1 Corinthians 12:13 mentions “by one Spirit” we were all baptized into one body. What does this mean? It means that Christians came to be baptized into Christ BY the influence of the Holy Spirit. In other words, none of us would have been immersed in water in the name of Jesus Christ except that we listened to what the Spirit commanded. It was not BY my own wisdom or desire. I never would have been baptized in the name of the Lord except I came under the teaching and directing influence of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit tells us the truth about how to come into the body of Christ. The Law of Moses did not tell me to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. The faith of Jesus Christ as revealed and directed by the Holy Spirit is the ONLY reason anyone was ever baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
The 3,000 Jews that repented and were baptized in the name of Jesus Christ (Acts 2:38-41) would never have done so except that the Spirit through Peter urged them to. The Ethiopian Eunuch would never have been baptized in Acts 8:33f except that the Spirit through Philip had taught and urged him to. Cornelius and his household would never have been baptized in water in the name of the Lord in Acts 10:47-48 except the Spirit through Peter taught and commanded them to. You see it is BY one Spirit, the same Holy Spirit teaching, that we are ALL baptized into one body.
Here is what happens when we are baptized in the name of the Lord. 1) We are immersed in water by the authority of Jesus Christ (Acts 8:33f; Acts 10:47-48). 2) Going into this baptism in water we repent of sins (Acts 2:38) or “die to sin”(Rom.6:3-5). As we are doing this BY the Spirit’s influence, God is also doing the most important part. He is cutting our sins away (Col.2:12), remitting our sins (Acts 2:38; 22:16), and adding us to His church (Acts 2:47) or placing us in the spiritual body of Christ, the church (1 Cor.12:13; Gal.3:26-27). This all happens when we are immersed in water in the name of the Lord. When we are immersed in Jesus’ name, we have “faith in the operation of God”(Col.2:12f) that He will do the work of circumcision without hands. What does He cut away? He cuts away our sins. We do not cut our own sins away. God does this. But, God does this when we are immersed as the Ethiopian Eunuch, as the 3,000 Jews on Pentecost, and as Cornelius. We are ALL baptized into one body, the church of Christ, by the direction of ONE SPIRIT.
This is what Jesus said in the great commission. Go preach the gospel to every creature. He that believes and is baptized shall be saved (Mark 16:15-16). This is carried out by the disciples teaching all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit (Matt.28:19). Remember, this is in the element of WATER (Acts 10:47-48). It is done “in the name of the Lord” and it is done “BY” the influence of One Spirit. This one baptism began to be preached and practiced by direction of the Spirit in Jerusalem, and was to keep going to “all nations”. It did not cease short of “every creature”. It is the one baptism of Eph.4:5. Do you hear what the Spirit says about the baptism Jesus commanded?
—Terry W. Benton
Peter was writing his first general letter, it is believed, between 58-62AD and from the book and knowledge of the time there was growing persecution against Christians. Persecution gets tiring and wears one down. Peter reminded these Christians that God “called you out of darkness into His marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9). It was light in the heart where we sometimes feel overwhelmed with darkness. When we are rejected by others, and we know we did nothing but good and do not deserve the rejection, we have two options: 1) Let their dark behavior and ignorance flood our hearts so that we see nothing else, or 2) we can let “the Light of the world,” Jesus, dominate our thoughts. The darkness is easier to forget when we have someone so wonderful who loves us and thinks we are worth dying for. The “marvelous light” on the inside must not be allowed to go out by letting the darkness of people’s ignorant rejection of you overwhelm the “marvelous light.” It is “marvelous light” regardless of what is happening to you at the hands of ignorant people. Their darkness must not diminish your light. Your light must carry you through the darkness of this world.
Continue reading “Marvelous Light”
The book of Hebrews was written to encourage Christians who were being persecuted and discouraged in their faith. The trials and discouragement was predicted by Jesus. He told His disciples of the hardships that His disciples would experience prior to the fall of Jerusalem (as recorded in Matthew 24). Before the fall of the Jerusalem temple, famines and persecutions would bear down upon the disciples of Jesus and the “love of many would grow cold” (Matt.24:8-12). This prediction was made in about AD 30 and the fall of Jerusalem was completed in AD 70, 40 years later. The years of 66-70 AD were especially difficult years. Because of the signs Jesus gave in Matthew 24 regarding the fall of Jerusalem and what would take place just before that fall, the disciples would know the signs to look for, and these would signal to them when to leave the city of Jerusalem. So Hebrews was written just prior to the fall of Jerusalem encouraging the brethren to stay strong and beware “least there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God” (Heb.3:12). The Christians were to encourage one another and “so much the more as you see the day approaching” (Heb.10:24-25). What day could they see approaching? The day of the final fall of Jerusalem, the center of Judaism, and the place from which Christians needed to be prepared to escape when they saw Jerusalem surrounded by the Roman armies (Luke 21:16-22).
Continue reading “Hebrews: As You See The Day Approaching”
Salvation comes to us BY grace THROUGH faith, and that is a GIFT of God, not something we earn or deserve (Eph.2:8).
“BY grace” means that God did not have to save us at all, but due to His own mercy and grace, He provided a way for sinners to be saved. “THROUGH faith” means that this saving grace comes to us THROUGH this channel. The condition we were in before this channel was created was that we were “children of wrath” (Eph.2:3). Why? Because we were “dead” (separated from God) in trespasses and sins (v.1). What we earned was “wrath.” But God’s great love provided a means to make us “alive together with Christ” (v.4,5). So, by grace we are saved!
Continue reading “At What Moment Were The Ephesians Saved By Grace Through Faith?”
The historic crucifixion of Jesus and His resurrection that followed three days later is the ultimate verification of the truth of His deity. It was predicted in the Jews’ own scriptures (Psalm 16; Isa.53), and that is no small thing to deal with. If Jesus’ body could have been kept in the grave, the church of Christ would never have gotten started. Peter spoke in Jerusalem just 50 days after the crucifixion had taken place. There could be no credibility in a man like Peter talking about a resurrected Jesus if it were not for the fact that the Jews’ own scripture predicted it, the tomb was empty, the body of Jesus was missing, and witnesses were willing to testify to having seen Jesus alive again. In Acts 2 we find the presentation of evidence, and no Jew was able to refute any of the evidence Peter presented. Miracles were also adding credibility to Peter and the other apostles. The evidence stood that day and every day since.
Continue reading “The Resurrection of Jesus Is The Ultimate Evidence”
An amazing feature of the Old Testament is that it was written by the Jews, and the Spirit of God guided prophets to write some amazing prophesies about a Messiah-Savior who would come in their future. But they gave some specifics about that time when the Messiah would come. Daniel interpreted a dream for the king of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar, and the dream was of an image made of four metals. Daniel 2:32-33: “This image’s head was of fine gold, its chest and arms of silver, its belly and thighs of bronze, its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of clay.” (NKJV)
Continue reading “The Prophesied Time For God’s Messiah To Come”
How did Christianity survive even one day in Jerusalem? The leader, Jesus, had been crucified in Jerusalem before many witnesses. His tomb was guarded. There would be no possible way for the followers of Jesus to claim Jesus was God or the prophesied Messiah. A dead Jesus could only lead to one logical conclusion: He was not God, was not the Messiah, and believers were all wrong. With the tomb of Jesus in Jerusalem, the memory of his crucifixion still fresh, there is no way that the church of Christ could ever get started in that hostile environment. But, it did get started and it thrived because something powerful happened in that city.
Continue reading “The Power Of The Gospel Of Christ”
Because “all have sinned”(Rom.3:23) and the “wages of sin is death”(Rom.6:23), no one deserves to go to heaven. There is a way for us to go to heaven, but it will not be on the basis of our own merits. The means of getting to heaven will be through the forgiveness of sins offered in Jesus Christ.
He is “the Way, the Truth, and the Life”(John 14:6). Jesus came and died on a cross to give you the means of salvation from the condemnation your sins demanded. We earned our condemnation by sinning. But, how do we come to enjoy the salvation that Jesus wants us to enjoy?
Continue reading “A Heart Must Be Prepared to Go to Heaven”
We need a mirror to examine our physical health and appearance. If there is something wrong in our appearance we can adjust the hair or brush the teeth, or we can deal with blemishes or see how to shave or apply makeup. Mirrors serve us well on a daily basis, but only if we DO something about what we see in the mirror.
Continue reading “The Mirror For The Heart”
Terry Benton, June 30, 2015