Tag Archives: baptism

Did Jesus Abolish The Law by Fulfilling it?

I am writing tonight from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.
I am writing tonight from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

“Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:17-19 NKJV

Occasionally, while giving Bible studies, I will hear someone say, “Once Jesus fulfilled the commandments He did away with them. He fulfilled them so we don’t have to.” Well, let’s take a look at that. Does fulfill mean to do away with? My Websters Dictionary tells me that fulfill means to carry out. I don’t think carrying something out and abolishing it can be the same definition. My Roget’s Thesaurus tells me fulfill is the same as pleasing or sufficing. I don’t think you please of suffice something by abolishing it either.

Now that we have looked at Roget and Webster’s definition of the word “fulfill,” more importantly let’s see how the Scriptures use that word. Even more important and accurately, how Matthew himself uses that word.

Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him. And John tried to prevent Him, saying, “I need to be baptized by You, and are You coming to me?” But Jesus answered and said to him, “Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he allowed Him. Matthew 3:13-14 NKJV

So Jesus fulfilled the rite of baptism. Did He abolish it after He fulfilled it? No, of course not. We know that the command to be baptized is all over the New Testament. Matthew, the same writer who tells us Jesus fulfilled the rite of baptism also records Jesus’ command,

Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit… Matthew 28:19 NKJV

So Jesus did not abolish baptism when He fulfilled that rite, but rather set an example for us to follow. Likewise, Jesus did not abolish the law by fulfilling it, but rather gave us an example to follow.

Study more on the Sabbath School lesson at the Sabbath School Network. 

Circumcision; Gospel or Barbaric Ritual?

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.
I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

Sunday’s section of this week’s Sabbath School lesson, mentions circumcision, which some people in some cultures now classify as barbaric. I have heard a few good Christians question why God chose circumcision for a sign that you belonged to Him? In certain safe circles faithful Christian men have asked, “why the penis of all places?”

We all know circumcision is no longer a sign of a covenant between God and us – thank goodness! Still it puzzles some believers as well as unbelievers alike as to why God ever had anyone do this. My purpose here is to answer the question, “why did God ever tell us to do this” and in the process we will see the gospel where before many people only saw a painful ritual.

The Scriptures say that Abraham had two sons, one from his slave wife and one from his freeborn wife. The son of the slave wife was born in a human attempt to bring about the fulfillment of God’s promise. But the son of the freeborn wife was born as God’s own fulfillment of his promise. These two women serve as an illustration of God’s two covenants. Galatians 4:22-24 NLT

God had made a covenant with Abraham and promised him a son. All God needed Abraham to do was believe the promise. Abraham saw that his wife was old and not even menstruating anymore, so instead of just trusting in God’s promise, he took his much younger handmaid Hagar and worked things out on his own. Together they had a son. This is the old covenant, which is man keeping the commandments in his own power, instead of just trusting God to write them on our hearts. The old covenant is legalism, or the works of the flesh. It’s a me-plus-Christ mentality instead of “Not I But Christ” (SeeGalatians 2:20), the motif Paul shared as the crux of the gospel.

So God had Abraham practice circumcision.

Then God said to Abraham, “Your responsibility is to obey the terms of the covenant. You and all your descendants have this continual responsibility. This is the covenant that you and your descendants must keep: Each male among you must be circumcised. You must cut off the flesh of your foreskin as a sign of the covenant between me and you. From generation to generation, every male child must be circumcised on the eighth day after his birth. This applies not only to members of your family but also to the servants born in your household and the foreign-born servants whom you have purchased. All must be circumcised. Your bodies will bear the mark of my everlasting covenant. Any male who fails to be circumcised will be cut off from the covenant family for breaking the covenant.” Genesis 17:9-14 NLT

Abraham’s part in the covenant was to keep himself from doing those things God had promised. Abraham was trusting in his flesh to work things out, so God had Abraham circumcise the part of his flesh he was trusting in, so that he could realize the gospel is not “me plus Christ” but “Not I but Christ.”

For we who worship by the Spirit of God are the ones who are truly circumcised. We rely on what Christ Jesus has done for us. We put no confidence in human effort… Philippians 3:3 NLT

… like the birth of the child of Abraham, and that of Mary, was to teach a great spiritual truth, a truth that we are slow to learn and ready to forget. In ourselves we are incapable of doing any good thing; but that which we cannot do will be wrought by the power of God in every submissive and believing soul. It was through faith that the child of promise was given. It is through faith that spiritual life is begotten, and we are enabled to do the works of righteousness. -Ellen White, Desire of Ages, Page 98

Abraham had that part of his body circumcised because that was the part of his body he was trusting, more than he was trusting in God’s power. Now we have baptism as a sign that we are casting away self-confidence, as we go under the water washing self away, and dying to self, we rise up taking the new breath we now live, not trusting in self, but trusting in Jesus.

Satan works hard to make us miss the whole point of this lesson by coming up with his own rituals, and then making male circumcision appear to be another cultural ritual. For example, female circumcision,  which has no Scriptural significance is still widely practiced. It is seriously harmful to women and its practice often has ulterior motives.

It is worth noting that there is some evidence that circumcision does have health benefits. There is evidence to suggest that certain health issues are less prevalent in communities where circumcision is widely practised (http://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/circumcision/basics/why-its-done/prc-20013585)

Finally, some men who were circumcised as babies, and learning that circumcision is no longer Biblical or morally necessary, have become quite bitter towards their parents for “mutilating” them. To those I would say, first of all, you have not endured anything that Jesus Himself has not endured. Jesus was circumcised too. See Luke 2:21. No matter how awkward or “embarrassing” an area of your life may be, Jesus has been there and experienced it for you. He understands everything! Second,  most parents were simply doing the best they could with the information they had at the time. All parents have to make decisions about the treatment of their babies on a range of issues and most make those decisions with the best information available. And with the health benefits, your parents may have made no mistake at all.

Satan likes to make the Gospel look foolish and even crazy in human eyes, and because circumcision is a sensitive issue it is an easy target. I pray my brief attempt has helped you to see the gospel where before all you could see was a Jewish ritual.

Abel, Ely, Janice and Ryan’s Profession of Faith

Yesterday was a special day at the Tampa First Seventh-day Adventist church, as we welcomed four new members into church fellowship by profession of faith. Often our baptized Christian brothers and sister’s who discover the Bible truths taught by the Seventh-day Adventist church,  choose to join by profession of faith, since they have already been baptized into Christ. Please see page 51 of the Adventist church manual.  Please enjoy the pictures and testimonies of yesterday’s wonderful celebration.

Abel and Ely Study

I have had the pleasure of studying with Abel and Ely for the last several months. There home sits near a small lake, and we often enjoyed studying on the balcony overlooking the lake. They love God and His church family with all their hearts, and have already been very active in the church in many different ways, including attending my class on how to give Bible studies and lead others to Christ.

Ely Writes:

“My reconciliation with God and the Seventh-day Adventist Church

After been born and raised in an Adventist family, at the age of 17, decided to take my own path and make my own decisions as an “adult” in spite of my young age.  After such strong determination, left my parent’s coverage facing a new life filled with challenges and lessons which marked me for the rest of my life.   During those years away from the gospel, had intervals and a huge need to return to the ways of the Lord; but the distractions of the world kept me busy, maybe to the point of feeling “attached” which broke my first marriage and each us and our family.  At that very moment, it’s when and where I’d reached bottom and realized that my life had to change once and for all.

Is in the summer of 2010 when my children were with their father for vacation when I’d found myself completely alone and broken; cried out to my God, and asked for his favor to please get me out of the abyss I was in at the time. In a conversation with a former classmate at the seventh-day Adventist Academy, mentioned a book called ‘Knowing Jesus is everything’ (author Alejandro Bullón) and I said: “Let me see, I think I have it in my mini-library” when I go and look for it effectively there it was, still a ‘practically brand new book’.  This book was given to me in the year 2000 during my son’s presentation at church; also traveling to all the sites that I’ve lived; from Puerto Rico to Georgia, Georgia to Germany and Germany to Florida where I currently live.  The year 2010, was the one where the total transformation in my life started, after reading the book. Afterwards, I’d started to attend a non-denominational church where I was baptized in 2011 by both the pastor of the Church and the man who became my husband.  Only God knew what he was doing in my life.   I had no idea that God had that gift of a man, a true man of God and also that he will forgive me for all my sins and loved me and saved me and my children.

After my baptism, one of my former classmates of the Academy says “Ely, you know the truth” and I said “I won’t return to the Seventh – Day Adventist Church, I have a relationship with God and it is all that I need ‘. Looking here and there for churches, one morning passed through the Avenue in front of this church and I saw the sign that says” Seventh Day Adventist Church”. I remember a day like it was yesterday, it was the beginning of 2012 when I decided to take the step and stop by the church.  I got ready and drove to church; when I got there, Sister Isoline and the teacher Millie Mojica welcomed me and my family with such love and for the glory of God it remind me of my school days in the seventh-day Adventist Academy in Caguas, PR. At that moment, the promise of God that says: Stay faithful and I will give you the desires of your heart! Amen! I decided to establish myself in this church and told my husband “I’m not sure which church you want to belong to, but I am staying here” hoping that he was feeling the same way and to my surprise, he was. The Adventist Church is more than a church or organization, is a difference, in love and dedication all around the world. Even in Germany I found the ‘Pathfinders’ without looking for them and it brought back many memories.

My fellow brothers and sisters, the bible verse who says “Instruct the child in its way and even if it will be old will not separate of it” it became true testimony in my life. I felt as the bountiful son who was lost and returned. After trying to fill the emptiness in my life on my own, God filled me completely with the truth of the Adventism for his glory and honor. During all this process in my life my children, clearly, also were marked. To feel the voice of my son saying to me ‘Mami thanks for changing and being at home, you stopped going to clubs and now we have you here at home and in the church’. You will not know, how my son broke my heart with these words, but only it was looking at God and was giving him the glory and honor because it protected me and received me once again with open arms at home.

This is just a short part of my testimony, which I just shared with you, it’s meant for those parents who pray for  their children for them not to get tired or give up on them and for them not to stop doing it.   Also it’s intended for those children who have been feeling “aggravated” because of their parent’s ways of caring, to please  love them and forgive them because they are not perfect in any way, and for them to understand that we enter entire perfection when we turn to the arms of our Creator. These last months with the Pastor William in our house, God’s plan refreshed our beliefs and what we learned in previous years and now comprehend as adults for our lives under the coverage of the Adventism.”

Ely also supplied me with some pictures of her baptism in the same Word document she sent with her testimony. I could not get the pictures to transfer from Word to this post, but the entire testimony in Spanish with pictures are provided by just clicking on the word “Ely” on the line below.

El testimonio de Ely con fotos Ely

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Several Sundays ago we had a work bee at the church and Abel and Ely faithfully participated along with several other church family members. Abel is on far right. Ely is behind the camera.

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Pastor Brad, Center, prepared Ryan (on Pastor Brad’s left with his wife Erika)  and Janice (on Pastor Brad’s right with her boyfriend David)  to join by profession of faith.

Janice writes:

“I would like to start by thanking the congregation. I feel blessed to become a member of the church. I’ve been searching for God’s truth and The Lord led me to the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Looking forward to continuance growth spiritually through the church.”

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While we presented the candidates to the church family, Abel thanks the church congregation for being family, and commended the church leadership for encouraging us all to grow together in Christ.Davis Island Dusk

Please don’t allow the sun to go down on you before you give your heart to the One who gave His life for you! I would love to talk to you about giving your heart to Jesus and becoming a part of His body which is His church. If you are not int he Tampa Bay area, you can still contact me and I will be happy to help you find a Grace filled Bible based church in your corner of the world. You may contact me at LayPastor@TampaAdventist.net

Baptism In Light Of The Cross -With New Living Translation

Linda

You may download a printable copy of the In Light of the Cross Study Guides with the NLT  here.

Baptism 

 

Brief overview: By baptism we confess our faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and testify of our death to sin and of our purpose to walk in newness of life. Thus we acknowledge Christ as Lord and Saviour, become His people, and are received as members by His church. Baptism is a symbol of our union with Christ, the forgiveness of our sins, and our reception of the Holy Spirit. It is by immersion in water and is contingent on an affirmation of faith in Jesus and evidence of repentance of sin. It follows instruction in the Holy Scriptures and acceptance of their teachings. (Rom. 6:1-6Col. 2:1213Acts 16:30-3322:162:38Matt. 28:1920.)

Why it is important to understand the truth about baptism: 

The Bible only teaches one form of baptism. See Ephesians 4:5. We get the word “baptism” from the Greek word, “baptizo” which means, to immerse. To be immersed you must go into the water all the way.

Why it is important to understand baptism in light of the cross:

Romans 6 tells us the reason there is only one form of baptism. Baptism is where we are crucified with Christ and die to self. In Baptism we are giving all of ourselves to Jesus because He loved and gave all of Himself for us. When we go under the water we stop breathing for a moment. That is symbolic of our death to self. When we come up out of the water we take a new breath and that new breath represents the new life that we are now living for Jesus.

Further Study on Baptism

 

 How essential is baptism?

Jesus replied, “I assure you, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit.  John 3:5 NLT

How many types of baptism does God recognize?

There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism Ephesians 4:5 NLT

How was Jesus baptized?

Then Jesus went from Galilee to the Jordan River to be baptized by John. But John tried to talk him out of it. “I am the one who needs to be baptized by you,” he said, “so why are you coming to me?” But Jesus said, “It should be done, for we must carry out all that God requires.” So John agreed to baptize him. After his baptism, as Jesus came up out of the water, the heavens were opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and settling on him.  And a voice from heaven said, “This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy.”Matthew 3:13-17 NLT

Why did John baptize there?

At this time John the Baptist was baptizing at Aenon, near Salim, because there was plenty of water there; and people kept coming to him for baptism.  John 3:23 NLT

How did Philip baptize the Ethiopian?

He ordered the carriage to stop, and they went down into the water, and Philip baptized him. Acts 8:38 NLT

What must precede baptism?

Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. 20 Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”  Matthew 28:19-20 NLT

Note: Disciplining or mentoring and teaching takes place before and after baptism.

What else must take place?

 Anyone who believes and is baptized will be saved. But anyone who refuses to believe will be condemned.  Mark 16:16 NLT

 

What must follow belief?                                                                                                 

   Peter’s words pierced their hearts, and they said to him and to the other apostles, “Brothers, what should we do?”  Peter replied, “Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.  Acts 2:37-38 NLT

What does baptism symbolize?                                                                                    

Or have you forgotten that when we were joined with Christ Jesus in baptism, we joined him in his death?  For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives. Since we have been united with him in his death, we will also be raised to life as he was. We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin.  Romans 6:3-6 NLT

Who now lives in us?

My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20 NLT

What are we declared to be?

For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus.  And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have put on Christ, like putting on new clothes. There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus. And now that you belong to Christ, you are the true children of Abraham. You are his heirs, and God’s promise to Abraham belongs to you.  Galatians 3:26-29 NLT

For what reason might one be re-baptized?

While Apollos was in Corinth, Paul traveled through the interior regions until he reached Ephesus, on the coast, where he found several believers “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” he asked them.“No,” they replied, “we haven’t even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.”  “Then what baptism did you experience?” he asked. And they replied, “The baptism of John.” Paul said, “John’s baptism called for repentance from sin. But John himself told the people to believe in the one who would come later, meaning Jesus.” As soon as they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Acts 19:1-5 NLT

Why wait?

What are you waiting for? Get up and be baptized. Have your sins washed away by calling on the name of the Lord. Acts 22:16 NLT

Tampa Spanish Baptisms

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Last week the Tampa Spanish Seventh-day Adventist Church, they had a week of prayer, entitled “Metamorphosis.” Pastor Israel Mora shared over the week on how God takes those who realize they are sinners, and transforms them into the image of God. All things are possible in our lives when we surrender and let God always be in control.

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At the end of the week, this last Sabbath there was a wonderful baptism celebration. Several gave their lives to Jesus. Many of them I have been privileged to work with at Tampa Adventist Academy.

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Leslie (left) and Pamela both attend the upper grades at Tampa Adventist Academy. They both told me they wanted to give all of their lives to Jesus because He gave everything for them. Leslie is in my 7th grade Bible class I teach once a week, and always participates with good questions and comments. Both of them take their over all education very seriously, though they both can be fun. Leslie is currently editing my “In Light of The Cross Bible Study Guides” with verses from the New Living Translation.

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Gabby is in the third grade at Tampa Adventist Academy. Gabby writes:

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“Well baptism means to me that when get in the water that you give your life to Jesus and you be a better Christian and when I got in that water I felt the Holy Spirit going in me and that what you are suppose to feel and I felt like a better Christian.”

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The pathfinders, including Gabby’s sisters Abbi (Second from right top picture) and Kathy (Right on lower picture) sang “I Will Follow” in dedication to Gabby. Abbi and Kathy are very energetic in participating and leading out in their Sabbath school and Pathfinders as well as school activities. They both have attended my Bible chain-referencing classes, and a while back Abbi volunteered to help with one of my baptism classes. Gabby, their little sister appears to be just as on fire for Jesus as they are.

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Janelle writes:

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“What baptism means to me is that I’m giving my heart, life and soul to Jesus and that I’m starting a new life and all my sins are at the bottom of the sea. Also that I set an example for little kids and for grown-ups. Also God and His angels are rejoicing and partying.”

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Keyla, Janelle’s good friend, sang “Dame Tus Ojas” in dedication of Janelle’s baptism. Keyla has been very active in several of my baptism classes as well as Bible-chain referencing classes at TAA.

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Jimmy writes:

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“When I was in line to getting baptized, I was kind of nervous and when they called me to go to the tub, I was even more nervous. When I was in the tub my nervousness had left and I was not nervous anymore. I was shaking because before going into the tub it was cold but the water was warm. I felt great after that.”

I can relate to what Jimmy is saying because I have done baptisms in cold water and warm, and I definitely prefer the warm.

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After the service Janelle’s parents, Carlos and Daisy invited me to a special lunch in Janelle’s honor.

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As we were all eating cake I realized, even though Janelle is only in the 5th grade that she already has a Bluetooth. Get it? Blue tooth? Okay, moving right along…..

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I want to congratulate the Tampa Adventist Academy students from the Tampa Spanish Church, for being so involved in both their church and school, and taking advantage of every opportunity to grow spiritually and be a part of God’s church family. TAA is owned and operated by several churches in the Tampa area. We all share one common goal in sharing Jesus with the young people in our community. It is an honor to know these young people, and for me to have had Jimmy and Janelle in my baptism class last year. They are also in my Bible chain-referencing class that I teach on Tuesdays. I am very proud of all of them! I am also proud of their dedicated teachers!

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Please don’t let the sun set on your life before you accept Jesus and eternal life. I would love to talk to you about giving your life to Jesus. As Pamela and Leslie say, He has given His life for us. I would love to talk to you if you are in the Tampa Bay area, and even if your not, email me anyway. I can find a Bible-based Jesus loving church in your corner of the world Laypastor@TampaAdventist.net

Alyssa’s Baptism

This month is a special month at Tampa First Seventh-day Adventist church as we already have three different baptisms scheduled for February. This morning, was special as Alyssa was our first candidate to be baptized this month. Please enjoy the pictures and stories.

Baptism Class TAA

Alyssa, on my left, was one of the first to sign up for my baptism class at Tampa Adventist Academy. She faithfully completed her baptism workbook, and actively participated by asking thoughtful questions about how to please God with our lives, and she was very satisfied when we found the answers in the Bible.

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Alyssa read a short testimony on why she was being baptized and what it meant to her. She wrote:

Alyssa's note

Alyssa baptism

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“Or have you forgotten that when we were joined with Christ Jesus in baptism, we joined him in his death? For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives.” Romans 6:3-4 NLT

One of the many things we learned in our baptism class, is what baptism means. When you go under the water you stop breathing for a second, since you don’t breathe water. This is symbolic of your  death. You are dying to self, and saying goodbye living life your own way. When you come up out of the water, you take a new breath, symbolizing the new life you are now living for Jesus.

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After church the church family congratulated and welcomed Alyssa to the church family.

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Here is Alyssa with her family. Alyssa was very happy about her Uncle Charlie (Top Center) coming all the way from California for her baptism. Charlie was a member at Tampa First before moving to California, and is very much in love with Jesus, and has encouraged others to make their decisions for Christ as well. In our baptism class, Alyssa was always talking about her Uncle Charlie and how she wanted to be baptized when he could be here. I can tell by the way Alyssa talks about him all the time, he is her hero and a very positive influence in her life. I am so happy when a young person has a real hero and role model to admire and emulate.

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All who follow Jesus will be fishers of men. Alyssa has the same passion for reaching others for Christ that her Uncle Charlie and the rest of her family have. Here she is being presented with her baptism certificate, which includes the fundamental beliefs of the seventh-day Adventist Church.

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Don’t let the sun set on your life, before you give all of your life to Jesus. Alyssa did not want to wait till she got older and give to Jesus just whatever was left over of her life. She gave all of her life to Jesus because He gave all of His life to her. Jesus has given His life for you too! He loves you! If you are thinking about giving your life to Jesus I would love to talk with you and help you prepare for baptism. If you are on the other side of the world I would still love to hear from you, and help you find a Bible based church on your side of the world. You can reach me at LayPastor@TampaAdventist.net

Baptism, God’s Church, Spirit of Prophecy and Prayer-From Bible Studies Made Easy

Bible Studies Made Easy

You can order a hard copy of Bible Studies Made Easy here. You can download the complet book, Bible Studies Made Easy in PDF for free here. You can download Simplified Studies for free here.

Baptism

John 3:5 —————————————- How essential is baptism?

Ephesians 4:5 —- How many types of baptism does God recognize?

Matthew 3:13-17 —————————— How was Jesus baptized?

John 3:23 ———————————– Why did John baptize there?

Acts 8:38 ———————— How did Philip baptize the Ethiopian?

Matthew 28:19, 20 ———————– What must precede baptism?

Mark 16:16 ———————————– What else must take place?

Acts 2:37, 38, 41 ——————————– What must follow belief?

Romans 6:3-6 —————————- What does baptism symbolize?

Galatians 2:20 ————————————— Who now lives in us?

Galatians 3:26-29 ————————- What are we declared to be?

2 Corinthians 6:2 ————————- When should we be baptized?

Acts 19:1-5 —————– For what reason might one be rebaptized?

Acts 22:16 —————————————- What should one not do?

The True Church

Ephesians 4:4-6 ——- How many bodies does God recognize as His?

Ephesians 1:22, 23 ————————————- What is this body?

Revelation 12:1, 2 — What symbol is used to portray God’s church?

Jeremiah 6:2 ———————————- What is Zion compared to?

Isaiah 51:16 —————————————————- Who is Zion?

Revelation 17:1-5 —— To what are the corrupt churches compared?

Revelation 12:3, 9 ———- Who is this beast which carries Babylon?

Revelation 12:13 ———————– Whom does the devil persecute?

Revelation 12:14-16 ——— How long did the church go into hiding?

NOTE: For more information on the “1260 days” (vs. 6) and “time,

and times, and half a time” (vs. 14) being the 1260 years of

persecution from 538 to 1798, see the study on “The 1260 Years of

Persecution.

Revelation 12:17 — How is the last day, remnant church identified?

Revelation 19:10 ———————— What is the testimony of Jesus?

NOTE: Several identifying marks of the remnant, or true church: 1.

To keep all of the commandments of God; including the fourth, or the

seventh day Sabbath (Rev. 12:17, 14:12). 2. To have the faith of Jesus

(Rev. 14:12). 3. To have the testimony of Jesus, which is the spirit of

prophecy (Rev. 12:17). 4. To arise after the 1260 years of persecution,

or after 1798 (Rev. 12:14). 5. To proclaim the three angels’ messages

(Rev. 14:6-12). 6. To be a world-wide movement (Rev. 14:6). 7. To

base all of their beliefs upon the Bible and the Bible alone (John

14:23-24, Rev. 22:18-19). 8. To identify and oppose the antichrist. 9.

Not to be an offspring of Babylon (Rev. 17:5. 10. To call God’s people

out of Babylon (Rev. 18:4).

Revelation 18:1-5 ————— What is God’s last call to His people?

John 10:16 ———————————— Where are they to come to?

John 10:27 ————————— What does Jesus say His sheep do?

John 10:28 ———— What is His promise to those who follow Him?

The Spirit of Prophecy

Revelation 12:17 —– What two things identify the remnant church?

Revelation 19:10 ———————— What is the testimony of Jesus?

Amos 3:7 —————————– What is the purpose of a prophet?

NOTE: Three common misconceptions are: 1. To be a prophet one had

to write a book of the Bible. Such a fallacy as this is easily refuted by

such well known prophets as Elijah, John the Baptist, and dozens of

others who did not write any of the Bible. 2. That the gift of prophecy

ended with the death of the last of the apostles and the close of the New

Testament. 3. That the prophetic gift was given to men only.

Ephesians 4:11-13 ———- How long is this gift to be in the church?

Was this gift bestowed upon men only?

Exodus 15:20 ————————————– What is Miriam called?

Judges 4:4 ——————– In addition to Judge what was Deborah?

2 Chronicles 34:22 —– Was the gift given to Hulda or her husband?

Acts 21:9 ————— How many of Philip’s daughters had the gift?

Joel 2:28-31 ———————- Will this still happen in the last days?

Matthew 7:15-20 ———– How can one tell the true from the false?

Jeremiah 28:9 ————————- Will what they say come to pass?

2 Peter 1:20 — Do they place their own interpretation on Scripture?

Isaiah 8:20 ———– Will all they say be in harmony with the Bible?

Isaiah 58:1 —————————————– Will they point out sin?

1 Corinthians 14:3, 4 ———————- Will they edify and counsel?

Isaiah 24:20 ——————————– Will they warn of judgment?

Deuteronomy 18:18-22 ————– What if we reject a true prophet?

2 Chronicles 20:20 ——————— What is God’s assurance to us?

1 Thessalonians 5:19-21 —————– What are we counseled to do?

Prayer

Philippians 4:6 ———————————– What are we told to do?

Luke 18:1 ————————————– How often are we to pray?

John 16:23 —————————————– Who are we to pray to?

Matthew 6:7 ———————— What should we not use in prayer?

Matthew 6:9-13 ———– Did Jesus give an example of how to pray?

Matthew 7:7-11 ————————— What does He promise to do?

Mark 11:24 ————- What must we do for prayer to be answered?

James 1:5-7 —————————————- How essential is faith?

Matthew 26:39, 42 —————— Whose will should we be seeking?

1 John 5:14, 15 —————————- What assurance do we have?

James 4:3 ———————— Why are some prayers not answered?

Psalm 66:18 — Does anything prevent God from hearing your prayer?

Isaiah 59:1, 2 ——————————————– What does sin do?

2 Chronicles 7:14 —————— What must we do for God to hear?

1 Peter 4:7 ——————– Why is prayer so very important today?

Luke 21:36 ———————————— What should we be doing?

Children And Baptism

I wrote tonight from beautiful gate 44 at Houston’s Hobby airport during a layover.

Many times I have been asked, how old should a child have to be before they can be baptized. Many people are surprised to hear I was 7 when I was baptized. I still remember the night I was lying in bed, thinking about the cross and Jesus’ love for me. I decided I wanted to be baptized. I went into my parents room, where they were sound asleep, and woke them up to till them the news. They were very happy, but told me we could talk about it more in the morning. Looking back, I guess there was no reason to wake them up in the middle of the night. I knew I wasn’t going to baptized that night. I wanted my friends to be there, and there was no way we could arrange all that in the middle of the night.

I only had one meeting with the pastor. He went over the baptism vows with me, and every time I said “yes”, he seemed to roll his eyes. I sensed he thought I was a little young. 40 years later my suspicions were confirmed, when I met him again and asked him if he remembered me. “Yes.” He said, “we baptized you a little young, didn’t we?” I assured him I was not too young and knew exactly what I was doing. 40 years later I am a Lay Pastor and full time paid Bible Worker, and elder and former literature evangelist. I did not tell him that in boast. I just wanted to reassure him, that at 7 years old, I knew full well what I was getting into, and ever since then have remained somewhat active in the church.

I have never forgotten and will never forget that day I was baptized. I was walking on air all day long. I knew God was with me. I also will never forget the night I was thinking about the cross and decided to be baptized. I think about it whenever I am put in a situation where someone wants me to compromise my passion or convictions. Over the years I have had people make both threats and promises in an attempt to get me to compromise. I always think about that night, when I was alone with Jesus and the cross, and I remind myself, Jesus is the one who died for me, not these people who are pressuring me to compromise. I gave my heart to Jesus, not to them.

So, when a parent tells me their 7 year old wants to be baptized, this is what I do. I give them a baptism workbook. No baptism workbook was ever given to me, or Bible studies for that matter, and I guess there is no Bible command to finish a workbook before being baptized, but it is an important step.

“Parents whose children desire to be baptized have a work to do, both in self-examination and in giving faithful instruction to their children. Baptism is a most sacred and important ordinance, and there should be a thorough understanding as to its meaning. It means repentance for sin, and the entrance upon a new life in Christ Jesus. There should be no undue haste to receive the ordinance. Let both parents and children count the cost. In consenting to baptism of their children, parents sacredly pledge themselves to be faithful stewards over these children, to guide them in their character building.” –Child Guidance, Pages 499-500

When I give the child the workbook, I also visit with them and their parents, and ask the child why they want to be baptized and what baptism means to them.  The answer they give helps the family and me determine how seriously the child is taking this step. By giving them the workbook, I am also giving them time to grow and mature during the several weeks or even months it takes them to complete it. I encourage the parents to help them with the workbook, but I am also available anytime to study with them, and I check in on them to see if the child, or parents have any questions. Parents often like their children to attend my baptism classes that I have at church and at the church school.

I find it somewhat frustrating, and maybe even amusing, when parents expect their children to understand everything and be perfect when they are baptized. Come on, adults don’t understand everything either, and are not prefect when they are baptized. We have room to grow after baptism too. It hurts me, when I see parents, hanging it over the head of a newly baptized child, that they should not have made this or that mistake, because they are baptized now.

Speaking of newly baptized children, Ellen White tells parents, “If they err, do not scold them. Never taunt them with being baptized and yet doing wrong. Remember that they have much to learn in regard to the duties of a child of God.” Child Guidance, Page 501.

“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” Matthew 28:19-20

This verse makes it clear that teaching comes before baptism, and after baptism as well. Neither children or adults know it all when they are baptized, though they should be adequately prepared. This is a very important and special step, in which everyone wanting to participate should be both properly encouraged and prepared.

You may study this week’s SS lesson on baptism here.

Adrian’s Baptism

Several months ago Pastor Claudette told me her son, Adrian wanted to study the Bible with me. We studied the “In Light of The Cross” Bible study guides, and over the course of the studies, Adrian told me he wanted to be baptized. Adrian was very committed to his Bible study time. Adrian is a big basketball fan. One evening he invited me to stay and watch a basketball game after our Bible study. We had finished the lesson and the game had already begun, but Adrian still had a lot of questions, so we continued our study for quite a while before finally watching the game. The fact that Adrian was a big basketball fan, but wanted to keep talking about God and the Bible instead of just stopping the Bible study to watch the game said a lot to me about his priorities and interest in God. In the picture above, Adrian and I are studying by his pool, where one day we took advantage of the beautiful Florida weather.

I went over the baptism vows with Adrian during our studies, and then Pastor Brad went over them with Adrian before the Tampa 1st Church family this morning.

“I’ve been wanting to get baptized for a long time now. I thought you had to be perfect but none of us are, and the Bible says to start a brand new life and that’s what I’m doing today.” -Adrian

I felt very honored when Pastor Claudette and her husband Rene, asked me to study with Adrian. Pastor Claudette served as a Bible Worker and now has an excellent youth ministry. However, Pastor Claudette and Rene wanted Adrian to have a variety of teachers, as they believe it takes a village to raise a child. I appreciated them asking me to study with Adrian, and we had a great time studying the Bible together.

“Today was one of the most exciting days of my life and ministry.  To baptize my son was truly an amazing experience.  I praise the Lord for Adrian’s decision to follow Him.  I thank God for his Sabbath School and Pathfinder teachers, and specially for William, who gave him Bible studies.  So, in conclusion today I rejoice with the angels as they celebrated Adrian’s baptism.” -Pastor Claudette

For you were buried with Christ when you were baptized. And with him you were raised to new life because you trusted the mighty power of God, who raised Christ from the dead. Colossians 2:12

You may watch the video of Adrian’s baptism here.

Adrian’s church family and friends congratulated and welcomed him to the church family.

Please don’t let the sun set on your life before you give your life to Jesus. He gave all of His life for you. Will you give your life to Him? I would love to hear from you if you would like to give your heart to God. You may contact me at LayPastor@TampaAdventist.net

Matthew and Samantha’s Baptism Pictures and Stories

Matthew and Samantha joined my baptism class at the Tampa First Seventh-day Adventist Church a while back. Later they invited me to their home, where we had studies on how to know Jesus and share Him with others. Later we had more baptism studies in the home, and today both Matthew and Samantha (Sammy) were baptized. All through the studies they both did a good job on their workbooks, and asked very good questions. Matthew asked a question that I had to do some researching to find the answer. He asked why the Bible is often printed in two columns on a page instead of one. We found out it saves money that way. Kewl! Good question Matthew! In the above picture, I am studying with Matthew and Sammy and their mother Sarah, in their home.

Before the baptism we went over the baptismal vows.

Before each baptism I like to pray with the person being baptized, asking God to keep them close to them all the days of their life. Thank you for joining me in prayer for Matthew and Sammy today.

Matthew writes: “I am getting baptized today because I believe in God and because I want to give my heart to Him. And so when He comes He will take me to heaven with Him.”

Or have you forgotten that when we were joined with Christ Jesus in baptism, we joined him in his death?  For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives.Since we have been united with him in his death, we will also be raised to life as he was. We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin. Romans 6:3-6 NLT

Notice the smile on Matthews face after his baptism, as Sammy Writes: “I am getting baptized because I want to give myself to God and be reborn. Getting baptized means giving my heart to God and I am 100% ready to do that. I am so happy that I decided to get baptized and give myself to God. I think that everyone should be given the chance to be baptized and give themselves to God.”

Sammy is all smiles after her baptism as well.

I was very proud to give Sammy and Matthew their baptism certificates, which inlcude the Seventh-day Adventist fundamental beliefs

Sammy writes that everyone should have a chance to give their hearts to Jesus and be baptized. Don’t let the sun set on you before you accept this wonderful opportunity. I would love to visit with you about this, so please contact me at LayPastor@TampaAdventist.net