Program Air Date - 12-25-11



Good Morning and Happy Holidays! I hope you all have a wondrous day on this glorious Lord ’s Day. We welcome each of you to the Living Word Program. As always, we will be privileged this morning to give this time to God. We hope and pray that our songs of praise and our study, will be acceptable in His sight. Let me also remind us that we have not only gathered to glorify God, but may we all learn and be encouraged through the things we do together this morning, before His Magnificent Throne. Now, let’s begin with a prayer!


Isn’t our God wonderful and amazing? Certainly He is. This morning we want to begin with a song that reminds us that our God has made ready an eternal place for the faithful. So won’t you join in with us as we sing together, “Home Of The Soul.”

(SONG # 1)


Here it is December 25, 2011, what is commonly called Christmas Day! To my children this means that Santa came last night and brought toys and gifts for all to enjoy. As most, I certainly love this time of year and all the wondrous and secular stories surrounding this holiday. Not only Santa Claus, but Flying reindeer, even the Red nosed reindeer, a sleigh - full of toys for all the children of the world, elves who make the toys, and on and on we could go. How the faces of little ones light up as they hear the story of the night before Christmas. What a privilege it is to celebrate this time of good, clean fun - which promotes love, family and giving.

However, let me ask you a question, “where in the Bible does it tell us the exact day Jesus was born?” “Is the Christmas Holiday found in the Bible or commanded in it’s pages? Well, let’s consider together some of the facts about Christmas, as well as when this holiday began. From a religious standpoint many celebrate this day as the date our Lord was born over 2000 years ago. Great emphasis is placed on the birth of our Lord and it’s significance to this world. Let me say, Amen, as far as the importance of Christ Jesus coming into this world, so that He later could become a sacrifice for our sins and purchase His church.

However, isn’t it also important to clarify the facts and show our knowledge concerning the things of Christ and His Word? The reality is no man knows the exact hour, day, or even year that our Lord Jesus was born in that manger? No matter how important or significant the event is, we must ask the question, “Does this give us the right to set up and bind a religious day or a religious feast and celebrate it?” Is it within our authority to bind days and feasts on God’s people that He, Himself is silent about in the scriptures?

Let’s also consider from the religious standpoint, where this holiday comes from? Around 300 A. D., the Catholic church began to promote the idea of this religious holiday. The only problem was that the Roman Catholic church and the Greek Orthodox Catholic church could not agree on a common date to hold the holiday. Finally, the first time this holiday was officially celebrated was in Rome on December 25, 325 A. D.

I think it is important to note that the church of our Lord Jesus Christ began around 33 A. D. and it was not until 300 years later that this holiday was established. So let me ask you, what does this tell you about this holiday, again from a religious standpoint? Well it tells me that it is man-made: established by man, appointed by man and set up by man! If the Bible is silent about it and the first church established by our Lord, for 300 years did not practice it; I think we must be very careful about celebrating it as something of God or approved of by God.

Let me make one final point! What event in the life of Christ bears the greatest significance to the follower of Christ? You and I know that it is His death. Why then don’t we have a yearly feast for it? I will tell you why, God hasn’t commanded it, authorized it or sanctioned it. However, what He has authorized is that we assemble every first day of the week. And when we do so, we are to reverence, glorify, honor, praise and magnify His holy name! As well we have opportunity to celebrate His birth, life, death and resurrections as the assembled Children of God. We are to thank Him for all He has done, is doing and has promised to do for us. Thanks be to God, that we have a weekly opportunity to remember Him and worship Him every first day of the week.

So, let’s enjoy this season and it’s secular parts as we use this time for showing others how much we care about and love them. Furthermore, let’s make it our duty to show God the homage and reverence due to Him when He has asked us to in His Word - every first day of the week. So, let’s not be satisfied with once a century, once a year, or once a month, but only accept once a week, just as He has commanded! How important is your God to you?

Please stay with us, because after our next song I will return with our main lesson from God’s Word. This morning we will continue our discussion on the series entitled, “What Must I Do to Be Saved.” Our specific lesson today will deal with, “Baptism!” However, before we dive in to this important discussion of the day, let’s sing our next song together. Won’t you join in the hymn, “I Am Thine Oh Lord!”

(SONG # 2)


By Ray Sullins

Thanks for staying with us and now we want to get right into God’s Word in answering that question we’ve been considering from Acts chapter 16 and verse 30 when the Philippian jailor said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

You know together we’ve seen I think a lot of important aspects of those things that lead us unto salvation. In fact, most Protestant and religious groups that are followers of Christ agree on those things that we have discussed thus far. Certainly the need that one must believe in what they have heard unto faith. They must also be one who is willing to repent. That is to acknowledge and even turn away from sin. But then finally the idea we looked at last week of confessing with the mouth that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. Certainly each of these aspects are important and equally important for any one of them that is left out or any step that is neglected would keep one from arriving at the same location and that location is or that equation that which it is equal to would be salvation or that which is eternal life.

With than in mind, I want you to notice with me a few interesting facts about these words we have considered. The word “repentance” is used 50 times in the New Testament. The word that we would say “confession” as last week is specifically used 25 times in the New Testament. I think we would all agree that in one being used 50 times and one being used 25 times that again this reemphasizes the significance of the act or action or even character that is being referred to. Do you know that in relationship to our topic today of baptism, that the word “baptism” is used over 100 times in the New Testament? Twice as many as the word “repentance” and four times as many as the word “confession.”

Now what does that tell us? It tells us that things are not weighted properly, that men maybe have missed the point or missed the mark in relationship to baptism because you can talk to your denominational friends, or you can talk to your leaders or what many of you might call your pastors, and when you talk to them you can say, “Well, do we have to repent?” Yes! “Do we have to confess?” Yes! “Do we have to…?” All of these things will be yes, but when you get to baptism, many will say, “Well it’s good to be baptized but you don’t have to be baptized.” Well I want to emphasize to you that the discussion of baptism is actually spoken of more and why? The word comes from a Greek word called “baptizo” and baptizo means immersion or literally to dip under and when we see Jesus coming, guess what was happening even before Him.

We find John the baptizer coming and guess what he was doing. Baptizing multitudes! And what was he telling them? “Repent,” and then he was saying, “For the kingdom of heaven is at hand. Repent for the remission of sins,” and he was baptizing folks by leaps and bounds. In fact, in John chapter 3 and verse 23, it says, “John was baptizing,” it says, “in the Aenon near Salim. Why? Because there was much water there and really to immerse or buy someone in water, you’ve got to have a lot of water.

Do you know what it says in the next chapter? In chapter 4 of John it actually goes on to say that when the Pharisees had heard that Jesus actually had baptized and made more disciples than John. Why in the world did John the baptizer or Jesus Christ come proclaiming the need to repent? Because there was a need for baptism. Why in the world did Jesus Christ Himself show a need there in Matthew 3 to be baptized and to ask that He be baptized, when some would say, “I am not even worthy to baptize you, as John said?” Because He wanted to show us by example the significance of the act. And no wonder then when Jesus was actually down in the water with John and He came up out of the water, do you remember the dove descended from Heaven and said, “This is My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.” Certainly Jesus Christ is God. And Jesus Christ sending great men like John. He Himself coming and then teaching His disciples to do what? Baptize! That should show some great significance not only in the church and becoming a part of the church but what leads up to the day the church itself was established.

Then certainly we would not find it strange when we go to the book of Acts that in every conversion in the book of Acts guess which act of all those things we’ve spoken of unto salvation: belief, faith, confession, repentance, or baptism. Guess which act of all of these is mentioned in every example in the book of Acts. And by the way, there are about 12-15 examples depending on how you break those up. All of them don’t mention repentance. All of them don’t mention confession. All of them do not even mention the idea of belief. But all of them mention guess what, baptism! But baptism is left by the wayside. Someone comes forward and they pray what is called the sinner’s prayer, and by the way, I would challenge you to look into the scripture. There is no such thing as a sinner’s prayer unto salvation. But what there is is a confession, repentance, and a baptism as is commanded by God. But someone comes forward and they are told to obey God and then they say, “Oh we’re going to baptize you next week,” or “next month,” or “once a year,” or “once every few years we have a great baptism.” What does that tell you about the significance in the mind of those individuals or those religions or those denominations about baptism? Well it tells you that they don’t believe it’s essential because if they thought it was essential when would one have to be baptized? At the same point in time they are repenting and confessing the name of Jesus. If they are truly unto salvation, all of it must be done before we equal salvation.

Now, what did Jesus say in Mark 16:16? “He that believes and is baptized…” Why did He say that? “Shall be saved.” He didn’t mention confession. He didn’t mention repentance although we know those are required by God and taught by Jesus and taught by His disciples. But what did He say? “He that believes.” Because belief leads one to faith. Faith that does what? Confesses and repents and then is what? Baptized. But he said, “He that believes and is baptized shall be saved.” But what do your denominational leaders tell you? Okay, yes, believe, repent, and confess, but we’ll worry about baptism another day. How sad that is. And how sad it is because it shows me that they don’t even understand the significance of the act. When we talk about that which happens from the heart in our faith and action, we see that confession is an action with the mouth. And we talk about the idea of repentance as an acknowledgment of sin and literally a turning away from sin to what? Righteousness or a new man! Dying to a dead old man and as we talked about last week, looking to a new creation of Jesus Christ.

But do you know what baptism does? It gets us into a significant act with Jesus that no other act is able to accomplish unto salvation.

Look with me in Romans chapter 6. It’s beautiful here how baptism is described. “Or do you not know that as many of you as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into His death?” Oh you mean to tell me that baptism means that as Jesus died and was buried, that I die and am buried? Certainly! Boy doesn’t that sound significant? Doesn’t that sound important? Look at the next verse. “Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death as He died, we died, but we die to the old man that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so (what?) we should be raised from the dead and walk in a newness of life for as we have been united together in the likeness of His death, we are also united together in the likeness of His resurrection (verse 6) knowing this therefore that our old man had been crucified as Jesus was and put in the grave as He was and that we rise anew, because we died as He died to the old.” Now what greater significance can an act have? How could that be something I’m going to put off until next week or next month or next year?

When we see baptism as spoken by our Lord as he that believes and is baptized shall be saved. When we see that in Galatians 3:26-27 that it says that, “Those who have been baptized have put on Christ…” When we see that Peter speaks there in 1 Peter 3:21 that as Noah was saved by water or through water, that we have a like figure or an anti-type today that saves us. Guess what. It’s not repentance. It’s not confession. The verse says it is baptism. It’s the act of us dying as He died and rising as He rose. That’s the beauty and the significance that is shown to us and that’s why when the Eunuch in Acts chapter 8 says, “See here is water…” What has Philip been preaching to him? Philip had been preaching Jesus and the kingdom. The Eunuch, not Philip, but the Eunuch said, “See, here is water.” And as we saw last week, Philip said, “Well if you believe.” And the Eunuch said, “I believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” Then Philip and the Eunuch went down into the water and he what? Baptized him. He immersed him.

Brethren, if you’re still not convinced, friends, look at Acts chapter 2 and again I challenge you to look at every example in the book of Acts and you find me one and write to me and I will correct it on the program that shows one of someone being saved without baptism. I want you to notice with me in Acts chapter 2 and verse 38 when they were crying out, “Men and brethren, what must we do?” Of all the things he could have said, Peter said, “Repent and be baptized.” He didn’t say confess. We know they had confessed because they had done it earlier in the text. Repent and be baptized. Why? “Let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins.” Do you understand that the blood of Christ (Revelation chapter 1 verse 5) is met in the watery grave of baptism in a figurative sense? Do you understand that’s what the text is telling us? Do you understand that’s why when Ananias told Paul to be baptized in Acts 22 verse 16 that he said, “Arise and be baptized.” And do you know why? “To wash away your sins.” You see that shows us baptism is not an afterthought. It’s not at the end of the list as it’s significant. It’s just another important part, no more important than repentance or confession, but equally important. Not because of what I say or because of what someone else says that it is not, but because Jesus says.

What greater way to end the year than confessing with your mouth your belief that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, repenting and turning away from sin meaning that you’re going to leave the old man and turn to the new and knowing that you’re going to be baptized even right now, today, that you might be buried in that old man as Jesus died and as He rose again, that act means that you rise again as a new creature. Will you give God your best? Will you simply do it His way? And as Acts 2:47 says, will you allow the Lord to add you to His church because you’ve obeyed His Will?

(SONG # 3 - “I Know That My Redeemer Lives”)


Again, let me thank you for putting God first and choosing to give this time to Him. We invite you to join us every Sunday morning at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to worshiping God in His way!

Now, let me ask you if you have any questions or comments about today’s lesson? Maybe, you would like a transcript or a cassette tape of this program? Could we assist you with free Bible materials or correspondence courses? No matter what your need is, please feel free to contact us at the following address:

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Thanks be to God for the Church of our Lord Jesus Christ, which we are added to when we have obeyed God’s plan of salvation! Have you been baptized and thus washed in the blood of the Lamb?

(Program closing)