Category Archives: salvation

Journey Through Mark – 16

We come to the last leg of our journey.  When we ended our last walk together, we left Jesus in the grave. Let us join the events as they unfold in Mark 16:

  • Mark 16:1-8 – Up from the Grave He Arose.ipad 094
  • Mark 16:9-11 – Jesus Appears to Mary.
  • Mark 16:12-13 – Jesus Walks with Two Disciples.
  • Mark 16:14-18 – The Mission of Jesus’ Followers.
  • Mark 16:19-20 – Jesus Ascends to Heaven.

John will tell us, “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin” (1Jo 1:7; emph – BSMc).

The Old Covenant prophet, Micah records, “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Mic 6:8; emph – BSMc).

Our journey through Mark is about walking with Jesus. My prayer is that through our journey you grew in your understanding of who Jesus is and what He did for you.  I pray that you believe that He is the Christ. This is why Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John recorded the events of Jesus life. That is why I started this journey with you.

And as this trek ends, my prayer is that this is just the beginning of a regular regimen of walking with Jesus. Please, please, please, keep walking with Jesus.

If you are not a child of God, yet you now understand who Jesus is, will you obey the gospel, that good news of salvation offered through Jesus? Consider the description of this saving gospel according to the Apostle Paul, “Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures,” (1Co 15:1-4).

Notice that in Romans the same Paul says the gospel is God’s power to save all mankind (cf. Rom 1:16).

Jesus says in the final chapter of our journey, “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned” (Mar 16:16).

Ananias would ask Saul of Tarsus and I ask you the same question, “And now why do you wait? Rise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on his name?” (Act 22:16).

If you are willing to die to self, be buried with Jesus in immersion, and rise as His child to a new life, please find someone who will baptize you for the remission of your sins in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Then as God’s child He adds you to His family (cf. Act 2:47). Find a congregation of others who have similarly obeyed the gospel and fellowship and worship with them.

-Scott

P.S. If you need assistance finding someone to immerse you or a congregation of God’s people to associate with, leave a comment stating your desires and I will do my best to assist you.

 

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A Personal Post

God is great!

God does wonderful deeds!

God still works in the lives of men.

The Word of God is still powerful!

At 8:30 this morning, I had the privilege of assisting Bill Kosmus in his obedience to the Gospel.  Bill is retired and is facing health issues, but his heart is pure and now his soul is clean by the blood of Christ.

I saw something special when I asked if he believed that Jesus was the Son of God.  You could see his faith written on his face as he fought back tears.  Tears of joy that God would save Him, tears of sadness that Christ had to die.  Tears of joy that now he has eternal life, tears for answered prayer.

God is great!

- Scott

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Thirteen Questions and Answers

Thirteen Questions:

Someone designed these questions to trap members of the Lord’s Church to second guess their allegiance to the church as the Body of Christ.  The author of the questions challenges “Campbellite” preachers and elders to not talk around them but answer them directly.  These questions are online and I first saw them about 5 years ago.  I accepted the challenge a few years ago in sermon form and now submit them here in blog form.

1. According to the history of the “Church of Christ,” God used certain men to “restore” the New Testament Church in the early 1800’s. Where was the true New Testament church before then? Jesus said that the gates of hell would not prevail against His church (Matthew 16:18). What happened to the church and where was the truth it was responsible for preaching before God restored it?

Answer: The Church existed, simply not in a mainstream setting.  The Restoration Movement was and is a continuing effort to restore people and groups to the NT Church.

2. If a “Church of Christ” elder refuses to baptize me, will I be lost until I can find one who will? Do I need Jesus AND a Campbellite “preacher” in order to be saved? If I do, then Jesus Christ is not the only Mediator (1 Tim. 2:5) and the Holy Spirit is not the only Administrator (1 Cor. 12:13) of salvation – the “Church of Christ” preacher is necessary to salvation for he is performing a saving act on me when he baptizes me! Is this not blasphemy against Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost?

Answer: No one that I know of teaches that A “Church of Christ” preacher has to do the immersion.  The act is of God and involves God and the one being immersed.  The person doing the immersing is of little consequence.

3. If the water pipes broke and the baptistry was bone dry, would my salvation have to wait until the plumber showed up? If I were to die before then, would I go to hell? If obedience to water baptism is the means of forgiveness of sins, then I would.

Answer: A bathtub, pool, pond, stream, river, ocean, tank, and anything that can hold water is sufficient this question is “choking on a gnat.”

4. If my past sins are forgiven when I am baptized in water, and it is possible for me to “lose my salvation” and go to hell after being baptized, then wouldn’t my best chance of going to heaven be to drown in the baptistry?!! - before I had a chance to sin so as to be lost again? If I wanted to be absolutely sure of heaven, isn’t that my best opportunity?

Answer: Time and space does not permit a complete answer, but let just say that if one will “walk in the light” he can be certain of salvation — 1 Jn 5:13.

5. If as a Christian I can sin so as to “lose my salvation,” just what sin or sins will place me in such danger? Is it possible to know at what point one has committed such a sin, and become lost again? Please be specific and give clear Bible references.

Answer: Any sin I refuse to let go of (repent of).  Mistakes are forgiven, but to die in open rebellion is dangerous.

6. If as a Christian I can fall and “lose my salvation,” is it possible to regain it? If so, how?If God “takes away” my salvation, doesn’t that make Him an “Indian giver”? How could I ever know for sure that I was saved or lost?

Answer: Yes it is possible to “regain” salvation, simply return to God — a prayer of repentance is what Simon the sorcerer had Peter pray.  Paul told the Corinthians to welcome the one who had repented that they had rightfully shunned.  God continues to offer salvation and wants all to be in heaven with Him, but by allowing us freedom of choice, we can (and some do) choose to leave Him. He is not an Indian giver, we are wishy-washy.

7. After becoming a Christian, are there any sins that will put me beyond the “point of no return” so that I cannot regain salvation? What sin or sins will put me in such jeopardy, so that, after becoming a Christian, I would be doomed to hellwithout any recourse? Please be specific and give me clear Bible references.

Answer: Yes — any sin I openly rebel in.  In other words, if I flaunt my sin in God’s face saying in my actions, “I don’t care if God disapproves of my choice, I am going to do it anyway.”  This does not include such things as accidental (unintentional) stumbling on my part.

8. If I committed some sin -whether in thought, word, or deed, one minute before a fatal car crash – would I go to hell if I did not have time to repent of it? And, please, don’t just say that it’s up to God without giving me a specific Bible reference.

Answer: No.  As long as we are not given to sin (rebelious).  God imputes righteousness to us because of our active faith.  This question shows a misunderstanding of what the Bible truly teaches.

9. Why does the “Church of Christ” insist that their name is scriptural when it cannot be found anywhere in the Bible? The church is referred to as the “church of God” eight (8) times in the Bible, but never is it called the “church of Christ.” The verse they use is Romans 16:16, but it doesn’t say “church of Christ.” Where does the Bible call the church the “church of Christ”?

Answer:  Any name found in the Bible is a Biblical name including church of God.  Again this question rings of ignorance of what is taught.  Rom 16:16 says churches of Christ in the plural sense, so a single congregation is a church of Christ.  If one would prefer the word assembly or congregation is as accurate as “church” so names may vary from location to location.

10. If the “Church of Christ” claims to worship God only as “authorized” by scripture because they sing only (and do not use instrumental music), then where do they get the “authority” to use hymnals, pitchpipes, pews, and indoor baptistries in their worship services? If the answer is that they are “aids to worship,” where does the Bible allow for that? Where is your required authorization? If a pitchpipe can be an “aid to worship” for the song service in the “Church of Christ,” then why can’t a piano be an “aid to worship” for Baptists who may need more help in singing?

Answer: Again this question begs for an argument.  The same place we get Authorization for buildings — expediency.  An organ, piano, band, etc. are not aids to vocal singing or to furnish ability to accomplish another part of worship as baptistery and pews.  I hope we are wrong on the instrumental issue, but I would rather get to heaven and have God say, “You could have had a band!” rather than hear Him say, “I said SING!”  A pitchpipe only sounds a beginning note — if you use a piano to sound the opening chord and then it was silent — so the congregation could sing vocally — I would not object.  The Bible gives authorization to sing, to immerse, and to assemble for worship.  Hymnals let us sing, a pitchpipe sounds a beginning note for on to sing, a pew provides a place to sit (a chair or window seat would do) as we assemble, a baptistery provides a place for immersion, a piano (or orchestra) does not sing.

(Note:  I answer the next three LONG questions with one answer.)

11. The “Church of Christ” teaches that a sinner is forgiven of sin when he is baptized in water by a Campbellite elder. Where does the Bible teach that water baptism is required in order to have one’s sins forgiven? Every time the phrase “for the remission of sins” occurs it is speaking of the fact that sins have been forgiven previously! The Bible plainly teaches that the forgiveness of sins is conditioned upon repentance of sin and faith in Christ – never upon water baptism! (Matthew 3:11; Luke 24:47; Acts 3:19; Acts 5:31; Acts 10:43; Acts 20:21; Romans 1:16; Romans 4:5; et.al.) Where does the Bible teach that forgiveness of sin is linked with water baptism? When Christ made the statement in Matthew 26:28, “for the remission of sins,” it had to be because they had been forgiven all through the Old Testament! Christ shed His blood because God forgave repentant and believing sinners for thousands of years before the Son of God came to “take away” sins and to redeem us and pay the sin-debt with His own precious blood. How can one say that “for the remission of sins” means ‘in order to obtain’ in light of the fact that God never uses the phrase in that sense? In the Old Testament God forgave sin on the basis of a blood sacrifice (Heb. 9:22) – the Old Testament saints had their sins remitted (i.e., forgiven) but they were not redeemed until Christ came and shed His blood at Calvary. Their sins were covered (Romans 4:7; Psalm 32:1), but the sinner was not cleared of his guilt (Exodus 34:7) until the Cross (Heb.10:4). Before Calvary, the sins of believers were pardoned, but they were not paid for (i.e., redeemed) until the crucifixion (see Romans 3:25 and Heb. 9:12-15). When Jesus said, “It is finished,” (John 19:30), all sin – past, present and future – was paid for, and the plan of salvation was completed, so that ‘whosoever believeth in Him shall receive remission of sins’ (Acts 10:43). In Acts 2:38, the people were baptized because their sins were forgiven (at Calvary when Jesus said, “Father, forgive them,”) and they received the blessing of forgiveness when they repented of their sin of rejecting Christ and accepted Him as their Saviour and Lord. Friend, heaven or hell depends on what you believe about this.

12. If salvation is not by works of righteousness which we have done, and baptism is a work of “righteousness,” then how can water baptism be a part of salvation? (Titus 3:5; Matt. 3:16) In the Bible, we are SAVED BY GRACE, and grace does not involve human effort or merit – grace is grace and work is work! (Just read Ephesians 2:8,9 and Romans 11:6.)

13. The “Church of Christ” teaches that “obeying the Gospel” includes being baptized in water in order to be saved. If this is true, then how is it that the converts of Acts 10 were saved by faith before and without water baptism? The Bible says in Acts 5:32 thatonly those who obey God may receive the Holy Ghost – so what did those in Acts 10 do to obey and receive the Holy Ghost and be saved? In the light of Acts 10:34-48, Acts 11:14-18, and Acts 15:7-11, how can anyone honestly believe that water baptism is necessary to salvation? Simon Peter said their hearts were “purified by faith” (Acts 15:9) and that we are saved by the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ like they were (Acts 15:11); that is, before and without water baptism! We know that unsaved people do not receive or have the Holy Spirit (John 14:17; Romans 8:9). We know that the Holy Spirit is given only to those who have believed on Christ (John 7:39). We know that the Holy Spirit seals the believing sinner the moment he puts his faith and trust in Christ as Savior, before he is ever baptized in water (Ephesians 1:12,13). How does the warped theolgy of Campbellism explain away these clear passages of Scripture without “muddying the waters” of truth and drowning its members in eternal damnation?

Answer 11-13: This is a disagreement over a term.  First the Church of Christ does not teach.  We try to let the Bible speak and we look to the Bible for answers to questions as individual Christians and independent congregations of God’s people.  There is no written standard for the churches of Christ outside the Bible.  Compare Acts 3:19 above with Acts 2:38 and you will find they teach the same thing — forgiveness of sin, based on penitent converts.  Forgiveness is only through the blood of Christ (Eph 1:7).  All spiritual blessings are in Christ (1:3).  The gospel is the only means to salvation (Rom 1:16). The gospel that saved the Corinthians and Romans is the same that saves us (1 Cor 15:1-5 / Rom 6:17-18).  This Gospel is the Death, Burial, and Resurrection of Christ.  Paul teaches that the Christians in Rome had obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine — the earlier verses show how they obeyed the DBR — (Rom 6:3-6).  Paul says we are children of God by FAITH in Christ Jesus, and that we are in Christ when we put on Christ — we put on Christ when we get in Christ and by FAITH that is when we are baptized INTO Christ (Gal 3:26-27).  As a BAPTIST preacher recently told me, “any claim of faith that does not submit to immersion is not faith.”  That is my point exactly!  Salvation is not by man’s works.  God works and His work saves man, all that God asks of us is that we come to Him on Terms — that is not a work.  In Scripture baptism is never called a work (faith is – 1 Thes 1:3 and repentance is said to work – 2 Cor 7:10) There is a difference between working to EARN salvation and obeying what God commands.  A child does not earn a parent’s love by doing what the parent says; we do not earn salvation by doing what God commands.  We obtain it the way He says to obtain salvation.  Cornelius and his house received the Spirit, but that does not in that passage or in any references to that event equate salvation.  That reception of miraculous manifestation was to confirm to those with Peter and those to whom Peter would report, that God accepted the Gentiles and wanted them to be included.  If faith and prayer is all that is needed, why was Peter sent by God?  God heard Cornelius and knew he was a believer.  Why send Peter if a prayer of faith saved?

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Saved to What?!

A video blog this morning.  I did not feel like keyboarding.

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Lost and Alone

Have you ever been lost? Have you discovered that you have no idea where you are and how you came to be there? This summer we met a part of my family in Orlando for a four day trip to Disney World Theme Parks (all of them). While there my brother and parents found joy in telling my nieces and son about a time I became lost at Disney. I was about 11 years old at the time. My dad let me make what was supposed to be a quick trip to the restroom while he waited on the rest of the family to meet us. I made it to my destination, took care of business, stopped on the way out for a drink of water, and took a wrong turn and ended up on what felt like the other side of the park – LOST!

Have you ever been alone? I mean completely alone. I am the only one at the church building right now, but I am not alone, because my Amy and Andrew will be home from school this afternoon, and we will go to a Junior High Football game where we will be with friends. I am talking about the loneliness a widower feels when his wife of over fifty years passes away. He spends his time at home, alone. Family and friends drop in, but they leave too soon. The characters in the Beatles’s song, Eleanor Rigby is playing on iTunes as I write – there is a song of loneliness.

Jesus may best understand and can best empathize with your loneliness. He took his followers to the garden where he went a little deeper in to pray. His prayer shouts loneliness. A few hours later Jesus hangs on the cross and pleads, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken me?” – ALONE!

Why? Why did He suffer all alone? For you. For me. He suffered ALONE for the LOST. “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save that which is lost.” Lk 19:10.

Thank God I do not have to be alone, because God is always with me. And thank God I do not have to remain lost!

- Scott

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It was worth what?!

From the files labeled, OOPS!

Mr. Whetstine bought a “stone” from and amateur rock-hound at an Arizona mineral show for &10.00. The rock turned out to be a sapphire, and not just any sapphire, but the “World’s Largest” sapphire. An appraisal in 1986 valued the stone to be worth as much as $2.28 million (Snopes.com reports that some appraised the stone in the thousands and not millions). The LA Times article about this find is here: http://articles.latimes.com/1986-11-12/news/mn-29195_1_mineral-show

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Before we begin disparaging the intelligence of the rock-hound we Ned to consider the opportunities and treasures we let slip though our hands.

1. A Good Spouse – Prov 31:10-31
2. Good Friends – Prov 17:17
3. Family (children) – Psa 127:3
4. God’s Word – Psa 19:7-11 (esp. 19:10)
5. The destination of your spirit – Mk 8:36-37

And for the record one more:
Matt. 13:44-45 “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it.”

What other treasures do we overlook as we rush though our daily lives?

-Scott

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Motivation for Enthusiasm

Tuesday morning I posted a list of symptoms of apathy and mentioned that a post on motivation was soon to follow. Below are scriptures with limited comment that build up my zeal whenever I focus on them.

For the wages of sin is death, (Rom 6:23). There is more to this verse, but this small quote reminds me of my destiny as a sinner.

For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person–though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die– but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. (Rom 5:6-11) This long quote and the “b” part of Rom 6:23 (but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord) demonstrates God’s unlimited and incomprehensible love.

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. (1 Cor 6:9-11). After reading the list of these sins, notice verse 11 — such WERE some of you. That is who you and I were, but because of the love of God in Christ, I am no longer such.

For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; (2 Cor 5:14) Just grasping the basics of the love that Christ has for us and what he did for us because of that love drives me to attempt to return that love.

For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Cor 5:21). This verse is the GOOD NEWS in a sound bite. God did for us in Christ, what we could not do for ourselves — provide for our salvation.

But thanks be to God, which gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1Co 15:57). A theme for those who are redeemed — shout it from the mountain tops — THANKS BE TO GOD FOR THE VICTORY HE GAVE US IN CHRIST!!!!!!

In Christ,
Scott

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