Even Demons Believe, Chapter Fifteen

Table of Contents

15. Re-Baptized

Often people state, “I don’t know if my baptism was valid or not,” as they begin to understand the true meaning of baptism. It is a good question because most have been taught a very superficial teaching about baptism, while many others were baptized with mixed motives and doctrines. Still others feel they have been Christians for years without baptism. For answers to these questions and concerns, let’s look at the baptism of John the Baptist, for he came preaching with baptism in mind.

  • And so John came, baptizing in the desert region and preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. (Mark 1:4)

John preached a powerful and life-changing message that offered “the forgiveness of sins.” Yet, John said that his baptism could not compare to the baptism Jesus would bring.

  • And this was his message: “After me will come one more powerful than I, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” (Mark 1:7-8)

Note that while John was sent by God, he, unlike many other preachers today, realized that he preached an inferior baptism. Many individuals confuse this type of baptism as a salvation baptism. They often point to their changed lives and claim others should acknowledge their salvation because of these changes. John’s preaching and baptism, however, also produced many changed lives, but still remained incomparable to the baptism of Jesus. Those who refuse to humble themselves and acknowledge their need for true baptism are in dangerous disobedience. Remember many rejected Jesus because they had not been baptized by John. In the same way, many refuse to move onto maturity and cling falsely to their first convictions of God as assurance of salvation.

Unlike John the Baptist, many preach their church dogma and baptize with impure motives. For instance, the desire for numbers and the rushing of children into baptism to reassure parents simply reveals two sins committed in the name of baptism. Such polluting of God’s way of salvation forces many to conclude later in life that their baptism was not of God. For most, however, baptism is a matter of tradition, something done to them as a baby or to prove their faith, or worse yet to join a church. Since God does not delight in ignorance, it is imperative that all repent and be baptized for the correct reasons and by the power of the Holy Spirit. The vast majority baptized were not dipped by the pure working of the Holy Spirit but by the mixed and sinful workings of religious man. Although individuals might say they gave themselves to God, it is very proper to ask if the Holy Spirit prompted them, with sufficient wisdom from God, or did the motivation of men urge them into the baptismal waters.

In our preaching and discipleship, let us, as the Holy Spirit gives insight, enable others to see the baptism of John they underwent. In no way am I advocating a new or added baptism, but a call for spiritual wisdom. Simply stated, the rst convictions and changes in one’s life toward God may constitute the baptism of John. Those first stirrings may well be on the level of John’s message. Therefore, we must fully teach the complete message of Jesus and make certain that all count the cost, testing to make sure of the Holy Spirit’s presence, before we pronounce anyone born again. So many teachers, preachers, and Christians only know the power of John’s message and therefore completely lack the greater power of the baptism of Jesus. They may be accurate and full of zeal, good hearted, and loving toward God, but have a greater need of understanding and power. The following example is one such preacher who humbled himself and was richly blessed for it. Though knowing Jesus “accurately,” this man remained in need of spiritual growth because he “knew only the baptism of John.” Once again Scripture reveals God’s desire that the salvation message should be consistent among all churches and individuals. If a particular message lacks the full knowledge of salvation, something must be added.

  • Meanwhile a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus. He was a learned man, with a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures. He had been instructed in the way of the Lord, and he spoke with great fervor and taught about Jesus accurately, though he knew only the baptism of John. He began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they invited him to their home and explained to him the way of God more adequately.

For many this book will “more adequately” help them understand, preach, obey, and experience Jesus Christ and His salvation message. Yet, many others will reject this and in self righteousness may lose the grace God began. Hopefully a few will humble themselves and find a grace they never dreamed possible.

Let us end this chapter with another quick look at the baptism of John. The baptism and repentance of John is simply this; changing everything humanly possible through the outward touches of God’s grace. is baptism fills in the valleys of self-pity, relaxation, and worldly pleasures so the person can focus in on heavenly matters. Such a person stops enjoying the weekend and reads the Bible on Saturday to prepare for church on Sunday. It is going to John in the desert, away from all the entertainment, commerce, and food of this world to hear the rough, clear, oensive Word of God preached. For most readers this book presents their first encounter with the desert preaching of John because the churches they attend are too defiled to proclaim the offense of the cross. You will not often hear a “voice of one crying in the desert” from pulpits today. John’s baptism inspires a life of preparation; of getting up early to read the Bible, turning o the TV, avoiding friends of bad inuence, and looking for things that crowd out God. First step of denying self: Do not look for a church that pleases self.

John’s message shows things you can do to make straight your crooked life. Whether opinions about God or everyday little things that make it hard for Jesus to reach you, this baptism causes you to throw them away.

The wise in the Lord will direct such repentant sinners into a proper position so that God can touch them. Those already wise in Jesus, but only knowing the baptism of John, can lay hold of even more in Christ. The unwise and hard hearted, however, will angrily reject this message and grow bitter that they are called to give up even more—indeed, their very selves. Prepare your heart for God to draw closer to you and if you discover the need to be baptized again, humbly submit and “all mankind will see God’s salvation.”

  • … during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the desert. He went into all the country around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. As is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet: “A voice of one calling in the desert, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him. Every valley shall be lled in, every mountain and hill made low. The crooked roads shall become straight, the rough ways smooth. And all mankind will see God’s salvation.’” (Luke 3:2-6)

Truths To Ponder, Beliefs To Examine

  1. What opinion do you have about the way of salvation?

  1. What opinion do you have about the way of salvation?

  1. What opinion do you have about the way of salvation?

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