By TIMOTHY L. MELTON, PASTOR
CHEROKEE PENTECOSTAL HOLINESS CHURCH
“Then Jesus went from Galilee to the Jordan River to be baptized by John.
“But John tried to talk him out of it. ‘I am the one who needs to be baptized by You,’ he said, ‘so why are you coming to me?’
“But Jesus said, ‘It should be done, for we must carry out all that God requires (*we must fulfill all righteousness). So John agreed to baptize Him.”
“After His baptism, as Jesus came up out of the water, the heavens were opened and he (John) saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and settling on Him. And a voice from heaven said, ‘This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy.’”
Matthew 3:13-15 (NLT)
“There are two Ordinances given by Jesus Christ to His Church. Number One is Baptism, and Number Two is Communion,” declared Rev. Melton. “Washing of the feet was not given as an ordinance of the Lord.
“Baptism is understood to be the first Ordinance given to the foundational, early Church, by Jesus. All believers need to be baptized after their repentance, ‘in water and in the promised gifting of the Holy Spirit’. (See Acts 1:4-5, 7-8 in red letters.) In Acts 2:32-41 the disciples baptized Jews who received their message as true, and passing on to them the same promised Holy Spirit they’d received. There were ‘about 3,000’ men who became new Jewish believers there in Jerusalem who believed the words of Apostle Peter after he had preached his first message on the Day of Pentecost!
“Reading in Galatians 3:21-29 through 4:1-7 the Apostle Paul later explained to believers the reasons that everyone can come together in believing now, whether Jew or Gentile. It is more imperative now to believe in Jesus as Lord, because this explanation shows all people why there is need for Jesus as a personal Savior. Baptism is also a ‘spiritual gifting of ‘another water’ that will flow. ‘Out of your belly’s will ‘flow rivers of living water.’ Sins are washed away in Jesus.
“It also is the symbol of a grave, as when I ‘died’ with Christ, and when brought back, I am raised to new life in Christ for I have put on Christ. I become one with Christ. It is not just me who puts on Christ. All are one in Christ Jesus. Going deeper… We become a part of who He is. God Himself will come and now, I can act more like Him as the Promise opens the door. We are to now live up to the standard of Jesus Christ. In Him there is a part of you and a part of Him. In Matthew 28:18-20, Jesus tells us that ‘all power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth’ so the we, who are a part of Him, is me, with Him.
“In 1 Peter 3:21, we are told that baptism ‘doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.’ So we see that baptism does not save us, but it clears our consciences with God. I am made alright in God by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
“In Acts 8:27-40, Philip was sent out by God to answer the question of a puzzled Ethiopian. After Philip’s complete answer revealing who Jesus Is, the Ethiopian asked to be baptized. Philip did so and then found himself supernaturally snatched up as the Holy Spirit caught him away and was found later in Azotus. The Ethiopian man saw him no more but ‘he went on his way rejoicing.’
“In John 3:5-6, Jesus instructed Nicodemus, ‘except a man be born (from within the womb of the mother) ‘and’ of the Spirit, he cannot enter the Kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh, is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. It’s all fully necessary for being birthed into the Spirit realm.
“In Acts 19:1-17, we are told by Apostle Paul, sent to the Gentiles, baptizing the believers into Christ’s Body, made them ‘one new man with the Jewish believers.’ It’s supposed to be the same way today. Denominationally-caused ‘opinions’ of believers, are to be repaired within each ‘Family Body’. We are all to be known, as prophesied, to be ‘the repairers of the breach.’ (Read Isaiah 58, and Psalm 133.)