Lessons from 1Peter 5; a CROWN

1Pe 5:4 And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.

CROWN:

We CAN obtain it. Matt 6:20

We RECEIVE After this life. 1Thess 2:19 

Through OBEDIENCE. 1Cor 9:25

Compared to WINNING a prize. 1Cor 9:24

Can be lost through NEGLECT. Jas 1:12-16 

Spencer is an evangelist for the Franklin & Juniper st church of Christ in Borger Texas.

7 things to PROTECT, (final) our TREASURE in heaven

Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”

(Matt 6:19-21)

I hope you know by now that we’re talking about using our Physical means for a Spiritual end.

We’ve already spoken about MONEY, so now we conclude this series by focusing on our TREASURES in Heaven.

The Holy Spirit describes this ‘Treasure in Heaven’ in a couple of ways. Prize (Phil 3:14; 1Cor 9:24); Treasure (Matt 13:44); Crown (2Tim 4:8).

How shall we protect this treasure?

For many in the religious realm, the idea one needs to protect their TREASRUE in heaven is ridiculous. Fortunately, we have the scriptures to tell us the truth. Let’s look at how we might protect our CROWN.

First, whenever a command is given, it means we CAN COMPLY. Jesus said, “But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal” (Matt 6:20). Paul wrote; “Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing” (2Tim 4:8). So, we LAY up a treasure in heaven, and can expect it if we LOVE His appearing.

Second, this treasure is only available after. While there are spiritual blessings here, and other good gifts (Eph 1:3; Jas 1:17), we shall RECEIVE the CROWN after this life. Note these passages (emph mine seb):

1Thess 2:19 For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming?

2Tim 4:8 Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.

James 1:12 Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.

1Pet 5:4 And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.

Rev 2:10 Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.

Rev 3:11 Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.

Third, we ought not to expect anything from the Lord if we’re unfaithful, doubtful and disobedient. Scripture teaches that the OBEDIENT shall receive a crown;

1Cor 9:25 And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.

2Tim 2:5 And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully.

Next, the CROWN is compared to WINNING a PRIZE. “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil 3:14; 1Cor 9:24). Putting the previous point and this one together, In his letter to Timothy, Paul wrote, “And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully” (2Tim 2:5).

Lastly, while no man can take away the crown that is laid up in heaven (cf. Matt 6:20), we can certainly lose our crown through NEGLECT, disobedience, or rebellion. Let’s read the rest of James 1:12-16, “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. Do not err, my beloved brethren. (cf. John 10:28-29; Rom 8:38-39; Heb 2:1-3). Do you see it? In verse 12 is the crown promised, but verses 13-16 is the ability to lose it. Do you see why it’s so important to read an entire passage before drawing a conclusion from one verse?

Another thing. While no man can go to heaven and take your crown, men can deceive us and turn us away from Christ. It’s in this sense that Jesus told John to warn the church. “Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown” (Rev 3:11). Note also the warning by Paul, “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ” (Col 2:8; cf. 2Peter 2).

In closing out this series, let us be on guard and PROTECT those things we are charged to PROTECT. Life is serious business and not all fun and games. While there are things God has given us richly to enjoy, He also wants us to be ready at any given moment. We need to be READY against Rebellion, Enemies of Christ, Antagonists, Death, and You and I are responsible for ourselves.

Spencer

6 things to expect when obeying the GOSPEL.

6 things to expect when you obey the GOSPEL. (3 Positives & 3 negatives)

What comes from obeying the GOSPEL?

3 POSITIVE THINGS:

Godly Blessings. Acts 2:38-39; Eph 1:3; Jas 1:17

For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.”

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:”

Optimism, hope for the future. Heb 11:6; 1Peter 1:3; 2Tim 4:8

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,”

Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.”

Salvation in Christ. 1Pet 3:21; Heb 5:8-9

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:”

And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;”

3 NEGATIVE THINGS:

Persecution. 2Tim 3:12

Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.”

Expectation of trouble from the world. 1Pet 4:4, 12

Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you. … Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:

Lion roaring & seeking whom do devour. 1Pet 5:8

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:”

cf. “Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.” (2Cor 11:15)

MOURNING is better

MOURNING is better?

“It is better to go to the house of mourning, than to go to the house of feasting: for that is the end of all men; and the living will lay it to his heart. Sorrow is better than laughter: for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better. The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning; but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth.” (Ecclesiastes 7:2-4)

Why is MOURNING better?

Death is a MOTIVATOR. Loss can move someone to consider their own lives for change, Repentance. Sickness, Sadness, Pain can all do the same thing. (2Sam 12:23; Mark 9:24; John 3:16)

God is an OBJECTIVE judge and is perfectly Just. ( 2Cor 5:10; Re 15:3 Just & True). “The LORD is righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works.” (Psalm 145:17). As we consider our own lives, we need to look to the ONE that holds life in His hand.

Death is UNAVOIDABLE (Jas 4:14; Ecc 3:2; Heb 9:27; Rom 5:14 death reigned from Adam). We have somehow forgotten that death is certain. It is appointed for man to die and then the judgment.

As we ponder our own mortality, looking to God for guidance, we need to REMEMBER that God has provided a means of RESURRECTION through His Son, Christ Jesus. IN CHRIST we have hope. “For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him” (1Thess 4:14; John 11:25-27).

As we think about our loved ones who have died, we will NOT get over it, nor should we. Their death should be a constant reminder of our mortality and our need for God. Becoming a Christian offers the only consolation for death. Jesus used His power of the resurrection as comfort (John 11:25-27). When David’s child died he said, “I shall go to him,” (2Sam 12:23).

Mourning eventually turns in to remembering. IT IS OKAY to talk about our deceased loved ones. Here’s a question for you; what does you deceased loved one want for you on your birthday, anniversary, holidays? What do they want for your salvation?

Consider the motivation of the rich man for his family after his death. We have insight from Jesus about the motivation of those who have gone on before us.

“Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father’s house: For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment” (Luke 16:19-31).

As we mourn, let us resolve to NEVER GIVE UP. “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil” (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14). Getting Old is a privilege for in it we have been given opportunity to turn to God.

Lastly, mourning can lead us to GO & PREACH to the dying that Jesus saves from death. Life is short, so short that it’s called a vapor that is here and then gone (James 4:14). Because life, even a long life, is so short when compared with eternity, that we need to warn and encourage others to action today.

“For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation” (2Cor 6:2; cf Heb 3:7-15).

Spencer

How do you turn away from sin and become a child of God? You must obey the Gospel. (click here)

Lessons from 1 Peter: BAPTISM that saves

1Peter 3:21:

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:

BAPTISM:

What is the BAPTISM that saves us?

the BAPTISM that saves is a BURIAL. Col 2:12; Rom 6:4

the BAPTISM that saves is AUTHORIZED by Christ Mark 16:16

the BAPTISM that saves is an essential PART of conversion Acts 2:38; 3:19

the BAPTISM that saves TRUSTS in God’s working through our faith. Col 2:12

the BAPTISM that saves is IN CHRIST. Rom 6:3-4; Gal 3:27

the BAPTISM done for the right reason, the right way, with the right heart SAVES. 1Pet 3:21

the BAPTISM that saves is done immediately upon learning whether at MIDNIGHT/ midday / same hour / upon H-B-R-C. Not a scheduled monthly church event. Acts 16:33

the Truth shall set you FREE, from what?

JESUS SAID, “If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” [John 8:31-32]

Jesus orders us to “continue in my word,” and He connects it to the truth. (cr. John 17:17) When we keep His word, the truth, we will be FREE!

FREE from what? From what does obeying the word of God set us FREE?

We’re used to having liberty in our country (free speech, right to assemble etc.), but most fail to realize they’re in bondage.

Let’s search the scriptures to learn from what we’ve been set FREE.

The Truth shall set us FREE from:

The FEAR of death. “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” [1Cor. 15:56,57]. “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” [2Tim 1:7]

Being set free from the FEAR of Death is a powerful blessing from obeying Christ. By extension, we are FREE from the FEAR of men. “We ought to obey God rather than men.” [Acts 5:29].

The truth also sets us FREE to pursue RIGHTEOUSNESS. Prior to knowing (& obeying Gal 5:7) the truth we were in bondage to sin and free FROM righteousness. Now we are FREE from sin to pursue RIGHTEOUSNESS. “Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.” [Rom 6:18-20].

This does not mean that we can’t sin [1John 1:8-10], nor does it give us license to sin. Rather, it is teaching that we can have assurance on how to live faithfully, and avoid sin.

Another thing from which we’ve been set FREE is found in the letter to the Galatians. Paul reminded the saints that Christ set them FREE from the ENTAGLEMENT of the Law of Moses. “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” [Gal. 5:1; cr. 2:4; 4:9;]

Returning to the Law of Moses is tantamount to going back into bondage. It’s sad when folks appeal to the OT for NT practices, thereby becoming ENTANGLED in bondage. “Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.” [Gal 3:10]. “But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.” [Rom. 7:6].

Going back to Romans we learn one more thing. Having been set FREE from sin, we may now have EVERLASTING LIFE. “But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.” [Rom. 6:22]

None of the above will happen if we are ignorant of the truth. Remember, it is continuing in the TRUTH that sets us FREE. Before we can continue in it, we must first be in it.

WE CAN BE SET FREE IF….

…we become one of His disciples. HOW do I become a disciple of Christ? Remember, Jesus said, “If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” [John 8:31-32] To become His disciple we must obey the Gospel. Before He ascended into heaven He gave this command, “Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit:” [Matt 28:19 (ASV)]

The Gospel is what calls us [2Thess. 2:14]. By hearing the truth, we can then believe that Jesus is the Christ [John 20:30-31; Rom 10:17].

By hearing and believing the truth, we learn to repent [Luke 13:3], and we learn to confess that Jesus is the Christ [Act 8:37].

By hearing and believing the truth, we learn to be baptized for the remission of sins. [Acts 2:38; 22:16; Mark 16:16].

Being set FREE occurs AFTER obeying the gospel. The Gospel is the Death, Burial, and Resurrection of Jesus [1Cor 15:1-4]. Obeying the Gospel is the Death, Burial, and Resurrection of us through water baptism [Rom 6:3-4].

Obey the Gospel and be set FREE.

— spencer

Spencer is a gospel preacher residing in Borger Texas where he works with the congregation that meets at Franklin & Juniper streets.

GO into all the world

A Message for the World.

And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” (Mark 16:15)

There is a MESSAGE for the world. It’s an important message. Dare I say, it’s a vital message to the survival of the soul? It’s the Gospel.

But who shall take this message to the world? According to the bible, we will, the church. It began with the chosen Apostles, and then was extended to us.

And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.” (2Tim 2:2)

The Creator of the universe has entrusted us with this vital message. Are we up to the task?

Normal is not up to the task. We’re all familiar with the average man and his hesitancy to perform a task. When given such an assignment, will the regular person say, “Here am I; send me?” No, they will rather ask one or more of these questions:

  • When should I start?
  • Where do I go?
  • Who is the world?
  • Is that my job?
  • Do you mean right now?

As vinegar to the teeth, and as smoke to the eyes, so is the sluggard to them that send him.”

(Prov 10:26)

The Lord wants laborers. “Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest.” (Luke 10:2)

We are the laborers, each of us have been ‘hired’ for this important taks. “And about the eleventh hour he went out, and found others standing idle, and saith unto them, Why stand ye here all the day idle? They say unto him, Because no man hath hired us. He saith unto them, Go ye also into the vineyard; and whatsoever is right, that shall ye receive.” (Matt 20:1-16; cf Matt 25:24-30)

Now back to the command; “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:” (Matt 28:19) Let us GO. The rest of this article we’ll look at the two qualities we need when we GO into all the world.

Firstly, we need ourselves to be changed people. Before we can present the Gospel to anyone, we must first be partakers of that gospel. Without GODLINESS it will be near impossible to convince anyone of the good news. You cannot teach the gospel just through a godly life, but it’s impossible without it.

Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.” (1Peter 2:12; 3:16)

That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;” (Phil 2:15)

Many folks have rejected the gospel, the church, and pure religion, simply on the basis of the hypocrisy of its members. Let us GO in all GODLINESS. “But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.” (1Tim 6:11; cf 2Pet 1:1-10)

The second part of this simple command is to be of ONE mind with Christ in all that we do. “Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ;” (Eph 6:5).

Going into the world to preach does not require a vow of poverty nor for us to quit working (cf. Eph 4:28; 2Thess 3:10; 1Tim 5:8). Living godly lives in our work, our home, and our community gives us opportunity to meet folks and to shine our lights. From there we must have ONE mind with Christ, which is to share the life saving Gospel message. “For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost.” (Matt 18:11; Luke 19:10).

We as individuals may not reach them all, but all that we meet may be reached, and if all of us reach then some may be saved. “I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.” (1Cor 9:22b) Go. You need not go very far. “…behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.” (John 4:35)

— spencer

Spencer is an evangelist for the Franklin & Juniper St church of Christ in Borger Texas. If you live in the Borger area and would like a personal bible study, please reach out & let us know how we can help you know more of God’s word.

Thou hast the words of eternal life

The statement above is one of the most significant realizations a person can make. (John 6:68)

Before we look at some take aways, let’s first notice an implication.

For there to be an ‘eternal life’ there stands to reason there is also an eternal DEATH. This should bother people much more than it does.

But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation:” (Mark 3:29)

That’s the warning. Now let’s see what we might do to have ETERNAL LIFE.

There are some 30 specific references in the New Testament to “ETERNAL LIFE.” It seems to this writer that this holds some significance.

Jesus said, “Take my yoke upon you, and LEARN OF ME; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” (Matt 11:29) The context of our opening verse is about learning. “HEARING” is another way the Bible says the same thing. “Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:” (Mat 7:24-29). These verses clearly teach there is individual responsibility to Hear & LEARN. Some would have you believe that you’re unable to do either except miraculously. UNTRUE! We are all called by the Gospel message. “Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (2Thess 2:14)

The beginning of attaining Eternal Life is LEARNING.

Matthew 7:24-29 is a link in the chain connecting the first action with the next; we must be INVOLVED in doing the things that we’ve LEARNED. We’re involved by obeying the commands of God. “Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.”

The clear teaching by Jesus here, and in other places (cf. Phil 2:12), is that the INDIVIDUAL is responsible to LEARN & get INVOLVED in his own salvation. “Save yourselves from this untoward generation.” (Acts 2:40b). In the immediate context of this verse, they LEARNED to be baptized in the name of Jesus. “Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. (Acts 2:41)

Eternal Life is for those INVOLVED people that obey.

When we write articles like this some will often decry “LEGALISM” or say that we’re working our way into heaven. Nothing of the sort is being said. Obedience to the will of God is FAITH (Heb 11:6). We trust that God will do what He promises for those that obey Him. God works through our faith. “Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.” (Col 2:12). Eternal Life is for those who are emotionally engaged.

Therefore, that the person striving for Eternal Life must have FAITH from the heart and is not just checking boxes on a list. Jesus said, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.” (Mat 22:37). He said in another place, “If ye love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15). And also, “This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.” (Mark 7:6)

Eternal Life is for those that have FAITH.

It then stands to reason that as a person LEARNS, is INVOLVED, this person must FINISH what he began. “For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?” (Luke 14:28) The clear teaching here, and other places (cf. John 15:1-6; Rom 11:21; Rev 2:10), is that there’s no such thing as “once saved, always saved.”

Eternal Life is for those that ENDURE to the end.

Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.”

      — spencer

Spencer is an evangelist for the Franklin & Juniper St church of Christ in Borger Texas. If you live in the Borger area and would like a personal bible study, please reach out & let us know how we can help.

Why We Left the World

It was a dark and stormy night that frigid evening in November of 1997. It was dark, and the storm was within our hearts, because we had just learned some things about our condition toward God.

By that time my wife and I had been engaged for a few weeks in some simple bible studies with Uncle Charlie.  

The study had just ended having studied what God required of us to receive His grace. We didn’t answer at that moment. Uncle Charlie said, “Ok then, I guess I’ll be going.” I knew he wanted an answer, but none came.

After he left, we talked. We talked for an hour.

WHY WE LEFT THE WORLD.

We weren’t terrible people; we were just a young couple with 3 children trying our best to take care of ourselves. We both believed in God but never really knew about our responsibility toward Him. Until that night.

That night we realized the LOVE that God had toward us and the whole world. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16) We realized that this LOVE was demonstrated through the death of Christ on a cross. “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8) We realized that to LOVE God we must keep His commandments. “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” (John 14:15; 1John 5:3; Luke 6:46)

That night we heard a very clear EXPLANATION from the scriptures about our sin condition and the sin solution. There were no words without a passage to support them. The passages themselves are very EASY to understand.

  • I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.” (John 8:24)
  • I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.” (Luke 13:3)
  • Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.” (Matt 10:32-33)
  • Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” (Acts 2:38)
  • But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.” (Matt 24:13)

We knew that it was an all or nothing decision. Before we would do anything, we agreed that this was an all or nothing endeavor.

God would not take a half-hearted lip service. “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” (Prov 1:7) We had a godly FEAR of the Lord. A mix of Reverence, Awe and Terror. “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” (Heb 10:31)

We agreed together, but when? “Now,” we said. “TONIGHT.” To delay may mean death. It was well after 10:00pm when I called Uncle Charlie to tell him we desired to obey the gospel in water baptism. He asked, “when?” I answered, “TONIGHT.” He joyfully replied, “LET’S GO!” Had he tried to put us off, or schedule a TIME to be baptized we would likely never have done it. We knew that the TIME was right now, as soon as possible. “For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” (2Cor 6:2)

What is the biblical TIMING for baptism? Immediately upon understanding your condition toward God and understanding what HE requires of thee. “And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway.” (Acts 16:33)

That night we put on Christ through baptism. That night we obeyed the Gospel. That night we began our newness of life.

We slept peacefully that night knowing that we had done what the Lord had commanded to be done. We rejoiced and continue to rejoice giving thanks to God for His indescribable gift.

Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.” (2Cor 9:15)

— spencer

Preaching the Cross

Some will argue against the preaching of obedience to the gospel by crying, “PREACH THE MAN, NOT THE PLAN.” They may also say, “THE NEW TESTAMENT IS A LOVE LETTER NOT A LAW BOOK.”

How does one answer such charges? Are they correct in their assertions? Is preaching about baptism, the one church, and against the errors of liberalism & denominationalism opposed to preaching the Cross of Christ?

What does the Bible say? If our speech and preaching needs any revision, let us hear it from the revealed word of Jesus the Christ. Philosophies of preaching from liberal professors will not suffice. We shall appeal to the word of God for all things in word or deed [Col 3:17].

 As this article begins, we are reminded to ‘season our words with salt’ [Col 4:6]. We are not mad any anyone. Our desire is that everyone come to the knowledge of the truth and be saved. It’s to that end that we “Preach the Cross of Christ.”

To preach the CROSS is to preach “CHRIST CRUCIFIED” [1Cor 1:23]. Preaching the cross is to preach the gospel [1Cor 1:17,18]. It is not “with enticing words of man’s wisdom,” “But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery,” which has been revealed by the Spirit of God in the book of God, the Bible [1Cor 2:1-13].

Those that heard the preaching of the Cross RECEIVED the gospel [Acts 2:41; 8:14; 1Cor 15:1]. To receive the gospel, through the word, is to receive the ‘grace of God’ [2Cor 6:1; Titus 2:11-12]. To preach the cross is to ‘testify the gospel of the grace of God’ [Act 20:24].

Until one is OBEDIENT to the word of his grace, he has not been saved by the preaching of the Cross [1Pet 1:22; 1Cor 1:18]. Whenever and wherever one is obedient to the gospel he is saved by grace [Acts 10:48; 15:11]. When Paul preached the cross to the Corinthians, they were obedient in baptism in the name of Jesus the Christ [Acts 18:8; 1Cor 1:13]. This is how they were “washed” [1Cor 6:11]. Baptism is “in the name of the Lord Jesus” [Mat 28:19; Acts 10:48; 19:5], and baptism “in the name of the Lord” is “for the remission of sins” [Acts 2:38; 10:48; 19:5].

Then, as Paul rebuked SIN found in the church at Corinth, was he not ‘preaching the cross?’ When he spoke against division, immorality, marriage, and the perversions of the Lord’s Supper, was he not ‘preaching the cross?’ [1Cor 14:37]. The entire letter is the command of the Lord, the wisdom of God, the Gospel.

When the elitist tells us to ‘preach the man, not the plan,’ without condemning the antichrist teachings of denominations, they have missed the mark regarding the connection of Jesus to His plan. To preach the Man without His plan is to miss the SYNONYMOUS terms spoken of salvation.

  • “Baptized into Christ” [Rom 6:3,4; Gal 3:27]. “Baptized into one body,” the church [1Cor 12:13, 20; Eph 1:22-23; Col 1:18, 24].
  • Reconciled unto God “in Christ” [2Cor 5:18-20]. Reconciled unto God “in one body by the cross,” the church [Eph 1:22,23; 2:16].
  • Saved, redeemed by the blood of Christ [1Peter 1:18-19; Eph 1:7; Col 1:14]. Church purchased with the blood of Christ [Act 20:28].
  • Christ “gave himself for me” and tasted “death for every man” [Gal 2:20; Heb 2:9]. Christ “gave himself for it,” the church [Eph 5:25].
  • “In Christ” – “made nigh” – “by the blood” [Eph 2:13]. “In one body” – “reconciled” – “by the cross” [Eph 2:16].

It is not off balance, nor out of focus, to speak about baptism into the body or church of Christ, to speak of reconciliation in one body, the church, to speak of Christ having purchased the church with His own blood. To speak of one, Christ, is to speak of the other, the church. Paul once “persecuted the church” [Act 8:3; Gal 1:13; 1Cor 15:9], but when the Lord appeared to him, He said, “why persecutest thou me?” [Acts 9:4; 22:7; 26:14]. To preach Christ, to preach the Cross, is to preach the church. If to persecute Christ is to persecute the church, then to preach Christ is to preach the church. It stands to reason, anyone against the doctrine of Christ, is against Christ [2John 9].

Let us therefore, speaking the truth in love, Preach the Cross.