Wednesday, September 19, 2012

On My Heart



For the last few days I've been stuck in my scripture reading. I have reached some verses God REALLY wants me to blog about, but for some reason I've been hesitating. So as I write this, I have a prayer in my heart that God's voice will speak through me and touch those it is meant to touch.


"And this is my gospel—repentance and baptism by water, and then cometh the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost, even the Comforter, which showeth all things, and teacheth the peaceable things of the kingdom."
— Doctrine & Covenants 39:6

Last fall I participated in a MOPS program at a local church. Most of the women in my group attend this church, but I do not. One day I asked the women in my group what the church's stand was on baptism - was it necessary or not. The group leader said the church did not hold baptism to be necessary, it was just a way to show other people that you have chosen to follow Christ. Then some women even said there was nothing in the scriptures that said baptism was necessary.

I was shocked. I couldn't believe these women had just said this. The first thing that came to my mind was Jesus's own words in the bible —

"Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God."
— John 3:5

That is as straightforward as you can get, and yet here were women, members of a 'bible' church, who believed the bible didn't teach the necessity of baptism.

Baptism is an ordinance. An ordinance is a physical performance showing you have made a covenant with God. All ordinances must be performed by someone having authority from God. Jesus taught not only in word, but in deed that this ordinance is necessary for EVERYONE, even Himself.


"Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness."
— Matthew 3:13-15

Even Jesus, the sinless one, had to make this covenant with God. His pure example shows us plainly that everyone, in order to follow in His footsteps, must be baptized. Jesus didn't go to just anyone to be baptized. He went to John, who had authority from God to perform this ordinance.

"Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on my name, and you shall receive my Spirit, and a blessing so great as you never have known."
— Doctrine & Covenants 39:10

On the day of Pentecost, when the apostles and disciples of Christ were filled with the spirit of the Lord, Peter also taught of the importance of baptism.

"Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost."
Acts 2:37-38

As I mentioned earlier, when you are baptized you enter into a covenant with God. A covenant is a promise between two or more parties. The covenant of baptism says that the disciple being baptized takes upon them the name of Christ, and God in turn will bless them with His spirit - specifically by giving them the gift of the Holy Ghost. This gift is also given by one having authority from God. It is a marvelous gift - to always have the Lord's spirit with you, not just when you're being good, or when you need answer to prayer, but ALWAYS.

I was baptized when I was eight years old. My father, an ordained elder in my church, baptized me and later laid his hands on my head and confirmed me with the gift of the Holy Ghost. I don't remember too much about that day (except the white jumper I was wearing was too big and the pants legs unrolled while I was in the water.) But I am thankful to my parents for teaching me in my childhood the importance of baptism and of being a disciple of Jesus Christ. This special knowledge has carried me through my life, blessing me and my family in so many ways.

With love,

15 comments:

  1. I too have encountered interesting 'interpretations' of scripture, or just plain ignorance of basic Christian fundamentals. For instance we were having dinner with some friends and they said their pastor taught them that it is good to "Eat, Drink, and be merry...." since it is in the bible. Talk about out of context!

    The scripture however that has been on my heart this week was one I came across in Mosiah about the Lord saying "I don't know you" at the second coming to all those who have denied his existence during their earthly life. there are some people I care for that are agnostic at best, but more on the line of atheist. it breaks my heart. it really does.

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  2. Hi Jean,

    Thanks for sharing the verses about baptism as it is an important part of our relationship with God. Blessings :)

    Visiting from WIP, linked up behind you...

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  3. Baptism is a picture of our old lives dying and our new lives in Christ. It is am important part of our Christian life. Thank you for sharing and linking up with SHH! Blessings!

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  4. My father-in-law in an American Indian. I'm not sure he or many on his side of the family believe in Jesus Christ. My views are not welcome on the topic, and make me an outsider when I bring them up. *sigh*

    He's in really bad shape, I don't think he will be baptized before he passes, but if anyone who reads this could please pray for him to find salvation if he hasn't, before he passes, I would be most appreciative. I know that's not what your blog is for, and I have only told this to one other person (online and not face to face) so I don't know why I'm posting it, but it's sincere and I hope anyone who sees it will pray the prayer for him.

    Thank you for your lovely post.

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  5. I was baptized when I was 11 years old. There certainly are many scriptures that point out the importance of baptism. Thank you for sharing these today.
    Blessings,
    Charlotte

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  6. Visiting from Legacy Leaver Thursday. :)

    I was baptized when I was nine. Then a few years ago my relationship with God went to a new, fresh, deeper level and I felt God telling me to get baptized, so I did it again. All four of my children have been baptized in the last couple of years. Such a beautiful way to show your fellow church family your commitment to Christ as well as an important thing to obey Him.

    Sweet Blessings~
    Jenifer

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  7. This is a well written post... and one that I will share with a person that has been coming to our Sunday School but raised under a legalistic religion...IT is one area that keeps him from salvation

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  8. Hi Jean. I am coming to you from the Just for Fun Fridays link up. I agree with you on the importance of baptism. My husband, children, and I were all baptized as infants. Blessings to you!

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  9. I have to admit that I was baptized twice. Once as an infant and again when I was an adult. This caused a bit of a fervour as our denomination only baptizes once and usually infants. I was baptized as a baby. My family never attended church and never followed through with raising me in the church or guiding my spiritual education. I really wanted to be baptized again as I wanted to be reborn and renewed. We baptized all my kids and I talk to them about God, read His word. I don't want them not to know Him and not to have Him in his life.

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    1. In my church we don't believe in infant baptisms. We believe you have to be old enough to choose for yourself to make a covenant with God and understand the difference between right and wrong. It is wonderful that you had the desire to be reborn and renewed as an adult! And you're a great mom for teaching your children the importance of the gospel and baptism as well.

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  10. Hey there!
    Stopping by from the "Monday MeetUp" - I´m a new follower!
    Cute blog!
    Have a nice day,
    xoxo
    Anni

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  11. I was 16 and wore a circle skirt which floated above the water! But the meaning of what I was doing did not fail to make the moment meaningful. As does the obedience of all ordinances of God.

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  12. I remember clear as day. In the baptistery, right behind the pulpit, there was a pastel mural of the river Jordan, its bank fringed with tall green stems. I put yourself in his place when I got baptized. Envisioned myself in the Holy Land, standing on the same hallowed spot where he stood. Imagined my sins sliding right off in the water and washing downstream in the river suds.

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  13. Beautiful post. I was just baptized this year. It's such a special experience in our walk with God. Thank you for sharing this and for linking up at Legacy Leaver Thursdays.
    Blessings~
    Shari

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  14. Wow. It is very important to be baptized! We believe that baptism has nothing to do with salvation, so you don't need to be baptized to be saved. As your first verse states, you have to be born twice, once into a physical birth as a baby (the water) and once into a spiritual birth (accepting Christ).

    But we believe that baptism is a sign of your faith. It's a sign for others, a profession of faith. So it is very important to make that personal testimony of salvation. It's sad that those ladies don't seem to think it's very important. Thanks so much for linking up today!

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