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Saturday, 20 June 2020

How To Develop A Consistent Prayer Life

how to develop a consistent prayer life



One of the questions that plague the average believer is how to develop a consistent prayer life. Many believers who are concerned about their prayer lives always wonder why they are unable to pray consistently.

The task of developing a consistent prayer life is important for everyone of us. This is because prayer is a vital part of our lives as believers.

Prayer is the lifestyle of believers but we are often unable to engage prayers as we want to. When you study God's word, you will discover one emphasis, prayer! It is very evident that prayer must be part of our lives but how can we pray consistently?

Before we talk about how to develop a consistent prayer life, I need to show you something about our frailty as humans.

Humans Can Not Be Consistent

Humans can not be consistent. Performing an action consistently is not in the character of humans. Especially when that activity is a spiritual one. Prayer is a spiritual activity and no one operating in the flesh can prosecute prayer consistently.

In our prayer enterprise, you must reckon with the fact that you can not pray with consistency on your own. Your flesh will always want to choose something contrary to the demands of the Spirit.

In the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus made it clear to His disciples that the Spirit will want pray but the flesh will want do something contrary.

Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. - Matthew 26:41

Even when the Spirit wants to pray, the flesh because it is frail will not want to pray. It is this frailty that makes it almost impossible for a man to develop a consistent prayer life.

Apostle Paul further explains this concept of the flesh being contrary to the Spirit in Galatians 5:17

For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.

The Spirit and the flesh can never work together because they are contrary to each other. This explains the reason why in the flesh we can not develop a consistent prayer life.

Having highlighted the frailty of man and its effect on the inconsistency we suffer when we try to pray in the flesh what do we do to pray consistently? You will get the answer in a bit.

Develop A Consistent Prayer Life By Partnering With The Holy Spirit

This is the foremost means to develop a consistent prayer - partnership with the Holy Spirit. Developing a consistent prayer life is only possible when we partner with the Spirit of God.

Trying to perform a spiritual activity is impossible in the flesh. The flesh is not strong enough to carry out spiritual activity.

Spirits control the action and activities of men. And it is true regardless of the action whether in the occult world or in Christendom.

Every second we are constantly interacting with spirits. The contention is not necessarily about the action but the spirit that engineers the action.

A man may be preaching or moving in the "anointing" but he is acting on the strength of an evil spirit. Many persons parading as ministers of the gospel are under the influences of demons.

The extinction of sound doctrine and men of order in the Body of Christ has made these anomalies to go on unhindered.

Nevertheless, prayer can only be carried out by the engineering and support of the Holy Spirit. Outside the help and support from the Spirit of God, men will be unable to pray as they ought to.

Jesus made the emphasis on prayer in Luke 18 highlighting that men ought always to pray and not to faint. Sadly, we faint rather than pray and it is because our nature as humans is fainting.

This is why David prayed in Psalms 80:18 saying:

So will not we go back from thee: quicken us, and we will call upon thy name.

It is part of our nature to not want to stay in the place of prayer. The flesh will always look for better options rather than prayer. It will always rebel against staying in prayer

The Spirit of God Quickens

It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. - John 6:63

Clearly, we see that it is the Spirit of God that quickens us to carry out the activities which we must as believers. The life of a Christian should be powered by the Holy Spirit and none of the flesh.

Christianity would be witchcraft in the absence of the Spirit of God. Our lives as believers is spiritual and only by partnership with the Spirit of God that we can live properly.

To develop a consistent prayer life, we must be quickened by the Spirit of God. Job said "there is a Spirit in man and the inspiration of the Almighty gives them understanding" - Job 32:8

God's Spirit in partnership with our spirit makes us to pray effectively. We need quickening in order to pray and we can only be quickened by the Spirit of God. Prayer will be religion except the Spirit of God is involved in our prayer enterprise.

If you want to pray better, develop a consistent prayer life and pray effectively, we must receive the quickening that comes only from the Holy Spirit.

The Spirit of God Helps Us To Develop A Consistent Prayer Life

And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. - Romans 8:26 (NLT)

I can not overemphasize this truth - prayer can only be done consistently and with great effectiveness when we pray in partnership with the Holy Spirit.

This is because as humans we do not know what we should pray for and we can not pray as we want to pray. It is the Spirit of God that provides the needed support and powering for consistent, effective praying.

What must be on our priority check list when we pray?

Help from the Spirit of God. Only the Spirit of God can help us develop a consistent prayer life and we must engage him like David did in Psalms 80:18 for quickening in order to pray.

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Friday, 19 June 2020

How To Overcome Weakness In Prayer

One of the major issues that plagues the believer is weakness in the place of prayer. The question of how to overcome prayerlessness is always in the heart of every true and committed believer.

How can we overcome prayerlessness? How can we go past our weaknesses in prayer and become more prayerful?The answers will be revealed in this article.

Prayer has been emphasized over and over again as an integral part of the believer's life and walk with God. For a believer to come to the place of intimacy with God, trap spiritual realities, exercise Dominion over the earth, usurp the advance of darkness and attain his maximum potential in Christ, prayer must be absolute.

But with the intense emphasis on prayer and the widespread teachings and preachings on prayer, many default in carrying out the enterprise of prayer. Excuses pertinent to busy schedules, weakness in prayer and a number of other are brought up by believers as to why they don't pray.

There are so many peculiar reasons as to why believers fail to pray. For some they have got other options seemingly better than prayer. Others are depraved of the need for prayers. Others have their faith weakened due to a long list of unanswered prayers. While for many, prayers don't just make it to the priority list.

The truth is no excuse is good enough to sideline and relegate prayers. Any sign of prayerlessness and weakness must be dealt with at all cost. It is interest you to note that prayerlessness is a sin.

Moreover as for me, God forbid that I should sin against the LORD in ceasing to pray for you: but I will teach you the good and the right way: – 1 Samuel 12:23

In the scripture above, we see Samuel revealing that if he fails to pray for Israel it is equivalent to sinning against God. There is no excuse that can validate your negligence to prayers.

Another critical point to bear is that prayerlessness produces a gullible, weak and feeble spiritual life. Our life is more spiritual than it is physical and it is worthy of note that we interact with Spirit entities every now and then. Apostle Paul said;

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

This powers and principalities that we wrestle against will overpower, conquer and subdue us except we turn our faces to God and engage the protocol of prayers. A prayerless Christian can not have power over devils and principalities.

God's commission to mankind of dominion and subduing the earth will never be articulated and expressed by a believer who does not pray. It is by prayer that we attract the requisite power needed for dominion over the earth.

If we will have dominion – trampling the devil and the earth underfoot – we must retract back to the place of prayer and begin to deal diligently in prayers to God.

For some believers, their immediate needs have been taken care of and because of that they do not see the need to pray. This is gross pride.

It is the view that prayers is solely meant for petitioning – asking for needs – that gives rise to this form of negligence to prayer. If prayer is about asking God for needs, when the needs are met why pray?

The inability to pray for long hours of time, for others, is the reason why they do not pray. Many want to be reckoned to be prayerful and they opt to pray for long hours of time hoping to get approvals and appraisals.

Due to the frailty of our humanity, they may be unable to reach their quota and being discouraged overtime they may lose interest in prayers unknowingly.

Busy schedules, academics, career, work, family upkeep and other activities are the reasons why some Christians don't pray. These set of Christians live extremely busy schedules and they have no time to engage prayers.

Excuse or no excuse, prayer is our lifestyle as believers and we all must be yielded to prayers. As oxygen is needed for the survival of humans, prayer is needed for our survival as spiritual beings.

Prayer is not meant to gratify your desires alone. The orientation that praying is all about asking God for your needs is wrong. The same way you have needs is the same way God has needs and He designed prayer as the medium for fulfilling those needs.

One of God's need is intimacy with us. God desires to be intimate with Him – To have us know Him more. Prayer is the channel with which God can achieve intimacy with us.

Prayer in the words of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi is the key of the morning and the bolt of the evening. In other words, it should be what we begin our day with and how we end our day.

You can suspend every other thing in your life but not prayer. When prayer stops, everything in your life is bound to stop working. You must not allow any excuse swing you into weakness in prayer.

The writer of Hebrews advised in Hebrews 12:12 "Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees". It was actually a call to prayers.

How can a believer overcome weakness in prayer and become more prayerful. Here are some of the steps I recommend to assist every believer

1. Pray More To Overcome Weakness in Prayer

overcome weakness in prayer


This sounds weird but it is the first step on how to overcome weakness in prayer. To become prayerful is to pray more. Nobody starts out praying as an expert. Everyone was a beginner at praying but overtime due to practice and yieldedness, mastery was achieved.

Like every known art, Prayer must be learnt and mastery only comes by constant practice. To become good at soccer or at playing the keyboard, you must give yourself to football trainings and keyboard practice. It is no different with prayer.

Personally, there was a point in my life when I could not pray in tongues for 15 minutes straight but as I continued in prayer I began to master the art and today by His grace I can pray for hours in tongues.

It is not a sin to be unable to pray for hours. Do not let any one deceive you or demean you on such grounds. First of all, prayer is not time-based but Spirit-based that is you do not pray into time, you pray into the Spirit.

Although, praying for long hours is good because it exercises your Spirit, do no be dismayed when you are unable to. Prayer is not for proving points but for touching God.

Note that, a baby does not learn how to walk and talk in a day. Growth is by all standards a process. You must keep engaging in prayers until you gained mastery.

Praying without ceasing, continually and consistently will help you gain mastery of the art of prayer and before you know it you would have metamorphosed into a praying machine.

2. Be Deliberate About Prayer To Overcome Weakness in Prayer

The second point on how to overcome weakness in prayer is to be deliberate about prayer. Prayer is a spiritual activity which must be engineered by the Spirit but you must not always wait to be pushed to pay before you pray.

You would need to take conscious, deliberate decisions to pray whether in your convenience or not. Apostle Paul said "..I will pray.." (1 Corinthians 14:15). This means he (Paul) will take the conscious decision to pray.

One point that is worthy of note is this: your flesh will never want prayer. When it is prayer time, your flesh will bring up other options to take. This is why you need to put your will to work and choose to pray. Prayer is not always palatable for the flesh hence you must force it to pray.

The flesh will always rebel as Paul tells us in Galatians 5:17. It is your duty to force it to submit. If as you pray, you sleep off, wake up and continue praying. Do not be deterred by the frailty of your humanity. Never go easy on the flesh, train it to always choose prayer.

3. Partner With The Holy Spirit

To overcome weakness in prayer, you must partner with God's spirit. Jon Bloom of desiringGod said Prayer is not fundamentally a discipline thing. And that is very much true. Prayer is a spiritual function so if you must pray you must pray in partnership with the Holy Spirit.

Disciplining yourself is very important but prayer can only be performed accurately and according to God's standards when we pray by the quickening of His Spirit.

It is vain to try and pray without the person of the Holy Spirit believing in your energy and strength. David understood how the important role of the Spirit of God in prayer that is why he prayed in Psalms 80:18 thus

So will not we depart from thee: quicken us, and we will call upon your name

It is unnatural to want to stay in the place of prayer but when we are quickened we will want to continue to prayer. To overcome prayerlessness and become more prayerful, we must partner with God's Spirit to help us pray.

Partnering with God's Spirit for praying effectively is in three dimensions. We partner with the Holy Spirit so that:

  1. He will quicken us to pray
  2. We can pray in accordance to God's will
  3. He can help us to pray

It is the Spirit of God that quickens and helps us to pray as prayer is communication with God who is a Spirit and no flesh can interact with God except by the Spirit.

But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you - Romans 8:11

When our humanity seems to overpower us, we must trust God's Spirit to supply strength to help us pray. The Holy Spirit has a support facility providing strength to the believer when needed.

Also, in Romans 8:26, Apostle Paul points out the reason why no matter how much we think we can pray, we still need to depend on the Spirit of God.

Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.

You see that the Spirit helps in our weaknesses because we do not know what we should pray for and how we ought to pray. The Spirit of God helps us overcome theses weaknesses by making intercessions on our behalf. He does not only quicken us to pray, He teaches us how to pray and what to pray for.

I believe one of the reasons for prayerlessness is the lack of the Spirit of God. We have tried to pray on our own by ourselves and it has proven to be a venture in futility. Why not partner with God's Spirit to help you pray?

Say; "Spirit of God, come help me pray, come pray with me, come quicken me to call on the name of the Lord". I trust God's Spirit to help you conquer prayerlessness and become prayerful.

4. Living a Holy Life

Another point on how to overcome weakness in prayer is by living a holy life.

Sin is a major hindrance to prayers and praying. It prevents you from praying and equally stops God from answering your prayers. God's servant, Dr Paul Enenche said "Sin keeps you from praying as much as prayer keeps you from sin".

A sinner will always find prayer burdensome and a total waste of time. The nature of sin is one that prevents the sinner from any inclination to prayer. To overcome prayerlessness, the believer has got to live a holy life.

Holiness is not just a criterion for making heaven, it is an important requirement for praying effectively. It gives us both the boldness to come into His presence and the assurance of answered prayers.

This is what Apostle Peter explained in 1 Peter 3: 12

For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.

To overcome weakness in prayer and become more prayerful, the believer must deal with secret sin. Those weights that easily beset us, hidden faults and little foxes. Holiness must be your watchword if you will ever master the art of prayer.

Conclusion

We grow into being prayerful. You can not master a skill in one day. Prayer is not rocket science but a process -- it takes times. So do not be discouraged if you are unable to pray as you want.

Remember that, it is by consistent and continual practice we gain mastery of prayers. Before you know it, you would be surprised how much you have grown.

Most Importantly, prayer is communing with God and not trying to prove a point by praying long hours of time. No one should make you feel less of a Christian over the issue of praying long hours. There is need to pray for long hours but the primary focus is to commune with God.

Jesus told a parable with this emphasis "Men ought always to pray and not to faint". He was given us insight into the unrivaled position prayer should occupy in our lives. Prayer is mandatory and not optional for everyone.

Prayer must be your top most priority first before your job, career, academics and any other activity you engage in. You must create time no matter how busy you are to commune with your Father else you would become a prey in the devil's hands.

Finally, prayer is not theoretical but practical. It is an organic reality. After reading this article, PRAY. Do not wait for later, PRAY NOW.

I trust that with these steps on how to overcome weakness in prayer, your prayer life will see a massive turnaround. PRAY NOW.

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Saturday, 13 June 2020

When Is The Best Time To Pray?

Is prayer supposed to be time-based?


Are believers expected to pray only at certain times of the day or in certain seasons of their lives?

when should I pray?


These questions and many more bothers the average believer and they border around the ultimate question — when is the best time to pray?


Prayer is quintessentially the believer's lifestyle and culture and for anyone who intends to do much with God and to make the best out of the practice of the Christian faith, prayer is ultimate and focal.


The necessity of breathing in and breathing out for survival as living beings is the similitude prayer takes up in the life of believer. Spiritual breathing is made possible when we engage the art of prayer.


Much emphasis is placed on the need for maintaining prayers but amidst the rave of emphasis, there is still a deficiency in the prayer life of believers.


In times like this when the world seem to be drowning in chaos, we must all enter into the secret place and engage God in much prayers because in Him, lies the fortification needed for the survival of the believer.


To provide an answer to the question in focus, the word of God is and remains the fountain from which we can draw accuracy and balance. Accuracy and balance in the dispensation of sound doctrine has seemingly escaped through the backdoor of the church giving rise to unbalance and inaccurate doctrines peddled by certain obscure men.


As no preacher's opinion is stronger than the perspective sustained by the word of God, to get accurate and balanced doctrine, every believer must retract back to the study of scriptures: rightly dividing the truths encapsulated in its letters.


The word of God is by all means the anchor of the believer, the manual whose content is timely in delivering the thoughts and intents of God for every dispensation of time. It is to this word we would draw perspectives as to what time is best for prayer.


Come with me....


Jesus in Matthew 6 delivered one of the most profound teachings of the Christian faith. He gave thought to the technology of prayer and dispensed timeless truths on the art of prayer. 


One very notable point we need to be aware of is found in the phrase He used when He wanted to begin the section of prayer in Matthew 6:5. He said "And when thou prayest..."

The point in the verse above is what I like to refer to as the "When Phenomenon".

WHEN PHENOMENON

English language made us to understand that the word 'when' is an adverb of time. It tells of the possibility of an event in time which must take place.


Let's do a little analysis. Look at the statement below: 

"When I go to church on Sunday..." 

The statement above suggests that come Sunday I will go to church. The reiterates the fact that my coming to church is a surety.


For Jesus to say "When thou prayest...", He was showing us that prayer is not optional but mandatory. The believer is not given the leverage of deciding to or not to pray. 


Whether it is convenient for you or not, prayer is a when phenomenon, by implication it must be performed. You are not given too many options. This is why many believers don't pray, within them is the luxury of "options" other than prayer. This is contrary to the words of our Lord, Jesus Christ.


Had Jesus said "If you pray..", we would be sure that other options abound outside prayer because "If" is conditional. "If I come to church" denotes that there is a tendency i might not come to church but "When I come to church" assures of the possibility of coming to church.


From this, we understand that prayer is not optional but mandatory. Not for ministers of the Gospel or those who intend to do ministry but for all and sundry. 


A believer who understands the frailty of his or her humanity will engage prayer with all their might because it is only by engaging prayer, following the when phenomenon, that the believer can gain sufficient stature of stand in the days that are upon us.


PRAYER; A LIFESTYLE NOT JUST A TOOL

The idealogy that sees prayer as a tool for curbing emergencies and as an escape strategy when the believer is faced with overwhelming circumstance is unscriptural. The emergence of very weak and gullible believers is due to the acceptance of prayer as a tool.


The life of a believer is expected to be sustained by prayer. As a human, breathing in and out is essential for survival, prayer takes the same form for believers. Engaging in prayer only when the needs arises will make the church less of what God expects her to be. 


Not only is prayer supposed to be a communication channel between man and God, it is supposed to be a channel through which downloads from heaven can be captured by the praying man, downloads which would serve as a means of extending God's Dominion as expressed in heaven on the earth.


If all the believer does as prayer is plague  God with requests then more and more we will lose the ability to withstand the evil at work in the world today. Prayer is expected to be the way a believer lives, the system in which he gets respiration.


Jesus tried to present this truth when Luke records in chapter 18:1 that He spoke a parable to the end "that men ought always to pray and not to faint". This is the lot of all men – Prayer. 


For the believer to attain to his maximum potential in Christ Jesus, our importunity to prayer must drive us to constantly go before God in prayer whether in convenience or inconvenience.

PRAYING ALWAYS 

Having explained the need to pray not just for needs or when the need arises but as a lifestyle, let us see when really in respect to time is best for praying.


To answer this question, let's look at the scriptures on prayer below – carefully observing the emphasis as touching timings.

And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint; – Luke 18:1
But we will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word – Acts 6:4

Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer; – Romans 12:12
Praying always with prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints – Ephesians 6:18

Pray without ceasing – 1 Thessalonians 5:17

From the scriptures above, the right attitude to prayer which the believer must sustain is summed up in two words – Continual & Always. For the sake of simplicity, let's make do with "Always".


There is no restraint on the timing for prayer. With much liberty is the engagement of prayer such that no matter the hour of the day, the wellness of our being, the comfort, the pain or tribulation, prayer must be maintained always. The best time to pray is actually all the time.


Emphatically, there is no prescribe time for prayer as a general rule but men have by an act of their will, their importunity for prayers and by divine instruction have set apart a specific time of the day for prayer.


Setting a particular time to engage prayer is not bad at all, infact it is needful a practice as men who have learnt to court and fellowship with God understands that routines and frequency are important in engaging God in prayers but then the best time to pray is always.


While on the road, in your bedroom, at your place of work, wherever and whenever, importunity should drive us to pray. The best time to pray dearly beloved is always. Timings are important but then praying always is scripturally prescribed!



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Friday, 12 June 2020

Immersion vs Sprinkling: How Should Water Baptism Be Performed

Water baptism has become an accepted event by all Christian sects and groups. It is considered an ordinance of church and one of the steps to salvation.


But it is also worthy of note that there is a prescribed methodology for performing water baptism as vividly seen in the Bible. Sadly, there is a form of disunity existing in Christendom over the right way to do water baptism.


This disunity has split the Body of Christ into two groups. The first believe that water baptism can be administered by sprinkling water over a person. The other group hold that water baptism is only valid when the person being baptized is completely immersed in water.


Fortunately for us all, the word of God does not leave us in the dark as to what baptism in water is about and how it ought to be performed. So in order to get accurate perspectives about water baptism and its administration, we would search the scriptures.

immersion is the right way to perform water baptism



It will interest you to know that there is no where water baptism was specified in the Bible to be done by sprinkling. All of the places where water baptism is recorded in the Bible indicates an immersion and not sprinkling of water.


One important pointer to note is the Greek word translated "baptize". It actually means to immerse or to dip under water and as your rightly know, the New testament was written in Greek.


This point is important because when we want to get the exact meaning of a word translated from another language, we check out its meaning from the root language. 


From the actual meaning of the word baptism in the original Greek rendition, we see that sprinkling is not captured as a method of administering water baptism but immersion.


Furthermore, if we look at the ministry of John the Baptist, we would see some very interesting stuff. First of all, the word "baptist" in the original Greek rendition means "immerser" "dipper" or "plunger". From the name given to him you already see that John was not a water sprinkler but a water dipper, immerser, or plunger.


John carried out his ministry of baptizing people "in the Jordan river" as revealed in Matthew 3:6 


And were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins.


He did not sprinkle water on the people else there would be no need to take them into the river Jordan. We see this vividly expressed when John baptized Jesus in verse 16 


And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him:


Notice that it is clearly spelt out that Jesus went "out of the water" indicative of the fact that He actually went "into the water". If John sprinkled water on Jesus then scriptures will not record that Jesus went in and out of the water as there would be no need to go into the water.


John clearly baptized Jesus in the Jordan river by immersing Him in the water and when Jesus came out of the water the heavens were opened. 


For further analysis on this matter, let's look at the account of Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch in Acts 8. The Bible records in verse 36 that on getting to a body of water, the eunuch asked Philip "See, here is water; what hinders me from being baptized?" (Paraphrased).


Philip told him only if he believed on the Lord Jesus Christ and after declaring his believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, the eunuch and Philip "went down both into the water" (Acts 8:38).


Philip conducted the baptism of the Ethiopian eunuch in the water not by sprinkling it on him. They would not go down into the water if sprinkling was all they would do. By standing by the bank of the water they could carry out sprinkling but since it was going to be an immersion which it was, they went into the water.


Water baptism according to the Bible is practically the immersion of people in water and not sprinkling. Sprinkling water over a person does not get him or her baptized. It is this activity that brought up the issue of Rebaptism.


For water baptism to be according to the pattern followed by Jesus, used by John the Baptist, and observed by the early church, it must be administered by complete immersion into a body of water.


It is unscriptural to claim that water baptism can be done by sprinkling water over a person – except we find scriptures which clearly shows that sprinkling is the methodology for baptism.


Another salient point which validates that immersion is the right means of administering water baptism is in one of the significances of water baptism.


Water baptism is significant of partaking in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The process of immersion in water identifies us with the death of Christ. Whe we come out of the water, it is a typology of the resurrection of Christ.
 

This is what Apostle Paul related to both the Romans and Colossians 

Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. – Romans 6:4 

Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead. – Colossians 2:12


We are buried in Him and we rise in Him through the ordinance of water baptism. It is our means of partaking in the death and resurrection of Jesus and sprinkling water does not touch this very important significance.


Conclusion

The significances of water baptism can only be actualized by immersion not sprinkling. As we have seen in scriptures: the ministry of John the Baptist, the pattern followed in the baptismal service of Jesus our pattern man, and the adminstration of water baptism in the early church, water baptism is carried out by immersion in water.


Until it can be scripturally-proven, sprinkling is not a way to carry out baptism and if you have been baptized by the sprinkling of water then you would need to undergo Rebaptism to be baptized according to Biblical standards.


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Monday, 8 June 2020

Does Water Baptism Save You?

Can someone be saved when he or she is baptized in water?


Does being baptized in water make someone saved?

Does water baptism save you

The answer to these questions generally borders around the concept of salvation. An understanding of what salvation is and how it is gotten would help us identify if water baptism can save a man.


There are various school of thoughts on the concept of water baptism by different Christian groups and sects. 


The Liberals believe that repentance is the means for salvation. Evangelicals say believing and having faith in Jesus makes you saved. Sacramentals preach baptism as the key to salvation. The Pentecostals say you must be baptized in the Holy Ghost before you can be saved.


All of the views sustained by these sects are correct in the several fronts the conclusions were drawn. The truth about salvation is that it comes from all of the above means believed which makes holding on to one means as an imbalance in doctrine.


What I mean is that, the concept of salvation encapsulates the beliefs of the Liberals, Evangelicals, Sacramentals and the Pentecostals alike. Setting balance in the body of Christ is a necessary ministry today when sound doctrine seemed to have escaped through the backdoor.


The need for truth, sound and complete doctrine can never be overemphasized. All of the thoughts from the various units of the Christian faith on the subject of salvation are correct from the perspective they were drawn from but they lack completeness and due to the half-baked nature of their assertions, discourses like this have brought division to the body of Christ.


This ought not to be so. It is for this purpose Gospelcaster was established – to give every believer regardless of his or her denomination, the whole truth, articulating sound doctrine drawn from the balanced perspective of the Word of God.


For us to fully grasp the concept of salvation, we will need to look upon the words of Jesus and the practices of the early church. First, let's see what salvation is about.


What is Salvation? 


I would define Salvation as the sum total of what God did for us by sending Jesus His son to die for us. It is God's gift to mankind as Romans 6:23 puts it thus; 


For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord


By virtue of the fall of man recorded in Genesis 3, man became condemned to death. A verdict of destruction and condemnation was placed on all of mankind. But God was not completely comfortable with it hence His plan of redemption.


Redemption is God reaching out to mankind – you and I and bringing us back to Himself through the substitutionary sacrifice of Jesus. Sin made us separate from God. It built a tall fence between us and God – we had no access to God whatsoever.


The goal of Jesus' death was to save mankind from the verdict of death and destruction and to redeem us back to God.


While on Earth, Jesus taught on God's love for mankind and how He intended to bring man back to Himself since we were now being condemned to destruction as a result of sin "For the wages of sin is death..." – Roman 3:23


Adam and Eve, the first man and woman, condemned every single one of us to eternal death and destruction as Apostle Paul puts it in Romans 5:19 but Jesus came to correct the mistake of Adam by being obedient even unto death thereby restoring our original stand with God – giving us access to God and saving us from condemnation.


So salvation is everything Jesus came to earth to do which encompasses terminating our appointment with eternal death, giving us eternal life and restoring our lost access to God.


HOW SALVATION ACTUALLY WORKS

The concept of salvation is perfected in four thresholds. These thresholds are the four opinions the Liberals, Sacramentals, Pentecostals and Evangelicals hold on to. 

Salvation is gotten through 

  1. Repentance 
  2. Believing on the Lord Jesus 
  3.  Baptism in water 
  4.  Baptism in the Holy Spirit

Notice that each one of the thresholds of salvation is what a sect holds as the basis for salvation. Even though, it is correct you would agree with me that it is imbalanced right?, Yes!

The process towards salvation begins from repentance. Repentance is turning away from your former ways and accepting a new course.

Jesus as Mark records in his gospel began preaching in Mark 1:14 and 15 and Jesus' message was "the time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel."

This is the first step towards salvation – repentance. The process of salvation begins when a man realizes he has been on the wrong path and has decided to switch sides and follow God.

Even John the Baptist told the people who came to him for baptism in Matthew 3:8 that they should bring forth fruits worthy of repentance. There is no salvation until repentance is observed. 

In Simon Peter's sermon on the day of Pentecost recording in Acts 2, he told the people who asked what they should do (Acts 3:37) to first of all repent (Acts 3:38). Any salvation message that excludes the place of repentance is not complete.

Jesus preached repentance. John the Baptist preached repentance. The Apostles preached repentance. Salvation begins when repentance has been observed.

After repentance, what follows is believing on the Lord Jesus Christ. One must believe by faith that Jesus Christ died and resurrected on the third day to save mankind from condemnation and death. 

Only Jesus can save. In His words, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me" – John 14:6 

Repenting without believing that Jesus is the son of God who died to bring you back to God will not amount to getting saved. Believing on the Lord Jesus is an important requirement for salvation.

Jesus explained the overwhelming love of God in John 3:16 when He said 

 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

It is when we believe on the Lord Jesus that salvation is actually promised. Jesus further said;

"For God did not send His son into this world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him (Jesus) might be saved" – John 3:17

Also, a man asked Paul and Silas what he must do to be saved. Paul and Silas answered thus; 

...Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household. – Acts 16:31

See what Apostle Paul told the Romans

That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved  –  Roman 10:9

It is until a person repents and believes on the Lord Jesus Christ which is proven by the confessing of Jesus as Lord and Savior, forsaking sin and resolving to live holy, that he or she is fit for water baptism.

Water baptism is the third process of salvation after repentance and believing on Jesus. Water baptism is the act of complete immersion in water.

Jesus commanded in Matthew 28:19 saying;

Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

He also told Nicodemus in John 3:5 that except one is born of water he can not enter into the kingdom of God. Baptism in water is an event that must take place to consolidate the process of salvation. 

In Mark 16:16, Jesus said; 

He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

Believing followed by water baptism consolidates salvation. Water baptism must not be trivialized. It must be observed as it is an important threshold for being saved.


Read: The Essence, Requirement and Significance of Water Baptism


After water baptism then the baptism of the Holy Spirit. In Jesus' discourse with Nicodemus, He told the Pharisee that anyone who wants to enter into the kingdom of God must be born of water and also of the Spirit.

The baptism of the Spirit is very important for a believer. Water baptism cleanses you from your sins while the Holy Spirit baptism helps you live the new life of Christ.

It is as this stage – baptism in the spirit – that your salvation becomes complete. But there is something that would interest you, the order which I have listed may be broken.

Repentance and believing on Jesus Christ are constants – they must take place but some persons get baptized in the Spirit before they become baptized in water. I am an example.

I got baptized in the Holy Spirit long before I got baptized in water. I actually got baptized in water when the window was opened in my local Assembly.

This does not invalidate my salvation neither does it make me less a believer to the person who duly followed the processes outlined.

This is seen in the Bible when Peter went to preach in the house of Cornelius in Acts 10. In verse 44, the Bible records that while Peter was still speaking the Holy ghost fell on them. In verse 47, Peter asked "can anyone forbid water, that these should not be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?

So it is very possible that someone having believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, gets baptized in the Spirit before being baptized in water.

It will also interest you to know that the thief who hung on the cross with Jesus was saved by only believing on Jesus. There was no chance to be baptized in water or in the Spirit. 

These examples I am citing are not to negate the place of the process but to tell you that it must not be a holistic approach. The order must not be followed but must be maintained.


Conclusion 

On the question whether water baptism can save a man? 

The truth is no one begins the process of salvation by being baptized in water.

Water baptism is never the first requirement for getting saved.

One is entitled to be baptized in water only when he or she has repented and believed on Jesus. Baptizing someone who is a sinner – has not repenting and does not believe in Jesus – will not get that person saved.

In Acts 8:36, after Peter finished preaching to the Ethiopian eunuch, the man told Philip "See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?"

And Philip told him, only if you believe with all your heart – (Acts 8:37) and the man having believed confessed Jesus as the son of God.

It was then Philip baptized the eunuch in water. This must be the pattern before baptism in water. There must first be repentance and believing on Jesus before water baptism.

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