A Baptism You Cannot Fake

Sunday, July 31, 2016

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).

Water baptism can be feigned; today’s Scripture cannot!

Once, a lady was looking through some old documents she had stored at home. She came across the water baptism certificate of her then eight-year-old son. Yet, as it turned out, he never actually trusted Christ Jesus as his personal Saviour until age 21! Friends, we can only wonder how people leading the church allowed a lost person to get water baptized. They evidently never asked him what the Gospel was, or even if he knew why he was getting water baptized in the first place!

Many people in religion have gotten wet at some point. Whether immersion, sprinkling, or pouring; whether as an infant or an adult; almost every professing Christian has experienced some water ceremony—some several! While people, preachers, and denominations continue their centuries-old arguments about which mode is correct, which words should be said, and who should be baptized, they ignore a major fact. Most of the people getting water baptized have not got a clue concerning the biblical meaning of water baptism. They have gotten so hung up on water baptism that 99.999% of the time they never realize the “baptism” in today’s Scripture is the ONLY baptism that really counts for eternity (Ephesians 4:5). Oftentimes, they refuse to see it!

Friends, our “one baptism” does not come by a preacher or priest, but by the power of the Holy Spirit placing the believer into the Church the Body of Christ. The exact moment a person trusts exclusively the Lord Jesus Christ as his or her personal Saviour, the Holy Spirit takes that person and makes him or her one with Jesus Christ forever. That individual is united not only with Father God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit—but with other believers as well.

Unlike water baptism, this baptism by the Spirit of God into the Body of Christ can never be faked! Only God Himself sees it, and He is the only witness necessary to make it valid forever and ever! 🙂

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Are Matthew 17:1, Mark 9:2, and Luke 9:28 contradictory?

Eyes on Christ, Not on Me(n)!

Saturday, July 30, 2016

There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it (1 Corinthians 10:13 KJV).

A lady with whom I recently dealt just learned that one of her former pastors has lately turned himself in to the police. He did some inappropriate things many years ago, and he has finally admitted his guilt. Understandably, she was heartbroken. My words to her were loud and clear, “Keep your eyes on Christ, not on men!”

It is not uncommon for church members to exalt the apostles, or even today’s church leaders, as though they were/are super-humans or even gods. (Friend, I certainly hope that you do not worship me or consider me as anything special! I give all praise and glory to my Lord Jesus Christ! He alone is to be worshipped and considered special!)

Today’s Scripture summarizes the warnings previously listed in verses 1-12. Just as Israel started off well but later abandoned God’s promises to her and ended up deceived, so we can start off well in Christ and end up deceived by that same evil world system. Do not say it will not happen to you; it just may!

Verse 14 follows today’s Scripture: “Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry.” The Corinthians had already fallen into the trap of idolatry (false religion). Paul instructed them to return to the truth. Lest anyone think they cannot repeat Israel’s apostasy and the Corinthians’ apostasy (departure from the truth), verse 12 sternly warns: “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.”

Brethren, we should certainly not look down upon Christians who have fallen into sin. Pray for them and help them if you can (Galatians 6:1-5). Today’s Scripture says we may fall into those same sins ourselves. Let us keep our eyes on Jesus Christ, who will never fail us, who is always, always, always faithful. Let us not focus on men—they have failed us before and will doubtless fail us again and again!

Saved, Saved, Saved #4

Friday, July 29, 2016

“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” (Ephesians 2:8,9 KJV).

The chorus of Jack P. Scholfield’s classic 1911 hymn, “Saved, Saved, Saved,” highlights today’s Scripture.

“Saved by His power divine,
Saved to new life sublime!
Life now is sweet and my joy is complete,
For I’m saved, saved, saved!”

As the songwriter knew, God’s power, not our power, saved us. Today’s Scripture plainly declares: 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.” Some Bible commentators, hating these verses, have said the following to keep their works-religion: “What these verses ‘really’ mean is we are not saved by works alone. We need Jesus too.” Alas, a lie! If Jesus is enough to save us into Heaven, and the Bible says He is, then we need not introduce our measly religious works!

Friend, the Bible versions issue is a most serious matter. Did you know that, where the King James Bible says five times “saved” (past tense), modern versions use “being saved” (as in “being saved” today but not necessarily tomorrow)? Check Acts 2:47, 1 Corinthians 1:18, and 2 Corinthians 2:15. The King James has “saved” while the NIV, Amplified Bible, NKJV, Jehovah’s Witness New World Translation, and New American (Roman Catholic) Bible agree, “those who are being saved.” Luke 13:23 in King James Bible—“Lord, are there few that be saved?”—is now in the NIV, NASB, and HCSB—“Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?” The NRSV, NKJV, and Jehovah’s Witness New World Translation are unique with “are being saved” in 1 Corinthians 15:2 (“are saved” in KJV). It gets worse! They even pervert today’s Scripture—are saved” is now “have been saved!”

Modern English versions are spiritually dangerous. They teach the erroneous idea that salvation unto eternal life is uncertain. (Remember the “mortal sin of presumption” in Roman Catholicism? See, such “scholarship” has dominated modern English manuscripts and versions!) However, our trusty Protestant Bible (King James) says we ARE “Saved, Saved, Saved!” (It is a done deal in Christ!) 🙂

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What does 2 Peter 3:8 mean?

Saved, Saved, Saved #3

Thursday, July 28, 2016

“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6 KJV).

The third verse of Jack P. Scholfield’s classic 1911 hymn, “Saved, Saved, Saved,” highlights today’s Scripture.

“When poor and needy and all alone,
In love He said to me,
‘Come unto Me and I’ll lead you home,
To live with Me eternally.’”

Religion has ingrained in people’s minds, from birth to death, the lie that they can do something religious so God can declare them righteous before Him. Lost people take Bible verses that apply only to Christians, and they try to follow those life principles hoping to “make Christians out of themselves.” Dear friends, we do not make ourselves Christians. No religious group makes us Christians, either. God’s intention in giving Christian living verses was not for everyone to follow in order to become Christians; He gave those verses for Christian people to follow. Without Christ inside the heart, one cannot have the Christian life. Lost people can imitate the Christian life at times, yes of course, but they fail. God is not the least bit fooled; He sees straight through artificial Christianity.

Without Jesus Christ, friends, we literally have nothing! The Lord Jesus Christ is the way to Father; without Him, we have nothing but a one-way path to hellfire! Jesus Christ is the truth; without Him, we have nothing but Satan’s lies! The Lord Jesus Christ is the life; without Him, we have nothing but death in our trespasses and sins! We do not come to Him for “help” in doing good or being good; we come to Him for everything!

Most assuredly, we are poor, needy, and all alone. So, God’s Son came to this wretched planet. We were not looking for Him; He was looking for us, to turn us back to Father God. Christ Jesus was obedient to His Heavenly Father, all the way to Calvary’s cruel tree. He reached out with a nail-scarred hand and offered to lead us to heaven, to enjoy forever the same fellowship that He had with His Father from eternity past. Friends, may we take His hand by faith and be “Saved, Saved, Saved!”

Saved, Saved, Saved #2

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

“The LORD preserveth the simple: I was brought low, and he helped me” (Psalm 116:6 KJV).

The second verse of Jack P. Scholfield’s classic 1911 hymn, “Saved, Saved, Saved,” highlights today’s Scripture.

“He saves me from every sin and harm,
Secures my soul each day;
I’m leaning strong on His mighty arm;
I know He’ll guide me all the way.”

While Scripture certainly does not teach sinless perfection in this life (called “complete sanctification” in strict religious circles), it does teach victorious Christian living. For example, “Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof” (Romans 6:11,12). As Christians, we can choose to let sin reign in us, or we can choose to deny sin’s access to our life. Our choice!

Christ Jesus died, and we died to sin with Him; He was raised again, and we were raised again to “walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:1-5). “Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin” (verses 6,7).

Romans chapter 6 is packed full of wonderful verses about our identity in Jesus Christ. We can have complete and total victory over sin on a daily basis. But, do we access that identity by faith in these Bible verses? Or, do we coast along in the energy of our flesh (the Law) and let sin get dominion over us? That is what happened to Paul in chapter 7. Chapter 8, the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit, rescues us from the despair and defeat of chapter 7.

Brethren, whether or not we act like Christians, we are still the children of God by faith in Jesus Christ (Galatians 3:26-28). It is His faithfulness that keeps us saved, for it is His faithfulness that purchased our redemption in the first place! What a glorious, exciting reality—we will never find anything like it in religion! The salvation we have from the penalty of sin (hell) allows us to have salvation from the power of sin (daily sins).

Saved, Saved, Saved #1

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

“Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God” (Romans 3:24,25 KJV).

The first verse of Jack P. Scholfield’s classic 1911 hymn, “Saved, Saved, Saved,” highlights today’s Scripture.

“I’ve found a Friend, who is all to me,
His love is ever true;
I love to tell how He lifted me
And what His grace can do for you.”

In religious circles, “saved” is a very dirty word. When you utter it in a denominational setting, gasps can be heard. Parishioners may experience cardiac arrest! How dare you be so “arrogant” in declaring—let alone thinking!—there is reserved in heaven a place for you! Church members shudder as that word “saved” “defiles” their religious ears. They have no such assurance of “salvation.” Furthermore, they tremble to realize the precarious situation they have been in since birth—“If I am not ‘saved,’ I must be ‘lost!’”

According to Roman Catholic theology, the “mortal sin of presumption” is committed when one believes he or she will go to heaven without any time spent “suffering for sins” in “purgatory.” Of course, this is fiction and nonsense. Remember, as long as you do not know if you are saved, you will keep coming to church, keep giving, keep praying, keep keeping the sacraments, keep keeping the ordinances! To die in the “mortal sin” of “presumption” is to merit immediate hellfire, with no chance of ever entering purgatory… or heaven. Oh, but praise God, we know God’s truth in today’s Scripture! There is total redemption—complete deliverance and purging from sin—in and because of Jesus Christ!

There is a “Friend” of sinners and His name is Jesus Christ. His love spanned the gulf of sin between you and God, and it sent Him to Calvary’s cruel cross. “Grace” is not what you can do for God so He can offer you salvation; grace is what God can do for you through Calvary because you can do nothing for Him! ’Tis the only way to be “Saved, Saved, Saved!”

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Must I witness to be saved?

No “Sin?”

Monday, July 25, 2016

“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables” (2 Timothy 4:3,4 KJV).

Is there really such a thing as “sin?” If there is, a good many preachers will literally not say it!

Not long ago, a feel-good pastor was featured on a news show to comment on a recent tragedy. When the news anchor asked him why there was all this craziness in society, the pastor just could not bring himself to say the word “sin.” The best he could do was repeat, “It is just our fallen nature, humanity’s fallen nature.”

Beloved, “sin” is such a negative word, and this man was used to pleasing people. He would not dare say “sin” on television. It might offend someone “too sophisticated” or “too positive” to think about something so unconstructive as “sin!” Overall, the pastor’s spiritual insight was that of a first-grade Sunday School student. He never gave any real comfort and no in-depth commentary from the Bible. In fact, it is no exaggeration to say he quoted as much Scripture as the news anchor! (None.)

People just cannot handle the truth, especially the truths of the Holy Bible. One of the ways we know the Bible is not of human origin is its negative portrait of mankind. It offends our flesh; it contradicts our sin nature that wants to perform. The Bible is always negative toward man and always positive toward God. But, today’s Scripture says people will more and more gravitate toward error. They do not want to be called “sinners.” Oh, no! They do not want to be called “lost,” either! Let us call them “diseased,” “debilitated,” and “un-churched!”

Friends, there is a negative reality called “sin.” This offends people, but so what! God gave us that bad news so He could then give us good news, the Gospel of Grace. “Jesus Christ died for our sins, was buried, and rose again the third day” (1 Corinthians 15:3,4). We can have righteousness—His righteousness—when we trust Him and Him alone as sufficient payment for our sins!

Fewer Enemies Than God

Sunday, July 24, 2016

“And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them” (Genesis 6:5-7 KJV).

You may have a lot of enemies, dear Christian friend, but you have a lot less enemies than God does!

Long ago, a much older Christian saw a young pastor who was greatly disheartened. He exhorted that young man by name, “You may have enemies, but not as many as God does!” “Amen,” we say, “Amen!” Just think on today’s Scripture. Many, many centuries ago, the world became so out of control, so rebellious, that God had to finally destroy it in the Great Flood. That wickedness was not confined to the Mesopotamian Valley. It was literally everywhere. God’s enemies had taken over His planet, and now He was going to wipe it clean!

The human population of Earth at the time of the Great Deluge is unknown. Maybe there were several hundred millions. Perhaps even a few billions. Add to that the seven billion people on Earth today. Plus, there may be one or two billion other people between the post-Flood world and modern-day record-keeping. In total, somewhere between 10 and 15 billion people have lived thus far. All of them sinners, God had to deal with every last one of them. How He was so patient! All of them were always doing things to upset Him, to offend Him, to disobey Him. Even today, God has more enemies present on Earth than He has ever had!

Christian friend, no matter how many people are against you, always remember God has more people against Him. If He can handle His enemies, He is also able to handle yours if you let Him! 🙂

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Did God create evil?

Revealed Unto Babes

Saturday, July 23, 2016

“In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes: even so, Father; for so it seemed good in thy sight” (Luke 10:21 KJV).

What unflattering words for Bible “scholars” everywhere!

Once, I attended a funeral where a religious leader—educated in seminary—read today’s Scripture before all the mourners. I was amazed! After the service, I politely repeated it to him (implying the verse fit him perfectly!).

Notice these phrases I extracted from a theology book: “Great Bible scholars who have spent their lives in the study of the Greek language tell us that this phrase should read….” “Again we look to the Greek scholars, men who have spent their lives in studying the language in which the New Testament was written. One of the greatest Greek scholars of all time declares that the context here demands… the phrase should read….”

The above author, educated in Bible College, was trained to quote the “scholars.” Unfortunately, Scripture means nothing to them unless the other “scholars” approve. If the King James Bible and its underlying Greek Textus Receptus does not fit their pro-Roman-Catholic agenda, they replace it with some inferior “Minority Reading” (very few New Testament Greek manuscripts in agreement). Furthermore, Greek literacy alone does not mean one is qualified for discerning Bible truths! One particular Greek “scholar” dominated New Testament thinking during the latter half of the 20th century—he never once claimed personal faith in Jesus Christ! His damnable “contributions” remain today in the modern Greek New Testaments and dozens upon dozens of modern English versions that shallow Christians tote everywhere!

When the Lord Jesus selected apostles, He did not visit the synagogues—worldly education (unbelief) was worshipped there. Rather, He went to the shores to find uneducated fishermen. “Education” later called those dear fishermen “unlearned and ignorant men” (Acts 4:13). Indeed, dear friends, God’s wisdom and man’s wisdom never agree. Today, read the first three chapters of First Corinthians. Man in his own wisdom will never understand God’s wisdom. However, those who submit to the Holy Spirit will see exciting truths unparalleled! 🙂

Conform or Be Transformed!

Friday, July 22, 2016

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Romans 12:1,2 KJV).

We have two choices—conform or be transformed.

To “conform” literally means “with [same] shape;” the word “transform” literally means “change shape thoroughly.” We can think of gelatin or bread conforming to a mold; we can imagine raw ingredients transformed into a mass of gelatin or a loaf of bread. If we carry these illustrations over into the spiritual realm, today’s exhortation becomes clear.

When Paul says “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God,” he is referring to the first 11 chapters of Romans (previous chapters). The “mercies of God” (plural, not “mercy”) is everything that God has done in the prior 11 chapters. It especially refers to chapters 1-8—Christian justification and sanctification. Chapter 12 (today’s Scripture) heads the final section of Romans, which terminates with chapter 16.

Not long ago, I talked with a Christian man who, rather than being “transformed by the renewing of his mind,” has been and is still being “conformed to this world.” He has refused any offers to fellowship with our assembly. Without a local church, without daily renewing his mind with the King James Bible rightly divided, constantly tuned in to newscasts, he has become progressively weary and depressed. Stranded, Satan is having him get so caught up in what sinful man is doing that his focus has shifted from Jesus Christ his Saviour. Operating in the energy of the flesh, he is slowly being worn down. His mentality and behavior have been forced into the world’s mold!

Dear friends, let us stay in the King James Bible rightly divided each and every day. The Adversary is always out to pervert us and conform us to his policy of evil. God’s Word dispensationally-delivered is the way to renew our minds! 🙂