We finished having lunch with the security guard then decided it was time to do some sightseeing. The two young men asked my advice on what to do in beautiful Rotorua. I suggested we see some mud pools, the redwoods and then go to the lake. The mud pools and redwoods were nice but I’d seen them many times before so I wasn’t too excited. I did have a good chance to talk to Keon and Marnon about sharing the gospel, casting out demons and whether to live by faith alone or to work for a living.
While I was talking to them about how to share the gospel, I mentioned it was important to emphasise water baptism. I spoke to them about how it is a complete cutting off of the old life and how it is a burial for our old nature which must follow repentance. If there is no true repentance or people don’t fully comprehend what they are doing when they get baptised, quite often they are simply getting wet. Something I said must have been impacting for Marnon because he blurted out that he believed he needed to be re-baptised. I said to him that he should only be baptised if he felt God leading him to do so and he believed he was.
Crash course in water baptism
Now I had to give Keon a crash course in baptising someone because I didn’t have any togs! I also like to allow other people a chance to do the baptising as I have enough experience doing it. I said that I would help pray afterwards in case anything demonic went on.
The crash course in water baptism went like this:
1. Make sure they confess any sins first.
This is based on Matthew 3:6 where it says that people came to John the Baptist confessing their sins. The person being baptised needs to be as open as possible in confessing their sins. Anything left unconfessed can stay in the darkness within that person and affect him going forward. The person doing the baptising listens intently for the sole purpose of knowing what spirits may need to be cast out after the baptism.
2. Baptise in the name of Jesus, not the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
This is what Jesus commanded. The words in the great commission have been changed by the Catholic church. See this link for detailed teaching. The short version is that every time one of the disciples baptised someone in the book of Acts, they did it in the name of Jesus. Each of these disciples would have heard Jesus’ last words as recorded in Matthew 28. If Jesus truly told them to baptise in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, the disciples would have been disobedient each time. That’s why we baptise people in Jesus’ name.
3. The words you use when baptising someone aren’t of great significance.
There is no power in the words you say. The power comes from the person being baptised understanding what is happening and doing it out of obedience to Jesus. A baptism is like a funeral. Funeral directors often say all sorts of different things. All they really need to do their job effective is make sure the body is dead. It is the same when baptising someone. Make sure they have truly repented and want to leave their old life behind.
The baptism went smoothly in the beautiful blue lake of Rotorua. There were no obvious demonic manifestations but Marnon felt like he had done the right thing.
Then the fun really began!
While the baptism was happening, a young man who was clearly an unbeliever was sitting in his car watching the whole thing. Normally unbelievers don’t stick around when a baptism is happening because they get freaked out. Marnon approached him after coming out of the lake and struck up a conversation. The man was thinking more deeply about his life because his grandmother recently died who ‘believed in this sort of stuff’. Marnon explained what baptism was all about then offered to pray for him. The man readily agreed and took his hat off as a sign of respect. Marnon’s prayer deeply affected the man because he started crying unashamedly. He even looked lighter after the prayer.
The school group
As amazing as the day had been, it didn’t feel like it was complete! We looked around for some more people to talk to and saw a group of school kids playing near the lake. Keon and I approached three of them and offered to pray for them for healing. They mentioned that one of their friends twisted their ankle and one of them went off to get her. Keon and I talked to the other two about God while more and more kids came over. Before we knew it we were talking to 15+ children about God!
They were on an end-of-year school trip from Northland. Their attention spans weren’t that great so they bombarded us with all sorts of questions but didn’t listen to our answers much. Marnon joined us and conversed with them while I went to pray for the girl with the twisted ankle. I prayed for her 4 or 5 times but there was no obvious change. It annoys me when people don’t get healed when I pray for them but I trust that God started something.
We said goodbye to the school group after talking to them about God as much as we could. It is hard to know what impact we had on them and the other people we spoke with. Jesus said to go and preach the gospel and lay hands on the sick so that is what we did. It was exciting, fulfilling and messy all at the same time. Ultimately it was thrilling to be a part of seeing Marnon and Keon grow in their faith. I have no doubt that these 2 keen young men will do great things when they go back to Australia.