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1-23-2017 Wisdom Of Words

“For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of no effect” (1 Corinthians 1:17 NKJV). Paul did not personally baptize all who obeyed the Gospel. Why? As he said: “I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, lest anyone should say that I had baptized in my own name” (1 Corinthians 1:14-15 NKJV). The importance was not who did the baptizing, but into whom they were baptized. In Corinth, Paul had preached the Gospel, “Then Crispus, the ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his household. And many of the Corinthians, hearing, believed and were baptized” (Acts 18:8 NKJV). To tell people not to be baptized into Jesus’ death, uses “wisdom of words” to make “the cross of Christ” “of no effect!”

This is Johnny Polk, with “Words of Wisdom” brought to you by the Oneida church of Christ.

#baptism, #cross-of-christ, #gospel-of-christ

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“But by the grace of God I am…

“But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me” (1 Corinthians 15:10-11 NKJV). God’s “gospel of grace” saved Paul when he washed away his sins in baptism, calling on the name of the Lord (Acts 22:16). But he knew it was not “once-saved-always-saved,” because he “had labored more abundantly than” the rest of the Apostles.
Paul taught: “This is a faithful saying, and these things I want you to affirm constantly, that those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable to men” (Titus 3:8 NKJV).  A Christian must continually be obedient, or else God’s grace was given “in vain.”  “Good works” are the proper response to God’s grace.

This is Johnny Polk, with “Words of Wisdom” brought to you by the Oneida church of Christ.

#baptism, #good-works, #grace

Dear Abby and Baptism

I read in a “Dear Abby” letter (1.3.2017) of a woman who desired to have her niece’s son baptized, but without the consent of the parents. Evidently, the parents are not religious, and the family heritage is to have each new-born baptized some short time after birth (the child is 1-year old). Abby replied that such an action without the consent of the parents is unwise. This is obvious on its own, but it brings up another point that needs some consideration.

Exactly how should one look at God’s command to be baptized? That it is a command of God makes it essential to be pleasing to God, but as it was indicated in the inquiry of Abby, is it the one act/command/ceremony that assures one’s entrance into heaven? The way some people look at the word and command of baptism, those same ones are convinced of such. They regard it as God’s “stamp” of approval before entrance is made; some Christians look at it the same way.

Baptism, as a command of God to be obeyed, is for one who believes, understands what he (she) believes, is willing to repent (change his way of thinking), and put his hand to the plow, having the ground already plowed for him by Jesus following that path. Baptism is for one who has decided to not look behind, but long for the new life promised. This person has made a conscience choice to leave behind the ways of the world (Luke 9:62).

I am afraid many have not done this. A great many have been baptized, but the life lived after that baptism is a reflection, not of God, but of this world (and the god of this world; 2 Corinthians 4:4). Therefore, many people who were baptized really did nothing more than get wet, and this includes children. In submitting to the Lord’s authority, one is submitting to the Lord’s way of living and thinking. This way of living is completely different than what the world presents. In fact, the Lord said those who love Him will not love the world or the things in the world (cf. 1 John 2:15-17).

Baptism is not for one who does not understand that which I wrote above. Through the years, I have seen children baptized without understanding this. I am afraid many of these same children, now turned adults, are just as lost as if they had not been baptized; their “lostness” is the result of a life of unfaithfulness to the Lord, which brings to mind a question: did they understand what they said they did?

No doubt, many (if not all) who were baptized because of a genuine belief and desire to obey God – but was there (is there) a proper understanding about what this entailed? Some have doubted and, consequently, for many, a “rebaptism” soon followed. Along this line, it is worth notice in the New Testament, Acts especially, those baptized are men and women. There is a reason for this.

Baptism is a point of entry, but in that entry, it is simply the culmination, the completion of a process of the heart’s desire to please God. In that point of entry, there is a releasing (sins forgiven). Nothing in baptism (in and of itself) will release one’s sins from “clinging” to the one immersed in water, who is brought up from the plunging in water. Unless it is coupled with faith and a penitent heart, in submission to the Lord’s authority, baptism is an empty ritual; it has no value. RT

#baptism, #children, #dear-abby, #empty-ritual

Wipe your internet presence clean with one click. And your sins with one dip

click-hereIt’s the real deal, supposedly. These folks will find all your accounts on the web, through a Google login, and wipe your internet presence clean. They don’t say if they’ll get you off Google as well. But it really tempts one, does it not?

There is a good side to the internet. At times, however, we don’t see it. We get bombarded by the bad side, and offers like the one made by the site above appeal to those who are tired of it all. Continue reading

#baptism, #conversion, #forgiveness, #obedience

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9-20-2016 Love And Baptism

“And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as He gave us commandment” (1 John 3:23 NKJV).  “Love one another” is about the only statement some people think is in the Bible!  They then object to any other “commandment” as “legalism,” not to be obeyed.  John said God gave the “commandment” to “love one another.”  Was God commanding “legalism?”  Jesus said, “that the world may know that I love the Father, and as the Father gave Me commandment, so I do” (John 14:31 NKJV).  Was Jesus a “legalist” because He kept God’s “commandment” to “love?” Was Peter a “legalist” when “he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord” (Acts 10:48 NKJV)?  Why is keeping the commandments of God “legalism,” but not keeping the command to love?

This is Johnny Polk, with “Words of Wisdom” brought to you by the Oneida church of Christ.

#baptism, #commandment, #legalism, #love

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9-21-2016 Grace And Baptism

“For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ” (John 1:17 NKJV).  The Child Jesus “grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him” (Luke 2:40 NKJV).  Paul felt that what he “received from the Lord Jesus, [was] to testify to the gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24 NKJV).  That “gospel” said, “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace” (Ephesians 1:7 NKJV).  Jesus offered His blood in his death, and the only way sinners enter His death is through baptism!  “Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?” (Romans 6:3 NKJV).  Baptism into His death brings salvation by God’s grace.  If not, why not?

This is Johnny Polk, with “Words of Wisdom” brought to you by the Oneida church of Christ.

#baptism, #grace

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9-22-2016 The Work Of Faith

Jesus said “the Scripture cannot be broken” (John 10:35 NKJV).  “Broken” means to “nullify, undo, or deprive of authority.”  The Bible does not contradict itself, and one command is not cancelled out by other commands.  “Faith” is commanded when the Bible says, “Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith” (1 Timothy 1:5 NKJV).  But “faith” is a “work.”  “Then they said to Him, ‘What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?’ Jesus answered and said to them, ‘This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent’” (John 6:28-29 NKJV).  No Scripture dealing with “works” would cancel out obeying the command to work at faith!  Jesus said, “He who believes and is baptized will be saved” (Mark 16:16 NKJV).  No contradiction here!

This is Johnny Polk, with “Words of Wisdom” brought to you by the Oneida church of Christ.

#baptism, #bible-contradict, #faith, #work-of-god