More on Baptism

I was taken to task about a couple of points I made in the article on baptism, in the last issue. One person said I was "forcing my will on others" when I said one should be baptized before partaking of the Bread and Wine at the Passover or Memorial Supper. He also said there were no scriptures to support such a doctrine, and how could I know if a person had been "baptized in the Spirit?" He said it would be wrong of me to deny them this ritual.
First off, I do not deny anyone anything, nor do I force my will on anyone. Even Yahweh, our Heavenly Father, does not force us to obey. We all have free moral agency. I simply write and explain what I believe the Scriptures are saying. It is up to you to study these things out for yourself. You should take no one's word, unless you see it proven in your own Bible. Then it is still up to you whether you will obey or not.
So why do I say one should be baptized before taking the emblems representing our True Passover, Yahshua the Messiah? This involves "rightly dividing the word of truth," 2 Tim. 2:15. Circumcision was the sign of acceptance of the Old Covenant, and those who had not been circumcised were not to eat of the Passover (Exo. 12:43-45). Once they had been circumcised, then they could eat of it.
Under terms of the New Covenant, we find that baptism has superseded circumcision as the sign of acceptance (Colossians 2:10-13, Acts 15:1-33, Romans 6:3-8 and other places). So, by simple deduction, if the ancient Israelites and strangers to the Covenant had to be circumcised to eat the Passover, and if baptism now equates to circumcision, it follows that we ought to be baptized before eating of His Body, the True Passover (1 Cor. 5:7-8).
"How do I know what is in someone else's heart?" I don't, and I don't have to. That's Yahweh's job. A repentant person will want to be baptized as quickly as possible, in accordance with Yahshua's instructions in Mark 16:16, "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, but he that believeth not shall be damned."
Then the Apostle Peter repeated similar instructions in Acts 2:38, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the Name of Yahshua Messiah for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit."
But if we see someone who would refuse to obey this simple command, how could we think they were even converted? We are told, "By their fruits shall ye know them," and we are told that only those who obey will receive the Holy Spirit (Acts 5:32). Further, He inspired Paul to write that if we do not have the Holy Spirit dwelling in our minds, we are "none of His," Romans 8:9. That Spirit dwelling in us is what will cause us to be resurrected with Spirit bodies at the return of Yahshua to set up His Kingdom here on this earth.
As for someone having been "baptized in the Spirit," or, as this person means, having already received the Holy Spirit prior to baptism, even so, they should still be baptized in water. This took place once and is recorded in the Book of Acts. Let's notice.
Acts 10:43-48: To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins. {44} While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Spirit fell on all them which heard the word. {45} And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Spirit. {46} For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify Yah. Then answered Peter, {47} Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Spirit as well as we? {48} And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Master. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days.
There is simply no reason, other than stubbornness or non-conversion, to refuse to obey this simple command. We are told to "examine ourselves, whether we be in the Faith" (2 Cor. 13:5). We are not to take of Yahshua's Body lightly.
(1 Cor 11:23-32) For I have received of the Master that which also I delivered unto you, That the Master Yahshua the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: {24} And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. {25} After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. {26} For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Master's death till he come. {27} Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Master, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Master. {28} But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. {29} For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Master's body. {30} For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. {31} For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. {32} But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Master, that we should not be condemned with the world.
Did you notice? He said that "for this cause," for eating and drinking Yahshua's body and blood unworthily, many were weak and sick, and many "sleep" (were DEAD). This is a serious matter, brethren. If you are not prepared, if you have not truly repented and been baptized, then don't partake of this ordinance! You might bring a curse upon yourself.
Then later I was giving a sermon on the subject of baptism, and referred to Acts 22:16, in which the devout Jew, Ananias, who lived in Damascus, came to Saul and told him what Yahshua was to require of him. Then he said, "And now why do you delay? Get up and be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on Yahshua's Name."
One or two thought I was saying that the physical water washes our sins away. Needless to say, I meant no such thing. Repentance comes first - repentance of our past sins. Just what is sin, anyway? What are we to repent of? 1 John 3:4 tells us: Sin is the transgression of the Law. So we repent of breaking Yahweh's moral, eternal law, the 10 Commandments.
If we have not repented, we merely go in the water a dry sinner, and come out a wet sinner. The act of baptism is symbolic of being buried with the Savior - of putting the "old man" to death, and rising with Him in newness of life. It is a state of mind. We repent with the mind, then we begin to obey. We keep the commandments, as well as the other commands Yahweh requires of us (baptism certainly being one of those requirements).
If Yahweh is calling you to repentance, don't rebuff Him. Answer that call. Accept Yahshua as your personal Savior, repent of your sins, and then DO what He requires of you. >>>>FB

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