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August 27, 2008

What is Water Baptism

Jubilee Family Church
What is Water Baptism? The word “baptism” comes from the Greek word “baptizo” which means to immerse or dip. To baptize something, then, means to completely submerge it in a liquid. In a biblical sense, to baptize a person in water means to completely submerge in water, then immediately raise that person up again.
Water baptism is simply an outward sign of God’s cleansing work in a person’s heart, and is meaningless without a spiritual baptism into Christ. Water baptism is an important first step of obedience for a new believer. To do so, helps new believers understand the spiritual truth that according to their faith, their old nature is dead in Christ and their new nature is alive in Christ.
Romans 6:6 For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be rendered powerless, that we should no longer be slaves to sin-7because anyone who has died has been freed from sin. (Salvation is simply the act of being spiritually baptized in Christ. As a result, we become freed from sin.)
Water baptism symbolically identifies us as new creations in Christ. By going down in the water, we illustrate that our old man is dead to sin and buried by faith in Christ. By being raised up out of the water, we show that our new man is raised by the Spirit, alive by faith in Christ. Jesus becomes Lord of our lives. We then commit to walk in righteousness, not through our old ways and fleshy habits but through our new life in Christ, by the power of the Holy Spirit indwelling us.
Romans 8:11 And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.

August 17, 2008

The Forgotten Harvest

by Johnny Howard
I can’t believe it’s almost September. Where has 2008 gone? I love the autumn season – the vibrant colors and the smell of change in the air. For the farmers, it’s a time to harvest the crops that they have labored for over the prior months and maybe even years.
It reminds me of one of my favorite stories in the Bible – the book of Ruth. I know we’ve all looked at the traditional story of Ruth being rescued by the Kinsman Redeemer Boaz - a type and shadow of Jesus coming and rescuing his bride. While that’s true, there’s another story in this book and another type and shadow of Jesus that I feel has been overlooked. That’s Naomi’s story. I believe in this story, Ruth is the type and shadow of Jesus.
It’s interesting, if you do a word study on the names, Naomi means “delightful.” The name Ruth means “friendship.” Naomi started out as a very delightful person. Then, things started going downhill. Her husband died, then both of her sons died and there she was left with two daughters-in-law that she probably didn’t even like. Orpah, one of the daughters-in-law left and went back to her family, but Ruth took a stand and stayed with Naomi. Why?
Proverbs 18:24A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
Remember t hat Ruth’s name means “Friendship.” She wasn’t placed in Naomi’s path by accident? She wasn’t just sticking with Naomi out of her selfish desire for a new life. She was a genuine friend who made a commitment to stick by Naomi no matter what.
Naomi changed her name to Mara, which means bitter. Naomi had allowed the weight of her circumstances change her into an angry, bitter person. (I know that I can relate.) Yet, here is the most interesting part of this story to me. Naomi chose wallow in her self-pity. She stayed in the house and closed the blinds and hid from the world. Meanwhile, Ruth, the friend that sticks close, was out gleaning in the fields on Naomi’s behalf.
Deuteronomy 31:8The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged."
Why is this so exciting to me? Because God saw a world that had become caught up in its own circumstances, bitter and angry that he sent a friend that would stick closer than a brother, would never leave nor forsake us – that even now is on His knees interceding on our behalf.
Which brings me to what you need to know from this story. Naomi had sown good seeds into good ground throughout her life – but just like the rest of us, she fell short and lost her way. Yet even though she walked away from the fields, God sent someone before her to work in the fields on her behalf – to prepare for her restoration. When the kinsman redeemer came, he did not just take Ruth. He restored Naomi as well. Just like when God rolled the stone away from the tomb. It was not just His only Son that He redeemed. It was so that we all could be saved.
Naomi still received her harvest.
I believe that there are people reading this who have sown good seeds into good ground and due to the trials of life have walked away. You need to realize, that God sent a friend that sticks closer than a brother. His name is Jesus. Just because you have forsaken your harvest, doesn’t mean that He has. Just because we have stumbled and fallen in our lives, doesn’t mean that God has forgotten the good things we have done, nor does it mean that He is finished using us for His glory. It’s time to get back up and receive all that is ours!
Jubilee Family Church