United as One Body
Spirit Baptism– “I believe” in Jesus Christ
Child of God through Faith in Jesus
Galatians 3:26– for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith.
Water Baptism– Act of Obedience to Matthew 28:19-20
Matthew 28:19-20– Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing themin the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.
The focus on Jesus’ encounter with John at the Jordan River is on the anointing with the Spirit rather than the act of Water Baptism.
Luke 3:21-22– When all the people were being baptized, Jesus was baptized too. And as he was praying, heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove.And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”
John 1:32-34– Then John gave this testimony: “I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on Him. And I myself did not know Him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ I have seen and I testify that this is God’s Chosen One.”
What is the Baptism of the Holy Spirit?
THE POURING OUT OF THE SPIRIT OF GOD TO EVERY BELIEVER.
Every believer has the power & anointing of the Holy Spirit.
2 Corinthians 1:21-22 – And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.
Galatians 4:6-7 – And because we are his children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, prompting us to call out, “Abba, Father.” Now you are no longer a slave but God’s own child. And since you are his child, God has made you his heir.
The gift of the Holy Spirit seals the believer. God gives His Spirit only to those who are His.
Why is it important?
BEING MADE NEW – FROM THE INSIDE OUT
Romans 6:3-6:8– Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin– because anyone who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.
Galatians 3:27– And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have put on Christ, like putting on new clothes.
CHILD OF GOD
2 Corinthians 1:22– and He has identified us as His own by placing the Holy Spirit in our hearts as the first installmentthat guarantees everything He has promised us.
Galatians 4:6-7– Because you are His sons, God sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are His child, God has made you also an heir.
UNITED AS ONE BODY
Ephesians 4:4-6– There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
What is Water Baptism?
Water Baptism is an act of obedience to Jesus’ command from Matthew 28:19-20– Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing themin the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.
Baptize – “baptízō” – “immerse, sink, drown, go under.”
NOT GOING TO GET INTO DISCUSSION OF WHAT IS RIGHT OR WRONG WITH METHOD – SOME DUNK, SOME POUR OR SPRINKLE, SOME GO BACKWARDS, SOME GO FORWARDS, ETC.
Ancient Christian art – go into water waist deep & pour water on head.
Philip & Eunuch (Acts 8:38-39) – doesn’t say immersed. Said they went down into the water, Philip baptized him, and he came out of the water. “baptízō” – submerge, immerse (dip under)
Same words used in Luke 11:38 – “His host was amazed to see that he sat down to eat without first performing the hand-washing ceremony required by Jewish custom.” In Luke, the “baptízō” meant handwashing
Water Baptism is NOT required for salvation, but it is a biblical command and demonstrates your love and obedience to Christ.
MUST BE BORN AGAIN / BORN FROM ABOVE
John 3:5-8 – Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”
Colossians 2:11-12– When you came to Christ, you were “circumcised,” but not by a physical procedure. Christ performed a spiritual circumcision–the cutting away of your sinful nature. For you were buried with Christ when you were baptized. And with him you were raised to new life because you trusted the mighty power of God, who raised Christ from the dead.
MAY YOU CONTINUE TO LIVE OUT THIS NEW LIFE IN CHRIST JESUS FOR HIS GLORY! FOREVER AND EVER AMEN!
My son is quite the tea tosser. What is a tea tosser? One who tosses tea! I am a coffee drinker, but even more so, I am a bigger tea drinker. One of my mugs is black so it is not as easy to distinguish if the mug is completely empty when the beverage is closer to the bottom of the mug. When my son had seen my mug sitting on the counter top and it appeared to be empty, he thought he would be funny. He grabbed the mug and attempted to juggle it around. Needless to say, he dumped my tea all over the place. We had a good laugh. He truly thought the mug was empty. The joke was on him, as was the tea!
Many times, things are not like they appear. We look at the outside of a person, but we do not see the heart. We see outward actions, but we do not know the inward motives. The Lord looks at our heart. No matter how hard we try to disguise ourselves, how much we pretend to be something we are not, God sees. He knows how much tea is in the mug, and He knows how pure and how deceitful is the condition of your heart.
The Bible tells us that the heart is the most deceitful (Jeremiah 17:9). It is clear our hearts are in need of some deep cleansing. Thank God, He has the perfect cleaner to get that accomplished (Titus 3:5). Our heart is purified by faith and cleansed by the Spirit (Acts 15:9). Ask the Lord today, “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me” (Psalm 51:10 NIV).
James says if we resist the devil then he will flee. That seems so easy. We resist him and he leaves us alone. But it’s not as easy said and done. The devil continues to press upon us.
We must continue to resist him through the power of the Holy Spirit. Yes, he will flee at some point. When he realizes that there’s no breaking you, he will move onward. But don’t think that will happen anytime soon. It’s likely that he will attack again and again, trying to find his way in. He will look for weak spots. He will try to sneak through the cracks. Continue to resist the devil. He will flee from you.
“So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” – James 4:7 [NLT]
What controls you? That’s a good question and one that needs to be asked. Some will say that nothing controls them. They control themselves. But if that is the case, there is something within the person that is controlling them. Each of us are controlled.
In Romans 8, we read about those who are controlled by a sinful nature and those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit. Here we are given the two possibilities. If you are not controlled by the Holy Spirit, then you are controlled by your sinful nature. Therefore, there is such a struggle with life. If you are not being controlled by the Holy Spirit, your sinful nature controls you and this leads to death.
Today, consider what controls you. Are you controlled by your sinful nature or by the Holy Spirit? If you are controlled by the Spirit, this will lead to life and peace. If you allow the Spirit to guide you and to move freely within you, this will result in a life and peace that does not change with circumstances. This is the life only God can provide, the peace only God can give. If this is not where you are at in life, you are not Spirit-controlled.
“Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace.” – Romans 8:5-6 [NLT]
While growing up, you likely were told never to look into the sun or you would go blind. I don’t remember ever being told not to look straight into the moon. Many evenings, I love to look up and enjoy the sight of the moon. The brightness of the sun is strong. The moon does not let off great light; however, as it’s not shining light, but reflecting light. The moon reflects 3-12% of the sunlight that hits its surface. The brightness and shape of the moon in the sky is always dependent on the position of the moon in orbit around the Earth.
In 2 Corinthians 3:18, Paul wrote that we “reflect the glory of the Lord.” As children of God by faith in Jesus Christ, we have the awesome opportunity and privilege to reflect Jesus. How awesome is that?!? We are allowed to mirror the image of God. Day by day, as we walk with the Lord, “we are changed into His glorious image.”
Just as the moon reflects a particular percent of sunlight dependent on its position in orbit, so we only can reflect the percent of the Light, Jesus Christ, dependent on our relationship with Him. If you are not walking closely with Him, if you do not know Him very well, if you are not abiding in Him—this will cause you not to reflect the glory of the Lord. You cannot be changed into His glorious image unless you allow Him to be ever-present in your life. You cannot mirror Jesus if you are not spending time with Him, getting to know Him and allowing Him to break and mold you into who you were made to be for His kingdom. Today, look in the mirror. Ask the Spirit to reveal to you Who you are or are not reflecting.
“So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord–who is the Spirit–makes us more and more like Him as we are changed into His glorious image.” – 2 Corinthians 3:18 [NLT]
As I was preparing for a message on embracing God and embracing others, I considered the half hug. You all know the half hug. It is when you sort of hug someone, but do not truly hug the person. It’s a half hug. You have one arm around the person, but the other arm just dangles there. It’s like you almost embrace a person, but yet you don’t complete it. Some would even call this a fake hug.
I continued to be brought back to this half hug as I was preparing the message, and focusing on embracing God. Do we half hug God sometimes? Is that possible? Of course it is possible. Sadly, it is what most Christians do many times. Some compare this to having one foot in heaven and the rest of their body in the world. It’s when you are not all in when it comes to your walk with God. You believe in Jesus. You have been saved. Yet, you don’t have the close relationship that God always wanted since the creation of the earth.
When God created Adam and Eve, He walked with them. He wanted to have that kind of relationship with man. We all know sin damaged this relationship. But we also know that Jesus Christ died on the cross for a restoration of this relationship. The veil was torn. The Spirit was poured out upon believers. We can have that relationship again. The Bible tells us this truth. It’s awesome. Part of this relationship is described with the word abide. If we abide in Him, He abides in us. That sounds confusing but it’s simple. We abide (or remain) in Him, and He abides (remains) with us. How awesome?!? Understand there is no half abiding. The abiding is not to be a pick and choose type thing. You are either abiding or you are not abiding. Today, ask the Spirit to share with you where you currently are at, and if there is anything that is blocking your abiding in Him.
“Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in Me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from Me you can do nothing.” – John 15:5 [NLT]
On the way to work today, I got to see some crazy driving decisions face some immediate consequences. I was traveling my usual route, following a car moving in the direction of my office. Behind me, was a fella I will call Mr. Impatient. I am not sure if the person was a male or female, because the car traveled by so fast. What I do know is the driver decided to enter into the turning lane in a no-passing zone, and passed by myself and the car in front of me. It was clear to me the person wanted to get somewhere quickly. It was also clear to me that the local police officer just pulled out of the convenience store parking lot and noted right away that someone wasn’t following the laws of the road. The cheeky driver knew that he was spotted and he pulled over beside a car lot, with the police officer pulling up behind him.
It all happened so fast, but it surely left an impression. I found it interesting how the reckless driver so easily pulled over when the cop only began his pursuit, without even turning on his lights. It reminded me of our relationship with God, and how easily we wander off. God blessed us with His Word, which helps us to know how to travel the narrow path. He also gave us His Spirit to help convict us when we are traveling in the wrong way. We are the reckless drivers often. Sometimes we are quick to pull over and repent; sometimes we continue traveling despite the conviction.
Today, take some time to read His Word so the Spirit can help bring it to mind when it is most needed. Draw closer to God as you take in His Word and chew upon it. Ask the Spirit to reveal any areas in your life that should cause you to pull over so God can help you to get back on course. The choice is always there. We can travel the road we want at the speed we want; however, the narrow path that leads to life is the best road to travel. On that road, we follow the road signs God has provided, which may mean traveling at a pace slower than we would prefer.
“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” – Romans 12:2 [NLT]
It is important to look inward daily. The world tells us to look outward. There’s nothing wrong with you. There’s something wrong with someone else. You are free to do as you want—you are free to be who you want to be and think how you want to think. The world tells us it’s okay to be focused on self.
When we focus on ourselves and live in a “me world,” we do not see the importance of looking inward and life so often becomes a life of you against the world. We fail then to see that God should be first in our lives—He is our life. It is only when we can recognize that we were meant to live with Him, and then look inward to see what is keeping you from fully living a life for God.
Jeremiah wrote to “test and examine our ways.” This is something we need to do daily because our walk with Christ is a daily walk. There will be good days and not-so-good days. There are days we will struggle more and days when we will see great strides in our walk. We are reminded that we are a sinful people who often focus on self. One day we take two steps forward, another five steps back. We are ever-changing and often emotionally driven. For this reason, it is crucial we test and examine every day. Today, look inward. Question your motives. Examine your moves. Test your life against the Truth of God. Allow the Spirit to reveal anything that separates you from God, anything that may be a stumbling block in the way of God’s great plan.
“Let us test and examine our ways, and return to the LORD! Let us lift up our hearts and hands to God in heaven.” – Lamentations 3:40-41 [ESV]