The “Sore Spot” of Water Baptism

Vs. 3 “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Vs. 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. Vs. 5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:” Rom. 6:3-5 vss.

   As a former Baptist, I am well acquainted with the confusion over the subject of baptism. In the Apostle Paul’s day, “the bone of debate, or disagreement” was over “circumcision;” however Today, the debate is over “water baptism.” If you want to touch a person’s “SORE SPOT” or make them ANGRY, just start a conversation about water baptism. With this in mind, It is our sincere desire to be used of the Holy Spirit to help bring order out of this chaos so that all believers maybe of one mind. Paul admonishes us believers in 1 Cor. 1:10 Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.”

Paul was reproving (scolding) the Corinthian believers because of their carnal mindedness.  They had contentions & divisions among them, in the church. They were “walking after the flesh, not after the Spirit” (Rom. 8:1). Much like believers today!    

1. It is a surprise to many people, including Christians, to learn that the word” BAPTISM” does not mean to immerse or “plunge into” water! Yes, there is a “water baptism” in the Bible, but the word “BAPTISM” does not mean to place into water!

2. “Water Baptism” is only one (1) of fourteen (14) different baptisms spoken of in the scriptures. Years & years of “traditions of men,” & their vain, deceitful philosophies, taught from the pulpit, YES, THE PULPIT, have caused most people to think of “WATER” every time they read the word” BAPTISM” in the Bible.

(Col. 2:8: “Beware (be on guard) lest any man spoil you (take you captive) through philosophy and vain deceit (empty deception), after the tradition (inherited way of thinking, feeling, &  doing. (Remember that song the old folks used to sing: “give me that old time religion, it’s good enough for me).” NO IT’S NOT!

ALWAYS REMEMBER, they were not taught how to ”rightly divide the word of truth!”2 Tim. 2:15.               BEWARE of the TRADITIONS of men, after the rudiments (the elementary principles) of the world, and not after (the teachings of) Christ ”                                                                                                                                          This is the cause of the great confusion over “water baptism” in the church, to day!

3. We don’t want to be like the Corinthian believers. They were carnal (worldly) &  not spiritual! They had not yet learned the foundational doctrines of the book of Romans. Listen to Paul in 1 Cor. 3:1-3: “And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. 2. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat (SOLID FOOD): for hitherto (up to this time) ye were not able to bear (receive) it, neither yet now are you able (ready). 3. For ye are yet carnal (worldly thinking): for whereas there is among you envying, & strife, & divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men? They were arguing over which minister to follow. “I (Paul) have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.”  Vs9 “For WE are laborers (working) together with God: YOU are Gods husbandry (His vineyard), YOU are Gods building.”

4. The question is  NOT whether or not water baptism is taught in the word of God; everyone agrees that it is. The question that begs for an answer is, should water Baptism be practiced at all in the age of grace, in which we live? THAT IS THE QUESTION! Is it possible that God never intended the practice of water baptism for this dispensation OF GRACE? This certainly would explain why there is so much confusion over the matter.

To discover the mind and will of God on similar issues, the Bereans of Acts 17:11received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” And Paul told Timothy, & us, in 2 Tim. 2:15; to “Study to show yourself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. Eph. 3:4 “Whereby, WHEN YOU READ, you may UNDERSTAND my KNOWLEDGE in the mystery of Christ.”    1 Tim. 4:13Till I come, give attendance to READING (scripture), to EXHORTATION (preaching & teaching), to (sound) DOCTRINE (Paul’s 13 epistles: Romans thru Philemon). THAT IS OUR MAIL!

Drop down to 1 Tim. 4:16: Paul says to you & I: “Take heed (pay close attention) to yourself, to the (sound) doctrine (teaching): continue (persevere, hold to them), for in doing this you will ensure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you).” That is wisdom from this book!

Those of us who minister full time in the Lord’s work seldom hesitate to acknowledge that confusion reigns supreme when it comes to the topic of water baptism. This becomes very evident when we consider the multiplicity of views held by the various denominations. For example:                                                                                                                                                                                         # 1.Roman Catholics believe that water baptism washes away original sin. WRONG!                                                            # 2. Lutherans & Presbyterian’s teach that water baptism makes the recipient a child of the Abrahamic Covenant.    WRONG!                                                                                                                                            # 3. The Church of Christ holds that water baptism is the requirement for salvation. In other words, if you are NOT water baptized, you are NOT saved.    WRONG!                                                                               #4. “Hold on,” says the Baptist,” salvation is by grace through faith; water baptism is merely an outward sign of an inward work of grace.”   WRONG!

The disagreement broadens even further when the discussion turns to whether infants should be baptized or not. Some denominations think that they should be baptized. While others think they shouldn’t be. The Christian Reformed defends sprinkling. Baptists and Independancts object because they believe they can prove that immersion in water was the mode of practice in the scriptures. Many of the Methodists disagree on both counts on the basis that in the Old Testament they poured the oil and the blood therefore, pouring is the proper method.                         Thus, is coined the phrase: “Baptism is a Sore Spot!”

4. Well, a simple examination of the use of the term “BAPTISM” In the Bible will teach us NOT to think of WATER as part of the meaning of the word. Instead substitute the meaning “PLACE INTO” or “PLACE ON. ” The context (or the setting that surrounds the passage of each scripture) will determine what it is that someone or something is being placed into.

5. As we said before, there are 14 different uses of the term “BAPTISM” in the Bible. For the benefit of space and time, we’re going to look at 5 (five) baptisms.                                                   NOTICE: there are THREE (3) ”BAPTISMS” found in just one verse, Matthew 3:11, which says:             “I (John) indeed baptize you with WATER UNTO REPENTANCE: but HE (Jesus) that coming after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: HE shall baptize you with the HOLY SPIRIT and with FIRE.”  

 Let us look at Baptism # 1:        “WATER BAPTISM”        (John Baptized with water)

John the Baptist, the cousin of Jesus Christ, placed people into water or, as some may prefer it said, John placed water on people. Either way John’s baptism was a “water baptism.” *NOW LISTEN CLOSELY PLEASE. THE PURPOSE OF WATER BAPTISM” was to IDENTIFY the “BELIEVING REMNANT of ISRAEL” with their Messiah – Jesus Christ. Always remember” IDENTIFICATION

And the reason Jesus Christ was WATER BAPTIZED was for the same reason, only in reverse. According to John 1:29-31: (READ ALOUD.) John said: “I knew him not as the Messiah, but I came baptizing with water so that he (Jesus Christ) would be publicly IDENTIFIED (revealed) to ISRAEL.”  **IDENTIFICATION IS THE KEY FOR UNLOCKING THE CONFUSION OVER WATER BAPTISM FOLKS! Jesus Christ was IDENTIFIED to ISRAEL as their MESSIAH, and ISRAEL was IDENTIFIED to Him, as the BELIEVING REMNANT, through WATER BAPTISM. *(John wasn’t talking TO YOU, or ABOUT YOU!! He was talking ABOUT the BELIEVING REMNANT OF ISRAEL ONLY!)

 In John 1:11-12.  Jesus “Came unto his own (ISRAEL), and His own received Him not UNBELIEVING ISRAEL). But as many as received Him (BELIEVING REMNANT of ISRAEL, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.”

6. John the Baptist was the cousin & forerunner of Jesus Christ, who announced to “ISRAEL” JC’s coming and prepared them to be received by their KING, through the IDENTIFICATION & CLEANSING of WATER BAPTISM. This is why John announced that one greater—with a greater baptism–was coming.  Vs. 33 And I (John) knew him not (recognize) (Jesus as the Messiah), (but John was obedient to the HOLY GHOST) but He that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending (from heaven as a dove), and remaining on Him, the same is He (J.C.) which baptizes (Identifies) with the Holy Ghost.”


The greater person John was speaking of was the Lord Jesus Christ. According to the testimony of John, when Christ came, he would have a greater baptism. John baptized with water (for IDENTIFICATION), but Jesus Christ will baptize with the Holy Spirit/GHOST (for POWER). This was a reference to the Day of Pentecost which took place after the resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ, back into heaven. (SEE Acts 1:5-8) Jesus speaking via of the Holy Ghost, said to His Apostles, “For John truly baptized with water (PURPOSE: FOR IDENTIFICATION) but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence. Vs 8 “but ye shall receive POWER, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you and you shall be my witness unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” (SEE Acts 2:1-5).

From heaven, the Lord Jesus Christ BAPTIZED, “POURED OUT  His Spirit on that believing remnant of Israel, just as John promised and as was predicted in Joel 2:28-32. “And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will (BAPTIZE) POUR OUT MY SPIRIT upon all flesh; And your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions:

**These two baptisms, “Water Baptism” & “Baptism with the Holy Ghost” were EXCLUSIVELY baptisms for ISRAEL ONLY! Water Baptism was for IDENTIFICATION PURPOSES. This was God’s idea of IDENTIFYING the BELIEVING REMNANT (small group) of ISRAEL with their MESSIAH (JC). And Jesus Christ was IDENTIFIED to ISRAEL through WATER BAPTISM. JESUS WASN’T TALKING TO YOU & ME, JESUS WAS TALKING TO THE BELIEVING REMNANT OF ISRAEL!   

**And the BAPTISM with the HOLY GHOST was EXCLUSIVELY for the BELIEVING REMNANT of ISRAEL too! After Jesus resurrection, & before His ascension, He told His Apostles to WAIT for the GREATER BAPTISM with the HOLY GHOST. This was a reference to THE DAY of PENTECOST when Jesus POURED OUT HIS SPIRIT (BAPTISM of the HOLY GHOST) on BELIEVING ISRAEL, and they began speaking in unknown tongues. WHY?  To be witnesses of J.C. unto the uttermost parts of the earth. Speaking the languages of every man’s tongue, EVERYWHERE!                   AGAIN, JESUS WASN’T TALKING TO YOU! (Acts 1:1-11). YOU ARE NOT ISRAEL!!

BAPTISM # 3                              “BAPTISM WITH FIRE

All my life, IN CHURCH meetings, revivals, I heard people say: “I’m saved and sanctified, and filled with the Holy Ghost & that with FIRE.   Excuse me:  WITH FIRE?  Where did you get that from?

1. John not only INTRODUCED & IDENTIFIED the BELIEVING REMNANT of ISRAEL to Jesus Christ, He also WARNED UNREPENTING & UNBELIEVING ISRAEL that J.C. would have two (2) BAPTISMS when He came. BELIEVING ISRAEL would be BAPTIZED (IDENTIFIED) with WATER & the HOLY GHOST, which is the giving of LIFE. **UNBELIEVING ISRAEL would be BAPTIZED WITH FIRE! This “BAPTISM of FIRE” is the JUDGEMENT OF THE FIRES OF HELL, according to Matthew 3:11-12. This will take place when Jesus Christ shall place UNBELIEVERS into the FIRES of the GREAT WHITE THRONE JUDGEMENT OF REVELATIONS 20:12-15 & 21:8. This will take place AFTER the CHURCH, BODY of CHRIST has been RAPTURED (1 Thess.4:13-18) .              (So much for being filled with the Holy Ghost & that with fire?)

(Listen to the verses: “I, (John) indeed baptize you with WATER unto repentance: but He that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: He shall baptize you with the HOLY GHOST, and with FIRE: Vs 12.  Whose fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly purge His floor and gather His wheat (believers) into the garner (Kingdom); but he will BURN UP THE CHAFF (unbelievers) WITH UNQUENCHABLE FIRE.”   Thank the Lord Jesus Christ has saved us who believe FROM THE BAPTISM OF FIRE.

NOTICE: in this one verse (Matt. 3:11) we have seen three (3) different kinds of BAPTISM; (1). BAPTISM with WATER, (2). BAPTISM with the HOLY GHOST, &  (3). BAPTISM with FIRE (judgement). NOTICE only one involved WATER!   NOW, let this be a lesson to you! DO NOT think of “WATER” every time you read the word BAPTISM. Let the Bible till you what the baptism is into. Then be sure to believe what the Bible says and NOT what some preacher will say the Bible means.


1. For the 4th baptism, READ: Matt. 10:38, 39 ,45.  In this passage a baptism lay ahead for the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the future for James and John as well. That’s why the Lord replied, “You know not what you ask: Can you drink the cup that I drink of? And be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?

When our Lord spoke of a baptism that he was facing, He was speaking of His Death on the cross. Jesus Christ was placed on the cross for the purpose of having our sins placed on him. And, by IDENTIFYING Himself with our sins, he paid for them in his death. Jesus Christ was baptized into our death. (Luke 12:50 & 1 Pet. 3:21 “ It is also called: “THE  BAPTISM THAT NOW SAVES”!

2. In the case of James and John, this BAPTISM Speaks of their martyr’s death. Jesus Christ prophesied and history has recorded that both James and John were placed into death for preaching the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. They both died for the sake of others, for the furtherance of the gospel, so that others may hear the gospel and be saved.

BAPTISM # 5                           “BAPTISM INTO CHRIST

*1. This is the BAPTISM for us today, in the dispensation of the grace of God. The 5th & Final BAPTISM we shall look at is a baptism which is taught exclusively by the Apostle Paul in his 13 epistles only (ROMANS through PHILEMON). It is a fact that Apostle Paul mentions WATER BAPTISM Only One Time in all his epistles. This one time is found in 1 Corinthians 1:13-17.                READ THE VERSES:

As water baptism continued into the new dispensation, of Gentile Grace that was now in effect, it brought confusion and division (just as it is doing in churches today). Paul’s solution with simple: stop water baptizing! After Paul thank God he didn’t baptize more than he did, he states in verse 17: : For Christ sent me NOT to baptize but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none affect.”

2. Paul was the apostle of a new age of God’s grace. His message in ministry to the Gentiles was distinctly different from the message and ministry of the 12 apostles to Israel. *WATER BAPTISM BELONGED TO THE MESSAGE GOD HAD FOR ISRAEL under the LAW. However, there is a baptism taught by the Apostle Paul that BELONGS to the MESSAGE GOD HAS for the Church, the Body of Christ, under GRACE. *NOTICE: It Is NOT WATER BAPTISM! Paul writes 1 Cor. 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 that apostle Paul taught was a BAPTISM INTO CHRIST. This baptism is the placing of the believer (today) into the body of Christ. It is important for you to realize that in 1 Cor. 12:13 (above mentioned), The BAPTIZER is NOT A MINISTER, BUT GOD the HOLY SPIRIT! Eph. 1:13-14 teaches that the Holy Spirit not only places the believer into Christ, but at the same time the Holy Spirit SEALS the believer into Christ until the Day of Redemption. Which means: “ONCE SAVED, ALWAYS SAVED! YOU CAN NEVER GET OUT OF CHRIST; YOU ARE HIS PURCHASED POSSESSION. From these verses, we can also see that the Holy Spirit does NOT place the believer into WATER, but INTO CHRIST! Here again, we need to remember to believe what the Bible says, & NOT what the tradition of men says the Bible MEANS.

3. This “BAPTISM INTO CHRIST” is the baptism that IDENTIFIES the believer with the saving work on the cross. Romans 6:3-5 teaches this baptism so clearly. (READ ALOUD).                                 According to the scripture we just read: THE MOMENT I trusted in Jesus Christ as my personal Saviour, the Holy Spirit placed me into Christ’s death, (the cross where my sins were paid for)  & into his burial (the payment is complete now) & into Christ resurrection (where I now have a new life in Christ). Since this baptism is the work of the Holy Spirit, it is properly termed it’s a “Spiritual Baptism.” Paul teaches that it is a spiritual baptism in Romans 6:3-5; 1 Cor. 12:13; Gal. 3:27; Ephesians 4:5; & Col. 2:10-13

I hope this message clears up any confusionthat you’ve had, over Water baptism. I gave you plenty of verses to study for yourself.                                                                                                                              *Just remember: 1 Cor. 14:33:“ For God is NOT the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the Saints.                                                                                                                                                                       *2 Cor. 2:11Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.”

 *“Acts 17:11 Be a BEREAN When you study the word of God. “These were more noble then those in Thessalonica, In that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.”And remember the KEY to understanding the Bible is:                                                                                                                                              2 *Timothy 2:15: “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a Workman that needed not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”

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