Speaker: Vasko Belovski
This morning’s message is entitled the Great Commission. But before we begin, I would kindly invite you to kneel where possible so that we can petition the Lord in prayer and ask him to be here with us this morning. Dear Lord and Heavenly Father, we are so thankful, Lord, that we can still come by your throne of grace and petition you. Father, we pray in us, first and foremost, to forgive us of our sins, cleanse us of all iniquity and look at us through Christ. Lord, give us the strength to continue walking with you, and uplifting you in this perishing world, I pray in us now that you’ll be with me in a special way. I pray and asked that you touch my mind that you lead my lips so that I can present that which is revealed in thy word. Please help us to put everything aside to open our minds in our hearts, and to allow the Spirit to guide us and lead us on through righteousness and understanding. We’re thankful for all that you have done for us. And we pray and ask all of this in the name of your beloved Son, Jesus Christ, amen. This morning, we’re going to focus and see whether the permission that Jesus Christ gave to us with respect to baptism. And the formula that He instituted in the Bible is something that God expects of his disciples and followers to practice and follow. That’s the main focus that we’re going to look at. We’re going to subcategorize the message into several parts, we’re going to look at history, we’re going to look at the Bible, we’re going to look at the writings of Ellen White. And last but not least, we’re going to bring that all together and see what it is that the church have these last days, which was established in the time of Ellen White in the pioneers practice with respect to this commission. I would welcome you to turn with me to John chapter 3. And we’re going to examine a few very popular verses that I’m sure all of us are familiar with. And there’s a conversation here going on between Christ and Nicodemus. And Christ is trying to present the Nicodemus something very important, something that relates to baptism. So please turn with me to john chapter three, and then we’re going to read verses three, through five. And he says there, Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God, and hear Christ gives a prerequisite with respect to the kingdom of God, unless he says, a man is born again. He cannot see the kingdom of God. And now Jesus is going to go on and elaborate on what this new birth deals with. And he continues. Actually, in verse four, Nicodemus responds to him and says, Nicodemus said unto him, How can a man be born when he’s old? He’s trying to understand what Jesus is trying to present to him here? Can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb and be born? And notice what Jesus answers he says, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born of water, and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. You see, Jesus sub categorizes this entrance into the Kingdom into two different stages. Stage number one was one that be born of water. And stage number two, which follows right after was to be born of the Spirit. So what is this birth from water that he’s trying to talk about here and present to Nicodemus into those that are listening, listening around him. He’s speaking specifically with respect to baptism. You see, baptism is what separates us from the world. And brings us into the kingdom step number one, and that baptism would be followed by something that Jesus calls a birth from the spirit. You see, unless both of these take place. No one can, according to Christ in these verses, see or enter into the kingdom of heaven. And this presents to us the importance of baptism. Baptism is essential. As I mentioned earlier, it is how we come into the church of God. Notice what we find in the testimonies with respect to baptism, in particular in the importance of it. She says, Christ has made baptism the sign of entrance to his spiritual kingdom. Before man can find a home in the church, before passing the threshold of God’s spiritual kingdom. He’s to receive the impress of the Divine Name, the Lord, our righteousness. Is it important how we baptize if baptism is our entrance into the church of God? This is the question that I want us to explore this morning. There’s so much that can be said about baptism that it’s not going to take us. And it’s going to take us a long time. And this is not the focus this morning because understanding the importance of baptism, understanding that one is to die to self, to die to the world so that they can be brought from the water. A newness of life is essential to our spiritual walk. But what I want us to explore this morning is the passage or the commission that Jesus Christ gave to his disciples with respect to baptism, and understand and see whether we are to follow today. I want to heed to these words. Are we to take them and apply them to the church today? Or is it something that potentially might not even be part of the Bible, as some might say? So this is what I want us to focus on. And the passage that is in question here this morning is found in Matthew 28 chapter and verse 19. This is a very popular passage that all of us, I am sure are familiar with. So what do we see in Matthew 28:19? What is it the Jesus Christ told His disciples in those verses, so please turn with me to Matthew 28:19. And let us read the verse. So we can see it in depth in what it says. Now even start from verse 18, just so that we can see the context. And Jesus came and spake unto them saying, All power is given unto me in heaven, and in earth, go either for who is Jesus speaking here? He’s speaking to his disciples to those that are to go out into the world, and to build his church goal. He says, He, therefore, and teach all nations. And I want to take a quick pause right here, because this is essential for us to understand. Before baptism takes place, something else is to cure. And what is it, Jesus tells his disciples to go and teach all nations, the things that he has shared with them. It is only by understanding the mission of the church, the teachings of the church, that one can come and partake of baptism. This is the first step that Jesus outlines here in this verse, but he continues, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. And then he ends the thought with teaching them to observe all things, whatsoever I have commanded you, and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Jesus here gives a commission to His disciples, and a promise that follows this commission. So what we’re going to do right now is explore some historical background with respect to this passage in the Bible. And we’re going to do so because there are different notions in the Christian world today. For example, there is a notion that this condition was not to be found in any records prior to the third century. That is a notion that we see being presented. There are other notions that stay that you know what actually it was not the third century was the second century, we don’t see any record prior to the second century of this commission being part of the church. And the claim that has been made by different historians, and even Christians, as I mentioned, this is not something that’s so much part of the Seventh-day Adventist church, this is something that is part of the Christian world, and has been a confrontation between different Christians for centuries. So it’s do we find historical record of this passage anywhere prior to the third century, that is what I want us to explore. And the first statement that I’m going to read to you is found in Justin martyrs first apology. And it says there, for in the name of the Father, and the Lord of the Universe, and of our Savior, Jesus Christ, and of the Holy Spirit, then receive the washing with water. Now, this statement in particular, is dated between 147 and 161. A D. It is a historical record of the commission that we see in Matthew 2819 sound prior to the third century. And this is the focus that I want to bring out here. But that is not the only statement that we found a historical record of. There’s even an earlier account of a Christian treatise that was written, the dating goes back to anywhere between 65-80 A.D. After Christ. And in this Christian treatise that is called the didache, it states but concerning baptism, thus baptized he having first recited all these precepts baptize in the name of the Father and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit in running water. And again, what I tried to bring out here is the fact that the verse, Matthew 28:19, the statement that we find there is found through historical records prior to the third century. There’s something very interesting with respect to history that I want to share. And, for example, I come from the country of Bulgaria. And most of you know that, and I was there in my early years, and I had to take local history. So when I studied history from the Bulgarian perspective, and then went on to talk about other individuals who also live in that region, but are not necessarily Bulgarians, we border with different countries all around this, and have a conversation with an individual that comes from another part of the world, you might see that what I was taught in school does not necessarily line up exactly as what they had been taught in school. You can go into internet today, and you can take any subject, you pick any subject of interest related to history, and you’re going to find different opinions by different scholars, different historians, and so on and so forth. For example, we are all here living in Canada, and I had the opportunity to come to Canada fairly young. And I remember grade 10. History, Canadian history being taught to me in a Canadian school. And according to the teachings that I gathered from that grade 10 history class, I was left with the impression that it was because of Canada, that World War II was ended. Now I had a lot of Russians in my class. And guess what they said to that? They said, No, no, no, no, no. World War Two was not necessarily ended because of you guys. Maybe Yes,
you did play a role. You helped. But World War II was ended because of us. It was Russia who played a major role in the end of World War Two. But it doesn’t end there. You can go and you talk to an American, for example, and an American will tell you what? He will say no, no, you guys both got it all wrong. If it wasn’t for the American army, World War II would have never ended. So I am using this simple illustration just to demonstrate one fact. History is not always necessarily in accordance with everyone’s opinion. You can go in the internet, and you can pick any subject. And I guarantee you that you could find different opinion upon that subject. So when we study things from history, it is important to put all the perspectives together in order to form our final conclusion.
Now, when there’s something even more important than that, is the fact that we have even a greater historian who can lead us to a proper understanding of history. Who would you say is the greatest historian that will lead us to a proper understanding of history? Who was the Bible inspired by God and Christ? Why do I say that? When we open the Bible, we see something that is called prophecy in right? And isn’t prophecy simply history told in advance. It is. So we know that Christ is able to solidify everything with respect to history. And by trusting in Him and depending upon Him, we can have a proper understanding of history. This way, we don’t have to rely on what one source in the world says, or another source in the world says, but we can bring everything together, use the Bible, use inspiration, and come to a proper conclusion with respect to which version of history if you will, we are to accept or not. With that thought in mind, I want us to turn now to the Spirit of Prophecy. And I turn to the Spirit of Prophecy, because we are told that the Spirit of Prophecy, according to the book of Revelation is what is the testimony of Jesus Christ. So Jesus testifies to us about everything that we need to know in these last days. And I firmly believe and it is not just I who believe this and we’re going to go see it now through the various quotes that we’re going to examine that even this question with respect to this commission, has been given a proper answer inspired by Christ. So what do we find in the testimonies with respect to Matthew 28:19? Is this something that testimonies endorse? Is this something that the Spirit of Prophecy through the inspired writings of Ellen White, brought into the church and gave it understanding. The first quote that we have here is found in Signs of the Times, September 20, 1899. And you can see an actual digital copy of this periodical. And I purposefully bring that out because someone might come and say, Well, this statement is actually not inspired, because it has been changed over the years. But notice what she says here, in this particular statement, she says, quoting Matthew 28:19, all power is given unto me in heaven and in earth, go therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you. And lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. And please pay attention to the words that she uses here. Just before he left them, Christ gave his disciples this promise of the Holy Spirit. And while the words were upon his lips, he ascended. So what are we told here in this statement, that these words, the words that we quoted from Matthew 28:19 were upon the lips of Jesus Christ, just prior to him ascending. I mentioned earlier that there’s has been a controversy over this subject for centuries. In fact, you can do your own homework, and you can go online and search for a group of believers called Oneness Pentecostals. Okay. Oneness Pentecostals, their understanding of God is, well, they claim that it’s not a Trinitarian understanding, but when you when you look into it, you will see that it’s ultimately a Trinitarian understanding, but their understanding of God is called modalism. So in other words, God presents himself in three different modes at different times. So God presented himself as the Father in the Old Testament, then that same very God presents himself as Jesus Christ in the New Testament. And after Christ ascends into heaven, that same very God presents himself by the Holy Spirit. And thus, that is the three different modes through which God reveals himself to humanity. Now, if you talk to a Trinitarian, he will tell you that this has nothing to do with trinitarianism. In fact, trinitarians call this a deadly heresy. And because of the idea of modalism, these Oneness Pentecostals, that group of believers have completely rejected Matthew 28:19. Why have they rejected Matthew 28:19, because they have associated Matthew 28:19, with the Trinity doctrine that they’re so heavily opposed or against. And as I mentioned, this has been going on for centuries, people have been going back and forth. You have trinitarians making the claim that Matthew 28:19 presents in Trinity to the world and that it is the proof that we have one God in three persons. And then you have Oneness Pentecostals, on the other hand, who make the exact opposite claim. We are not going to follow the counsel that has been given in Matthew 28:19 because we see a different understanding in the Bible with respect to baptism, and the formula for baptism in the book of Acts. This is the controversy that has been going on in the Christian world. And you can date that even to the earliest centuries. So what is important for us to do now is to properly understand what Matthew 28:19 says and does not say. Does Matthew 28:19 say that there is one God in three persons and that one God in three persons is God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit? I think the answer to that question is very clear. No, Matthew 28:19 does not teach that. So what is it that Matthew 28:19 actually teaches? And again, to answer that question, I don’t want to give my opinion, but I want to resort to what I consider a proper biblical understanding of Matthew 28:19, inspired by Christ Himself. This statement was written on July 1, 1897, and it says the following thing. Again, we’re dealing here with that same very verse. before he left them Christ gave his followers a positive promise that after his ascension He would send them Who? The Holy Spirit. And now she goes on to quote the verse and give an explanation of what the verse and the wording using the verse really mean? Go he, therefore he said, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father. Now, who is the father according to Sister White? A personal God. A three person God? No, a personal, singular, singular God, and of the Son. Who is the son? A personal Prince and Savior. And of the Holy Ghost. Now, does she say a personal third individual? No, it’s no longer to be found. And of the Holy Ghost, sent from heaven, to represent Christ, teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you. And lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. You see, the statement that she gives here, can be clearly found in the Bible. And I want us to open to Ephesians 4:4-6. Because what we see in Matthew 28:19, it is just simply a repetition of what we see here, in Ephesians chapter four. I think all of us here are in agreement that there’s a personal God, that we have a personal Savior, who is the only begotten Son of God, and that God has sent His Spirit so that that spirit can live in our hearts, and guide us. And this is all that we find in that passage. And notice here in Ephesians 4:4-6, what we are told it says, There is one body, what is this body here, a representation of what body is Paul speaking about? He’s talking about his church. There’s one body, and one spirit, even as you’re calling one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, how many gods in persons of God, one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all and in you all? Do we find the father in this passage that is part of that one body? Of course we do? Do we find his son Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior in this passage here that is part of that one body? Of course we do, do we find the Holy Spirit in this passage that is part of the body, one spirit, the spirit that is being referred to is that holy spirit that lives in us the Spirit of the Father and of the Son. So the fact that a verse in the Bible references the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, in no way does it indicate that we have one God in three persons. And that’s what we need to understand it is very important for us to comprehend that, because that will prevent us from going on to extremes and eliminating certain ideas that are clearly presented in the Bible. And as I mentioned earlier, I think all of us here would agree that there’s a father, there’s a son, and there’s the Holy Spirit. In fact, Ellen White calls this a heavenly trio. She doesn’t call it a trinity God. Never has never will. She has never called God three persons. Never has never will, because God is a personal God. So that opens the door for some reconciliation that we need to do with the Bible a little bit right now. And that will take us into the book of Acts, because there are certain statements that if they’re not brought together with other statements in the Bible, might present ideas that we think do not line up, for example, with Matthew 28:19, because this is what we’re dealing with here. The question that is usually raised is why is it that if Jesus Christ gave a clear commission of how to baptize and what formula to use with respect to baptism, why do we see in the book of Acts, his disciples at a first glance, maybe not necessarily following that commission? I will just reference three other verses that are usually brought out in the book of Acts. And the first instance we seen Acts 2:38, and we find the following statement. 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 he shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. Remember what Jesus told Nicodemus, you get baptized of what? Of water, and then whats the next step after you go through the water baptism? You’re brought into a newness of life, and being born from above. From the Spirit. And this is what is being represented here, once more. The next verse that we find is found in Acts 10:48. And there we read, and he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord, then pray they him to tarry certain days. The third one is found in Acts 19:5, and it says, when they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Now, I want to point out a few things to begin with. But notice how the formula is not exactly the same in these three verses Have you paid attention. First, he says, be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, then he says, baptize in the name of the Lord. And then the third account says, be baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Now, the book of Acts was written by Luke and Luke was a doctor. And he had a very particular way of writing. So what is it? Why do we see these variations among these three verses? Could it be that our conclusion that what we see in the book of Acts is not necessarily an example of a formula that was to be followed, but that the name of the Lord might mean something else that we see here exemplified? Find an answer to this question, I want us to go to Acts chapter four, we’re going to stay with the same writer. Look here is going to show us or demonstrate to us what it means. Again, as I mentioned, we’re going to stay with Luke, we’re going to stay with the book of Acts. And here we’re going to go to Acts chapter four, and they’re read verses 7-10. And he says, and and when they had set them in the midst, they asked by what power, or by what name, have ye done this? And we here get a clear definition of what the word name, according to the Bible, according to the book of Acts, could also mean. What did he say, by what power? Or what name? So he gives us a definition for the word name, name means power. He continues, then Peter field with the Holy Ghost said unto them, he rulers of the people and elders of Israel, if we this day, be examined of the good deed done, to the impotent men, by what means he is made whole. Be it known unto all and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucify whom God raised from the dead, even by him, that this men stand here before you whole. The Jews asked by what power? Or in what name? Have you done this? That was the conversation that was going on? And what do we see here? Peter answers and says that it was in the name of Jesus, that they had healed that person. So what does it mean that that person was healed in the name of Jesus? In other words, in the name of Jesus means that it is by the power and authority found in Christ. We can find a confirmation of this many more places in the New Testament, people were healed. In the name of Jesus, the gospel was preached in the name of Jesus, people were baptized in the name of Jesus, everything that the disciples did, was in the name of Jesus. Why? Because it was Jesus who gave them power and authority to go on and do what they wanted to do. So I would beg to propose here that when we see these baptisms done in the book of Acts, they’re not presenting a formula, but rather teaching us as to who gave the authority to those who accomplished those Baptists. Let me further that a little bit, the previous verses, and I’ll just go back to the previous verses that we read here with respect to baptism, if we read them carefully, and think about the following thought, do we see someone being here in the water getting baptized, according to these verses? No, no one is being in the water. And nobody is there with that individual who is about to be baptized, given the formula just before they were submerged underwater. The verses are simply telling us that the apostles baptized in the authority of Christ, whoever it was, that was baptized. So as I mentioned earlier, the the word name or power and authority is found out several other places throughout the New Testament. He was not just Luke who follows that ideology, we see it in the writings of Paul, for example, once we leave the book of Acts, as you can see, I’ve given the example of Acts 3:6. Acts 16:18. But notice what we see in 1 Corinthians 6:11 for example, and such were some of you, but er washed, but er sanctified, but you’re justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the spirit of our God, we see the same thought, being presented again in 2 Thessalonians 3:6. Now we commend you brethren in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you withdraw yourself from every brother, and walk it disorderly, sorry, that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us. As I mentioned, the entire New Testament, once Jesus left and ascended into heaven, his followers and disciples did everything under his power, and authority. And this is what I’m trying to present with respect to the book of Acts when we look at baptism. This is what the Bible tries to demonstrate to us, not necessarily that there’s a particular formula that was followed, which is different than what we see from Matthew 28:19. But rather, to confirm the fact that all these baptisms were done just like everything else in the Bible, under the authority and power of Christ. Now to confirm all of these thoughts, so that you don’t think that this is something that I believe something that I have put up. Again, I want us to go and look at confirmations that are found by what I consider the inspired writings of Ellen White. The first statement that we find fine is actually found in spirit of prophecy, volume three, this is a book, this is not a compilation. This is her thought with respect to what we have been discussing thus far. So here she is, I’m actually going to go through about three paragraphs that would put the picture together and help us to understand something with respect to what we have been talking about. She begins on his arrival at Ephesus Paul found 12 brethren who like Apollo’s had been disciples of John the baptist, and like him had gained an imperfect knowledge of the life and mission of Christ. When asked by Paul, if they received the Holy Ghost, they answered, we have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost. How many of us here believe that there’s something called the Holy Spirit? All of us do. Paul inquired, unto what then were ye baptized, he’s beginning to question them now with respect to baptism. I mean, you claim to be baptized, and yet you have no understanding of the Holy Spirit. How is that possible? And notice what they say unto John’s baptism. The apostles then proceeded to set before them the great truths, which are the foundation of the Christian hope.
Do you notice what the apostles did? They went on to what do what said before them the great truths with our foundation of the Christian hope. We have to teach our nations before we baptize them. The statement continues, he told him of the life of Christ on earth. And if he’s cruel and shameful death, he told them how the Lord of life had broken the bearers of the tomb and reason triumphant over death. He repeated the Savior’s commission to His disciples. And now Matthew 28, is quoted, all power is given to me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. This is what Paul is telling these 12 brethren, when he met them, what takes place, then, they were then baptized in the name of Jesus. And she’s quoting exactly what we see of this account in the book of Acts. And as Paul laid his hands upon them, they received also the baptism of the Holy Spirit, by which they were enabled to speak the languages of other nations and to prophesy. You see how both verses don’t have to, or both accounts of Matthew 28:19. And what we see in the book of Acts are not contradictory to each other, but rather, they have to come in harmony in a proper way of understanding them, so that we do not ultimately rebel against what God has given us as far as a commission to do for these last days. Thus, these men were qualified to act as missionaries in the important field of emphasis and its vicinity, and also from this center to spread the gospel of Christ in Asia Minor.
You see brothers and sisters, that’s what I’m trying to present you this morning. We are to bring the whole Bible into harmony together. And if at one point or another, and that has happened to me many times, we cannot clearly see at a particular time, or we we are at a contradiction at a particular time in our Christian journey, we’re to continue digging deeper and deeper. As we allow these things to come in line with each other. We’re going to receive strength from the Lord because ultimately, we’re going to continue to follow His guidance. In the next statement also found in the spirit of prophecy, this time in Volume Two, notice what we’re told the prejudice of the Jews was a Rouse because the disciples of Jesus did not use the exact words of john in the rite of baptism. And this is a very powerful statement, because here, we’re given a comparison between how John baptized John the baptist, and how who the disciples of Jesus Christ baptized, john baptized and to repentance. But the disciples of Jesus on profession of faith, baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And this is why I said that history should always be considered specifically from that which the Lord has revealed to us. things need to line up. And the historical account here in this statement tells us that the disciples, those who went on, and who did all these baptisms, in the book of Acts, baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Why, because that was the commission that was the formula that Christ had given them to follow and to practice. The teachings of john were in perfect harmony with those of Jesus, yet his disciples became jealous, for fear, his influence was diminishing, the dispute arose between them in regard to the form of words proper to use at baptism. And this is why I said that this so called controversy has been roaring around for centuries, even in the time of Christ. Even in the time of the disciples, there were disputes as to what formula what particular words we are to use, when we baptize individuals. It is just repetition of the same idea, or disputes as arose between them and the disciples of Jesus, in regard to the form of words, properties of baptism, and finally, as to the right of the ladder, to baptize at all. This is not something new. As I mentioned to you, there are many Christians in the Christian world, who do not follow the commission of Jesus Christ. Even in the time of the disciples, there was a what we call a contradiction with respect to what formula are we to have, at the moment when a person is to be baptized in the water. Lastly, I’m going to go over a few quotes from the pioneers. I’m going to go over these quotes, because they simply will reiterate what we have been seeing thus far. The first quote is by James White, and it was written in 1870. And here’s what James White had to say upon the subject. The high commission relates to the gospel, the faith, the baptism to salvation and the spiritual gifts. You see the how important the commission is that Jesus Christ gave. It relates to everything in our Christian journey, not just the baptism, everything hinges upon the commission that Christ gave to his disciples. The gospel was to be preached as long as there were sinners to hear it. Faith is equally requisite throughout the Christian age. Baptism is a perpetual ordinance in the church, and the ministers of the 19th century baptizing the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, because the original commission requires it. What was James White’s opinion upon that subject? We need to follow the commission that Christ has given us. He goes on the terms of salvation stated in this commission, were to be held out how long as long as sinners might be saved. So is this something that needs to change? Not according to what we see here presented in this statement. I think all of you are familiar with James White’s views on the Trinity. James White’s views and his understanding of God and His Son, and the Holy Spirit. And yet Matthew 28:19 was not something that should be in any way, a contradiction. The next statement is by Uriah Smith. And here he says, We’re baptized in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. And notice what he says. Pay close attention. Tell me if these words here that you see from your Uriah Smith sound familiar. By this, we express our belief in the existence of what? The one true God, the mediation of his son, and the influence of the Holy Spirit. Why? Because the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, play a role in the plan of salvation. We just need to understand properly what their position is and who they are. The next statement is by Joseph Waggoner. Now this man went to such lengths that he wrote an entire book upon this subject. It’s called thoughts on baptism. He had an entire book mostly dedicated to dealing with this particular subject. And notice what his commentary is, because it is said in Acts 2:38, 8:16, and 19:5, that they were baptized in the name of Jesus, some have inferred that the apostles baptized in the name of Christ only but this conclusion is very lame. To discover the fallacy of this idea it will only be necessary to examine the terms of the commission under which they acted. Number one, the Savior told him to teach all nations and to baptize them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Did we not see when we were going through these verses in the book of Acts that there was teaching going on just prior to baptism? Of course we did. It was evident in the verses that we read. He continues number two, he commanded them to tarry at Jerusalem until they were endured with power from on high. They were neither to preach, nor to baptize until the Holy Ghost came upon them. The promised power came upon them on the day of Pentecost, and on that day was preached the first sermon after the Great Commission was given. You see how he’s tying everything with the Great Commission here that Christ gave to his disciples just before he left. And then number four, if they and this is what I really want us to focus on because this is one of the important factors as to why we are even discussing this subject this morning. If they did not baptize in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, they did not obey their Lord’s commandment. They did not fulfill the commission under which they acted, and by which alone they had authority to baptize. We trust none will be willing to risk such a conclusion as this. And this is what everything boils down to. It is okay for us to hold on to different opinions. And at times we do. But when certain things come to us, we are to allow the Spirit to guide our mind so that we can come to proper conclusions. And that’s what I want from all of us. To just meditate upon these things and ask the Lord to lead us to proper conclusions on them. But aside from that, I really want to focus on these last thoughts that Joseph Waggoner said. Think about it this way. If Jesus tells us to do something, and yet we go out and we do not practice what he has told us, what would you call that? Would you not call that rebellion? I would. And Christ wants us to put everything aside. All rebellion aside. All preconceived ideas. And I have many of those I can assure you.
But I thank the Lord because he’s been merciful. And he’s been working. I can see him working worldwide, with people, bringing people closer and closer back to what I would call a platform of truth that was built through the inspiration of Jesus Christ. And I’m not singling out Ellen White here. No brothers and sisters, the Lord worked with his people, because the Lord said in the book of Revelation, chapter 12, that there will come a time when he’s going to establish a movement that is going to finish the work and be victorious in the mark of the beast crisis. And that movement began over 170 years ago, and what he wants from us today, to be of one accord with that movement. Why? Because only then can we show a united front, love for one another. Together with what we would call biblical truth. The Lord wants to see his people pressing together. Every little aspect of our faith is based upon everything that we understand in the Bible.
So why does it matter? Why does it matter if I baptize according to Matthew 28:19? Or if I baptize in the name of Jesus only let’s say. Well, Joseph Waggoner gave one of the possible answers here. It matters because if you do not follow the commission of Christ, you’re giving an example of rebellion. If we do not follow the commission of Christ, then we’re creating doubt in the minds of the people. Why are we creating doubts in their minds? Because if we are to exclude certain passages from the Scripture, yes, it might be one but we’re training the mind to doubt the different verses that God has left for us. You take one verse out, well, Satan would have. So it would be so much easier for him to come and lead you to take a second verse out. And we can bring in the Spirit of Prophecy into this. You take a Spirit of Prophecy quotes out, well, then you come to the position of basing your faith not upon what the Bible has to say, not about what the spirit of prophecy has to say, but upon what you think it should say. And you give yourself the ability to eliminate and pick and choose that which you believe in the Bible. And I see that over and over again. And I’m going to bring up a quick example. Just before we finished with a few quotes from the Spirit of Prophecy. Lately, a brother, who is part of the non Trinitarian movement has questioned the wording that is used in the book of James. According to his opinion, James had not used the proper words, when explaining the relationship between justification and faith. You see where you get when you start tampering with ideas that do not necessarily fit with our understanding of different scripture? What the Lord wants is to bring everything together so it does not contradict, rather than eliminate things that we might think they contradict. And furthermore, there’s a warning given to us in the book of Revelation. And I don’t think many people realize that warning. But we’ve been told that if we take from the Word of God, or if we add to the Word of God what is going to take place? Judgment will fall upon us. I don’t want to be the person upon whom judgment falls because I went on, to make a decision to eliminate or to add verses on to the Bible. And it is given us for a reason. Were to embrace the Word of God and leave everything else with him. If I go on and say this verse, and it doesn’t have to be Matthew 28:19, I can pick a verse in the Bible that doesn’t fit in with the way I see things. And I say, well, this verse should not be in the Bible, am I not taking away from the Word of God, you see how important even these little things are, to our salvation.
But now, I want to go ahead and give a few spiritual reasons with respect to why Matthew 28:19 is so important. And they’re found in the Spirit of Prophecy and I will begin with a quote from Sixth Volume of the Testimonies. And there it says, baptism is a most solemn renunciation of the world. Those who are baptized how? in the three fold name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, at the very entrance of their Christian life, declare publicly that they have forsaken the service of Satan, and have become members of the royal family, children of the heavenly King. Don’t we all want that? Don’t we all want to separate from the world? They have obeyed the command. They have followed and obeyed the words of Christ. This is what Jesus wants from us today. To obey Him. To let him lead us. Come out from among them, and be separate, and touch not the unclean thing. And to them is fulfilled the promise, I will receive you and will be a father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord amen.
I want that promise to be part of my spiritual walk. And this is why I see it as important when it comes to baptism. That I am to follow the command that Christ has given me as a true and honest disciple of his.
In the next statement, are found in the Review and Herald we’re told. The Lord wants every one of us to educate himself for God. We’re all in a different stage in our spiritual walk. There are things for us to learn and unlearn. This is how we grow. And this is how we come closer to Christ and ultimately closer to one another. At baptism, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, what takes place? We were set apart. How many of you want to be set apart for service for the Lord here this morning? To engage in the very work that Christ came to the world to do. This is why I find Matthew 28:19 as important. It is not important to me because someone else holds a different opinion. It is important to me because I see the importance of it clearly exemplified in the book of Acts, and hear in these quotes that we’re reading from the Spirit of Prophecy.
Last but not least Acts of the Apostles. You know, this book was specifically written for our admonition. It gives us the story of the early church and what things took place. It says there, the disciples were to carry their work forward, in Christ’s name, you see this. And again she’s going to bring the two sets of scriptures together. Did the disciples go on in the book of Acts and, and do all of their work in the name of Jesus? Of course they did. They healed, they baptized, everything that they did, was carried forward in Christ’s name. And this is what acts is, the book of Acts is talking about when it mentions in the name of Jesus, so many different times. Their every word and act was the fasten attention on his name. As possessing that vital power by which sinners may be saved. Their faith was to center in Him who is the source of mercy and power. In his name, they were to present their petitions to the Father, and they would receive answer. And now just so that nobody gets confused, whether she is in contradiction with Matthew 28:19, she brings it in right into this quote. They were baptized in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Christ name was to be their watch word, their badge of distinction, their bond of union, the authority for their course of action, and the source of their success. Nothing was to be recognized in His Kingdom that did not bear his name, and superscription.
Yet again, what seemingly might look as a contradiction is beautifully brought together into one paragraph to give us the proper understanding of what Matthew 28:19 says and what the book of Acts teaches. They don’t need to clash. Yes, a Trinitarian will take that verse, and use it to prove their Trinitarian understanding of God. But so would a Oneness Pentecostal take the verses in the book of Acts, to prove their understanding of God. So does that mean that we’re to get rid of both these accounts and verses? Because we are not in agreement with the Trinitarian. We are not in agreement with the Oneness Pentecostals, does that mean that we’re to discard all these verses from the Bible because they don’t come in line with our understanding of who God is? No, we’re at the bring everything into proper harmony.
And this is my desire. And I believe this was the desire of Ellen White. Ultimately, I believe this is the desire of Christ, for us, to allow him to lead us and guide us Him to be the source of everything that we believe in these last days. You know, lately as this subject is being agitated, I have to testify to you that more and more children and parents are beginning to listen. Why? Because now we’re not trying to discredit something from the Bible, but rather bring the true understanding, which uplifts God, of believing in a one true God in the mediation of his only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit.
My appeal to you this morning is that you will accept the commission of Christ and that you will indeed teach all nations the things which Christ has commanded us to do, and ultimately baptize them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. So that we eliminate any out from the Word of God, and continue pressing forward upon this platform of truth, that the Bible, the spirit of prophecy, and the writings of the pioneers have presented to us. And only then I believe we are going to come in through unity of spirit and truth, and ultimately be able to go to the world and finish the work.
So let us kneel and have a word of prayer. Dear Lord and Heavenly Father, we come before you because we seek wisdom from the Lord, we know that we can trust in you. We know that you can work with all of us individually and collectively. We pray and ask that you help us in our spiritual growth. Help us Lord to see things the way they are to be seen understand things the way they are to be understood. Father, if there’s anything in our lives that requires further study or understanding, I pray that you will move upon our hearts and minds by the power of your spirit. We come before your throne of grace in the name of Christ, because it is only in that name, Lord, that we can petition anything from you. We thank you for all that you have done in our lives. We leave all things into thy hands, praying and asking all of this in the name of your beloved Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.