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Listening to hear or learn?

February 1, 2010

Which way do you listen? Do you listen hoping you will learn or listen to see if you agree with what is said? Now I think you can listen to learn and then hear something you disagree with. But that doesn’t mean it is your primary objective.

We talked about Baptism this past Sunday as we finished our kick-off to Kingdom Come and 2010.

Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ John 3:5-7

A discussion on baptism often brings this out. Instead of listening and learning and appreciating such a beautiful event, people listen to see if what is said matches what they believe. Is it any wonder that baptism so often divides?

I find it frustrating that something so beautiful can be twisted in such a way that we only fight about it. I seriously believe that both sides could learn something from the others understanding of baptism.

The story of baptism runs throughout the Bible. Peter compares the experience to Noah and the ark. Paul connects it to the Moses and the Exodus story. Baptism is also found in the Law. I believe a better understand of the history of baptism would serve all well.

We approach the High Priest, we see the lamb slain on the cross, and we seek to be called clean by the Savior. We are baptized and move from one place to the next just as the Israelites and Noah’s family did. We enter the kingdom of God seeking the will of the Father.

Instead we choose to fight. To ask, “when is it that you are saved?” “What were your thoughts when it happened?” We think we are making baptism more clear when we only cloudy the subject. We think we are adding strength when in reality we make it weaker. We steal the beauty because in trying to get it right we have it all wrong. And when we listen to see if the speaker gets it right, we miss what really makes it that way, the power in the name of Jesus.

May God forgive us, may He give us eyes to see what we have done.

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