Volume VI, Number 43
March 02, 2003

Published by

Mt. Baker
church of Christ
Bellingham, WA
(1860 Mt. Baker HWY)
(360) 752-2692

Bible Classes..........9:30 AM
Worship............10:30 & 6:00

Bible Classes...........7:00 PM

Web sites:

Editor................Joe R. Price

"And take...the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God" (Eph. 6:17)

In this issue:

Clarifying Confusion
Joe R. Price

From time to time we share with you Bible questions we receive from the Bible Answers website along with the answer we give.  Here is a recent inquiry from which we hope you will also benefit.  Joe


“I wanted to know if I could ask you something about Baptism why is Baptism Salvation? and why isn’t just saying a sinners prayer salvation without Baptism?


“I use to go to the church of Christ but left two years ago I was so confused and felt like I wasn’t learning I went back to the Pentecostal church that’s all I know I don’t agree with everything there like Tongues, Healing but some things I guess I do so I just feel so confused like where should I be? Where am I with God?”

Dear ______,

I am glad you took time to write and am happy to reply.  I am sorry, however, that you chose to stop attending a church of Christ because you felt confused.  Let me encourage you to start doing so again.  I would be happy to assist you in finding a congregation to visit where you can study this subject with someone.

We can understand the word of God.  Jesus said “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”  (John 8:32)  The apostle Paul said that when we read what he wrote we can understand his knowledge of the gospel (Eph. 3:3-4).  Rest assured that you do not have to be confused, and that you must not allow your present confusion to dishearten and discourage you.  As you read and study God’s word you will be able to use it properly in your life (2 Timothy 2:15).

The Bible teaches that water baptism is an action of obedient faith which is necessary in order to be saved from sin.  Consider the following scriptural support for this conclusion:

1.  Jesus said, “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:16).

2.  The apostle Peter told lost sinners to “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins...” (Acts 2:38).

3.  Saul was told, “And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord” (Acts 22:16).

4.  “The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 3:21).      

In the New Testament you never find lost sinners being told to pray “the sinner’s prayer” in order to be saved.  The murderers of Jesus were told to “repent and be baptized...for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38).  Saul was told that his sins would be washed away when he would “arise and be baptized” (Acts 22:16).  Belief and baptism - not belief and prayer - saves the lost (Mark 16:16).  Baptism, not prayer, puts one “into Christ” (Galatians 3:27).

In order to become a Christian one must (1) Believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God (Jno. 8:23-24; Heb. 11:6); (2) Confess his/her faith (Matt. 10:32; Rom. 10:9-10); Repent of sins (Luke 13:3, 5; Acts 17:30); and be baptized for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38; 22:16; Mark 16:16). 

Water baptism brings the sinner into contact with the power of the death of Christ:  “Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?” (Romans 6:3)  Our redemption is by the blood (death) of Christ (Ephesians 1:7).  And, Romans 6:3 says we are baptized into His death!  So, to be saved by the death of Christ we must be baptized into His death!  Then, sins are “washed away” -- not by the water, but by the blood of Jesus (Acts 22:16; 1 Pet. 3:21).

The Bible also teaches there is ”one baptism” now in force (Ephesians 4:5).  It is none other than the baptism Jesus talked about when He gave the Great Commission to the apostles (Mark 16:15-16).  Water baptism was commanded by Jesus in Mark 16:16 and preached by His apostles (see Acts 10:48).  When Philip “preached Jesus” to the lost man he must have preached water baptism, because the man said, “see, here is water.  What hinders me from being baptized?”  (Acts 8:35-36)

So, if someone today talks about a “spirit” or “spiritual” baptism, they have introduced another -- a second -- baptism into the picture.  That is one baptism too many (Eph. 4:5)!  If they say you must have Holy Spirit baptism to be fully sanctified, that is one baptism too many (Eph. 4:5)!

But, then there are those who say you do not have to be baptized to be saved.  They say you are saved before and without water baptism.  No baptism is not enough (Eph. 4:5)!  Jesus said “If you love Me, keep My commandments” (John 14:15).  To tell people they do not have to obey the commandment of baptism which Jesus gave (in Mark 16:16) in order to be saved is the same as telling people they do not have to love Jesus in order to be saved!  That cannot be the truth!

As for modern-day tongue-speaking and miraculous healing, you are right:  these things no longer occur.  Speaking in tongues, in the Bible days, meant to speak in discernable, understandable languages of men (Acts 2:4, 5-8, 11).  It was not the ability to speak in a “heavenly” or “angelic” language.  As for the ability to work miracles, it always was for the purpose of confirming or validating new revelation -- the gospel message -- as it went out into the world (Mk. 16:17-20).  Once the gospel message was delivered and validated these miracles ended (1 Cor. 13:8-10).  To teach they continue today means there must be more gospel - new revelation - being given to men. But, the gospel is complete, having been once for all delivered from heaven to man (Jude 3).

Let me encourage you to visit the following pages on the Bible Answers website ( which address the subject of baptism:  Why You Need Baptism; Does Baptism Save You?; Why Were You Baptized?; What Must I Do to be Saved?; and Miracles in the New Testament.  See the First Principles index page for more fundamental Bible lessons. 

Please let me know if I can be of further service to you.   Regards, Joe Price


You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS

A World of Sinners

Scripture Reading:  Romans 3:9-19

1.  Question:  “Did the early Native Americans such as the Aztecs Incas Mayas...have any knowledge of the word of God?  If not, what happened to their souls?”
2.  The answer lies in understanding the nature of sin, the progression of sin in this world, & the gospel’s power to save the lost.


  A.  The Gospel is God’s Power to Save Sinners – Rom. 1:16-17; 3:22 (1 Tim. 4:10; Heb. 9: 22; 10:12; Acts 20:24).
  B.  Therefore, the Gospel is to be Preached to All the World – Mk. 16:15-16; (Rom. 6:23; 5:12).

II.  THE PROGRESSION OF SIN IN THE WORLD – Rom. 1:18-32 (picture of Gentiles under sin).

  A.  The Ungodliness & Unrighteousness of Men Hinders the Truth of God – 1:18 (Gen. 6:1-5); 2 Cor. 4:3-4.
  B.  Historically, Men Have Rejected God & His Revealed Truth Because of Their Sin – 1:18-23.
(Gen. 2:16-17; Heb. 1:1-2)
  C.  When Men Reject God & His Truth They Plunge Deeper & Deeper into Sin – Rom. 1:21-32.  (progression of sin)
    1.  Failure to honor God – 1:21 (Isa. 24:5-6).
    2.  Ingratitude toward God – 1:21.  (Devalue God)
    3.  Elevation of self & human wisdom – 1:22 (Eph. 4:17-18).
    4.  Idolatry (false gods) – 1:23, 25.
    5.  Moral chaos – 1:24-32.
  D.  God “Gave Them Up” To Their Sins – Rom. 1:24, 26, 28; Eph. 4:19 (Rom. 1:27).
    Illus. Pre-flood; Post-flood.
  E.  Over Time, When Man Rejects God & His Truth, Whole Societies & Cultures Forget God & His Truth (will for them) – Rom. 1:25, 28; 3:9-19; 11:32; Mk. 16:15; Rom. 1:16; 5:6-9.

Conclusion. – 2 Ths. 1:8-9; Rom. 2:2-6 (Jno. 4:35)


You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS

Having Been Justified by Faith We Have...

Scripture Reading:  Romans 5:1-5

1.  Why should Christians be confident in the face of trials, disappointments, persecutions, temptations, rejections and other stumbling blocks set before us?  How can we?  Does it matter?  (Psa. 51:12; Eph. 1:3)
2.  Rom. 5:1-5: The results of our justification by faith assure our hearts of future glory.


  A.  Christians Are Justified By Faith – Gal. 3:10; 2:16; Rom. 3:20-26; 4:3-5.
  B.  The gospel is God’s Power to Save Sinners (Rom. 1:16) Because it…
    1.  Reveals God’s grace which saves sinners – Acts 20:24 (Eph. 2:8).
    2.  Teaches us how we live by faith (Rom. 1:17) - Eph. 2:9-10; Tit. 2:10-11.


  A.  Peace with God – 5:1, 9-11; 1 Ths. 1:10 (Col. 1:21-22); Eph. 2:14-18 (Jno. 16:22, 33).
  B.  Access to & Are Standing in God’s Grace – 5:2a (3:20); Gal. 2:21; Tit. 3:5-7; Heb. 13:9. 
  C.  A Joyful Hope of Eternal Glory - 5:2-5; cf. Gal. 5:5. (Gospel calls to hope, 2 Ths. 2:13-14).
    1.  Our hope gives us the ability to rejoice in tribulations – 5:3a.  (Acts 16:25; 2 Cor. 12:10); cf. Heb. 12:2
    2.  Tribulation produces (accomplishes, achieves, develops) perseverance, 5:3b (Jas. 1:2-4).
    3.  Perseverance produces approved character, 5:4 (1 Pet. 1:6-7).
    4.  Character produces hope, 5:4-5a (Heb.
    5.  There is no spiritual disappointment in our hope (assured) – 5:5 (Eph. 1:13-14; Gal. 3:1-9).

Conclusion. – Remember your spiritual blessings when faced with trials (Heb. 4:16; 2 Pet. 1:9-11)


(Current events in the light of Scripture)

Was the Bible Written in Code?
Joe R. Price 

“Bible Code II: The Countdown” by Michael Drosnin, is his sequel to “The Bible Code” (1997), in which he alleges the Old Testament was written in secret, ancient codes, and forecasts current-day events such as a global “economic collapse” in 2002 (that didn’t happen!) and a nuclear war in 2006.  I was recently asked if there is any truth to this book, to which I  replied, “no”!

Bible Code II is a vain attempt by unbelievers to explain away the clear meaning and message of the Bible - that it is the word of God to mankind, and turn it into a secret message that can only be understood with a 21st century “message decoder”!

As Richard N. Ostling, AP Religion Writer observed,

Since Drosnin is an atheist, he figures the ancient codes weren’t the work of God. Since the ancient Israelites lacked the necessary computers, the Bible must have come from high-tech superhumans in outer space and the codes provide “the first scientific evidence” that we’re not alone in the universe.  (“Bible Code Fad Persists,” The Halifax Herald Limited, Saturday, February 23, 2003;

The Bible is not a hidden book that only computers and mathematicians can decipher.  Neither is it from outer space!  It is the inspired word of God which men and women can read, understand, and obey.  It is too bad that those who reject God also reject His word.

Consider these Bible passages about our ability to understand God’s word of truth -- without any codes:  Deut. 30:11-14; Eph. 3:3-5; Jno. 8:31-32; Eph. 5:17; 2 Tim. 3:15-17.  Instead of twisting God’s word to the destruction of souls we should “give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard” from the Bible and see that we do not “refuse Him who speaks” to us (Heb. 2:1; 12:25; 1:1-2)!


Created by Chuck Sibbing.  03/01/2003

The Spirit's Sword is a free, weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA
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