i was minding my own business when something jumped out at me from the page. you probably would have felt the same way. i looked at it again. and then, i thought, “how come I have never heard any preacher explain this?”
what i find in Acts, reading it again and again, shakes me to the core…because there is too much truth being denied, too much not being done, and too much overlooked from the Word of God.
When the baptism of the Holy Spirit came, “they” were all filled with the Holy Spirit and had tongues of fire distributed on them. I will not address the tongues of fire at this time- what I find interesting is that in a house they could be plainly heard- they were loud enough, speaking in the languages of everybody in the city visiting from other places, In fact, the crowd heard distinctly different languages. Architecture being as it was then and there, sound traveled out into the street. But it must have been a God thing to stop people there into such a crowd that 3,000 some were baptized following that event.
Following Peter’s speech, the people said, “Brothers, what must we do?” It is not strange to see something like this- there could have been several asking the same question. Peter’s reply is- in my humble opinion- one of the most misaligned passages in the New Testament. What does he say but this:
“Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
OK, so if I was not a Christian, and wanted to become a Christian, according to this verse, I would need to:
1. Repent. In broken humility, recognizing that i have sinned against God and broken His law, I would renounce sin and turn my back on sinning. Not, pray this little prayer and accept Jesus as your personal savior…
2. Be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Wow, we sure have gotten off track here. This is the process- repent, then get baptized? Yes. But it isn’t the water that saves you from sin, that would be silly. We are baptized- Greek- from baptizo (immersed fully into an object)- in water, then raised from out of the water. Sound familiar? Didn’t Jesus die and rise again? Exactly why we need to be baptized- we are to die to self and be raised as a new creation in Christ (behold, old things are passed away, all things are made new). Notice the Bible makes it clear that “every one of you” is to “let be baptized.” Then, the scriptures actually say “so that you may be forgiven.” That was not how I was first taught….but what I was taught was wrong…
3. …and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. After you go down under and are raised up, you should have the gift of the Holy Spirit. This sounds like a promise to me. It doesn’t sound like I have to keep dunking Brother Earl in the bathtub over and over again until he speaks in tongues. He will be able to speak in tongues and have the power from the Holy Spirit if he has truly repented, truly died to self and rose anew in Christ.
Jesus, in the book of Mark, states: “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.” (Mark 16:15,16; Mark is a short version of the gospel…which explains the short and sweet nature of it)
Jesus said in the book of Matthew: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey all I have commanded you…” (Matthew 28:19,20) (the baptism of repentance- dying to self and admitting God is Lord- toward The father, baptizing in water- dying to self and rising a new creature born from above- And of the Son, and receiving the gift of the baptism of the Holy Spirit)
Now, this is what the scriptures say, so I’m sticking with it. Like the word says, “you will know the truth and the truth will make you free.”