John 3:17 For God sent not his son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved. The word "saved" defined by Webster is "to preserve from destruction or loss".
We have various ministers and churches today that preach and teach to be saved, all you need is to believe in God. Believing is one of the things you must do, but believing, alone, will not save you.
James 2:19 Thou believest that there is one God, thou doest well. The devils also believe and tremble.
Others teach "believe and be baptized" in water, and you will be saved.
Act 8:13 tells us that Simon himself also believed and when he was baptized in water he continued with Phillip and wandered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done. Simon was baptized in the name of Jesus.
Acts 8:16 For as yet the Holy Ghost was fallen upon none of them.
Although Simon had believed and was baptized in water in the name of the Lord Jesus, we find in verse 21 that his heart was not right in the sight of God.
In order to be saved I must be right in the sight of God. I can be right in the eyes of the people and in the sight of organized churches, but I must be right in the sight of God. In order to be right, I must search the scriptures.
John 5:39 Search the scriptures for in them ye think you have eternal life. And they are they which testify of me.
The scripture tells us that God sent his son into the world that the world might be saved through him. So if I truly want to be saved, I should listen to who he sent to teach, and to what he taught.
Mark 16:16 (Jesus' own teachings) He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved. But he that believeth not shall be damned.
Notice that he included baptism as a condition to be saved. Many churches teach that he was talking about water baptism. Let's try searching the scriptures concerning baptisms.
Titus 1:1 I, Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ.
II Timothy 1:11 (notice that Paul said) Whereunto I am appointed a preacher and an apostle and a teacher of the Gentiles.
Then, if Paul was a teacher of the Gentiles, we should be listening to his teachings.
I Corinthians 1:17 (Paul said) For Christ sent me not to baptise but to preach the gospel.
If water baptism is not a part of the gospel to the Gentiles, let's see what Jesus said.
Mark 16:16 (Jesus said) We must believe and be baptized to be saved.
Then let's see what Paul said about it. Ephesians 4:5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism.
If there is only one baptism then we must choose between water baptism and spiritual baptism, the baptism of the Holy Ghost.
1 Peter 3:20 Wherein few, that is, eight souls, were saved by water.
Verse 21 tells us that water baptism will not save us now. In Hebrew 6:1,2 Paul tells us that baptisms are dead works.
So if water baptism does not have any saving power but yet Jesus said that we must be baptized to be saved, we should be sure that we are baptized with the right baptism.
Ephesians 5:25 Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it.
Colossians 1:18 and also verse 24 tells us that his body is the church. So if his body is the church and he is coming back after his church we must get into his body.
Ephesians 4:4 There is one body and one Spirit.
If there is only one body and that body is the church then there is only one church. I find no place in the scriptures where you can get into this body by being baptized in water. But, I did find in I Corinthians 12:13: For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body.
So it seems very simple that if you are not baptized by the Spirit into the body, or church, that you should seek to be baptized. I do not find in the scriptures any mention of preservation by water, but I do find:
Ephesians 4:30 And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.
In closing, I want to make it very clear that I am not fighting water baptism. Being baptized in water will not hurt you, but omitting the baptism of the Holy Spirit will.
Reverend Wesley Ratcliff Sr.
Taken from a compiled list of sermons from the "Holy Ghost Perfection Minister", Wesley Ratcliff, Sr.