Second Baptism - Part 2

Scripture: Mark 1:9-10, John 3:5, Acts 22:16
Baptism signifies a death and burial of the old life of sin. True baptism is both an outward action and an inward spiritual experience. Water baptism symbolizes cleansing from the guilt of sin. Spirit baptism symbolizes cleansing from the power of sin.
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If bathtubs and water supply had anything to do with it, Americans should be the cleanest people in all the world. There are actually more bathtubs in New York City than all the European countries combined, and the Middle East thrown in besides.

Physically speaking we may be a clean nation, friends, but we've been studying about the spiritual cleansing afforded by baptism, and I fear that spiritual and moral purity is not one of the strong characteristics of American life.

In our last broadcast we learned that baptism signifies a death and burial of the old life of sin. This is why the Bible pictures the entrance into the Christian faith as a burial under the water.

Notice how the Bible describes the manner of Christ's baptism which is the perfect pattern for all of us: "And it came to pass in those days, that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized of John in Jordan." Mark 1:9. Jesus told Nicodemus, "Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. John 3:5. There is only one true baptism. It is both a baptism of water and of the Spirit. The water alone is not enough. There must also be a baptism of the Spirit. In other words, it isn't enough just to go through the outward action, but there must be an inner spiritual experience. That is the baptism of the Spirit. The baptism of water symbolizes cleansing from the guilt of sin. The baptism of the spirit symbolizes cleansing from the very power of sin.

"And straightway coming up out of the water, he (Jesus) saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him," Mark 1:10. Jesus, you see, was baptized of water and of the Spirit. As in obedience to the command of the Father He went down into the water, the Holy Spirit descended upon Him. And that is what the Holy Spirit wants to do for every one of us as we open our hearts wide at the time of our baptism. So we see that water baptism is God's New Testament plan.

Another reason for a second baptism is if we have been baptized in some other way than the way that Jesus was baptized. He is our example. The Bible says that John baptized in that certain area, "because there was much water there." John 3:23. So evidently the baptism of Bible days required much water.

One time a little boy was attending some meetings all by himself which a fellow minister was conducting. He went to a parochial school. After the sermon on baptism he ran up to the minister. He was all excited. He said, "I know of another kind of baptism that you didn't mention." And the evangelist said, "Oh, what kind is that?" He said, "A watermelon baptism." Well, he had to give him credit for it. He had never heard of that kind before. He asked him where he heard about it. He said, "In our school. They were telling us the other day of how a group was going across the desert and one of them decided he wanted to be baptized. There wasn't any water, but they had a watermelon. They opened the watermelon and with the juice out of the watermelon he was baptized (sprinkled)."

My friend said he would never forget that boy, maybe ten years old. How his eyes sparkled as he told him about the watermelon baptism. But it gives us a little hint, doesn't it, as to where we got our baptism by sprinkling. Even the church of Rome, until about the 12th century, baptized by immersion. When I was over there in Europe I saw the old churches that date back to the early centuries. They have baptistries, not pedestal fonts, but baptistries for immersion. During the Middle Ages there were folks who waited until they were on their death bed to be baptized. The priest would come and he would wrap them in a wet blanket and pour water on them. Of course, it was messy and inconvenient, but they felt that at least they got them wet all over. Gradually they got farther and farther away from the Bible. Finally, they decided to just pour a little water on the head. That was still a little messy and inconvenient, so they tapered it down a little more and started just sprinkling a little water, or dipping the finger in the water and making the sign of the cross on the person. Briefly told, that is about the way it has come about. That is how we got from the way they did it in the Bible times to the way many folks do it today. Actually, the very word "baptizo" in the Greek language means "to immerse."

Sometimes we need a little encouragement to take the final step of baptism. It is always encouraging to me to remember that Paul needed just a little encouragement. Ananias said to Paul after his conversion, "And now why tarriest thou? Arise and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord." Acts 22:16. "Why tarriest thou?" In other words, what are you waiting for? What stands in your way? Arise, be baptized and wash away your sins. Now, actually, it isn't the water that washes away our sins. It is the blood of Jesus; but it makes it more real as we go through the ceremony that Jesus has given us. Jesus Himself set the example, and Jesus commanded baptism, as we will see in just a minute.

We just can't separate this matter of baptism from the sin problem. Ananias said to Paul, "Arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins." What is sin? Let's remind ourselves again. "Sin is the transgression of the law." I John 3:4. In other words, when we are baptized, we are to wash away our sinning, make an end of it. Stop breaking God's law. That is what baptism symbolizes. "Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?" Romans 6:3. He died for our sins. That is what made Christ's death necessary. That is why we need to he baptized. As we are baptized His death covers our particular sins. We are baptized into His death that we may have His covering for our sins of the past.

It is good for us to just stop a quiet moment and seriously think, Why do we need to be baptized? The answer is, because all of us have sinned. Now, if there were a person listening today,there isn't, but if there were a person who had broken only one of God's commandments, would it still be necessary for him to be baptized? Yes, it would. Even though he had broken only one of God's commandments, it would still be necessary for him to be baptized. The good Book tells us that if we offend in one point we are guilty of all. James 2:10. It is sin whether you break one commandment or ten. There are degrees of sinning, but it is sin nevertheless. In other words, if a man had committed just one sin, it would have been necessary for Jesus to die to provide pardon for that one sin. That was the case with Adam and Eve. If there had been only one sinner and only one sin, the death of Jesus still would have been necessary in order to make forgiveness possible. "The wages of sin is death." Romans 6:23. Whether it is one sin or ten. One sin is enough to keep a man out of heaven if he refuses to give it up.

One of the reasons that some people don't understand the need of baptism is that they don't understand the sinfulness of sin. We have a tendency to categorize sins according to our own standards. We feel that murder and adultery are big sins, and swearing and coveting are little sins. God does not make this distinction. The sin of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden would be small by human standards, but it was enough to cost them eternal life. Is a thing sin to you because you think it is wrong or because God says it is wrong? If your standard is different from God's standard, you had better change.

Take time to look into your own life. Is there any one of God's Ten Commandments that you have been breaking over and over again? Do you have an idol in your life? Is there anything or anybody more important than God in your life? If there is, then you have an idol. Are you guilty of coveting? Are you guilty of breaking the Sabbath? If you, in analyzing your life, find that you have just one of these sins as a willful sin in your life where you have deliberately gone out and done it over and over again, you still need baptism. You need baptism just the same as the man or woman who has gone out and committed adultery or murder. Do you see that? I think we need to see this. If we don't see this, surely we can't understand why anyone should be baptized the second time.

It was Jesus' plan that baptism would never be a haphazard matter. A man told a friend of mine that some years ago he and his wife decided they would like to join a certain church. They went and told the minister after the service one Sunday. He said, "Fine, next Sunday we will take you into the church." Never did he visit with them. Never did he ask them one question. Never did he give them one word of instruction. The next Sunday he read their names. He called them forward. They had a little ceremony. No water. He shook their hands and they were now members of the church. Jesus never intended that. Notice. "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world." Matthew 28:19, 20. That is why in in these broadcasts we are trying to teach the Word of God. Jesus said, "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations." That is exactly what we are doing. Jesus added, "Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you, and lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world." This instruction wasn't just for those people who were living when Jesus was here. It applies "even unto the end of the world." He said, "Teach them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you." The reason why some people need to be baptized the second time is that they have been baptized without being taught to keep all the commandments, and they have gone on breaking the Sabbath or breaking one of the other commandments. They have gone on sinning against one of God's laws even after they were baptized.

Do you see why it is so important to understand the difference between willful, deliberate sin and sins of ignorance? I don't think there is a person listening who would for a moment say that he has never sinned since he was baptized. But, my friends, we should not be deliberately sinning against God. There is a difference. Because we have all sinned, some people say, What is the use of trying to keep the commandments of God? Oh, may God help us to see the difference between willful, deliberate sin and the weakness of the flesh. "Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin." Romans 6:6. That is what it means when we are baptized, when we have made up our minds. We are no longer going to serve sin; from now on we are going to serve Jesus. "Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin ... . Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body ... ." Romans 6:11, 12. There it is. I like that so much. You decide. It is up to you. We individually decide whether we are going to let Christ or sin reign in our lives. We are never truly happy when our allegiance is divided. We are never truly happy until we decide once and for all to live for Christ. One of the virtues of baptism is that it seals the decision. Many a man has good intentions, but gets diverted before carrying them out. There are many who are almost persuaded. When we make a decision it is so easy to slip back into indecision if we don't do something about it. Baptism is the thing that God has given us to do for the purpose of sealing our decision. It is like signing your name on the dotted line. Once you have done it you are not so likely to back out.

Baptism settles the issue in our own lives and thus we find peace as the decision is settled. Baptism lets our friends know on which side we stand. Knowing that others are watching, we have a greater incentive to do right. Baptism lets the devil know that our mind is made up and he is likely to spend his time on someone who is still undecided. Baptism lets the Lord know that we recognize His claim on our lives and He promises never to forsake the one who trusts in Him. It also gives us tangible evidence of full forgiveness of all past sin. There is no more burden of guilt.

The person who wavers in making decisions will especially appreciate the peace that comes with knowing that he has settled this issue in his life. Baptism seals the decision.

One power or the other is going to reign in your life, either Christ or Satan, either Jesus or self. You decide. "Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body."

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