Monday, February 14, 2011


The Spirit-filled life is not a mystical, unattainable lifestyle that God offers but keeps just out of reach. It is a life of process--a life of becoming under the leadership of the Holy Spirit. Under our Lord Jesus Christ, through His Spirit the essence of each believer priest is shapeable, teachable and flexible; Christ is in the business of building pillars. So we are to deal with foundational truths, to our life in Christ and growth in Him. To do that we must give time to a consideration of the sacraments.

The word “sacrament” is derived from a Latin word that refers to an oath of allegiance. In church terminology, it refers to the practice of a sacred ritual as a declaration that trust is being placed in the potential power of that exercise and that faith is being made manifest by the action taken.

The church’s concept of a sacrament proposes the participation of two parties: God has made the provision, being the initiating party, has made a deposit of gracious provisions. For our part we also have made a deposit; our faith to believe and our willing obedience to participate. The two sacraments most common in the life of the Church are the sacraments of water Baptism and the Lord’s Table.

First, our growth and depth of life as believer priests of Christ’s depend on our moving beyond initiation experiences. Growth requires our seeing those truths and practices we’ve already obeyed (like water baptism) taken on and live out that truth.
Second, we need to rethink discipline of water baptism so we can sensibly and sensitively relay that truth to others. As believer priests, we are given the opportunity to teach and influence new believers, so it is to their advantage and ours that we deepen our insights and understanding of the truths of the Spirit.
Third, there are to many Church’s where water baptism is not being taught, either in the depth of its meaning or in the clarity of its biblical mandate by our Lord Jesus. Water baptism is a personal responsibility, personal in that Jesus has commanded it of each one of us!, It is not a religious idea or ritual. Hear it loved one, Baptism is as important as the great commission, Jesus told His disciples to go to the world, preach the gospel and “make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit” (Matt. 28:29). Baptism is a straight forward matter of obedience to Christ. Let’s look at (Acts 10:44-48). Though the group at the house of Cornelius had been filled with the Holy Spirit, Peter still directed that they be baptized in water. Baptism is one of life’s greatest opportunities to be a witness!


Though we have been baptized, fully acknowledging its importance, we’re still called to abide in the truths baptism expresses. So how can we live more fully in the power of those principles as believer priests? The Holy Spirit opens us up to the fullness of the truth, Jesus Himself identified this as a fundamental issue in water baptism (let’s look at Matt. 3:14, 15) Peter tells of the promise awaiting us when we come to the waters of baptism. “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized,” he says “and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38).


The apostle Paul reveals to us another aspect of baptismal truth:

(Rom. 6:3, 4) Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father even so we also should walk in newness of life.

Paul shows baptism not only as an act of obedience and an opening to the Holy Spirits fullness to us, but also as an action of Him who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in us. (Rom. 8:11). Being baptized and resurrected with Christ means allowing the life-giving Spirit of God to resurrect you on a daily basis, lifting you above the dead habits of the past and into newness of life for today and tomorrow.


(Col. 2:11, 12) In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.

With this picture of our death, burial and resurrection into the newness of life in Christ, God’s Word presents the figure of the Old Testament rite of circumcision. We need to capture this, because a brief moment of insight into the implications of baptism as circumcision can reveal a very powerful but practical truth. In baptism God wants to cut away flesh. That is, He wants to remove carnality from our lives--things that are meaningless to the needs for which He has created us, there are excessive aspects of our behavior that God wants to remove from our lives. There are many realms of fruit bearing capacity in our lives that are only waiting their obedience to Jesus--our circumcision via water baptism. We should see baptism not as a ritual to be performed but rather a truth to be experienced! The analogy of circumcision makes it clear that baptism is a time when God cuts away “flesh” as we come under His order and releases power to bring about His promised life and purpose through us, so these things happen in the privacy of our hearts as our Lord works His will and power in us.


(1Cor. 10:1, 2) Moreover, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers were under a cloud; all passed through the sea, all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea.

A picture of the children of Israel “all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea”. They have come through a pathway of deliverance by the Hand of God. The Bible uses the miraculous moment of the sea’s parting to give us pure insight into the kind of blessing God is ready to impart at our water baptism. Listen, loved one, Water baptism is intended to be our deliverance as well by the hand of God. Things to which we have been enslaved, the fetters by which we’ve been shackled, the snares in which we’ve been entangled through actions of our adversary--when deliverance is needed from hellish oppression, all have been broken by the hand of God. Water baptism is not a church tradition; it is a truth a miracle provision of God to start our lives in His realm of our newness of life as a believer priest.
All this that we may possess the promise and be able to arise and walk in the life-giving power of our living Lord and Savior! These are the truth principles demonstrated in water baptism. Each is a present reality awaiting the believer priest’s obedience. When the sinless Son of God submitted to be baptized, the heavens opened up to Him, the Spirit descended upon Him and the Father spoke from heaven. These blessings also await the believer priest who will follow Jesus in baptism.
“The Heavens opened” means that the realm of invisible reality became perceptible--the spiritual realm became a functional, perceived action for the believer priest’s life. A realm of relationship with Jesus Christ where the invisible is not mysterious to us, but instead is perceived as an action in which we function with confidence with the Spirit dwelling in us. Christ wants us to be as comfortable relating to the things of the Spirit as we are to operating in the physical realm. We need to abide in the fullness that baptism provides, a part of which is seeing (or realizing) the Fathers approval, just as He said to Christ, this is my Son in whom I am well pleased--the same joyous realization will be ours as well--our Heavenly Father say’s I am pleased with you.


Jesus, commanded to all who receive His gift of life, as well as the gift of salvation, is that they be baptized in water. This is a call not merely to observe a duty but, more importantly, to experience the provisional truth of Christ’s Word. Obedience to this command means setting one’s self on a river like pathway of submission to the Lordship of Christ--a commitment to pursue a believer priest’s life as one dead to sin but alive to God through the power of the Holy Spirit.