‘As it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall PREPARE THY WAY BEFORE THEE. The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.’  (Mark 1:2-3)

Did you ever wonder why God sent John the Baptist before Jesus?  Here is my belief:  it was a pattern to be understood and continued.

How did John the Baptist prepare the way before Jesus?  What did John preach and do?

John did baptize in the wilderness, and PREACH THE BAPTISM OF REPENTANCE for the REMISSION OF SINS. And there went out unto him all the land of Judaea, and they of Jerusalem, and were all baptized of him in the river of Jordan, CONFESSING THEIR SINS.’  (Mark 1:4-5)

According to Mark 1:4, the remission of sins came after repentance, confession, and baptism by faith in the Messiah.

John prepared the hearts of the people for Jesus’ ministry.  What was John’s ministry?  To call the people to repent, confess their sins, and be baptized for the remission of sins, through faith in the coming Messiah.  John’s ministry was to bring the people to salvation.  Jesus’ primary ministry was to turn these converts into disciples.

Those who were baptized BEFORE Jesus’ death did not receive the Holy Spirit, because the Holy Spirit had not yet come.  Thus, FOR THOSE WHO WERE SAVED BEFORE JESUS’ DEATH, a separate impartation of the Holy Spirit was necessary.

‘And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John’s baptism. Then said Paul, JOHN VERILY BAPTIZED WITH THE BAPTISM OF REPENTANCE, SAYING UNTO THE PEOPLE, THAT THEY SHOULD BELIEVE ON HIM WHICH SHOULD COME AFTER HIM, that is, on Christ Jesus.

When they heard [this], they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid [his] hands upon them*, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.’  (Acts 19:3-6)

(*I do not believe this refers to the popular practice of ‘laying on of hands’, it simply means that when Paul laid his hands upon them TO BAPTIZE THEM in Jesus’ name, they received the Holy Spirit.)

Acts 2:37-39 confirms this salvation pattern has not changed.  But now we are baptized in JESUS’ NAME (because now we know who our Messiah is) and now we receive the Holy Spirit:

‘Now when they heard [this], they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men [and] brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said unto them, REPENT, and be BAPTIZED every one of you in the NAME OF JESUS CHRIST for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

FOR THE PROMISE IS UNTO YOU, AND TO YOUR CHILDREN, AND TO ALL THAT ARE AFAR OFF, [even] as many as the Lord our God shall call.’  (Acts 2:37-39)

Today, ALL who follow the salvation model outlined here, DO receive the Holy Spirit (not necessarily evidenced by speaking in tongues.)

‘Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts’  (2 Cor. 1:22)

The remission of sins came after repentance, confession, and baptism in Jesus’ name.  It did not come by professing BELIEF in Jesus Christ, saying a ‘Sinners’ Prayer’, and asking Him to come into one’s heart and be their personal savior.  Today’s gospel is NOT the same.  Do you see the difference?

repentance + confession + baptism in Jesus’ name
vs.
confession of belief + ‘Sinners’ Prayer’ + invite Jesus into one’s heart

After John came Jesus.  What was Jesus’ ministry?  Jesus built on, and surpassed, John’s ministry.  He called sinners to repentance, healed the sick, confirmed The Covenant, and paid the price for the sins of mankind, triumphing over Satan.  He also began by preaching repentance, but the bulk of His ministry was spent showing people how to properly follow God’s Commandments, out of a heart of love.

‘Master, which [is] the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment.  And the second [is] like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.’  (Jesus, Matthew 22:36-40)

 

‘A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.’  (John 13:34)

 

‘If ye love me, keep my commandments.’  (John 14:15)

 

‘If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.’  (John 15:10)

(Loving God doesn’t mean we will AUTOMATICALLY keep His Commandments.  But if we love God we will CHOOSE to keep His Commandments.)

I believe this sets the pattern for the true gospel:

Repentance, confession, and baptism in Jesus’ name.  Then continuing obedience, out of a heart of love.

(The reason people today aren’t receiving the Holy Spirit when they ‘get saved’ is because they are no longer following the Biblical model of repentance, confession, and baptism in Jesus’ name.  Not having the Holy Spirit is why they are not having victory over sin or understanding the Bible.)

We all need to be very careful that we are preaching the true, Biblical gospel.

‘But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any [man] preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.’ (Gal. 1:8-9)

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