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….

The Jews’ Feasts #5

Sunday, July 21, 2019

After this there was a feast of the Jews; and Jesus went up to Jerusalem (John 5:1 KJV).

Thrice, and only in John’s Gospel Record, we read a unique expression. What is it, and why is it significant?

Long ago, someone once aptly stated, “Christendom is a bastardized form of Judaism!” To wit, what is called “Christianity” is really Christendom, and Christendom is essentially Judaism. The candles, altars, priests, holy garments, cups, bowls, sacrifices, holy/feast days, confession of sins, anointing with oil, water baptism, law-keeping, and prayers commonly assumed to be “Christian” are actually not Christian at all. They were stolen from Judaism (Old Testament) and carelessly incorporated into pure Christianity! Moreover, the steeples, mother goddess worship/veneration, sun images, statues, relics, kissing of images, bowing/genuflection, “fatherly” priests, popes, prayers for the dead, and relics all assumed to be part of “Christian worship” are derived from heathen or pagan religion (which apostate Israel herself adopted to corrupt Judaism!!)!

Christianity—how the God of creation would have us worship Him—is described quite clearly in the Bible Books of Romans through Philemon. Friend, read those passages and then notice the “Christian” churches, study “Christian” literature, and converse with “Christian” people. Overwhelmingly, you will realize that Satan’s world system has fooled billions. Most of what is assumed to be “Christian” is either outright paganism, a mixture of paganism and Judaism, or paganism-Judaism amalgamated with Christianity!

The Apostle Paul, “the apostle of the Gentiles” (Romans 11:13), never mentions bell towers, candles, statues, confessions, or relics. God the Holy Spirit through him never commands us to place ourselves under the Law system (just the opposite—Romans 6:14-15 and Titus 2:11-14). He says we have no feast days to observe (Colossians 2:16,17; Galatians 4:9-11) and no water baptism to administer in the Dispensation of Grace (1 Corinthians 1:17; Ephesians 4:5; 1 Corinthians 12:13). There are no popes or priests in Pauline doctrine, only elders, bishops, and deacons.

See, friend, to the degree apostate Israel corrupted Judaism over the course of many centuries, so apostate church leaders have watered down Christianity with paganism over the centuries. Unless one is grounded in the Word of God rightly divided, there will be no spiritual discernment to differentiate the true worship system from the false worship system. Beware (Colossians 2:8)!

The Jews’ Feasts #4

Saturday, July 20, 2019

After this there was a feast of the Jews; and Jesus went up to Jerusalem (John 5:1 KJV).

Thrice, and only in John’s Gospel Record, we read a unique expression. What is it, and why is it significant?

Man always spoils the works of the LORD God, such as distorting His Word, the Holy Bible: “For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God…” (2 Corinthians 2:17). “And the burden of the LORD shall ye mention no more: for every man’s word shall be his burden; for ye have perverted the words of the living God, of the LORD of hosts our God” (Jeremiah 23:36).

Apostate Israel ruined God’s Jerusalem Temple with their flagrant dishonesty: “And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves, And said unto them, It is written [Isaiah 56:7], My [that is, God’s] house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves” (Matthew 21:12,13). God’s house received a new name, for Christ later denounced Jerusalem (23:38), “Behold, your (!) house is left unto you desolate!” The God of the Bible wanted nothing further to do with the Temple; He was no longer inhabiting it. “And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple” (24:1). He gave them over to their false religion!

Why have people selected their particular local church? To hear sound Bible doctrine there? Probably not. (Just ask them if you doubt it.) A friend of mine likes to say, “They want food, fun, and fellowship!” (I like to add a fourth reason—foolishness!) Organized religion and denominations have replaced God’s work with their own. It is not the Holy Spirit working in them because they believe His words to them (for they are ignorant of His principles of grace). Rather, they are striving to duplicate Christ’s life by using man’s fallible interpretations. Furthermore, they want material food, not the bread from heaven. They crave amusement, not truth. They seek to be friends with the world, not friends of God. They have childish wishes, not mature desires. It is Christendom, not Christianity….

The Jews’ Feasts #3

Friday, July 18, 2019

After this there was a feast of the Jews; and Jesus went up to Jerusalem (John 5:1 KJV).

Thrice, and only in John’s Gospel Record, we read a unique expression. What is it, and why is it significant?

Judaism as it existed in Jesus’ day was certainly not the unadulterated Word of God given at Mount Sinai. During the 15 centuries since Moses, the rabbinical scholars had corrupted it. Ironically, what God had given to Israel to indicate her sin problem was now the very system she was using to advertise her “righteousness!”

Take, for example, Matthew chapter 9: “[10] And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with him and his disciples. [11] And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto his disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners? [12] But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. [13] But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”

Did you notice how the Pharisees considered others to be “sinners?” These religious leaders themselves were—they assumed—to be without sin! Such Old Testament “scholars” so totally void of Scriptural understanding! What had they been reading? They had the Hebrew Bible (our Genesis through Malachi) but they had read it through the lens of religious tradition. Hence, they could not see what they should have seen. Yea, they did not want to see what they should have seen.

Read this sardonic rebuke the Lord Jesus had for Israel’s religious leaders in Matthew 23:23: “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.” They focused on dividing the tiny herbs and spices into tenths—their tithes as instructed by Moses!—but they ignored the more important principles of the Law. Judgment, mercy, and faith (!) were absent from these religionists’ hearts and lives. Indeed, it was no longer God’s religion….

Bible Q&A #630: “What does the Bible say about lunar exploration and settlement?

The Jews’ Feasts #2

Thursday, July 18, 2019

After this there was a feast of the Jews; and Jesus went up to Jerusalem (John 5:1 KJV).

Thrice, and only in John’s Gospel Record, we read a unique expression. What is it, and why is it significant?

Friend, you have doubtless seen religious busyness. People are quite active in attending church services, participating in water baptisms, partaking of communion, walking aisles, knocking on doors and “proselytizing,” shaking preachers’ hands, listening to and uttering confessions, reciting prayers, reading denominational literature, singing and dancing, clapping and raising their hands, giving large donations to this group and that group, and so on. It all appears so decent and spiritual. Surely, God is pleased, right? Well, not exactly. How much of all that is done with an intelligent understanding of God’s Word to them? Frankly, very, very, very little!

Romans 14:23 concludes with, “for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.” This concept is wise Christian advice regardless of the issue. What would God want us to do here or there, in this situation or that? The verse answers it. If we cannot point to a clear verse from the rightly divided Bible, and say on the basis of that verse that we are a taking certain course of action, it is best to reconsider our options. Faith is simply believing God’s Word to you. If that is the definition of “faith”—and it is—then there is actually almost no faith among most so-called “Christians.”

No matter the denomination, the average church member depends too heavily on clergy. It is far easier to let others think for us, and most convenient to say, “Let the preacher study the Bible. He can tell me what it says and what I am supposed to believe.” Hence, doctrinal confusion and Bible illiteracy are so pervasive within Christendom. The preacher is only interested in telling us what the denomination says, what the denomination says the Bible says, and not what the Bible really says. (Many have learned this “the hard way,” shocked to finally realize their denominational leaders withheld a great deal of Bible truth from them!!)

What is passed off as “Christianity” today is often anything but. Likewise, the religion in Israel during Christ’s day was not pure Judaism….

The War with Amalek! #14

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Then came Amalek, and fought with Israel in Rephidim (Exodus 17:8 KJV).

What is this war with Amalek all about? Can we make application?

In Scripture, water symbolizes the Holy Spirit (and the impartation of life). For example, John chapter 7: “[37] In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. [39] (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.”

See also 1 Corinthians 12:13: “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.” The verb “drink” carries the connotation of a liquid—water. Once we believed on Christ as our personal Saviour, the Holy Spirit identified us with Him, and we received His life. Here is Israel drinking from the rock (cf. today’s Scripture). They had God’s life, His blessings because of His grace, and victory over sin—until they embraced works-religion. The poor Apostle Paul wound up in a similar trap. His Christian life started right (Romans chapter 6), then he abandoned Grace to follow Law and become conquered and miserable (chapter 7). Hope and victory come in chapter 8!

“[1] There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. [2] For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. [3] For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: [4] That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”

If we have a clear understanding of Grace (“mind the things of the Spirit”), brethren, there will be no room for Law—or losing to Amalek! 🙂

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What does the Bible say about fatherhood?

The War with Amalek! #13

Friday, June 14, 2019

Then came Amalek, and fought with Israel in Rephidim (Exodus 17:8 KJV).

What is this war with Amalek all about? Can we make application?

Here is grace living (as opposed to legalism, Law-keeping): “[11] For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, [12] Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; [13] Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; [14] Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works (Titus 2:11-14).

When we quote Romans 6:14 (“We are not under the law, but under grace”), that does not mean we believe God encourages us Christians to sin. If ever someone objects with, “Grace is a license to sin,” they either do not know what grace really teaches, or (sadly) they have seen a “grace” person regularly behave carnally. The verse says in full, “For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.” All the Law can do is show us our sin; it cannot (!) make us righteous and it cannot (!) cause us to act righteously. The Law functions as a mirror: it reveals our shortcoming, our need for the Saviour Jesus Christ (Galatians 3:21-25).

Scripture says the Law “is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient…” (1 Timothy 1:7-11). If we have recognized our lost estate, deadness in trespasses and sins, and have come to Christ by faith alone, then we are righteous in Him (1 Corinthians 1:30,31). The Law has no purpose in the Christian’s life, for the Law has already accomplished God’s intention: it has directed the lost person to trust Christ and become a Christian. For the Christian to then place himself under the Law is to cause sin to dominate him (Romans 6:14). We overcome sin—the flesh—not by striving to make ourselves holy, but realizing we are holy (sanctified, set apart) in Christ and instruments of His works (Titus 2:14)! The victory over sin is in Grace, not Law!

Let us summarize and conclude this devotionals arc….