Author: admin
What Is Pentecost?
| December 11, 2009 | 5:09 pm | Frequently Asked Questions | Comments closed

What Is Pentecost?

The day of Pentecost was observed in Jerusalem fifty days after the celebration of the Passover, which commemorated Israel’s deliverance out of Egypt. It is significant that this day was chosen by the Lord to begin the fulfillment of Joel 2:28: “I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh….”
The Spirit came upon the waiting, praying disciples in an overwhelming manner. Their complete commitment to Christ and His commission evoked a mighty baptism of God’s power. This was evidenced initially by their speaking in tongues (Acts 2:4). The Spirit was resident in their lives from that moment. The Spirit-filled early church witnessed many outstanding miraculous happenings (Acts 3:1-7; 4:31). They were able to lead victorious lives as a result of their Pentecostal experience.

Two baptisms were disclosed on the day of Pentecost. There was a baptism in the Holy Spirit, and in the Apostle Peter’s message that followed, water baptism in the name of Jesus Christ was commanded (Acts 2:38). This outward, physical baptism mysteriously merges with that of the Spirit, and is the “one baptism” of Ephesians 4:5. This is what Jesus referred to as being “born again” in John 3:3-7. And how wonderful to be born into the family of God-changed, transformed, and made a “new creature in Christ Jesus”.

No, Pentecost is not a denomination. It is a new birth experience. It is primitive Christianity made relevant to today’s world. The people referred to as Pentecostal simply believe, teach, and receive all that transpired on that birthday of the church…Pentecost, 33 A.D. There is a church near you that embraces these basic Christian truths and experiences. You owe it to yourself to attend-and see what Pentecost can really mean to you!

Copyright 2002. United Pentecostal Church International

What Is The Gift Of The Holy Ghost?
| December 11, 2009 | 4:58 pm | Frequently Asked Questions | Comments closed

What Is The Gift Of The Holy Ghost?

The gift of the Holy Spirit has become the topic of much discussion in our day. Men and women of all persuasions and from all walks of life have become interested enough to search for greater understanding of this phenomenal spiritual experience. Capturing headlines, dominating the content of many religious periodicals, and generally creating excitement, this canon of apostolic faith deserves a sincere appraisal.

The Facts

The Holy Spirit is God. “God is a Spirit” (John 4:24). “There is . . . one Spirit” (Ephesians 4:4). To become a subject in the kingdom of God, Jesus said a person must be “born again,” or “born of water and of the Spirit” (John 3:3-5). The birth of the Spirit and the baptism of the Spirit are synonymous terms. The Apostle Peter understood this truth as he spoke. to the multitude in Jerusalem on the Day of Pentecost: “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Acts 2:38). This experience was received by the Jews on Pentecost (Acts 2:1-4), the Samaritans (Acts 8:15-17), and the Gentiles (Acts 10:44-48), plainly indicating that it was meant for all people, regardless of race, creed, color, or station in life. The new birth, consisting of water and Spirit, was never set forth as being optional or unessential. “Ye must be born again” are the words of Jesus in John 3:7. Until a person is born of the Spirit, he cannot be called a “son” of God.

The Privilege

But why concentrate only on the absoluteness of the command? It is a blessed privilege to experience a release of spirit, finding freedom of soul and expression in the baptism of the Holy Spirit. There is no other experience similar to it. “Incomparable” is the only adequate description of this filling. The transition is to an entirely new realm and way of life. A complete transformation takes place. The soul has an empty place “in the shape of God” that nothing else will fit or satisfy. The baptism of the Spirit completely satisfies every longing of the soul. In this experience is fulfillment.

The Evidence

There are two major evidences of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. The initial, outward evidence is speaking with tongues, which means speaking miraculously in languages the speaker does not know.

Speaking with other tongues has been connected with Spirit baptism since the beginning of the church age. On the birthday of the New Testament church, the Day of Pentecost after Christ’s ascension, approximately 120 disciples of Christ were inundated by the Spirit of God and “began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance” (Acts 2:1-4). The household of an Italian centurion received the same spiritual experience, which the Jewish Christian onlookers readily identified, “for they heard them speak with tongues” (Acts 10:44-48). In Acts 19:1-6, a group of John the Baptist’s disciples heard about the Holy Ghost from the Apostle Paul; they too were filled with the Spirit, “and they spake with tongues.”

We cannot adequately express with our own words the ecstasy experienced in the baptism of the Spirit. Only through unaccustomed words of heavenly coherence can we utter what our souls would express.

There are perhaps several other reasons why God chose speaking in tongues as the initial evidence of this spiritual baptism. It is an objective, external evidence that recipients and onlookers can both identify with certainty (Acts 10:46). It is a uniform evidence-all the disciples on Pentecost, all the household of Cornelius, and all the believers in Ephesus spoke in tongues. “So is everyone that is born of the Spirit” are the words of Jesus in His description of this spiritual new birth (John 3:8). Speaking in tongues also indicates the complete control of the Spirit over our human wills. The tongue is the most unruly member of the body (James 3:8), and its being tamed by God is evidence of His complete control.

Further evidence of the Spirit’s abiding presence in our lives is the fruit of the Spirit, which Paul mentioned in Galatians 5:22-23: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”

The Promise

Was the baptism of the Holy Spirit for the apostles or early disciples only? Is it today available to only a select few who are “superspiritual”? The obvious answer to these questions is no.

The Apostle Peter made it very plain in his message on the Day of Pentecost that the gift of the Holy Ghost is for everyone: “For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call” (Acts 2:39). (See Luke 11:13.) Our faith, obedience, and submission to the Lord Jesus and His gospel qualify us for this most joyous of all experiences. (See Acts 5:32; 11:15-17.) As Isaiah 12:3 states, “With joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation.”

Seek Him today, for “he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (Hebrews 11:6). “Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters” (Isaiah 55:1). This means you!

Copyright 2002. United Pentecostal Church International

Is Divine Healing Real?
| December 11, 2009 | 4:53 pm | Frequently Asked Questions | Comments closed

Is Divine Healing Real?

God is the Great Physician. His knowledge of the human mind and body is complete. He can do more for the sick and the diseased than can all earthly doctors and surgeons combined. He created us; is it not reasonable, then, to believe that He can heal us when we are sick?

The Provision of Healing

Christ’s suffering and death purchased healing for us-physically, mentally, and spiritually. “Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows…With his stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:4-5). This promise definitely includes physical healing, for the Gospel of Matthew says this passage was fulfilled by Christ’s healing of people who were sick: “He cast out the spirits with his word, and healed all that were sick: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaiah the prophet, saying, “Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses” (Matthew 8:16-17). (See also 1 Peter 2:24).

The healing ministry of Christ did not end with His earthly life; it is part of His work in the church today. He promised, “These signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils . . . they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover” (Mark 16:17-18). Listed among the gifts of the Spirit for the present-day church are “the gifts of healing” (I Corinthians 12:9).

James 5:14-15 presents God’s plan for divine healing: “Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: and the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up.” Laying on of hands and anointing with oil usually accompany prayer for healing, in accordance with God’s Word and to focus faith.

Faith in the Lord is the key to receiving healing. The Gospels record that Jesus healed people according to their faith. (See Matthew 9:29;13:58; Mark 2:5; 5:34, 36; 9:23-24;10:52.) By the power of God the Apostle Paul was able to raise up a lame man at Lystra because he perceived that the man had faith to be healed (Acts 14:8-10).

Prayer for healing, like all prayer, must be offered by faith in the name of Jesus, with proper motives, from a repentant heart, and in submission to the will of God (Acts 3:16; James 4:3; I John 3:21-22; 5:14-15). God does not always answer in the manner and time that we expect, but we must always keep our trust in Him, even when we do not understand circumstances. Moreover, whatever healing or release from handicaps and weaknesses that Christians do not receive in this life, they will obtain in the resurrection, for their mortal bodies will be glorified and given immortality, and death itself shall be destroyed (1 Corinthians 15:26, 49-57).

Healing in Bible Times

God gave the first recorded promise of divine healing soon after He brought the Israelites out of Egypt. He told them, “I am the LORD that healeth thee” (Exodus 15:26). Psalm 103:3 describes God as One “who healeth all thy diseases”.

The Old Testament records a number of miracles of healing and even raising of the dead. For example, God used the prophet Elijah to restore a dead child to life (1 Kings 17:22). Through the prophet Elisha He raised a child to life and brought cleansing to Namaan the leper (2 Kings 4:32-35; 5:1-14). God healed King Hezekiah in reponse to his prayer and added fifteen years to his life (2 Kings 20:5).

The New Testament records many healings in the earthly ministry of Jesus, and He performed many that are not individually recorded. “Jesus went about all Galilee…healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people” (Matthew 4:23). He gave sight to the blind, unstopped deaf ears, cleansed lepers, made the lame to walk, and raised the dead (Matthew 11:4-5).

After Christ’s ascension, He continued His ministry of healing through His apostles and otehr disciples. Working through Peter and John, He healed a lame man who had never walked (Acts 3:6-8). Many miracles occurred in Stephen’s ministry, and many people were healed during Philip’s revival in Samaria (Acts 6:8; 8:7). Through God’s power, Peter raised Dorcas from the dead (Acts 9:36-42). And God worked special miracles of healing in the ministry of Paul (Acts 19:11-12). Comparatively few healings of tha titme were recored, for Acts 5:16 states, “There came also a multitude out of the cities round about unto Jerusalem, bringing sick folks, and them which were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed every one.”

God Heals Today

God still heals today. Many contemporary instances are documented in two books published by Word Aflame Press: Miracles in our Day and God Answers Prayer. These examples demonstrate that God’s promise of healing is still being fulfilled.

The good that medical doctors and medicines do is to be appreciated, for God is the ultimate source of all healing. It is He who has given doctors skill and intelligence, and it is He who created the substances from which medicines are extracted or manufactured.

Doctors and medicines, however, can only assist the human body in renewing the natural healing power invested in it by the Creator. Even when a person receives medical assistance, he can still look to God for divine healing. God can heal with medical help, but He also can and often does heal miraculously without any human assistance.

Many people in our churches can testify to beingmiraculously healed by God. And what God has done for others, He will do for you. Whatever your sickness or disease, He can make you whole. Look to Him today for your healing.

Copyright 2002. United Pentecostal Church International

60 Questions About The Godhead
| December 11, 2009 | 4:42 pm | Frequently Asked Questions | Comments closed

60 Questions About The Godhead

Read the answers to sixty questions concerning the Godhead as found in the Bible.

1. Is the word trinity in the Bible? No.

2. Does the Bible say that there are three persons in the Godhead? No.

3. Does the Bible speak of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost? Yes.

4. Do these titles as used in Matthew 28:19 mean that there are three separate and distinct persons in the Godhead? No, they refer to three offices, roles, or relationship to humanity.

5. Does the Bible use the word three in reference to God? Only one verse in the entire Bible does so-I John 5:7. It speaks of the Father, the Word (instead of Son), and the Holy Ghost, and it concludes by saying, “These three are one.”

6. Does the Bible use the word one in reference to God? Yes, many times. For example, see Zechariah 14:9; Malachi 2:10; Matthew 23:9; Mark 12:29, 32; John 8:41; 10:30; Romans 3:30; I Corinthians 8:4; Galatians 3:20; I Timothy 2:5; James 2:19.

7. Can the mystery of the Godhead be understood? Yes. Romans 1:20; Colossians 2:9; I Timothy 3:16.

8. Has the Christian only one Heavenly Father? Yes. Matthew 23:9.

9. Then why did Jesus say to Philip, “He that hath seen me hath seen the Father” (John 14:9)? Because Jesus is the express image of God’s person. Hebrews 1:3. The Greek word for personin this verse literally means “substance.”

10. Does the Bible say that there are two persons in the Godhead? No.

11. Does the Bible say that all the Godhead is revealed in one person? Yes, in Jesus Christ. II Corinthians 4:4; Colossians 1:19; 2:9; Hebrews 1:3.

12. Is the mystery of the Deity hidden from some people? Yes. Luke 10:21-22.

13. Who is the Father? The Father is the one God, particularly as revealed in parental relationship to humanity. Deuteronomy 32:6; Malachi 2:10.

14. Where was God the Father while Jesus was on earth? The Father was in Christ. John 14:10; II Corinthians 5:19. He was also in heaven, for God is omnipresent.

15. Did the prophet Isaiah say that Jesus would be the Father? Yes. Isaiah 9:6; 63:16.

16. When God said, “Let us make man in our image” (Genesis 1:26), was He speaking to another person in the Godhead? No. Isaiah 44:24; Malachi 2:10.

17. How many of God’s qualities were in Christ? All. Colossians 2:9.

18. How may we see the God who sent Jesus into the world? By seeing Jesus. John 12:44-45; 14:9.

19. Does the Bible say that Jesus is the Almighty? Yes. Revelation 1:8

20. Whom do some designate as the first person in the trinity? God the Father.

21. Whom do some designate as the last person in the trinity? The Holy Ghost. But Jesus said that He was the first and last. Revelation 1:17-18

22. How many persons did John see sitting on the throne in heaven? One. Revelation 4:2.

23. If Jesus is the first and the last, why did God say in Isaiah 44:6 that He was the first and the last? Because Jesus is the God of the Old Testament incarnate.

24. Did Jesus tell Satan that God alone should be worshipped? Yes. Matthew 4:10

25. Does the devil believe in more than one God? No. James 2:19.

26. Does the Bible say that God, who is the Word, was made flesh? Yes John 1:1, 14.

27. For what purpose was God manifested in the flesh? To save sinners. Hebrews 2:9, 14.

28. Was Jesus God manifested in the flesh? Yes. I Timothy 3:16.

29. Could Jesus have been on earth and in heaven at the same time? Yes. John 3:13.

30. Does the Bible say that there is but one Lord? Yes. Isaiah 45:18; Ephesians 4:5.

31. Does the Bible say that Christ is the Lord? Yes. Luke 2:11.

32. Does the Bible say that the Lord is God? Yes. I kings 18:39; Zechariah 14:5; Acts 2:39; Revelation 19:1.

33. How could the church belong to Jesus (Matthew 16:18) and yet be the church of God (I Corinthians 10:32)? Because Jesus is God in the flesh.

34. Will God give His glory to another? No. Isaiah 42:8.

35. Was there a God formed before Jehovah, or will there be one formed after? No. Isaiah 43:10.

36. What is one thing that God does not know? Another God. Isaiah 44:8.

37. What is one thing that God Cannot do? Lie. Titus 1:2.

38. How many Gods should we know? Only one. Hosea 13:4.

39. How many names has the Lord? One. Zechariah 14:9.

40. Is it good to think upon the name of the Lord? Yes. Malachi 3:16.

41. Does the Bible say that God alone treads upon the waves of the sea? Yes. Job 9:8

42. Why, then, was Jesus able to walk upon the Sea of Galilee (Matthew 14:25)? Because He is God the Creator. Colossians 1:16.

43. Is God the only one who can forgive sin? Yes. Isiah 43:25; Mark 2:7.

44. Why, then, could Jesus forgive sin in Mark 2:5-11? Because He is God the Savior.

45. Is Jesus the true God? Yes. I John 5:20.

46. If God and the Holy Ghost are two separate persons, which was the Father of Christ? Matthew 1:20 says that the Holy Ghost was the Father, while Romans 15:6, II Corinthians 11:31, and Ephesians 1:3 say that God was the Father. There is no contradiction when we realize that God the Father and the Holy Ghost are one and the same Spirit. Matthew 10:20; Ephesians 4:4; I Corinthians 3:16.

47. When Paul asked the Lord who He was, what was the answer? “I am Jesus.” Acts 9:5.

48. When Stephen was dying, did he call God Jesus? Yes. Acts 7:59.

49. Did Thomas ever call Jesus God? Yes. John 20:28.

50. How could Jesus be the Savior, when God the Father said in Isaiah 43:11, “Beside me there is no Savior?” Because “God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself.” II Corinthians 5:19.

51. Does the Bible say that Jesus was God with us? Yes. Matthew 1:23.

52. Did Jesus ever say, “I and my Father are one?” Yes. John 10:30.

53. Can it be proved scripturally that Jesus and the Father are one in the same sense that husband and wife are one? No. The Godhead was never compared to the relationship of a husband and wife. Jesus identified Himself with the Father in a way that husband and wife cannot be identified with each other. John 14:9-11.

54. Does the Bible say that there is only one wise God? Yes. Jude 25.

55. Does the Bible call the Holy Ghost a second or third person in the Godhead? No. The Holy Ghost is the one Spirit of God, the one God Himself at work in our lives. John 4:24; I Corinthians 3:16-17; 6:19; 12:13.

56. Can Trinitarians show that three divine persons were present when Jesus was baptized by John? Absolutely not. The one, omnipresent God used three simultaneous manifestations. Only one divine person was present–Jesus Christ the Lord.

57. Then what were the other two of whom Trinitarians speak? One was a voice from heaven; the other was the Spirit of God in the form of a dove. Matthew 3:16-17.

58. What did the voice say at Jesus’ baptism? “Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” Mark 1:11. As the Son of God, Jesus was the one God incarnate.

59. Does the Bible say that God shed His blood and that God laid down His life for us? Yes. Acts 20:28; I John 3:16. God was able to do this because He had taken upon Himself a human body.

60. The Bible says that God is coming back with all his saints (Zechariah 14:5) and also that Jesus is coming back with all his saints (I Thessalonians 3:13). Are two coming back? No. Only one is coming back–our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. Titus 2:13.

Copyright 2002. United Pentecostal Church International

Whats After Death?
| December 11, 2009 | 4:38 pm | Frequently Asked Questions | Comments closed

What’s After Death?

Can anyone think of a more relevant question? All of us pass through the narrow passageway leading from this life to the next-the passageway we call death. We shall all experience the transition into a new realm, another existence beyond this life and world we know today.

Let us for a moment consider the personal experience we shall have with death. One day our hands will be folded across our lifeless breast and our eyes will be closed as our body takes its last ride to the cemetery. The purple curtains will be drawn. “The black camel of death,” said one, “will kneel for each of us at our door, and we shall have no choice but to mount and ride off into the desert of darkness.” Death is no respector of persons.

Beyond Life…What?

We may only speculate on certain aspects of the future, not knowing much that it holds, but we do know the One who holds the future in His hands. And it is He who has revealed much of the future to us.

He who knows the end from the beginning, the future as well as the past, reveals in His Word that at death the body returns to the earth, while the soul goes to a temporary destination to await final judgment. Each of us determines in this life what our destiny will be; it will depend upon our response to the redemptive plan that God designed for the sinner’s deliverance from eternal doom.

We may ascend to a place of peace in the presence of God, as Paul declared in II Corinthians 5:8. It is possible for us to dwell eternally in a place of happiness, bliss, and contentment, knowing that our redemption has been completed, that we have finished our course in faith, and that we are being rewarded. Or we may descend into a place of suffering, there to be detained until the final judgment and then to be sentenced to the everlasting punishment of the lake of fire. (See Matthew 25:46; Luke 16:22-26; Revelation 20:11-15.)

Both places are, in a sense, temporary, for we shall wait until our souls are reunited with our bodies in the resurrection. Jesus described the resurrection in John 5:28?29, and Paul spoke in detail of the first resurrection in I Thessalonians 4:16-17.

The resurrection of the just and the resurrection of the ungodly are separated by one thousand years of peace on earth (Revelation 20:2-7). The just of the present age will be those who have been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb-baptized in His name and filled with His Spirit; the ungodly will be those who have refused to surrender to the terms of the gospel.

Final Reward to the Righteous

For those who are saved, there will be the city not made with hands-the New Jerusalem. This city is described in Revelation 21 as the eternal home of the redeemed.

Missing in this city will be the evil things that are found in every large earthly city. Gone will be all crime and violence. God’s people will walk the golden streets without fear of molestation.

Revelation 21:18 describes the wall of this city as jasper and the city itself as pure gold. There will be no need for the sun or moon there, for the Lamb will be the light of the city (Revelation 21:23).

And, wonder of wonders, the redeemed will enjoy the blessings of this city eternally. The poet exulted:

When we’ve been there ten thousand years, Bright shining as the sun, We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise Than when we’d first begun.

The Fate of the Wicked

In contradistinction, for unbelievers there is “the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone” (Revelation 21:8). The only emotions there will be agony and regret, and from that place there will be no escape.

The Present Determines the Future

Eternity-never-ending ages! A person’s state there is totally dependent upon the present-what he does during time. His eternal destiny will be decided by whether or not he trusts m the redeeming blood of Christ and avails himself of its merits through faith and obedience.

Let us consider today the nearness of our souls to the rendezvous with death. David solemnly declared, “There is but a step between me and death” (I Samuel 20:3). Death is a certain step, and yet it is an uncertain step as to time, place, and manner. It is, further, a solitary step so far as other human beings are concerned. Only Christ can go with us through that dark valley.

Are you ready for that moment and for the eternity to follow?

The Bible proclaims how to prepare for eternity and enjoy eternal life with Christ: “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Acts 2:38).

Copyright 2002. United Pentecostal Church International

Why Should We Baptize
| December 11, 2009 | 4:35 pm | Frequently Asked Questions | Comments closed

Why Should We Baptize In Jesus Name?

The subject of water baptism has long been called a great issue and no doubt has been made such by many church leaders of the past and present. In our study of it, let us first consider its importance, or the necessity of being baptized.

The Importance of Water Baptism

Christian water baptism is an ordinance instituted by Jesus Christ. If it is not important in the plan of God, why did Jesus command it in Matthew 28:19? And why did Peter follow up by saying, “Be baptized every one of you,” and by commanding the Gentiles to be baptized (Acts 2:38; 10:48)? We must remember two points about the importance of water baptism. First, whatever Christ definitely established and ordained cannot be unimportant, whether we understand its significance or not. Second, Christ and the apostles showed the importance of this ordinance by observing it. Jesus walked many miles to be baptized, though He was without sin, saying, “For thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness” (See Matthew 3:13-16.)

It is true that water itself does not contain any saving virtue, but God has chosen to include it in His plan of salvation. Peter explained, “Baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ” (I Peter 3:21). According to Luke 7:30, “the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the counsel of God against themselves, being not baptized.”

The Mode of Baptism

According to the Scriptures, the proper mode of baptism is immersion. “And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water” (Matthew 3:16). “And they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him” (Acts 8:38). “Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death” (Romans 6:4). A corpse is not buried by placing it on top of the ground and sprinkling a little soil on it, but by covering it completely.

According to the World Book Encyclopedia, “At first all baptism was by complete immersion” (vol. 1, p.651). And the Catholic Encyclopedia states, “In the early centuries, all were baptized by immersion in streams, pools, and baptisteries” (vol. 2, p.263). Immersion was not convenient after the Catholic church instituted infant baptism; thus the mode was changed to sprinkling. (See Encyclopedia Britannica, 11th ed., vol. 3, pp.365-66.)

Repentance identifies us with the death of Christ, and baptism identifies us with His burial. Coming forth from the watery grave of baptism and receiving new life in the Holy Spirit identifies us with His resurrection.

The Formula for Baptism

Jesus commanded His disciples to “teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost” (Matthew 28:19). He did not command them to use these words as a formula, but He commanded them to baptize in “the name.” The word name is used here in the singular, and it is the focal point of the baptismal command. The titles Father, Son, and Holy Ghost describe God’s relationships to humanity and are not the supreme, saving name described here, which is Jesus. “Neither is there salvation in any other; for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

Jesus is the name in which the roles of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are revealed. The angel of the Lord instructed Joseph, “She shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21). Jesus said, “I am come in my Father’s name,” and, “The Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost,…the Father will send in my name” (John 5:43; 14:26). Thus by baptizing in the name of Jesus, we honor the Godhead. “For in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily” (Colossians 2:9).

Luke 24:45-47 records that just before His ascension, Jesus opened the disciples’ understanding. It was necessary that their understanding be opened, and many today need this same operation in order to understand the Scriptures. Then Jesus said to them, “Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day.” The disciples had their understanding opened so that they could grasp the vast importance of the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. Verse 47 describes the commission that Jesus then gave: “And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations [Jews and Gentiles], beginning at Jerusalem.”

Peter was one of that number to whom Jesus had spoken and whose understanding had been opened. After having listened to these instructions, a few days later he was inspired by the Holy Ghost to preach on the Day of Pentecost. The hearts of the hearers were pierced and, feeling condemned, they cried out to Peter and the other apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” (Acts 2:37). Peter did not hesitate but boldly answered, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Acts 2:38). “Then they that gladly received his word were baptized, and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls” (Acts 2:41).

Some say that Peter told them to be baptized in Jesus’ name because they were Jews and this baptism was to make them acknowledge Jesus Christ. But let us go with Peter to the house of Cornelius several years later. Cornelius and his household were Gentiles, yet there again Peter “commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord” (Acts 10:48). (Most translations actually say, “In the name of Jesus Christ.”) If Peter was wrong on the Day of Pentecost, he surely had ample time to be corrected before he went to the house of Cornelius.

Was Peter wrong on the Day of Pentecost? When the hearers were prickled in their hearts, they spoke to Peter and to the rest of the apostles (Acts 2:37). This included Matthew, who wrote Matthew 28:19. Moreover, when Peter preached, he stood up with the eleven Acts 2:14). Matthew was there, yet we find no words of correction from him. He surely would have spoken up if Peter had disobeyed the Lord. But all the apostles understood and carried out the Lord’s commission. As Jesus said in prayer, “I have manifested thy name unto the men [the apostles] which thou gavest me out of the world…and they have kept thy word” (John 17:6).

The Samaritans, who were not Jews, were also baptized in the name of Jesus. Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them….”But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women…. They were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus” (Acts 8:5, 12, 16).

Let us see how Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles, baptized. He went to Ephesus many years after the Day of Pentecost and found some disciples of John the Baptist there. “He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost. And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John’s baptism. Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus” (Acts 19:2-5). Although these disciples had already been baptized, the name of Jesus was so important as to cause them to be rebaptized in His name.

We do not believe that Paul changed the formula or mode of baptism when he baptized Lydia and her household (Acts 16:14-15) or the Philippian jailer. The latter came trembling and fell down before Paul and Silas, saying, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. And he took them the same hour of the night [shortly after midnight], and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway” (Acts 16:30-33). How can we doubt that Paul baptized these people using the same mode and formula that he used elsewhere, that is, immersion in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ?

Paul was not with the apostles when Jesus gave his finial instructions to them in Matthew 28:19 and Luke 24:47, yet Paul baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. How did he know what to do? He said that his gospel was not a tradition of men but a revelation from God. “I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ” (Galatians 1:11-12). Paul was chosen to bear Jesus’ name to the Gentiles, and he wrote many divinely inspired epistles to the church. To this apostle, God revealed the mystery of the church, “which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit” (Ephesians 3:5). Paul claimed to have divine authority: “If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord” (I Corinthians 14:37). And Paul wrote, Whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him” (Colossians 3:17). Water baptism is done in both word and deed. We cannot afford to overlook this command to the church.

The church is “built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone” (Ephesians 2:20). The apostles not only preached baptism in Jesus’ name, but they practiced it. Nowhere can we find that they baptized using the words “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” Instead, we find them baptizing in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. In baptizing in Jesus’ name, they fulfilled the command of the Lord in Matthew 28:19.
Paul said, “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed” (Galatians 1:8). Let this be a solemn warning to us.

Some say that they will accept the words of Jesus in Matthew 28:19 but not those of Peter in Acts 2:38. But Peter spoke on the Day of Pentecost under the anointing of the Holy Ghost. Peter was one of the apostles, and to him had been given the keys of the kingdom, so we have no right to discredit his words.

In Mark 7:8 Jesus said, “Laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men.” History tells us that it was not until many years after the apostles that the mode and formula of baptism in the name of Jesus Christ were changed. (See Hastings’ Dictionary of the Bible, vol. 1, p.241.) Which means more to you, the command of the Lord or the tradition of men?

Copyright 2002. United Pentecostal Church International

My Hope Radio
| December 9, 2009 | 11:10 am | UPC News | Comments closed

worryfreeradio

Listen to My Hope Radio online!

The Radio Voice of the United Pentecostal Church International.

Please click picture to listen now.