This message is intended for those who tend to take the Scriptures lightly or tend to say things like "that's not for us today" or "that's not what that really means."
When it comes to the Bible and your understanding of it, does the reason given for an action in the text mean anything to you?
For example: Holy Spirit baptism. There are only two places in the entire NT of groups of people receiving Holy Spirit baptism. In BOTH places it tells us why it happened. Does that matter? If the reason is given, and that reason shows a limitation in scope, then we should understand the text within the limitation of that scope.
The two groups of people who were baptized with the Holy Spirit were:
1. The Apostles (Acts 2:1-4). The purpose: to prove to those who were assembled at Pentecost that the Apostle's message was truly from God (Acts 2:1-40). We have the written word confirmed for us - we don't need this like the apostles did.
2. Cornelius (Acts 10:46-47). The purpose: to convince Peter and those who were with him that God accepted the gentiles as well as the Jews (Acts 15:6-9). We don't have to continue to prove to anyone that God accepted the gentiles, for His confirmed word testifies as such.
There is no Holy Spirit baptism today. There is no baptism in fire today (until the judgment anyway). There is only one baptism today (and has been since the letter to the Ephesians was written (about 61 AD)) - Ephesians 4:5: "There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism..."
What baptism is that? Immersion in water. Notice the entire book of Acts aside from the two passages mentioned above, every baptism was immersion in water.
What is the purpose of the one baptism today?
"Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection" (Rom. 6:3-5).
"In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead" (Col. 2:11-12).
Immersion in water by the one who has faith and is repentant, who confesses Jesus as the Son of God, is a participation in the death of Jesus Christ. It is where Jesus meets us with His blood and circumcises our hearts by the "circumcision of Christ." It is the burial from which we rise with Him through faith to "walk in newness of life," that certainly "we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection!"
God has made his word clear and simple. God meets us in faith as His Word produces faith in us (Rom. 10:17). He meets us in repentance as we renew our minds and transform our minds according to his word (Rom. 12:1-2). He meets with us as we confess Jesus as the son of God (Rom. 10:9-10; Acts 8:37). And He meets us in baptism for the remission of our sins (Acts 2:38; Rom. 6:3-5; Col. 2:11-12).
Without immersion in water we have not died to sin, neither have we been baptised into his death. If we have not died with Christ, we cannot be raised in His likeness at the resurrection.
Please, today follow God's word. He has made it simple and clear. He has proven it over and over. We just need to do it. God will meet with those who humble themselves to submit to His word. He will work within every person who decides to obey His gospel as He has given it. He will save you. He will forgive you and continue to cleanse you from unrighteousness. He will keep that which you have committed to Him unto that Day - when we do it His way; not ours.
I pray God's grace is applied to every soul who obeys Him today and that you might be moved to do so after reading this.
I love you. God loves you more.