Elder's Encouragement

March – 2018

“Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 2:38)

Again, this is the answer Peter gave to about three thousand people on the day of his first sermon. (Acts 2:14-37)  Last month we looked at what it means to repent. But Peter didn’t say repent only, he also said to be baptized.

Baptize is the English word for the transliterated Greek word baptizo. Here is a definition of the Greek word baptizo from a Greek dictionary:

1.to dip repeatedly, to immerse, to submerge (of vessels sunk)

2. to cleanse by dipping or submerging, to wash, to make clean with water, to wash one's self, bathe.

Repent and be baptized for the forgiveness of your sins, were probably not unfamiliar words to at least some of these people that day because John the “forerunner” had preached the same thing in the not too distant past. (Matthew 3:11, Mark 1:4, Luke 3:3)   But Peter added to John’s words “in the name of Jesus Christ” and “you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

Jesus’ name was not “Jesus Christ”. His name was “Jesus son of Joseph”, or “Jesus of Nazareth”. (John 1:45, John 18:5)  Christ is the Greek word for the Hebrew word Messiah or “The Anointed One”. (John 1:41)  So what Peter was telling these Jewish people was they had to believe Jesus was “The Anointed One” they had been waiting for, and they needed to be baptized proclaiming that he was. (Acts 19:1-5) That would not have been an easy decision to make. Persecution had already come against anyone proclaiming Jesus as Lord. (John 9:1-34) And persecution will still come to anyone proclaiming he is.

To all who are reading this, your sin of rejecting Jesus as “Christ” is what hung him on the cross. And those of you who continue in that rejection are in real trouble with God. “We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.” (2 Corinthians 5:22b)  “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 2:38)

Jack Meehan

Elder