By: J.E. Gray
When Paul came to Ephesus and found certain disciples of John the Baptist he asked them two very vital questions; (1) Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? (2) Unto what then were ye baptized? Their answer to the first “… we have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost.” To the second “… unto John’s baptism.”
Then said Paul, “John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.”
“When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied” (Acts 19:1-6).
These two questions need to be answered sincerely in the heart of every believer today and both of them are important. It is intended that these questions be together for the baptism of the spirit does not exclude water baptism, neither does water baptism exclude spirit baptism. They are joined together and neither is complete alone: water and spirit. John 3:5; water baptism and Holy Ghost Acts 2:38, 39; cloud and sea. I Cor. 10:2.
Some may feel that water baptism is not important to salvation. To them it is no more than a rite of initiation into a church membership. But Peter wrote “… the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water. The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us…” (I Peter 3:20,21). “Suffer it to be so… to fulfill all righteousness” (Matthew 3:l5).
I found an unusual note inside the carton of a certain gadget that we had bought that had to be assembled. The note read “after all else fails – read the directions.” We simply need to follow the directions in the Bible if we expect to get the desired results.
Baptism is called a death, (I Cor. 15:29). It is called a burial, in (Romans 6:4), (Colossians 2:12). Baptism is part of the new birth, according to John 3:5. By water we are baptized into Christ, (Romans 6:3). And by the spirit Christ is baptized into us, (Colossians 1:27), (Ephesians 5:18); and we become a new creature, (Galatians 6:15) for we have put on Christ, (Galatians 3:27).
There are certain methods of baptism, which honestly are not valid, that are widely used. And though they may be popular with the masses, yet if they are not scripturally correct these methods are of no value.
In New Testament times water baptism was conducted by means of immersion. They went down into the water, according to Acts 8:38. They were buried with him in baptism, Colossians 2:12 and come up out of the water, according to Matthew 3:16. “In the Middle Ages, the Roman Catholic Church abandoned baptism by immersion.” (World Book Enc. Vol. B.)
I would not dare to speculate as to reasons why the unscriptural mode of sprinkling instead of baptism began. One thing is obvious, sprinkling has been used to involve infants. But here again is a fallacy, infants should not be baptized for they do not need to be baptized. Mark 16:16 “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved:…” Infants know nothing about believing. Jesus made the state of infants very plain when he said, “…Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the Kingdom of heaven… for of such is the Kingdom of God,” (Matthew 18:3, Mark 10:14).
Another very important element in the subject of baptism, which is also necessary to make baptism valid, is the formula, or words, used at the time of baptism.
In the Bible record, without exception, they were baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Look through the book of Acts and you’ll find again and again that they were always baptized in this name.
In Acts 2:37,38 “… 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 sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” The believers at Samaria “… were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus,” (Acts 8:l6).
The first gentiles to receive the gospel received the Holy Ghost while Peter was speaking. “… Then answered Peter, can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we? And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.” (Acts 10:46-48). Also notice Acts 19:5 “When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.”
Jesus gave the “great commission” which is recorded in Matthew, Mark, and Luke. Mark records briefly “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved;…” (16:16). Luke used a different set of words, “and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem,” (24:47). Matthew said it yet in another way. There are no contradictions in their statements. “Go ye, therefore, and teach all nations baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost,” (28:19). The word “name” is the key to this verse. Note that it is singular. This lets us know that there is one name that is the Father’s name and the Son’s name and the name of the Holy Ghost.
The name that is implied in Matthew 28:19 is stated in Acts 2:38 and used in a baptismal service in Acts 19:5. The honest answer to one question will clear up any thought of contradictions in Matthew 28:19. That question: What is the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost? Answer: JESUS! Note Matthew 1:21, “and she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS:…” Plus John 5:43 Jesus said, “I am come in my Father’s name…” Plus John 14:26 “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name…” The word “Father” is not a name, “Son” is not a name, neither is “Holy Ghost” a name. I am a father, a son and a Christian, but none of these are my name. These terms are only titles, not names.
The name of Jesus is a wonderful and glorious name. “and whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus…”(Colossians 3:17). “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” Acts 4:12.
“Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,…” (Philippians 2:9-10). “Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they,” (Hebrews 1:4). “… in that day shall there be one Lord, and his name one,” (Zachariah 14:9). “… God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.” (Acts 2:36). He is Immanuel: (Isa. 7:14). He is Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace; (Isa. 9:6). He is Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, the Almighty! (Rev. 1:8). His name is JESUS which signifies JEHOVAH is (become) Salvation. The Jehovah of the Old Testament became the Jesus of the New Testament!
Our Lord himself, our supreme example, was baptized, (Matthew 3:15). On the birth date of the New Testament Church, “… They that gladly received the word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls,” (Acts 2:41). The people in Samaria “… were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus,” (Acts 8:16). Saul (Paul) was baptized, “…calling on the name of the Lord,(Acts 22:16). Cornelius and his friends and relatives were baptized in the name of the Lord, (Acts 10:48).
Lydia, the first convert in Europe was baptized by Paul, and Crispus, chief ruler of the synagogue in Corinth was baptized of Paul in Jesus name, (see 1 Corinthians 1:13). The Romans were baptized “… into Jesus Christ,” (Romans 6:3). The Galatians were baptized into Christ, (Galatians 3:27). Also the Colossians were “…buried with Him in baptism,”(Colossians 2:12).
According to church history the triune formula of baptism, was not known until after the second and third centuries.
At repentance the “Old Man” dies, by baptism in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins he is buried, and with the receiving of the spirit he is a “New Man”. This reminds us of the exciting miracle performed by Elisha after he was dead! (II Kings 13:21) “And it came to pass, as they were burying a man, that, behold, they spied a band of men: and they cast the man into the sepulchre of Elisha: and when the man was let down, and touched the bones of Elisha, he revived and stood up on his feet.” It’s great to be buried in the grave with Jesus!
Some were baptized before receiving the Holy Ghost, (Acts 8:15). Some were baptized after they were filled, (Acts 10:48), and some received the Holy Ghost immediately following baptism. But all that heard and believed and obeyed received.
(The above material was taken from the booklet Treasures of Truth.)Christian Information Network