Guide Concerning the Sacrament of Baptism (With Active Table of Contents)

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Scripture is clear that when Jesus rose again after his death he went to heaven in physical form and is now present at the right hand of his Father Matt. Jesus was clear that the eating of his flesh and blood is a spiritual act, not a literal physical act John God tells us many things to think about, but none carry with them the penalty of death.

This sacrament is more than just cognitive musings on the death of Christ, or simply thinking about Jesus who himself is not present in any real way. See appendix for detailed breakdown. We believe it is very important. Those who are believers in good standing should regularly participate in the sacrament for several reasons. The elements are signs of something that is to be already present in the believer, the salvation given to them by faith in Jesus. First, it is one of the distinguishing characteristics of the local church.

What clearer picture of Jesus in our midst than the bread and wine representing his true spiritual presence among us? Some churches pass around the elements. Other churches have elders or leaders distribute the elements. We do not see a problem with any of these methods and are willing to change our method if necessary. We place the elements on a table because it is the most efficient way with space and resources to distribute them. This view is held by the Roman Catholic Church. This comes from a flawed defining of justification being made right with God as a process instead of an event at conversion.

Believe it or not transubstantiation as irrational as it may sound was not theologically-driven, but science-driven.


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It was actually an attempt to make rational on the physical level what could only be rational on a spiritual level. During the first years of the early church as theology was being developed, transubstantiation was not taught. None of the early church fathers articulated any form of transubstantiation, including St.


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  7. Augustine who many Roman Catholics like to claim as their own. Speculative theology speculating about everything no one but theological nerds care about became the bleeding edge and drove this idea. Thomas Aquinas debated how many angels could dance on the head of a pin and many other random and at times pointless debates.

    This view was developed out of revulsion for the Roman Catholic view by a Swiss Reformer named Zwingli. The point of the sacrament is more of a commemoration or a remembrance. We put up a photograph of this person with flowers around it. We say some words about him, think of all he meant to us, then go home. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died.

    It is talking about those who walk up and throw the little crackers in their mouths while thinking about the busyness of their week. Or those who come to the Supper as two-faced hypocrites who pretend to follow Jesus, but are unrepentant of sin. It includes those who take the Supper while knowing they are not truly part of the body. Both sickness and death are the possible results. Ford Lewis Battles, ed. John T. Eerdmans Pub. However, it still shows the extremes to which rational arguments can go even bordering on the ridiculous in order to fully explain what cannot be fully understood.

    He is the third person of the Trinity. He is responsible for convicting the world of sin, righteousness and judgment. He baptizes all believers into the body of Christ, sanctifies them for service and growth and will forever indwell and seal them until Christ comes again John ; II Cor ; Rom ; Eph ; Gal ; Rom Since the Holy Spirit is God, he was not created but has always existed Acts First, the universal nature of the church and the oneness of all believers past and present makes the Holy Spirit a necessary part of the Old Testament saints.

    All who believe are united in Christ through the Holy Spirit Eph. Those who do not have the Spirit do not have Christ 1 John ; Rom. Second, there are countless passages which speak of the Spirit of God coming on individuals in the Old Testament not simply for salvation, but to empower them for ministry Ps. First, before Pentecost people were sealed by the Holy Spirit but not necessarily empowered by Him. As mentioned in the previous section, all God-followers of all ages must have the Holy Spirit within them in order to be sealed for heaven and united to Christ. Other than kings, priests and prophets it was rare for anyone to display spiritual gifts given to them by the Spirit.

    After Pentecost, all who have the Holy Spirit by faith are also promised empowering by him 1 Cor. Second, before Pentecost the power of the Holy Spirit was limited in the lives of believers. Although there were some amazing supernatural acts by chosen leaders, power over demons and effective evangelism of foreigners was almost non-existent. After Pentecost, there was an explosion of evangelism.

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    Satan was bound by Jesus not to blind the nations any more, and demons were now cast out of people to free them to believe Luke ; ; Rev. Miraculous healing, mass prophecy and resurrection power over sin became available Rom. It is not so much an act of the Holy Spirit as it is the final acts of Jesus in empowering and equipping the church to accomplish the mission to which he commissioned them Acts ; Matt.

    This makes the baptism of the Holy Spirit a once-for-all event in the history of redemption, along with the death, resurrection and ascension of Christ, with which it is most closely associated Acts , It was completed in stages. The baptism of the Spirit was to bring a complete typological uniting of Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and the known Gentile world.

    First, on the day of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit fell upon the entire body of Jewish believers Acts Third, in Caesarea, when the Holy Spirit fell upon all the Gentile listeners, the initial nucleus of the far-flung church among the Gentiles Acts And fourth, at Ephesus, when the Holy Spirit came on previously bypassed disciples of John the Baptist in close conjunction with their being baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus Acts Baptism with the Holy Spirit is thus associated with the once-for-all foundation and the ongoing witnessing nature of the church of Jesus Christ.

    Every believer comes to share in the baptism with the Holy Spirit through his union with Christ at conversion 1 Cor. Baptism with the Spirit, therefore, as an experience of individual believers, is not an event subsequent to conversion, or enjoyed only by some believers. To share in the baptism of the Holy Spirit means to have a place in the universal church where the Holy Spirit dwells and where he is at work Eph. Filling of the Spirit is connected to the baptism of the Spirit because it is based on the historical baptism at Pentecost and the practical baptism of each of us at Salvation.

    Jesus said the Holy Spirit cannot be seen or felt, though his effects may be experienced John Without these effects no one would experience anything different. They may be different for different people. Some experience nothing at conversion, but see a slow change in their desires. Others feel a deep sense of peace. Others experience a rush of emotion. Others experience an immediate freedom from certain addictions. They gradually come to belief through a process. The gift of tongues was the supernatural ability to prophesy in a foreign language. Some believe tongues referred to some form of supernatural babbling instead of a clear language.

    The Old Testament prophets predicted that at the coming of the Messiah many supernatural events would happen, including the fact that people representing every nation on earth would hear of Christ Zech. The two images of Pentecost confirm the necessity of tongues referring to a known language. Pentecost occurred 50 days after Passover just as the Law was given by God 50 days after the people were saved from Egypt.

    Pentecost was also called the Feast of Weeks and represented the first fruit of harvest to be celebrated. The purpose of tongues was to be a supernatural sign to unbelievers, while at the same time giving them the message of the gospel in their own language. One of the biggest evils of mankind occurred in the Old Testament in the city of Babel where a tower was build to get to God Gen.

    Pentecost was a reversal of the tower of Babel in which God took the chaos of language diversity and brought order to it through the gift of tongues. Jesus said his followers would be revealers of the mysteries of the kingdom Matt. This mystery relates to the gospel and particularly how the new church includes both Jew and Gentile Eph. In other words, tongues were an instrument of revelation.

    In Acts , Peter declares that the tongues speaking which went on was a fulfillment of Joel 2. Tongues are clearly a subset of prophecy. Three of the times that tongues is used in the Old Testament, it refers to a sign of coming judgment Isa. Tongues were a sign as much as they were a tool to spread the gospel I Cor. They were a sign that pointed to the baptism of the Holy Spirit which John the Baptist indicated was a sign of the judgment of God on the nation of Israel Matt.

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    Guidebook for Baptism

    Yes and No. Tongues and prophecy as a sign of the baptism of the Holy Spirit no longer exists, because the event has already been fulfilled.


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    There is no need for continual fulfillment in the church age. Both tongues and prophecy were the identifying signs of the event of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Jesus told his disciples that the fulfillment and completion of the last days events would happen within their generation Matt. The events Jesus spoke of led up to and ended in A. However, tongues as a gift given by the Holy Spirit for specific acts of evangelism is still a possibility today. The Holy Spirit can give whatever gifts necessary to accomplish his work. Not necessarily.

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    At first look the tongues of Corinthians seems to be different than in Acts. In Corinthians it is personal, incoherent and needing translation, and possibly brings private edification. Admittedly, the tongues mentioned in I Corinthians 14 seems to be less clear as to what it is. However, since the origination of the gift in Acts 2 is clear, then there are several reasons to believe tongues to be of the same type of gift in I Corinthians as it was given at Pentecost. It has already been shown that tongues refers to a spoken language as opposed to angelic babbling.

    Second, Acts records the Spirit falling on the Gentiles after Peter tells them the gospel, and immediately they spoke in tongues.