Baptism

Jesus was baptised because He was obedient, and He asked us to do the same:

Matthew 28:19 NLT

Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Baptism is meaningless if you don’t believe in salvation through Jesus, the Son of God. Baptism itself does not save anyone. It’s the confession of sins, the condition of your heart, and your relationship with Him that matters.

Baptism is an outward sign of obedience. Salvation is a gift, not a reward for things you do.

Jesus began ministering after His baptism. The power from heaven that came to Him at His baptism was a result of His obedience.

Matthew 3:16-17 NLT

After his baptism, as Jesus came up out of the water, the heavens were opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and settling on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy.”

Three things happened here: 1) The heavens were opened, 2) the Spirit came, and 3) God declared His love.

Acts of the Apostles 2:38-39 NLT

Peter replied, “Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. This promise is to you, to your children, and to those far away —all who have been called by the Lord our God.”

Acts of the Apostles 9:18 NLT

Instantly something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he regained his sight. Then he got up and was baptized.

Repentence – the decision to turn away from sin toward God – comes first, then baptism.

Jesus had nothing to repent of. He was baptised as an act of obedience. He was the first person to be both born of the Spirit, and baptised by the Holy Spirit. He is called the “second Adam.” Like the first Adam, He came directly from God. Yet unlike the first Adam, He did not fall to temptation. Instead of bringing death to his descendants, He brought life.

There’s always exceptions to the rule, like the thief on the cross, but if you are able to be baptised, do it as the next step in your relationship with the Lord.

Luke 3:21-22 NLT

One day when the crowds were being baptized, Jesus himself was baptized. As he was praying, the heavens opened, and the Holy Spirit, in bodily form, descended on him like a dove. And a voice from heaven said, “You are my dearly loved Son, and you bring me great joy.

God spoke approval over Jesus at His baptism, and He wants to do the same for you as well.

New Beginning

Jesus had faith first, not us. Jesus had love first, not us.

When the Isrealites came out of Egypt, the Bible indicates that there were some Egyptians among them, perhaps some that got the message in the first 9 plagues.

Exodus 12:13 NLT

But the blood on your doorposts will serve as a sign, marking the houses where you are staying. When I see the blood, I will pass over you. This plague of death will not touch you when I strike the land of Egypt.

Exodus 12:38 NLT

A rabble of non-Israelites went with them, along with great flocks and herds of livestock.

Colossians 1:20 NLT

and through him God reconciled everything to himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Christ’s blood on the cross.

Galatians 4:3-7 NLT

And that’s the way it was with us before Christ came. We were like children; we were slaves to the basic spiritual principles of this world. But when the right time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman, subject to the law. God sent him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that he could adopt us as his very own children.  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 blood provides a new beginning.

Exodus 12:1-3 NLT

While the Israelites were still in the land of Egypt, the L ord gave the following instructions to Moses and Aaron: “From now on, this month will be the first month of the year for you. Announce to the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month each family must choose a lamb or a young goat for a sacrifice, one animal for each household.

2 Corinthians 5:16-17 NLT

So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know him now! This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!

Titus 3:7 NLT

Because of his grace he declared us righteous and gave us confidence that we will inherit eternal life.”

Philippians 1:6 NLT

And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.

Repentance is a daily process, not a one-time event. When you read God’s word each day and are being transformed by it, there is a change. You are willing to go in a different direction.

Give God the best part of your day. When are you the freshest? That is when you want to read His word.

The blood provides a witness! 1 Corinthians 11 tells of the witness that communion has. You can put stickers on your car and hang pictures of Jesus in your house, but what does the atmosphere of your home bear witness to? When people are around you, what do they experience in your presence?

There is no more need to prove yourself. Christ has completed what is required.

God Grants Repentance

God has given us emotions and senses for good reasons. But those emotions are not your master — Jesus is your Master.

Faith goes up the stairs that love has built and looks out the windows which hope has opened.
– Charles Spurgeon

Jesus is the only One Who gives relationship with the one true God. He came to us as God’s Word in the flesh. As you read God’s Word, there is something supernatural inside it. God wants to reveal deeper truths to you. Ask God to reveal to you deeper spiritual truths, so that you can have a greater realization of Who Jesus is.

Repentance… it is not something you can make or conjure up. It really isn’t just “feeling bad.” Judas felt really terrible about betraying Jesus. He went back to the priests and threw the money they paid him at their feet. They said it didn’t matter to them. No one condemned Judas but himself. He felt so bad about what he had done that he killed himself.

Then Judas, His betrayer, seeing that He had been condemned, was full of remorse and returned the 30 pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders. “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood,” he said.

“What’s that to us?” they said. “See to it yourself!

So he threw the silver into the sanctuary and departed. Then he went and hanged himself. (Matthew 27)

Judas hated himself — he felt as bad as a person can for doing something they regret. But feeling bad is not repentance. Punishing yourself is actually self-righteousness, an attempt to atone for your own wrongdoing. But when you truly believe Jesus, you understand that HE paid that price for you.

In Acts 10, we have the account of God preparing Peter to meet Cornelius, who was a Roman soldier. At that time, Jews and Gentiles (non-Jewish people) did not associate with each other. God prepared Peter to visit Cornelius by showing him a vision to illustrate that God is not looking on the outside, but on the heart. It is not for us to call someone unworthy because of how we judge them from the outside.

Cornelius had gathered his family and friends to hear what Peter would say. They wanted more of God, and He answered their request. John the Baptist called people to repentance, to change their ways. But now, after the resurrection of Jesus, here is what Peter preaches to them:

“Now I really understand that God doesn’t show favoritism, 35 but in every nation the person who fears Him and does righteousness is acceptable to Him. 36 He sent the message to the Israelites, proclaiming the good news of peace through Jesus Christ—He is Lord of all. 37 You know the events that took place throughout Judea, beginning from Galilee after the baptism that John preached: 38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how He went about doing good and healing all who were under the tyranny of the Devil, because God was with Him. 39 We ourselves are witnesses of everything He did in both the Judean country and in Jerusalem, yet they killed Him by hanging Him on a tree. 40 God raised up this man on the third day and permitted Him to be seen, 41 not by all the people, but by us, witnesses appointed beforehand by God, who ate and drank with Him after He rose from the dead. 42 He commanded us to preach to the people and to solemnly testify that He is the One appointed by God to be the Judge of the living and the dead. 43 All the prophets testify about Him that through His name everyone who believes in Him will receive forgiveness of sins.” (Acts 10)

All Peter did was teach them about Jesus. Their belief in Jesus — not anything they did themselves — brought about their repentance and forgiveness. And because of this:

44 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came down on all those who heard the message. 45 The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astounded because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. 46 For they heard them speaking in other languages and declaring the greatness of God. Then Peter responded, 47 “Can anyone withhold water and prevent these people from being baptized, who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?” 48 And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to stay for a few days.

Now, Acts 11: The Jewish believers heard what had happened and were upset that Peter had visited Gentiles. After Peter explains why, they became silent. And then:

…they glorified God, saying, “So God has granted repentance resulting in life even to the Gentiles!”

In 2 Timothy 2:

24 The Lord’s slave must not quarrel, but must be gentle to everyone, able to teach, and patient, 25 instructing his opponents with gentleness. Perhaps God will grant them repentance leading them to the knowledge of the truth. 26 Then they may come to their senses and escape the Devil’s trap, having been captured by him to do his will.

We need to remember where repentance comes from — it comes from God, not from us. You cannot make someone or yourself repentant — only God can do this. He provided redemption in Jesus, who calls us to tell others about Him, just as Peter did, but He is the one who does the cleaning and the changing.