"Therefore, putting aside all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy, and all slander, like newborn babies long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation.." 1Peter 2,1ff
Dear New Believer: (11.21.11)
We in the body of Christ rejoice with you! All Praise and honor and glory unto Jesus, NAME above all Names, who has called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
Now that you believe you have an excuse to love everybody and forgive everybody, and live like God says, having one faith life to live! Get after it. Go out and tell somebody else, let your light shine. Luke 8,16.
Don't get too hung up on details of our vast faith. You have all your life to learn His truths and wisdom. For now just rejoice in His mercy and forgiveness. Forgive everybody. Forgive yourself. Throw out all the emotional baggage of your life, all your cares.
Buy a bible.
Buy bibles for every one of your kids, if you have kids. Read them. If Dad's home, Dad prays (Mom too) at the dinner table, and if you have kids, ask them to pray whenever, and then listen to what they say and ask God.
Find a bible study, and a prayer partner as in two by two they were sent out. If you don't have one already, seek out a bible following church, that defends the family structure and miracles. Turn off the TV and listen to Christian radio once in awhile. Rid your house of all unholy things, now. Don't wait, it's easier to just do it now.
Don't completely blow off your old sinful friends, tell them about Jesus, and pray for them.
The imperishable seed of the Word, Jesus (1Peter1,23) has found you. Rest in the assurance of this and that He will reveal himself to you for the rest of your life.
Your new faith is kind of a big deal. It's OK to feel like you are walking on sonshine, because you are.
It's also kind of a big deal the way you begin your service in the living body of Christ, and if your seed continues growing in respect to your salvation (cf. 1Peter 2,1 above).
Like all seeds, this imperishable seed in you, if it is going to grow and not be rejected, needs to be planted at the right depth (Matthew 13,4ff), and watered right. The best way to make sure this is done in you is that you seek out the public act of total immersion baptism in Jesus' Name whereby you get all washed up from the deepest core of your being, from the inside out. Rest easy- most churches will provide modest white gowns that look like "togas" for this.
"Men and brethren what shall we do? Then Peter said unto them, "Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the Name of Jesus Christ for the remission of your sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost." Acts 2,37c-38
"Why baptism, why in Jesus' Name? I recited the "sinner's prayer"?
I'm going to give a little testimony here that totally lines up with the bible. I had been baptized as an infant in the Name of Father Son and Holy Ghost (Matthew 28), then I was sprinkled the same way again as an adult. Then ten years after that, I was baptized in the Holy Spirit, and then ten years later I was baptized in the NAME of Jesus.
I don't know what, if anything, the first baptism did for me. Perhaps it served to dedicate me to God, and I'm thankful for that. But ordinarily New Testamant bible baptism is for believers-faithers who know, and choose what they are doing.
The second baptism felt like joining a church and a church initiation rite.
My third baptism, Baptism in the Holy Ghost, was the most important gift I have ever received in my life (after the gift of precious faith like you have just received). It is, and always will be, the better baptism promised by Luke 3,16; John 1,26; and Acts 1,5 and the promise to all faithers for all time, Acts 2,39.
Don't settle for Less.
Yet God worked on me for about two years and led me step by step to baptism in Jesus Name, even though it was out of the normal order of water baptism first, then holy Ghost baptism (same for Cornelius at Acts 10,44ff). God can do miracles and blessings in any order He chooses, if we have the faith to seek all He is offering at the time His grace manifests.
When I finally gave in to the revealed grace of baptism in Jesus NAME, I experienced God's Spirit going deeper into the very core of my soul (cf Romans 6,3), and rooting out the dregs and stubborn dross of my humanity.
Psalm 42,7 comes to my spirit: "Deep calleth unto deep at the noise of thy waterspouts [Christ calls us to the full depth of Baptism and to completely die to ourselves]: all thy waves and thy billows [the Lord's judgment] are gone over me."
I came up out of the water completely clean, ready for the even fuller depths of the waters of the Holy Ghost, notwithstanding I was already baptized in the Holy Ghost..
Oh sweet Jesus thank you for your Psalms, that confirm our experience of your loving mercy.
Now John 3,5 came alive: "Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God."
To be properly and fully "born again" more of me and in me had to die, and more of me had to experience Jesus' death and resurrection.
He was the only one who died on Calvary. He was the one who was fully begotten (Acts 13,33 ie fully "born again") on the day of his resurrection.
So, why not get baptized in his NAME like the apostles did for the first Christians in Jerusalem?
Here's some more testimony- take it for what it's worth- as it lines up with the word.
I have been all around the body of Christ serving for twenty five years, amidst several different cultures, wherever I'm welcome. I have experienced the more or less complete spectrum of Apostolic and Pentecostal churches, and mainline old guard Protestant, and Vatican denominational churches, and all manner of new evangelical and non denominational churches, even "cool" coffee house churches, and house churches.
And I love all the folks in all these churches.
What I have seen is that the folks most rooted in Christ and in the core truths of our faith, are those who are baptized in the NAME of Jesus. I don't know exactly how to put this, but they are more settled in their faith, more free in talking about Jesus, more grounded in Him, and more focused on following Him.
And when they pray out loud, it sounds more like they know the one they are addressing.
Why and how? Because they were fully baptised into Him, into his death and resurrection, the way He wants, and the way the initial church did. Moreover, they don't seem to fall so easily for the superficial, go along to get along religion, that defines our age.
I think this is because they have purposely called the risen Jesus by NAME into and over their lives, and this has made HIM more real. In other words, He has become quite literally their strength and the Spiritual foundation stone of their personal Temple:
"For no one can lay any foundation other than the one that has been laid; that foundation is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on the foundation... the work of each builder will become visible, for the Day will disclose it, ..." 1Corinthians 3,11-12.
Jesus Name baptism is the best way to begin your life of faith with Him as the very foundation of your new faith life.
Remember your first steps in anything are so important, and this is the pure milk of the word.
I am not making this Jesus Name Baptism thing up. Consider also:
Acts 2,21: "And It shall come to pass, that Whosover shall call upon the NAME of the Lord shall be saved."
Acts 4,12 "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved."
Acts 15,17 "So that the rest of mankind may seek the Lord, and all the gentiles over whom my name is called."
Joel 3,5 "All who call upon the Name of the Lord shall be saved."
These are all baptismal referances in case no one ever mentioned that to you.
So you dear new, bright and shiny Christians now have a choice to make.
You can follow the acquired conventions (and add to the word by way of subtracting adult water baptism from it) and rest on your sinner's prayer. Or, you can do the sprinkling in the Name of Father Son and Holy Ghost, or you can do your baptism all up in grand and biblical style of the apostles and get baptized in Jesus Name.
It's your life and your freedom.
Now the bible also tells us that we, the body of Christ, are also the bride of Christ. So baptism is both the way we become part of Christ's living body, and also the way we get cleaned up to be His proper "bride," so to speak.
Have you ever know a bride to cut corners at her wedding?
No way! She wants all the colors, all the bells and whistles, cross her t's and dot her i's: the best photographers, the best food, the best service and nobody can get a contrary word in edgewise. What is it now- folks are spending on average $30,000 dollars on weddings?
No bride, willingly, if she has any choice at all, cuts corners on her wedding day!
Yet when it comes to the baptism that makes us part of the bride of Christ (for a way better bridegroom), we do just that. We're enthusiastic about cutting out stuff. In fact, some of us just skip baptism altogether- sort of a common law entrance into the bridal state?
What's up with this?
I want it all when it comes to baptism. I want to explicitly call on the Name of Jesus, and I want his name explicitly called over me, and I then want to be baptized in His NAME of Jesus, by immersion, just like the Apostles Peter (Acts 2) and Paul (Acts 19) did.
Why don't we go all out, and trust the Book of Acts and the Spirit of God, and seek the fullness of Holy and Spiritual growth that comes upon us when the imperishable seed of God's word is properly planted deep in us by Jesus Name baptism and our personal faith decision to follow Him? Planted deep ebnough to eventually fulfill the promise of Holy Ghost Baptism.
And, another thing, why don't we invite all our friends, have a big to do, and watch what happens when each of God's children takes Him at His word?
Faith Finding Not Fault Finding.
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Tobin Hitt is the founder of the Zion Pentecost Mission. He is open to gospel partnership with all, and identifies with Paul's description of our mission as ambassadors for our king, Jesus, urging all to reconcile with God (2Cor.20-21). He resides in Cheshire, Connecticut.read more...