DISCIPLESHIP CLASS NO 7
(Don't forget to look up the Scripture references -they will help)
THREE SCRIPTURAL BAPTISMS
Reading: John 1:19-34

BY WAY OF INTRODUCTION

You will have realized already that I am not one of those people who only mentions the Holy Spirit at Whitsuntide. He is much too important for that!! For He it is, Who is the DYNAMIC of God within the Church TODAY. We have spoken much of the part that the Holy Spirit plays WITHIN THE CHRISTIAN, concerning SALVATION, HOLINESS, WITNESSING, CHRISTIAN LIVING and CHRISTLIKENESS - as shown in the Fruit of the Spirit. (Galatians 5:22-26)

During these classes, I have mentioned THE BAPTISM IN THE HOLY SPIRIT, (ACTS 1:8) which should be the personal experience of every Christian, but all too often is not.

It has been impressed upon me once more in recent days, how confused so many people get when we mention the word BAPTISM! SOME OF YOU HAVE NO DOUBT, ALREADY HAD RUN-INS WITH 'CHRISTIANS', WHOSE MAIN OCCUPATION, IS TO DISCREDIT THOSE WHO FAIL TO HOLD THEIR BRAND OF 'TRUTH' ABOUT THE SUBJECT!

I once spoke to someone about the Baptism in the Holy Spirit, and they said, "Oh yes, I was BAPTIZED IN THE SEA!" So that we may more understandably, explain to those who experience difficulties in this respect, we are going to examine THREE SCRIPTURAL BAPTISMS.

BAPTISM INTO CHRIST
In Romans 6:3-4 we read, "Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ, were baptized into His death? Therefore we are buried with Him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead, by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life."

It is very obvious, that this is speaking about the time we are SAVED! The time, when we die to sin, and self, and rise in newness of life!
In 1 Corinthians 12:13, the Apostle Paul tells us that "By one Spirit are we all baptized into one body" When we are baptized into Him, we become a PART OF HIS BODY!! (see verse 12)

If you think of your own body, you control every aspect of it from your mind, your head! As part of the Body of Christ, you and I must allow Him to control us - COMPLETELY!! CAN YOU IMAGINE THE CHAOS IF PART OF YOUR BODY HAD A MIND OF IT'S OWN?? NO WONDER THE CHURCH IS OFTEN IN SUCH CHAOS! You and I, as part of the Body of Christ, BAPTIZED INTO THAT BODY BY THE HOLY SPIRIT, MUST RESPOND TO ALL HE REQUIRES US TO DO!!

BAPTISM IN WATER
The next Scriptural Baptism, is a subject that Salvationists often avoid like the plague!!- WATER BAPTISM!

When we were at one corps, a church was communicating with one of our Salvationists, and was insisting that, to be 'baptized into the Body of Christ' meant WATER BAPTISM, and WITHOUT IT HE COULD NOT BE SAVED!
If this were true, then it would mean that for a start, every Salvationist who is not baptized in water - from the General right down, is not a true Christian. Furthermore, IT WOULD MEAN THAT THE GOSPEL WE PREACH WOULD BE DANGEROUSLY INCOMPLETE!!

We must face up to this accusation.
Does the Bible then say that we cannot be saved unless we are BAPTIZED IN WATER ????

Let the Apostle Paul enlighten us! He says in 1 Corinthians 3:5-6 that he was responsible under God for PLANTING THE CHURCH AT CORINTH!!

This naturally means then, that if we are saved through baptism, he must have baptized them. It doesn't take a degree in theology to come to that conclusion!

HOWEVER, HE SAYS CLEARLY IN 1 CORINTHIANS 1:14, "I BAPTIZED NONE OF YOU" In fact in verses 17-18 he goes even further when he says, "CHRIST SENT ME NOT TO BAPTIZE, BUT TO PREACH THE GOSPEL"

I think this shows us how far down his list of priorities it was, and that WATER BAPTISM WAS NOT HIS GOSPEL!
IT ALSO SHOWS US, THAT EVEN IN THOSE EARLY DAYS, THERE WERE THOSE WHO GAVE WATER BAPTISM AN IMPORTANCE WHICH IT WAS NEVER MEANT TO HAVE.

It is and was always meant to be - AN OUTWARD SIGN OF AN INWARD CHANGE - CERTAINLY NOT THE CAUSE OF THAT CHANGE.
TO PREACH SUCH A GOSPEL IS AN INSULT TO CHRIST!!

Now of course, we must face such verses as Matthew 28:19 which says, "Go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost."

I have heard Salvationists, get into dire difficulties, as they have tried to ARGUE AGAINST BAPTISM, perhaps causing hard feelings with other Christians in the process.

THERE IS NO NEED WHATSOEVER.

THE SALVATION ARMY IS NOT - AND NEVER HAS BEEN AGAINST WATER BAPTISM!!

Our stance is, that being a primarily evangelistic movement, and baptism not being necessary for salvation, we do not practice it! It does not, and was never meant to make anyone any 'better'.

That does not mean we are against it - AND WE DO NOT FORBID SALVATIONISTS TO BE WATER BAPTIZED IF THEY SO DESIRE.

Indeed if we cause dissension on this matter, and get into fruitless arguments concerning it, then we ARE DEFEATING THE ARMY'S AIM, which is not to waste time over something which is comparatively unimportant!

IT IS SIMPLY AN OUTWARD SIGN OF AN INWARD CHANGE - NOTHING MORE - NOTHING LESS! Like Paul, the Army would say "CHRIST SENT ME NOT TO BAPTIZE BUT TO PREACH THE GOSPEL"

BAPTISM IN THE SPIRIT

In the beginning we spoke of the HOLY SPIRIT BAPTIZING US INTO THE BODY OF CHRIST, whilst in our reading (John 1:19-34) we find a reverse of this situation where it is CHRIST BAPTIZING US INTO THE HOLY SPIRIT.

I have said on countless occasions how that Holiness, and the Baptism in the Spirit must take place together in the Christian's life, and that the experiences were inseparable.

Commissioner Samuel Logan Brengle, one of the Salvation Army's renowned holiness teachers of the early days, put it this way, "IT IS THE BAPTISM THAT CLEANSES"

That greatly used saint of God Duncan Campbell, sometimes referred to the Baptism in the Spirit as "FULL SALVATION OR THE FULLNESS OF THE SPIRIT". He also said that it didn't matter what you called the experience, IT WAS THE PRACTICAL OUTCOME THAT MATTERED.

General William Booth's wife, Catherine said, "The only INDISPENSABLE QUALIFICATION for witnessing for Christ is THE HOLY GHOST."


A QUICK RE-CAP
THE FIRST BAPTISM ABOUT WHICH WE SPOKE - THAT WHICH PLACES US WITHIN THE BODY OF CHRIST, IS ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL FOR WITHOUT IT, WE ARE NOT SAVED!! THAT IS WHAT SALVATION ACTUALLY IS.

The SECOND about which we spoke - the BAPTISM IN WATER. That is a PERSONAL CHOICE, and it's enactment will make us no better or worse, but is simply an OUTWARD WITNESS of the change which has taken place within our hearts.

The SYMBOLISM is that the old nature dies with Christ, and is buried - going below the water - and then we come up rising in newness of life.

There are those, including some Salvationists who feel that this is a Scriptural form of witness which they should follow, and we have NO RIGHT to either CONDEMN or RESTRAIN them from doing what they feel is right for them. Neither should we see it as a threat or condemnation of our own viewpoint!
There are many Salvationists who have been baptized in water. We have no argument with them, as we do not believe water baptism to be wrong!

The THIRD BAPTISM at which we looked, is when CHRIST BAPTIZES US INTO THE HOLY SPIRIT.

WITHOUT THIS BAPTISM, we do NOT HAVE the PROMISED POWER FOR SERVICE, OR THE ABILITY TO LIVE A TRULY HOLY LIFE, WHICH RADIATES THE PRESENCE OF THE LIVING SAVIOUR.

I trust that these few thoughts, will consolidate in our hearts and minds those things which we know to be true, and will further help us when challenged, to give a reason for the hope which is within us.