Monday, May 20, 2024

When Am I Saved? When I am Baptized! Salvation Part 7


This is Part 7 of an ongoing series of posts about salvation. The rest can be found on this Page which will link you to all posts.

Please address any questions to . 


E. When We Experience Baptism

Baptism is a subject that causes no end of needless controversy. Christian denominations are not unified in their teaching about what baptism is and what it does. Once we must understand what the word means etymologically, then we can deal with what the word means theologically. A very small, but significant portion of the meaning comes from what the word really means. I am very curious as to how the term came to mean something else to people claiming to be Christians. In my study I have learned two very important facts. In historical order:

1.      People in the church tried to change how baptism is done.

2.      People in the church tried to change why baptism is done.

Notice how I said “tried to change.” Whatever your religious group teaches about baptism, they didn’t change how baptism is done, nor did they change what it means. Both are important, and both can be understood by anyone. The solution to understanding how God wants us to be baptized (if, indeed He does), and why He wants it to be done is one in the same: examine the scriptures that talk about baptism. I want to be clear. We will look at what scripture teaches about baptism. We will consider what other scriptures teach about baptism. I want you to think, “what would I think about this the first time I heard this if I never knew anything else about the subject?”

 The first thing to clarify is what the word means. It’s a Greek transliteration, meaning, we took a Greek word, with meaning all on its own, and for some reason, one letter by one letter, turned it into English. Baptism isn’t the only word we’ve done this too. It’s a common practice for proper nouns, like the name of a place, example: Neopolis, or person, like Apollos. One reason why we shouldn’t transliterate is because we have a word with a perfectly good meaning that we wish to change for some undisclosed reason, like with baptism. Baptism has a meaning, and we’ve traded that meaning in to create a jargon word out of something that is supposed to be relatively easy to understand a practice. The word Baptism is supposed to mean Immersion. The word means, to dip, to plunge, to immerse. Some denominations use the word baptize as jargon, meaning that the word has a special meaning in church that it doesn’t have when outside of the church. The reality is that it is a passive action word. It’s something that is meant to happen to you on behalf of another person or party. We change the word when we separate it from its meaning, and we miss the point of the symbology of the action.

                 So please understand the word and what it means. When we say “Christian Baptism” we mean immersion, in water, fully, in the name of Jesus, (or as Matthew quotes Jesus: “in the name of the Father, son, and Holy Spirit.” Theologically, to baptize in the name of Jesus is to baptize in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, that’s a study for another occasion) for reasons we will examine next in our exploration of the subject.

                 Assuming you understand how you are baptized; we need to look at why you are baptized. Consider the following words of Jesus:

And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

(Mat 28:18-20)

In this passage, Jesus has died, and risen again. He’s getting ready to leave His disciples, and He’s entrusting His final commands to them. First, He asserts His authority: “All authority in Heaven and on earth has been given to me.”  From this position of authority and identity, He gives them the following Commands:

1.       Go therefore and make disciples of all nations

2.       Baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit

3.       Teaching theme to observe all that I have commanded you.

First let’s consider the action of Making Disciples. The “Go” portion of the command is Jesus is saying “As you are going about, make disciples…” with  making disciples as the main action , and the rest of the passage describes how this takes place. Then we come to the baptizing part. Jesus expects His disciples to be baptized. Specifically, He wants them baptized in the name of “ the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit”. The action of disciple making doesn’t stop with Baptism, though. Jesus goes on to say that disciples are to be taught what Jesus commanded. We’ve already covered what Jesus said about the wise and foolish builders in Matthew 7. If we hear and do what Jesus says, we can expect to teach others to Go, make disciples in the same way, Baptize them, and teach them to obey everything Jesus commanded! It just plain makes sense. One very important reason for us to be baptized is to do what Jesus said to do to become His disciple. I don’t want to stop there, though. There’s other important reasons to be baptized.

Jesus taught the Apostles (Matthew 28:16 calls them the “eleven disciples”) to make disciples by baptizing them, and teaching them everything He’d commanded. That’s a good reason to be baptized. The rest of the New Testament passages involving baptism explain in further detail the particulars concerning it. While we don’t know the exact timing of this command Jesus gives in Matthew 28, we know it was after his resurrection. Forty days after His resurrection, Jesus ascended into heaven where He reigns. Ten days after Jesus’ ascension, the disciples find themselves in Jerusalem, waiting for something to happen. Soon, something did Happen, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking foreign languages to people! This was confirmation to the crowd that something was happening that they should observe. The full account of the story is found in Acts 2, and I want us to focus in on the sermon Peter delivered in response to the amazing thing all these people were seeing.

“Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know— this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it. For David says concerning him, “‘I saw the Lord always before me, for he is at my right hand that I may not be shaken; therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced; my flesh also will dwell in hope. For you will not abandon my soul to Hades, or let your Holy One see corruption. You have made known to me the paths of life; you will make me full of gladness with your presence.’ “Brothers, I may say to you with confidence about the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants on his throne, he foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption. This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses. Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing. For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he himself says, “‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool.”’ Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.”

(Act 2:22-36)

This is just a portion of it. We’re not even to the good part! What I want is for us to study very quickly what happens before the next action. Peter is teaching them about Jesus. This teaching is given to show them several things: They are witnessing a miracle. This miracle is given to confirm the message of Jesus throughout the world, and for all time. Jesus himself did many miraculous thing. God knew and planned for Jesus to die on the cross, be buried and to rise again. He’s now exalted with God, and sending His Holy Spirit into their midst. The audience near Peter heard these charges, and look at how the Bible describes these men and women: “Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, ‘Brothers, what shall we do?’” (Act 2:37)

Peter tells them to do two things, and by doing these two things, there’s two rewards:

And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.”

(Act 2:38-39)

The two actions are Repent and be Baptized. We’ve covered repentance already, so let’s focus on baptism and what happens because of repentance and baptism. First, we receive forgiveness of our sins. I want you to read the passage again, pretend you’re reading this the first time. Does it make sense to say that baptism is for the forgiveness of your sins? How is your response to Peter’s sermon? Should you be baptized for the forgiveness of your sins? The second thing promised is the gift of the Holy Spirit. Interesting fact about the text here. The “gift of the holy spirit” can be read two ways in the original language. The first way has the holy spirit as the giver of the gift. It could also be read as the gift is the Holy Spirit. There is no reason why the Holy Spirit cannot be both giver and gift at the same time. If Repentance and baptism in the name of Jesus is done to forgive sins and to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, what should your response be?

In this section on baptism, we’ve looked at a couple of reasons why one should be baptized. We’ve seen that Jesus established that He expects His disciples to be baptized in His name. We’ve seen that the apostles taught that baptism coupled with repentance results in the forgiveness of our sins, the gift of the Holy Spirit. I could say more, but I want to whet your appetite for independent Bible study; I heartily recommend starting with this pamphlet: 41 Reasons to be Baptized. It makes for an afternoon worth of thorough study on the subject of Baptism.

I want to close this section by quoting Acts 2:41: “So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.” What an excellent scene that must have been! Now that they have been saved, we also need to consider how they kept salvation. The Bible teaches two things important about the maintenance of the Church body:

·         Once you were saved, you were saved for all the sins that you will ever commit;

·         You can “fall away” from the Church.

Understanding both of these facts can help you decide that there’s something special and amazing about the work of God in salvation.

Sunday, May 28, 2023

Lives of our Fathers



This is the communion meditation for Legacy Christian Church, 5/28/2023



History bears weight. Somebody important once said “Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” I don’t think history repeats, but I do think it often rhymes. History bears weight because you can learn a little about the path you travel, if you take a minute to look at where you came from. Jesus’ genealogy is a representation of the divine right of Jesus to certain titles He claimed.

Jesus’ family tree was not without noteability and notoriety. We all have these strange nuts on our family tree. One day I might tell you about mine. Today, we should consider Jesus’ people. Let’s examine the past to see a select portion of the fathers of the Savior. Abraham: Vs 2: Not always the most noble of character, he’s the father of the people. Right there in verse 3 Abraham’s great grandson: Judah, father of Perez and Zerah, by Tamar.

We go further down, then Matthew records Jesse, the father of David the King.

By naming Jesus as the Son of David, Matthew puts him in line for all sorts of prophecies made about the shoot of Jesse, Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Messiah. It’s always been interesting to me that in the next sentence, he becomes just David: “the father of Solomon by the wife of Uriah.” David sought God’s heart, but often found his own pleasure. He chased after the temporary and fleeting pleasure of the world.

And so on and so forth. The point of all this genealogy is in verse 17: “So all the generations from Abraham to David were fourteen generations, and from David to the deportation to Babylon fourteen generations, and from the deportation to Babylon to the Christ fourteen generations. “ 14-14-14. That’s not just a terrible lock combination, that’s a clue, Jesus is the authorized King of the Jews (prophecy not withstanding) by legal right, and more importantly, He is the one King promised from long ago. Jesus’ forefathers had a part to play in God’s plan, it didn’t matter who they were or what they had done to achieve their mark on their world. We also have a part to play, but our role is a little different. In the life applications adult Bible fellowship class on Sunday mornings we’ve been looking at Ephesians, and in that book we see and learn something important: “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,  (9)  not a result of works, so that no one may boast.  (10)  For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Eph 2:8-10 .

God’s got a plan for us too! Good works! If we see our past, we see that our faith comes from evil deeds. Our own story, is one of separation from God, and of opposition to our plan God created for us, until we met Jesus. In Him, we find the fulfilment of God’s purposes. Our sins are forgiven, and our future secured. We take this meal together to remember, just like Jesus said, that we’re in a new covenant. This morning, will you take His body with me, and remember that He is the propitiation for our sins? Will you take the cup and raise it to remember the new covenant written in this blood He shed for us. Hallelujah, Jesus had some interesting Kin, and now, I, and the rest of you too who’ve obeyed His Gospel, have been adopted into His family. Let’s pray.