Monday, July 19, 2010

Baptism (Part III)

By Odon Bulamba (13 February 2001)

When Jesus was baptized there was a sign. The Holy Spirit descended down like a dove and the heavens opened and a voice spoke; what did the voice say? This voice confirmed that Jesus was the Son of God and because John heard this voice he also believed Jesus was the Son of God. After this Jesus received another baptism, which was a sign for everybody.

There are two kinds of baptism, the baptism God gives us, which is good and the baptism the world gives us, which is to criticize us for our faith.

John 19:19-22Pilate had a notice prepared and fastened to the cross. It read: JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS. Many of the Jews read the sign, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and the sign was written in Aramaic, Latin and Greek. The chief priests of the Jews protested to Pilate, “Do not write king of the Jews, but that this man claimed to be king of the Jews”. Pilate answered, “What I have written, I have written”.

We can read that Jesus was crucified and receives a baptism. It is a baptism because He was given a name. Try to link the name given to Jesus and people who are baptized in the church. Before we were Christians we were sinners, we decided to crucify our sins and put our flesh to death. So what did your friends say? What did they say when you left the world of sin and you changed your life? Usually when you are saved your friends give testimonies and these testimonies are sometimes criticism, and the new convert becomes discouraged. This is the world’s baptism. Satan starts straight away attacking you by dividing your family and friends. When you leave your life of sin, old friends will leave you as well. Why? Because there is nothing you can share together, you might share a meal but never the Word of God or behavior. Everyone left Jesus. Pilate wrote the notice in three languages because everybody had to know, and these languages were used to write the Bible. These three languages the world spoke was also used to help our faith grow.

Example: what represents a worldly tongue; represents our actions. If someone abuses you, what will you do as a Christian? Although it may hurt at that time, you have to forgive and say this person doesn’t know what he is doing because this is what Jesus said. When you become a Christian everybody criticizes you and says, we’ll see how long it will last. This will come as a second language and if you are not patient you risk answering back in a wrong way! What did Jesus do? He kept quiet and said I forgive them.

How many times do we threaten others? How many times do we write names? To be a good Christian we must crucify our lives. We must give up all sins and let the world stone us, criticize us and write whatever they want on our walls, and then you will be baptized by the world. Pilate was right when he wrote Jesus king of the Jews because he fulfilled the prophecy that was given long ago.

Even though people were against what Pilate did, he spoke up and said, what I have written I have written. How many times do pagans talk about your faith? How many times do they say Michael is like this and that? Sometimes pagans judge us and say it is better to be like them then a Christian, why? Because our belief doesn’t bear good fruit or our faith doesn’t defend the glory of God. This is the first baptism for every Christian. We fight the world until they say you are the king of Jews. People can ask Peter for advice because his life is on the cross, he doesn’t lie, steal or kill anymore and his life is naked before everybody. Do you know why Jesus was crucified naked? So that nothing was hidden. As people look at our lives they should not see lies, hate or any sin hidden in us. What do you hide in your life? What do you hide in your thoughts or deep in your heart? This is where we must start to be baptized. So ask yourself, am I crucified? Have the nails been through my hands and feet?

After the crucifixion Jesus rose with a new body. If we want a new body we must crucify our actions. Christian life is hard but be patient because everything will pass. Have you worn a crown of thorns, not a crown of joy but of suffering? Since being a Christian, have you come across problems? Has the devil visited your family? If the devil has visited you then praise God because God confirms your baptism of the world. What does it mean when there is no attack from the devil? If the devil doesn’t attack you it means you belong to him because the devil never fights his own army. Whoever is called a child of God is always threaten by Satan.

It is like a hen protecting her chicks from an eagle. A hen can never say that an eagle has not attacked her chicks; also the eagle can’t say he has never attacked hens’ chicks. The eagle has a good eye and an objective to take what the hen has and eat it. This is what the book of John says about the devil. He roams around like a roaring lion waiting for someone to devour. Do you know how a lion hunts? A lion will attack the young and weak but if there are none, then he goes for the older prey. It is the same thing with the devil; he attacks at the beginning of your spiritual life because if you get to the next level you will be stronger. If you are not attacked by the devil you must ask yourself, do I have a problem or not? Jesus Christ received a new body, a body that doesn’t need to eat but goes through walls. We must reach this level of resurrection.

When you see that you’ve overcome what the world has, you can make a new step to confirm yourself as a Christian. Many Christians are baptized because they want to, others are baptized because they want to follow Jesus’ example. In Exodus 12 it is not written that the lamb had to be washed before the sacrifice, but it gives us an idea about the lamb and by reading this chapter you will discover that the lamb had to be washed. Many Christians are baptized because they want to be the image of the living God and are baptized to become a lamb. From here they say, I want to serve God all my life, and I want to sacrifice my life for others so they can find the light. Do you know what happened to the lamb in Exodus 12? The blood of the lamb was put on the doorposts of each house as a sign.

Some people say they want to sacrifice their life for others, they want to pray and fast so that people can find salvation, they want to evangelize so the world can be saved and they want to spread the gospel to the ends of the earth. Some people are baptized for this reason. Others are baptized so the world will know they are Christians. It means that from today they are not Sadducees or Pharisees but Christians as it was in John’s time. Some Christians are baptized because it is law in their church. So what kind of baptism do you want? If you want this kind of baptism why do you want it?

Each Christian must ask himself, why was I baptized? Are the reasons why you were baptized being fulfilled? If not, how come? If yes, then where is the fruit? Is there any fruit?

There is a story in John 4 about the Samaritan woman. Jesus was sitting by the well and asked the woman to give Him some water. Jesus is life and He said to her you will life to the full. What we have from Jesus is life to the full so why can’t we give it to others? What have you given in your life? What is your plan to give from your life? Jesus said if you give Me water I will give you living water. As a Christian have you got a plan for your God to receive what Jesus wants to give you for your life? If you are baptized tomorrow what do you think you’ll give to Jesus so that Jesus can give you life to the full?

The Bible talks about a man named Elijah who visited a lady during a famine. This lady had little to give but gave it to Elijah; after she had given it there was a miracle. What little she gave Elijah blessed and her house was full. Do you know the story? This lady had very little food and thought she would die with her children. Elijah came and said I need to eat, the woman said I don’t have much to give you but I have a bit of oil. So Elijah said, give me the oil. Because she gave with an open heart she accepted to sacrifice her life and the life of her children, Elijah prayed for her and all her jars where full of oil. When you give a little, it will add to the anointing. We all know how important oil is for Christian life because it represents the anointing of the Holy Spirit but we will not look into this baptism yet.

For water baptism you must make up your mind and accept to serve your God and you will have life. If you get baptized and have no goals you are wasting your time, kneel down and ask your God if you are ready to be baptized or not. Jesus Christ who is God was on earth for many years and got baptized at 30, but when people reach a certain age today they want to be baptized immediately, so ask God if it is the right time for you. For us who were baptized long ago let’s try to plan something. After Jesus’ baptism He went somewhere, so where did you go? How did you prepare your ministry?

Question: when I (Michael) was baptized it was out of obedience to the word of God, what category do you put it in with the ones you have mentioned? I think God calls people one way or another, some are called when they are sinners and will change little by little. For example it took Paul 3 days to change and after 3 days he spent 3 years in the desert to study the Bible and to know the will of God. Some people are baptized but are not ready. Nothing is by chance in man’s life; God has different means to call people. It is like our houses, you can have many doors but each door does its own job. If you use the lounge door it means you don’t want to use the toilet door. Some people are called like Saul; he kept worshipping the dead and disobeyed God. Many kings had the anointing but were disobedient but at the last minute God gave them life again. This is what Paul means when he says we are called to perfection. Perfection comes at the time God has planned; it can take 1 year to 20 years to reach the level God wants you. The Bible says the end is better than the beginning. Amen!

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