A Better Baptism #8

Wednesday, September 25, 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!

Today’s Scripture speaks of a “baptism” that almost no one mentions or understands. All we hear about is water baptism in “Christian” circles—the erroneous idea that the word “baptism” in Scripture always refers to water. Unfortunately, another problem is that most individuals assume water baptism must always be immersion. A lot of the confusion stems from a failure to “rightly divide the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). Unless we approach the Bible dispensationally, friends, we will not have hope in understanding baptism or any other Scriptural theme. Two simple passages that outline the dispensational layout of Scripture are Acts 3:19-21 and Romans 16:25,26.

The Apostle Peter preached in Acts chapter 3: “[19] Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord. [20] And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: [21] Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.”

Compare that to what the Apostle Paul wrote in Romans chapter 16: “[25] Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, [26] But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:….”

Paul’s ministry discloses material that God had kept secret while He was revealing information to Peter. When Paul wrote today’s Scripture, he was focusing on something other than Israel’s prophetic program and kingdom water baptism. We do not try to harmonize Peter and Paul, making all their teachings the same. There is a “baptism” unique to Paul’s ministry, and it is not (!) water baptism….

No Way Out! #4

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

“Then the disciples looked one on another, doubting of whom he spake” (John 13:22 KJV).

Look, the disciples have no way out!

The disciples did not know how to react. They were simply unable to imagine one of their own would be Jesus’ traitor. “Who in the world can it be? How could this be so?” When the legalistic tenets of the denominationalists fooled the Galatian saints, the Apostle Paul was likewise at a loss for words. “How could you be so soon removed from grace? Brethren, what am I to do with you?” In both instances, perplexity or astonishment abounds. “Aporeo” appears two other times in the King James Greek New Testament. We will look at them to further amplify our understanding.

Acts chapter 25: “[19] But had certain questions against him of their own superstition, and of one Jesus, which was dead, whom Paul affirmed to be alive. [20] And because I doubted [aporeo] of such manner of questions, I asked him whether he would go to Jerusalem, and there be judged of these matters.” Being a Roman, Judaean Governor Porcius Festus was unfamiliar with Jewish religion. Incompetent in judging these theological matters, he preferred not to get involved with the Jews accusing Paul concerning their “superstition.”

When recalling ministry challenges thus far, Paul confessed: “[8] We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed [aporeo], but not in despair; [9] Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; [10] Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body” (2 Corinthians 4:8-10). It was not always clear to Paul what route to take. However, dear friends, there is a play on words in verse 8: “we are perplexed [aporeo], but not in despair [exaporeo—an intensive form of “aporeo”].” Paraphrased, it is, “We may not have a way out, but we are not entirely without an exit.” Completely, utterly, absolutely clueless we are not!

Brethren, as long as we stick close to the words of God’s Word rightly divided, we will always have a way out concerning life’s dilemmas and difficulties. We are not without hope, not without guidance, and not without peace! 🙂

No Way Out! #3

Monday, July 29, 2019

“Then the disciples looked one on another, doubting of whom he spake” (John 13:22 KJV).

Look, the disciples have no way out!

As the disciples in the Upper Room were “at a loss” regarding whom among them was Jesus’ traitor, so the Apostle Paul did not know which way to turn mentally concerning the Galatians. Read from his epistle to them, chapter 4:

“[15] Where is then the blessedness ye spake of? for I bear you record, that, if it had been possible, ye would have plucked out your own eyes, and have given them to me. [16] Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth? [17] They zealously affect you, but not well; yea, they would exclude you, that ye might affect them. [18] But it is good to be zealously affected always in a good thing, and not only when I am present with you. [19] My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you, [20] I desire to be present with you now, and to change my voice; for I stand in doubt of you [“aporeo”—same as “doubting” in today’s Scripture]. [21] Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law?”

Prior to writing the Galatians, Paul had visited these pagan idolaters and preached the Gospel of Grace to them. From him, they heard about the one true God and His free gift of salvation through Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork—He had died for their sins, been buried, and been raised again (1 Corinthians 15:3,4). They came to faith in Christ alone as sufficient payment for their sins. How joyful they were to no longer be slaves to works-religion, sin, and Satan!

Alas, after Paul departed from their midst in order to visit and evangelize other pagans, false teachers slipped in and conquered the Galatians with works-religion. These legalists emphasized Law and thereby excluded Grace. Understandably, Paul was amazed, confessing to the Galatians, “I stand in doubt of you.” It is not that he doubted their salvation. Rather, he could not wrap his mind around the fact that they had been led astray so quickly and so easily (cf. Galatians 1:6-10). Yea, he too had “no way out….”

No Way Out! #2

Sunday, July 28, 2019

“Then the disciples looked one on another, doubting of whom he spake” (John 13:22 KJV).

Look, the disciples have no way out!

Friends, some news in life is unbelievable. Denial is one way we try to cope with such upsetting information. We really cannot imagine a certain loved one has died. Is it really true that that Christian brother has now embraced as true the very doctrinal error he once vehemently opposed? Has a trusted friend actually turned against us? Such is the “mental trap” in which the disciples now find themselves. Who here could possibly ever be the traitor of Christ? Not only was that backstabber among those least expected, he was the least suspected of even them!

Few realize that Judas Iscariot was the most trusted Apostle. After all, he was the treasurer, the man who held the Apostles’ moneybag. “For some of them thought, because Judas had the bag, that Jesus had said unto him, Buy those things that we have need of against the feast; or, that he should give something to the poor” (John 13:29). “This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein(John 12:6). Ironically, the most trusted was the least honest.

In the context of today’s Scripture, the Lord said, “I speak not of you all: I know whom I have chosen: but that the scripture may be fulfilled, He that eateth bread with me hath lifted up his heel against me” (John 13:18). That Old Testament verse is Psalm 41:9: “Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me.” Judas Iscariot was Jesus’ most intimate friend, his familiar friend” (like a family member).

Even after Jesus used the dipped sop (bit of food) to identify the traitor, the Apostles were in such shock they simply could not bring themselves to see Judas Iscariot for what he was. “How could he of all people be the one?” To better grasp what is going on, lest we have “no way out,” let us see how this Greek word (“aporeo”) and concept appear elsewhere in Scripture….

No Way Out! #1

Saturday, July 27, 2019

“Then the disciples looked one on another, doubting of whom he spake” (John 13:22 KJV).

Look, the disciples have no way out!

We will read today’s Scripture in context: “[21] When Jesus had thus said, he was troubled in spirit, and testified, and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me. [22] Then the disciples looked one on another, doubting of whom he spake.” The Greek word for “doubting” here is “aporeo,” from a word meaning, “to depart;” the Greek prefix “a–” negates the idea of the root. Literally, it translates to, “no way out.”

Jesus has uttered some difficult words. He Himself is bothered. The disciples’ minds are wandering as they glance at one another. Who in the world among them could possibly want to stab Him in the back? After all, they have become good friends—like family members—over the last three years. They have traveled together, eaten together, and rested together. In a million years, they never expected a traitor was in their midst. Who is it?! Who is it?!

“[23] Now there was leaning on Jesus’ bosom one of his disciples [John?], whom Jesus loved. [24] Simon Peter therefore beckoned to him, that he should ask who it should be of whom he spake. [25] He then lying on Jesus’ breast saith unto him, Lord, who is it? [26] Jesus answered, He it is, to whom I shall give a sop, when I have dipped it. And when he had dipped the sop, he gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon. [27] And after the sop Satan entered into him. Then said Jesus unto him, That thou doest, do quickly. [28] Now no man at the table knew for what intent he spake this unto him. [29] For some of them thought, because Judas had the bag, that Jesus had said unto him, Buy those things that we have need of against the feast; or, that he should give something to the poor. [30] He then having received the sop went immediately out: and it was night.”

Even now, after Jesus has revealed more information, the disciples do not grasp what is going on concerning Judas Iscariot….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Who or what is ‘the desire of all nations?’

Without Blemish and Without Spot #3

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

“But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:…” (1 Peter 1:19 KJV).

How was Israel to see Jesus Christ was “without blemish and without spot?”

Passover/Calvary is two days away (Matthew 26:1,2). Israel’s chief priests, scribes, and elders connive to deceitfully arrest and murder Jesus. At Simon the leper’s house in nearby Bethany, Mary pours ointment on Jesus’ head (unknowingly preparing Him for burial). Judas Iscariot schemes with the chief priests to betray Christ for 30 silver pieces (verses 14-16). Jesus eats an early Passover with His 12 Apostles (verses 17ff.). On the Mount of Olives, He prays, before being betrayed and apprehended. His unjust, nighttime trial concludes late the next morning. Sentenced to death (!), He is crucified at 9 A.M.; He lets Himself die by 3 P.M. (Mark 15:25-38).

Israel could have verified Jesus as Messiah-Redeemer during those four days between Palm Sunday and Calvary. Rather than wrongdoing, He cleansed the defiled Temple, demonstrated God’s power, preached the truth, upheld the pure Mosaic Law, defended and expounded the Hebrew Bible, and exposed Israel’s perverted religious leaders. Scripture testifies of Christ Jesus during His last days: “the innocent blood” (Matthew 27:4), “just [righteous]” (Matthew 27:19), “I find no fault in this man” (Luke 23:4), “I… have found no fault in this man… No, nor yet Herod…” (Luke 23:14,15), “I have found no cause of death in him” (Luke 23:22), “this man hath done nothing amiss [no wrong]” (Luke 23:41), “I find in him no fault at all” (John 18:38), “I find no fault in him” (John 19:4). (Cf. Matthew 27:23; Mark 15:14; Luke 23:22; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 4:15; Hebrews 7:26; 1 Peter 2:22; cf. today’s Scripture)

Matthew 27:24,25: “When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it. Then answered all the [Jewish] people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children.Israel knew Pilate was correct; however, they could not care less that Jesus was innocent. Like all other sinful (deceived) children of Adam, they refused God’s sinless Son as their King: they demanded He be crucified as an imposter (John 19:15)!

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Did Hosea 1:10 and Hosea 2:23 predict the Body of Christ?

The Comforter #4

Thursday, March 28, 2019

And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever (John 14:16 KJV).

Who is this “Comforter?” What are His roles?

In the 40 days following His resurrection, Jesus Christ opened the Scriptures so His Apostles could better comprehend them. All they had at the time was Genesis through Malachi (see Luke 24:44-48), but it was enough to get them going without Him. Those “Bible classes” resulted in the Apostle Peter’s astonishing grasp of obscure Old Testament Scripture as seen in Acts 1:16-20!

Just before He ascended into Heaven, Jesus said, “And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high(Luke 24:49). The parallel passage is Acts chapter 1, verses 4 and 5: “And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.”

As sworn, the “Comforter” arrived in Acts chapter 2: “[1] And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. [2] And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. [3] And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. [4] And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” Here, the Holy Spirit enabled the Apostles to speak in human languages they never formally learned, that their Jewish brethren visiting from foreign lands would understand God’s Word in their native dialect!

Over in Ephesians 3:16, we see Paul praying for us Gentiles in the Dispensation of Grace, “That he [God] would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;….” Here, the Holy Spirit functions as our fortifier, our “Comforter,” our Helper….