Monday, June 20, 2022

Psalms Through the Summer #5: A Psalms for Fathers - Psalms 127

Psalms Through the Summer #5:
A Psalms for Fathers - Psalms 127


 Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain. It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep. Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.

Introduction:  Two Different Dads

Father number 1. A Sunday School teacher watched as one little boy in his primary class came in late. He asked, “Bobby why are you so late coming to church this morning.” The little boy said, “Well sir, I wanted to go fishing today and I had all my stuff ready, but then my Dad told me I better go ahead and get to church.” The teacher sensing an opportunity for a lesson about the importance of attending church asked Bobby. “What exactly did your good father tell you this morning?” “He told me, Son go on to church, cause there ain’t enough bait for the both of us.”

Father number 2. A father was trying to teach his 5-year-old daughter the rudiments of baseball but she was not the most athletic kid on the block. After trying several times to catch a ball and only succeeding in dropping it and in getting hit in the head by the tossed ball, the dad decided to switch to hitting the ball. He showed his little girl how to hold the bat on her shoulder, then tossing the ball in the air with his other hand, then swing the bat and hit the ball. He then handed the ball and bat to his daughter, “Now you try just like I showed you.” The little girl eagerly tossed the ball into the air and took a hard swing and missed. “Try it again, sweetheart.” And she did, over and over and over not one time coming any where close to hitting the ball. Finally, after about 20 swings the little girl looked at her dad with frustration and disappointment. The Dad though was smiling and beaming as though his daughter was a female Babe Ruth. The dad placed his hands on his little girl’s shoulders, looked into her eyes and proudly said, “Princess, I think you are going to be one really great pitcher.”

We are going to try and encourage every Dad and Granddad here this morning to be the 2nd kind of Dad, encouraging, hopeful and always believing and finding the best in your child. We going to use Psalm 127 to help our Dads in the all important calling for being a father.

Background

We have talked about the book of Psalms being a series of collections of Psalms grouped together by subject, authors, or purpose. Here starting at Psalm 120 is a new collection that extends through Psalms 134. Each lyric in this group is designated by a term variously translated “A Song of Degrees” (AV), “A Song of Ascents” (ASV), and “A Pilgrim Song.” It is thought that this is a collection of Psalms that arose as a hymnbook for pilgrims coming up to the Temple for the great feasts. – Wycliffe Commentary

Our Psalms 127 for Father’s this morning is in this collection and it is there for a reason. For it teaches a central truth and would be a reminder of that truth to the pilgrims as they made their way into Jerusalem, the city of God. That truth is central to us as well and it is expressed in the very first three words of the Psalms, “Except the Lord” As the Psalms tells us except the lord builds the house, except the Lord keeps the city, except the Lord watches our sleep, except the Lord blesses the family then all these things, indeed all of life is in vain.

Without The Lord, A Life Worth Nothing – Psalm 127:1-2

Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain. It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep.

Except The Lord…

The Psalmist here is stating a single truth but using the repetition of Hebrew poetry to drive that point home. It is a simple but vital truth, Without the Lord anything and everything you do, in the end is worth nothing.”

Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it. The idea of house here is much bigger than just a building. House has the idea of a home, but also your family name, your reputation, your standing in a community, your power through your family and all those who would be protected and blessed by being in or even close to your family. Your house is the sum value of everything you try to accomplish with your life.

And here God’s word says, “Unless the Lord is the one who is the builder of your life, then all you achieve is nothing but dust, ashes, empty noise. Your life does not amount to anything when it is tallied and reckoned at the end. It is wasted, all your effort was in vain.”

Next, we are told, “except the LORD keep the city, the watchman wakes but in vain.” This is the next step up in society, from individual families that need God to build them then to societies that need God to keep them safe. The Lord must guard and keep culture and society.

Its not hard to see a parallel in our own society and cities today is it? Our mayors, city councils, congress, presidents have tried to build a new world, a new society and they have purposely pushed God outside the walls. And can’t we see the terrible results? I’m not talking about high prices of gas and groceries, I’m talking about the high price that is being paid in human beings, in pain, in sorrow, in hopelessness, in utter anarchy. In the life from Hell itself that there is no gender, or that it is okay for men and women to forsake natural love and replace it with a lust that destroys lives and families.

We don’t want God keeping our culture and watchmen are useless and today even dangerous. It is Psalm 127 tells us again and again, vain.

Vain; The Hebrew word שָׁוְא šâwe’; or שַׁו shav; it means emptiness, vanity, falsehood, nothingness, lying, and worthlessness.  

Except the Lord builds, except the Lord keeps…

Do your remember Jesus’ parable of the foolish rich man in Luke 12:16-21? “And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.

Now look at vs 2.

It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep. Without the Lord then all you do getting up early, staying up late, worrying, fretting planning and stressing those things are also worthless. They will get you nothing. If you really want to make your efforts count, fathers, mothers, grandparents then work under God’s direction because He gives his beloved real sleep. The sleep that comes when you’ve done a good day’s, or a good life’s work and know that what you did counted, it made a difference for you family, for your child, for your house, for all those around you.

The sleep of the Lord is the sweetest, deepest and most refreshing but it is only ours if we fully trust and follow Him.

The Yoke of The Lord

Jesus gave this invitation in Matthew 11:28-30, listen closely it is the same truth we are hearing in Psalms 127, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

That is the Son of God inviting us to take on His yoke, to join Him in the work he has called us to. Part of that work, one of the most important parts of his calling, is the work you do as a parent, as a father. If you want your parenthood to count, to be worth something, even into eternity itself, then take on the yoke, join in the work and then you will have that blessed rest that comes at the end of a day and at the end of a life. That rest that only comes to the beloved of God.

Transition: Now let’s go to the contrast to these first 3 verses. Instead of a worthless life, we see a Wonderful life.

With The Lord,  A Life Worthwhile – Psalm 127:3-5

Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.

The Lord’s Blessings

What makes a wonderful life? What is God’s great blessing to a family? Psalms 127 says, children are God’s gift and blessing.

I know our society today sees children as a burden. Yes I’m talking about abortion and doing all that can be done to not have children. But I’m also talking about God’s people who would never have an abortion but still view children as a burden, when God’s word says they are a blessing.

Because the Lord did not keep our country, our culture one of the dangerous lies that has become accepted as truth today is that children cost us and that families can’t afford t to have them anymore. And yet right in front of us we’ve read God’s word. Children are a heritage from God. And yet in our world today we view them as a curse. No wonder they are turning out as killers, addicts and derelicts.

That world heritage in Hebrew  נַחֲלָה naḥălâ, and it means something inherited, an heirloom, a precious, prized possession. We need to quit seeing the family the way the world sees it and begin to see it through the perspective of heaven. Children are God’s gift to us and to this world. If we have our life under his direction and our families under His care, then God will provide. It will not be a burden it will be one of the Lord greatest blessings.

Jesus’s Value of Children

Three times in the Gospels we read the story of Jesus and the little children. When the apostles thought their master was too busy or too tired to have time for little ones, Jesus responded with these words. Listen and remember this is the creator of the universe speaking.

Mark 10:14 But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.

If you want to heaven in your life, if you want heaven in your family than Jesus said you’ll find it in the faces of your children. Of such are the kingdom of heaven.”

God’s Gifts To Fathers

Its Father’s day and here in these last verses of Psalm 127, we see God’s gifts to you fathers, they are your precious children. The Bible says they are His blessings, they are sweet fruit and His rich reward. Then, it says, in vss. 4-5 they are, “As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.”

Fathers, God is speaking to you now in these verses. The word, heritage speaks of God’s blessing your marriage, fruit speaks of the fulfillment of why God created marriage, to replenish the earth and arrows speak of the future and the security of your family.

Listen again, “Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.”

I can’t read this verse without remembering a preachers’ conference I was at in Big Spring, Texas. There was a missionary there who had 14 or 15 children. He was a big advocate for large, large, large families. He even had a tract that show mathematically how Baptists could take over the United states if we all had about 10 kids each. He preached that day and used Psalm 127 as his text. The preacher who followed him only had one child, it was all God had blessed their family with. He stood in the pulpit and said, “Well I the Lord only gave us one child.” Then he looked at the missionary, smiled and said, “I guess my quiver is just not as big as yours.”

You can imagine the reaction; I personally fell on the floor I was laughing so hard.

What this scriptural promise is saying is this, Fathers, there is power in your family, there is safety, there is hope for the future no matter what enemies this world or Satan send against you. You will look the enemy in the eye as they stand outside the gate and know you will overcome them because God has blessed you, rewarded you and given you  arrows in your hand and they make you a mighty man.

 Conclusion: Final Word For Fathers

Fathers this is your day. I hope you fully enjoy it with your family, but as you enjoy this day dedicated to you, never forget “Except the Lord…”

If your life, your family, your house is going count, if it is to be worth something, then the Lord must build it, the Lord must keep it and the Lord must give the blessings. When you see your children, no matter how many you have in your quiver, see them as one of the greatest blessing God can give you in this life, because they truly are. Then seek His guidance and protection every single day to be the father, He created and called you to be.

A Father’s Prayer

Years ago now, when I was a young father and pastor, one night after I had put all my children in bed, I was overwhelmed by a feeling that I was not up to the task of being the father I needed to be. That I could not protect them from the wickedness and evil of this world. I sat at the foot of the bed of my little daughter and began to pray that the Lord supply what I so desperately lacked. Later I wrote a prayer based on that experience. I would like to share it with you as we finish today.

Dear Lord, as I sit beside the bed of my child and watch their sleep, I am overcome by the blessing you have given to me.  How can something this precious be placed in my care?  How can this beautiful creation look at me with eyes so full of admiration and wonder?  How can I live up to the task of not losing that innocent beauty to a world that seeks to destroy it?

Lord, the time I have is so limited and cluttered with demands and deadlines.  Yet when the deadlines pass, I can't remember why they were so critical.  While at my feet a child looks up and asks me to play ball or be their horsy, look at their latest crayon masterpiece or just hold them in my lap. Their Daddy is the most important thing in the world to them.  When will I realize that they must be the most important thing in all the world to me?

Lord, I know that someday they will walk away, no longer a child but a young man, a young woman.  I understand I must release them either to You or to this world. Will I have been the father you wanted me to be? Will that child see in me the loving hand, the words of wisdom, the inexhaustible love of you, their Heavenly Father?  Help me to make the time to show my children Your love for them through me.  Oh, my God if only one task I accomplish before my life is over, please let it be that my children will know You through me. I ask this in the name of your own Son. Amen - DKM 1993

 

Friday, June 17, 2022

Five Biblical Proofs of the Trinity, Definitions and Confession of Faith.

 Five Biblical Proofs of the Trinity

1. The Trinity is Seen and Alluded to Many Times In the Bible

Though the doctrine of the Trinity is not as clearly seen in the Old Testament as it is in the New, nevertheless it is still there.

It is alluded to in the plural word for God (Elohim) used throughout Genesis 1 and 2 “Let us make man…” Gen 1:26. Every use of God is plural as is also true in much of the rest of the Old Testament uses of the word for God.

It is clearly seen in as Isaiah speaks with the voice of the coming Messiah,  Isaiah 48:16  Come ye near unto me, hear ye this; I have not spoken in secret from the beginning; from the time that it was, there am I: and now the Lord GOD, and his Spirit, hath sent me.

The Trinity is clearly and easily seen both doctrinally and literally in the New Testament.

At the baptism of Jesus, the Spirit descended on him and a voice from God out of heaven identified Jesus as his beloved Son (Matthew 3:16f.). The Trinity is seen in all three persons at one place at one time.

Jesus prayed that the Father would send another Comforter (John 14:16). Showing again the three persons of the Trinity. Jesus prays – to the Father – for the Parcletos.  

The disciples were told to baptize in the name (singular) of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (Matt. 28:19). Why would they be given this command if there was only Jesus, or only the Father?

Also, the apostolic benediction unites the three together (2 Cor. 13:14). Was Paul deluded in believing in the Father, Son and Holy Spirit?

2. Jesus Prays to the Father


If there is no Trinity and Jesus is actually the Father or the Father is actually Jesus, then when Jesus prays to the Heavenly Father it can only mean one of two things. 1) Jesus is a lunatic who is speaking to himself or 2) He is a charlatan and a liar who seeks to delude and deceive those who follow him.

The only way we can reconcile Jesus praying to the Father is to understand, just as Jesus did, just as the hearers then did, that the Father is in Heaven and separate from Himself.

3. The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit are all Shown In Scripture As God.


Jesus is called God. John 1:1, Romans 9:5, Hebrews 1:8, Titus 2:13, John 20:28

The Holy Spirit is called God Acts 5:3-4, 2Cor 3:17,18

Logically and theologically speaking if the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit are all called and as seen as God then they are all God, separate persons, but one God.

4. The Father, The Son and the Holy Spirit all do works that only God could do.


Only God is the Creator - Psalms 102:25; Col 1:16; Genesis 1:2
They all share in the Offering of Christ - Rom 8:32; John 10:18; Heb 9:14

They are all a part of the Resurrection - Acts 2:24; John 10:18; 1Pet 3:18

They all the givers of life and eternal life - John 5:21; John 5:21; Rom 8:11

They all gave and inspired Scripture, God’s Word – 2 Tim 3:16; 1Pet 1:10-11; 2Pet 1:21

5. The Father, The Son and the Holy Spirit all share attributes that only God could possess.


They are all seen as eternal, Ps 90:2; Rev 1:8; Heb 9:14
As Omnipotent, 1Pet 1:5, 2 Cor 12:9, Rom 15:19.
As Omniscience - Jer 17:10; Rev 2:23; 1Cor 2:11
As Omnipresent -  Jer 23:24; Matt 18:20; Ps 139:7
As Holy - Rev 15:4; Acts 3:14; Matt 28:19

Definition of the Trinity


The word "trinity" is a term used to denote the Christian doctrine that God exists as a unity of three distinct persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Each of the persons is distinct from the other yet identical in essence.  In other words, each is fully divine in nature, but each is not the totality of the other persons of the Trinity.  Each has a will, loves, and says "I" and "You" when speaking.  The Father is not the same person as the Son, who is not the same person as the Holy Spirit, and who is not the same person as the Father.  Each is divine, yet there are not three gods but one God. There are three individual subsistences or persons.  The word "subsistence" means something that has a real existence.  The word "person" denotes individuality and self-awareness.  The Trinity is three of these though the latter term has become the dominant one used to describe the individual aspects of God known as the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. – Matt Slick, CARM (Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry)

The Bible shows very clearly that there is only one God, and yet that there are three personal distinctions in His complex nature, traditionally referred to as “three Persons in the Godhead”—God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.

Each is distinct from the others but never acts independently. They are one in nature and purpose. This mystery is called the doctrine of the Trinity, though that term is not used in the Bible. The teaching, however, is present in seed form in the Old Testament and is revealed explicitly in the New Testament. Note passages such as Matthew 28:19; John 10:30, 14:26; 2 Corinthians 13:14. – Billy Graham Organization

Christian Creeds and Confessions of the Trinity of God


The Athanasian Creed - Late 5th Century AD


“We worship one God in the Trinity, and the Trinity in unity; we distinguish among the persons, but we do not divide the substance. The entire three persons are coeternal and coequal with one another, so that. . . we worship complete unity in Trinity and Trinity in unity.”

London Confession Faith 1684


In this divine and infinite Being there are three subsistences, the Father, the Word or Son, and Holy Spirit, of one substance, power, and eternity, each having the whole divine essence, yet the essence undivided: the Father is of none, neither begotten nor proceeding; the Son is eternally begotten of the Father; the Holy Spirit proceeding from the Father and the Son; all infinite, without beginning, therefore but one God, who is not to be divided in nature and being, but distinguished by several peculiar relative properties and personal relations; which doctrine of the Trinity is the foundation of all our communion with God, and comfortable dependence on him.

Scripture References: 1 John 5:7; Matthew 28:19; 2 Corinthians 13:14; Exodus 3:14; John 14:11; 1 Corinthians 8:6; John 1:14,18; John 15:26; Galatians 4:6

Modern Baptist Confession of Faith


We believe that there is One, and only one, living and true God; an infinite, intelligent Spirit, the maker and supreme ruler of heaven and earth; He is inexpressibly glorious in holiness and worthy of all possible honor, confidence and love; that in the unity of the Godhead there are three Persons: The Father, The Son, and the Holy Ghost, equal in every divine perfection, and executing distinct but harmonious offices in the great work of redemption.

Scriptural References: Gen. 17:1; Ex. 15:11; Ex. 20:2-3; Psa. 83:18; Psa.90:2; Psa. 147:5; Jer. 10:10; Matt. 28:19; Mark 12:30; John 4:24; John 10:30; John 15:26; John 17:5; Acts 5:3-4; Rom. 11:33; I Cor. 2:10-11 I Cor. 8:6; I Cor. 12:4-6; II Cor. 13:14; Eph.2:18 Eph. 4:6; Phil. 2:5-6; I Tim. 1:17; I John 5:7; Rev. 4:11.

Thursday, June 16, 2022

Five Reasons Baptism Must Be By Immersion

Five Reasons Baptism Must Be By Immersion

Matthew 28:18-20 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach (make disciples) all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:  Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

There are three commands given in the Great Commission, the marching orders of the church, make disciple, baptize those disciple and then train those disciples. Just three commands that encompasses all the mission of the church that Jesus built and sent out into the world. With only three commands it is imperative that we understand each one without error. To ignore or change one, would effect the churches work in the other two. This is one of the reasons that we as Baptist take baptism very seriously. It is a vital part or what a church is commissioned by Jesus to do.

To gain a better understanding of baptism, I want to give you five reasons why baptism must be by immersion. If it is not then it is not baptism and we have lost one third of the church's mission.

Reason 1. Definition of the Word, Baptism

Our work baptize is not a translation but a transliteration. The word was simply taken directly from the orignal language and adopted into English. This may have been done because the word itself was specialized to its practice in the church. It could also have been because no English word quite fit the practice or meaing of the original word.

Baptize comes from the Greek word: βαπτίζω. It is translated in the KJV; baptize (76), wash 2, baptist 1. It comes from a derivative of the word bapto; which means to make whelmed (i.e. fully wet) - Strong's Greek & Hebrew Dictionary.

Vine Word Studies states that "baptizo was necessarily transliterated into English, as there was no equivalent in our language. “To immerse” would be simply “to plunge into.” To baptize is to put into water and take out again. It involves immersion, submersion, and emergence—death, burial and resurrection. The word was used among the heathen Greeks of articles which underwent submersion and emergence, as in the case of the dyeing of a garment. (Vine, W. Collected writings of W. E. Vine. Nashville: Thomas Nelson)

The Theological Dictionary of the New Testament says, báptō and baptízō: “to dip in or under,” “to dye,” “to immerse,” “to sink,” “to drown,” “to bathe,” “wash.” The NT uses báptō only in the literal sense, e.g., “to dip”

Reason 2. Scriptural Example

Though baptism is a common occurrence in the New Testament, it is not usually described in detail. This is because it was a common practice and because the word was clearly understood by the original hearers and readers. When they read or heard baptize, they knew it meant to immerse or dip, the word simply had no other meaning.

Matthew 3:16 And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him:

Mark 1:9-11 - And it came to pass in those days, that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized of John in Jordan.  And straightway coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him:  And there came a voice from heaven, saying, Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

There is simply no way that these verses can portray anything but Jesus being immersed in the Jordon River by John. Pouring or spinkling would not have required a river and the description “coming up out of the water” can only mean coming up out of the water after being immersed in the water!

Acts 8:36-39 And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?  And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.  And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.  And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing.

Once again the only way you can picture these verses is to see a complete immersion in much water. The eunuch says, “See here is much water.” The both Phillip and the Eunuch go down into the water. Finally, they come up out of the water. This can only be baptism by immersion, any other kind action other than immersion is forced and obviously biased against the plain writing of scripture.

Reason 3. Historical Example

For the first thirteen hundred years all Christendom held this belief. – B. H. Carroll

The Christian church knew no form of baptism but immersion until the Middle Ages, when the practice of sprinkling or pouring was introduced by the Roman Catholic church-which itself had previously always baptized by immersion. The great Catholic theologian Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274) said, “In immersion the setting forth of the burial of Christ is more plainly expressed, in which this manner of baptizing is more commendable.” The Catholic church did not recognize other modes until the Council of Ravenna, held in France in 1311. It was from the Catholic church that Lutheran and Reformed churches inherited the form of sprinkling or pouring. The Church of England did not begin the practice of sprinkling until 1645. The Eastern Orthodox church has never permitted any mode but immersion. (John MacArthur, J: Matthew 1-7 Chicago: Moody Press)

Some would like to claim exceptions to baptism by immersion, but the exceptions simply prove the rule.

Though some form of immersion was likely the most common method of baptism in the early church, many of the writings from the ancient church appeared to view this mode of baptism as inconsequential. The Didache 7.1–3 (AD 60–150) allowed for affusion practices in situations where immersion was not practical. Likewise, Tertullian (AD 196–212) allowed for varying approaches to baptism even if those practices did not conform to biblical or traditional mandates (cf. De corona militis 3; De baptismo 17). Finally, Cyprian (ca. AD 256) explicitly stated that the amount of water was inconsequential and defended immersion, affusion, and aspersion practices (Epistle 75.12).
 

These were all written hundreds of years later and in every case were provided as exception to the traditional practice of immersion. Immersion remained the standard mode of baptism even for the Catholic church until the 13 or 1400’s. The children of Catholicism, Lutherns, Presbyterians, Methodists, Anglican, Episcopalian, etc. took their practice of disregarding the true scriptural mode of baptism from the Catholic church.

It is telling that even thought the Greek Orthodox church practices infant baptism, which is completely unbiblical, it still dips the babies in the water. After all they still speak Greek and the word baptize means to immerse or dip.

Reason 4. Symbolism of the Ordinance

Romans 6:3-4 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.

In order for baptism to mean anything as a symbol for the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus, a picture of the Gospel, it must be by immersion. Sprinkling and pouring can in no way portray what Jesus did for us and what we are proclaiming as our faith in Him as our savior. Changing the mode renders baptism meaningless and empty.To change the mode of baptism, claim that it is not important is to also say that the Gospel is not important or that faith in Jesus Christ is unimportant.

Reason 5. Proper Mode, Proper Gospel

1 Peter 3:21 The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:

When we dismiss or disregard immersion as the mode of baptism in a very real way we are also dismissing our salvation through the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Peter in the passage above says that the like figure (symbol) of baptism saves us. To make sure he is not misunderstood he then adds, “not the putting away of the filth of the flesh but the answer of a good conscience toward God.” In other words baptism doesn’t wash away sins but it is our response toward God as the result of our guilt being removed. Then he says how the figure of baptism saves us “by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.” Biblical baptism when the saved person is immersed and then taken back up from under the water, shows salvation by the resurrection of Jesus Christ. 

If you change the symbol then you also have changed the Gospel. This is exactly what we see has happened in denominations that have disregarded true baptism. No longer is baptism a symbol or picture of the Gospel, but it now becomes a means of salvation itself. Now you cannot wait until there is much water because the water poured on your head somehow confers salvation. Even worse is the foolish baptism of babies. Infants cannot understand the Gospel and are innocent in God’s eyes until they come of age, but if you believe that Baptism is necessary for salvation then you must baptize them as soon as you can. Now the Gospel is meaningless, the life, death and resurrection of Jesus as proof of his sinlessness and power over death has been utterly lost. And those who now put their faith in a rite are also lost, perhaps to the point of never seeing the Gospel because they do not see their need for a salvation they have been told was conferred upon them as infants.

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Six Reasons You May Not Be In a Biblical Church

Six Reasons You May Not Be In a Biblical Church


Reason 1: Your "Church" is a Bible Only Church

If your “church” accepts anything other than the Bible as the Word of God and rule for the Christian life, you are not in a Biblical Church.

For example, if the pastor or founder is called a prophet, or apostle and claims to receive direct revelation from God outside of or in contradiction to the Bible, you're in the wrong church.

Ellen G. White (7th Day Adventist) claimed to have received over 2,000 visions and dreams from God. Joseph Smith saw Jesus in a vision and was given a Golden Book, containing the Book of Mormon. Mary Baker Eddy (Christian Science) published "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" She claimed it was the final revelation of God to mankind and asserted that her work was inspired of God.

Pentecostals and Charismatics

Example - These "churches" practice tongues, signs, prophetic utterances, etc. that are extra-Biblical. This “personal revelation” from God can and often does supersede and ignore the teaching of the Word.

Instead of one founder or leader thinking they are hearing directly from God now an entire “church” believes they are a direct pipeline of pure revelation.

Accordingly there is no longer a need to study the Bible or even believe the Bible since tongues, visions and prophecies are a much faster, fresher and direct channel to God.

Bible says: The Bible Is The Only Authority


The Bible is the final authority in all matters of belief and practice because the Bible is God's very word and carries the absolute authority of God Himself. Where the Bible speaks Baptists speak where it is silent we are silent. What it commands we do. What it prohibits we avoid. There is no authority equal to the Bible and no person or group may change, add to, override or contradict it's authority. It was complete with the book of Revelation and is true in every word and thought.

2 Timothy 3:15-17; 1 Thessalonians 2:13; 2 Peter 1:20, 21; Jude 3; Mat 5:17-19

2 Timothy 3:15-17 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.

1 Thessalonians 2:13 For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.

2 Peter 1:20, 21 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

Jude 3 Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.

Matthew 5:17-19 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.  Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

Deuteronomy 4:2 Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.

Proverbs 30:6  Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.

Revelation 22:18 For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:

Reason 2: Your "Church" Ignores Local Church Authority


If your “church” is not a Spirit led democracy but instead the pastor, elders or a board govern the church, over and above the members of the church, you probably aren’t in a Biblical church.
Examples – Methodists, Episcopalians, Presbyterians, Catholics all believe that the local church has no authority and that all local churches are under the power of the “Church Hierarchy” ie. Pope, Bishops, Elders.  Also any individual pastor who usurps this authority is no longer leading a Biblical church.

The Bible Says: The Only Autonomy Is the Local Church


A true, Biblical church is an independent body accountable only to the Lord Jesus Christ, who founded it and is its head. All authority for governing the local church resides within the local church itself. The church is autonomous, or self-governing. No religious power or hierarchy outside the local church may dictate a church's beliefs or practices. A true church may and should fellowship with other churches around mutual interests, but that church cannot be a "member" of any other body nor under the authority of any organization outside the church in matters of the Gospel and Great Commission.

Acts 5:29; Colossians 1:18; 2 Corinthians 8:1-5, 19, 23

Acts 5:29 - Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.
 

Colossians 1:18 - And he (Jesus) is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.

2 Corinthians 8:1-5, 19, 23 - Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia; How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality. For to their power, I bear record, yea, and beyond their power they were willing of themselves; Praying us with much intreaty that we would receive the gift and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints. And this they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God.

And not that only, but who was also chosen of the churches to travel with us with this grace, which is administered by us to the glory of the same Lord, and declaration of your ready mind:
Whether any do enquire of Titus, he is my partner and fellowhelper concerning you: or our brethren be enquired of, they are the messengers of the churches, and the glory of Christ.

Reason 3: Your "Church" Has A Spiritual Bureaucracy


If a “church” uses an intermediary between the believer and God, either in prayers or instruction then that is not a Biblical church.
 

Example: Confessionals and the practice of confession as practiced by the Catholic Church.

Or you have folks in the “church” who interpret tongues, dreams, visions or impressions to tell you God’s will for your life.

The Bible Says: There is a Priesthood for every Believer


Every true believer is a priest of God and may enter into His presence directly through our Great High Priest, Jesus Christ. No other mediator is needed between God and His people. As priests, we can study God's Word, pray for others, and offer spiritual worship to God. We all have equal access to God because each of us is indwelt by the Holy Spirit of God.

1 Peter 2:5, 9; Revelation 5:9, 10; Hebrews 4:14-16; Rom 8:26-27

1 Peter 2:5, 9 - Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.

But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:

Revelation 5:9-10 - And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.

Hebrews 4:14-16 - Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

Rom 8:26-27 - Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.

Reason 4: Your "Church" has Ordinances and Offices That Are Not In The Bible


If you are a member of a group of people who call themselves a church but who have rituals, practices offices or ordinances that were not in the first church founded by Jesus Christ, then you are probably not a member of a Biblical Church.

Examples: The Catholic Mass and Seven Sacraments,  Mormon Baptism for the dead, Infant Baptism of Methodists, Presbyterians, Episcopalians, etc.

The Bible says: There are Only Two Ordinances


The local church should practice two ordinances: Baptism of believers by immersion in water, identifying the individual with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection, and The Lord’s Supper, a memorial of His death upon the cross for us. These ordinances are purely symbolic and have no saving or sustaining merit in themselves.

Definition: ordinance – 1. An authoritative command or order. 2. A custom or practice established by long usage. 3. A Christian rite.

Matthew 28:19-20; 1 Corinthians 11:23-32

Matthew 28:19 – 20 - Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:  Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you I, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

1 Corinthians 11:23-26 - For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come.

The Bible Says: there are Only Two Offices


The Bible mandates only two offices in the church--pastor and deacon. The terms pastor, elder, bishop, or overseer all refer to the same office. The two offices of pastor and deacon exist within the local church, and are elected or removed by the authority of the local church and only the local church.

1 Timothy 3:1,8; Acts 20:17,28; Philippians 1:1

1 Timothy 3:1,8 - This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work....Likewise must the deacons be grave, not double-tongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre;

Acts 20:17, 28 - And from Miletus he sent to Ephesus, and called the elders of the church.... Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood

Philippians 1:1-2 - Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons:  Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

Reason 5: Your "Church" doesn't practice Freedom of Conscience or Soul Liberty


If the organization you belong to has ever held the same power as the civil government or state  and if that power was used to dictate what anyone should or must believe, then you are probably not in a Biblical church.

Example:  The Holy Roman Empire, The Lutheran Church of German, the Presbyterian Church of Scotland, The Anglican Church of England.

The Bible Says each of us has Individual Soul Liberty


Every individual, whether a believer or an unbeliever, has the liberty to choose what he believes is right in the his own heart as regards spiritual truth. No one should be forced to profess a belief against his own convictions or will.

Romans 14:5, 12; 2 Corinthians 4:2; Titus 1:9

Romans 14:5, 12-13 - One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.

So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God. Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumbling block or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way.

2 Corinthians 4:2 - But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.

Titus 1:9 - Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.

The Bible Says: There is A Separation of Church from the State


God established both the church and the civil government, and He gave each its own distinct sphere of operation. The government's purposes are outlined in Romans 13:1-7 and the church's purposes in Matthew 28:19 and 20. Neither should control the other, nor should there be an alliance between the two. Christian influence should be exerted through opinion and the election of moral leaders by involved Christians as well as praying for our leaders but the line between influence and control must be clearly understood.

Romans 13:1-7; Matthew 22:15-22; Matthew 28:19-29

Romans 13:1-7 - Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.   For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God’s ministers, attending continually upon this very thing. Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.

Matthew 22:15-22 - Then went the Pharisees and took counsel how they might entangle him in his talk. And they sent out unto him their disciples with the Herodians, saying, Master, we know that thou art true, and teachest the way of God in truth, neither carest thou for any man: for thou regardest not the person of men. Tell us therefore, What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not? But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites?   Shew me the tribute money. And they brought unto him a penny. And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription? They say unto him, Caesar’s. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s. When they had heard these words, they marvelled, and left him, and went their way.

Matthew 28:19-20 - Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

Reason 6 Your "Church" Doesn't Teach the Right Relationship on Salvation and Church Membership


If a “church” makes a person a member by any other means than by a profession of faith and voluntary submission to baptism and the church, then that church is not a Biblical church.

Example: Infant baptism makes a baby a member of the church even before it can talk. A person is considered a member of a church because of their parents, nationality or background.

The Bible Says: Only Saved and Scripturally Baptized Can Be Church Members


Local church membership is restricted to individuals who give a believable testimony of personal faith in Christ and have publicly identified themselves with Him in believer's baptism. Salvation is by grace through faith and is once for all. Salvation cannot be earned but only received as a gift of God through faith. Once a person truly believes, they can never be lost again, they are eternally secure by the power of God. Membership in the church is based upon baptism by immersion of an individual old enough to understand the consequences of sin and the choice they must make in Christ.

Acts 2:41-47; 2 Corinthians 6:14; Ephesians 4:3; Matthew 3:13-16; Acts 8:36-37

Acts 2:41-47 - Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles. And all that believed were together, and had all things common; And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.

2 Corinthians 6:14 - Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?

Ephesians 4:3-4 - Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;

Matthew 3:13-16 - Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him. And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him:

Acts 8:36-39 - And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.  And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him. And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing.

Conclusion


There are millions of good people and possibly millions of Christians in organization that do lots of good things but are not a church according to the rules and examples we see in scripture. You don’t have to be a member of a Biblical Church to be saved, but the odds of you knowing how to be saved in a counterfeit church are not in your favor.

If you are saved then find a church that meets the Bible standards we looked at tonight. If you are depending on your church and your connection to it, to save you, then you really are not in a true church and a lot more is at stake than just these teaching points.

Accept Jesus as your personal savior, accepting His death upon the cross as God’s gift of grace this is salvation and when that is real, finding the real church will be a lot easier.

Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Five Reasons the Church Is Local and Visible and Cannot Be Universal nor Invisible

Five Reasons the Church Is Local and Visible and Cannot Be Universal nor Invisible

 

Reason 1. The Definition of the Word Translated church

The Greek word, Ekklesia is translated church in the New Testament. Strong's Concordance says ekklesia is from a compound ek and kaleo. It is translated in the Authorized version - church 115 times, assembly 3 times for a total 118 times. In the times of the New Testament it was a gathering of citizens called out from their homes into some public place, an assembly. Since it was an assembly it could only be local. The word by its definition cannot mean unassembled and scattered (universal) and at the same time mean a group of people coming together in one place (local). A word cannot have two contradictory meanings. It is either local or universal; the rules of logic prohibit it from being both and the history and definition demands that it be local only.

Reason 2. The History and Etymology of the Word Church

Ekklesia or ecclesia is a compound word formed from the words "ek" and "kaleo” meaning "out of" and "to call" respectively. In the Greek city states of the past, the word ekklesia was a group of people called out by a town crier or trumpeter to assemble for the purpose of carrying our city business.     There is an example of such an assembly (ekklesia) in Acts 19:32-39. Jesus did not create a new word, He simply took a word already in common use and made it His own, qualifying it as His ekklesia, His assembly.  (See Matthew 16:18) It was understood as a local assembly then and could not be understood as universal since something that is universal cannot be assembled and an assembly cannot be made universal the words by their definition and history are mutually exclusive. One is the opposite of the other. Something cannot be a universal and at the same time assembled. Words mean nothing if we don't hold to their accepted and logical definition.

Reason 3. The Comparison of Scripture with Scripture

Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours        - 1Corinthians 1:2 

And all the brethren which are with me, unto the churches of Galatia: - Galatians 1:2 

Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, unto the church of the Thessalonians which is in God the Father and in the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ. - 1Thessalonians 1:1

An examination of the 118 uses of the word ekklesia in the New Testament scriptures shows they refer directly to a local, visible assembly, ie., a group of people coming together to carry out the Lord's work in a specific location in Ephesus, Colossi, Philippi, or meeting in a house such as Philemon. Only Matthew 16:18 refers to the generic or institutional sense of the church all others refer to or were written to a local assembly. This is the simplest way to understand the church and the only way a person would see the church unless told to look for a universal church. This also agrees with the hermeneutics rule of the Analogy of Faith which states we should compare scripture with scripture, knowing that God’s Word does not contradict itself and not to let the more difficult verses reinterpret the plain and simple verses. 

Reason 4. The Institutional Sense of Church

Matthew 16:18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

The only time the word ekklesia is used in a verse which does not directly refer to a local, visible assembly it is used in an institutional sense, in Matt 16:18. To refer to the institution of the church means that once Jesus established the church it would continue to exist and grow. It refers to all true churches in existence at any one time. The failure to understand this simple and common use of the word and the attempt to combat the Catholic use of universal are the main reasons even some Baptists accept the error of the Universal, Invisible Church.

Jesus uses the word church, in this verse, in the same way a entrepreneur might use it in talking about his his new store, "I will build my business and the competition will not beat it out." Yet if you asked him to show you his business he would then take you to a local store, or several local stores. This "business" would grow into more and more stores each one in several locations, but all of them visible and local. The same is true of the church as an institution, it is a generic or abstract term which in no way contradicts or even modifies the traditional common usage of the word in the New Testament.

Though the church exists as an institution this does not mean it is something other than a local, assembly. Any time an example of the institution must be seen, that example is a local, visible body.

Reason 5: The Authority of Christ as Head of the Church

And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all. - Ephesians 1:22-23

But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: - Ephesians 4:15

And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. Colossians 1:18 

Conclusion

The universal, invisible church is defined as all believers on the earth at any given time. The error of the universal, invisible church was begun not by an open study of scripture but more likely to oppose another error, the universal, visible church which was and is the Roman Catholic church. Protestants not wanting to be associated with the Roman Church, chose to change their understanding of a universal church from visible, (with its head the pope at Rome) to invisible (with it's head in heaven). Though this rightly denied the Pope as the head of the Lord's Church, which the Roman Catholic Church with its association with Rome never was, it still ignored the authority and autonomy of the local church with only Christ as her head, which most Protestant denominations still do. The pope was replaced with other bishops, elders, synods or presbyteries and Christ was ignored in leading the local body.

Such a belief leads to weak local churches and strong, over powering, denominational hierarchies. It denies that Jesus can and must be the head of each local assembly and replaces Him with a bishop, cardinal or council. To replace the Lord and claim His position in and over the church has and will lead to greater error and heresy.