The Proverbial Baptism

 

(Mark 1:8 - 11 KJV)  I indeed have baptized you with water: but he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost.  And it came to pass in those days, that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized of John in Jordan.  And straightway coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him:

And there came a voice from heaven, saying, Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

 

 

Today is a special day at Interbay; we will be Baptizing six people at the end of the service.  In order to fully be sure that both all those being baptized, and those watching, know what is actually taking place, I want to go into some detail about baptism. I used the title the proverbial Baptism as a way of introduction for a specific reason.

 

When I was in my twenties, I filled my mind with knowledge. I was like a sponge, studying philosophy and physics. I was deep into the arts and poetry and heavenly involved in many controversial political and social movements of the time. It was during this time that I discovered the uncanny realization of how almost every dramatic story had a point where the main character’s life would be turned around and it always somehow surrounded some form of baptism. It was my Film Appreciation class that introduced me to this idea of the proverbial baptism. I began looking for it and found it in every movie I would watch. It might be someone getting caught in a rain storm, or someone jumping into a lake, or someone getting a glass of water thrown in their face, but one way or another someone would encounter some water and at that point their life and the movie would change.

 

That is the idea behind baptism. It is at the point of your contact with the water that your life changes. In our scripture we see the beginning of Jesus’ earthly ministry. We really do not know much about his life before this point besides his birth and that one trip into the temple as a youth. Now at the point of his baptism everything changes.

 

Baptism is not an original Christian ceremony. The Israelites had been practicing it for centuries. The name they gave for it was

 

“Mikveh”

 

The word Mikveh actually means the gathering of waters. The ceremony of Mikveh was used for sanctifying and conversion. It was a cleansing, a washing away of the old and a rebirth of the new.

 

Looking back at the book of Exodus we can see where the LORD commanded the people to be sanctified by water before coming into His presence:

 

(Exodus 19:10 & 11 KJV)  And the LORD said unto Moses, Go unto the people, and sanctify them to day and to morrow, and let them wash their clothes, and be ready against the third day: for the third day the LORD will come down in the sight of all the people upon mount Sinai.

 

Going back to the baptism of Jesus in the book of mark we can discover a few things that can help us in both our understanding of baptism as well as assist us in our daily walk through the waters of life.

 

Back in the second verse of this first chapter of Mark we see how everything has been foretold. Here we see how the prophets, Isaiah and Malachi told of this very moment in history.

 

(Mark 1:2 KJV)  As it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.

 

(Malachi 3:1 KJV)  Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts.

(Isaiah 40:3 KJV)  The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.

 

Last week I challenged anyone who has not accepted Jesus to just give His a try. I am sure that those who have not accepted Christ in the past did not take me up on that challenge. So I pose a new challenge, and this one might at least get your attention.

 

My challenge for those of you who have not yet come to the knowledge of the truth, I challenge you to intellectually disprove the gospel. I will make it even easier for you. Simply disprove the resurrection of Jesus. I realize that it might be hard to disprove His deity but a man being raised from the dead, that has either got to be true of a lie.

 

I know some of the most skeptical intellectuals in the world have set out to disprove the truth of Jesus Christ only to become his disciple. But, that was years ago, before the internet, go ahead… take the challenge and discover the truth for yourself.

 

God… the one and only true God, came to earth and died upon a cross so that your sins could be forgiven. He then rose from the grave defeating death and sending His very own Holy Spirit to dwell in you to give you eternal abundant life in Him….

 

Many people think they are so smart, so intelligent not to except the truth. I ask you, how smart is that? Signs and prophecies from thousands of years, everything in the world pointing to the truth and the truth is what will give you purpose and eternal abundant life and they are so smart that, either they can’t see it or they won’t see it… If that is intelligence then I am grateful for the foolishness of preaching.

 

It is the gospel, the good news! The positive revelation of the facts.

 

John came to set things right. To make straight the road. To prepare the way. God sends each of us into the wilderness of this life to make things right. To prepare the way for His coming.

 

I might not preach on this often enough but Jesus is coming again real soon. You do not need to be a great escotologist (someone who studies the end times) to see the writing upon the wall.

 

But that does not mean that we stop living. People have seen the end times coming in their life time for two thousand years now. And for all of those who have died, they found their end times. For to be absent from the body is to be present with the LORD.

 

We need to live as if Jesus is coming tonight and plan as if He is not coming for another hundred years.  There is a great harvest field before us. Men and women are looking for the truth. They are looking for purpose. They are looking for real answers to real problems. We need to show them where to find the way the truth and the life. Jesus is that way. He is the truth and He is life, eternal and abundant.

 

As Jesus went under the water, his life of obscurity died and as he came up the Holy Spirit descended upon Him and the Father spoke from heaven and the world was never the same.

 

I know that the Bible teaches us that there is one moment in time when our spirit is quickened and all things become new. There is one moment of salvation. But you can have a new baptism in His Spirit every day.  Today we will be baptizing in water, but only Jesus can baptize you in the Holy Spirit.

 

You can have that proverbial baptism experience right now. Right now you can have the Holy Spirit wash over you and plunge you into the very presence of God.  John was teaching repentance. We have learned that the Greek word for repentance was “metaknoia.” It comes from two words; “meta,” which means change, and “knoia,” where we get our word for knowledge, it means your mind. Change your mind.

 

There is truth and there is a lie. There is darkness and there is light. Is it that black and white? Yes. I am sorry there can be no riding the fence, either you believe the truth or you deny it.  Change your mind about the sin that keeps you in bondage. Realize it is a sin and turn from it and turn to God.

 

On Sunday nights we have been learning how to overcome temptation. One thing that we learned is that nature abhors a vacuum. If you give up a bad habit you had better fill it in with a good one or you will be sucked back into that bad one even worse then before you gave it up in the first place. So instead of fighting against the temptation, run to God. Instead of struggling, rest in the arms of the savior. Instead of dealing with the guilt and pain and trying to find ways of covering it up, seek the light of Gods righteousness and let His love wash you clean.

 

John the Baptist preached to sinners and told them to confess their sins. The Apostle preached to saints, and tells us to confess our sins.  In 1 John 1:9 the bible tells us that if we confess our sins, God is faithful and will forgive us and cleanse us. He will baptize us afresh.

 

It comes down, right now to confession. Not you going before some man and telling him your sin… and then even lying to him about it. It is about coming to God, the only one who can really forgive sins. There are two different words used in the two passages about confession. The first on John the Baptist uses talks about an acknowledgement of your sins and promising not to do it again. The word that the Apostle John uses talks more about agreeing with God that what you have been doing is really a sin. It is seeing your sin with God’s eyes, not our own. We can far too easily make excuses and rationalize our sin. When you can honestly come to the realization that what you are doing is sin, and it is ugly, and God hates it, then so will you and Then, and only then can God wash you clean of it.

 

We are going to baptize 6 people today. Some of them are new believers; some have accepted Jesus a few years ago.  Some have known the truth for many years. Even Jesus needed to be baptized. There comes a point in every person’s life when they have to say, “OK, I am going to change.”  Today can be that proverbial baptism for you.

 

What is it that God has been revealing to you that you need to put under the water of His Holy Spirit? What is it that you need washed from your heart? What habit are you willing today to drown in the depths of God’s grace? What change are you ready to make?

 

If you have never accepted Jesus into your heart, and asked Him to forgive you of your sins, then I beg you to pray with me in just one minute to do that. And if you, Christian, have been harboring some secret sin, then you know that it is no secret to God and he is ready to wash it away, if you are ready to give it up to Him.

 

Do you desire more of Jesus? Do you thirst for more of His love, more of His peace, more of His joy? Ask, and you shall receive.

 

Jesus is standing at the door of your heart right now and He is knocking. You know that verse also was one that was written to “Christians” It is time to let Him in. Let Him into that dark area of your heart that you don’t even want to admit exist. His love can and will set you free.

 

Are you ready to be set free today?  Pray this prayer with me, and believe…….

 

Father God, I need you. Forgive me; I am a sinner in need of a savior. I know the only you can make things right in my life. Only you can set things straight. Forgive my selfish rebellion. Forgive my ignorant wonderings. Lead me back into the way. Come into the very center of my heart of hearts. Create in me a new heart, a clean heart, a heart of flesh. I give you my life. I give you my soul. Dear Jesus you are my personal savior, My LORD, my friend.  Search my heart and my mind and my way of life. and al of the things that are not pleasing to you or good for me guide me out of them, root out the sin and fill me up, to the over flowing with your Holy Spirit. Baptize me with you Holy Spirit. Plunge me into your righteousness, for your names sake. Thank you LORD. Thank you Jesus. Thank you Father God for making all things new in my life and restoring unto me the joy of my salvation. I am yours I am a child of the King! I am a CHRISTIAN! I love you LORD. Use me to be a blessing to someone else this week. In Jesus name; AMEN!