The NIV of the Bible declares “because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions“ . We are made alive; reborn; or born again when we take Christ into our lives. He is the spark that enables us to live a victorious life in Him. We transcend the life of sin that seems to be the “norm” for us; and instead start to live in Love, Joy, Peace, and so on.
Born Again Baptism.
In baptism we learn that we are to die to our old life of sin when we symbolically submerge in the water, and are born again to a new life in Christ when we emerge again. The text we are studying here states that we are “dead” (in sin), then “made alive” (with Christ).
Living under Law.
In his writing to the “Romans” the Apostle Paul explains that it is implicit that because we live in sin, we also live under law. The two go together like night and day and black and white. A lot of the old testament is about sin, breaking the law, and punishment, but the “New” testament is all about living in love with Christ, under the power and guidance of the Holy Spirit. It is not about laws and punishment, but about doing good and loving one another. (Romans 6 – NIV “Dead to Sin, Alive in Christ”
Living in Love.
If you read the new testament of the Bible you will find that love is the recurrent theme; that it is mentioned all the time and that it is the perfect motivation for all human interaction. Jesus said; (John 13:34-35-NIV; “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Consider these “fruits of the Spirit” that grow in us after we are “Born Again” – love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control – these all grow as we react together in love.
So we go from Living in sin (transgression) to living in love with Christ. From dead in sin to alive in Christ and living a life of love; alive in Christ. We go from being dead in transgressions to being alive with Christ.
What is a Miracle is the question raised by a recent comment. In my terms, a miracle occurs when God intervenes in any otherwise natural circumstance. – in other words – when He does something that wouldn’t naturally happen. I like to think that a miracle is God’s response to faith in action. I.E., We have some human need, we hold out our hand to God and He responds. Viola – a miracle happens.
How big is a miracle?
When I had life-saving lung surgery for cancer many years ago, I had no hesitation in calling the result a miracle. I went into surgery with no fear, joking with the surgery staff, and came out with no pain, and a very smooth recovery. The anesthetist came and sat on my bed after to tell me he had never had an easier intubation – I told him, “of course you didn’t doctor, there was a whole church full of people praying for this op.” It is easy to classify such events as miraculous and to think of miracles as wonderful and momentous; but what about the little things? When we find the empty park in a crowded street right outside the shop we need; when the rain stops just when we have to go out; when life flows so smoothly for us we feel blessed; are these blessings not miraculous in nature?
Psalm 1 states, “blessed is the man who meditates on my word day and night”; and that “everything that he does will be blessed”. I can testify to the truth of that. Our lives have been wonderfully smooth and blessed since we gave God control. So it is plain to me that all these little blessed things in our lives are God-given, and therefore are a never ending stream of little miracles.
The Miracle of Baptism
Taivesi Duanitutu states that the baptism of Jesus is not a miracle. I don’t understand the comment, because for me, baptism involves some divine intervention. When the Spirit of God landed on me, and when my mind was filled with blinding light and with joyful words of wisdom and illumination; I was born again and in no doubt that God was present. For me the size of the event was major, but for others it may be or was minor, but whatever the size, it is miraculous because God is present and involved. The element of baptism and the miracle of being born again are not necessarily synchronous, they may be separate in time, but they are one in fact.
Reach Out In Faith
The worldly view of a miracle is that event which can only be described by divine intervention. My view is that it is better described as a transaction between believers and God, where the believer reaches out in faith, and God responds in love. We have some human need, and God supplies that need in some manner. It is more impressive when the result is dramatic, but however the result is delivered it should be described as miraculous, and answering the question; “What is a Miracle?”
Which is the correct method, sprinkling or immersion? Do You think it is important?
What happens if we get it wrong? Does God care? What is important is that you felt it was needful to be baptized.
Water Has Two Purposes
The role of water in baptism is dual purpose. It signifies a washing away of sin , a metaphorical cleansing of our life as we go forward into a new life in God’s kingdom. As we go down into the water, so too we die to our old sinful life; and as we are lifted out of the water again we are lifted up to a new life in Christ. The phrase “born again” has a strong meaning here, as we enter into a time of new life, a time of great love and joy and peace.
Lack Of Water
In desert places, or in frozen country there may be no practical way to fully immerse a new convert, so the water may be a more symbolic “sprinkle”; rather than a bath. How much water is used is quite immaterial: What matters is the decision of the person to ask forgiveness for their former sinful life, and their intention to accept the Lord Jesus Christ as their saviour. They are consciously renouncing a former life, and resolving to begin a new life. It is the mental and spiritual process that is important.
Being Born Again
To be baptised is to begin the process of being born again as a Christian. This may be almost instantaneous, an event where the person emerges from the water fully fledged as a new convert; perhaps even speaking in tongues or manifesting other spiritual behaviour; Or it may simply mark the start of a spiritual growth that will continue over weeks or even years, as the person lowers barriers, and lets God have access to every part of their life.
Properly Baptised Or Not?
If you feel that you were baptised, and if you believe your sins are forgiven, and if you claim Jesus as your Saviour, then you are baptised, regardless of the method used. I was baptised(sprinkled) as a baby, and it didn’t feel right to me when I grew up, so I went through the water of baptism and made my vows to God in an adult baptism.
For me, the best description of the voice of [God] the Holy Spirit, is the term used by the writer of 1 Kings [19:12] when he said; “a still, small voice“; in telling about God talking to Elijah after the voice of earthquake, wind, and fire. I have this mental picture of the Holy Spirit in the same room in my head as my conscience, and speaking to me in the same way – I have to listen real hard to hear Him, and it certainly helps to be in a quiet place, so as not to drown out the sound of the still small voice…
More About Hearing From God
You can read more about hearing from the Holy Spirit of God in Chapter 14 [Wisdom From God – Concience and The Holy Spirit] of my e-Book, “Good Lord, It’s Morning”!
This is How to Know Preaching is from the Spirit – when you hear conviction ringing out from the words of the preacher, and when you are riveted to the edge of your seat by the RELEVANCE and FRESHNESS of what you are hearing you know you are hearing from God.
God is Never Boring
The eternal, one true God who created the universe and everything in it, is capable of infinite variety. Consider the magnificent sky-scapes, freshly painted minute by minute while you gaze in awe! With every resource of creation at His fingertips, He doesn’t need to repeat himself. So it follows, that if a preacher is led by the Spirit of God he will be given suitably fresh material to use. A spirit led preacher will be talking about things that have happened to him, or are happening in the NOW; not using anecdotes from the life of some other missionary to the middle of darkest Africa last century.
The Kingdom of Heaven is HERE AND NOW.
When you are ‘born again’ you are birthed as a brand new spiritual being into the the Kingdom of Heaven – therefore you must be living in that place RIGHT NOW. It follows therefore, that a spirit led preacher MUST be preaching from conviction gained from his present and past experience, and must be sharing from that. So, such a preacher has to be basing his testimony on what he believes right now – testimony gained from living the Christian life and interacting with God and his fellows. A rule of thumb – any preacher who starts off like this; “A funny [or interesting, or significant,] thing happened to me this week…….”; is most likely to be led by The Holy Spirit, simply because the Spirit of God will have purposefully put such an experience into that preachers week, just for this purpose; and if he goes on to share a ‘Kingdom’ experience, you may then be quite sure. Any preacher who builds his narrative around someone Else’s experience is selling you second hand goods!
– and for that reason, some part of the address will speak to you! There will be parts of the message that will minister directly to you. We are each in a different ‘place’ and various words will react differently on each of us, but a spirit led message will contain something especially for you. This is part of the ‘daily bread’ that God provides and it is part of the assurance we have that He loves us and provides for ALL our needs.
The Compelling Word of God
God is totally consistent, so any Holy Spirit led preaching must accord with what He has already said in His recorded Word – the Bible – Ergo, preaching must be based on and agree with the Bible – so the authority for what a preacher is testifying must rest in God’s Word; and because it is Bible based it is both authoritative and credible – and that is how to know preaching is from the Spirit!
Simply by definition the person of the Holy Spirit, the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and the fruit of the Holy Spirit, are quite different and easily recognized.
The Holy Spirit
This is [one] function of the Holy Spirit: [John 14:] 26 But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit , whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.