Preparation for Baptism
NO.1 Romans 6:1,4,13,16,19 - "What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? Therefore, we are buried with him by baptism into death; that like as Yahshua was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto Yah, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto Yah. Know ye not that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your member's servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your member's servants to righteousness unto holiness."
All who enter upon the new life should understand, prior to their baptism, that Yah requires our undivided affections. Enter ye at the straight gate; for wide is the gate, and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, narrow is the way that leadeth unto life, and few be there which find it and walk in it.
When souls are converted their salvation is not yet accomplished. They then have the race to run; the arduous struggle is before them to do, what? "To fight the good fight of faith," to press forward to the mark for the prize of the high calling which is in Christ Jesus. There is no release in this warfare; the battle is lifelong, and must be carried forward with determined energy proportionate to the value of the object you are in pursuit of, which is eternal life. Immense interests are here involved. We are made partakers of Christ's self-sacrifice here in this life, and then we are assured that we shall be partakers of all its benefits in the future immortal life, if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end. Think of this. ML 313
NO.2 Hosea 10:2-4 - "Their heart is divided; now shall they be found faulty: he shall break down their altars, he shall spoil their images. For now they shall say, We have no king, because we feared not the Creator; what then should a king do to us? They have spoken words, swearing falsely in making a covenant: thus judgement springeth up as hemlock in the furrows of the field."
Deuteronomy 23:21-23 - "When thou shalt vow a vow unto Yah thy Creator, thou shalt not slack to pay it: for Yah thy Creator will surely require it of thee; and it would be sin in thee. But if thou shalt forbear to vow, it shall be no sin in thee. That which is gone out of thy lips thou shalt keep and perform; even a freewill offering, according as thou hast vowed unto Yah thy Creator, which thou hast promised with thy mouth."
The vows which we take upon ourselves in baptism embrace much. In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit we are buried in the likeness of Christ's death and raised in the likeness of His resurrection, and we are to live a new life. Our life is to be bound up with the life of Christ. Henceforth the believer is to bear in mind that he is dedicated to God, to Christ, and to the Holy Spirit. He is to make all worldly considerations secondary to this new relation. Publicly he has declared that he will no longer live in pride and self-indulgence. He is no longer to live a careless, indifferent life. He has made a covenant with God. He has died to the world. He is to live to the Lord, to use for Him all his entrusted capabilities, never losing the realization that he bears God's signature, that he is a subject of Christ's kingdom, a partaker of the divine nature. He is to surrender to God all that he is and all that he has, employing all his gifts to His name's glory. 6T 98-99
Ezekiel 36:23-28 - "And I will sanctify my great name, which was profaned among the heathen, which ye have profaned in the midst of them; and the heathen shall know that I am the LORD, saith the Lord GOD, when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes. For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land. Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them. And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God."
Satan does not want anyone to see the necessity of the entire surrender of self unto Yah. When the soul fails to make this entire surrender, sin is not forsaken; appetites and passions are continuing to strive for the mastery of the soul; temptation will confuse the senses, not allowing the true conversion to take place in the heart and mind and body. When one is truly renouncing sin, which is transgression of the known laws of Yah, our life will be brought into conformity and perfect obedience to the mind and will of Yahshua, thanks be to the Holy Spirit.
Holiness to God is glorifying Him by the entire conformity of the human will to the divine. There is a clean, pure mind. The soul and the body, as Christ's purchased possession, is to be presented to God without spot or wrinkle, or any such thing. This will prove the counteracting of Satan's ingenious work to ruin man. This is the re-creation of the human agent through Jesus Christ's merits; a clean thing is brought out of an unclean, restoring the image of God in man. The human agent is to go forward to reach the highest standard of perfection of character by beholding the character of Jesus Christ.--Letter 17a, 1893, pp. 6, 7. 7MR 274-275
NO.3 I Corinthians 15:33-35 , 48-49 - "Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of Yah: I speak this to your shame. But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come? As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly."
At the time of their conversion and baptism the Colossian believers pledged themselves to put away beliefs and practices that had hitherto been a part of their lives, and to be true to their allegiance to Christ. In his letter, Paul reminded them of this, and entreated them not to forget that in order to keep their pledge they must put forth constant effort against the evils that would seek for mastery over them. "If ye then be risen with Christ," he said, "seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God."
"If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." 2 Corinthians 5:17. Through the power of Christ, men and women have broken the chains of sinful habit. They have renounced selfishness. The profane have become reverent, the drunken sober, the profligate pure. Souls that have borne the likeness of Satan have become transformed into the image of God. AA 476
Romans 13:11-14 - "And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. Let us walk in honesty, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying; but put ye on Yahshua the Messiah, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof. "
Before baptism, there should be a thorough inquiry as to the experience of the candidate. Let this inquiry be made in a kind and tender way, pointing the new child of Yah to the Lamb of Yah, who died to take away the sins of the world. Therefore our sins of selfishness, of temper, laziness, all known wrong habits and practices, are to be firmly and positively put away and out of our lives forever.
NO.4 I Peter 3:2-4 - "While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear. Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; but let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of Yah of great price."
One of the points upon which those newly come to the faith will need instruction is the subject of dress. Let the new converts be faithfully dealt with. Are they vain in dress? Do they cherish pride of heart? The idolatry of dress is a moral disease. It must not be taken over into the new life. In most cases, submission to the gospel requirements will demand a decided change in the dress.
There should be no carelessness in dress. For Christ's sake, whose witnesses we are, we should seek to make the best of our appearance. In the tabernacle service, God specified every detail concerning the garments of those who ministered before Him. Thus we are taught that He has a preference in regard to the dress of those who serve Him. Very specific were the directions given in regard to Aaron's robes, for his dress was symbolic. So the dress of Christ's followers should be symbolic. In all things we are to be representatives of Him. Our appearance in every respect should be characterized by neatness, modesty, and purity. 6T 96
II Peter 1:2-4 - "Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of Yah, and of Yahshua our Messiah, according as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust."
It is by conformity to the will of Yah in our words, our deportment and in our daily character that we prove to fellow man and the angels of record that we have a living, growing connection with the Father through the blood of the Lamb and the power of the Holy Spirit. We cannot depend on any other person to do our work for us. We must perform the duties and commandments for ourselves. When delight reigns in us, we are leaning on no other but Yahshua for support and efficiency.
The Savior desires that all his children put away all their worldly appearances. The ornamentation of the physical body with jewels and expensive clothing is none-the-less, a sign of inward spiritual poverty. Satan has laid a snare to bring captive unwary souls by leading them to give more attention to outward adorning. If the enemy can keep the mind on these things, he is well pleased. Let us instead, make gain of the inward display the fruits borne of the tree of life.
NO.5 II Corinthians 3:2-3 - "I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?"
John 14:22-24 - "Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, "Master, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world?" Yahshua answered and said unto them, "If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me." "
As those who claim to believe the truth give expression to the truth in appropriate dress and in their words and conduct, they are living examples of Yah, known and read by all who come into contact with them. Their chaste conversation is a sign of inward adorning. Their influence is greatly enlarged, a field of usefulness for the Father is ever open before them. We are as signs in the world, cultivating, as salt scattered throughout that has kept its savor.
NO.6 Romans 14:6 - "He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Creator; and he that regardeth not the day, to Yah he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Creator, for he giveth Yah thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Creator he eateth not, and giveth Yah thanks."
Romans 14:17-19 - "For the kingdom of Yah is not meat and drink; but righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. For he that in these things serveth Yahshua is acceptable to Yah, and approved of men. Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another."
Ephesians 4:11-15 - "And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Yahshua: till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of Yahshua the Messiah, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Yahshua: that we, henceforth, be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; but speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Yahshua..."
Through his own life in human nature, Yahshua has revealed to us his methods of usefulness in saving souls. His character is to be alive and emanating from within and without his followers. The reception of truth, in these the last days, never makes the receivers of these great truths coarse, rough, and uncourteous, neither harsh in conversation nor spirit. The truth never degrades, but instead refines, purifies, elevates, and ennobles the receiver of those truths. Through sanctification of the Holy Spirit we are made an agent through whom the unseen angels of Yah work out his holy precepts.
NO.7 Matthew 25:32-34 - "And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: and he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, "Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world..." "
The test of discipleship is not brought to bear as closely as it should be upon those who present themselves for baptism. It should be understood whether those who profess to be converted are simply taking the name of Seventh-day Adventists, or whether they are taking their stand on the Lord's side to come out from the world and be separate and touch not the unclean thing. When they give evidence that they fully understand their position, they are to be accepted. But when they show that they are following the customs and fashions and sentiments of the world, they are to be faithfully dealt with. If they feel no burden to change their course of action, they should not be retained as members of the church. The Lord wants those who compose His church to be true, faithful stewards of the grace of Christ.
The sin of these last days is upon the professed people of God. Through selfishness, love of pleasure, and love of dress, they deny the Christ that their church membership says that they are following. I thank God that Jesus Christ knows every impulse in the heart of the believer. Many profess to be children of God who do not follow Christ. Their frivolity, their cheap conversation, their want of high-toned piety, their low aims, mislead others who would pursue a different course were it not for the example of these deceptive characters, those who do not love Christ or do His will but simply follow their own imaginations.
Jesus is acquainted with every heart that is humble, meek, and lowly. These have trials and make mistakes, but they are brokenhearted because they grieve the Saviour who loved them and died for them. They come humbly to His feet; they fight His battles. In meekness and lowliness of heart they seek to do good to others. They seek to advance the cause of truth in good and earnest endeavor. TM 128-129
Ezra 10:11-12 - "Now therefore make confession unto Yah, the Creator of your fathers, and do his pleasure: and separate yourselves from the people of the land, and from the strange wives. Then all the congregation answered and said with a loud voice, "As thou hast said, so must we do." "
All who accept Yahshua as their personal Saviour must count themselves in the number of the dead; dead to all things in their conduct that he could not give his approval. We newborn children of Yah must have sufficient instruction, not left to ourselves, for we are now often tempted, and our discernment of the evil behind the temptation is undeveloped. Let us as newly born feel it is our privilege to seek counsel. If we seek the fellowship of those who can help us, we will soon possess the refined taste that will always choose the company of people who love and fear Yah.
NO.8 I John 3:2-3 - "Beloved, now are we the sons of Yah, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure."
1 John 3:7-10 - "Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother."
Satan leads people to think that because they have felt a rapture of feeling they are converted. But their experience does not change. Their actions are the same as before. Their lives show no good fruit. They pray often and long, and are constantly referring to the feelings they had at such and such a time. But they do not live the new life. They are deceived. Their experience goes no deeper than feeling. They build upon the sand, and when adverse winds come their house is swept away. Many poor souls are groping in darkness, looking for the feelings which others say they have had in their experience. They overlook the fact that the believer in Christ must work out his own salvation with fear and trembling. The convicted sinner has something to do. He must repent and show true faith.
When Jesus speaks of the new heart, He means the mind, the life, the whole being. To have a change of heart is to withdraw the affections from the world, and fasten them upon Christ. To have a new heart is to have a new mind, new purposes, new motives. What is the sign of a new heart?-- A changed life. There is a daily, hourly dying to selfishness and pride. MYP 71
I Peter 1:22-23 - "Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of Yah, which liveth and abideth for ever."
All who study the life of Yahshua and begin to practice his teachings will become like him, a son of Yah. Our influence will be like his. We reveal soundness of character. We are established in faith, and will not be overcome by the devil, because vanity and pride are destroyed in our lives by the indwelling of his life. We seek to walk the humble path of obedience, doing the will of Yah. Our character exerts an influence that hopes for the advancement of the cause of Yah and the healthful purity of his work.
NO.9 II Peter 3:10-14 - "But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless."
James 1:26-27 - "If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain. Pure religion and undefiled before Yah and the Yahshua is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world."
By the reception of the doctrines of Yah and the performance of the duties required in the word, we the professed followers, are then witnesses to the world of unity of Yahshua with our flesh. We must show that we have been given to Yahshua by the Father, and are overcomers through the Blood of the Lamb and the words of our testimony. We love him who redeemed us. We increase in knowledge of Yahshua by exampling his character as our very own character by the power of the Holy Spirit. We cherish expectations that will not be disappointed, we expect to see his face and to rejoice in the sunshine of his countenance.
NO.10 I John 3:6-10 - "Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him. Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose Yahshua the Messiah was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. Whosoever is born of Yah doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of Yah. In this, the children of Yah are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of Yah, neither he that loveth not his brother."
Matthew 12:33-35 - "Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit. O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things."
The line of demarcation is distinct. All who obey Yah's commandments are kept by his mighty power amid the corrupting influence of the breakers of his laws. From the lowest subject to the highest in positions of trust, we are all kept by the power of Yah through faith unto salvation.
In the lives of God's children is revealed the blessedness of serving the Lord, and the opposite is seen in those who do not keep His commandments. The line of demarcation is distinct. All who obey God's commandments are kept by His mighty power amid the corrupting influence of the transgressors of His law. From the lowliest subject to the highest in positions of trust, they are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation. EV 316
NO.11 II Corinthians 13:5 - "Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Yahshua the Messiah is in you, except ye be reprobates?"
No matter how faultless may have been your lives, as sinners you have steps to take. You are required to repent, believe, and be baptized. Christ was wholly righteous; yet He, the Saviour of the world, gave man an example by Himself taking the steps which He requires the sinner to take to become a child of God, and heir of heaven.
If Christ, the spotless and pure Redeemer of man, condescended to take the steps necessary for the sinner to take in conversion, why should any, with the light of truth shining upon their pathway, hesitate to submit their hearts to God, and in humility confess that they are sinners, and show their faith in the atonement of Christ by words and actions, identifying themselves with those who profess to be His followers? There will ever be some who do not live out their profession, whose daily lives show them to be anything but Christians; but should this be a sufficient reason for any to refuse to put on Christ by baptism into the faith of His death and resurrection? 4T 40-41
Galatians 6:4-5 - "But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. For every man shall bear his own burden."
The knowledge of Yah and Yahshua expressed in our characters is esteemed above everything in earth and heaven. It is the very highest education. Not one should be buried with Yahshua in baptism until they are examined to be sure they have ceased to sin, making sure their moral principles are fixed on Yahshua, and whether or not they understand what sin is, and whether or not they have any moral defilement which Yah abhors. We must be sure of true conversion before baptism and find out, with close questioning, if one is really ceasing to commit sin. If they can, from the heart say, and with their actions testify, that they hate sin with a perfect hate that Yah gives, they now may be buried in the watery grave.
NO.12 Colossians 3:1-6 - "If ye then be risen with Yahshua, seek those things which are above, where Yahshua sitteth on the right hand of Yah. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Yahshua in Yah. When Yahshua, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory. Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: for which things' sake the wrath of Yah cometh on the children of disobedience..."
Our first work must be personal. The heart must be cleansed from every defilement, and sanctified by the truth. The love of Christ must burn upon the altar of the soul. Then, and then only, can we commend to others the things which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled of the word of life. And when we have done all in our power to dispel the darkness of error and doubt, of unbelief and infidelity, in the world, we must trust in God to do the rest. We must leave the issue in God's hands, and not allow our interest and love to grow cold because iniquity abounds. YI (10-14-97)
I Peter 4:1-2 - "Forasmuch then as Yahshua hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of Yah."
Those of us who have taken part in the solemn rite of baptism have pledged ourselves to seek for those things above. We have pledged ourselves to labor earnestly for the saving of sinners. Yah asks us, who name his name, how are we using the powers that have been redeemed by the death of his son? Are we doing all in our power to rise to a greater height in spiritual understanding? Are we adjusting our interests and actions in harmony with our momentous claims of eternal life?
NO.13 Titus 1:10-11, 16 - "For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision: whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre's sake. They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate."
The new birth is a rare experience in this age of the world. This is the reason why there are so many perplexities in the churches. Many, so many, who assume the name of Christ, are unsanctified and unholy. They have been baptized, but they were buried alive. Self did not die, and therefore they did not rise to newness of life in Christ 6BC 1075
II John 7-9 - "For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Yahshua the Messiah is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist. Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward. Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Yahshua, hath not Yah. He that abideth in the doctrine of Yahshua, he hath both the Father and the Son."
Our burden is to preach the gospel truth as to what really constitutes true conversion. We are not to lead down in the watery grave those who are not understanding and living the true gospel conversion. Let us not be, as a church, composed of those who do not realize the sinfulness of sin.
NO.14 I John 5:18-21 - "We know that whosoever is born of Yah sinneth not; but he that is begotten of Yah keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not. And we know that we are of Yah, and the whole world lieth in wickedness. And we know that Yahshua the Messiah is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in His Son Yahshua the Messiah. This is the true Almighty One, and eternal life. Little children, keep yourselves from idols."
I Corinthians 10:13 - "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but Yah is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it."
In receiving the rite of baptism, our human heart, now a living agent for Yah, with all new and holy purposes, we do pledge that we are dead to the world and alive in obedience to Yahshua. Now the Father and the Son, through their Holy Spirit, will supply the power that makes us victorious in every single conflict with the prince of darkness and the "god of this world." By their giving grace and power we will perform the will of him who rent open the sepulcher and declared to the universe that he is the resurrection and the life.
"These things I have spoken unto you," He said, "that in Me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." Christ did not fail, neither was He discouraged, and His followers are to manifest a faith of the same enduring nature. They are to live as He lived, and work as He worked, because they depend on Him as the great Master Worker. Courage, energy, and perseverance they must possess. Though apparent impossibilities obstruct their way, by His grace they are to go forward. Instead of deploring difficulties, they are called upon to surmount them. They are to despair of nothing, and to hope for everything. With the golden chain of His matchless love Christ has bound them to the throne of God. It is His purpose that the highest influence in the universe, emanating from the source of all power, shall be theirs. They are to have power to resist evil, power that neither earth, nor death, nor hell can master, power that will enable them to overcome as Christ overcame. DA 679
II Timothy 4:18 - "And the Creator shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory forever and ever! AMEN!"
The strength and grace of God have been provided at an infinite sacrifice, that men might be victorious over Satan's suggestions and temptations, and come forth unsullied. The life, the words, and the deportment are the most forcible argument, the most solemn appeal, to the careless, irreverent, and skeptical. Let the life and character be the strong argument for Christianity; then men will be compelled to take knowledge of you that you have been with Jesus and have learned of Him. CT 478
Preparation for Baptism - Further Study
Psalms 119:33-40 -"Teach me, O LORD, the way of thy statutes; and I shall keep it unto the end. Give me understanding, and I shall keep thy law; yea, I shall observe it with my whole heart. Make me to go in the path of thy commandments; for therein do I delight. Incline my heart unto thy testimonies, and not to covetousness. Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity; and quicken thou me in thy way. Stablish thy word unto thy servant, who is devoted to thy fear. Turn away my reproach which I fear: for thy judgments are good. Behold, I have longed after thy precepts: quicken me in thy righteousness."
Those who are seeking salvation must undertake the work understandingly. God's word is our text-book. It tells us what sin is, and points out the remedy. When the lawyer inquired, "Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?" Christ referred him to the law. "What is written in the law?" he asked; "how readest thou?" The apostle tells us; "Sin is the transgression of the law." Conviction of sin is the first step in conversion; and the law of God is the instrument to convict the sinner. It is this holy law that discovers the deformity of character, that reveals the plague-spot of sin. ST (11-26-85)
Psalms 119:125-128 -"I am thy servant; give me understanding, that I may know thy testimonies. It is time for thee, LORD, to work: for they have made void thy law. Therefore I esteem all thy precepts concerning all things to be right; and I hate every false way."
The converted soul has a hatred of sin; he does not indulge in self-complacency, self-love, self-sufficiency, nor pass on day after day, claiming to be a Christian, and yet bringing dishonor upon Christ by misrepresenting him in character. Those who make this mistake, and pass on filled with self-righteousness, have not in reality made the first step heavenward. The first step toward heaven is conviction of sin, the second is repentance and obedience. True piety never exalts self. RH (09-17-95)
II Corinthians 4:6-11 -"For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. For we which live are always delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh."
"We all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory [from character to character], even as by the Spirit of the Lord." The human character is changed into the divine. It is the spiritual eye that discerns this glory. It is veiled, shrouded in mystery, until the Holy Spirit imparts this discernment to the soul. The reason of the natural man may seek to discern it, his intellect may think to comprehend it, but neither can behold it. Those who possess the greatest amount of knowledge are still ignorant of it, until God communicates light to the soul. The Lord expects more of his children than we render to him. He says, "Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee." RH (02-18-96)
James 3:11-18 -"Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter? Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh. Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him show out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom. But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace."
Those who are sanctified through the truth will show that the truth has worked a reformation in their lives, that it is preparing them for translation into the heavenly world. But as long as pride and envy and evil-surmising predominate in the life, Christ does not rule in the heart. His love is not in the soul. In the lives of those who are partakers of the divine nature there is a crucifixion of the haughty, self-sufficient spirit that leads to self-exaltation. In its place the Spirit of Christ abides, and in the life the fruits of the Spirit appear. Having the mind of Christ, His followers reveal the graces of His character. 7MR 263
Genesis 1:27, 28 -"So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth."
Jesus, prior to His death, established a memorial of the breaking of His body and the spilling of His blood for the sins of the world, in the ordinance of the Lord's supper, saying "For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come." And the repentant believer, who takes the steps required in conversion, commemorates in his baptism the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. He goes down into the water in the likeness of Christ's death and burial, and he is raised out of the water in the likeness of His resurrection--not to take up the old life of sin, but to live a new life in Christ Jesus (3SP 204). 5 BC 1113
Galatians 4:4-6 -"But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father."
Christ has made baptism the sign of entrance to His spiritual kingdom. He has made this a positive condition with which all must comply who wish to be acknowledged as under the authority of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Before man can find a home in the church, before passing the threshold of God's spiritual kingdom, he is to receive the impress of the divine name, the Lord our Righteousness." Jeremiah 23:6.
Baptism is a most solemn renunciation of the world. Those who are baptized in the threefold 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. They have obeyed the command: "Come out from among them, and be ye 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 Almighty." II Corinthians 6: 17, 18. 6T 91
1 Corinthians 12:12-13, 25-26 -"For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it."
Satan does not want anyone to see the necessity of an entire surrender to God. When the soul fails to make this surrender, sin is not forsaken; the appetites and passions are striving for the mastery; temptations confuse the conscience, so that true conversion does not take place. If all had a sense of the conflict which each soul must wage with satanic agencies that are seeking to ensnare, entice, and deceive, there would be much more diligent labor for those who are young in the faith.
These souls, left to themselves, are often tempted and do not discern the evil of the temptation. Let them feel that it is their privilege to solicit counsel. Let them seek the society of those who can help them. Through association with those who love and fear God they will receive strength. 6T 92, 93
Psalm 26:1-5 - "A Psalm of David. Judge me, O LORD; for I have walked in mine integrity: I have trusted also in the LORD; therefore I shall not slide. Examine me, O LORD, and prove me; try my reins and my heart. For thy lovingkindness is before mine eyes: and I have walked in thy truth. I have not sat with vain persons, neither will I go in with dissemblers. I have hated the congregation of evildoers; and will not sit with the wicked."
The test of discipleship is not brought to bear as closely as it should be upon those who present themselves for baptism. It should be understood whether they are simply taking the name of Seventh-day Adventists, or whether they are taking their stand on the Lord's side, to come out from the world and be separate, and touch not the unclean thing. Before baptism there should be a thorough inquiry as to the experience of the candidates. Let this inquiry be made, not in a cold and distant way, but kindly, tenderly, pointing the new converts to the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world. Bring the requirements of the gospel to bear upon the candidates for baptism. 6T 95
Ephesians 2:1-6 - "And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins: Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:"
There is need of a more thorough preparation on the part of candidates for baptism. They are in need of more faithful instruction than has usually been given them. The principles of the Christian life should be made plain to those who have newly come to the truth. None can depend upon their profession of faith as proof that they have a saving connection with Christ. We are not only to say, "I believe," but to practice the truth. It is by conformity to the will of God in our words, our deportment, our character, that we prove our connection with Him. 6T 91
II Corinthians 6:14-18 - "Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty."
Let your words be select; this will close a door against the adversary of souls. Let your day be entered upon with prayer; work as in God's sight. His angels are ever by your side, making a record of your words, your deportment, and the manner in which your work is done. If you turn from good counsel and choose to associate with those who you have reason to suspect are not religiously inclined, although they profess to be Christians, you will soon become like them. You place yourself in the way of temptation, on Satan's battleground, and will, unless constantly guarded, be overcome by his devices. There are persons who have for some time made a profession of religion, who are, to all intents and purposes, without God and without a sensitive conscience. They are vain and trifling; their conversation is of a low order. 4T 588-589
Acts 2:36-39 - "Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ. 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."
Revelation 2:2-5 - "I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars: And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name's sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted. Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent."
Who shall condemn this work of repentance, of confession, of baptism? If some conscientiously feel that their first duty is to repent of their sins, confess them, and be baptized, is not this the first works that they must do?
When precious rays of light from the Sun of Righteousness have shone upon our pathway, some have opened wide the door of the heart, welcoming the heaven-sent light into the chambers of the soul. They receive the words of Christ Jesus gladly. Others have needed the divine anointing to improve their spiritual eyesight, in order that they may distinguish the light of truth from the darkness of error. Because of their blindness, they have lost an experience that would have been more precious to them than silver and gold. Some, I fear, will never recover that which they have lost.
I have seen the irreligion and the self-sufficiency cherished, and I have heard the words spoken, "Except ye repent and be converted, ye shall never see the kingdom of heaven." There are many who will need rebaptizing, but let them never go down into the water until they are dead to sin, cured of selfishness and self-exaltation; until they can come up out of the water to live a new life unto God. Faith and repentance are conditions essential to the forgiveness of sin. 7MR 261-262, 267
Romans 8:35 - "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?"
At our baptism we pledged ourselves to break all connection with Satan and his agencies, and to put heart and mind and soul into the work of extending the kingdom of God. All heaven is working for this object. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are pledged to cooperate with sanctified human instrumentalities. If we are true to our vow, there is opened to us a door of communication with heaven-- a door that no human hand or satanic agency can close. 6BC 1075
1 Peter 2:1-5 - "Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious. To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ."
Those who have risen with Christ to walk in newness of life are the elect of God. They are holy unto the Lord, and are acknowledged by Him as His beloved. As such, they are under solemn covenant to distinguish themselves by showing humility of mind. They are to clothe themselves in garments of righteousness. They are separate from the world, from its spirit, its practices, and they are to reveal that they are learning of Him. If they realize that they have died with Christ, if they keep their baptismal vow, the world will have no power to draw them aside to deny Christ. If they live the life of Christ in this world, they are partakers of the divine nature. SD 133
II Peter 2:4-10 - "For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment; And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly; And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly; And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked: (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;) The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished: But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government. Presumptuous are they, self-willed, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities."
There is need that much time be spent in secret prayer, in close communion with God. Thus only can victories be won. Eternal vigilance is the price of safety.
The Lord's covenant is with His saints. Everyone is to discern his weak points of character and guard against them with vigor. Those who have been buried with Christ in baptism, and been raised in the likeness of His resurrection, have pledged themselves to live in newness of life. "If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in glory." Colossians 3:1-4. CT 258
Galatians 2:20 - "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me."
As Christians submit to the solemn rite of baptism, He registers the vow that they make to be true to Him. This vow is their oath of allegiance. They are baptized in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Thus they are united with the three great powers of heaven. They pledge themselves to renounce the world and to observe the laws of the kingdom of God. Henceforth they are to walk in newness of life. No longer are they to follow the traditions of men. No longer are they to follow dishonest methods. They are to obey the statutes of the kingdom of heaven. They are to seek God's honor. If they will be true to their vow, they will be furnished with grace and power that will enable them to fulfill all righteousness. "As many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name. EV 307-308
John 1:11-13 - "He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God."
The religion that comes from God is the only religion that will lead to God. In order to serve Him aright, we must be born of the divine Spirit. This will purify the heart and renew the mind, giving us a new capacity for knowing and loving God. It will give us a willing obedience to all His requirements. This is true worship. It is the fruit of the working of the Holy Spirit. By the Spirit every sincere prayer is indited, and such prayer is acceptable to God. Wherever a soul reaches out after God, there the Spirit's working is manifest, and God will reveal Himself to that soul. For such worshipers He is seeking. He waits to receive them, and to make them His sons and daughters. DA 189