When I was 21 years old I was called by an old college friend, Joseph Abrego, who was working at Faith Pleases God Church in Harlingen, TX a that time. He asked if I could help him head up a TV show production for a Christian TV network. It was one of a couple of other networks being run in the church building. We had worked together in a group project in college and worked made a great team. I did not know this would be the beginning of the Lord calling me home. My personal testimony is a long weird one, but I want to get into what really made the difference in my life, which was when I got water baptized after giving my life to Christ. Long story short, the church hired me to be their webmaster, and I sat under the counsel of the Word, as I had other tasks that included editing church sermons, making graphics for their videos and much more. I was straight from the world, with a talent for media, music and art, which have been my passion as far back as I can remember.
The born again process was not overnight. It was a process that took about 6 years in my life. I was raised Catholic and didn’t know much about what the bible meant or who God was. I was young and didn’t have any problems, life was good, and I didn’t think I needed God. I had a good paying job doing media for another company, and had good friends and family, life was good. I knew church was a good thing, and like most humans, respected religion and God, but never really cared to live for Him. I prayed the prayer of salvation many times but nothing in my life changed. I was still worldly. It wasn’t until I became water baptized when the everything changed for me.
Ephesians 2 And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, 2 in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, 3 among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.
I heard the Word of faith during those 6 years of having one foot in Christianity and one foot in the world not realizing I was walking in disobedience. I enjoyed the world too much for me to want to commit my life to Jesus. It wasn’t until one day when Pastor Kevin Ortiz (FPG Church Senior Pastor) was doing a water baptism at a brother’s house in the Treasure Hills area, had asked me to attend and take pictures. After the last baptism he asked is there anyone else? I knew it was something good, so why not. I made a split decision to do it since the pool and water was ready, so what if I went home with wet clothes. Pastor Kevin baptized me in water and my life forever changed. I didn’t notice it right then, but looking back not long after, I know my life was headed in the right direction.
I think many Christians don’t realize this crucial foundation that is needed to change their life for the better. Many are sitting on the fence with one foot in the world, and one in the Word. They play the role of a Christian, play church, speak Christianese, and go right back into the world wondering, why they don’t have victory in their life, wondering where God is.
Water Baptism, which is one of the types of baptisms in the bible, is one of the 6 foundations of the Christian faith:
Hebrews 6:1 Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, 2 Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.
These foundations must be studied in order to have proper understanding of the Word of God. These are some of the first things we must understand as born again believers so we can have real victory in life. Many times we fail to understand simply because we have not been water baptized. Water baptism should be the immediate response we have as believers when we receive Jesus as Lord and Savior of our lives.
John 3 3 Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” 4 Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” 5 Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.
Some say, “Okay, but I was baptized as a baby when I was a Catholic. Does that count?” To me it doesn’t. I was baptized as a Catholic when I was a child and it didn’t help. Much like salvation, your parents cannot receive Jesus for you. It’s a decision of the will that you have to make. When you read your bible, it’s as simple as just doing what Jesus did, the way He did it and the way He said to do it. He is your Lord after all, isn’t he? Jesus was not baptized as a baby, he was an adult who made a decision for Himself.
Matthew 3 13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him. 14 And John tried to prevent Him, saying, “I need to be baptized by You, and are You coming to me?” 15 But Jesus answered and said to him, “Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he allowed Him.
So here we have the example Jesus left us to follow. If it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness we must permit it like this. He was an adult who made the decision to be baptized. Nowhere in the bible do you see an infant or baby being baptized. You see the jailer who jailed Paul get baptized, him and his family, and the Eunuch whom Phillip preached to get baptized, but never an infant or even a child. So why does the Catholic religion do this? I think I know why, but I will talk more about that in another teaching.
The Gospel consists of 3 simple facts according to 1 Corinthians 15 1-4. 1. Christ died for our sins 2. He was buried 3. He rose again on the third day. All this is contained in Water Baptism.
The Gospel Defined
1 Corinthians 15 Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, 2 by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.3 For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures,
When you get water baptized you 1. Die to your sins, 2. You are immersed (buried) in water, 3. You come out (resurrect) as a new creature. This is also explained in Romans 6:3–11—Identification with Christ in death, burial and resurrection.3 Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
The reason many Christians cannot walk in that new life is because they don’t want to bury their old life. We need to kill the old man in the watery grave and come out a new creation. People who have not been water baptized after receiving Jesus as Lord are walking around dragging a corpse who still wants to party and drink and commit immorality, and they find it difficult to get victory.
When you get water baptized, it’s like a veil gets removed from your eyes. You understand the Word of God better and you are more sensitive to the Holy Spirit. It gets harder to sin. No you will not be perfect, but you will be walking in victory. It will be progressive and you will move from strength to strength. Don’t over think getting water baptized, the devil will talk you out of it, just dive in. It’s a matter of life and death. Life is not going to get easier it’s going to get harder. The bible says fierce times are coming. There is no better time than now to get water baptized.
As I studied the bible more I realized how deceived I was. I recently, within the past year, made a decision to renounce my Catholic water baptism. What many people don’t understand is that all these ceremonies and rituals we do in life mean something in the spiritual realm. This is why it is so important to look at what the bible says, what Jesus says and follow it. The same night I renounced it, I had a dream that seemed so real, where I as fully aware and had to make a decision (I will spare you the details). After much prayer, it was my understanding that it was a last minute attempt by the enemy to stay in my life after having repented and renounced the Catholic water baptism. I prevailed. Glory be to Jesus.
Matt. 28:19–20—Go and “make disciples” of all nations.19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Baptize them first, then teach them. It will be way easier this way. 🙂