Jesus in the great commission said, “make disciples and baptize them.” ( Matthew 28:19 ) If Jesus thought it was important, so should we even if we don’t fully understand the spiritual reason for it. Jesus set the example by being baptized by John the Baptist in the Jordan even though He was sinless and had no sins to be ‘washed away’. (Mark 1:9)
Baptism has a profound effect on a person’s mindset about their Faith commitment. It is a constant reminder of God’s saving grace.
Baptism is an event which is never forgotten. It creates a memory of a lifetime. The time, the place, the pastor, the friends, and the witnesses all come to mind when a person thinks about their baptism experience. That is why baptism should take place when a person is of an age to make the decision fully understanding what baptism means. It should not be done just as a ritual of the church or to qualify for church membership.
While it is true that baptism is not a prerequisite for one’s salvation, it does put a ‘Spiritual Seal’ on it.
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Baptism is an outward and visible sign of an inner change that has taken place when a person accepts Christ as Savior and Lord. It tells the world, usually in front of several or many witnesses, that a person is now a Christian and not ashamed of it. ( See Luke 9:26 )
Baptism symbolizes dying (buried) with Christ and to self and then rising to a new life in HIM in this present life and for life in eternity. It also means that a person has decided to follow Jesus and now there is no turning back to the old way of life. In another sense, it reflects repentance and forgiveness and acceptance by God.
In a symbolic way, the waters of baptism means having your sins washed away and being resurrected to newness of life in Christ. In other words, becoming a New Creation in Christ. ( 2 Corinthians 5:17 ) and receiving the Holy Spirit.
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God doesn’t live anywhere. He is everywhere and as far as his ability to be omnipresent, it is impossible to know such a thing or else we would be god like. However, once we recognize that god is a transcendent being and operates outside of time and space as we know it, it is easy to understand that a being can be involved in every aspect of creation.
Nuclear physicists have hypothesized that at the subatomic level the smallest identifiable quantity is light. So just as light is everywhere—inside every cell of the human body, inside every grain of dust and blade of grass, God can be everywhere all the time.
In the Bible, writers describe God as one who is involved in every aspect of his creation. When we read David’s passage of Psalms 139:11-12, we get a sense of the wonderment of Gods power come over David.
If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,” even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.
The best way to test the theory of God’s omnipresence is to talk with him. As you become aware of your communication, you only have to imagine billions of others carrying on a conversation with God at the same time.
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The Bible is the only prophetic book that is absolutely 100% accurate because it is inspired by God who exists outside of our time and space created universe and who sees human history from Genesis to Revelation as if it is already completed. That being so, we can trust that the prophecies contained in the Bible will happen just as predicted even though we are not privileged to know the precise time and day in advance. Timing remains one of God’s many mysteries.
That said, prophecies about Jesus as Messiah are abundant and scattered throughout various books of the Bible. Now to know specifically that Jesus was and is in fact the promised Messiah we need to ‘Dial’ into only a few of the over 300 prophecies about Him.
Think about it this way for a moment. There are over 8 billion people on planet Earth and a vast majority have cell phones. So, if we want to connect with someone, we start with a country code or area code. That alone cuts down the number of people into a specific geographic area. Then say we ‘dial’ in the next three digits and the field of possibilities greatly shrinks again. Finally, as we dial in the last four numbers we find a person we are looking to talk with. So, with only a total of 10 or 12 numbers we get the person. That’s really amazing.
Using that analogy, we can search the “Biblical prophetic phone directory” and search for who might be the Messiah. So, let’s begin the quest and see if we can find Him.
- Country/ Area code. Micah 5:2, Bethlehem-Ephrata in Israel which is a few miles south of Jerusalem. Not Bethlehem, Pa., or the other Bethlehem in northern Israel.
- Male or female? Isaiah 7:14, A virgin will bear a son who will be called Emmanuel, God with us.
- Genesis 22:18 & 49:10, the Messiah would be a descendant of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and come from the line of Judah or king David. Both Mary and Joseph were from the line of David.
- When will the Messiah have appeared on the planet? Before 70 A.D. as that’s when the Romans destroyed the Temple and the city. Jesus said that would happen and He spent considerable time at the temple. Mark13:2
- How did the Messiah die? Isaiah 53:12 & Psalm 22:16, Romans used crucifixion to kill the condemned. History says Jesus was killed, crucified in 30 A.D. This prophecy was made 700 years before crucifixion was adopted as a method of killing criminals.
So from these six prophecies alone, we have identified the place he was born, that Messiah is a male, from the lineage of David, he lived before 70 A.D. and he was crucified by the Romans in 30 A.D. His death was also reported by the secular historians Josephus and Tacitus.
Now for the logic and the facts. No one gets to choose the place they are born, their gender or parents or ancestors, what time they would live on the planet and how they would die. And remember these six prophecies were made many hundreds of years before the Messiah was born.(Note-He just didn’t appear one day down from the heavens, although He will come again one day that way as He said so himself.)
So, the only person that could possibly fit these few prophecies as Messiah is Jesus Christ. If you are still not convinced, explore another six or so of the 300 other Old Testament prophecies to convince yourself of this truth. God promises to reveal the Messiah to those that diligently want to know Him. Wise men and women still seek Jesus the Messiah for salvation and eternal life. Finally, remember life is full of choices but eternity only two. Choose wisely!
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Yes and yes.
All of Christianity hinges on the answer to this question. If there was no resurrection, there would be no Christianity. Consider this: there were over 500 witnesses to Jesus’ return to life after being crucified dead and buried. The Romans made no mistakes when they killed someone. They were expert at the art of death. Yet, three days later, Jesus appeared to his disciples, to several women, to two men walking on the road to Emmaus, to a doubting Thomas and two others. Jesus was definitely dead and he was definitely resurrected.
His disciples witnessed his ascension into heaven. So yes, Jesus is definitely alive. It is his power and authority that holds every atom in the universe together. One day Jesus will return to earth just like he left it to rule and reign as King of kings. Given the events of these times it could even be soon. Are you ready? (see Matthew 25: 30-35)
In the Bible, there are many references to times where God personally interacted with humans. A few of the examples were Adam, Abraham, Jeremiah, and Moses. God still speaks to us today in many different ways. The most common way now is by reading His inspired Word, the Bible. It’s often said, if you want to ‘hear’ God speak, read the Bible out loud, especially the quoted words of Jesus.(Red Letter Editions)
From the New Testament we know that for 3 ½ years Jesus spoke to us words given to him directly from God. He said,” I only say what the Father has given me to say.” We must realize that Jesus Christ, Emanuel, was and is God with us then, now and for all eternity. So, in addition to the above ways, there is still another way that God speaks to us now.
If a person is a Christian and has accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, they receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. This Spirit of God, if one is listening, speaks directly into one’s mind and reaches into our hearts. In personal quiet times of meditation and reflection on God’s Word we actually are able to engage in a conversation with Him. The secret is to just be silent and listen for God to speak. Finally, yes, we can say with confidence that God still speaks to us.