Three Priorities Of New Believers
Every true believer is a Holy Spirit born child
of God (John 1:12,13; 3:3-7). In the days and months following
salvation the believer is spoken of as being a spiritual baby (1st
Corinthians 3:1,2; Hebrews 6:12,13; 1st Peter 2:2). Spiritual babes in
Christ are encouraged to grow spiritually and are scolded when they
haven’t grown as they should.
I. The Newborn Babe In Christ Should Confess Christ
There will be many priorities in the growth of babes
in Christ to full maturity. In this message we speak of the first
Jesus taught that those who confess Him before
men are the ones He will confess before His Father. "Therefore
whoever confesses Me before men, him will I confess also
before My Father who is in heaven." Matthew 10:32.
II. The New Christian Should Receive "Believer’s Baptism"
The apostle Paul indicated that confessing Christ
with the mouth is a consequence that follows believing on Him in our
heart. "…That if you confess with your mouth the Lord
Jesus, and believe in your heart that God has raised Him
from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto
salvation." Romans 10:9, 10.
Many Christians struggle with confessing Christ
because of fear. John gave us a record of some who were having that
struggle during the life of Jesus. "Nevertheless even among the
rulers many believed in Him; but because of the Pharisees they
did not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue:"
John 12:42. Two of those experiencing this struggle were
Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathaea. Of Joseph it is written, "…Joseph
of Arimathaea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of
the Jews," John 19:38. Thankfully, Joseph and Nicodemus came out
openly for Christ following His sacrificial death on Calvary.
Dr. Harry Ironsides became a highly effective and
greatly loved preacher of the gospel. He often told of when he was a
teenager and came home discouraged because his friends had laughed
and made fun of his Christianity. His mother would lovingly say,
"Just remember, Harry, they can laugh you into hell but they can’t
laugh you out."
After all that Jesus has done for us, we ought to
count it all joy to confess Him before men.
purposes of baptism in Jesus’ day:
The Jewish people, especially priests, would
immerse themselves as a ritual cleansing from the defilement of sin.
The Baptism of John, The Baptist
John’s baptism was a "baptism of repentance."
(Mark 1:4; Acts 19:4) It symbolized turning from a life of sin to a
life of righteousness. Although Jesus had no sin to repent of, He
received baptism from John "to fulfill all righteousness." Most
likely, He was giving a picture of how He would provide for the
salvation of lost mankind…through death, burial and resurrection.
Jesus commanded His followers to baptize those
who receive the gospel message and become His disciples (Matthew
28:19, 20). They were faithful in obeying this command. They
baptized all who professed their faith in Christ. "Then
gladly received His word were baptized:" Acts 2:41. "But when
they believed Philip as he preached the things concerning the kingdom of
God, and the name of Jesus Christ, both men and
women were baptized." Acts 8:12. "…And the eunuch said, See, here is water;
what hinders me from being baptized? Then Philip said, If you believe with all
your heart, you may. And he answered and
said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. …and he
baptized him." Acts 8:36-38. (See also Acts 10:47; 16:30-34;
The Scriptural Mode of Baptism is Immersion
III. New Christians Should Unite With A New Testament Church
Any reputable Greek lexicon (dictionary) will
define the Greek word for baptism as "to dip or to immerse." Not
only Baptists, but the founders and scholars of many Christian
denominations testify to this truth: "The very word baptizo, however
signifies to immerse; and it is certain that immersion was the
practice of the ancient church."
John Calvin; "Institutes of the
Christian Religion, Chapter XV" "I could wish that the baptized
should be totally immersed, according to the meaning of the word and
the signification of the mystery."
Martin Luther. "History of the
Christian Church" Vol. VI, pages 218, 219. "We are buried with him
–Alluding to the ancient manner of baptizing by immersion"
Wesley; "Explanatory Notes Upon The New Testament" page 376. From
the Roman Catholic Encyclopedia with the Imprimatur of Cardinal
Farley, Volume II, page 259, "The word baptism is derived from the
Greek word bapto or baptize, to wash or to immerse" and continuing
on page 261, "The most ancient form usually employed was
unquestionably immersion." "In the Latin church, immersion seems to
have prevailed until the twelfth century. After that time it is
found in some places even as late as the sixteenth century."
Believers baptism might be described as "a
physical illustration of a spiritual reality." We are informed that
every believer has been baptized into the body of Christ. "… so
also is Christ. For by one Spirit we are all baptized into one
body…" 1st Corinthians 12:12b, 13a. In Romans 6:1-10 we have an
explanation of this blessed truth. God sees the believer as having
been placed in Christ’s body. In Christ, the believer received the
punishment for his sin on the cross. In Christ the believer was
buried as a sinner. In Christ the believer rose again as a new
creature in Christ Jesus. Physical baptism pictures the result of
spiritual baptism into Christ…death, burial and resurrection. Only
baptism of a believer by immersion fully pictures this beautiful
spiritual truth. Every newborn babe should receive "believer’s
what constitutes a New
There is much confusion as to The following insights have greatly clarified
my understanding of the church.
The Church is an Assembly.
The Greek word
for church is ekklesia. It has the meaning of "a called out assembly." This
thought must always be present in our thinking when we consider "the
The Church as God Sees It and the Church as Man
Sees It. God sees "the church" as composed of every believer
from those first believers at Pentecost to the last believer of the
church age. That "the church" began at Pentecost is suggested by the
- The church was a "mystery which in other ages was not made
known unto the sons of man, as it is now revealed unto His holy
apostles and prophets by the Spirit" Ephesians 3:9.
- Jesus said in Matthew 16:18, "Upon this rock I will build
My church." The church was still future when He spoke.
- As we have seen from 1 Corinthians 12:13, the body of Christ
is formed by believers being baptized by the Holy Spirit into that
body. In Acts 1:5, Jesus identified Pentecost as the first time
believers would receive that baptism. "...You shall be
baptized with the Holy Ghost (Spirit) not many days from now."
- In Ephesians 4:8-11, we are informed that it was the risen,
ascended Christ who gave the gifts of apostles, prophets,
evangelists, pastors and teachers to the church.
God sees the church in its entirety of every
believer called out of the world. Man can only see the church in its
physical manifestation as a local church of believers called out
from the local community.
Symbols Of The Church
The church is spoken of as "the body of Christ",
"the bride of Christ", a "flock", "a new man", "God’s husbandry", "a
building" the "temple of God", "an habitation of God", the "house of
God" and "the pillar and ground of the truth." Every one of these
symbols can be thought of as the church as God sees it in its
entirety and the church as man sees it in its local manifestation.
We will consider one - the body of Christ.
- Christ is the head of the church. Believers make up the body.
Ephesians 1:22; 4:15; 5:23; Colossians 1:18, 2:10, 19.
- The Holy Spirit in sovereignty bestows spiritual gifts on the
members so they can minister to the body. 1 Corinth. 12:4-11.
- Even as the physical body provides the outward activities of
our mental, emotional and spiritual nature, even so the local
visible church is the physical body that provides the activities
of Christ, its head.
- Christ and His Church are Inseparable. Compare Acts 9:4 with
Galatians 1:13. "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?"
Christ Is The Founder and Builder of The Church
"…I will build my church." Matthew 16:18.
The Church is God’s Possession
The church is often spoken of as "the church of
Churches are spoken of as "the churches of
The Church Is The Pillar and Ground of the Truth.
1 Timothy 3:15. A pillar holds up a building’s structure. The ground
supports the foundation. Truth finds it foundation and support in
Churches are the Focus of Christ’s Concern.
In Revelation 1 - 3 the place where Christ is
pictured walking is among His churches.
The Scriptures Major On the Local Church.
"Church" appears 75 times and "churches" appears
37 times. Approximately 100 of 112 times the emphasis is on the
The Local Church Ministers to Believers Needs.
It is to members of local churches that we have the exhortations to
"love one another", be "kind one to another", be "tenderhearted
toward one another", "encourage one another", " bear ye one
another’s burden’s" etc. (28 in all.)
In the local church the new believer will receive
teaching, example, love, support, ministry and opportunity to serve
and be part of what Christ is doing through His body.
Copyright © 2002 Thomas E Berry
All Scriptures quoted from NKJV unless otherwise noted