Water-Baptism – BT1
The “One Baptism” of Ephesians 4:5 involves water-immersion
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Paul makes it clear in Ephesians 4:5 that there is only “one baptism.” First century Church writings show that they believed the initial anointing, filling to completion, or Spirit-baptism was expected to happen at the same time as a person’s water-baptism, making them one and the same. However, we see the “filling of the Holy Spirit” can occur to the same Christians over and over after their initial water-baptism (a), and that this “good grace-gift of the Holy Spirit” is simply received and thus limited only by our “routine asking” (b), so Paul strongly urges Christians to “be routinely filled by the means of the Spirit” (c) in order to be “filled with the fullness of God” (d). But all of God’s blessings have to start sometime, and that was at water-baptism! <Notes> a) Acts 4:31, 13:9, 13:52, b) Luke 11:13, cf. “good things” of Matthew 7:11, c) Ephesians 5:18, d) Ephesians 3:19.
However, poor teaching on the Spirit, even in their day and certainly since, had left and still does leave, many only hearing about water-baptism (a), though some find out about the Spirit, Spirit baptism, and grace-gifts much later. For example, in Acts 8:15, Christians “who had already received the gospel logos message” that is “the preached great news about the Kingdom of God and the name/authority of Jesus Christ” (b), who were already “water-baptized in the name/authority of the Lord Jesus,” were much later “proseuchomai conversationally-prayed for by Peter and John “that they might receive the Holy Spirit for HE had not yet fallen on any of them, having only been water-baptized in the name/authority of the Lord Jesus. Then they laid their hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit.” This wasn’t an invisible “deposit you just have to take by trusting-relying-faith at your conversion” that so many churches teach, especially since Simon, a previous sorcerer now converted, “saw that the Spirit was given . . . he offered them money . . . for this enabling-power also” (c). However, God is gracious because He will give Spirit-baptism to anybody who seeks it – and He will give it to you again and again, just as in the early Church! <Notes> a) if they even get this teaching, b) Acts 8:12, c) vv. 8:15-19.
In another case, Paul came across 7 disciples (followers of Jesus) in Ephesus in Acts 19:1-7, and what was the first thing out of his mouth? “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you had trusting-relying-faith?” Come on, when is the last time you heard someone ask you that when they found out you were a Christian? Only if you met a Pentecostal or a Charismatic Christian! Nowadays most Christians will ask: “What church do you go to?” As if that really mattered! But when the Ephesians said to Paul: “No, we haven’t heard of the Holy Spirit,” Paul immediately asked, “Then into what were you water-baptized?” Can’t you see that the early Christians directly connected “receiving the Holy Spirit” with water-baptism? Pretty obvious! But when Paul found out it was John’s water-baptism of repentance instead, he explained further “the ways of God” and “on hearing this, they were water-baptized in the name/authority of the Lord Jesus.” The Holy Spirit is where it’s at!
This sounds just like what happened right before this in Acts 18:24-28, where Apollos had just come to Ephesus, who “only knew the water-baptism of John” (a), but when two Christians “Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the Way of God more accurately.” It didn’t matter if he was “an eloquent man, competent in the [OT] scriptures” (b), nor that “he had been instructed in the Way of the Lord, or being fervent in spirit, speaking/preaching and teaching accurately the things concerning Jesus” (v. 18:25). Obviously water-baptism was part of the “Way of God, the Way of the Lord.” <Notes> a) v. 18:25, b) v. 18:24.
You can see the two situations are directly related because the disciples Paul met in Ephesus were just like Apollos, “having only heard of John’s water-baptism.” Therefore, clearly “the Way of God more accurately” is the “water-baptism in the name/authority of the Lord Jesus” in order “to receive the Holy Spirit when you had trusting-relying-faith.” And evidently, knowing that you have received the Holy Spirit was no guess work – it was obvious to even others!