, one baptism.”

Note: There is unity in Christ: One Lord, one faith, one baptism. One Lord is the Lord Jesus. One faith is the faith in the Word of God and Christ Jesus. One baptism is to identify with the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Christians are baptized into Christ, to be united with Christ, to be one with Christ.

Col 2:12,“Buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.”

Note: To be baptized is to be buried with Christ in baptism, in which we are also raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.

Rom 6:8-11,“Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him. For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” 

1Pe 2:24-25,“Who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness--by whose stripes you were healed. For you were like sheep going astray, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.” To live with Christ means to live for righteousness, to follow the Great Shepherd.

1Cr 1:17,“For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the Gospel, not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of no effect.”

Note: This does not mean it is not important to baptize, but to preach the Gospel is the foremost work of the Apostles and disciples. 

Rom 1:16, “For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.” The Gospel is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes. The Gospel has no saving power to those who do not believe.

Gal 3:27,“For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.”

Note: Put on in Greek is endyō which means to sink into clothing, clothe one's self, be clothed with; - it occurs about 29 times in the New Testament. To put on Christ means to become so possessed of the mind of Christ as in thought, feeling, and action to resemble Him and, as it were, reproduced the life He lived.

Water baptism does not cleanse your sins or save your soul. The precious blood of Jesus cleanses us from all of our sins once and for all. We are saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. The only Biblical mode of water baptism is immersion, however, you do not immerse a very ill person and kill him by baptism. The repentant thief on the cross did not have a chance to be baptized. Generally speaking, everyone must repent, believe and be baptized in the name of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit. 

1Pe 3:21,“Resembling to baptism that now saves you also, not the removal of dirt from the body but the answer of a good conscience toward God, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.”

Note: Resembling to in Greek is antitypos which means forming after some type, corresponding to an antitype; - it occurs only twice in the New Testament. Water baptism corresponds to the deluge. The Lord Jesus died for our sins (the Righteous for the unrighteous), rose from the dead by the power of God for our justification (counted as righteousness). We are saved by His precious blood symbolizing the water baptism which cleanses our conscience. Water baptism has no power to save anyone. Jesus Christ can save you. Do you want to be cleansed? Believe in Jesus now. 

June 12, 2016

Willie Wong

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