The Cleansing Of The Church At Ephesus (The Washing Of Water)

here is some of what you would come up with:  (1) every spiritual blessing – Eph. 1:3, (2) grace – Eph. 1:6, (3) redemption – Eph. 1:7, (4) an inheritance – Eph. 1:10-11, (5) sealed with the Holy Spirit – Eph. 1:13, (6) seated us in heavenly places – Eph. 2:6, (7) kindness toward us – Eph. 2:7, (8) his workmanship  – Eph. 2:10, (9) brought near by the blood of Christ – Eph. 2:13, (10) partakers of the promise – Eph. 3:6.  But one must note that all of these blessings are in, not outside of but in, Christ.  “For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.” (Gal. 3:27 NAS)  How does one enter Christ?  By baptism.  If one is clothed with Christ (baptism again) are you in Christ?    

Paul says elsewhere in the book of Ephesians, “we are members of his body.” (Eph. 5:30 NAS)  But, then Paul tells us in 1 Cor. 12:13 how we get into that body, “For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body.” (NAS)  What is Christ the Savior of according to Paul in Ephesians?  “For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, he himself being the Savior of the body.” (Eph. 5: 23 NAS)  This is same body we are baptized into, that is if we are in it, for that is the only way the scriptures give of entering into it – not by baptism alone but by the obedience of faith that results in baptism.

Where is grace found?  “Be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.” (2 Tim. 2:1 NAS)  Paul tells the Ephesians that this grace is “bestowed on us in the Beloved.” (Eph. 1:6 NAS)  Again, how does one get into Christ, the Beloved, according to the scriptures?  We have already answered that above.  When one is led by faith to believe Jesus and obey him in baptism for the remission of sins he enters into Christ, into the realm of grace by which he is saved.

In the book of Acts chapter 19 Paul comes to Ephesus and finds 12 men there who are disciples.  He asks them this question:  “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” (Acts 19:2 NAS)  They respond no and that they had not even heard of the Holy Spirit.  Paul then says, “Into what then were you baptized?” (Acts 19:3 NAS)  Please note this one thing – Paul takes it for granted that if they were Christians they had been baptized.  He doesn’t ask them if they have been baptized.  Why not?  Paul doesn’t ask them because he knows what it takes to become a Christian and be saved.  “Why tarriest thou?  Arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins.” (Acts 22:16 KJV, Ananias speaking to Saul, a believer, prior to Saul’s baptism)

One also ought to note the first thing Paul did with these 12 men after learning their situation was to have them “baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.” (Acts 19:5 NAS)  Yes, Paul taught baptism at Ephesus.  Paul stayed in Ephesus at least 2 years (see Acts 19:10) after this event so when Paul said later in Ephesians that the church was cleansed by the washing of water with the word there is no doubt he knew from personal experience all about baptism at Ephesus.  There is no such thing as an unbaptized Christian for Jesus commanded in the Great Commission (Matt. 28:19) that all disciples be baptized.  Paul either baptized them personally or saw to it that they were baptized by one or more of those who helped with the work.  Either that or he disobeyed Christ for which disciple was it that Christ said need not be baptized?

Faith is not just something to be believed but also obeyed.  One must obey the gospel to be saved (2 Thess. 1:7-8).  In a sense the gospel is the faith (Jude 3), it is that body of doctrine that is to be believed, but within that body of doctrine that constitutes the faith there are things that must be obeyed as well as believed.  In addition to mental assent to the truth about Jesus as revealed in the scripture one must repent of sins (Acts 17:30), one must confess with the mouth the Lord Jesus (Rom. 10:9-10), and one must be baptized into Christ, baptized for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38, Gal. 3:27).  Faith, the faith that saves, is not a dead faith but active.  It is by faith that a man does these things, by faith because he heard the words of God and believed them enough to take them to heart and obey them.

Do not allow yourself to be misled.  A person who does not believe Jesus who said, “He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved” (Mark 16:16 NAS) but rather believes man who says, “He who has believed and has not been baptized shall be saved” is not a man of faith.  He may think he is but if so then one can clearly disregard the words of Jesus as being essential to faith.  I have asked this question before but never gotten an answer.  If Jesus wanted man to know that baptism was essential to the remission of sins how would he say it in a way to get man to understand it?  He could not say “repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38 KJV) for he already said that and men will not accept it.  How would he say it in order to make it plain and simple enough so all could understand it?  No one has yet answered that question.  The truth is Jesus has stated it as clearly as it can be stated by mere words alone.  Men will either accept it or reject it and thereby be judged.

Have you been cleansed with the washing of water by the word?  Will you be one with those saints in Ephesus Paul wrote to or are you going to be another kind of Christian unknown to the church at Ephesus and fearfully unknown to God in the last day?   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Denny Smith’s articles are all listed on his web site – dennysmith.net – along with many audio sermons by Waymon Swain.  There are also links that will take you to hundreds of other articles and audio sermons found on other recommended sites.