Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered outside the gate. Therefore, let us go forth to him outside the camp, bearing his reproach. For we have no continuing city here, but we seek one to come.
Select a tract to read:
by John David Clark, Sr.
“In those days, John the Baptizer appeared, preaching in the wilderness of Judea and saying, ‘Repent! The kingdom of heaven is at hand!’ This is what was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying: ‘A voice crying in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way of the Lord! Make His paths straight!”’ This John had clothing of camel hair, and a leather belt around his loins, and his food was locusts and wild honey. At that time, Jerusalem and all Judea, as well as the whole region around Jordan, were coming out to him and were being baptized in the Jordan by him, confessing their sins. But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming for his baptism, he told them, ‘Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Produce fruit worthy of repentance, and don’t think to say to yourselves, “We have Abraham as our father.” I tell you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones! Even now, the ax is laid at the root of the trees. Every tree, therefore, not bearing good fruit is cut down and cast into the fire! I indeed baptize you with water at repentance, but after me comes the one who is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to remove. He will baptize you with holy Spirit. His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will thoroughly cleanse what he has threshed and will gather his wheat into the storehouse, but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire!’” (Mt. 3:1–12).
Question #1: What makes a person a Baptist?
Answer: The word Baptist means “baptizer”, not “baptized”. John was called the Baptist because God sent him to baptize others. Those John baptized were not called Baptists.
Question #2: Who was John, according to the prophet Isaiah?
Answer: John said he was “a voice crying in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way of the Lord,’ as Isaiah the prophet said” (Mt. 3:3; cf. Isa. 40:3).
Question #3: What did God send John to preach to Israel?
Answer: God sent John to tell the Jews to repent and be baptized because the Messiah would soon appear who would baptize them with the holy Spirit instead of with water (Mt. 3:2; 10a, 11b).
Question #4: What was the purpose of John’s preaching (which included his baptism)?
Answer: John’s purpose was to introduce Christ to Israel (Jn. 1:31), to prepare the Jews to receive remission of their sins through the baptism Christ would give (Mk. 1:4; Lk. 3:3). Peter preached the same message to the Jews after Christ baptized him with the Spirit and remistted his sins: “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins, and you will receive the gift of the holy Ghost!” (Acts 2:38).
Question #5: Did John baptize everyone who came to him wanting to be baptized?
Answer: No, for “when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming for his baptism, he told them, ‘Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath?’” (Mt. 3:7).
Question #6: What did John require before he would agree to baptize someone?
Answer: John required repentance of those he baptized (Mt. 3:11a).
Question #7: If you had lived at John’s time, and a man came to you and said, “I asked John for his baptism, but he would not baptize me,” which of the following would you think?
Obviously, the only right answer is #4.
Now, let us ask the same question, but replace the name “John” with “Jesus”. The correct answer will again be obvious.
Question #8: If a man comes to you and says, “I asked Jesus for his baptism of the Spirit, but he did not baptize me,” which of the following do you think?
Again, the only right answer is #4.
Jesus is still alive, my dear Reader, and he is still baptizing with the holy Ghost every soul who believes and repents. May God give us the grace to take advantage of the precious opportunity to receive his baptism and live forever.