Thursday, July 15, 2010

Baptism (Part I)

By Odon Bulamba (8th February 2001)

Baptism is one thing Christians do; we do it because the Bible asks us to do. It is true that we bath everyday but it doesn’t mean we are baptised everyday. Many people swim everyday but it doesn’t mean they are baptised, so what does baptism mean? Baptism has a meaning both spiritually and physically. When John was on this earth he would call people and say, “come, I want to baptise you if you repent”. Without repentance (in John’s time) baptism didn’t exist and to repent was to admit your sins. How can we admit our sins if someone doesn’t remind us?

Our conscience and the presence of an evangelist or preacher is very important. If your conscience was dead in John’s time you would not have been baptised, and if you didn't have time to hear God’s word you wouldn’t have been baptised. So at that time we had one baptism that was on the river Jordan. This river was a cursed river according to the Sadducees law. John was 8 years old when he went to the desert; he stayed there for 22 years and came back at 30 years of age. Maybe during these years John didn’t take a bath because in the desert there is no river. I know people who can live for 50 years without taking a bath. So John left the desert and came to the city. The Bible says that John was the voice calling in the desert preparing the way of the Lord. People’s conscience would come alive when they heard this voice and these people also prepared the way of the Lord.

They prepared it by way of repentance, and after repentance was baptism. Even though John hadn’t seen a river he would baptise in one, so how can John baptise people in a river if he hadn’t seen one? In my country there were people with mental problems. One-day these people went swimming, however the pool had been drained previous. The first person walked onto the diving board and jumped into the pool with no water in it and hurt himself. The second and third person did the same. The fourth person however walked up onto the diving board but stopped, people said dive but was too afraid of the water because it was too cold. This man didn’t realize the pool was empty and this is how many people are baptised today. They don’t know why they are baptised and don’t know if the anointing of the Holy Spirit is with them. Some people say because my dad is baptised as a Roman Catholic I want to be baptised like that. From John’s time believers started thinking about baptism in depth. Baptism was a common thing back then but as time went on man started to change it and it became corrupted.

Ephesians 4:5, one Lord, one faith, one baptism.

The way Catholics baptise is different from the way Methodist and other groups baptise, so why don’t we have one baptism? Why has baptism changed? If baptism has changed why has it been corrupted? So what is the right baptism? If you want to be baptised where should you go? Who can baptise you? Would it be someone coming from the desert like John who ate honey for years and wore animal’s skin for his clothing? John the Baptist does qualify because the honey, animal skin and belt he wore has a meaning and we shouldn’t forget how important his message was. So what is the right baptism? Have you been baptised? Did you have the right one and how do you know it?

In Kenya some people are immersed in human blood because they are devil worshippers and it is like a covenant. So what is the difference between baptising in blood than water? Is it the colour? This is a huge topic but in short I would say as Christians we need baptism because it has a very important meaning for our lives. According to Mark 16:15-16 Jesus said,

“Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptised will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned".

Go and evangelise to all people. It doesn’t say go to all animals. Today people get their cats baptised and the church keeps a record of it. Before being baptised you probably would have heard about the good news. Once you accepted this message only then can you be baptised. The Bible doesn’t say that once you have a baby go to a church and baptise the child, the child must hear the good news first and then their conscious will do the talking. When you take the news into the world people who hear the word will see their faith grow. When you were baptised did someone influence you or did you hear about the gospel? If you heard the gospel did it help you believe in Jesus Christ? If it didn’t then something is wrong.

There was a man who wanted to be baptised, the person asked God, give me the strength because when I see the devil I want to fight him. So this man started abusing the devil with his ugliness. He said the devil’s got a big nose and I want to cut it into two so God give me the strength because I want to pull out his teeth. He thought the devil was a human. He had faith to ask God for strength but it is not written in the Bible to beat the devil’s teeth out. So he built his faith on something that was not the Word of God. Romans 10:17 says that our faith comes by hearing the word of God, so what is your faith built on?

Many brothers and sisters are baptised today only because of tradition. As Christians we are told to do it for baptism is one step towards our salvation. There was a servant of God named Phillip. He met up with a eunuch who was meditating on Isaiah 58. Phillip asked him what are you doing? I’m meditating on Isaiah 58 but I need someone to explain it to me. How many times do we need to understand? How many times do you understand the preacher? How many times do others teach us and we don’t understand? If you don’t understand what the preacher has said go and ask him to explain it better instead of telling each other you haven’t understood a thing. Faith comes by what you hear and not often by what you read. It doesn’t mean you can leave your Bible aside or other books, but this eunuch came to Phillip with his problem and Phillip explained it to him. After Phillip had explained the Word to him the eunuch was convinced and said, here is some water, baptise me. He said it because Phillip convinced him through the preaching. So are you convinced by what you hear? If you are not, then why are you here?

The Bible says seek and you will find. If you don’t want to seek it, you can steal it in a dishonest way. Many people today are baptised in this way, some churches say when you are 15 you can be baptised. The Pastor will say, Peter what are you waiting for, we need people to be baptised. Because of this pressure, Peter just accepts to be baptised.

When people are baptised they drink alcohol because they think it is part of the celebration. So what kind of baptism is it? Children are not to be baptised, however many people justify this by saying what is written in Matthew, Mark and Luke. Jesus said let the children come to Me because the Kingdom of God belongs to them, but people would take their children to Jesus so He could pray for them and that is what the Bible says.

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