All posts by JT

Christian. Husband. Dad. 911 dispatcher. Baseball fan. Horror nut. Music nerd. Bookworm. Time Magazine's 2006 Person of the Year.

The Purpose of Baptism

There are many opinions about baptism in the 21st century religious world. Most recognize that baptism is important but disagree on its place in God’s plan for saving man. Since it is an important topic, we would be wise to seek the counsel of God on baptism.

“For the remission of sins”

Acts 2:38, 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.”

According to this passage, Peter says that baptism is “for the remission of sins.” What does that phrase mean? In English, we recognize that “for” can have a few different meanings. It could mean that baptism is done with a view toward, or in order to accomplish the remission of sins. Another way to understand it is that baptism is done because of the remission of sins, or because remissions of sins was already accomplished. So which is it?

This is not the only passage in the Bible that uses the phrase, “for the remission of sins.” I am a firm believer in the idea that the Bible is its own best commentary, so let’s look at the other passage in which the phrase “for the remission of sins” is found.

While instituting the Lord’s Supper, Jesus said about the cup, “For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins” (Matthew 26:28). Now, apply the above meanings to this passage. Was Jesus’ blood shed with a view toward, or in order to accomplish the remission of sins? Or was His blood shed because the remission of sins was already accomplished?

Obviously, the first view is correct. If remission of sins was accomplished before His blood was shed, then why was His blood shed? Just as Jesus’ blood was shed in order to accomplish the remission of sins, likewise we are baptized in order to accomplish the remission of sins.

Not baptism alone!

Let us pause for just a moment to clarify that the Bible does not teach salvation by baptism alone. The Scriptures are clear that one must hear the gospel (Romans 10:17), believe (John 3:16), repent (Acts 2:38; 3:17), and confess his belief in Christ as the Son of God (Acts 8:37). All of these things work together with baptism to bring about God’s grace in a person’s life. It is neither faith alone (James 2:24) nor baptism alone (Mark 16:16) that saves, but an obedient, active faith.

“Wash away your sins”

When Jesus appeared before Saul of Tarsus on the road to Damascus, the Lord told him, “Arise and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do” (Acts 9:6). For three days Saul fasted and prayed (Acts 9:9,11) until Ananias came and said, “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).

So follow the events: Saul believed, then started fasting and praying, and then Ananias said stop praying, be baptized, and wash away your sins. That’s a lot different than what many say today! Many teach that when you believe and say a prayer, you’re saved at that point, and then later you can be baptized if you want. But Ananias placed baptism before the washing away of sins!

Necessary or not?

The North American Mission Board, an organization of the Southern Baptist Convention, says, “While baptism is important, it is not necessary for salvation.” They argue against the clear statement of Mark 16:16, in which Jesus says, “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.” NAMB argues, “Mark 16:16 is silent concerning whether the person who believes but is not baptized is saved or lost.”

Jesus is clear in His command. Why must man take His plain statement and twist it and make excuses and try to find loopholes? Jesus said believe, be baptized, be saved. Nothing is said about belief without baptism because there is no such thing; if one truly believes and understands, he will simply obey what Christ commands without looking for a way out.

Where do you stand?

Do you believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and died so that your sins could be forgiven? Have you had your sins washed away by the saving blood of Christ? Have you been baptized for the remission of sins?

If you need assistance in obeying this simple command of the Lord, the only One who can save you from your sins, please contact your local church of Christ today.

Announcing the “Events” page

Gospel meetings. Lectureships. Seminars. Ladies’ Days. Youth Events. There are many things going on in the brotherhood, and sometimes it is difficult to keep up with everything. In an attempt to facilitate that to some degree, I have created a new page for “Events” (handlingaright.wordpress.com/events). This is meant to be a chronological listing of brotherhood happenings that are open to the public, such as gospel meetings and lectureships. You are welcome to suggest an event for the page here (handlingaright.wordpress.com/events-add).

I have started the page with a few events that I have seen advertised elsewhere, but will gladly update any of the information if it is incomplete or incorrect. I am sure the page will evolve over time if it is used, and I am open to any suggestions you might have.

Will this page be helpful? Only if it is used. Bookmark the “Events” page, tell others about it, and submit information for the brotherhood to see.

New links added

I have not updated this page in some time, and the “blogroll” has remained virtually unchanged since this blog debuted. I do intend to post more in the future when I finish some other projects I am have undertaken. However, I decided to add a few more sites to the “Links For Further Study” section to the right. Some of these sites I have been reading for many years, but did not initially come to mind when I started this blog. Others are new to me but contain a lot of useful information.

Disclaimer: Including a link does not indicate an endorsement of all that is posted on a particular site. Whenever you are reading the thoughts of uninspired man, even someone you trust, always verify the veracity of their studies with the Word of God.

The links just added are as follows:

Fervent in Spirit, Serving the Lord

          No matter what one’s role is in the church, he is expected to be zealous in performing the will of God in that role. In the words of James Burton Coffman, “A lazy Christian is a contradiction of terms. Having been saved from the guilt and ravages of sin, the Christian is man at the zenith of his best powers.”
          It is not possible for one who truly understands what God has done to be apathetic. Christianity is not a hobby; it is a way of life. The church is not a social club; it is a spiritual family.
          The elders are not overlords; they are shepherds who care for your soul. The deacons are not junior elders; they are servants who carry out specific works in the church. The preacher is not a performer; he is a student and messenger of God’s Word.
          Members are not spectators; they are essential parts of the body, and if the church is going to be healthy, every member must be just as fervent in spirit as the elders, deacons, and preacher as they serve the Lord!

Let This Mind Be In You: Confidence in the Power of God

Confidence in the Power of God

Matthew 17:22-23

I. CONFIDENCE OF CHRIST AND HIS APOSTLES

    A. Jesus had confidence in the power of God to establish and sustain His church (Matthew 6:13; 24:35; 16:13-18)
    B. Jesus had confidence in the scheme of redemption (Matthew 16:21; 17:22-23)
    C. Because of His confidence, the apostles developed a similar confidence (Acts 2:22-36)

II. CONFIDENCE OF DISCIPLES TODAY

    A. We can have confidence in what God has done (Romans 6:1-10)
    B. We can have confidence in what God will do (2 Corinthians 4:13-14)
    C. Humility is needed to acknowledge God’s power (Psalm 44:6-8; James 4:10; Philippians 4:13)

III. WHAT CONFIDENCE CAN DO FOR US

    A. We can approach His throne in prayer (Hebrews 4:14-16; 1 John 5:14-15)
    B. We can boldly proclaim His truth (Acts 4:29; Ephesians 6:13-20; Romans 1:16)

Are There Degrees of Reward and Punishment in Eternity?

Degrees of Reward and Punishment

Matthew 6:19-21

I. Degrees of Reward in Heaven

    A. All who remain faithful will receive an eternal reward (Revelation 2:7, 10; 3:5, 21; Philippians 3:12-14)
    B. We cannot earn entrance to heaven, but we will be rewarded for what we have done (Luke 19:12-26)
    C. The teacher is rewarded for the faithfulness of converts (1 Corinthians 3:5-15)
    D. Wayne Jackson: “The implication is plain – the more of our converts who endure and finally arrive in heaven, the greater our joy and reward will be.”

II. Degrees of Punishment in Hell

    A. “More tolerable for Tyre and Sidon” (Matthew 11:20-24)
    B. Guy N. Woods: “The greater the responsibility, the greater the guilt; the greater the guilt, the greater the punishment, in the day of final accounting.”
    C. “Of how much worse punishment” (Hebrews 10:24-29; 2:1-4)
    D. “The latter end is worse for them than the beginning” (2 Peter 2:20)
    E. Many stripes vs. few stripes (Luke 12:41-48)

Let This Mind Be In You: Peace

Peace

Luke 2:8-14

I. PEACE WITH OUR FELLOW MAN

    A. We cannot control how another person acts, but we CAN control how we react (Romans 12:17-21)
    B. We cannot be apathetic about peace – PURSUE IT! (Romans 14:19; 2 Timothy 2:22; Hebrews 12:14; 1 Peter 3:11)

II. PEACE WITH GOD

    A. There is a connection between faith and peace (Mark 5:24-34; Luke 7:36-50)
    B. Through Christ we can have peace not only with each other, but with God Himself (Ephesians 2:11-16)
    C. Does this mean our lives will be free from conflict when we obey the Lord? (Romans 5:1-4; Matthew 10:34-39; John 16:33)

III. WE SHOULD BE SPIRITUAL PEACEMAKERS

    A. Lead others into a peaceful relationship with the Almighty (Matthew 5:9; Ephesians 6:14-15)
    B. You know someone who needs the peace of Christ – what are you doing about it? (Romans 10:13-15; James 3:18)

Not Lagging in Diligence

          In Romans 12, Paul offers a number of short exhortations to his readers. The King James Version translates the first part of verse 11, “Not slothful in business.” The Christian should be diligent for his employer, but the context this verse has more to do with the business of the church.
          We sing a song, “I want to be a worker for the Lord.” Do we mean those words when we sing them? Do we truly want to “be busy every day in the vineyard of the Lord,” or are we just giving lip service?
          All disciples are to be actively engaged in the work of the Lord’s church. We should be busy making disciples (Matthew 28:19), encouraging each other (Hebrews 10:24-25), and helping the needy (Galatians 6:10; James 1:27).
          We do not always see the fruit of our labors, but we must not give up. If we are mocked or rejected or persecuted by those around us, we keep obeying God (1 Peter 2:19-20). The things we do in the name of the Lord are not done in vain (1 Corinthians 15:58). May we never lag in diligence when it comes to the Lord’s work.

Giving Preference To One Another

          Paul wrote to the church at Rome, “Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another” (Romans 12:10). This passages speaks to how we treat each other in the church. Paul had just written, “Let love be without hypocrisy,” in verse 9; our actions must match our words!
          In another place, the apostle wrote, “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others” (Philippians 2:3-4).
          Do you see a brother or sister in need? Whether it is a spiritual, emotional, or physical need, it is our duty (and should be our delight!) to fulfill that need. Listen to each other and offer whatever assistance you can.
          Our primary goal is to get to heaven, and secondary is to take as many with us as possible. This congregation is full of Barnabas-type encouragers, saints who want to see each other in glory. Keep lifting each other up and looking out for the eternal interests of your brothers and sisters in the Lord.

Cling To What Is Good

          “Cling” is defined: “hold on tightly to; adhere or stick firmly or closely to; be hard to part or remove from.” Paul says that we are to “cling to what is good” (Romans 12:9). How do we do that?
          First, we must know what good is. It is said that Jesus “went about doing good” (Acts 10:38), so we can start by looking at His actions and imitating Him. We are also told that the will of God is “good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:2), so we can study what He reveals to us (James 1:21-25).
          Second, once we know what it is, we need to think about it and apply it. Paul writes that we should meditate on noble, just, pure, lovely, virtuous things (Philippians 4:8). What is the result of such meditation? Jesus tells us, “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things” (Matthew 12:35).
          Are you clinging to what is good? Studying it and meditating on it? Are you bringing forth good things to encourage those around you?