Program Air Date - 9-14-03



Thank you for joining us this morning, let me welcome you to the program. The Living Word is a work of our Lord, dedicated to doing God's Will in His Way! As always, it will be our privilege today to sing songs of praise and to study from His Word. In these acts of worship, may we all be encouraged, but ultimately may we each praise God according to the sacrifices to offer toward His Throne. It will also be our honor this morning to speak with God through prayer. Will you bow with me as we talk to our creator?


When was the last time you were able to witness the fact that someone confessed the name of Jesus, repented of their sins, and was buried with Christ in baptism, thus obeying the gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ? Isn't it exciting and encouraging to be a part of such a joyous occasion? But now consider why it is, that we don't have the same pleasure every day in our faithful and active walks before Christ our Lord? Shouldn't it be just as exciting and pleasing to God that we are living faithfully and doing His Will. Our first song this morning talks about the glorious privilege we have to live every day for God! So, won't you join in with the congregation at this time as we sing together, "How Sweet, How Heavenly!"



Isn't it hard to find that which you can truly trust in today? How often do others make commitments and say they will do certain things, yet they don't live up to their words? The good news is, that although most in this life can't be completely counted on there is someone you can always trust, who will always come through. You certainly know who I am talking about this morning - our God.

So, why is it that we can be so sure of God and can count on Him in this way. Well, the Bible tells us clearly that our God is a God of truth! God is perfect, He can not lie, and He does not make mistakes. In Titus 1:2, Paul told this young evangelist that he had, "hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began." The inspired Paul knew that He served a God who can not lie and who would do exactly what He said, and fulfill exactly what He had promised.

Furthermore, we can count on God because the scriptures tell us He is all powerful! In Luke 1:37, we read, "For with God nothing will be impossible." God can be counted on because He always tells the truth and He is able to fulfill whatever He has committed to.

Finally, consider the proofs that we have about God from His Word the Bible. Consider all the people and events, over thousands of years that show us who God truly is and how He dealt with His followers. Notice the many events and stories that help us to see that God is a being of His Word. What about all of the prophecies mentioned in His Word, all which came true and were fulfilled according to the promises given. Furthermore, consider the scriptures unity and singleness of purpose, confirming God's Love for us and His hope for mankind. Yes, we truly serve a loving and caring God, who has done, is doing, and will always do that which He has confirmed through His book - The Bible! Are you serving such a wonderful and magnificent creator? If not, do what He has asked, obey His will and become a true follower by doing those things He has said, which are according to His precious message!

In just a few minutes it will be time to begin our main study of the day. This morning, we will be concluding our study together on, "The Seven Ones Of Unity." Our specific lesson of the morning is entitled, "The One Baptism." So please stay with us and after our next song, I will be leading us in this important study from God's Word. Now let's join together in our next song of the day. The name of this hymn, "Let The Beauty of Jesus be Seen in Me."

(SONG # 2)


Speaker: Ray Sullins

Thank you for staying with us. It's hard to believe that we've had several months of studying "The Seven Ones of Unity." We've had a great study together from the book of Ephesians chapter 4 and I hope together that we've been benefiting a lot and understanding really what it's all about to walk worthy of our calling.

I do find it interesting in this text here as we've been considering together that as Paul really being a prisoner, he says, of Christ, one who not only in the flesh, but spiritually was bound to His Lord, purchased with the blood of Jesus Christ, owned by God. He says, "as a prisoner of the Lord." He says, "He beseeches or implores us to walk worthy." And then the next thing that he mentions is that "as we walk worthy, we must be one, unified." He says, "That's what we must endeavor to be, in all things striving to be one as God intends."

And then he goes on in the verses 4 through 6 to tell us those areas that certainly we must be in agreement on, those areas that we must be one in as he talks about all of the different parts of the Godhead. He mentions here, the Son, the Spirit, the Father. He mentions here in verse 4, that is, the concepts of not only the Spirit, but the hope and he mentions the body, the one body. And as well as we saw last week the one faith. Then today, we'll end by looking at here specifically again the one baptism.

All of these things again showing us how that we strive to walk as God wants us to walk and how we are unified as one in these areas that are made up of one thing. In other words, not that they are different ways to understand what the Lord is, not that there are different ways or that there are different gods, or different spirits, not that there are different bodies. He says, "There is one body." He says, "There is one faith." He says, "There is one hope." One, one, one, over and over and over again, he stresses here the fact that walking worthy is all about being alike, having singleness of mind, one mind, not being divided or different or agreeing to disagree, but again being one and the same here would be true in relationship to the one baptism. There is no doubt what is being discussed here as we talk about the one baptism. Baptism is certainly something that is stressed throughout the New Testament as something being essential in the walk in the child of God. In fact, if you'll notice here as we talk about the book of Ephesians and other places there were certain things required to become a child of God. Again, very, very clearly we find again that baptism was generally mentioned as one of those things.

I might just remind you and even in a sense ask you the question at the same time, "Aren't you one who believes in repentance?" Certainly most of us would say so and would agree that that's a requirement of God, that all must know that they have sinned and they have done wrong and they must turn from sin, repent to be Christ-like.

What about confession? How important is it that we confess? Well certainly again we all would say that we all believe in confession. "You have to confess with the mouth," it says in Romans 10:9-10 in order to be saved. Confession certainly leads to salvation. It's a part of that which is required to be saved. What if I were to ask you all of these things and then to ask you if they are essential in showing God our love and our ability to obey Him to be His children and certainly we would all agree. But then when we come to the concept of baptism, we would soon forget how essential it is. In fact, so many in the world today, the religious world that is, especially in the denominational world seem to consider baptism as of no effect or something that is insignificant or unimportant or something really that is just an afterthought or something to be added to the role book. But that's not at all what the scripture here says. In fact, as we just looked at the concepts of confession and repentance, let me ask you which one of those are mentioned there in Ephesians 4 as those things that we walk worthy according to and that we are unified in. Which one is mentioned? Baptism. Of all of those things that we must be one and unified in, he doesn't mention confession although we know it's required by other scripture. He doesn't mention repentance although we again know it's required. Jesus says, "Repent or perish." But here he does say, "There is one baptism." A unity of one baptism that we are involved in.

What is that baptism? What is that baptism that the scripture here seems to be indicating that we must be unified on? Well it might be best to understand first of all what he was talking about in the concept of baptism. Coming from the Greek word "baptizo" an idea here of being immersed, to be put under. Really in other text here and scripture, it tells us about a burial. No doubt all of us are very familiar with death and have known those who have died and those who have been put in the ground and have been placed there in the cemetery. Well similarly here, the Bible here talks about baptism being a burial, as one died and as is put in the ground, and then raises from the dead. In fact, that 's the very concept that Paul was talking about in the Roman letter. In fact, in Romans chapter 6 you might recall there that as he was talking about baptism specifically, he says, "Do we not know," in verse 3 in Romans 6, "that as many as were baptized," there again the one baptism, "were baptized into His death." There the concept of Christ dying, being buried, and rising from the grave, the same concept here he says is from us that as we die to sin, we are buried in baptism and we rise again from that watery grave to be new creatures.

As he goes on in verse 4 he says that "we are baptized in the likeness of his death so that we might as it says there be new, have a newness of life."

Then he goes on in verse 5 to say, "We are united in the likeness of His death and therefore we are united in baptism in the likeness of His resurrection." As He died in the grave, we die in baptism and as He rose from the grave, we rise out of the grave of baptism.

Not that the water is special or somehow it's a holy or a significant water, but the idea of obedience to what God has asked us to do. The symbolism of dying to the old and becoming the new is what he goes on to talk about here in verse 6, again Romans chapter 6, that we crucify the old man, that we die to the body of sin, that we will no longer serve sin, but that we'll be new creatures, new creatures in Jesus Christ. NO doubt baptism here is being discussed as an important thing that really is in a like figure as Christ died and was buried and rose again. Therefore, when we do it, it not only reminds us of that significant act that Christ made, but the fact that we die to the old and we become new in Christ Jesus.

Baptism also being the concept of a putting under, a submersion into water as we find in scripture over and over and over again. There, as John talks about there the discussion between Jesus and Nicodemus. Nicodemus was told by Christ that he must be born again. How? Of the water and the spirit. Baptism again.

In fact, if you'll notice back in all of the occasions even before Christ when John the Baptist was there preaching about the coming savior who would soon begin His ministry, he was preaching repentance and what? Baptism. Even in those cases, it says there in John 3 and verse 23 that John went to an area and a place where he knew there was much water. Why? Not because he was thirsty, because the text goes on to tell us that he was baptizing people according to their response to faith in God. Again, the one baptism.

Jesus Himself saw significance in baptism because it was John that He approached and demanded that John baptize Him. Jesus didn't slough it off. John didn't. People didn't seem in the New Testament to see that it was insignificant and therefore there is no doubt our question as to why on the day of Pentecost in Acts chapter 2 and verse 38 when they were pricked in their hearts and they cried out, "What must we do? We've killed the son of God. We are guilty. Sin, blood is on our hands. What must we do?" The words resounded from the men, Peter and the others, "Repent and," in conjunction, tying the two together, "be baptized." Why Peter? "For the remission of sins." For the remission of sins! Repentance leads to remission of sins. Baptism leads to remission of sins. All of these are essential facts as well as confession and is showing God that we have adhered to the things that He has asked us to do to be added to His church, further down in that text, Acts 2 and verse 47.

But not only this, but we know further as we look at baptism that baptism is something that is talked about over and over and over again not just by Jesus, but by others. In fact, you might remember a very familiar text in the book of Mark, in Mark chapter 16 and verse 16 where the Great Commission is given where he says there to, "Go into all the world," in verse 15, "to preach the gospel." What is the response to that preaching? He says there in verse 16, "So that he who believes and is baptized..." There's that conjunction again tying the two together. "He who believes and is baptized..." Notice what it says after that. "...Will be saved." Now what if you leave out baptism? He who believes will be saved. Well you see, that would make good sense. Well, what if you left out belief? He who is baptized will... Well the conjunction ties the two together and says that A + B = C. "He who believes and is baptized shall be saved." Why? Because we again are doing that which God has shown us in the likeness of Christ's death to be buried and put in the water and to rise to be new creatures in Christ Jesus, clothing ourselves in a special, a new way claiming clearly that we are born again of the water and of the Holy Spirit and now in the likeness of spiritually Jesus Christ Himself striving as it says there in the next chapter after our text, Ephesians chapter 5, to be imitators of God as His dear children.

How can we imitate our parent until we're a child of that parent? Well we have to become a child of God before we can be true and proper imitators. I think that's exactly what Paul was referring to. I want you to turn with me to the book of Galatians. I again hope you're looking to the scriptures because this isn't what I'm trying to show you from my own thoughts. This is what I want you to see through scripture, the essential aspect of baptism and salvation. Notice with me if you will verse 26. It talks about "the sons of God and how that they are sons of God and then he says, "Here's why. They've become obedient." Verse 27 says, "For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put Him on." Now let me ask you a question. Whether you've been baptized or not, do you want to put on Christ? Paul here says that they've put on Christ. How? Not by repentance. Not by confession. All of those I believe, as you do, are certainly essential. But here he says that part of putting on Christ was through baptism. Why? Because of the act that showed the death of the old, the in with the new and the imitation of the great, great sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Therefore, they were all one in Jesus Christ. Why? Because they had put Christ on through baptism as God had asked them to.

Peter talks a lot about the concept of baptism, but one very important verse is found in 1 Peter. 1 Peter and chapter 3 specifically is talking there about Noah somewhat in verse 20. Notice what he mentions in verse 21 about baptism, talking about how that Noah had been saved in the flood, in the ark from the grave of the water that would have killed Noah if he was not in the ark. Verse 21 says, "There is a like figure or an anti-type which now saves us." Well, Peter, what is it? He says, "Baptism." He says it is not about putting away the filth of the flesh or about the maybe getting cleaner physically. It's about a spiritual, faithful obedience to what God has asked, that we in a spiritual sense are baptized literally in water to symbolically show we have put away the old and we are following Jesus Christ our Lord. "The thing that saves us," as it says here, "the like figure as Noah was saved from water by the ark that saves us, baptism." Again, part of salvation. Not that it's more important than anything else. Not that it's more important than confession or repentance, but at least it is in there and it is equal in showing that it's a part of the steps that lead us to salvation, the step that leads us certainly to following our God.

Some people also seem to as well be confused about the fact that baptism seems to be something that is involved in not only salvation and obedience, but forgiveness of sins. I want you to notice with me as we've already talked about the watery grave symbolizing and washing away our sins. In Revelation chapter 1 and verse 5, John said this. He says, "And from Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, the ruler of the kings and the earth, to Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His blood." How do we symbolically be washed in our flesh as our sins are going away so that we through His blood might be clean? The symbolic act of baptism.

Now how do we further notice that? I think there is a clear evidence that is given to us back in the book of Acts. Of course, Acts is a book that clarifies for us the day the church began, the early churches as well as the fact that in that day there were certain things they were doing to be added to the church, but in Acts 22, there was a great plea that came out from Saul of Tarsus as he was here talking to this man, Ananias, and saying, "What do I need to do?" Notice what was said to him in Acts 22 after he said I believe in chapter 22 verse 16 says the following. "And now Saul, why are you waiting?" He says, "Arise, and be baptized." Of all the things he could have said. He didn't say, "Repent." He didn't say, "Confess." I believe that Paul did those things, but here he says, "Arise and be baptized," but notice what he adds at the end of that. No mention of repentance. No mention of anything else. He says, "Arise and be baptized and wash away your sins." You see the act of arising and doing the action and being baptized was tied somehow to forgiveness of sins just as was set on Acts 2:38, the day of Pentecost, the day the church began. They were told there that this was the case.

I want to challenge you to do something in the book of Acts. I want you to look at every example of conversion and as you well know all of these things we've talked about are important: repentance, confession, baptism. But I challenge you to look at every case and see which one is included in every case of conversion between confession, repentance and baptism. Guess what. Baptism is mentioned every time and in every conversion in the book of Acts, whereas sometimes repentance and confession are left out. The point being brethren, that we must believe and obey and follow the one baptism. Certainly we are required to confess the name of Jesus. Certainly we are required to repent and turn from sin and certainly it is baptism that in the fullness brings all of this together and shows through an obedient act that we are dying to the old, that we are becoming new, that we are now living in Christ Jesus and that we're being added by our Lord through our faith and obedience through His church and His one body.

(SONG # 3 - "Low In The Grave!")


Let me thank you again for choosing to be with us today, in this offering to God. I hope our time together has been an encouragement and blessing to all of us. We invite you back every Sunday morning at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to this service of God!

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May we each acknowledge our faith in God's Word, through our obedience in Baptism - showing to God that if He desires for us to have the one baptism, then we are willing to obey!

(Program closing)