A Better Baptism #2

Thursday, September 19, 2019

“For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit” (1 Corinthians 12:13 KJV).

Behold, the only baptism that counts for eternity!

There is a prevailing myth in Christendom that water baptism is a “New Testament ordinance.” It is assumed that water baptism does not appear in Scripture until John the Baptist (Matthew chapter 3). God’s words in Exodus chapter 29 easily dispel this as nothing but idle speculation: “[1] And this is the thing that thou shalt do unto them to hallow them, to minister unto me in the priest’s office: Take one young bullock, and two rams without blemish, [2] And unleavened bread, and cakes unleavened tempered with oil, and wafers unleavened anointed with oil: of wheaten flour shalt thou make them. [3] And thou shalt put them into one basket, and bring them in the basket, with the bullock and the two rams.

“[4] And Aaron and his sons thou shalt bring unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and shalt wash them with water. [5] And thou shalt take the garments, and put upon Aaron the coat, and the robe of the ephod, and the ephod, and the breastplate, and gird him with the curious girdle of the ephod: [6] And thou shalt put the mitre upon his head, and put the holy crown upon the mitre. [7] Then shalt thou take the anointing oil, and pour it upon his head, and anoint him. [8] And thou shalt bring his sons, and put coats upon them.”

A special ceremony was to be held when Aaron and his sons were ordained to serve in the Levitical priesthood. Two particular features involved with this installation were: (1) a washing with water to be followed by (2) an anointing with olive oil. Here is the foundation for the ministry of John the Baptist. Water baptism is an Old Testament concept associated with washing Israel’s priests. As long as we keep this in mind, water baptism will be quite simple to grasp. It is when man interjects his vain suppositions that we get baffled and stumble in darkness….

Our two latest Bible Q&As: “What was ‘the forbidden fruit?’and Can you explain knowing good and evil with respect to the Garden of Eden?

A Better Baptism #1

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

“For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit” (1 Corinthians 12:13 KJV).

Behold, the only baptism that counts for eternity!

Several years ago, while Mom and I were still attending services at a local denominational assembly, we participated in a church-building cleaning. Many members had come to sweep and vacuum floors, do light maintenance and repairs, and so on. Mom and I had been assigned to clean the baptistery, so we were wearing old clothes and rubber boots. With the basin drained, we climbed inside and began to scrub the interior with bleach. I can still remember the feeling of awe as I cleaned on my hands and knees. It was like I was closer to God, or doing His work. A decade later, I look back with a renewed mind and shake my head, “What deception! What ignorance! What silliness!”

Indeed, there is not a soul in all of Christendom who has not heard an appeal to be water baptized at some point. We are all familiar with at least one mode—sprinkling, pouring, or immersion. Many baptizers vie to do the deed—priest, preacher, deacon, bishop, or evangelist. Various formulas are spoken—especially “In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit” or “In the name of Jesus Christ.” Who should be water baptized—infants and adults, or adults only? What immense controversy and abounding confusion! Churches may not even accept people who were baptized in other assemblies. They might demand a re-baptism! Someone once called water baptism “religious TNT.” Doubtless, the title is fitting. It is an explosive topic, and tempers flare. Frankly, the only agreement denominationalists have concerning water baptism is to agree to disagree!

Unfortunately, sinful man has so needlessly complicated the Scriptures. No matter the topic, someone always has a denominational agenda and they will eagerly sacrifice Bible verses to achieve their end. Therefore, most of us, sadly, have never been told the plain truth concerning water baptism. We have heard the denominations and sects speak, but we have not heard the Bible speak. Here, that will be different….

Idolatry and Insanity! #6

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

“Now it came to pass, after that Amaziah was come from the slaughter of the Edomites, that he brought the gods of the children of Seir, and set them up to be his gods, and bowed down himself before them, and burned incense unto them” (2 Chronicles 25:14 KJV).

How are King Amaziah’s actions here most absurd? What application can we make?

The Bible says in 1 Corinthians chapter 6, verses 19 and 20: “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” We have the indwelling Spirit of God, so we should act like it!

Dearly beloved, it simply does not make sense—yea, it is downright foolishness—for us to return to the slave market of sin. Almighty God Himself, at Calvary’s cross, has fully paid the price to free us from sin’s dominion. He liberated us from the power of sin… so should we return to it? No!! As saints, we are called to a life of holiness/separation and good works (Ephesians 2:10; Titus 2:11-14). Yet, how often we revert to our former identity and behavior!! Like Amaziah, we know such nonsense failed us before, but the sin that conquered us deceives us so we return to it (thus failing again).

As Christ died and resurrected, so do we according to Romans chapter 6: “[11] Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. [12] Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. [13] Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. [14] For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.” This entire chapter and the next two chapters are exceptional doctrine on the subject.

Brethren, let us read and believe these verses, thereby avoiding idolatry and its accompanying insanity!

Idolatry and Insanity! #5

Monday, September 16, 2019

“Now it came to pass, after that Amaziah was come from the slaughter of the Edomites, that he brought the gods of the children of Seir, and set them up to be his gods, and bowed down himself before them, and burned incense unto them” (2 Chronicles 25:14 KJV).

How are King Amaziah’s actions here most absurd? What application can we make?

When we place our faith in Jesus Christ as our personal Saviour, we indicate a desire to do God’s will—at least to some extent. We finally realize we have been wasting our life and energy thus far, ignoring our Creator. Now, it is time to stop living for self, self, self! Wealth, fame, possessions, education, sex, drugs, and so on, did not satisfy us. Seeking meaning and happiness in all places but the right one, we were really in unfathomable bondage. Bothered by failure, monotony, and hopelessness; we lacked peace and security amidst life’s pressures, disappointments, and uncertainties.

However (!), we saw the brilliant light of God’s marvelous grace and love exhibited in the Gospel—Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again the third day (1 Corinthians 15:3,4). When we trusted Him alone, we became heirs of eternal life. We began to understand the victory we have in Christ. Excited about our new identity and new life, having God’s joy and peace, we were relieved to be freed from sin. Alas, as the evil world system appealed to us before, so it enticed us to return to the old mindset and old lifestyle. Sin again deceived us!

Likewise, Amaziah enjoyed victory with JEHOVAH God… but never completely broke away from worldliness. He did not have a perfect heart, one committed to the LORD God; it was therefore quite easy for him to lapse into overt pagan idolatry. This is true of much of the world today—even the vast majority of professing Christians. To a large degree, they ignore the one true God who can give them ultimate victory. They prefer to worship and serve the creature (themselves or similar beings) when they should be allegiant to their Creator. What weaklings we are, and yet we worship ourselves as though we were the Almighty. Preposterous….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “How can man rebel against God after the Millennium?

Idolatry and Insanity! #4

Sunday, September 15, 2019

“Now it came to pass, after that Amaziah was come from the slaughter of the Edomites, that he brought the gods of the children of Seir, and set them up to be his gods, and bowed down himself before them, and burned incense unto them” (2 Chronicles 25:14 KJV).

How are King Amaziah’s actions here most absurd? What application can we make?

Amaziah knew right from wrong. When God censured him for seeking military aid from the (apostate) northern 10 tribes of Israel, the king changed his mind and asked them to depart. He retained his Judaean army. “[11] And Amaziah strengthened himself, and led forth his people, and went to the valley of salt, and smote of the children of Seir ten thousand. [12] And other ten thousand left alive did the children of Judah carry away captive, and brought them unto the top of the rock, and cast them down from the top of the rock, that they all were broken in pieces.”

The Edomites were unable to stand against Amaziah because the one true God was on his side. Yet, Amaziah, ironically, does something quite stupid in today’s Scripture: “Now it came to pass, after that Amaziah was come from the slaughter of the Edomites, that he brought the gods of the children of Seir, and set them up to be his gods, and bowed down himself before them, and burned incense unto them.” Verse 15 adds: “Wherefore the anger of the LORD was kindled against Amaziah, and he sent unto him a prophet, which said unto him, Why hast thou sought after the gods of the people, which could not deliver their own people out of thine hand?”

As preposterous as it sounds, Amaziah began to worship and pray to the very gods of the Gentiles he had just defeated! These powerless idols captivated him to such a degree that he ignored the one true God who had given him victory over them, and began to serve them as though they were worthy of his time! (You can read the rest of the chapter to see what ultimately happens to Amaziah.) We need not be so hard on him, for several billion people even now follow in his footsteps….

Idolatry and Insanity! #3

Saturday, September 14, 2019

“Now it came to pass, after that Amaziah was come from the slaughter of the Edomites, that he brought the gods of the children of Seir, and set them up to be his gods, and bowed down himself before them, and burned incense unto them” (2 Chronicles 25:14 KJV).

How are King Amaziah’s actions here most absurd? What application can we make?

In addition to assembling an army from his own kingdom, Judah, Amaziah recruits military assistance from apostate Israel (northern tribes). Almighty God, of course, frowns up this, and Amaziah changes course

Again: “[7] But there came a man of God to him, saying, O king, let not the army of Israel go with thee; for the LORD is not with Israel, to wit, with all the children of Ephraim. [8] But if thou wilt go, do it; be strong for the battle: God shall make thee fall before the enemy: for God hath power to help, and to cast down. [9] And Amaziah said to the man of God, But what shall we do for the hundred talents which I have given to the army of Israel? And the man of God answered, The LORD is able to give thee much more than this.

“[10] Then Amaziah separated them, to wit, the army that was come to him out of Ephraim [northern tribe], to go home again: wherefore their anger was greatly kindled against Judah, and they returned home in great anger. [11] And Amaziah strengthened himself, and led forth his people, and went to the valley of salt, and smote of the children of Seir [Edomites] ten thousand. [12] And other ten thousand left alive did the children of Judah carry away captive, and brought them unto the top of the rock, and cast them down from the top of the rock, that they all were broken in pieces.”

Amaziah obeyed God’s Word and separated from the apostate Jews up north. Thus, the LORD was with him as he ought against the Edomites to the south. These descendants of Esau—Jacob’s twin brother—are relatives of the Jews (Genesis 25:19-26; Genesis 36:8,9). JEHOVAH God causes Amaziah to triumph over the Edomites, but, as today’s Scripture shows, Amaziah is not at all grateful….

Idolatry and Insanity! #2

Friday, September 13, 2019

“Now it came to pass, after that Amaziah was come from the slaughter of the Edomites, that he brought the gods of the children of Seir, and set them up to be his gods, and bowed down himself before them, and burned incense unto them” (2 Chronicles 25:14 KJV).

How are King Amaziah’s actions here most absurd? What application can we make?

Second Kings 14:3 says: “And he [Amaziah] did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, yet not like David his father: he did according to all things as Joash his father did.” We re-read the following: “And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, but not with a perfect heart” (verse 2, the context of today’s Scripture). Pay attention to the description, “but not with a perfect heart.” Amaziah served the one true God only halfheartedly.

Joash/Jehoash his father walked in the ways of the LORD God as long as his priestly mentor lived. Second Kings 12:2: “And Jehoash did that which was right in the sight of the LORD all his days wherein Jehoiada the priest instructed him.” Joash was responsible for a major religious reform and spiritual awakening in Judah. Chiefly, he oversaw repairs to the Jerusalem Temple (see 2 Chronicles 24:4-16). However, he drifted from JEHOVAH God, led the Southern Kingdom (Judah) to be likewise idolatrous, and his servants ultimately conspired and assassinated him (verses 18-27).

At age 25, Amaziah became King of Judah. Unfortunately, he followed in his father’s footsteps: he started off right but waxed apostate. After Amaziah assembled an army of the two southern tribes of Judah and Benjamin (verse 5—the context of today’s Scripture), we read: “[6] He hired also an hundred thousand mighty men of valour out of Israel for an hundred talents of silver. [7] But there came a man of God to him, saying, O king, let not the army of Israel go with thee; for the LORD is not with Israel, to wit, with all the children of Ephraim. [8] But if thou wilt go, do it; be strong for the battle: God shall make thee fall before the enemy: for God hath power to help, and to cast down.”

JEHOVAH God thus rebukes foolish Amaziah….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Are there levels of Hell?