Death Meme explains little

 

Somethings missing

 

You’ve likely seen this pic before, the explanation of death. On the surface, it’s an exceptional description. That is, if you’re a Christian. As Christians, we are so much more aware of the other side than a dog. The Word of God tells us so…

There’s a home awaiting us;

In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. [John 14:2]

We’ll be with God;

And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. [John 14:3]

It will last forever;

Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. [Jude 1:21]

The word also tells us what is on the other side IF YOU’RE NOT A CHRISTIAN

There’s a home awaiting you;

Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: [Mat 25:42]

You’ll be withOUT God;

In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; [2 Thessalonians 1:8-9]

It will last forever;

And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire. [Revelation 20:15]

So you see, If you’re IN CHRIST then this little story paints a wonderful picture, but if not, this story gives you a false sense of hope.

The last line is most troubling, for it teaches an idea of “salvation by faith only”. It says, “I know my Master is there, and that’s enough.” No friend, it’s not enough to just know that God is in Heaven. Hear the words of Scripture on this matter…

You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe–and tremble! But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead? [James 2:19-20]

The text goes on to reveal the only passage in the entirety of scripture that say, “by faith only”. As you read James 2:24, take careful note of the word preceding that oft used phrase…

You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only. [James 2:24]

So you see then, as Christians, we are looking forward to being with our Master just as the story depicts, but it’s not a blind faith.

Many folks claim to be a Christian, but this claim is often based on dumb little facebook pics such as this one. Truly a blind faith, a faith based only on desire and not according to knowledge.

HOW TO BECOME A CHRISTIAN

To become a child of God, and avoid the eternal flame, one must obey the Gospel [2Thess 1:8]. So here’s a pic worthy of our attention. [Click here for more] [click here]

obey the gospel

Shocking truth what Bible says about Salvation by Faith alone

THE GREATEST CONFUSION in Christendom is the question, “What saves us?” Though we differ in other areas, knowing this one point is of utmost importance. If we get this one wrong, all the rest is just pointless.

To answer this question, an appeal to Scripture should be made. Since it is the word that shall judge us, let us search the scriptures to learn what is so. [Acts 17:11]

He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.” [Joh 12:48]

The groups in Borger Texas, that teach a salvation by faith alone are: First Baptist church, Grace Fellowship, Faith covenant, First united Methodist, Keeler Baptist, Calvary Baptist, Gateway Baptist, Southside Baptist, Cornerstone church, Wesley United Methodist, Fairlanes Baptist, First Presbyterian, Fellowship Baptist, St. Andrews united Methodist, Borger Word of Life, Good Shepherd Lutheran, perhaps others.

A Side by side comparison Of Salvation by faith Alone & Water Baptism

Scripture Faith Only crowd Franklin St. church of Christ
Hearing Romans 10:17 Y Y
Faith Galatians 3:24 Y Y
Grace Ephesians 2:8 Y Y
Believe Acts 16:31 Y Y
Hope Romans 8:24 Y Y
God 1Timothy 2:3 Y Y
Jesus Matthew 1:21 Y Y
Holy Spirit Titus 3:5 Y Y
Gospel Romans 1:16 Y Y
Blood of Christ Romans 5:9 Y Y
Confession 1John 4:2 N Y
Repentance Acts 11:18 N Y
Obedience 2Thess 1:8 N Y
Baptism Mt 28:19; Mrk 16:16; Acts 2:38; Acts 22:16 N Y
Works James 2:24 N Y
Continuing Faith 2Timothy 3:14-17 N Y

Here is the question that must be answered by those professing a salvation by faith only…

Why are you ignoring the rest of the scriptures?

Can you find your church in the Bible?

Since we’ve listed most of the churches in Borger, let’s take a moment and learn what Jesus named His church. He said, “I will build MY church.” (emphasis mine) [Matthew 16:18]. In architecture, the builder gets to do the naming.

JESUS IS;

BUILDER Matthew 16:18
FOUNDATION 1 Corinthians 3:10b-11
CORNERSTONE Matthew 21:42; Acts 4:11; Ephesians 2:20
PURCHASER Acts 20:28

Since Jesus is the BUILDER, FOUNDATION, CORNERSTONE, & PURCHASER, which of the below names harmonizes all of these scriptures?

Names of the church in the New Testament Churches by name in the Scriptures:

My (Jesus) church Matthew 16:18
Church of the Lord, church of God Acts 20:28; 1Corinthians 1:2
The body, The church Colossians 1:18; Eph 1:22-23; 5:23; 1Thess 1:1
Household of God, church of the living God Ephesians 2:19; 1Timothy 3:15
Church of the Firstborn Hebrews 12:23
God’s field, God’s building 1Corinthians 3:9
The Flock 1Peter 5:3; Acts 20:28
Church of Christ Romans 16:16

It seems to me that the most harmonious name of the organization that Jesus purchased, built and DIED FOR is the church of Christ.

We are living stones: The Bible goes on to teach that Christians are the living stones of the church. [1Co 3:9-11; 1Peter 2:5; Colossians 2:7; Eph 2:20-22; 1Cor 6:19]

If you would like to learn more, click here.

Salvation by Faith ALONE?

If we’re saved by faith alone, as so many denominational pastors teach, then how do you explain all of these verses?

Christ’s words (John 6:63). “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.”
The Holy Spirit (John 16:8; Titus 3:5). …renewing of the Holy Spirit
Faith (Romans 10:10). For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
Repentance (Luke 13:3; 2 Peter 3:9). “...except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.”
Baptism (Mark 16:16; 1 Peter 3:21; Titus 3:5). “…baptism does also now save us.”
God (John 3:16; Titus 2:11). “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men,”
Christ’s works (John 20:30–31).”And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.”
Calling on His name (Acts 2:21). “And it shall come to pass That whoever calls on the name of the LORD Shall be saved.’ (cr. Acts 22:16)
Christ’s name (Acts 4:12). “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
Christ’s resurrection (Romans 4:25). “who was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification.”
Christ’s death (Romans 5:6). “For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.”
Hope (Romans 8:24). “For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees?”
Confession of faith (Romans 10:10). “For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”
Hearing (Romans 10:15–17). “And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, Who bring glad tidings of good things!” But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our report?” So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”
Preaching (1 Corinthians 1:18). “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”
Fire (1 Corinthians 3:15). “If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.”
The gospel (1 Corinthians 15:1–2). “Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you–unless you believed in vain.”
Love (Galatians 5:6). “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love.”
Grace (Ephesians 2:8). “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,”
Ourselves (Philippians 2:12). “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling;”
The love of the truth (2 Thessalonians 2:10). “and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved.”
Christ (1 Timothy 1:15). “This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.”
Heeding and continuing in the doctrine (1 Timothy 4:16). “Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you.”
God’s mercy (Titus 3:5). “not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us,”
Obedience (Hebrews 5:9). “And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him,” (cr. 2Thess 1:8)
Christ’s blood (Hebrews 9:14). “how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?”
Works of faith (James 2:24). “You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only.”

The question is not, “which one saves”, rather, “why have they ignored so many verses?

How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation? Hebrews 2:3

SHALL WE ADD TO OR TAKE AWAY FROM GOD’S WORD?

Deut 4:2 “You shall not add to the word which I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.

Deut 12:32 “Whatever I command you, be careful to observe it; you shall not add to it nor take away from it.

Proverbs 30:6 Do not add to His words, Lest He rebuke you, and you be found a liar.

Revelation 22:18-19 For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.

Galatians 1:8-9 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.

 

IGNORANCE, INTENT AND EMAILS

(this article may reference current events but is in no way a commentary on political views by the author as it relates to these events)

Confidential emails have been in the news of late. The jist of which is that a certain, high level, government employee, mishandled classified communication within the government. The FBI investigated and found unsecured & unguarded servers (the device where electronic mail would be stored and sent), “extremely careless” handling of email by this employee and her staff, and poor judgement on the part of this high level employee in the handling of Top Secret communication. The FBI then said, “We did not find…clearly intentional and willful mishandling of classified information.”

It’s on this last point that this article shall address as it relates sin, salvation and getting into heaven.

Under human laws, intent plays a major role. For example, if a person was negligent in their behavior, they may or may not be prosecuted. In recent cases of accidental harm to a person involving a vehicle, intent becomes the deciding factor. God spoke about these situations and gave instructions under the Law of Moses for unintentional harm. “as when a man goes to the woods with his neighbor to cut timber, and his hand swings a stroke with the ax to cut down the tree, and the head slips from the handle and strikes his neighbor so that he dies-he shall flee to one of these cities and live; [Deuteronomy 19:5] and in some cases were required to pay restitution.

Intent may be a factor, but ignorance of the law is another matter. Under our law system, Ignorantia juris non excusat (Latin for “ignorance of the law excuses not”) is a legal principle holding that a person who is unaware of a law may not escape liability for violating that law merely because he or she was unaware of its content. There are plenty of examples where a person is fined or punished having been unaware that they were committing a crime. If you doubt this, the next time you’re pulled over for speeding just tell the officer you didn’t know the speed limit.

For humanity, God leaves everyone without excuse whether they’ve read the Bible or not.

Look at Roman 1:18-21; “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, 21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.” [emphasis mine]

You see, God has made every effort to show himself to every person and it’s their willful disregard for Him that will earns His wrath.

In another place, regarding ignorance, Paul said, “Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.” [Acts 17:30-31]

Peter also taught that we are not to remain in our ignorance but to obey; “Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.” [1Peter 1:13-16]

Here’s the point of what I am saying, when we face the judgement of God, saying “I didn’t know” or “I didn’t intend to sin” will not open the gates of heaven unto us. The only way that we can survive the judgement and to receive an entry into heaven is through the saving blood of Jesus the Christ.

How can one be saved?

Now that you’ve heard about God’s wrath and salvation through Jesus, Repent and be converted from your ignorance. “Yet now, brethren, I know that you did it in ignorance, as did also your rulers. But those things which God foretold by the mouth of all His prophets, that the Christ would suffer, He has thus fulfilled. Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord,” [Acts 3:17-19]

After your repentance, their remains the blotting (washing) away of your sins. “And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.” [Acts 22:16] “Then Peter said unto them, 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]

If you do this, you will be saved, but this doesn’t give you liberty to keep on sinning. Therefore, the Christian must remain faithful. “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” [Romans 6:1-4] And if we sin, “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:” [1John 2:1]

Though human courts overlook ignorance, God won’t. Why delay?

Justified by Faith

THE FAITH ONLY crowd will “prove” their belief by quoting Romans 4:5. “But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.” They may even go further and include Romans 3:28, “Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.” Then, if you press them, they will quote Ephesians 2:8-9, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”

Let me say here and now that I believe each of these passages, just not how THEY believe them. Their problem is that these passages are quoted out of context and interpreted without that context. They come to the conclusion that a person is justified (saved) by FAITH ALONE.

What do these passages mean?

When one studies the bible, one rule that is often overlooked but must always be applied is the rule of context. A passage needs to be interpreted in the light of its context. Another consideration is that the bible harmonizes with other similar texts.

When we teach about salvation from scripture, we need to deliver, “all the counsel of God.” [Acts 20:27]

In Romans chapter 4, Paul is making a case regarding salvation that includes gentiles (those folks who were not Jews). Abrahams justification is given PRIOR to his becoming circumcised which became part of the Law of Moses [Leviticus 12:3] . Paul asks then answers, “How was it then reckoned? when he was in circumcision, or in uncircumcision? Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision.” [Romans 4:10]

The faith only folks want you to believe that Abraham did NOTHING prior to his JUSTIFICATION. This simply is not true. When Paul said in Romans 4 that Abraham was justified, he is referring to Genesis 15:6. However, by that time, Abraham had already OBEYED God by leaving his homeland in Gen 11:31-12:3.

It is this OBEDIENT FAITH on the part of Abraham that the Hebrew writer acknowledges in the HALL OF FAITH in Hebrews 11:8. “By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.”

It is true that Abraham was justified without the deeds of the law, which according to the context refers to the Law of Moses. Nowhere does the Scripture teach that a person is justified (saved) without works.

What about Ephesians 2:8-9?

For this passage we need to apply the same rules, context & harmony. Let us read verse 10, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” Once again, the context teaches us something about works.

There are 2 kinds of works, works of man & works of God. Ephesian 2:10 teaches that there are works that God has prepared. Works that God commands. Please understand what I am saying, a person is never justified by works when he places his trust in JUST the works. We are justified when we put our trust in God WHILE DOING THE WORKS HE HAS COMMANDED.

This harmonizes with the rest of the scriptures. Look at James 2, another passage that quotes this same Justification of Abraham from Genesis 15:6, “And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.”

But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.” [James 2:20-24]

Let’s look again at that HALL OF FAITH in Hebrews 11…By faith…
  • Abel OFFERED vs4
  • Enoch WALKED vs5; Gen 5:24
  • Noah PREPARED vs7
  • Abraham OBEYED & SOJOURNED vs8-9
  • Moses parents HID Moses vs23
  • Moses REFUSED, CHOSE, FORSOOK vs24-27
  • Israel PASSED through vs 29
  • Rahab RECEIVED vs30
  • Others SUBDUED kingdoms, WROUGHT righteousness, OBTAINED promises, STOPPED the mouths of lions, vs33

To follow their example, people today must obey the word of the Lord. He said, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.” [Mark 16:16] The faith alone people, “make an error, not knowing the scriptures.”  [Matthew 22:29] When you weigh ALL the evidence, harmonize the scriptures and read the context then you will know the truth, and this truth shall set you free. [John 8:32]

how do you know?

walk in truth

You say you walk in truth, but how do you know? 3 John 1:4

HAVE YOU ever noticed that when you ask folks about their church they’ll tell you that it teaches the truth? If that were true, then why are there so many denominations teaching different things regarding salvation, worship, godly living and sin? They will also tell me they read their bibles.

If I were to ask someone if they belong to a gym, or own a piece of exercise equipment, there’s a good chance that the answer will be “yes”. Do I need to tell you my thoughts about their answer when I can clearly see the results? LOL. [this coming from a man that owns an elliptical and frequents fast food]

You may think these two questions are unrelated, in fact they have more in common than you may at first realize. The only difference is that with the second question, the person has to admit their failure in “walking in truth” regarding their health. With the first question, they’re often ignorant of their spiritual health.

The Apostle Paul commanded the Corinthian church to “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?” [2Co 13:5] But how are we to do this “examination”? Let me suggest 3 things we should be examining regarding our faith.

EXAMINE YOURSELVES

We’ve already read the command to examine ourselves, but how and to what? First, let’s never make the mistake of comparing ourselves with others, this is a big problem. Paul had said in the same letter “..we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.” [2Co 10:12] Our Lord told a similar story when he told us about the Pharisee that said, “..God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.” [Lu 18:11]

No, other men are not the standard. The standard of comparison should always be Christ and His word. Paul also taught the Church at Corinth to, “Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.” [1Co 11:1 (NKJV)]. So how does one walk in truth? You become a follower of Christ who said…

Joh 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.
Joh 15:14 Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.
Mt 28:20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you:
Mt 22:29 .. Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God.
Mt 28:19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

EXAMINE YOUR TEACHER

In order to know if you’re walking in truth you must also examine the information you’re receiving. I once had a math teacher that regularly made basic math errors because she wasn’t very good at math. How long do you think my parents kept me in that class? Yet we continually listen to people who are supposed to teach us biblical principles, making grievous errors because they don’t know, or don’t understand what they are teaching. [1Timothy 1:7]

I’ve met “bible teachers” that get upset when I ask questions about the bible, showing them scriptures for my assertions. I’ve met “bible teachers” that actually attempt to tear down the truth of the bible when I show them passages that teach the opposite of their own. A priest of a particular denomination even said, “We’re not encouraged to read the bible.”

The Apostle John himself wrote, “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. [1Jo 4:1 (NKJV)] Paul was himself subjected to this “examination” by the Bereans in Acts 17:11 when they searched the scriptures daily to see if the things he taught were true.

If it’s good enough for them, it should be good enough for your teacher, preacher or pastor. None of them should ever be afraid of sound doctrine, IF THEY’RE TEACHING IT.

EXAMINE YOUR CHURCH

This third step is just as important as the other two. Scripture teaches that the church is the people, it never refers to the building. [Eph 1:22, 23; 1Co 12:12] Read what our Lord, Jesus said to the churches in Revelation chapter 2 & 3….

Re 2:4 Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.
Re 2:14 But I have a few things against thee,
Re 2:16 Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.
Re 2:20 Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee,
Re 3:1 …I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead.
Re 3:16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.

A teaching in scripture that is often ignored is the teaching about purifying the church. Paul told the church to “purge out”, referring to the man that was a member of the church at Corinth, but was living in unrepentant sin. [1Co 5:7]

When we assemble together, we must assemble IN HIS NAME. [Mt 18:20] To do something in His name means that in order to worship, we must do it by the Lord’s permission. We must worship “in spirit AND TRUTH” and His “word is truth”. [Joh 4:24; Joh 17:17]

CONCLUSION

It’s wonderful to hear that folks want to walk in truth, but desire is only the beginning, we must act upon that desire and obey God. In every case of conversion in the book of Acts, when folks heard the Gospel and had a desire for the salvation it provides, they all REPENTED AND WERE BAPTIZED.

That is the truth.

spencer

Evangelist at the Franklin St. church of Christ in Borger, Texas.

What about the Thief on the Cross?

what about the thief

Folks will use many reasons to take away the command by our Lord to be baptized. The one heard most commonly by me is, “What about the thief on the cross?” This one is offered by those who have a little biblical knowledge, and by those who’ve heard it before, but have never been challenged with scriptural evidence.

THE ARGUMENT goes like this; “If, as you say, baptism is necessary for salvation, then what about the thief on the cross? He was never baptized, yet the Lord said, “To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.” Baptism is not necessary to salvation, because the thief could not obey that command, yet the Lord said he would be in paradise.” [Lu 23:43]

The Scriptures examined: The real issue pertains to a crucial feature of Bible interpretation, are we to take all 66 books of the Bible and take everything that is said and apply it directly and equally to everyone? The Bible is literally filled with commands, instructions, and requirements that were not intended to be duplicated by people living today. People are amenable to the law period under which they lived. [2Timothy 2:15]. There are three dispensations found in the Scriptures:

  • The Patriarchal Dispensation – From creation, everyone was subject to a body of legislation passed down by God through the fathers of family clans (cf. Hebrews 11:1), until the giving of the Law of Moses.
  • The Mosaic Dispensation – At Mt. Sinai, Moses was given a new Law from God and Jews were subject to that body of legal information [Law of Moses] from that time until it also was terminated at the cross of Christ. Consider the following passages:[Matthew 27:51; Romans 2:12-16; Galatians 3:7-29; Ephesians 2:11-22; Colossians 2:11-17]
  • The Christian Dispensation – After Jesus’ death on the Cross, all peoples are now amenable to the Law of Christ. [Galatians 6:2]
Now that we have this background information, let’s examine the reasons which make their argument invalid:

Reason #1– The Law of Moses was still in effect. Many folks are confused when reading the Gospels for it is commonly called, “The New Testament.” However, the majority of the gospel story in Matthew, Mark, Luke & John, take place while Jesus was alive and living as a Jew subject to the Law of Moses.

Jesus was born to a Jewish family under the Law [Mat 1; Luke 3; Ga 4:4], circumcised the 8th day [Lu 2:21], observed the Passover [Lu 2:41, 22:8-20], taught people to follow the Law [Matthew 5:23-24; 8:4], and followed the Law Himself [Matthew 5:17-18].

Under the Law of Moses, never was there a command to be baptized for the remission of sins. Sins were atoned for through the sacrifice of bulls; And he shall do with the bull as he did with the bull as a sin offering; thus he shall do with it. So the priest shall make atonement for them, and it shall be forgiven them. (Leviticus 4:20). The word “atonement” <kaphar> literally means “to cover” and is the same as in Gen 6:14 regarding covering the ark with pitch.

Nowhere in the Old Testament is the teaching that sins were totally removed. As we study our Bibles, we find in Hebrews 10:4 For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins. [Heb 10:11 …can never take away sins.] This system pointed to the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross and terminated at the cross [see above scripture references]

The thief on the cross lived during this Mosaic period, therefore was subject to the Law of Moses and it’s system of sacrifice through bulls and goats.

Which brings us to the second reason……

Reason #2 – Since Jesus lived under the Law of Moses, He followed that law. Of course, He would have no reason to offer a sacrifice on His own behalf [Hebrews 4:15] being without sin, He did teach those around Him to do it for themselves [Mt 8:1-4]

As we study, we find out that the sacrifices in the Law of Moses were pointing to the sacrifice that Jesus would offer of Himself. Galatians 3:19-27 teaches that the Law was a teacher to bring us to Christ.

The letter to the HEBREWS teaches us that it was Christ’s death that ended the Law and began the New Covenant. [Hebrews 8-10]. Paul, speaking about the death of Jesus in relationship to the Law of Moses, said “Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;” [Colossians 2:14]

Therefore, the THIEF on the cross never had a command to be baptized for the remission of sins. He died, having repented and placed his trust in the Christ, as EVERYONE UNDER THE LAW OF MOSES did when they obeyed the ordinances under that law.

Reason #3– The command to be baptized “for the remission of sins” was issued AFTER Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection. When Jesus was on the cross, He was fulfilling the Law of Moses, ending it, and bringing in the New Covenant. It was AFTER His death, burial and resurrection that He gave the great commission, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:” [Matthew 28:19]

FOR THE REMISSION OF SIN – This phrase is found in connection with baptism. It is particularly important to note how and when it was used;

  • Mt 26:28 For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.
  • Ac 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, 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.

These two verses show the connection between, baptism, Christ’s blood AND the remission of sins.

The other instances of this phrase are connected to the preaching of John “the Baptist”. When we study the scriptures, we find that John’s baptism never remitted any sins, for we read in Acts 19:1-5;

And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples, 2 He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost. 3 And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John’s baptism.  4 Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. 5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.

CONCLUSION:
  • The thief on the cross lived AND DIED under the Law of Moses, as did Jesus our Lord, where there was NO COMMAND to be baptized.
  • The thief, had he been able to obey the command, was not under any obligation to obey it for it DIDN’T APPLY TO HIM at the time of his death, because the Law of Moses was the covenant in force at the time of the statement, “To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.”
  • The command to be baptized was given AFTER his death.

How to start a church

What if there were no church in Borger, how would you start one?

I knew of a man that became a Christian. The way that he learned the truth was very motivational. He had suffered a debilitating accident which caused him to search for meaning. He began reading his bible. Upon completing the Old Testament, he said, “I’ve got to learn how to serve God, but I’m going to finish reading the Bible first.”

After completely reading the New Testament he said, “I’ve got to do be saved.” He then began seeking Christians. First he looked to the largest “church”. He was immediately disappointed because what he found didn’t match what he had read about in the Bible.

So he continued visiting churches, Baptists, Methodists etc. All along the way he kept asking the people at these places, “why do you do what you do and how do I get saved?” Their answers disappointed him, for they were unable to give an answer that matched what he had read in his Bible.

Then one day he responded to a newspaper ad offering a Bible correspondence course to people that wanted to study the Bible. He completed the course and was very excited because everything taught was completely consistent with the Bible that he read.

After the completion of the course, he invited the man that sent him the course to his home and asked to be saved. He already knew what to do, He believed, confessed Jesus to be the son of God, repented and wanted to be baptized for the remission of sins. [Romans 10:14, John 11:24, Luke 13:3, Matthew 10:32-33, Mark 16:15-16, 2Peter 2:20-22]

Because there was a group of Christians that met in his area, he began assembling with them until the day he passed from this earth.

What if there wasn’t a church in Borger?

What if he had read the whole bible, learning to obey the Gospel yet finding nowhere to worship as God had commanded? [John 4:24] How would he go about starting a New Testament church? Certainly he must find others of ‘like precious faith’. [2Peter 1:1] He would have read, “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” [Matthew 18:20]

He would have either found them or taught them. Then what? Now that there are 2 or more, what do they do next? Certainly they have learned to serve the Lord, [Colossians 3:24] but how would they worship? [John 4:21]

You study the Bible.

How did folks do it before us? How did they do it in the Bible? They read and studied it. Paul wrote to the early Christians, “whereby, when ye read, ye can perceive my understanding in the mystery of Christ;” [Ephesians 3:4] He also taught people to study the scriptures. [2Timothy 3:15] We can be honorable today, just like the Bereans when they searched the scriptures daily. [Acts 17:11]

Let’s imagine what might have happened, had this small group of people sought to serve God and begin a church in their city.

The Bible our only Guide.

So they read and studied their Bibles. The first thing they did, as a small group of Christians wishing to worship God and to serve him correctly, is to decide to use the Bible as their only guide. To speak where the Bible speaks, and to be silent when it is silent. [1Peter 4:11; 2Samuel 7:7]

Scriptural Worship

Next they asked one another, “How shall we worship Him and what shall we do?” Turning again to scripture they learn that truth is necessary. [John 4:24] They find that Jesus commanded Christians to remember His death by observing the Lord’s Supper. [Luke 22:14-20; 1Corinthians 11:14-34]

Then one of them might ask, “When should we do this remembrance? Should we meet annually, perhaps once a month?” Back to the scriptures they go, seeking the TRUTH of the matter. It is there that they find this passage, “And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight.” [Acts 20:7] Since every week has a first day, and there being no additional instruction, they decide to meet every first day of the week, which is Sunday the day following the Sabbath.

While searching the answer to that question, they noted that the passage mentions Paul preaching. Remembering that he also taught to imitate him as he imitated Christ, [1Corinthians 11:1] they recognize that since Christ preached, they must also follow the Godly examples of the scriptures. [Mark 2:2] So they included preaching along with the Lord’s Supper during their worship assembly.

Praying and Singing

So they came together to worship. Then one may have said, “I wonder if we could pray during our worship?” So once again, they return to the scriptures to find permission to pray during the assembly. This answer came quickly, for multiple passages supported the exercise of prayer. [1Thessalonians 5:17, Acts 20:36, Luke 5:16, 1Corinthians 11:23-26]

Another asked about singing. Once again the scriptures showed them they could and should sing. [Ephesians 5:19, Colossians 3:16] Another may have suggested an instrument to aid in the singing, but to their dismay, no command, example or suggestion of an instrument was found in the New Testament worship. They easily found those aids in the Old Testament, but somebody pointed out in the scriptures where it said, “In that He says, “A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete.” [Hebrews 8:13]

By now they have become quite accustomed to searching the scriptures for what they must do. Finding additional passages confirming that they were on the right path. Passages like, “And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.” [Colossians 3:17]

Problems in the church

All was bliss until one of their number had a need for aid. Since the habit was now engrained into their minds for searching the scriptures, they once again sought the advice of the Lord. They found that money was an important aspect of completing the work. They found in the scriptures where the members were commanded to lay aside money for the work of the Lord. That this work included helping needy saints, but also was to be used for spreading the gospel through the support of preachers and edification of the church. [1Corinthians 16:1-4, 2Corinthians 8 & 9, 1Timothy 5:18, Ephesians 4:16; 1Corinthians 14:26; Acts 20:32]

What’s the name of the church?

The church began to grow, for they were doing exactly what the Lord commanded them, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 “teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” [Mt 28:19-20] They were teaching others, teaching only what was in the Bible from God. There was one more problem that arose, the new comers began asking, “What do we call this church?

It hadn’t yet occurred to them that they might need a name. Again, as they have done for every question thus far, they searched the scriptures for a name. One person suggested they name the group after the founding member, Gus. He would have none of that telling them that he didn’t die for the church. [1Corinthians 1:13] As they searched they found several names. ‘They Way’ [Acts 19:9, 23] ‘Church of God’ [Acts 20:28] ‘church of Christ’ [Romans 16:16] ‘The general assembly and church of the firstborn’ [Hebrews 12:23]. What name should they choose, since so many were found? Then this scripture was read, “Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17 Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. 18 “And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.” [Matthew 16:16-18]

This reminded them of another passage, “And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;” [Ephesians 2:20] and others [1Corinthians 3:11, Ephesians 5:23, 1Peter 2:6, 7]. After completing a full study of God’s word on the matter, the settled upon the church of Christ.

Everyone was happy, endeavoring for unity in the knowledge of Jesus Christ. [Ephesians 4:3-6] If any other “issues” arose, they would consult the scriptures. When difficulties came, they searched the scriptures. Whatever they did, in word or deed, they did all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. They were just Christians.

Would you like to be just a Christian? You may, if you do what so many others have done and what is shown in the Bible.

What doth hinder you?

In Acts 8, the Ethiopian Eunich asked, “….what doth hinder me to be baptized?” [Acts 8:36] This is the question that needs to be answered, what hinders you?

As I was reading Mark, this passage caused me to pause, ”That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them.” [Mr 4:12] It caused me to think about people that are blinded to the truth….

  • No one is so blind….
    • As one who WILL NOT SEE.
  • No one is so Deaf….
    • As one who WILL NOT HEAR.
  • No one is so illiterate….
    • As one who WILL NOT READ. [Eph 3:4]
  • No one is so ignorant….
    • As one who WILL NOT STUDY. [2Ti 2:15]

I once met a man convinced that salvation was by faith only. He actually was passing out material declaring the same. I asked him questions, noting that his material lacked scriptural support for what he was teaching. He said, “That’s odd, there should be some scriptures for this.”

I told him that I agreed, and asked, after much discussion, if he’d like to see the only passage in the entirety of scripture that says, “By faith only” in that sequence. What he said next shocked me, “No, I’m ok.” He then took his Bible, which I had opened to the very passage, closed it and stuck it into his pocket.

It is a sad day when a person claiming to be a child of God closes the Bible on truth. So, what doth hinder you from being baptized?

  • Me? – No, I’ll not stand in your way.
  • The church? – No, your denomination may, but the church of the Bible will never.
  • Law? – No, there’s nothing in the Law of Christ, [Ro 8:2] that will hinder you, it teaches it.
  • God? – No, He’s not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. [2Pe 3:9]

So who is it? It’s YOU! Only you stand in the way of salvation. Oh yeah, do you want to know the only time “…by faith only” is used in Scripture?

Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. [Jas 2:24]

Why I chose the Church of Christ

I like to talk with people, actually, I like it when people talk to me. The other day, while getting my haircut, I asked one of my “magic questions”. A magic question is when you ask a person an open ended question that acts as conversation starters.

This lady began talking about her church. She said that she had visited EVERY church in town, but always found herself back at the Baptist church. So, I asked her what it was about the Baptist church that “always brought her back”.

She paused, paused some more, and finally said, “You’re putting me on the spot.” I gently reminded her that she had brought it up and I was just curious. Noticing that she was uncomfortable I moved the conversation on to another aspect of church. This got me to thinking about my own choice for “church”.

Why did I choose the church of Christ?

Like this lovely lady, I too had visited numerous “churches” in my quest to learn about God. I had started a family and recognized that there was something missing. So I went looking. Actually, I already had been looking, even before I was married. I went to the Baptist, the Catholic, the Episcopal, the Methodist, the Universal Church of Christ and multiple other denominations over the course of my search.

In every single case, there was something that didn’t seem quite right. It was a logical feeling that I couldn’t quite place my finger on to know. So, we kept looking.

Would you like to study the Bible?

Then, my wife and I were asked if we would like to study the Bible by an older relative. This simple invitation clicked, no one previously had ever asked if we wanted to study the Bible. So we accepted. Do you know what? We studied the Bible and only the Bible. I asked questions, he answered with scripture. She asked questions, he answered with scripture.

More questions, more scriptures. Then came the question, which interestingly was asked for us by reading the scriptures. [Acts 2:37]

“What must we do to be saved?” [click here]

He answered with the scriptures. Multiple scriptures. He showed us the passages on belief. I asked about the sinners’ prayer. There wasn’t one. He said that he had looked and never found a prayer a non christian prayed and received salvation.

We studied the scriptures for several weeks previously, but on that night, the same hour of the night, my wife and I obeyed the Gospel of Jesus Christ. [Mr 1:1; Acts 16:33]

  • We had been hearing the word of God. [Rom 10:17]
  • We believed that Jesus was the Christ. [Acts 8:37]
  • We confessed the same thing before men. [Mat 10:32]
  • We repented of our sins. [Lu 13:3]
  • We were baptized [by immersion] for the remission of our sins. [Acts 2:38; Gal 3:27]
  • We committed to live a Godly life. [Mat 28:1-208; Acts 2:42]

Why did I choose the Church of Christ? It was the only one that used scripture, book, chapter and verse for everything that it teaches, everything it believes and everything it does.

Would you like to study the bible and have your questions answered with the Bible? [click here] and I would be happy to study with you.

Spencer – Borger, Tx  806/274-5021

Ask me how to make your calling and election sure. 2Pet 1:10