"Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God." John 3,5 (4.2.14)
"What shall we do? 38 Then Peter said to them 'Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is to you and your children, and to all who are far off, as many as our Lord our God will call." Acts 2,37c-39
You know how we are all supposed to yield as we get on the highway.
There's a big sign that says "Yield."
The yellow one, to the right.
Almost nobody yields.
Until there's just about a "wreck" as they say on the High Plains of West Texas and Eastern New Mexico.
John 1,12 says "those who have yielded him their allegiance, he gave the right to become children of God, not born of any human stock." (New English Bible Translation)
When we receive Jesus, when we accept him, so as to obey him, we become children of God.
Not until then.
We can't fool him by some quick prayer to get somebody off our back, or some church "policy" for the sake of the bottom line.
Ephesians 1,5 tells us we are predestined to this adoption- for an eternity He expected us to be born again- born of a brother this time.
But being predestined is not enough- his will must be answered by our personal bible-based faith.
Our first act of faith is "believing", but even this isn't enough. The devils believe. Those who cry "Lord Lord"- they believe too.
We must also become a child of God, that is born again, by way of faithful, adult, full immersion water baptism and Holy Ghost Baptism (John 3,5 and Acts 2,37-39).
Some of us miss more than highway signs. We also miss the two biggest New Testament signs:
1. Water "Baptism."
Jesus was preceded by John the baptizer, the greatest human being born according to the ordinary course of human generation. Jesus told his apostles to baptize. He was baptized by John. But look around the big old universal church- it's as if the sign of adult, full immersion baptism has been relegated to the fringe.
(Do even 50% of Baptists preach baptism any more?)
2. Holy Ghost Baptism.
Holy Ghost baptism is the promise of Acts 2,39, the promise that Jesus will live in us, the hope of glory. This takes living by faith, fully, and it will happen. This is a promise to all of us and it will come true for all of us. God is no respector of persons. What he's done for others, he'll do for you.
(Do even 50% of Pentecostals preach Baptism In The Spirit nowadays?)
These two signs are really just one sign, "Fully Yield" to Jesus.
Then you'll be born again.
Belief In Root Canals, Marriage, and Adoption
Do you believe in root canals? (Some of you may be too young to believe in root canals.)
Oh well, root canals are for adults, and so is water baptism!
I believe in root canals.
Do you believe in marriage?
I believe in marriage.
Do you believe in adoptions?
I believe in adoptions.
We all believe in these important things, praise Jesus.
Now if I went to the dentist in need of a root canal and we had a nice visit and talked about 'the Captain' Derek Jeter and the NY Yankees. And then we both professed our undying belief in root canals, would my tooth be fixed?
Now if I sat my beloved down on a park bench on a beautiful spring day, and we both looked into each other's eyes and professed our undying belief in marriage, would we be married yet?
If a would-be parent met 25 times with an adoption agency and 5 times with the dear child to be adopted, and we all professed our undying belief in adoption, would the child be adopted yet?
Ten Predestinated Virgins
Or, do you remember the parable of the five wise and the five foolish virgins, Matthew 25,2ff? All ten of them went out to meet the bridegroom. All ten knew that Jesus was savior and Lord. They all had belief.
But going out to meet the bridegroom takes more than belief and predestination. It takes oil in our lamps. Oil is s figure for the Holy Spirit of God. God is Spirit.
Oil in our lamps, in us, is the sign that we are born again.
Our faith sojourn to meet up with Jesus takes oil.
It also takes staying awake to the ways and means of God and his word as we go out to meet him.
This requires actually being born again. Only five of the ten virgins were welcome to the wedding, the other five were told by Jesus: "I do not know you." (v.12)
Or Consider The Laodicean Church
The seven churches of Asia Minor surrounding the influential city of Ephesus are exhorted and chastened by Jesus himself in the book of Revelation chapters 2 and 3.
Many Christians believe that this seventh church represents the final historical church age, and that we are in this age now.
The seventh church of Laodicea ("Laodicea" means "the people rule", ie do whatever they want) is plagued by equal parts laxity (comfort first, gospel later) and idolatry (wealth, political power, "church" before Jesus and the gospel) .
The supposed "legalism" of the two bible-based baptisms was not a problem:
15"And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write. 'These things says the Amen, the fathful and True Witness, the Begining of the Creation of God: 'I know your works, that you are neither cold or hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. 16 So then, because you are neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of my mouth. 17. Because you say, 'I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing' - and have need of nothing' - and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind and naked- 18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire , that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. 19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore, be zealous and repent.'" Revelation 3,15-19
Jesus Told Us All To Fully Yield
Jesus loves all of us in the church and out.
And he expects more than the laxity and idolatry of Laodicea, more than belief without oil. He expects zealous and fully repentant faithful folks ready to meet him at his wedding banquet.
He expects all of us to fully yield in faith to him.
What about fully yielding to him, and thereby securing our allegiance to him, doesn't include adult, full immersion water baptism, and Holy Ghost baptism?
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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...