And take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17
Volume 20, Number
In this issue:
Much confusion and denial exist over what the Bible says happens at baptism. This is not because the Bible is unclear on the subject. As with any Bible teaching, confusion and rejection occurs when we are more wedded to our own opinions, creeds, prejudices and preferences instead of the Scriptures. When we let God’s word speak instead of speaking against what He says we will yield our will to His.
First, we must note the Bible teaches baptism is immersion in water (baptizo, to dip, to plunge, to submerge, to immerse). It is a burial in water (Rom. 6:4; Col. 2:12). It requires “much water” to baptize (Jno. 3:23). One goes down into the water and comes up out of the water when Scriptural baptism occurs (Acts 8:38-39; Matt. 3:16). Therefore, Bible baptism is not sprinkling or pouring water. Such practices are clear departures from the action of baptism as taught in the New Testament.
Next, we must be very plain here. A person is not a Christian until he or she is baptized in accord with what the Bible teaches about baptism. Many rely on “baptisms” that are not approved by the authority of Scripture. Instead, they are approved by the authority of churches, creeds, councils, synods, conferences, etc. So, many souls take comfort in things like infant baptism, sprinkling as a form of baptism, joining a church through baptism, and other deviations from the Bible. For instance, there is no such thing in the Bible as “Christian baptism” (that is, a Christian being baptized). Without exception, the gospel of Christ teaches one becomes a Christian because he or she has been baptized by the authority of Jesus Christ (Matt. 28:18-19). Never do we read of Christians being baptized in the Scriptures.
1) Sinners are saved by Christ at baptism. Scripture says, “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mk. 16:16). “There is also an antitype which now saves us—baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ” (1 Pet. 3:21). These verses are clear. One must be baptized to be saved. Before a person is baptized that person is lost in sin. Every teaching that says a sinner is saved before being baptized is not Bible teaching. How can it be and contradict Scripture after Scripture that affirms the necessity of water baptism for salvation?
2) Remission of sins happens at baptism. Scripture says, “Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, ‘Men and brethren, what shall we do?’ Then Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit’” (Acts 2:37-38). Both repentance and baptism are necessary to receive the remission of sins. If one suggests Peter said baptism is “because of” the remission of sins, he must also say repentance is “because of” the remission of sins. Of course, nobody says that since it is clear the sinner must repent to have his sins removed. Just as clear is the need to be baptized for sins to be removed.
3) Sins are washed away at baptism. Scripture says, “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). Although Saul had fasted and prayed for three days, he still needed to be baptized to call on the Lord for his sins to be washed away. How can that be, since the blood of Jesus, not water, washes away sins (1 Pet. 1:8-19)? The blood of Christ is applied to sins at baptism because the believing, repentant sinner is “baptized into His death” (Rom. 6:3). The action of faith that puts the sinner into contact with the redeeming blood of Jesus is baptism. Without it, the stain of sin remains.
4) One’s relationship with Christ begins at baptism. Scripture says, “For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ” (Gal. 3:26-27). The inescapable conclusion is that before a person is baptized into Christ he is outside of Christ because of his sin – without Christ, alienated from God, from His fellowship and from His blessings (Acts 2:36-38). Sinners become children of God through faith in Christ, not through the law of Moses, which “was our tutor, to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith (Gal. 3:24). It is the gospel that commands us to put our faith in Christ and to come into fellowship with Him by being baptized into Him.
5) A new birth happens at baptism. Scripture says, “Jesus answered, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God’” (Jno. 3:5). Jesus said there are two elements of the new birth, “water and the Spirit.” The Spirit plants the seed (the word of God) in the heart when it is preached, heard and believed (1 Pet. 1:23; Jas. 1:21; Rom. 10:13-17). The believer is baptized in water to be purified of sin (1 Pet. 1:22). And so, the “washing of water by the word” gives birth to a child of God (Eph. 5:26).
Scripture says, “But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him” (Acts 10:35). This was said to sinners who needed to be saved. Since sinless Jesus was baptized to “fulfill all righteousness,” it is no surprise that sinners are commanded to be baptized to be accepted by God (Matt. 3:15; Acts 10:48; Titus 3:5-7).
Have you been baptized 1) To be saved? 2) To have your sins removed? 3) To be washed of your sins? 4) To come into fellowship with Christ? 5) To be born again? Have you been baptized to become a Christian? If not, why are you waiting (Acts 22:16)?
Scripture Reading: Ephesians 2:1-7
1. Living “above the line” is
euphemistic for living a successful life, one that is honest, authentic,
I. DO YOU KNOW WHERE GOD’S LINE IS? Jno. 8:31-32
A. God Draws the Line, Jer. 10:23;
2 Tim. 3:16-17; Gal. 1:10-12; Titus 2:11-12 (2 Cor. 5:9; Jno. 8:29).
II. HOW DO I “LIVE ABOVE THE LINE?”
A. Must Know Where God’s Line Is,
Heb. 5:12:14; Eph. 5:17; 2 Pet. 3:18.
You can find the complete outline of this sermon plus PowerPoint and MP3 Audio files at BIBLE ANSWERS
Scripture Reading: Jeremiah 14:1-7
1. Have you ever been really,
I. WHY DID ISRAEL HAVE FAMINES?
A. Not because God was Unable to
Bless Them, Deut. 11:13-15.
II. WHEN AND WHY DO WE EXPERIENCE SPIRITUAL FAMINES?
A. When We Forget to be Thankful
for Our Blessings, cf. Rev. 7:9-12; Rom. 1:21-23.
III. FINDING RELIEF WHEN WE EXPERIENCE SPIRITUAL FAMINE?
A. Be Thankful for Every Blessing,
Isa. 12:3-4 (1); Phil. 4:6; Col. 2:6-7; 4:2.
(Current events in the light of Scripture)
Under the Influence
Scripture says, “Wine is a mocker, strong drink is a brawler, and whoever is led astray by it is not wise” (Prov. 20:1). Add the birds of Gilbert, Minnesota to the list.
“The Gilbert Minnesota Police Department announced this week officials have received several reports of ‘drunk’ birds in the community, which have been intoxicated by ‘certain berries’ that have fermented sooner than usual this season, the police department wrote in a public notice on Tuesday” (“Minnesota city sees influx of ‘drunk’ birds flying into cars, windows, officials say,” Madaline Farber, foxnews.com).
The article goes on to explain the erratic behavior of birds in ways that are very similar to adult inebriation.
1) Confusion. “They’re colliding into windows. They’re ramming into cars. They’re ‘acting confused’” (Ibid). Tipsy birds may be funny, but in humans it shows a loss of sober-mindedness (Titus 2:6; Prov. 23:32-35).
3) Contamination. The toxins in the fermented berries overload the livers of younger birds. The toxic nature of alcohol is another reason it is foolish to drink. Glorify God in your body, don’t misuse and damage it (1 Cor. 6:19-20).
4) Deadly. It is reported that dozens of cedar waxwings birds died in Texas in 2011 after eating fermented berries (Ibid). “In 2016, 10,497 people died in alcohol-impaired driving crashes, accounting for 28% of all traffic-related deaths in the United States” (CDC). Need we say more?
Created by Chuck Sibbing, last updated. 10/10/2018
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA