THE BUILDING FITLY FRAMED
John 1:6 says, "There was a man sent from God, whose name was John." In John 1:26, 31, and 33 it is shown that God sent John to baptize "with water." The baptism administered by John "with water" was "from heaven." John was sent by God to baptize with water, and he was the only one that was sent or authorized to do so. Matthew 3:13-17 says:
John 1:32-34 says:
John baptized "with water" and Jesus later baptized "with the Holy Ghost." The first part of verse 33 speaks of John as the administrator of a baptism and water as the element. The last part of the verse speaks of Jesus as the administrator of a baptism, with the Holy Ghost as the element. Jesus walked 60 miles to be baptized by John because he was the only one authorized to do so at that time. It was not then, and is not now, sufficient to receive baptism only from someone else that had or has been properly baptized. John had already baptized others, and if proper baptism could be obtained merely by another baptized individual, Jesus could have saved much time and travel by receiving His baptism from one of Johns disciples. If baptism is to be valid, it must be administered by those with proper authority to do so. The authority to baptize is NOT passed on by baptism. Possession of scriptural baptism does not give an individual the authority to baptize. In Acts 19, Paul came across some persons that the Bible calls "disciples," who had probably been baptized by Apollos. Apollos had apparently been properly baptized by John, but had no authority to baptize others. Paul re-baptized them. There can be no succession of scriptural baptism without the succession of authority to baptize.
While on earth, Jesus organized a church (Matthew 16:18-19) with "himself being the chief cornerstone," and with "the foundation of the apostles and prophets" (Ephesians 2:19-22). That church can be seen existing and in operation in Matthew 18:15-18. Jesus ordained twelve members of that church as apostles and gave them authority to baptize. At a later time He ordained seventy others in that church. Before His ascension, Jesus gave a commission and the authority to baptize to either a person, some persons, or to something (Matthew 28:18-20). It is clear, from Matthew 28:20, that it was Jesus intention that that authority would be perpetuated "always, even to the end of the world." If Jesus gave the authority to baptize to some person, the ordinance of baptism died with the death of that person. If Jesus gave the authority to baptize only to the apostles, as apostles, that authority died with the last apostle. An apostle had to have been an eye witness of Christ (Acts 1:21-22 and 1 Corinthians 15:8-9), so there can be no apostolic succession. The apostles were used in the foundation of the church (Ephesians 2:20) and the foundation must not be re-laid. Jesus wisely gave the authority to His church to be passed on to those churches He would later build by succession from that first one.
Man-made churches have no authority to, and cannot, administer a baptism that is acceptable unto God. To reject scriptural baptism is to reject the counsel of God (Luke 7:29-30). No man can please God while rejecting His counsel. Valid baptism is required for entrance into one of the Lords churches. In Luke 11:23, Jesus said, "He that is not with me is against me: and he that gathereth not with me scattereth."
As was seen earlier, it was said that Jesus would baptize with the Holy Ghost. In John 1:33, John said:
In Mark 1:8, John said:
In Acts 1:5, it is recorded that Jesus, speaking to the church He had built, said:
That baptism with the Holy Ghost was NOT something that was administered by the Holy Ghost. It was an act that was performed or administered by Jesus. It was an immersion in the Holy Ghost, as the baptism administered by John was an immersion in water. The baptism with the Holy Ghost was not administered to people as individuals. It was administered to a church, corporately. It was not something that was promised to begin occurring on a regular basis "not many days hence." It was promised to occur, to be administered, "not many days hence." It is not something that was, or is, administered to an individual at conversion, and does NOT place one into any kind of universal invisible church. There is no such thing. 1 Corinthians 12:13 is sometimes thought to teach the contrary, but it is speaking of water baptism received by the leading of the Holy Spirit. The verse teaches that by the leading of the Holy Spirit we, both Jews and Gentiles, are baptized with water into one body, a local visible church such as the one at Corinth. The verses that follow, in 1 Corinthians 12:14-27, speak of "the foot," "the hand," "the ear," "the eye," "the head," "the feet," and "the body." Those verses are obviously referring to a physical, human body as an illustration of a church. If verses 14-27 are interpreted consistently with verse 13, and "one body" in verse 13 is defined as a universal invisible body, verses 14-27 are rendered totally meaningless. The terms, "one body," and "the body" do not imply a universal invisible body any more than "the eye" or "the foot" implies universal invisible members or body parts. The terms are used generically. Similarly, in Ephesians 5:23, the terms, "the husband," "the wife," and "the church" are spoken of in a generic sense. In that verse, nothing universal and invisible is implied by "the church" any more than is by "the husband" or "the wife."
In Acts 2, we have the record of Jesus baptizing the church He had built with the Holy Ghost, just as He had promised. It was an accreditation or showing of His approval of His church before men. It was proof and assurance that He was still with it. Verse 16 says, "This is that which was spoken of by the prophet Joel," in Joel 2:28, where God said, "I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh . . ." (Jew and Gentile, male and female). There was a similar immersion in the Holy Spirit of those Gentiles who were saved at Cornelius house in Acts 10, to demonstrate Gods approval that they also could be baptized and organized into a church of Christs. It is Christs design that His approval, authorization, and accreditation of His successive churches be demonstrated by the deliberate action and intention of an already existing, or "mother church." If two or three scripturally baptized believers could organize themselves into a true church, separate and apart from the action and intent or approval of another church, with the only authority coming "vertically," as many Baptists are now teaching, there would be the need of repeated demonstrations like that on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2.