Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Baptized Into Christ

Temple Baptist Church - 6-10-2009

Galatians 3:26-29


A. Tonight, I will be teaching on an area of great controversy—both in the world of religion and also in the ranks of fundamental Bible believers. It does not take long to “rile up” the Charismatics or some independent Baptists when you teach what the Bible says on the subject. Much of this division is caused by biblical ignorance. I will not take the time to deal with the entire doctrine of the church as I go through Galatians but will try to clarify what “baptized into Christ” is and is not.

B. There are many misconceptions concerning “baptized into Christ” or the “baptism of the Holy Ghost.” I am not here tonight to convince those who disagree with me because they are not here. I want to look at the Bible and see what it says on the subject. I believe that this doctrine is as simple as it is profound. I want to look at several things that will help to clear up what Paul is saying in these verses.

1. What does the Bible mean when it speaks of “church?” The word “church” means to “be called out” or a “called out assembly.” Israel was certainly “called out of Egypt” to assemble, the local church is “called out” of this world to assemble, and the believers, as a body, will be “called out” to assemble one day with Him. Some teach erroneously that every instance of the word “church” found in the Bible is in reference to a local church.

a. Israel is called “the church.” Acts 7:37-38 This is that Moses, which said unto the children of Israel, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear. 38 This is he, that was in the church in the wilderness with the angel which spake to him in the mount Sina, and with our fathers: who received the lively oracles to give unto us: (This is the same word used for Israel that is used to reference a local church. Israel was “called out” of Egypt and assembled in the wilderness.)

b. The Body of Christ is called “the church.” Ephesians 5:22-33 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. 24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. 25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; 26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, 27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. 28 So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. 29 For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: 30 For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. 31 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. 32 This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. 33 Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband. (Christ will present to himself the church—the Body of Christ—not the local church.)

c. The local church is called “the church.” 2 Corinthians 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, unto the church of God which is at Corinth, with all the saints which are in all Achaia: (Most references to the “church” do speak of the local assembly. I am a local church man! Everything concerning the work of Christ should go through and under the authority of a local, Bible believing church. But, not every reference to the “church” speaks of the local church.)

2. What the churches above mentioned are not:

a. Old Testament Israel is not the same as the New Testament local church. We that are saved are not of the nation of Israel! Doctrines such as British Israelism, taught by the late Herbert W. Armstrong, founder of the Worldwide Church of God, are erroneous. In the Body of Christ, there is neither Jew nor Gentile. All are the same in Christ Jesus.

b. The local New Testament church is not the Body of Christ. I love the local church and have given my life for it but it is a mixture of saved and lost. The local church is flawed because of our human natures. There is fighting and arguing, mixtures of truth and error, and so on.

C. The Body of Christ is neither the local church nor some “universal” or “mystical” entity.

1) The Body of Christ is not a “Universal Church.” The word “universal” simply means all or a whole number. Though the Body of Christ is the summation of every born again believer, this is not the proper term to be used when speaking of the Body of Christ. The word universal is a generic term which could refer to almost anything and, in our day, does. Many who deny the Body of Christ are afraid of the TV churches, radio churches, and house churches (By “house church,” I do not mean churches started in homes by missionaries and church planters).

2) The Body of Christ is not “Mystical.” Some use the phrase “Mystical Church” because that term is derogatory in its meaning. It is meant to demean the Body of Christ. “Mystical” normally refers to the occult and its practices. What a shame that it has been applied by some who profess to know the Bible to the Body of Christ! The Body of Christ is neither “universal” nor is it “mystical.”

3) The Body of Christ is not an organization. Though the Body of Christ is real and alive, it has neither organization nor function. It does not have pastors and deacons. It does not evangelize at home or abroad. It does not teach and admonish believers. It is Christ’s Body. God has ordained that those saved are to assemble with, be faithful to, work through, and with the local church.

3. The baptism mentioned in Galatians 3 is not water baptism! There are several baptisms mentioned in the New Testament of which I will quickly deal with two.

a. Israel’s Baptism - 1 Corinthians 10:1-2 Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; 2 And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; (God’s deliverance and protection is taught in these verses. They went in and through the sea. NOT ONE PERISHED! They were led and protected by the cloud.)

b. Believer’s Baptism - Matthew 28:19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

1 Peter 3:21 The like figure whereunto even 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: (Water baptism is an act of good conscience. Christ died, was buried, and rose again—ever living for us. We are telling the world that we have died with Christ, have been buried [speaks of permanent death of the old man], and have risen again to live for Him.)

1) The word “baptize” means to immerse or to place completely into something. This is the reason that we immerse new converts instead of sprinkling or pouring. Immersion is the correct means and the only means of water baptism. Believer’s baptism is an act that takes place after salvation, not at the moment of salvation.

2) Believers are baptized as public confession of Christ. Today’s act of “joining a church” is not taught in Scripture. Joining a church is church tradition, which I have no problem with as long as it is not taught as a commandment of God. We have many in our church that have never “joined” by letter, baptism, or statement of faith. They are members of Temple Baptist Church and are both loved and appreciated. Again, these methods are traditional and I have no problem with them but none can be found in the Bible! In the New Testament, people were saved and baptized. Those who were saved and obedient in the act of water baptism had no problem assembling with the local church.

3) Believers are baptized in obedience to God’s command. It is the answer of a good conscience towards God.

c. Spirit Baptism - 1 Corinthians 12:13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. (This one I will deal with in a little more detail in order to explain our text verses.)

Baptized Into Christ

1. What the Baptism of the Holy Ghost is not:

a. It is not a second blessing or second work of grace. Many believe that it is a “second blessing” which is evidenced by speaking in an unknown tongue. This is about as far from the truth as you can get! These “fire baptized” individuals have no interest in truth. They thrive on emotion, and self-exaltation. They are neither soul winners nor are they missions hearted. They are proselyters!

1) Tongues were a sign to the unbelieving Jew. We are not going to discuss tongues in this study but I will say that the modern day tongues movement is not of God. Their tongues are neither scriptural nor do they obey the Scriptures.

2) Boldness of preaching was the sign of being Spirit filled.

b. Some Baptists teach that it is an experience whereby they become “filled with the Holy Ghost” and are empowered for service. I have heard of some well known men who gave this impression. This also is also a far stretch from the truth.

1) We are commanded to be filled with the Holy Ghost! Ephesians 5:18 And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; (Spirit filled is an obligation!)

2) Filling is a way of life, not an “experience!” Galatians 5:16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. (Spirit filled is a life choice!)

2. What the Baptism of the Holy Ghost is:

a. It is Spirit Baptism - This is not water baptism but another baptism—the baptism of the Holy Ghost. It does not say that they were baptized with water upon their profession of faith in Christ. Paul told the Galatian believers that they were “baptized into Christ.
Ephesians 4:4-5 There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; 5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism, (These verses deal with our salvation, not the local church. If it were the local church, then there would only be “one body.” This is the baptism of the Holy Ghost that is referenced here. Water baptism has nothing to do with salvation.)

b. It is a onetime event - Hebrews 6:1-3 Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, 2 Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. 3 And this will we do, if God permit. (Notice that “baptisms” here is plural while “baptism” in Ephesians 4:5 is singular. This is for a reason. Ephesians 4:5 speaks of the salvation of the believer while Hebrews 6:1-3 speaks both salvation and the Christian experience in general. Hebrews recognizes both Spirit baptism and water baptism. It also says “leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ.” Both baptisms are a onetime event not to be repeated.)

c. Spirit Baptism happens to every believer - 1 Corinthians 12:13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. (This baptism involves all of the redeemed. Paul was not “baptized” into the Corinthian Church. His home church was at Jerusalem. Yet, he was baptized into the same body as the Corinthians.)

d. Spirit Baptism places us into “Christ.” Into His Body. 1 Corinthians 12:13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.

Romans 6:3-5 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? 4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:

e. Spirit Baptism is done by the Holy Ghost. 1 Corinthians 12:13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. (Notice that the word “Spirit” is capitalized. It is a direct reference to the Holy Spirit. This is not being baptized by a man but by God Himself. There is nothing charismatic about it.)

f. Spirit Baptism or Baptized into Christ takes place at the moment of salvation. Colossians 3:1-3 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. 2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. 3 For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. (There are many expressions in the Bible such as “in Christ,” “in him,” and “in Christ Jesus” that refer to our position in salvation.)

Conclusion: There are those who will argue about the Body of Christ and the Baptism into Christ but I believe that this statement is clear when it says, “Baptized into Christ.” They were immersed into Christ himself! This is the work of God, not the work of man.

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