Preaching JESUS in order

Preaching JESUS.

For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel.[1Cor 1:17]

Many will cite the above verse as proof that baptism is unnecessary for salvation. Does it really mean that? Not if you understand the context of the passage and the problem of sectarianism that existed in the church at Corinth.

Another point can be drawn out of this passage; preaching the gospel of Christ out of order. Because denominations reject baptism so vehemently, we often place baptism at the front of preaching of the Gospel.

It reminds me of a preacher trying to reach a denominational group. He said, “I think I’m only making them better Lutherans.”

We often preach against certain sins and unscriptural practices of denominationalism. (ie. instrumental music, social gospel, false worship etc.) While we are preaching the truth, there are preeminent truths.

Here’s an illustration of what I am saying. Before a child can run, they must first build strength to crawl, then stand, and then walk.

Another illustration is the building a house. We never begin to build with the roof! We begin with pouring a foundation, then the walls, and then the roof.

Much of our preaching emphasizes baptism without laying first the foundation of the Authority of Christ. We rightfully understand that the ‘steps’ of salvation are; Hear, then Believe, then Repent, then Confess, and then be Baptized. Once we become Christians we Grow and Endure. Unfortunately, we get caught up cramming faithfulness and baptism verses down the throats of those who haven’t truly yet believed in the Preeminence of Christ. [Col 1:18]

Jesus gave us the order when He gave what is commonly called “the Great Commission.” “All authority hath been given unto me in heaven and on earth. 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: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I commanded you: and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” [Matt 28:18-20]

An evangelist named Philip met up with a Eunuch where we read that he “preached unto him Jesus.” [Acts 8:35]. While nothing else is revealed about his preaching, we can necessarily infer that ‘preaching Jesus’ included submission to His authority.

How can we preach Jesus?

Philip…preached unto him…

JESUS, Acts 8:35; Matt 28:18-20 ‘Go ye…’

We begin with showing that

JESUS is the Christ, and He has all authority.

Mat 28:18 “All authority hath been given unto me in heaven and on earth.”

Hebrews 1; Mark 9:7 ‘Hear ye Him.’

Hearing is first, and hearing leads to Believing. [Rom 10:17; John 20:30-31]

Preaching Jesus must include the

EXAMPLE of His life leading to His Death, Burial, and Resurrection.  

This is the GOSPEL. 1Cor 15:1-4

Preaching Jesus must include teaching that we must

SUBMIT to His will,

Luke 6:46 And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say? [Mat 7:21-23; John 14:15; 15:14; 1John 5:3]

“And whatsoever ye do, in word or in deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” [Col 3:17]

This teaches us about Repentance from sins and Confessing Him.

Preaching Jesus must include teaching that we must go

UNDER the water to come in contact with His blood,

The Eunuch, upon hearing the preaching of Jesus, concluded baptism was necessary for Salvation. [Acts 8:35-38]

Matt 26:28; Rom 6:3-4

Only after laying the foundation of Hearing, Believing, Repenting, Confessing, will we have laid the foundation for scriptural Baptism. Mat 28:19

With a foundation in the Authority of Jesus, they’ll also believe they’re

SAVED if they Grow and Endure until the end.

“But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” 2Peter 3:18

“But he that endureth to the end, the same shall be saved.” Matt 24:13

Matt 28:20; Rev 2:10

Spencer

Third of seven Musts of Salvation; REPENT

Wherefore, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision: but declared both to them of Damascus first and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the country of Judaea, and also to the Gentiles, that they should REPENT and TURN to God, doing works worthy of repentanc.” [Acts 26:19,20. emph mine seb]

The preaching of the Apostle Paul, from the beginning of his baptism, included repentance and works worthy of repentance. John the baptizer taught the same, [Mt 3:8].

Repentance was Jesus’ teaching and it is taught as a part of preaching Jesus today.

#3, we must REPENT: All quotations are from the ASV

  1. “From that time began Jesus to preach, and to say, Repent ye; for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Mat 4:17
  • “I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all in like manner perish.” Luke 13:3
  • “Repent ye, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ unto the remission of your sins; and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Acts 2:38
  • “Repent ye therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, that so there may come seasons of refreshing from the presence of the Lord;” Acts 3:19
  • “The times of ignorance therefore God overlooked; but now he commandeth men that they should all everywhere repent:” Acts 17:30
  • “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some count slackness; but is longsuffering to you-ward, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” 2Peter 3:9
  • “…be zealous therefore, and repent.” Rev 3:19

The false teaching of salvation by faith only must deny repentance. If one teaches repentance, as written in scripture, they must deny faith only. What does it mean to REPENT?

The definition of repent is to RECONSIDER, to make a change of heart. Repentance begins in the heart with an examination of your life and ways. However, biblical repentance goes further.

Biblical repentance is preached. Jesus said, ‘EXCEPT ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.” [Luke 13:5]. He also said that repentance was to be preached as part of the preaching of the gospel. [Luke 24:47; 5:32; Mar 6:12; Mat 4:17]

Biblical repentance goes beyond a reconsideration in the heart, it includes the penitent to PERFORM the commands of God. Jesus said, “Remember therefore whence thou art fallen, and repent and do the first works; or else I come to thee, and will move thy candlestick out of its place, except thou repent.” [Rev 2:5; cr. Jas 1:22; Luke 3:8; Mat 3:8; Mat 21:28-32].

Repentance is an EMOTIONAL response of sorrow that leads to repentance. “For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation” [2Cor 7:8-11]. People often accuse the church of Christ of being heartless and legalistic. This is false. Repentance is a very emotional and heartfelt response to our self-examination compared to the scriptures.

There will be NO opportunity to repent after death or upon Christ’s return. Esau could not repent after the blessing was given [Heb 12:17]. The judgement scene clearly shows this, “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord…And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” [Mat 7:21-29; Mat 25; Luke 6:46].

Repentance can and must be practiced toward our fellow man, but repenting unto salvation [Acts 2:38] is TOWARD GOD. “Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.” [Acts 20:21].  The person repenting for salvation is TURNING toward God. “that they should repent and turn to God, doing works worthy of repentance.” [Acts 26:20].

Seven Musts of Salvation #3: REPENT.

REPENTANCE

Wherefore, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision: but declared both to them of Damascus first and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the country of Judaea, and also to the Gentiles, that they should REPENT and TURN to God, doing works worthy of repentanc.” [Acts 26:19,20. emph mine seb]

The preaching of the Apostle Paul, from the beginning of his baptism, included repentance and works worthy of repentance. John the baptizer taught the same, [Mt 3:8].

Repentance was Jesus’ teaching and it is taught as a part of preaching Jesus today.

#3, we must REPENT: All quotations are from the ASV

The false teaching of salvation by faith only must deny repentance. If one teaches repentance, as written in scripture, they must deny faith only. What does it mean to REPENT?

The definition of repent is to RECONSIDER, to make a change of heart. Repentance begins in the heart with an examination of your life and ways. However, biblical repentance goes further.

Biblical repentance is preached. Jesus said, ‘EXCEPT ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.” [Luke 13:5]. He also said that repentance was to be preached as part of the preaching of the gospel. [Luke 24:47; 5:32; Mar 6:12; Mat 4:17]

Biblical repentance goes beyond a reconsideration in the heart, it includes the penitent to PERFORM the commands of God. Jesus said, “Remember therefore whence thou art fallen, and repent and do the first works; or else I come to thee, and will move thy candlestick out of its place, except thou repent.” [Rev 2:5; cr. Jas 1:22; Luke 3:8; Mat 3:8; Mat 21:28-32].

Repentance is an EMOTIONAL response of sorrow that leads to repentance. “For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation” [2Cor 7:8-11]. People often accuse the church of Christ of being heartless and legalistic. This is false. Repentance is a very emotional and heartfelt response to our self-examination compared to the scriptures.

There will be NO opportunity to repent after death or upon Christ’s return. Esau could not repent after the blessing was given [Heb 12:17]. The judgement scene clearly shows this, “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord…And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” [Mat 7:21-29; Mat 25; Luke 6:46].

Repentance can and must be practiced toward our fellow man, but repenting unto salvation [Acts 2:38] is TOWARD GOD. “Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.” [Acts 20:21].  The person repenting for salvation is TURNING toward God. “that they should repent and turn to God, doing works worthy of repentance.” [Acts 26:20].

Spencer

Why does the church of Christ push baptism so much?

One of the criticisms against the Lord’s church and against His gospel preachers is that we emphasize baptism so much.

There’s a very simple and reasonable answer. To answer it, let’s look at what we have in common with the denominational world.

  • We BELIEVE in Jesus. They acknowledge Jesus as God & already know about Him, that He died, was buried and was resurrected. There are unbelievers, & for those I begin with HEARING God’s word.
  • We both agree that WORSHIP is found in the scriptures. We disagree about how to worship [in spirit & truth John 4:24], but we generally agree that Sunday worship is a part of the Christian life.
  • We agree that a person ought to be PENITENT, meaning that a person has to REPENT of sins. This is only denied by some denominational people.
  • We definitely agree that CONFESSING Jesus as the Christ is essential to salvation. The scriptures make confession essential. [Romans 10:9].

WHAT ABOUT BAPTISM?

This is where we divide widely. Actually, they’re not dividing from us as much as they’re dividing from the Scriptures. (see chart next page) We emphasize BAPTISM, because they don’t emphasize it at all regarding it being ESSENTIAL to salvation. They will baptize, even by immersion, but that is the end of the similarities. Here’s how I know they’re not following God’s word on baptism…

  • They SCHEDULE According to the word, folks who come to the knowledge of Jesus, are baptized immediately.

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]

  • They say, “BAPTISM DOESN’T SAVE.” This is a direct contradiction to the Apostle Peter, to Paul and certainly against Christ.

“He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved;”

[Mark 16:16]

STAYING IN STEP

Never have I ever seen a caterpillar metamorphose into a butterfly except through some very specific steps. Before we can have a butterfly, there must be 4 distinct stages: egg, larva, pupa then adult. Each phase has different and necessary purposes. There is no way for the butterfly to skip a step, nor to take the steps out of order. People are the same regarding physical things. First gestation, childhood, teen then adulthood. Did you know that there are steps and order for spiritual things, namely, Salvation?

God instructs us to look at nature because it shows His handiwork and it can teach us some spiritual lessons. [cr. Rom 1:20; Pslm 19:1; Prov 6:6]. The example of stages in nature can teach us very powerful lessons about the stages of Salvation.

Although the modern religious world rejects any plan of salvation that has man doing anything, this doesn’t negate scripture that says there is a part man must do and, in God ordained order. “And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.” [Acts 9:6] (emp seb) That being said, and proved, what are the steps for salvation and must they be completed in order?

Romans 10 lays out that there is an order (steps) for one to follow. In verses 13-14, Paul shows that the beginning steps leading to salvation are HEARING, BELIEVING & CALLING ON THE NAME OF THE LORD.

“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?” [Rom 10:13-14] (emp seb)

He goes onto write that faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God. This shows that HEARING, BELIEVING & CALLING ON THE NAME OF THE LORD shall be learned through the study of the Word of God, namely, the New Testament. But, is this all that the New Testament has to say on this subject? CERTAINLY NOT!

In the same chapter in verse 10 Paul wrote, “For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” (emp seb) So CONFESSION is also essential to salvation, but is this all that there is? A problem many folks have is that they stop at one passage without considering all that God has revealed about a subject. This is how & why we have thousands of denominations today. Let’s continue our search.

Thus far we have learned that salvation begins with…HEARING the word of God through the scriptures, BELIEVING this word, CONFESSING and CALLING on the name of the Lord. (there must be a distinction between CONFESSION & CALLING). To answer this question we go back to where we began this article by noting what Paul (Saul of Tarsus) was told to do by Jesus. We refer to his own retelling of the story in Acts 22:16, “And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.” We learn that water BAPTISM is synonymous with “CALLING ON THE NAME OF THE LORD” and that it precedes salvation.

Jesus said, “except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.” [Luke 13:3] Clearly, He’s speaking about salvation. After His death, burial & resurrection, but before His ascension He also said, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.” [Mark 16:16] (emp seb) This verse also shows the necessity of not skipping the steps and doing them in order and for their intended purpose.

Putting this all together we find only these steps for salvation in this order…
1) Hear & Learn – Rom. 10:17; John 6:45; 17:3
2) Believe – John 6:29; 8:24
3) Repent – Luke 13:3; Acts 3:19; 17:30
4) Confess the Lord – Matt. 10:32-33
5) Be Baptized – Mark 16:16; Acts 22:16; Gal. 3:26-27; 1Pet. 3:21

Failure to follow the steps in their proper order and for their intended purpose is to fight against the very will of God [Acts 5:39]. There is much more on this subject, but none of it contradicts what has been said thus far.

Another thing we find is this saying, also from Jesus, “be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.” [Rev 2:10b]. From this, along with passages like Mat 28:20; Acts 2:42; 2Tim 3:14-17, we learn that continued faithfulness is what those who have obeyed the gospel will continue to do. A person that is practicing faithfulness without having “obeyed the gospel” is practicing a vain religion. There are far too many people living in this false hope.

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?