Volume VI, Number 35
In this issue:
I knelt to pray
but not for long,
So I knelt and
said a hurried prayer,
All day long I
had no time
No time, no time,
too much to do,
I went before the
God looked into
his book and said
A women recently wrote Dear Abby about being “baptized” against her will. It seems she married a Catholic (she is not religious) and her in-laws took it upon themselves to see to it that she was baptized. She wrote:
“A few weeks ago as I entered my in-laws’ home, they surprised me by sprinkling holy water on me and mumbling a few words. When I described the incident to some friends, they informed me that I have now been baptized – whether I like it or not. Abby, is this possible?”
Well, Abby told her it was not baptism. But, Abby went on to say someone in a coma (unconscious) could have a “conditional baptism.” The woman would have done better to go to the Bible for her answer. There she would have found that:
1) Baptism is not the sprinkling of water, but immersion in water. The word means “to dip, to plunge, to submerge, to immerse,” and is a burial with Christ in Romans 6:4 and Colossians 2:12. Baptism requires “much water” (Jno. 3:23). The person being baptized goes down into the water to be baptized (Acts 8:38).
2) Baptism is always a conscious decision of faith by the person being baptized. Philip did not say, “pull up alongside that water over there so”, get some water, sneak up behind the Ethiopian and baptize him! The Ethiopian asked what was keeping him from being baptized, to which Philip replied, “If you believe with all your heart, you may” (Acts 8:37). Since baptism comes after faith, neither can priests “sneak up” on babies and scripturally “baptize” them! Infant baptism is an invention of man and not the ordained will of God. (This also eliminates the Mormon practice of baptism for the dead.)
3) There is no such thing as “holy water.” Another invention of man, the first credible reference to which dates from at least the sixth century A.D. The power to remove sins is not in the water – it is in the death of Jesus Christ. Thus, Peter informs us that baptism is not an outward washing but the result of an inward appeal to God (1 Pet. 3:21). The washing away of sins at baptism occurs because one is “baptized into His death” (Acts 22:16; Rom. 6:3).
4) Catholic baptism is not NT baptism. The Catholic Church has corrupted the stated purpose of water baptism and the manner in which it is carried out with their sprinkling of “holy water”, their practice of infant baptism and their “conditional baptism” of unconscious people.
5) Water baptism is necessary for salvation from sins. Jesus said, “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mk. 16:16). The apostle Peter said baptism “now saves us” (1 Pet. 3:21). So, baptism is vitally important to one’s salvation. But, it must be the “one baptism” we learn about in the New Testament – not the “baptisms” conceived in the mind of men.
Have you been baptized for the remission of your sins? (Acts 2:38) If not, “why are you waiting” (Acts 22:16)?
You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS
God's Eternal Plan (Part 2)
Scripture Reading: Ephesians 1:3-12
Our salvation depends on us knowing, believing & obeying God’s Scheme of Redemption. (1 Tim. 2:3-4)
I. THE SCHEME OF HUMAN REDEMPTION IS THE THEME OF THE BIBLE.
A. The Eternal Purpose of God
– Eph. 3:11; 1:3-6, 11; Heb. 2:9-10.
II. IT IS VITALLY IMPORTANT THAT ONE STUDIES THE BIBLE WITHIN THE CONTEXT OF GOD’S ETERNAL PURPOSE FOR HUMAN REDEMPTION.
A. Rightly Divide God’s Word
– 2 Tim. 2:15.
1. God’s plan has been revealed
(Rom. 1:16-17; Heb. 5:9).
You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS
My Spiritual Growth
Scripture Reading: 2 Peter 1:5-11
Growth is vital to our physical health (requires nutrition, exercise & healthy lifestyle). How is your spiritual growth?
I. SPIRITUAL GROWTH DEPENDS ON:
II. I AM GROWING WEAKER & AWAY FROM CHRIST IF:
Heart Grows Dull to God’s Word – Matt. 13:15 (Acts 28:27).
III. I AM GROWING STRONGER & CLOSER TO CHRIST IF:
Speak & Live the Truth in Love – Eph. 4:13-15 (Matt. 12:34); Eph. 4:25.
Conclusion – Growth is ongoing, Phil. 3:12-14. Will I choose death (Jas. 1:15-16) or life (Col. 1:9-12)?
Man Gets Life for Following False Prophet
MULTAN, Pakistan (Reuters) - A Pakistani man has been sentenced to life in prison under the country’s blasphemy laws for being a follower of a self-proclaimed prophet, court officials said Thursday.
Ahsan Azamtullah, 45, was convicted of being a disciple of Sardar Ahmed, a self-proclaimed prophet who died in prison last year after a prolonged bout of mental illness, officials said.
Azamtullah was also fined $1,700 in the verdict handed down Wednesday by a court in the eastern Pakistani town of Faisalabad. Another man and woman are being sought to answer similar charges.
In Islam, the prophet Mohammad has been declared the last messenger from God. Under the law in Pakistan, an Islamic nation, those claiming to be latter-day prophets are guilty of blasphemy, which carries the maximum death penalty. Copyright © 2002 Reuters Limited.
Jesus Christ teaches us to “beware of false prophets” who appear harmless, peaceful and peace-loving, but who, due to their false teaching, are ravenous wolves (Matt. 7:15). The apostle applied the same principle when warning the Ephesian elders that “savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves” (Acts 20:29-30). Who could imagine that some of these elders would begin speaking perverse things and lead souls astray?! But, just as it happened in Ephesus, it can happen today (1 Tim. 1:3; 4:1-3; 5:19-21).
That which made the prophet “false” was his prophecy which opposed apostolic truth (1 Jno. 4:1, 6). Both Sardar Ahmed and Mohammad fall into that category (Matt. 7:15-20; Gal. 1:6-9). That which made the elders at Ephesus “perverse” speakers was their teaching which distorted and corrupted “the word of His grace” (Acts 20:32). They became “false teachers” based on what they taught – a perverted gospel.
Unlike Mr. Azamtullah, if we follow the teachings of a false prophet/teacher we will not get “life in prison” – we will receive a much heavier punishment: the sentence of eternal death (destruction, 1 Pet. 2:1-2)! Let us stand fast and hold the traditions taught by the apostles of Christ (2 Ths. 2:15). -jrp
Created by Chuck Sibbing. 12/20/2002
The Spirit's Sword is a free, weekly publication
of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA