And take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17
Volume 22, Number
In this issue:
In many denominations today individuals are being “sprinkled” instead of being “immersed.” Those “sprinkled” are said to have been baptized. The word baptize is the Greek word “baptizo” which means to dip or plunge. One is not “dipped” or “plunged” into the water when one is sprinkled. We learn from the New Testament that John was baptizing in Aenon near Salim because “there was much water there” (John 3:23). There needed to be “much water” because one is not scripturally baptized until one is plunged beneath the water (immersed). Baptism by immersion represents the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. “Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection” (Romans 6:4-5). The following facts are true concerning “sprinkling.”
Sprinkling - has no
suggestion of your buried past (Romans 6:5)
Furthermore, sprinkling has only the creed and tradition of man for its authority. When an infant is sprinkled, he or she is sprinkled WITHOUT desire, WITHOUT faith, WITHOUT repentance, WITHOUT confession, WITHOUT love, WITHOUT expectation, WITHOUT consent, WITHOUT an inspired example, and WITHOUT divine authority. To sprinkle water on an infant is presumption by the preacher, forced by the parents, disliked by the infant, and disobedient on the part of all those who had a part in the forced dedication.
When we consult God’s Word, the Bible, we can find that baptism was ALWAYS accomplished when one was immersed into the watery grave, not sprinkled. When one is laid to rest in an open grave, sprinkling dirt on top of the casket and calling it a burial does not make it so. When one is sprinkled with water and calling it a burial does not make that so. It is only when we believe and obey God’s teaching on this or any subject can we be in the right fellowship with Him. We MUST do His will and not the will of man (Matthew 7:21; John 12:48).
The basic meaning of the expression “heavens and the earth” is a dwelling place, a habitation. In Genesis 1:1, God created “the heavens and the earth” (the physical world) with plant and animal life, for humanity to inhabit (Gen. 1:26-28).
We later find a similar expression used with a spiritual application (Isa. 65:17; 66:22). Isaiah spoke of God creating “new heavens and a new earth” in which all men would come to worship before Him (Isa. 65:17; 66:23). He thus prophesied of the church – the habitation or dwelling place of God’s people (cf. Isa. 2:1-4; 11:1-12).
God dwells with His people, the church, and they with Him (2 Cor. 6:16-18; Eph. 2:11-22). Christians, reconciled to God, are raised out of the death of sin to sit “in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 2:5-6, 16).
We become citizens of the kingdom of the Son when we are saved in Christ (Col. 1:13-14). Christians inhabit a new and spiritual realm, the church, the kingdom of heaven (Acts 2:47; Matt. 16:18-19). Our citizenship is in heaven (Phil. 3:20). Isaiah’s prophecies are fulfilled in the church over which Christ reigns and into which we have been transferred (Rom. 15:12; Col. 1:13; Rev. 5:9-10).
The kingdom of Christ, the church, is a dwelling place uniquely different from this earth. It is a spiritual kingdom, the house of God, a holy temple in the Lord, where peace between God and man exists (Eph. 2:14-22). This earth is not our home (Heb. 11:13-16).
When Peter used the expression “new heavens and a new earth” in 2 Peter 3:13, he looked forward to yet another dwelling place of God’s people, the eternal kingdom, our heavenly home (2 Pet. 1:11). In visionary form, John saw this “new heaven and a new earth” prepared for eternal habitation (Rev. 21:1-7).
Revelation 20:11 and 21:1 allude to the time when the material universe is destroyed – no place is found for heaven and earth (2 Pet. 3:10-12). In its place will be “new heavens and a new earth” where God’s people will eternally dwell with Him (Rev. 21:22-22:5).
In summary, we see the expression “heavens and earth” applied first to this material world (Gen. 1:1). Then, to the spiritual kingdom (the church) that exists now (Isa. 65:17; 66:22). And finally, to the eternal kingdom, our heavenly inheritance (1 Pet. 1:4; 2 Pet. 3:13; Rev. 21:1). In each case, “heavens and earth” is applied to a habitation created by God for His creation. As His “new creation,” Christians presently inhabit the Messiah’s kingdom (2 Cor. 5:17). In the last, glorious day of resurrection and judgment, Christ will deliver us, His kingdom, to God the Father (1 Cor. 15:24-28). We shall dwell forever in that habitation of righteousness (2 Pet. 3:13; Matt. 25:46).
-Revised, The Spirit’s Sword, May 27, 2001
In Revelation 3:15-16, the brethren at Laodicea were told, “I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.” In a word, they were stagnant. Stagnation is defined as “a lack of action or activity.” Stagnation occurs when we never change what we do or the way we think. It is easy to become stagnant in our work as a Christian or as part of a local congregation. Think about the following several ways stagnation can be manifested.
“We have never done it that way.” As long as the ideas are scriptural, we should try them if they will enhance our efforts to teach the truth and to save people.
“We are not ready for that, yet.” Some are not ready for certain actions is because many of the members do not feel a sense of responsibility in the work.
“We are doing alright without it.” Complacency has become a way of life. Perhaps a change in habits or outlook can make a tremendous difference.
“We tried it once, and it did not work out.” What if Paul had this attitude? You would not give up inviting people because some said “No” would you?
“It costs too much.” Endeavors are never begun because some feel that just about everything costs too much. We are here to save souls, not money.
“That is not our responsibility.” This causes the stagnation of many members because of our failure to realize and fulfill our responsibilities.
“It will not work.” This is the attitude of a defeated, pessimistic, and negative person. Congregations need optimists who can look to the future and be faithful.
I hope no one would
want to be like this for any length of time. The Lord said further to the
Laodiceans, “Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and
have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable,
and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in
the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be
clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine
eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and
chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent” (Revelation 3:17-19). They
thought they were doing good, but really they needed to repent.
(Current events in the light of Scripture)
"Jesus Was Not Perfect"
Nobody’s perfect, including Jesus Christ, according to CNN host Don Lemon. “During a conversation with network host Chris Cuomo on Monday night (July 9, jrp), Lemon said that much of history taught to children is ‘propaganda’ and revised basic biblical doctrine by saying Jesus, the central figure of Christianity, was ‘not perfect.’ ‘Jesus Christ — if that’s who you believe in, Jesus Christ — admittedly, was not perfect when he was here on this Earth,’ Lemon said. ‘So, why are we deifying the founders of this country, many of whom owned slaves?’” (“Don Lemon claims Jesus Christ’ admittedly was not perfect’ on Earth,” Anthony Leonardi, washingtonexaminer.com)
This news commentator should stick to the news instead of commenting on Jesus Christ and the historical record of His. I do not deify the founders of this country (frankly, I do not know anyone who does). However, we affirm that nobody gave Jesus His deity. It is His very nature. He is Immanuel (“God with us,” Matt. 1:23; Isa. 9:6-7). He is the Creator, God who because flesh and dwelt among humans (Jno. 1:1-3, 14). God doesn’t make mistakes; He is perfect.
No one ever convicted Jesus of sin. Jesus asked, “Which of you convicts Me of sin? And if I tell you the truth, why do you not believe Me” (Jno. 8:46)? Of course, that cannot be said successfully of America’s founders (or anyone else).
Jesus’ character was spotless. He “is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners…” (Heb. 7:26).
Jesus did not sin. Peter wrote, Jesus “committed no sin, nor was deceit in His mouth” (1 Pet. 2:22).
Lemon’s false charge against the perfect character and sinless life of Jesus reveals his unbelief and allies him with those who lied about and murdered Jesus (Matt. 27:59-68).
We must identify and resist the assaults against the truth of God, faith, and morality that permeate our society. We must expose those who advance sin and error (Eph. 5:11).
Created by Chuck Sibbing, last updated. 07/17/2020
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA