It isn’t all that difficult, but as usual often the traditional teaching falls short of being the complete real Word of God. They throw in stuff that has nothing to do with the process. The tract producers would more often than not want you to Pray something similar to what has been labeled the sinners prayer, where you are asked to acknowledge that you need a Savior and then mention that you ask Jesus to enter into your life and then may or may not direct you to go and seek out a water source so that you can get John’s baptism using the great commission formulae that reflects the trinity from Mt 28:19. So getting you half way there, and then throwing in a factor that may keep you from actually completing the process. So what is missing? There are actually several verses that must be considered in this process and so far they have addressed possibly two and grabbed hold of perhaps the earliest forgery to the text. The early church believers quoted what is now known as Mt 28:19 over 60 times in letters that were eventually known as the apologies, but they quoted it as saying what would be translated today as “Go ye therefore and teach all the nations, baptizing them in my name” not as it appears in most English translations today as” … baptizing in the name of the father and of the son and of the holy ghost.” All of the Greek texts in existence that the world knows about reflect the second reading. So why then, when baptism is recorded 9 times in scriptures in Acts, was this second reading not ever followed? Rather the way it is described, if it is identified in the text, it is the quoted way found in the apologies, that is followed. The first century believers were either baptized in the name of the lord or in the name of Jesus Christ. Only two of the baptism events are recorded as having water involved, in another one (Ac 10,11) it was considered but then rejected, all the others are or should be the baptism mentioned in Acts 1:5 in contrast to John’s baptism, not water , but rather the baptism (total immersion in or) of holy spirit.
When looking at something in the scriptures it is most of the time, particularly instructive to note the first occasion. The first occurrence of baptism in the new testament times (The new testament actually begins with this event not with Mt 1:1, the Gospels and the earthly ministry of Jesus being the fulfillment of the first or old testament not the start of the new testament.) The 12 were seated at the first hour of prayer in the temple, following the instructions that Jesus had delivered to them previously. The instruction from Verse 5 of chapter 1 of Acts is the part we are concerned with here, but there are so many things that we can learn from this recording of events. Remember details matter. The 12 knew about the instructions of Jn 20:22 and Ac 1:5 and other times as well. They had waited in Jerusalem. They got the go sign and they breathed in unison the way Jesus had taught in Jn 20:22. The sound of their breathing filled the temple with the sound of a rushing mighty wind. They were immersed in holy spirit (baptized) as the cloven tongues like as of fire sat upon each of them. Note: no minister is physically present overseeing this baptism, but they were expecting it to happen. How did they respond? They manifested, they spoke in tongues. God had promised, they believed, they received. Ac 2:1-4ff. They next group was about 3000 that repented and were baptized in the name of the lord and they manifested. Ac 2:39,41. The Ethiopian eunuch at the end of Chapter 8 was the one that got excited and said here is water, baptize me. He was on his way home to Africa. Later we read Ac 18:24ff Apollos came from Alexandria, Egypt (which is in Africa) knowing only the baptism of John, it follows that the Ethiopian Eunuch had passed on what he had learned in Ac 8 to Alexandria and from thence that knowledge came via Apollos to Ephesus
So we learn that Apollos and Phillip were the only two to water baptize in the Christian Church (Peter thought about water but realized that the other baptism was already given (see Ac 11:16)), that is recorded in Acts. Paul then brought those folks Apollos baptized, the baptism of holy spirit Ac 19:1-6 and Aquila and Priscilla corrected Apollos’ lack of instruction about the baptism of holy spirit. All the rest of the baptisms either don’t specify or it is recorded that manifesting holy spirit resulted so we know that the baptism of holy spirit was involved. So seeking out a source of water just might be the something added that is not necessary.
So again what is left out? We learn from Romans 10:9,10 that there is a two step process to calling on the name of the Lord. “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God has raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” I have mentioned this before but there are many things that must be believed in order to truly do this, that just are not a part of traditional teachings. You need to know who is this Jesus Christ that you are making your Lord. What instructions did he leave you, what example are you to follow so that his being your Lord will differentiate you from others who have not made him Lord? Is his position so high above you that you cannot hope to attain that level of functioning? If you make him out to be God perhaps yes, but that next phrase then becomes impossible. Jesus lived his life so that he always did what the heavenly Father told him to do. He listened to God. When tempted by the devil he responded it is written which would indicate that he took time in his life to study the Word so that he could have in his mind what it said. When faced with challenges, He was not afraid to think outside the box for solutions. He checked “does this violate scripture?”, no doubt, but he walked on the water and did not let the detail that he did not have a skidoo to catch up to his friends that were crossing the Sea of Gallilee and had several hours head start keep him stranded on shore. This process of listening to God and checking against the knowledge of God’s Word before doing things is, I believe, very much a large part of what is entailed in making Jesus your lord.
Then there is that Second part that the traditionalist don’t want you to think about too much. Since Abraham in Ge 21:33 dedicated a grove to the everlasting God, the psalmist in Ps 90:2, recognizing that God’s revelation of Himself is that He is a God that has no end points, no birth, no death, but He is eternal. Yet the traditionalist wants you to believe something that goes like this: that a portion of the whole, that never the less, represents the whole, was born and therefore could die and stay dead for three days and three nights, in roughly 30 hours, not the 72 required by oriental law, and that by the way he wasn’t really dead because he spent the time in the grave witnessing to the others that were dead, and then the part that was not him raised the part that was him from the state that he never was and this still does not defy the scriptures that state if he did not die then all the believing is in vain. I Co 15. Whew that confusion was hard to write about but you are supposed to accept it by faith.
The ads say it is the divinity of Jesus that is at stake and the crux of believing. The Word, I have tried to show, states that it is the humanity of Jesus that needs to be believed in without any doubt or as I Co 15 plainly states all teaching, preaching, and believing in his name is vain. Since my Salvation depends on it I do not want my believing to be vain. Where is the state of death described in the Word, Ec 9:5 and following. In death there is no thought, no time, no work, no emotion. When Jesus was dead, he did not and could not do anything. Believing that God did not leave him in that state is the second requirement for Salvation. This is for the most part the thing left out. No religion of the World has a risen Savior who is still himself, even though he received a new type of body, a type of body that we are promised to also have one day. Reincarnation as someone or something else is not the same thing. The Bible says man is appointed once to die He 9:27. Obviously God has the power to revitalize some so that they actually die more than the appointed time, but believers rarely exercise His power to this end. Perhaps if we were more in tune to listening to God, We believers would receive the revelation via Word of Knowledge and Word of Wisdom to Call on the dead to come forth out of the grave as, Jesus did to Lazarus, and they would return to the living, if the revelation was from God, but I have not seen it happen. But Lazarus did eventually die, for he is not here to this day. Lazarus is not the only one in scripture to get a second chance to make the most of their lives after the devil thought he had taken them out of the world of the living. Jn 14:12 We do the works that Jesus did and greater works than he did because Jesus ascended. But I just have not seen the believing manifested by a group of believers in recent years that resulted in raising people from the dead. It is recorded that it happened in Acts more than once, and the rules have not changed since then. Many report near death experiences with the commensurate story of out of body experiences that support the devils lie that you don’t go to oblivion as the Ec 9 section states but you just cross the bar to a different world. I suggest that since the Word is true and our senses are subject to deception that the devil uses times of near death to influence perceptions to try to support his lies. The person who has experienced the near death experience, his or her brain registered that experience as real, but the question is: were they in position to judge? If the Word is the truth, then they were not. Given the opening to get past the brain’s natural defenses, spirit beings can plant ideas, but when you try them against the Word, that is where if you believe the Word is truth you must not accept the contrary evidence as valid. The Word repeatedly identifies death with shadows and darkness not with a tunnel of light. But again I have digressed.
I guess there is one more verse I should handle on this subject. I Co 12:3 the last phrase in light of other verses could be best understood if it was translated “really say Jesus is Lord but by holy spirit.” So how do I come to this conclusion and what does it mean to really say? I have mentioned the principles involved here before, but I had best reiterate. Any one can say the Words “Jesus is Lord”. Does saying the Words alone get the job done? No. So why add the speaking by way of the spirit, i.e. speaking in tongues here? Ro 8:16 the spirit bears witness with our spirit, that we are the sons of God. It is the more sure word of prophecy II Pe 1:19. When we believe and act on what the scriptures say, when we see them (the promises of God) come to pass in our lives, We prove to ourselves that they are the truth as they claim to be. Does the Word say that all believers can speak in tongues, if they can speak with their understanding they can speak with tongues as well because all the manifestations are powered by God and God gives the ability to manifest to all believers I Co 12:7. Will all believers manifest speaking in tongues? No, God does not make you do anything, you choose your own to manifest I Co 12:11,30. But if and when you do manifest the holy spirit by speaking in tongues you prove to yourself that you have made Jesus Lord because without being saved and receiving the baptism of holy spirit you cannot manifest. You will know if you are genuine and speaking a language that you yourself do not understand and thus you prove to yourself that you really did what is necessary to be saved. I Co 14:22 Until you speak in tongues in your private prayer life, you are in the ranks of the unbelievers for whom speaking in tongues is a sign. Remember the hint that I shared with you before on doing something on a heart level the outcome is inevitable. The Word becomes proven to yourself that nothing can separate you from God, His Son or their love for you Ro 8:31-37.