THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date -9-18-11
LESSON TITLE: “WHAT GOD HAS JOINED TOGETHER: BAPTISM AND SALVATION”
Jesus once said, “The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few; therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest,” Luke 10:2. Are you one of God’s laborers on this blessed Lord’s Day?
Good morning, and thanks for joining us for the study of God’s Living Word on this His special day! We are glad you have put God first today and that you have decided to give this time to Him. It will be our privilege this morning to sing songs of praise, to study His precious Word, and to approach the throne of God in prayer. So, at this time may we start our praise to God by talking with our Father in prayer? Bow with me please!
Let’s begin immediately with our songs of praise. Our first song of the morning tells us that we can have the confidence that God has prepared all things for us in His Kingdom. So won’t you do your part in worship to Him at this time and join in with the congregation as we sing together, “Farther Along!”
(SONG # 1)
Evangelism is certainly one of the most important parts of living the Christian life. No wonder we are described as “lights in this world,” or “cities on a hill.” The reality is God expects the faithful to illuminate His Son, that all may know Him and obey His blessed Will.
So what is generally the problem today with an evangelistic spirit? Well, we face the same problem today that they faced in New Testament times. As we read earlier this morning, Jesus identified the problem, “the laborers are few!” Furthermore, isn’t this the same problem which they also faced throughout the Old Testament times? Remember the question which God asked Isaiah, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?” The problem has never been the lack of a harvest to work in. It has not been that there is no work to be done. Nor has the problem been that we don’t know what to do. The issue in our day is the same as in our Lord’s Day, the work is there but the workers are not!
So we must consider this day, are we workers in the Kingdom of God and in the harvest of this world as we have been commanded to be? Certainly this is the requirement of the command which Jesus gave to His disciples in Mark 16:16. There we read, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.” You see our job as the children of God is to make sure that “every creature” has an opportunity to know and obey Jesus Christ. And the reality is, if you and I as God’s children don’t work to accomplish this task, who will?
So I challenge us all today to look unto the fields which are ready for harvesting and to realize that the work is ever before us. Then, after acknowledging the job that has to be done, let’s get out and do the work which our creator has asked of the faithful. Are you willing to be among the laborers for God in this world?
In just a few minutes it will be time to begin our main study of the day. As far as our lesson topic today, we will be continuing our series entitled, “What God Has Joined Together.” The specific lesson of the day will focus on, “Baptism and Salvation!” So, please stay with us this morning and in just a few minutes I will be leading us in this study from God’s Word. Now let’s join together in our second song of the day. The name of this hymn, “Footprints of Jesus.”
(SONG # 2)
By Ray Sullins
We’re glad you’ve continued with us today as we now return to God’s Word and look at another important topic in relationship to those things that God has joined together.
I want you to imagine just for a moment that we’re going to go to a Cardinal’s game together and we arrive and we don’t yet have tickets and so when we get there I say to you, “You need to go to the ticket booth and you need to buy some tickets for us.” And so the thing is you go to the ticket booth and you buy those tickets and we’re able to enter the game. But if you go to that ticket booth and you say I’m here at the ticket booth but I’m not going to buy any of those tickets.” Are we going to get into the game? Or if you say, “Well I want those tickets and I know they are at that ticket booth, but I’m really not going to go over there even though I know it’s there,” and I know and you know that I said you have to go to the ticket booth and buy the tickets if we are to get entrance into the game. If you don’t do one of those things, will you get into the game?
You know it’s amazing to me how that as we look to the religious world there are so many ideas that are taught in so many different ways and perhaps one of the most surprising to me are those things that are required to become a child of God unto salvation. Our last series together we looked at the Word of God and we focused together on the concept that the Word of God, the Gospel, is the power of God unto salvation. But you know there are things that are given to us in the New Testament that must be done if we are to be saved or if we are to enter into that relationship with God as a child unto salvation. Most will agree on that. But what many do not agree on is what’s required to be saved. And so you talk to one religion and they tell you one thing and you talk to another religion and they tell you another.
I know when I lived over in Africa it was amazing the different things you would hear that different religions would require in what they said for one to be saved. For instance, one I remember said that you had to dig a hole in the ground and you spit in the hole and that threw your sins in the spit into the hole, you covered the hole up and then you jumped over the hole. Well I don’t really remember that ever being mentioned in the Bible or any such things being mentioned in the Bible.
There are any other number of things that are mentioned. I have heard religions say that simply if you just believe, it doesn’t matter what else you do, but as long as you believe you can be saved.
And then I’ve heard people say, “Well as long as you’re ready to put away the world and repent, then you’re going to be saved.”
There are some truths in some of these aspects and there are some things that we have to do, but what does really the Bible say completely?
I have also found it significant that as we read the Bible certainly it is clear on the fact that one must believe in order to be saved. There is a requirement of faith, that belief in action, if one is to be saved.
We know if Mark 16 that it says, “He that believes and is baptized shall be (what?) saved.” The belief is there!
Over in John chapter 8 it is clear in that text that again the emphasis is on belief because if you do not believe, he says, “you will die in your sins.” It sounds like it’s required, doesn’t it?
And then you go to Romans chapter 10 and it says there that “with a heart,” verse 10, one (guess what) believes.”
You see belief is a requirement, but the fact we must consider and the question we must ask is: Is that the only thing? If someone believes, is that enough?
I like the way James put it. In fact in the book of James in chapter 2 he makes the statement around verse 18 that “even the devils believe.” What does that tell us? It tells us that there has to be something more than just an acknowledgment of God and even the fact that I believe there is a God. What distinguishes you as a true believer and a devil as one who is just an acknowledger of God? You are willing to do the Will of God. You are willing to obey God. So yes, belief is a requirement, but just like I said when you head to that ticket booth, you’ve got to do that and buy the tickets in order to get into the game.
Well if you look with me now over to that text we mentioned a moment ago in Mark 16. If you hear what was said once again, “He that believes and is baptized…” I’ve never been an English scholar and never want to be, but what I do know are some simple things such as construction of sentences and when I look at the construction of this sentence I find that there is a conjunction. The same way I said that “if you want to buy that ticket to get into the game you have got to go to the ticket booth and you have got to buy the tickets,” I know the “and” ties the two acts together in order to accomplish the end result. Guess what this verse says. “He that believes AND is baptized shall be saved.” Boy, it doesn’t get any simpler than that. And you know who said that? Jesus Christ! These are the words of our Savior Himself who said, “He that believes and is baptized shall be…” Does that mean you’ve got to believe? Certainly! Certainly you’ve got to believe! Does that mean you’ve got to be baptized? Certainly you have to be baptized!
But why is that true? Because God has tied salvation together with specific things. He has tied salvation together with belief. He has tied salvation together with repentance because we know Luke 13:3 if you don’t repent you will what? Perish! We know that on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:38) they were told to, “Repent and be baptized.” We know belief is required and most accept that. We know that repentance is required and most accept that. But why would I or anyone reject Jesus saying, “He that believes and (the conjunction) is baptized?” I think it’s a misunderstanding not only of the scriptures but it’s a will that sometimes the denominational world has determined that we’re just not going to do it. We’re just not going to follow that truth. We’re just not going to require that although it’s Jesus Himself who said so.
I want you to notice a few things with me about the concept of baptism even before we get into really what you and I as New Testament Christians are required to do. Think for a moment about Jesus in Matthew chapter 3. What do you think Jesus did? It says that, “John baptized Jesus.” What was the significance? Well, He was preaching there the coming of the Kingdom and He was challenging people to be baptized that they might have remission of sins. We know Jesus was sinless, but there had to be more to it. What was Jesus doing? John actually said, “I will not baptize You. You need to baptize me because You are Christ in the flesh, the Son of God.” But Jesus said, “You have to fulfill and I have to fulfill our righteousness. I have to set that example.” So even Jesus was baptized.
I want you to turn over also with me to the book of John itself because I again find it very significant that not only in Matthew chapter 3 but also early in the book of John we are introduced to John and do you know what John was referred to as? “John the Baptist” or as the word is “John the Baptizer,” or even more specifically if you want to get down to the Greek concept, “John the Immerser.” Why was John called “the Baptizer” or “the Immerser?” He was called that because as we look into the text, he went about doing what? Baptizing people! Why? Preaching the coming of the Kingdom, preaching repentance and remittance of sins. He told them to be baptized. So don’t you find it interesting here as John is going about everywhere baptizing and that as Jesus began His ministry that also Jesus does the same? We know it’s a water baptism to begin with. We know it’s not a spiritual baptism that also was spoken of later in the text. It is a water baptism. How do we know that? Because even Jesus said to Nicodemus in John 3, he told him, “Unless you are born again you cannot be saved.” “What does that mean?” he said to Jesus.
Then in verse 5, He said, “Unless you are born of the water and the spirit…” Unless you are baptized in water and spirit! And you know what the next verse continues on to talk about after we move through that?
Verse 22 says, “And these things Jesus and His disciples came into the land of Judea and there He remained with them and (guess what) was baptized.” Jesus was doing what? Baptizing people! Immersing people. The same way John was.
Verse 23, he says, “Now John also was baptizing in the Arnon near Salem.” Why do you think he was using Arnon there? It goes on to tell us. “Because there was much water there and they came and they were baptized.”
Verse 22 and 23 says that not only was John baptizing in water and in a place where there was a lot of water and they were coming to be baptized in water as we have examples throughout scripture, but it says that Jesus and His disciples were doing the same.
It doesn’t stop there. It goes on down to the same text, verse 28 and actually challenges them to understand that Jesus Christ now was this Messiah. John is trying to tell his followers and others that this is the Messiah! This is the One that has come!
But you know what Jesus did even after John revealed who Jesus was? Look down to chapter 4 of the book of John. Verse 1 of chapter 4 says, “And therefore when the Lord knew that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized even more disciples than John.” What did Jesus do? Baptize! In what? In water! Where there was water! And why? Because of the symbolic act required by faith. Has God not always used water? Has God not always even back in early days when the Israelites crossed through the Red Sea on dry land and the walls of water… Or the leper who again was told to “dip in water?” This has always been a symbolic act that identifies to us a cleansing, not of the flesh but a cleansing spiritually of faith. Someone proving their belief.
It doesn’t stop there. But there is another verse I have always found so interesting there in 1 Peter chapter 3 verse 21. It’s speaking of the days of Noah when Noah himself was saved in an ark from the water. So water was involved in his salvation. But it also adds the fact that even now; guess what saves us- baptism. Not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but it even clarifies but “a clear conscience.” A clear conscience that desires to be obedient upon its belief.
And therein lies the reason why when we read, “He that believes and is baptized,” from Jesus, we understand what Romans 6 is talking about. Because in the book of Romans chapter 6, Paul here to the Roman church clarifies that you and I as we are baptized need to understand what it’s about. He says, “Do you not realize? Do you not understand that as Jesus was buried,” verse 4, “we are buried in baptism.” As He was buried in the grave, we are buried in the water. Do you not realize (verse 5) that as He rose from the grave, we rise from the watery grave? Why? A symbolic act to prove our faith and obedience and to show the world that I died to the old man (verses 5, 6, 7) and I now live to the new man. No wonder the dates of the church began in Acts chapter 2. He said, “Repent and be baptized.” Because they already have said, “We believe. What shall we do? We are guilty of the blood of the Son of God.” And he said, “What you lack is repentance. What you lack is baptism.”
Then we move throughout the book of Acts and we see example after example. The Eunuch in Acts chapter 8 said, “See here is water. What hinders me to be baptized?” Philip and the Eunuch went down into the water and it says that he baptized him. It sounds like water was involved, doesn’t it? Certainly the Spirit is involved. Certainly the Word of God is involved. Certainly all of these are gifts of God, but the water is our act to prove our faith in God.
What about Cornelius in chapter 10? He was baptized. His entire household was.
Chapter 16 talks about Lydia and others and on and on we could go! In every Biblical conversion in the book of Acts baptism by water is always the common theme and thread, not dismissing the importance of belief and repentance, but emphasizing baptism because the religious world that you live in and that I live in rejects it. They reject it and they say it is something to add me to the church and if I get around to it then I will be added to the church when I get baptized. No! That’s not at all what the Bible says. It says, “Those who are being saved (Acts 2:38), repenting and being baptized were added by God to the church…” When they did what? What God required! When they obeyed His Will! When they put on Christ!
I love the way Paul said it there in Galatians 3. He says, “As many of us as have been baptized into Christ have put Him on.” (Verses 26-27)
And I like what Paul said in Acts 22:16 as is recorded by Luke. He was told by Ananias, “Arise and be baptized and wash away your sins.” You see that act again? Dying to the old man. Dying to the old sin. Rising to be a new creation, a creature in Jesus Christ.
And how is that possible? Revelation chapter 1 verse 5, “We are washed in the blood of Jesus Christ.”
I challenge you today to look to the Word of God with an open heart and with an open mind, to look to the blood of Jesus and to find out what it was all about and to understand that there are things that God has done that we might be saved, but there are things that we must do in order to be saved. And as we know there are certain things required, why would we leave any out knowing that when God has joined or brought them together or used that conjunction or tied them together as out series is talking about, that we can’t pull them apart. You can’t pull baptism out of the equation anymore than you can pull belief or any other aspect like repentance. Will you submit to God? Will you give Him your best and will you do what is necessary not only to live now but to live eternally with your Father in Heaven?
(SONG # 3 - “Give Me The Bible!”)
May I again take this opportunity to thank you for joining us today? I hope our time together has been an uplifting and an encouragement to all. Please remember that you are invited back to join us every first day of the week, at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to this time of Worship before God!
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Have you been baptized unto salvation according to the commandment of God? If not, why not fully submit to His Will this day, that you might give your very best to God!