A Message by Pastor Bill Page, Living Light Gospel Church, Cairns.
On Saturday we will celebrate together another Water Baptism. The Bible teaches that we should be baptized as soon as possible after receiving Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour. Why is that? We come to Him just as we are; sinful, broken, sick, depressed… in whatever condition we come and He will never reject us. So, by His grace, having died that terrible death on the cross to take away our sin and to heal us: inside and out, we are cleansed “from all filthiness of the flesh” and we are “born again”. This is usually a deeply personal experience.
1 Corinthians 6:9-11 This is not an exhaustive list, but it highlights some of the sins and the condition in which we came to Christ. But did He send us away? No! “And such were some of you. But you were washed… in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of God.”
Revelation 1:5 Speaks of Jesus “who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood.”
And this washing is demonstrated powerfully through the waters of baptism. That deeply personal experience needs to be openly proclaimed through water baptism.
“Baptize” means to “dip” or to “immerse”. The same word is used to describe dishes that are immersed and washed and ships that sink or people who drown. It was used to describe cloth being totally immersed in dye. When the cloth came out of the dye it had a completely new appearance. It was identified in a new way. Cloth immersed in red dye came out completely red. Cloth immersed in blue dye came out completely blue. The cloth was now identified by its new colour. “Baptize” means complete immersion. Dirty dishes aren’t cleaned if they are just sprinkled. Ships do not sink if they are sprinkled with water. Cloth does not change colour if it is sprinkled with dye. So our salvation and our water baptism cause us to be no longer identified or recognizable as we were before, as belonging to the world, the flesh or the devil, but to Jesus Christ!
Matthew 28:18-20 Here Jesus gives us His “Great Commission”. In those days, as person’s name spoke of their attributes and their character. When Jesus said, “go in My name” He is calling us to represent Him in the world. To be baptized “in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit” means that you and I are now identified with the Trinity: the Father, who has revealed Himself to us by the power of the Holy Spirit in the person of the Son, Jesus Christ.
Verse 29: Jesus is “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”
Verse 30: John, who was about 6 months older than Jesus, explains that Jesus “ranks higher” than he does and “He was before me”; the eternal Son of God.
Verse 31: John did not realize who Jesus was at first, but his baptizing caused Jesus to be revealed. When you and I are baptized Jesus Christ should be revealed in our lives!
Verse 32: As Jesus was baptized, John “saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and He remained upon Him.” A new day is dawning.
Verse 33: The Father told John, “upon whom you see the Spirit descending, and remaining upon Him, this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.”
Matthew 3:16-17 Here we see the Trinity functioning together: Jesus being baptized, the Holy Spirit descending upon Him and the Father speaking from heaven.
This will begin the most important time in human history. The Son of God, sent by the Father and baptized not only in water but also by the Holy Spirit would begin His ministry. Now, by His sinless life and His death to take away all of “the sins of the world”, allowing Himself to be crucified, but on the third day rising from the dead: this becomes the hinge point of all history and the means by which we will all be judged. Have we truly repented? Have we forsaken sin? Have we received His sacrifice in our place to pay the price for all of our sin? John baptized in water. But Jesus? “He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” (Matthew 3:11)
We repent of our sin and we are washed. We stand clean and holy before our Heavenly Father. Then Jesus baptizes us with “the Holy Spirit and fire” so we can move through the earth representing Him and revealing Him: His unconditional love, His holiness, His anointing and His power, everywhere we go!