Monday, June 9, 2014

Jun | 09 | Not “Baaaah” but “Booooring”


Not “Baaaah” but “Booooring”

John 3:22-27
After these things Jesus and His disciples came into the land of Judea, and there He remained with them and baptized. Now John also was baptizing in Aenon near Salim, because there was much water there. And they came and were baptized. For John had not yet been thrown into prison. Then there arose a dispute between some of John's disciples and the Jews about purification. And they came to John and said to him, "Rabbi, He who was with you beyond the Jordan, to whom you have testified — behold, He is baptizing, and all are coming to Him!" John answered and said, "A man can receive nothing unless it has been given to him from heaven. NKJV

There are four Baptism’s in the New Testament: (1) The Baptism of John, which was a Baptism of repentance and preparation to receive the coming Kingdom. (2) The Baptism of The Holy Spirit, where believers are spiritually immersed into the body of Christ, the church. (3) The Baptism of the disciples of Christ in the name of the Father, the Son & the Holy Spirit, which is an outward physical testimony of the inward reality of this baptism of The Holy Spirit, and (4) The Baptism of Jesus. It is this 4th Water which I wish to consider today.

Now look, combining this verse with John 4:2 which says: “ (though Jesus Himself did not baptize, but His disciples)” we can see that when anyone Baptizes someone in another’s name, then it is though the person whose name is invoked is in fact doing the Baptism. I acknowledge that and the power of it! However, something wonderful is evident here, in that Jesus began the work of Christian Baptism, modelling the same before His disciples. After the calling of the twelve, He no doubt left off to them to continue the work, however, look now, Jesus first took the baton from John, and as John like an exhausted sprinter panted loud and stomped the ground in deceleration and foot stomping relief, placing his tired hands on each kidney pumping hip, retiring from the race track into to his waiting prison cell, Christ the final and fastest runner, took the water baton and ran hard for the finish line. After His victory on Golgotha, on the podium of the mount of transfiguration, this same baton of water baptism would be passed to His gazing up into heaven disciples, and a new and massive relay race, lasting some two thousand years at the moment and involving millions of runners, would begin. In this great race, the baton of water baptism would be passed on from each believing disciple to another, until He comes again. I want to suggest to you that as prayer, teaching, proclamation, discipline, discipleship and evangelism were modelled by Jesus for His disciples, so was water baptism if even for a short time. Yes, Jesus took the baton from John and baptized. Elsewhere.

Now, I say elsewhere because there is a problem and a principle here. First, the principle, which is of course, to start a new work ‘elsewhere’. Remove yourself from the background of the past and the old roots from whence ye came. Find somewhere else to spread your tent pegs. Second though, is the problem, and it’s called jealousy. That’s right, the followers of John become overtaken by a ministerial jealousy of Jesus. Why? Wll, despite Him baptizing elsewhere, His crowds were getting bigger than theirs, and so much so, that they and their ministerial gatherings were diminishing. "Rabbi, He who was with you beyond the Jordan, to whom you have testified — behold, He is baptizing, and all are coming to Him!" (John 3:26 NKJV) . This my friends, is a testimony of exasperation, desperation, astonishment and jealousy. Look now and beware for jealousy is always surrounded by such a skulk of foxes.

Kingdom competition is not new, especially in the market place of souls. I have seen much of it in the modern church and despite the denials and desire for blessing and increase of those ‘others’, the ‘marketing’ tactics, branding distinctives and protectionism of churches are all indicative of Kingdom jealousy. The answer to jealousy is two-fold: The knowledge of your own particular purpose and an honest joy in the fulfilled purpose of others. I wonder if the problem of jealous churches is that they lack a true knowledge of their own distinct purpose and that is because they have simply cloned themselves along the success lines of other churches rather than been birthed with a distinct uniqueness from heaven. The bland voice of the cloned and copying church is evident everywhere and mostly marked my boredom. The cry of the most sheep is not “Baaaah” but “Booooring.” Pastor, planter, local church. Be birthed from heaven, and bear the stork marks of your own uniqueness. This same admonition I can pass on to the individual Christian as well. Be yourself. Be your own heavenly voice.

Listen:- And from the throne proceeded lightnings, thunderings, and voices. Revelation 4:5NKJV

Pray: - Lord Jesus, help us to model what You have taught us. Father, help us to be and to rejoice in the unique distinctives of how You created us so that we might not be jealous of the increase of others even if it is the seeming cause of our own passing diminishment. Help us then O Lord, as individuals, churches and organizations to know and own our very own heaven sent purpose. Amen and let it be so.

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