Complimentary Baptisms John 3:22-36

Text:  “After these things came Jesus and His disciples into the land of Judaea; and there He tarried with them, and baptized.  And John (the Baptist) also was baptizing in Aenon near to Salim, because there was much water there; and they (the faithful) came, and were baptized.”
                                                                                                         John 3:22-23.

Good morning, confused Christian!  You study the Scriptures of the New Testament and sometimes become slightly confused concerning the concept of Christian baptism.  Well, join the club, my friend.  Many faithful believers get similarly confused on this subject.  But God’s Word enlightens us all.

“Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.”  (Psalm 119:105)

Definition of Complimentary:  completing; together making up a whole.  (Chambers Dictionary p. 336)

Our Bible passage for today shows us Christ Jesus baptising new Spiritual converts in Judaea.  At the same time, John the Baptist baptized others that were faithfully awaiting the coming of the prophesied Messiah, in Aenon, near to Salim - because there was much water there, I.e. by total immersion.

We learn from this Gospel account that the Baptisms of John were conducted by total immersion as were the Baptisms of the Lord Jesus Himself - but that is where the similarity ends. 

These two baptisms were complimentary, but entirely different in Spiritual significance.  Read on and learn why.       

The Baptism of John the Baptist: (Matthew 3:1-6)  John the Baptist was the ‘...messenger...’ of God prophesied by both Isaiah and Malachi hundreds of years prior to his appearing ‘...preaching in the wilderness...’ around the region of the river Jordan.  God teaches us:

“For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah, saying, ‘The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make His paths straight...’”.  (Matthew 3:1-3) (Isaiah 40:1-5) (Luke 3:4-6)

John’s mission was to ‘...prepare the way...’ before Christ’s sudden coming to the Jewish Nation as their long-awaited Messiah.  (Malachi 3:1)

In John’s role as ‘...the messenger...’ of God, he brought with him a method by which sinners could show, publicly, their desire to receive the long-awaited Messiah; i.e. the people showed sincere repentance of their sins, and signified their sincere soul’s preparation, by an act of public water baptism; an outer show of commitment to later receive the Christ when He appeared in their midst.   To this end they were, baptized of John in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.

The insincere Pharisees and Sadducees  were immediately rebuked of John for not showing any signs of true soul preparation (i.e. no, ‘...fruits meet {fit} for repentance...’). (Matthew 3:7-8) 

Neither the sincere nor the insincere were SAVED at this point in time by the mere act of John’s water baptism!  Why?  Because Jesus, ‘...the Lamb of God which taketh away the sins of the world...’ had not yet appeared unto those who were preparing for His coming by receiving John’s water baptism! Read how the Holy Spirit Himself records these facts! (John 1:25-34) (Hebrews 9:12;22)

Spiritual Baptism: (Matthew 3:11-12)  The only baptism that really counts Eternally therefore, is the Spiritual baptism that the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God Himself, can ALONE grant sinners.  As John the Baptist testifies:

“I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance; but He (Christ Jesus) that cometh after me is mightier than I...He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire.”  Praise God for His grace!

All those that the Lord Jesus ‘baptized’ with the Holy Ghost were Spiritually regenerated into His Body the Church - by grace though faith - and Eternally saved.  Christ declares: ‘…nothing can pluck them out of My hand...’  Hallelujah!  We are Eternally secure!   (John 10:27-30) (Ephesians 2:8-9)

“For as the Body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one Body, being many, are one Body; so also is Christ.  For by one Spirit are we all baptized (Spiritual Baptism!) 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.  For the Body (Christ’s Church) is not one member, but many.” (1 Corinthians 12:12-14)          

On the other hand, all those whom Christ Jesus baptizes with ‘’ will burn in Hell for Eternity, like ‘...chaff with unquenchable fire.’  (Matthew 3:11-12)

Complimentary Baptisms:  Now, this concept of two distinct types of baptism seems very clear to me. John’s water baptism, which was to prepare the people to receive their Messiah Jesus; and Spiritual Baptism (i.e. Spiritual regeneration), which Christ Jesus alone can bring, were complimentary.

We can recognize no other Gospel and no other ‘way’ of Eternal Salvation.  We are Eternally saved by God’s grace, through His gift of faith in Christ Jesus.                

All the water in the world cannot save an immortal soul. (Galatians 1:6-12) (Acts 1:12) (Ephesians 2:8-9)

I sincerely trust that, by God’s grace, I have been able to make the Scriptural doctrine clear to all who study this lesson.  For at the end of the day, dear friend, only ONE BAPTISM will really count in Eternity.  We must be ‘...born again...’; baptised by God the Spirit, into the Body of Christ. (Ephesians 4:4-7)

Thought:  Let’s make sure that our baptism is the ONE that counts!

Saved, Or Condemned? John 3:16-17

Text:  “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish (Eternally), but have everlasting life.”
John 3:16.

Good morning, Eternally SAVED Christian!  Did the Lord God save you, but now depends on your ‘good works’ to keep you saved?  When the Lord God saved you, did He give you Eternal life, or was His gracious gift merely temporal?  When you are feeling depressed, do you doubt God’s love for you?  When you fall into sin - and all we sinners do - does God take His gift of Eternal life from us again?  Can we be given the gift of believing faith in Christ Jesus and end up condemned by our Holy Lord God of absolute wrath against sin? 

All these questions are successfully asked and answered in the verses of today’s selected Scripture as we continue Journeying With John through his account of the Gospel.  Praise God it is so!

“Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ASK for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls…”  (Jeremiah 6:16)

Only those seeking truth from God’s Word are blessed with enlightenment from Him.  If we do not ask for such Scriptural wisdom, we will never find it.  Therefore, we must learn to continually ask that we might continually receive of the Living Lord God.     (James 1:5)

Salvation:  The only real Salvation for sinful mankind is in God’s free gift of Salvation - and exclusively through the Cross of Christ Jesus.  Salvation is God’s gift to us, we cannot earn it; work our way towards it; pay for it ourselves; or do any other deed to keep the Salvation gift we are given.  Fact.

“For by grace and ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man/woman should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)

Eternal Salvation:  Our text today - one of the most universally well known Bible texts internationally - clearly teaches us the fact that God gives all who trust in Christ Jesus’ Sacrifice at the Cross ‘…everlasting life…’.

Arminian believers (adhering to the teachings of Joseph Arminius 1560-1609), on the other hand, set forth the idea that one can be saved by God and then eventually lost! 

The ‘…everlasting life…’ aspect offered by Christ in our text today is thereby - in some contradictory manner - reduced to a mere transient period!  The gift of Eternal (or ‘…everlasting…’) life offered by the Living Lord Jesus is demoted to something that is much less than a free gift of God’s grace; more of a conditional hint that we might have everlasting life, but only as we are humanly able to keep ourselves in a ‘…state of continuing grace…’!  What nonsense!

We are saved and kept by the power of God, or we are not saved and kept at all!

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to His abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in Heaven for you, who are KEPT by the power of God through faith unto Salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”  (1 Peter 1:3-5)  Hallelujah!  Saved and kept by the Lord!

Saved Or Condemned?: (V.18)  Verse 18 of our Bible passage for today is startling in its clarity and precision of understanding.  Whosoever believeth (I.e.  trusts and keeps on trusting) on Him (Christ Jesus and His Sacrifice at Calvary’s Cross) is NOT condemned. 

Whosoever does NOT believe, does not trust and keep right on trusting completely on Christ and His finished work of Redemption on the Cross, is condemned already!  Why?  Because he/she does not believe in the Name of the only begotten Son of God, Christ Jesus.  What Divine clarity!

Light Or Darkness?:  (Vs.19-20)  Why is so much evil done in the darkness?  Because mankind since the Fall of Adam/Eve in the Garden have tried to hide our evil deeds from the light of God’s Presence. (Genesis 3:7-8)

When we are given faith to believe the truth of the Gospel of Salvation in Christ alone, we immediately come to the Light; confess our sins; and repent from them.  We ask the Lord God to help us not to sin against Him any more - and come promptly to Him in progressive confession when we do, in order to be cleansed from all sin and renewed to full fellowship with Him again.

If this is your personal experience, dear friend, then rejoice.  For the Lord God has taken you and I from the darkness and taught us to love the Light.

Thought:  Is your Salvation experience Eternally secure in the Blood?

Spiritual Regeneration John 3:1-15

Text:  Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; which He shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour.  
                                                                                                                Titus 3:5.

Good morning Spiritually regenerate Christian!  You are a true Christian because you are Spiritually regenerated.  If you are not Spiritually regenerated, you are NOT a true Christian!  This is vital.  Check it out.  Your immortal souls destination and Eternal security depends completely on it.

So, what is Spiritual Regeneration?  If you learn no other truth in life, please please let me teach you this vital one of Spiritual Regeneration: 

Definition of the term: To regenerate is to bring NEW LIFE to; to cause to be Spiritually reborn; to quicken (or give life to) that which is DEAD; to impart a new nature from God (i.e. which means believers have two natures when born again, the old nature and the new!). (Ephesians 2:1)

Regeneration: This is a work of creation, performed by God alone in the breasts of His elected people. (Ephesians 1:3-6)   We are passive in this act of God’s grace. As fallen creatures, we have no power to originate this miracle of new life - "...Salvation is of the Lord!" Praise God for His grace! (Genesis 5:3) (Jonah 2:9) (John 6:37;44) (John 15:16)

Mankind was CREATED in the image of God - a tripartite being i.e. three parts. We were created body-soul-spirit, just as God is Father-Son-Spirit.  (1 Thessalonians 5:23) (Genesis 1:26-28)

The body relates to the dust from whence it came. (Genesis 2:7) (Genesis 3:19)  The soul relates to, or communicates with, other like human souls i.e. each other. Created mankind’s spirit was the unique part of Adam/Eve which enabled them to communicate with God the Creator - BEFORE sin separated them from our Holy God. (Genesis 3:1-24) (Isaiah 59:1-2)

Born Vs Created: Every person born of woman (as opposed to being originally created by God), therefore, since that time in Eden’s Garden are born sinners; we fall short of God’s perfect standard of righteousness. (Romans 3:10; 22-23) (Psalm 51:5)

Why is this so?  Because God told our forefather, Adam, that if he ate of the forbidden tree (nothing to do with sexual relations!) on that very day, he/she would ‘...surely die...’. (Genesis 2:16-17)

Now, we know that it was not physical death God spoke of here!  How do we know? Because Adam lived after his Fall from grace until he was 930 years old! (Genesis 5:5)

Therefore, we realize that the Lord God spoke of SPIRITUAL DEATH. Adam/Eve were smitten by spiritual death the very moment they sinned in disobedience to God in Eden’s Garden.  (Ezekiel 18:4) (Romans 6:23)

Sin made them hide from God’s Holy Presence (Genesis 3:9-10) The DEAD human spirit desires no fellowship with the Holy Lord God. (1 Corinthians 2:11-16) (Isaiah 53:2)

He that was created SUPERNATURALLY became merely NATURAL due to committing sin against his Creator God. (Romans 7:14-24)

Thus it follows that, all BORN of Adam/Eve since then are begotten (born) in Adam’s sinful image instead created in God‘s Holy image. (Genesis 5:3) (Job 14:4)

We are born spiritually dead - a body; a soul; and a dead spirit!  (Ephesians 2:1)

That is why Christ taught us, "Ye must be born again!" We must be Spiritually regenerated!  We who are dead in sin must be made alive in Christ! (Titus 3:5)

This can only be done by God the Holy Spirit Himself.   We are thus regenerated into Christ’s Body - the true Spirit-born Church.                       (1 Corinthians 12:12-13) (John 3:3-8) (2 Corinthians 5:17)

Regeneration is therefore seen plainly to be the free gift of God to Hell-deserving sinners. We cannot WORK our way to Heaven! (Ephesians 2:8-10) (John 3:16)

God’s Means of Showing Grace: (Acts 4:12) (John 14:6)
The means God has provided for us to be Regenerated (or saved) are two-fold - prayer and the Word of God. (2 Timothy 2:1-5) (Jeremiah 33:3)

Prayer: No one can really PRAY unless the Holy Spirit enables (or inspires) us to pray. (Romans 8:26) We can recite useless, ‘...vain repetitions...’, but we cannot actually pray by God the Holy Spirit and according to His will.  God, therefore, makes His people’s prayers to be both inspired and to be heard. (James 4:3) (Psalm 19:14)

God, the Holy Spirit’s first ministry to us is to convince (or convict) the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of Judgment to come. Prayer is thus our true means of fellowship with God - we speak to God in prayer.  (John 16:8)    (Psalm 91:15) (Revelation 20:11-15)

The Word: No one can be Regenerated, ‘born again’, without first reading, or hearing, God’s own inspired Word - the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.  (2 Timothy 3:16-17) (2 Peter 1:20-21) (Romans 10:17)

This doctrine can be more clearly evidenced in the Old Testament illustration of Ezekiel’s valley of dried bones. (Ezekiel 37:1-10)

The dry bones represent all who are DEAD in sin and trespasses; all who are unregenerate; all who are not ‘born again’ of the Spirit of God!  Read how the Lord told Ezekiel to "...prophesy upon these bones...". (Ezekiel 37:4) Paul reveals unto us the fact that, " cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God." (Romans 10:17) (Hebrews 6:1;6) Then, after the preaching of God’s Word, the dry bones are breathed into and come alive! Hallelujah!    (John 3:8)

This is the miracle of Spiritual Regeneration.  We ‘hear’ God’s call due to God-given faith, and receive Eternal Life as the gift of God’s grace. Conviction of sin, and our desperate need to be saved, are revealed only through the Word of God contained in our Bibles. God speaks to us by His Word.  (James 5:16)(Colossians 4:2)

We are encouraged to preach the Gospel also!  (2 Timothy 4:1-5) (Mark 16:15-16) (Matthew 28:19-20)

Why are we inspired to preach the Gospel? So that the Lord can use His means of Regeneration grace to the full; and reward our labours for Him in the Salvation of precious and immortal souls. (Daniel 12:3) (Proverbs 11:30)

What a great and gracious Saviour! Amen! Hallelujah! These Bible truths surely make us free!  (Hebrews 7:25) (John 8:32)

Conclusion: This, therefore, is the great Scriptural doctrine of Spiritual Regeneration. We receive a new nature from God which remains obedient to His Commandments, and helps us daily to battle against the desires of our own carnal natures; fallen natures which shall always be at enmity against God. (John 14:15) (Romans 8:7)

The Spiritual battle is continuous! But, the Victory has already been won for us at a place called Calvary; won by the all righteous Christ Jesus, the Son of the Living Lord God. Amen. And praise be always to His Almighty Name! Glory to God in Christ Jesus! (Exodus 17:8-16) (Romans 16:27)

Thought:  In the risen Christ Jesus we have Regeneration Life Eternal.