with Martha Kilpatrick and John Enslow
(M) Ok, this morning we’re here with two people. They’re going to be baptized, and we’re just real excited. In the first century… We’ve so left the basic change that happened when Jesus came and died on the cross. In the Old Testament you had to have a priest, an intermediary. But in the first century church every person has the privilege of knowing God for himself. In the Old Testament it was God came to one person, and the other person, you had to accept that. But in the New Covenant where Jesus…Mary Magdeline met Him in the garden, He said, “I have not yet ascended to My Father, and your Father, My God, and your God. So He made it possible for every person to know Him. And we don’t need an intermediary; we need authority and teachers in the structure of the church, but we don’t need an intermediary. So in the baptism, in the church structure, the church was to make sure that everyone was truly born-again. And born-again means what John wrote in chapter one, “As many as did receive and welcome Christ, He gave the authority, power, privilege, right, to become the children of God, that is to those who believe in, trust in His name. Who owe their birth neither to blood nor the will of flesh nor the will of man, but to God. They are born of God.” And that means that God comes after you; that’s what that means. And it’s like one man’s testimony was, I think it was saint Augustine, what is your testimony? I ran as hard as I could away from Him, and He caught me. And so, we really rejoice that these two have a new life. The new birth means that you have a new life. And it’s entirely different than the human, old human life. It takes awhile to live that life, so we’re going to stand with them for that. But I think the other day Jennifer was saying, speaking of herself, in her problematic self as the real self. I said no, no, that’s not the real self. The old self is the wrong self. The new self is you in Christ, and He makes you what you never were, gives you what you never had, and is Who you’ve always needed. That’s the difference, and you become who you were created to be. (A baby in background, and Martha says, ‘it’s all right’, don’t worry about it; she’s fine.) So I just wanted to say a couple of things to you this morning. I’m going to give you two gals’ two scriptures. One is Luke 14, and the other’s Philippians 3. And I want to read to you something from Thomas Merton, who was a great catholic mystic, and he really knew the Lord. He said, “Pride is insisting on being what we are not, and were never intended to be.” In other words pride is trying to be what you’re not. “And pride is a deep insatiable need for unreality, an insistence that others believe the lie we’ve made about ourselves. The result of pride is self-pity.” And I added anger. “So the prayer set me free from the laziness that goes about disguised as activity when activity’s not required of me. And from the cowardice that does what is not demanded in order to escape sacrifice.” That’s, oh, I understand it. “Give me strength that waits upon You in silence and peace. Give me humility, which alone is rest, and deliver me from pride which is the heaviest of burdens.” And so that’s going to be… The whole thing is to know Him, and to know Him is to be reduced to Him. So… But you know you’ve beend…you’ve been born-again to a new life. And I want to just share with you that that new life, the essence of it, is going to be the love. That’s what you’ve been… That’s what the meaning of this group is, the calling of this group. The function of this group, I think that we could say is love, couldn’t we Don? Unconditional, unending love. And that’s Who Christ is, He’s love. And so your whole fire and test and calling and ability is going to be a new measure of love. Because what’s entered you is He Who is love. And He lives within you, and the love of Christ will be shed abroad in your hearts. I’ve written that there are two elements in the universe, and their names are love and hate. And so you’ve come out from the dominion of hatred, which takes many forms, and you’ve come into the realm of love. So, “If I speak with the tongues of men and angels, and do not have love, I’m a noisy gong or a clanging symbol.” And this day is full of words upon words that are just a noisy gong and a clanging symbol. “If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have faith so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.” So without love I am nothing, I have nothing. And here’s what love is, and it took me a long time to understand this is not the description of what I can be, but the description of ‘He’ Who is love, and Who alone is love. And this is Who He is to you, and Who He will be through you. “Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous. Love does not brag, it is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly. It does not seek its own, is not easily provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered. It does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth. Bears all things, hopes all things, believes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.” And His love will never fail you. Julie had an insight this week, ‘you can be the enemy of God, but He can never, ever, be your enemy’. And Christ on the cross, proved that. God is not ever your enemy. You’re free to be the enemy of Him. Baptism means that… It’s just a picture of it. Can you read from that, or you want me to? This is from Watchman Nee, and it explains water baptism better than I can.
(J) “And now why tarry thou. Rise and be baptized and wash away thy sins, calling on His name.” “The Bible not only denies that baptism is merely a ritual, it also reveals to us that baptism is a testimony. Why do people go into the water? That they may testify before God and men and angels and Satan that they have believed in Jesus; and that what Christ has accomplished is true, perfect and trustworthy. Ananias called Saul to rise up and be baptized. Why? For the sake of washing away his sins, yet Ananias did not suggest that baptism could get rid of sin, for it is not water baptism itself that washes away sin, but it is the reality which baptism expresses and testifies to that washing away of sins. The water of all the world could not wash away one sin. Yet what the water of baptism represents and testifies to, even the blood of Jesus Christ, is able to wash away all sins. Have you believed? If you have, rise and be baptized, and wash away your sins.”
(M) And when, when the Holy Spirit came in Jerusalem, and fell on the disciples and thousands of people, they said, “ What can we do?” And Peter answered them. It seems at that time there were people in Jerusalem it would have been…We’ve stood on the place where this happened. It’s still there and uncovered, and one of the few places that go back to the original days of Christ. And in that public place, somehow the Holy Spirit fell, and it was so phenomenal that people came running to it. And there were people in the city at that time, of many languages and many lands. And Peter said repent. And repent is change your view and purpose, according to the Amplified. It changes your values, the way you see things. Repentance is a gift from God to see things differently, and to change your purpose in living, and to accept the will of God in your inner selves. “And be baptized everyone of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, for the forgiveness of and release from your sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise of the Holy Spirit is to you, and for you and your children, to and for all that are far away, even to as many as the Lord our God invites and bids to come to Himself.” And the thing I… I was sprinkled in the Methodist church when I was twelve years old. I had no idea what that meant. I thought it was just what you did to join the church. And so, it wasn’t effective, because it wasn’t the reality that baptism represents. And what baptism represents isj; that’s your funeral, the funeral of your old self. So, if you understand that, that you’re really letting go of an old life, and you’re coming to a new life that eventually is going to be so lovely, and so perfect, that it will manifest Christ Himself. Now we who stand with you two, we purpose to be patient with you ‘til this new life takes you over. (Laughter) And that is some doing. There’ll be two options you’ll have, the old life or the new life still. But you’re declaring by your baptism that you’re going to live this new life as He enables you, and as He reveals it to you. And so you’re going to become ‘you’. A ‘you’ you’ve never been, never dreamed of, never were capable of. You’re going to be so much better a ‘you’, that you’re going to amaze yourself. And those who see you are going to know that you have been transformed. So it’s dependent on a Life that is within you. So much of Christianity is ‘this is what you should do, what you should say, what you should look like’. No, that is not Christianity. Christianity is a new Life in you that causes you to become what you were originally created to be. And it will be a phenomenal, unexplainable new being. And that’s the gift of Christ within you. And it’s not you going toward Christ, it’s you having Him within, that He can live your life. No one taught me that at baptism, I didn’t understand that; that He lives within you, and you in Christ become what He intended you to be, what He created you to be before the foundation of the world. He created you before He created the world in His mind. He dreamed you long before He made you, and you are His, and you exist to be His. But when you go into the water it is your testimony that you believe that He has solved everything about you. And that He has taken the place of God’s punishment for sin for you, and you will never experience that punishment. I really believe, if I were to just say… Whether it’s actual or not, I really believe that when you accept that you have died in Christ and now you live in Him, that when it comes time for your physical death, it will be… You won’t experience the agony of death. And I believe that this baptism signifies you’ve entered another realm, and you will live forever, and ever, and ever. It’s an eternal life that you have. And so, that’s what it is. And when I discovered that it was my funeral, I asked the pastor of the church I was in to baptize me, and he was real puzzled about it. Because I don’t think he really understood baptism, truth be known. And I said that’s ok, I just want you to baptize me. I understand what I’m doing. But I understood it was my funeral. And I understood it so deeply that when the next week somebody hurt my feelings, I can’t remember what it was. And at first I went ouch, and then I thought no, I’m dead, and a dead person isn’t hurt. So I wasn’t hurt. There’s great victory and great joy to understand that you don’t have to live in that old touchy, angry, arrogant person that we all are. You don’t have to be that anymore. After baptism, if you can get hold of it, what it means. It means that you’re unaffected, and you live in a completely different mind-set and life.