Archive for the ‘Baptism’ Tag

The Trinity And Evangelism!

jesus relationship not religion

https://trinityandhumanity.files.wordpress.com/2015/02/15-2-1-the-trinity-and-evangelism-mark-1-14-15-tah.mp3

On this 4th Sunday after the Epiphany in the Christian Calendar (The Season Of the God Revealed in Jesus Christ), Pastor Timothy Brassell of  New Life Fellowship of Baltimore proclaims the Good News of Jesus sharing the Good News in Mark 1:14 – 15. It is followed up with a conversation about Evangelism from Dr. Baxter Kruger, William Paul Young (Author of The Shack), and Dr. Mike Feazell of Grace Communion International. The conversation is centered in the Light of the character of God: Father, Son and Spirit Himself and the implications of this discerned.

Specifically:

  • We discuss what evangelism is and what it is not.
  • We discuss how knowing God as Father, Son and Spirit should affect our approaches to sharing our faith.
  • We are reminded that The Father, Son and Spirit IS RELATIONSHIP and His dream and intent IS to draw humanity into His relationship so that it becomes as much ours as it is His!

Listen in and join the conversation!

photo compliments: the-trinity-group.net

Questions And Responses Regarding Baptism And Other Things!

baptism

 https://trinityandhumanity.files.wordpress.com/2015/02/15-1-25-questions-and-responses-regarding-baptism-and-other-things-matthew-3-13-17-tah.mp3

On this 3rd Sunday after the Epiphany in the Christian Calendar (The Season Of the God Revealed in Jesus Christ), Pastor Timothy Brassell of  New Life Fellowship of Baltimore proclaims the last message of this series on Jesus and His baptism.  Rehearse how God’s baptism in Jesus is the GOOD NEWS that we can identify ourselves with Jesus boldly in our baptism, knowing God is SO GOOD that in Free Grace He has come to meet us in our rebellion, in our rejection and in our ignorance, CLEANSING AND LOVING US and bringing us into His relationship.

Hear in this interactive message the answers to these specific questions and more!:

  • Why was God was Baptized?
  • Why should we be baptized if Jesus was baptized for us?
  • In what ways is baptism performed? Why is sprinkling done in some circles? Why is immersion done in others?
  • Who is to be baptized?
  • How many times should we be baptized?
  • Does one have to be ordained to baptize others?
  • Is being “Christened” and “Being baptized” the same thing?
  • What if I was baptized in the name of someone other than Jesus or the Father, Son and Spirit? Should I be baptized again?

Listen in on this interesting conversation, and maybe hear YOUR question about baptism answered out of Who Jesus is as the Gospel!

Why In The World Was God Baptized?! Part 2

baptism

https://trinityandhumanity.files.wordpress.com/2015/01/15-1-18-why-in-the-world-was-god-baptized-pt-2-matthew-3-13-17-tah.mp3

In this Season of Epiphany in the Christian Calendar, Pastor Timothy Brassell of  New Life Fellowship of Baltimore  continues with this Part 2 message in his GOOD NEWS Series entitled, “Why In The World Was God Baptized?!”  and answers with greater clarity the questions:

  • Why was God Baptized?
  • If Jesus was Baptized as my substitute, then why am I baptized too?
  • Do I receive the Holy Spirit only after being baptized?
  • Am I saved by baptism?
  • Can I be still be saved and receive the Spirit if I choose not to be Baptized?

Listen in and learn – SO THAT YOU CAN RECEIVE and SHARE GOD’S GOOD NEWS WITH OTHERS!

Why In The World Was God Baptized?!

baptism

https://trinityandhumanity.files.wordpress.com/2015/01/15-1-11-why-in-the-world-was-god-baptized-matthew-3-13-17-tah.mp3

Why was Jesus, the PERFECT SON OF GOD IN FLESH, baptized with John’s Baptism of Repentance? How could God in Jesus repent of his own sins when the scriptures clearly say Jesus lived as the God/Man without sin?

 In this season of Epiphany in the Christian Calendar, Pastor Timothy Brassell of  New Life Fellowship of Baltimore  points us to the answers to those questions, and more, in this GOOD NEWS message entitled, “Why In The World Was God Baptized?!”  Reading Matthew 3: 13-17, learn that the ONLY WAY to understand baptism is to begin with JESUS CHRIST!

Often-asked questions are asked, and answered, in the Light of God being Baptized in Jesus, like:

  • Is baptism primarily about your commitment to God, orrrr…is it possible that it is more about God’s commitment to you?
  • Is baptism primarily about you receiving Jesus into your life, orrrr… isn’t possible that it is more about Jesus receiving us into his love, life and relationship with his Father, the Holy Spirit, Humanity and all of creation?
  • Is baptism primarily about your own faltering faith and repentance, however good, orrrr…is it primarily about Jesus’ perfect faith and repentance on your behalf and in your place!

And, in the Light of these questions, if Jesus got baptized, Why do WE get Baptized?!

Understand your participation in Christ a little more clearly, especially since scriptures say that it was Jesus’ job (and NOT YOURS!) to FULFILL all righteousness!

Baptized into the Life of the Trinity

On this Feast Day of Epiphany we might pause to think about Jesus’ baptism.

Before the Son of God ever became a flesh and blood human being he had been forever baptized into the life and love of his Father and their Holy Spirit. The very nature of the Son of God is a baptized nature in the sense that he lives “in” – i.e., immersed in, baptized in – the Father and the Holy Spirit.

Baptism is the very nature of God’s Trinitarian life.

The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, do not just live “with” each other, they have always lived and had their being immersed into each others’ existence. This immersion does not mean the obliteration of their distinctive identities as unique persons any more than our immersion into the baptismal water means that we cease to be ourselves and become water. But this immersion does mean that they are each “soaking” in the others. The Son is soaked in the Father and the Father is soaked in the Son and they are both soaked in the Spirit, as he is soaked in them. Their lives are distinct but not separate, and they live in a state of being in which they are baptized (immersed) into each others’ existence.

When the Son became flesh and made his dwelling among us (John 1:14) he immersed himself into humanity and thus into our human nature.

He became so immersed in our humanity that Paul says the Son “became sin” (2 Cor. 5:21). This is what is so amazing about Jesus’ sinless life. Even though the Son of God was completely immersed, completely baptized, into our sinful nature – and saw his Father through our sinful, fallen eyes – he did not believe the lies that his human nature told him. Instead, he has trusted his Father while immersed in our nature and has undone the fall of Adam by never committing a single sin during this whole time that he has lived within our nature.

Let us consider what the Son’s baptism into our human nature means for our human nature.

One of the truths that the Father impressed upon Israel is that whenever God enters into a place that place becomes holy. When God appeared in the burning bush the bush did not lessen God’s goodness, instead God’s goodness made that place holy ground. When God’s presence entered into the tabernacle in the wilderness it made that tent a holy place.

At the most fundamental level, holiness is about the whole, healthy relationship of the Father, Son, and Spirit. When we say God is holy what we are really saying is that the Father, Son, and Spirit live their lives baptized into each other in such a way that they do nothing selfish, nothing hurtful to the others, and nothing that damages or destroys that relationship. Any time this relational holiness becomes grounded in human existence – whether in burning bushes or tabernacles – this holy relationship called the Trinity is not damaged, broken, or undone by its grounding in our world. Quite the opposite, in fact: it is the brokenness of our world that is undone and transformed by the holy relationship of the Trinity becoming present here.

This means that when the Son of God is baptized into our human nature, when the Son of God immerses himself into humanity by becoming flesh as the man Jesus Christ, it does not undo his existence in which he is immersed in the life of the Father and the Spirit. Even though the Son now lives as man in human nature he does not stop living as God in the divine nature.

What changes when the Son of God is baptized into our human nature is – our human nature!

By indwelling humanity as the man Jesus, the Son of God brings us into the immersion he has always experienced in the life of the Trinity. As he is baptized into our nature he also baptizes us into his nature. As he immerses himself in humanity, he also immerses humanity into the Trinity. His immersion in us changes us, baptizing us in the Spirit of his Father.

Happy Epiphany!

~ Jonathan Stepp

Mark 16:16

If humanity is adopted into the Triune Life through Jesus then what are we to make of scriptures such as Mark 16:16? It reads:

Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. ~ Mark 16:16, NIV

A good friend recently asked me about this verse. Here’s how I responded:

However we interpret scripture we can’t interpret it in a way that contradicts who Jesus is.

Jesus is the Word of God living in the flesh and sharing with us in our humanity (John 1:14). Therefore, he is the supreme revelation of who God is and who human beings are in relationship to God.

Romans 5:18 says that Adam brought sin to all people but Jesus has brought righteousness to all people. Colossians 1:20 says that Jesus has reconciled everyone to the Father.

Therefore, whatever Mark 16:16 means it cannot mean that we make ourselves righteous or reconcile ourselves to God by our own baptism or our own belief. Christ has made us righteous and Christ has reconciled us to the Father.

If Mark 16:16 means that we save ourselves by our own belief and our own baptism then why would we even need Jesus?

Either Jesus has saved us first and then we believe, or we save ourselves by our own belief and don’t need Jesus.

Obviously, Jesus has to be the savior. He is the one who has taken away the sins of the world (John 1:29) and made one new humanity in himself (Ephesians 2:15).

Because of Jesus the Father does not condemn anyone and does not hold anyone’s sins against them (Romans 5:9-10). Because of Jesus humanity has been adopted as the Father’s children (Ephesians 1:5).

So, if Jesus is the one who has saved and reconciled humanity then Mark 16:16 is a description to us of what happens when we believe this truth and what happens when we don’t believe it.

If we believe that humanity is reconciled and saved in Jesus then we will be baptized and we will begin to live as the children of the Father that we really are. On the other hand, if we don’t believe that Jesus is the savior of humanity then we will continue believing the lie that God is out to get us and we will continue feeling condemned.

Notice that Mark 16:16 does not say “believe and you will get saved” instead it says “believe and you will be saved.”

If someone said to a young man who was doing a bad job as a husband and father “you need to be a man” would that mean that he wasn’t male and needed to make himself into a male human being? Of course not. It would mean that he needs to act like what he already is – a man.

So, Mark 16:16 and other such verses aren’t telling us that we need to make ourselves into something that we’re not. They’re not saying “you aren’t saved but you can save yourself by your own belief and baptism.” Verses such as this are saying to us: “in Jesus, you are saved; so believe this truth about yourself, get baptized, and be the saved person that you really are. If you don’t believe that Jesus has saved you then you’re going to continue believing the lie that God condemns you.”

That’s the gospel, the good news for humanity. The good news is the message to all humanity that says:

Jesus has saved you, stop believing that God is out to get you and start believing the truth that your Father in heaven has adopted you as his child in Jesus and poured out his Holy Spirit on you.

~ Jonathan Stepp

Why Your Religion Isn’t Working

You’ve probably forgotten that Christianity is about God’s forgiveness, NOT your goodness!

And that is one of the reasons it can confidently be said that God is not a Christian, including Jesus (or Immanuel – “God with us” in human flesh!). And when I say God, I mean the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, as Gregory of Nazianzus has said, and Martin Davis reminds us on his blog.

Yes, to be a Christian is to be aware that you are not good, even after all of your confession, baptism, and good work like faithful attendance at a Gospel (Jesus) proclaiming Church! Don’t get me wrong – all of these things ARE GOOD because they are supposed to remind each of us that “there is none good, no not one”, EXCEPT Jesus Christ, AND that he shares His goodness with us EVEN IN OUR CURRENT BADNESS!!!)

These sacraments, or signs pointing to Jesus, are simply (and profoundly!) nothing less than the practical ways we participate in and experience the fact that ONLY God is Good, and apart from him we can do nothing!

Confession is to say “I confess that I am not good apart from Jesus! I am only good IN HIM! I admit that it is only through the grace of shared relationships, experiences, and the opening of my eyes to see Who he is and who I am in Him, that Jesus has brought me to realize that in me (that is, in my flesh) dwells no good thing!”

To be Baptized is to proclaim, “It was Jesus’ one baptism 2000 years ago that washed all of humanity clean and was a fitting human response to the Father in fallen flesh. ONLY in His literal humanity, and lack of sin in fallen flesh, was humanity adopted, made truly obedient, renewed, and lifted up into the Life of the Trinity! I participate with Him in His baptism, NOW, PUBLICLY displaying my belief in His One Baptism of, and for, everyone in Himself!”

Even to experience the good work of faithful attendance at a Gospel (Jesus!) proclaiming Church is to demonstrate and shout boldly to the Cosmos “We are All welcome at the Divine Party where sinners (every human being on the planet!) are celebrated as the Children the Father Always wanted and claimed in Jesus 2000 years ago! We are sinners because we have completely misunderstood the heart of the Father and thought He was all about rules! He’s not! We were mistaken! We can eat and celebrate at the party anyway because it’s not about our Goodness – It’s about His forgiveness!! Let’s PARRRR-TAYYYYYY!!!”

WARNING: If we keep forgetting this truth of the Gospel, we’ll keep making the same HUGE mistake that religious people of every generation make.

As Baxter Kruger states eloquently and hauntingly in his little booklet The Parable of the Dancing God, regarding religious people:

They invent their own terms. Instead of recognizing their own failure and nothingness, and then basking in the Father’s sheer grace and living in His lavish embrace, they create a religion. They create imaginary definitions, so that they can convince themselves that they are good, righteous and loving. And things get so twisted and wrongheaded, they cannot get to grips with a gracious Father who embraces and accepts the fallen ones, nor a Jesus who receives them freely and treats them as old friends. They never know the real God and life in His pleasure. Their self-righteousness keeps them from seeing and experiencing His grace. They never join in the divine party. How could they? They do not see themselves as desperate failures who stand helpless and powerless to change–they are doing religion. Inevitably, bitterness wells up within their heart when they see the free-ness of the Father’s embrace and His lavish feast. And their religious presence stifles the marvel of amazed sinners and turns the celebration into a dead and boring act of “religious service” to God, which is lifeless and vacuous of glory. (pp. 25-26)

Yikes! That’s exactly what’s happened, and why our religion isn’t working! Help us Holy Spirit, cause we, our kids, our grandchildren, and our single mothers and fathers REALLY want to “PARRRR-TAYYYYYY!!!” Ha-Ha!

~ Timothy Brassell

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