THE SPIRITS SWORD
Mt. Baker church of Christ
1860 Mt. Baker Hwy · Bellingham, WA 98226
Volume V, Number 45 - February 3, 2002
Editor..................Joe R. Price
Visit our Web Sites:
Mt. Baker church of Christ: http://www.bibleanswer.com/mtbaker
BIBLE ANSWERS: http://www.bibleanswer.com
In this issue:
Larry Ray Hafley
Sean Hochdorf, wrote the following in the bulletin of the Southaven, MS, church:
"For several years now the Sunset Ridge Church of Christ in Lubbock, TX has sponsored 'Son-Sational Sunday.' This event is conducted in place of Sunday evening services. The describe it as a 'larger than life experience.' They have a big screen TV that will broadcast the Super Bowl. During the commercials they will conduct their worship."
Would you like to be in that building watching the Super Bowl when the Lord returned? Sobering thought, huh? What would we think of a Seventh Day Adventist Church in Louisville, KY, if they were to do the same thing for the Kentucky Derby? Suppose they cancelled their Sabbath services and watched all the Derby day festivities? Would you think they were serious about their faith? Me, neither.
Would it not be more fitting if their "Son-Sational Sunday" were called, "Sin-Sational Sunday?"
How do we fit the following passages with the Super Bowl service cited above? "Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness" (Matt. 6:33). "If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above....Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth" (Col. 3:1, 2).
There will be some who will be more upset with me for writing this article than they will be with the church that celebrated the Super Bowl rather than worshiping God "in spirit and in truth" (Jn. 4:24). Somehow, we will be seen as the troublers of Israel for reporting and rebuking it (1 Kgs. 18:17). We contend for fervent faith and pure practice, while brethren sit "down to eat and drink and rise up to play;" yet, we, not the perpetrators, are criticized. "What's wrong with this picture?"
Joe R. Price
Please give careful consideration to these Biblical statements of fact concerning baptism:
For Salvation - Mark 16:16
For Remission Of Sins - Acts 2:38
For Washing Away Your Sin - Acts 22:16
For Entrance Into Christ - Galatians 3:27
To Be Born Again - John 3:5
To Be Added By Christ To His Church - Acts 2:41, 47; 1 Corinthians 12:13
To Get Into Christ's Death - Romans 6:3
To Get Into Christ's Name - Matthew 28:19
To Put Off The Body Of Sin - Colossians 2:11-12
To Be Buried With Christ And Raised To Walk In The New Life - Romans 6:3-17
To Get Into The Kingdom - John 3:5
To Go On Your Way Rejoicing - Acts 8:39
To Obey God - Acts 10:47-48; 2 Thessalonians 1:8
The previous chart not only helps us learn about baptism, it also helps us to in turn help others learn more about it! Clip it out and put it in your Bible as a quick reference when studying with others. While not exhaustive, it shows why one should be baptized. In that vein, I have a few "why" questions to ponder about baptism.
Why do so many people practice baptism by sprinkling? The word 'baptizo' does not have this definition. It means "to dip, to immerge, submerge." As W. E. Vine relates, "to baptize...was used among the Greeks to signify the dyeing of a garment, or the drawing of water by dipping a vessel into another" (Vine's Dictionary, I:97).
But, we are not left to rely upon men's dictionaries for our assurance. The Bible describes baptism as a "burial" with Christ (Rom. 6:4; Col. 2:12). It requires "much water" to baptize (Jno. 3:23), as well as a going "down into the water" and a coming "up out of the water" (Acts 8:38-39). I have yet to see one bury something by merely sprinkling a little bit of dirt on it. Neither would sprinkling require much water, much less getting into the water to accomplish.
Sprinkling as a form of baptism began as a matter of convenience to those unable to be immersed. But the definition of "baptize", as well as the New Testament accounts of baptism, show sprinkling to be of man's invention rather than God's revealed will (Gal. 1:6-9).
Why do people baptize babies? Many believe that such an exercise will remove Adam's sin ("original sin") from the child. The Bible teaches that baptism is for sinners (Acts 22:16). It also affirms that children are not sinners (Matt. 18:1-3; 19:14). Therefore, baptism is not for infants.
Secondly, the Bible teaches that one must believe the gospel, confess Christ and repent of sins before he can be baptized into Christ (Mk. 16:16; Rom. 10:9-10; Acts 2:38). Since a baby can do none of these things (not yet possessing the mental capability to do so), it is not a proper subject for baptism.
John Calvin said
"As Christ enjoins them to teach before baptizing, and desires that none but believers shall be admitted to baptism, it would appear that baptism is not properly administered unless when preceded by faith" (Harmony of the Evangelists , III:38).
It is ironic that the Presbyterian Church (which was founded by Calvin) now accepts that
"Not only those that do actually profess faith in and obedience unto Christ, but also the infants of one or both believing parents are to be baptized" (The Book of Confessions, XXX, 4; 6.157).
There is no sacramental power, no forgiveness of sins granted, to an infant who is sprinkled with water. None is needed.
Why do so many people object to the need for baptism in order to be saved? That the Bible teaches its necessity is clearly stated (see the chart above). The reasons listed there are ample to persuade a person that if he is to be saved at all, he must be baptized according to the will of Christ (Eph. 4:5). Yet, millions deny that baptism is essential for salvation. All the excuses given to eliminate the need for baptism ultimately boil down to a lack of faith in Christ and His revealed word. The good and honest heart that believes Jesus is the Christ has little trouble understanding that "he who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned" (Mk. 16:16).
Why aren't more people baptized into Christ? There is nothing mystical about baptism. It is an action of faith in Christ (Gal. 3:26-27). By it, we are saved by the Savior's blood (1 Pet. 3:21; Rom. 6:3; Acts 22:16). It signals an end to sin in one's life and a new beginning (Rom. 6:3-4).
Sadly, many people who know they should be baptized refuse to do so. I don't understand it. What is more important than having your sins washed away (Acts 22:16)?
Nothing in this world is worth your soul being lost (Matt. 16:26). You can become a child of God, freed from the guilt of sin with a sure hope of eternal life (Rom. 5:1-2). It begins with a faith which confesses Christ, which repents of past sins, and which obeys the gospel of Christ by being baptized (Jno. 8:24; Acts 17:30; Acts 2:37-41). But, this is only the beginning. There is a new life to live (Rom. 6:4). One which no longer serves sin, but God (Rom. 6:5-17).
Why not be baptized today?
You can also find this sermon online at BIBLE ANSWERS
HEAR AND HEED THE WORDS OF CHRIST
Scripture Reading: Matthew 7:21-29
1. The words of Christ = Will of the Father - Matt. 7:24, 21. (Includes the apostles' words - Lk. 10:16).
-Obey: Wise, enter heaven.
-Disobey: Lawless, foolish & lost.
2. We need ears to hear! - Matt. 13:9
-Open & obedient to the words of Christ! - Matt. 13:13-17
-Hear and heed the words of Jesus:
I. ON HOW TO BE SAVED FROM YOUR PAST SINS.
* "Except you BELIEVE...will die in your sins" - Jno. 8:23-24, 58.
* "Except you REPENT...perish" - Lk. 13:3, 5.
* "CONFESS me before men" - Matt. 10:32-33.
* "He who believes and is BAPTIZED will be saved" - Mk. 16:16.
II. ON DISCIPLESHIP.
* "Deny yourself daily" - Lk. 9:22-26.
1. Because Jesus did! (9:22)
2. Willing to sacrifice (9:23).
3. More important than life itself! (9:24-25)
4. Without shame or fear of man (9:26).
* "Endure to the end" - Matt. 10:22 (16-21); Rev. 2:10.
1. Holy living (by following Him) - Jno. 8:12.
2. True worshippers - Jno. 4:23-24.
3. Serve / love others - Matt. 22:39; 20:26-28.
III. ON MARRIAGE, DIVORCE & REMARRIAGE - Matt. 19:3-12.
* "Have you not read?" - 19:4
* "What God has joined together..." - 19:6. (Rom. 7:2-3)
* "Whoever divorces his wife except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery" - 19:9. (1 Cor. 7:10-11; Rom. 7:2-3)
* "He who is able to accept it, let him accept it" - 19:10-12.
1. Yield to the truth (Jesus is not offering an option).
2. Ears to hear!
IV. ON BEING GIVERS, NOT TAKERS.
* "It is more blessed to give than to receive" - Acts 20:35.
-Heart, time, energy, goods, etc.
* "For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you" - Lk. 6:37-40. (Reap what you sow, Gal. 6:7).
1. Without hypocrisy...forgive (give mercy) - 6:37.
2. Empty yourself & be filled - 6:38.
3. Follow the example of Jesus - 6:39-40.
V. ON OBSERVING ALL THINGS - Matt. 28:18-20.
* "Teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you" - 28:20.
1. Obedience honors His authority over us - 28:18.
2. Obedience shows love for Jesus - Jno. 14:15.
3. Obedience shows others the way to heaven - Matt. 5:16.
1. We can be wise or we can be foolish! Every day we choose which we will be!
2. Show your wisdom today. Be wise. Be saved. Obey Jesus now!
3. Matt. 11:28-30
The Spirit's Sword is a free, weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA
Send all questions, comments and subscriptions to the editor at: email@example.com