How Were You Baptized? (It Matters, You Know.)

In Jesus’ final instructions to His disciples, He commanded them to go into all the world and baptize converts to Christianity. He also expected the disciples to teach these converts all the doctrine that He had entrusted to them for the three and one-half years that He had mentored them.

Although there are many scriptures on baptism in the Bible, two are used most frequently to teach from. The first, Matthew 28:19, is most often referred to by trinitarians, and Acts 2:38 is most often referred to by Oneness believers.

Knowing that the Bible is the infallible Word of God, and without contradiction, let’s take a look at BOTH to see how they COMPLIMENT one another.

MATTHEW 28:18-20

18 “And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.”
19 “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:”
20 “Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”

ACTS 2:38

“Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” (Acts 2:38)

 

A FEW OBSERVATIONS:

1. Matthew 28:19 is spoken by Jesus. (Notice the red letters.)
2. Matthew 28:19 mentions titles.

3. Acts 2:38 was spoken by Peter.
4. Acts 2.38 mentions a specific name, Jesus.

How can both of these baptismal formulas be correct? I have heard people say, “Well, I’m going to use the formula that Jesus said to use.”

I COULDN’T AGREE MORE!!!

Does that mean that Peter and the rest of the Apostles disobeyed Jesus’ command, and baptized new converts incorrectly after He ascended back into Heaven?

Does it mean that every baptism that is recorded in the Book of the Acts of the Apostles is heresy?

Does it mean that for 229 years, from Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection in 33AD until 325AD, the Apostles were using an ineffective baptism formula, and baptizing people wrong by calling the name of Jesus Christ over them, as they put them under the water?

It should be noted here that it was at the Council of Nicea in 325AD that the Roman Catholic Church decreed that to baptize in Jesus’ name was anathema (a curse). Before this time, the early Church always baptized in Jesus’ name.

…OR…

Could it mean that when the Apostles baptized new converts by calling on the name of Jesus Christ, that they were actually FULFILLING Jesus’ commandment in Matthew 28:19 by invoking the ACTUAL NAME of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost?

Could it be that Jesus was expecting the Apostles to do what He said, and not just say what He said when they baptized? (Stop. Read that statement again and think about it for as long as it takes to sink in. Selah.)

Could it be that Jesus felt confident that the Apostles understood that He was speaking of Himself?

Could it be they knew JESUS was the NAME of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost?

Could it be that they called on Jesus’ name in baptism because they understood that His name is the only name that has the power to remit sins?

Could it be that Oneness Apostolic Pentecostals have been doing it right all along?

“Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)

So, I’ll ask you again…How were you baptized?

…It matters, you know.

Warm Regards, -Pat

As always, feel free to leave a comment, share to social media, subscribe to our NEWSLETTER, and email me at PAT@PATVICK.COM

 

The Holy Ghost Is For You

Receiving the Holy Ghost is the third step in the New Testament New Birth experience. Remember, (1) repentance symbolizes Jesus’ death, (2) baptism in Jesus’ name symbolizes His burial, and (3) receiving the Holy Ghost symbolizes Jesus’ resurrection. Just as Jesus’ sacrifice for our sins would be incomplete without all three natural elements, so would our salvation experience be incomplete without all three spiritual elements. Each one is essential to the whole.

The words “Holy Ghost” or “Holy Spirit” can be used interchangeably to describe this wonderful gift which is simply God dwelling inside of people. The same Spirit that was embodied in Jesus Christ, the Spirit of the Father, is now available and even essential to our salvation.

Only a select few ever knew God in the power of His Spirit in the Old Testament, but the Prophets foretold of a time when He would pour out His Spirit on whosoever wanted it. A time when He would abide not only with mankind, but in mankind.

Foretold By the Prophet Isaiah

“For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people. To whom he said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear.” (Isaiah 28:11-12)

Foretold by the Prophet Ezekiel

“A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.” (Ezekiel 36:26-27)

Foretold by the Prophet Joel

“And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit.” (Joel 2:28-29)

Foretold By John the Baptist

“I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:” (Matthew 3:11)

Foretold By Jesus

“In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)” (John 7:37-39)

“And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.” (John 14:16-18)

“And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.” (Luke 24:49)

Fulfilled In The New Testament

On the Day of Pentecost, the Promise was fulfilled, as 120 people were gloriously filled with the Spirit of the Lord and began to speak in languages unknown to them.

“And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord none place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” (Acts 2:1-4)

To the crowd that was gathered in the streets of Jerusalem that day for the Feast of Pentecost, Peter explained the phenomena, “But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel;” (Acts 2:16) He also took the opportunity to preach Jesus to them, and when they responded to his preaching with sincerity, he shared with them the New Testament salvation message.

“Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every on of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation.” (Acts 2:37-40)  

For You Today

It has been taught that the Baptism of the Holy Ghost is not for us today, that it was only for the early Church. If this is so, how am I filled with the Holy Ghost today? We live in the same dispensation as the early Church with every one of God’s promises to them still in effect.

From the Day of Pentecost until this, throughout the New Testament, throughout the centuries and decades and years and last week and today, God has and is still pouring out the Holy Ghost on anyone and everyone who seeks Him with a whole heart in true repentance. Every day we are hearing and reading the reports of Missionary friends from all over the world of tens and hundreds and thousands who continue to receive this priceless gift of the Holy Ghost.

Is Essential To Salvation

“But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.” (Romans 8:9)

“But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.” (Romans 8:11)

“The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:” (Romans 8:16)

Don’t let anyone tell you that’s it’s not real, or that it’s not for you today, or that it’s not necessary. The Baptism of the Holy Ghost is real. It is for you today, and it is most certainly necessary to your salvation.

Baptism In Jesus’ Name

Is It Really Necessary?

Isn’t salvation granted by faith? Absolutely. Baptism does not destroy faith; it fulfills it. If a person truly has faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, then he or she will follow through with His commandments. Is it possible that a person can be a true believer and yet ignore Jesus’ very words?

It was Jesus at the Great Commission of His disciples, just before He ascended into Heaven, who spoke these words, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.” (Mark 16:16) The obvious implication being that a person who truly believes, will be baptized and a person who doesn’t truly believe, will not be baptized. And that it makes a difference to his salvation.

Let’s also consider the words that Jesus spoke to Nicodemus in John 3. He told him that unless a man was born again, he couldn’t see the kingdom of God. At Nicodemus’ confusion, Jesus clarified his statement by saying, “…Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” (John 3:5) From this passage of scripture we learn that the born again experience is essential to our salvation and that it involves two elements, water and Spirit.

Moving into the Acts of the Apostles, we hear a very important message from Peter. Remember, Jesus gave Peter the “keys of the kingdom” in Matthew 16 because of his revelation of Jesus’ true identity. If anyone other than Jesus Himself should be able to say what steps are necessary to salvation, it would be Peter.

The crowd that was gathered on the Day of Pentecost heard Peter preach about Jesus and were “pricked in their hearts,” wanting to know what they could do to right the enormous wrong they had done by taking part in Jesus’ crucifixion. Peter was full of Apostolic Authority when he stood up before the crowd that day and instructed them saying, “…Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” (Acts 2:38) He summed up his oration with the sobering words, “Save yourselves from this untoward generation. (Acts 2:40)

Peter also tells us in his first letter that just as humanity was saved by water in Noah’s day, so are we still saved by the water of baptism today. “…when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a-preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water. The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us…” (1 Peter 3:20-21)

Paul reminds us that when the Lord delivered the children of Israel from Egyptian bondage by the hand of Moses, every one of them had to pass through the water of the Red Sea. Turning back from this water crossing would mean either death or a return to slavery. There was only one way to the Promise Land, and it required two elements: to travel under the cloud and through the water.

“Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea.” (1 Corinthians 10:1-2)

Both Noah’s family and the children of Israel were saved by God’s mercy, but that salvation was still dependent on their obedience to the process He established. It makes one wonder, why believers today want so desperately to avoid the water and the Spirit.

The Question of Works

Many people avoid baptism, using as their excuse that baptism is not essential because we are not saved by our works.

When the Bible says we are not saved by works, it is speaking of good deeds, not baptism. Works of service are a natural extension of a Christian’s walk with the Lord and very much expected, but cannot be used as leverage to tip the scales in one’s favor for salvation.

Paul makes it very clear in Titus 3:5 by what process we are saved, “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost.” (The original greek word for washing used here is “loutron,” Strong’s 3067, meaning to bathe or baptize). Baptism is not works; it is OBEDIENCE to the gospel.

The Formula For Baptism

Jesus sets the stage for the formula of baptism when He commissions His disciples in Matthew 28:19, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.”

Many ministers baptize by reciting these exact words over the person. But it is important to realize that Jesus was not telling His disciples to say what He said, but to do what he said. They understood fully that He was instructing them to speak the name of Jesus over those they baptized.

We know this is the case for two reasons:

First, we know that Jesus is the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. The only way the disciples could have fulfilled Jesus’ instructions was to baptize using His name.

Second, we can look through both scriptural and historical accounts and find that when the disciples baptized, they used Jesus’ name. Not one time does scripture record that the early Church baptized reciting His titles. Either Jesus’ disciples understood Him to mean for them to speak His name when baptizing, or all baptisms in the early church were administered incorrectly.

New Testament Accounts of Baptism

“Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost…Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.” (Acts 2:38, 41)

“Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost: (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.)” (Acts 8:15, 16)

“And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord.” (Acts 10:48)

“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. When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.” (Acts 19:4-5)

“And now why tarriest thou? Arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.” (Acts 22:16)

We Are Innocent By Association With His Name

“Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him in 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. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall also be in the likeness of his resurrection.” (Romans 6:3-5)

“For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” (Galatians 3:27)

The Name of Jesus Is The Only Way

“Neither is there salvation in any other; for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)

“And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus…”(Colossians 3:17)

It was Jesus’ precious blood that was shed for us. It was Jesus who hung on the cross in agony until the work was done and He could say, “It is finished.” It is Jesus to whom we owe our lives and our allegiance. If we claim Christianity, why wouldn’t we want to take on the name of Jesus Christ in baptism?

Start Here: True Repentance

When he was a little boy, we were trying to teach our youngest son, Caleb, to say, “I’m sorry” when he did something wrong. This became a very eventful series of lessons because as he was trying to conquer this new level of manners, he would spontaneously go up to his older brother, Logan, punch him on whatever body part was most accessible, and then yell, “SORRY!”

Over and over this would happen because in Caleb’s mind, he was learning the correct usage of a new word. His parents, however, (and his big brother) wanted him to feel the word. We wanted him to feel the conviction, the remorse, the contrition and the humbleness that true repentance brings. We wanted him to actually be sorry, not to just say sorry. We also wanted him to stop doing the thing that he was continually having to be sorry for, and especially not to pre-meditate the act. Lots to learn here.

True Repentance Is The Death of Self.

In repentance, we associate ourselves with Jesus’ death. Jesus was God in flesh. We often focus on Him being God, but not so much on him being flesh. He was a man who felt desires, temptations, emotions and distractions, having to make the daily decision of whether to follow the leading of the Spirit of God that dwelled in him, or to cater to the flesh in which he was clothed.

It is no different for us today. Regardless of the trial, temptation, addiction or emotion, we must follow Jesus’ example in the Garden of Gethsemane. Matthew 26:39 says he, “fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt.”

True Repentance Is Brokenness.

Pride cannot repent. Arrogance cannot be humble. If we desire God’s forgiveness, then we must allow His Spirit access to our hearts. We must allow ourselves to be broken in His Presence. Repentance is not a simple, “I’m sorry”. It is an honesty before God. It is an opening up and a purging out. It is an awareness of His Holiness and our smallness. It is seeing ourselves in the light of His Word. It is crying out like King David, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalm 139:23)

True Repentance Is A Turning Away.

To continue to do a thing that you know is wrong, and ask God to forgive you, knowing that you will do that thing again if given the opportunity, is not true repentance. To pre-meditate on doing a thing, planning ahead of time to ask God to forgive you, is not true repentance. True repentance is a conscious decision to turn away from sin and live a life that is pleasing before God. After a person takes that initial step, a lifetime of commitment should follow. You might be wondering how it is possible to live from this point on without sinning. Jesus did, while living in a body just like yours. Hebrews 4:14 says He, “was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.”

What if I slip up? What if I make a mistake? I have great news for you! Jesus, our wonderful Savior, is full of mercy and compassion. His greatest desire is to bring us into, and keep us in, a saving relationship with Him. The Apostle John says in 1 John 2:1, “My little children, these things I write unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” We all make mistakes. Just remember that making a mistake is not the same as willful sin. God knows the very thoughts and intents of our hearts. Repentance should be a regular occurrence in our lives, not a one time thing. The Apostle Paul explained it best when he proclaimed in 1 Corinthians 15:31, “I die daily.”

True Repentance Is The Christian Way.

No matter who you are or what you have done, good or bad, a repentant heart is essential to your salvation. “And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent.” (Acts 17:30)

Let’s be honest with ourselves and God. “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” (1 John 1:8) We have His assurance that, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)

No matter where you’ve been, where you are now, or where you want to go on your journey with Christ, repentance is the starting place to moving forward in that relationship.