Purpose Driven Believer
Paul was a fanatic religious Jew who wanted to kill Christians. He was full of enthusiasm, but had wrong motives. He wanted to spread the religion and prove that his faith was the perfect and only way to God.
But you know it is not religion but your relationship with God which will save us. Religion will make you rigid, but relationship with God will make you righteous. It is not the fanaticism but a real living faith in God that will save us. It is not the thoughts of man, but the Word of God which will save us.
Jesus appeared to Paul on the road to Damascus experience and changed him from a fundamentalist opponent to the faith-filled Apostle of Jesus Christ. He got a purpose in his life. This is his last letter which he wrote before he was executed in Rome at the time of King Nero. Looking back at 30 years of his labor (36-66 AD), he was writing this letter to young Timothy who was taking care of the church at Ephesus. Now having finished the God-given purpose of his life, he is satisfied and with full confidence he encourages Timothy to carry on the ministry with full of zeal. From this verse we learn a threefold purpose for a believer's life.
I FIGHT A GOOD FIGHT . Most people want to excel in a bad fight, but this is a good and honorable fight. In 1 Tim. 6:12 Paul tells Timothy to fight a good fight of Faith. This is also clear in 1Tim 1:18 "This charge I commit to you, son Timothy, according to the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you may wage the good warfare,…" Whether you agree or not, believe or not, want or not, the Christian life is warfare and if you are a believer you are in that warfare. When you believe in Christ you are clothes with Christ. we are not fighting men but…
1. Satan. In Ephesians 6:10-13 Paul writes "Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places."
James 4:7 writes "Resist the devil and he will flee from you." 2 Cor. 10:3-6 "For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled."
2. Sin . This is a war against sin, worldliness, social evil system, beliefs and superstitions.
Apostle John writes in his epistle 1 John 2:15 "Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world--the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life--is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever."
3. Self. This is a fight against our own self and selfish desires. Jesus said, if anyone wants to be my disciple "let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me." Paul writes in 1 Cor. 9:27 "But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified."
II. FINISH THE RACE. Let me tell you a purpose driven life is not a lazy life of idle faith but an active, energetic race to run. It is not an optional morning or evening walk, but a definite race with a purpose. Of course you know a racer has to discipline himself, he has a goal which he has to complete within set rules and regulations. Paul clarifies this in the following verses.
1 Cor. 9:24-26 "Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air."
Acts 20:24 "But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God."
Phil. 2:16 "Holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain"
Gal. 2:2 " And I went up by revelation, and communicated to them that gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, but privately to those who were of reputation, lest by any means I might run, or had run, in vain."
Heb. 12:1 "Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us…"
III. KEEP THE FAITH In order to fight and run, you
would need to have faith and lots of perseverance, because this is not going to be an easy journey but rather full of struggles at every step. One thing is sure if you have fixed your eyes on Jesus Christ, the author and perfecter of our faith, victory belongs to you. If God is with us who can be against us.
The Living Bible puts this way 2 Tim. 4:7 "I have fought long and hard for the Lord, and through it all I have kept true to Him…" It is not how we start, but how we end is what matters. If your beginning was not good, don't worry about your beginning, your past doesn't have to decide your future. The past is history you can't change, but you can change your present that will determine your future. Therefore, take heed to the warning in Rev 2:7 "He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God." Rev. 3:11 "Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown."
There was man named Saul in the Old Testament who was the first king of Israel. He had a very good beginning. He reigned Israel for 40 years, and he fought many wars and won in the name of Yahweh. But the later years of his life he began to rely upon his own strength. He even started neglecting the priests of God and consulting divinations. Henceforth, God left him and an evil spirit began to torture him. Unfortunately at the end of his life he was killed by his own sword. He had a very good beginning, but a bad end.
In contrast, Paul of the New Testament had a very bad beginning: killing Christians and hating Christ and the Church. But one fateful day, a supernatural encounter with the Jesus Christ transformed a hateful sinner to a humble saint. He had a very vile beginning but a victorious end.
Beloved, keep on doing good and remember that the God who started this good work in you will bring in to completion. You are made for eternity; walk seriously with God. Whatever you do now will affect your life eternally. You can't change your past, but you can change your present by turning to God and your present will change your future forever.
Pastor Jatinder P. Gill
Buried with Christ
One of the most important things for a child of God is to be obedient to Him. The Bible says obedience is better than sacrifice. Baptism is a step of obedience for the believer to the command of our Lord Jesus Christ as found in Matthew 28:19-20 "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen. Henceforth, water baptism is not a personal choice, but a command for all believers (Mark 16:16).
The English word baptism is mentioned 40 times in the Bible and it is a translation of the Greek word ‘baptismos’. The verbal form ‘baptizen’ means “to dip into or to immerse”. The word ‘baptizo’ means: I baptize or I immerse and can never be translated as anything else. Whenever the New Testament refers to baptism, it always signifies immersion.
You cannot simply be baptized to become a member of a church or because somebody may think it’s a good idea. Mk.16:16 "He who believes and is baptized will be saved.” Acts 2:38 "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins…” Baptism is an ordinance of the church, because it is something that Jesus Himself ordained. This is how during Bible days believers were accepted when they make a public statement of their faith on Christ Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior. Peter makes its comparison with Noah and his family going through the flood in the ark (1Pet.3:20-21).The water of the Flood brought judgment on then world that was full of corruption and full of violence (Gen.6:5, 11). Therefore, water symbolizes judgment that Jesus in His death took upon Himself for the people of all ages. The water did not cleanse Noah and his family, but the faith that caused them to believe and obey God and build the Ark. In the same way the water baptism does not cleanse us, but the faith in the risen Lord Jesus Christ prior to baptism which leads us to obey this command. Before we decide who is qualified to take baptism the candidate must answer the following questions:
Do you believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God?
Have I accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior?
Have I repented of my sins and asked forgiveness of my sins?
Have I become a new person in Christ?
(Mk. 16:15-16; Acts16:31–33; 18:8).
Right and complete Baptism
1. Right Candidate: Infant or Child baptism was first mentioned by Irenaeus in 200 AD and opposed by Tertullian in 2nd century. Later it became a wrongful practice in the 5th century. Infants or children can’t be baptized because they have no idea about having faith in Christ or repentance. John the Baptist refused to baptize the religious leaders as they had not repented of their sins and they had not been born again. Therefore, only those who have ability to repent and are saved can be baptized. Children are dedicated unto the Lord and when they reach to the age of accountability then they should repent of their sins and then be baptized. Baptism by itself will not save anyone. It is repentance of sins and faith in Jesus Christ will save us. Jesus says children are already part of the kingdom of God. Mk.10:14 “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God.”
Infants should not be baptized because:
a. There is no Scriptural basis for this practice.
b. Babies cannot repent of their sins.
c. They cannot confess the faith as Jesus is the Lord and Savior of their lives.
d. They cannot be taught all the commands that Jesus commissioned to His disciples to teach after their baptism (Matt.28:19).
e. Baptism must be taken willingly and infants cannot choose to obey God in Baptism. They do not understand about sin and walking in spiritual victory.
2. Right Formula: It is performed in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit a formula taught and commanded by Jesus Christ himself to His disciples in Mathew 28:19. All these places (Acts 2:38; 8:12,16 ; 10:48; 19:5) where baptism in the name of Jesus is mentioned are not giving us the formula but simply differentiating between Baptism taught by Jesus and other Baptisms, of the Judaism, John the Baptist (Acts 19:3: Matt. 3:6) and of heathen. Those days Jewish practiced baptism for religious ceremonial cleansing, and John the Baptist also practiced the baptism of repentance.
3. Right Mode:In which the body is not fully immersed into the water because only dipping into the water and coming out of the water can rightfully symbolize the burial and resurrection of believers’ along with Jesus Christ (Rom. 6:3-4; Col. 2:12). Immersion fits exactly into the picture of burial of old, dead life and rising of new, transformed life (II Cor. 5:17).
Immersion is the mode that was practiced in the New Testament Church. Sprinkling or pouring of water has no scriptural basis. The word sprinkling also known as Christening comes from the Greek word “rantizo” and is never used in terms of any form of New Testament baptism. When Jesus was baptized, He came “up out of the water” (Mk. 1:10). When Philip baptized the Ethiopian Eunuch, both of them went “down into” and came “up out of” the water (Acts 8:38-39).
Henceforth, any form baptism other than what is commanded in the Bible is not correct or complete baptism. In there were 12 disciples who had only taken the baptism of John the Baptist hence Paul explained to them the way of the Lord and they were re-baptized. In Acts 19:1-5 Paul met some disciples who were not correctly baptized. Paul explained to them what is Word based baptism and they took baptism again which was right and taught by our Lord Jesus Christ.
Importance of Baptism
1. It was instituted by God (John 1:6, 33).
2. It was commanded by Jesus Christ. Matt. 28:19-20. He says in John14:21 “He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.”
3. Christ set an example. He did nothing without purpose, He himself took baptism to set an example for us to follow in His footsteps (1 Pet. 2:21; Mt 3:15).
4. To fulfill all righteousness. Mt 3:15 But Jesus answered and said to him, “Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he allowed Him.
5. The Apostles commanded believers to be baptized (Acts 2:38-42: 10:48).
6. It is an integral part of the Gospel (Acts 8:32-35).
7. Baptism is for all those who believe. Baptism is an outward demonstration of an inward faith. (Acts 8:5, 12; 35-38).
8. In baptism, the believer identifies with Christ. When I am baptized I demonstrate what Christ did for me in His death, burial and resurrection (Romans 6:3-6). I die to sin. I am buried like Christ... I am raised in the power of the Holy Ghost as a brand new person.
9. Baptism is a very important confession of faith to enter into the body of Christ. 1Cor. 12:13 “For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body--whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free--and have all been made to drink into one Spirit.”
10. It was practice of the early church (Acts 2:38, 41; 8:12, 36; 10:48; 16:30-33; 19:1-5).
11. It is the request for a good conscience toward the Lord (1 Pet. 3:21).
12. It is dangerous to reject this command. Luke 7:30 “But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the will of God for themselves, not having been baptized by him.” Mt 7:21 “Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.”
Who can perform the ordinance of water baptism?
You can’t simply go into a river or pond and dip yourself into whenever and wherever you want. This is a very serious ordinance prayerfully performed by a servant of God who himself is saved and baptized according to the Bible by immersion into the water and who has received the baptism of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38-42; 8:14-17; 10:44-48).
When Baptism should be taken?
Christians have no choice but to obey the command of Jesus Christ. The idea of an unbaptized believer never occurs in the New Testament. Following some of the examples from the New Testament should convince you to obey the Lord instantly.
1. The 3000 on the Day of Pentecost believed and baptized immediately (Acts2:41).
2. The Samaritans ( Acts 8:12)
3. The Ethiopian official was baptized immediately (Acts 8:36-38).
4. Paul was baptized by Ananias within hours after conversion (Acts 9:17-19).
5. Cornelius and his household were baptized very day they were saved (Acts 10:47-48).
6. Lydia and her household were baptized shortly after their conversion (Acts16:14-15).
7. The Philippian jailer obeyed the same night (Acts16:33).
8. Ephesians disciples (Acts 19:5).
Have you obeyed this important command of our Lord Jesus Christ?
Seven types of Baptisms
Ephesians 4:5 says, “…one Lord, one faith, one baptism.” Study of these scripture will help you to follow the Word of God in its full meaning and completeness.
1. Baptism in the cloud and in the sea. 1 Cor. 10:1-2
2. Baptism of John the Baptist in water. Mk. 1:1-8
3. Baptism of Jesus in water. Lk. 3 & Matt. 3
4. Believer’s Water Baptism Acts 2:44-48
5. Baptism in the Holy Spirit. Lk. 3:16; Acts 11:16.
6. Baptism into the body of Christ (Church). Gal. 3:27; 1Cor. 12:13
7. Baptism of suffering/Fire. Lk. 12:50, Phil.1:29
Procedure of the Service
2. Song or hymn which conveys the meaning and importance of Baptism.
3. Scripture reading. Matt. 3:1-17, 28:18-20; Mk. 1:1-11, 16:14-17; Acts 2:38-42; 8:26-39; 10:44-48; Rom.6:1-13 etc.
4. Short message by the minister.
5. The Pastor first enters the water, and then candidates appear individually.
6. Holding the candidate individually Pastor asks the candidate basic questions about his born again experience, faith in the triune God and on the life, death, burial, resurrection and second coming of Jesus Christ.
7. Then the candidate says I do. Then Pastor shall say: “Upon the confession of your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, I now baptize you, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”
8. When the candidate comes out of the water, the Pastor admonishes, “Be faithful until death and you will receive the crown of life.”
The service is ended with the song or hymn and with final prayer and benediction.
My responsibility after Baptism
In Acts 2:38-42 we find detail about a believer’s responsibilities after baptism.
1. Devotion to teaching/doctrine.
2. Regular fellowship with other believers.
3. Participation in the Holy Communion.
Pastor Jatinder P. Gill
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture references are taken from The Holy Bible, New King James version. Above article is extracted from the book of Dr. Jatinder P. Gill "Ru Di Khurak" www.RuhDiKhurak.co.cc No part of this article reproduced or used without prior permission of the author ©
40 ways to Increase Baptisms Pastor Rick Warren writes on his blog at pastors.com about ways to increase Baptisms. Find belwo the list. 40 Ways to Increase Baptisms June 28, 2007 - Rick Warren,Saddleback Church. Here’s a list of some simple things we do that almost any church can do: 1. Mention the value, purpose and benefits of baptism regularly in sermons. 2. Videotape some of your baptisms. Prepare a music video of baptisms to show in your worship service so people who’ve never seen a baptism can witness one. 3. Have clothes ready for people who decide spontaneously to be baptized after a service. 4. Make it a party atmosphere. It’s a celebration, not a funeral. Applaud baptisms! 5. Invite small group members to witness the baptism and identify them before each baptism. 6. Prepare a beautiful leatherette-bound baptism folder to hold their certificate. 7. Have a required membership class that explains the meaning or baptism in detail. 8. Always baptize on special days when relatives may be in town – Christmas, Mother’s Day, New Year’s Eve, etc. 9. Always baptize on special days of the church. (We baptized over 400 on the day we opened our Worship Center.) 10. Allow entire families (after confirming that all are believers) to enter the pool together. 11. Hug each person after they have been baptized! 12. Interview all candidates at the water’s edge to hear their story of how Jesus changed them. 13. Build a Baptism Team of volunteers who assist with all baptisms. Have matching shirts to identify the Baptism Team and the pastors leading the service. 14. Have a professional photographer there to capture the moment and include a picture of their baptism along with their certificate of baptism. 15. Print a “Why Be Baptized?” brochure. Use scriptures and lots of testimonies. 16. Put the brochure information, baptism pictures, and even videos of baptisms on your website, so people can forward it to others. 17. Have pre-printed invitations for the baptism candidates to use in inviting lost friends and relatives to a service and to witness their baptism. 18. Make the baptism pool and surrounding area beautiful and inviting and non-threatening. (Many baptisms are perched up so high inside the church that it feels distant and disconnected. Our baptism pool is outside in our patio area so people can gather up close around it for a more intimate feeling.) 19. After the baptism service encourage people to go out afterwards for coffee or dessert to celebrate and find out what the experience meant to the person baptized and to the family and friends who watched it. 20. Publicize the baptisms with posters around your church. Elicit “one line” testimonies from people who have been baptized, take an 8×10 photo of that person, and mount their photo and quote on a 2’x3’ foam board sign. Put this on a tri-pod in a visible area after the service where people can sign-up to be baptized. 21. Have all small groups get people in their group to sign up in the group for the next baptism. 22. Identify and celebrate other special moments at the water’s edge (birthdays, anniversaries, spiritual birthdays, etc.) 23. Train your Baptism Team volunteers to greet and make everyone comfortable. 24. Provide a sound system that will allow spectators gathered to hear the testimonies. 25. Always have the baptism pool warm and chlorinated before services. 26. Have a corporate prayer of celebration at the end of each service to thank God for those baptized. 27. Sing a great chorus or hymn about the power of God to change someone’s life. 28. During warmer weather offer baptisms at the beach or lake or slow-flow river. 29. Develop a “Baptism Party in a Box” kit that includes ideas for a family party following baptism. 30. Have outdoor heaters if you baptize outdoors in the winter. 31. Set up good lighting if you baptize outside after evening services. 32. Have hand towels available as a gift with the church’s logo as a memory keeper. 33. Ask each small group in your church to take a week where each person shares their baptism experience and what it did for their Christian life. 34. Use banners and signs the week prior to baptisms to draw interest, especially beach or lake baptisms. 35. Build a baptism service into an extended spiritual growth campaign (like Saddleback’s Millennium Member Campaign). Build on momentum. 36. Constantly emphasize baptism as the next step after committing your life to Christ. Have sign-ups everywhere. 37. Give a follow-up booklet, a button, and a free gift for those who obey Christ’s command to be baptized. 38. Have a special Christian’s baptism class as a requirement for baptizing children. Insist that at least one parent attend with their child. 39. When baptizing grade school children, have the baptizing pastor hold their hands lifted high after they come out of the water, like you would with a winner in game. 40. Address Frequently Asked Questions in a brochure they can walk away with, and deal personally with every fear or hang-up about baptism. Do these 40 things and the number of people wanting to publicly demonstrate their faith through baptism will rise dramatically. _________________ used from Pastor Rick Warren’s blog, Saddleback Church