Archive for April, 2007


Monday, April 23rd, 2007

I Peter 3:20-21  to disobeying ones, when once the long-suffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared (in which a few, that is, eight souls were saved through water); which figure now also saves us, baptism; not a putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God, by the resurrection of Jesus Christ;

In this passage Peter compares the saving of Noah and his family by water during the flood to our being saved by being baptized in water.
According to Acts 2:38, we are to be baptized “for the remission of sins.” To have our sins remitted is to be released from the guilt or penalty of sin. Remission of our sins is possible because Jesus paid the penalty by His death on the cross.

Matthew 3:13-16  Then Jesus came from Galilee to Jordan, to John, to be baptized by him. But John restrained Him, saying, I have need to be baptized by You, and do You come to me? And answering Jesus said to him, Allow it now, for it is becoming to us to fulfill all righteousness. Then he allowed Him. And Jesus, when He had been baptized, went up immediately out of the water. And lo, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting upon Him.

Some say, “I don’t need to be baptized.” But here we see the Jesus Christ Himself was baptized to fulfill all righteousness. Who are we to say that we do not need to be baptized if He, who was perfect, was baptized?

Acts 22:16  And now what do you intend? Arise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.

This verse records the instruction of Ananias to Saul of Tarsus. Saul became the apostle Paul, the man who wrote much of the New Testament.
Here we also find the baptism washes away our sins.

Acts 4:10-12  be it known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, in this name does this man stand before you whole. This is the Stone which you builders have counted worthless, and He has become the Head of the Corner. And there is salvation in no other One; for there is no other name under Heaven given among men by which we must be saved.

Remember that in Matthew 28:19 we saw that we were to be baptized in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost? What was that name? Verse 12 states that the only name by which we can be saved is the name of Jesus Christ.

Romans 6:3-5  Do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him by baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father; even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been joined together in the likeness of His death, we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection;

This passage shows the actual role baptism plays in our salvation. It allows us access into His death and therefore into His resurrection. Notice that we will be raised in the likeness of His resurrection only if we have first been planted in the likeness of His death.

Galatians 3:27  For as many as were baptized into Christ, you put on Christ.

Saying that we have “put on Christ” is another way of saying that we have taken on His name or have been joined to His family.
The verses of scripture above show that baptism in Jesus’ name is essential to our salvation.


Monday, April 23rd, 2007

Matthew 3:1-2  In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, and saying, Repent, for the kingdom of Heaven is at hand.

The first thing John preached concerning Jesus was repentance.

Luke 13:3  I tell you, No. But unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.

Jesus himself preached repentance and stressed it very strongly.

II Peter 3:9  The Lord is not slow concerning His promise, as some count slowness, but is long-suffering toward us, not purposing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

We find here, about 30 years after the death of our Lord, that repentance was still being preached. Peter shows us that to come to repentance is to avoid perishing; therefore, repentance is necessary to salvation.


Monday, April 23rd, 2007

John 7:38-39 He who believes on Me, as the Scripture has said, “Out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.” (But He spoke this about the Spirit, which they who believed on Him should receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.)

Jesus talks about believing and receiving the Holy Ghost. Here He adds that we must do it according to the scriptures. He makes it clear that the “rivers of living water” of which He speaks refer to the Spirit, which is the Holy Ghost.

Romans 10:8-17 But what does it say? “The Word is near you, even in your mouth and in your heart”; that is, the Word of Faith which we proclaim; Because if you confess the Lord Jesus, and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth one confesses unto salvation. For the Scripture says, “Everyone believing on Him shall not be put to shame.” For there is no difference both of Jew and of Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call on Him. For everyone, “whoever shall call on the name of the Lord will be saved.” How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without preaching? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace and bring glad tidings of good things!” But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our report?” Then faith is of hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.

Some people say this particular passage of Scripture is the only one that really counts in the whole Bible and that none of the other passages really mean anything. Let’s see what we can gather from a verse by verse examination.

Verse 8: Paul begins by quoting the Old Testament. He says that the word is in their mouths and hearts, which is the word of faith that the apostles preach.

Verses 9-10: The apostle Paul explains what part the heart and mouth play in salvation. A person believes with his heart and confesses with his mouth into (sometimes translated as “until”) salvation. He says that a person shall be saved when this is fulfilled, but he does not say a person is saved only by belief and confession.

Verses 11-13: He goes back to the Old Testament and quotes more scripture.

Verses 14-15: Paul says that a person cannot call on or believe in the Lord until he hears the Gospel preached by a man sent of God.

Verse 16: Paul ties “obeying the gospel” to “believing our report.” If we really believe, we will obey the gospel. When seen it its true light, this passage does not contradict the passages of scripture we read about obeying what the apostles preached. Instead, it actually confirms them.

Verse 17: Finally, he sums it all up by saying, “faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Remember, Paul began in verse 8 by saying he was speaking of the word of faith that the apostles preach.

Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.

Paul said that the Gospel of Christ is “the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believes.” What do we believe? The gospel. If we want to be saved, we must believe the gospel.

Mark 1:15 and saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God draws near. Repent, and believe the gospel.

Again we see the importance of repentance and the necessity of believing. Believing what? The gospel. The above two verses go hand-in-hand with the one we read about believing on Jesus, according to the Scriptures (John 7:38).

Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

This shows us that we must have faith to please God.

James 2:17 Even so, if it does not have works, faith is dead, being by itself.

We must have works along with our faith for it to be effective. (Read the rest of James 2 to get a fuller understanding of this truth.)

II Thessalonians 1:7-10 and to give rest with us to you who are troubled, at the revealing of the Lord Jesus from Heaven with the angels of His power, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God and who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, when He shall come to be glorified in His saints and to be admired in all those who believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that Day.

Notice in verse 8 how Paul ties in knowing God with obeying the gospel, not just believing it.
In verse 10 we see that what the apostles preached is the same thing that has to be believed in the last days when Jesus comes to be glorified with all those who believe in the apostles’ testimony.

We see from the above verses of Scripture, the believing is indeed a necessary aspect of our salvation. The second aspect is repentance.

The Message on the Day of Pentecost

Monday, April 23rd, 2007

Acts 2:36-42 Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God made this same Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ. And hearing this, they were stabbed in the heart, and said to Peter and to the other apostles, Men, brothers, what shall we do? Then Peter said to them, Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ to remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all those afar off, as many as the Lord our God shall call. And with many other words he earnestly testified and exhorted, saying, Be saved from this perverse generation. Then those who gladly received his word were baptized. And the same day there were added about three thousand souls. And they were continuing steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine, and in fellowship and in the breaking of the loaves, and in prayers.

This is the very first message preached in the new church age to sinners in need of salvation. We see here that Peter included repentance, baptism (notice a name is mentioned), and the receiving of the Holy Ghost.
Although some say that the Holy Ghost was only for the apostles, that view is not biblical. Acts 2:39 states that the promise is for generations to follow.
How are sins remitted? By baptism in Jesus’ name. Notice that both a birth of the water (baptism) and the Spirit (Holy Ghost) are mentioned in this passage.
Now let’s look at each of these aspects individually. The fact that the Bible stresses one aspect in one passage does not negate the other passages. Each aspect is indispensable to our salvation.

The Great Commission

Monday, April 23rd, 2007

The final instruction Jesus gave his apostles is known as the great commission, which is recorded in three of the four Gospels. Upon examination, five different aspects to the great commission are found. The first four are steps to salvation. The fifth is the result of receiving the “power from on high.”

1. belief (mentioned once)
2. repentance (mentioned once)
3. baptism (mentioned three times, including Luke’s comments on “remission of sins,” which we will see later is referring to baptism)
4. the promise of the Father/power from on high
5. miracles and signs

Matthew 28:18-20 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, All authority is given to Me in Heaven and in earth. Therefore go and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things, whatever I commanded you. And, behold, I am with you all the days until the end of the world. Amen.

Jesus instructs His apostles to teach people to do the things He has commanded them. Notice that in verse 19, He says to baptize in the name (singular) of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. So we see that we must use a name when baptizing. Father is not a name, Son is not a name, and Holy Ghost is not a name. These are only titles or ways in which God is manifested. Then what is the name in which we are to be baptized? The name of Jesus!

Mark 16:15-20 And He said to them, Go into all the world, proclaim the gospel to all the creation. He who believes and is baptized will be saved, but he who does not believe will be condemned. And miraculous signs will follow to those believing these things: in My name they will cast out demons; they will speak new tongues; hey will take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not hurt them. They will lay hands on the sick, and they will be well. Then indeed, after speaking to them, the Lord was taken up into Heaven, and sat on the right hand of God. And going out, they proclaimed everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the Word by miraculous signs following. Amen.

Here we find belief, baptism, and miraculous signs mentioned. Notice that one of the signs is speaking with tongues, or speaking in a language other than one’s native tongue.
Although some people say the speaking with tongues is of the devil, such an erroneous belief is not found in the Bible. In fact, Jesus himself said that those who believe shall speak with new tongues. In I Corinthians 14:39, the apostle Paul said, “Forbid not to speak with tongues.”

Luke 24:44-53 And He said to them, These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and in the Prophets and in the Psalms about Me. And He opened their mind to understand the Scriptures. And He said to them, So it is written, and so it behoved Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins should be proclaimed in His name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And you are witnesses of these things. And behold, I send the promise of My father on you. But you sit in the city of Jerusalem until you are clothed with power from on high. And He led them out as far as Bethany. And lifting up His hands, He blessed them. And it happened as He blessed them, He withdrew from them and was carried up into Heaven. And worshiping Him, they returned to Jerusalem with great joy. And they were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God. Amen.

Jesus gave his apostles understanding, so we can be sure that when they said something they knew what they were talking about.
Repentance and remission of sins are also listed here in Luke’s recording of the great commission.
We shall see later in this lesson that the “promise of my Father” refers to the gift of the Holy Ghost.

Words of Jesus Concerning Salvation

Monday, April 23rd, 2007

Luke 19:10 For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.

Jesus Christ Himself told us that the purpose of His coming to this earth was the salvation of man. Each person on earth is responsible to make sure His sacrifice was not in vain in that persons life.

John 3:1-18 And there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. He came to Jesus by night and said to Him, Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God; for no man can do these miracles which you do unless God is with him. Jesus answered and said to him, Truly, truly, I say to you, Unless a man is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus said to Him, How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb and be born? Jesus answered, Truly, truly, I say to you, Unless a man is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, You must be born again. The Spirit breathes where He desires, and you hear His voice, but you do not know from where He comes, and where He goes; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit. Nicodemus answered and said to Him, How can these things be? Jesus answered and said to him, Are you the teacher of Israel and do not know these things? Truly, truly, I say to you, We speak what we know and testify what we have seen. And you do not receive our witness. If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how shall you believe if I tell you heavenly things? And no one has ascended up to Heaven except He who came down from Heaven, the Son of Man who is in Heaven. But even as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, so that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but so that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes on Him is not condemned, but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only-begotten Son of God.

This is one of Jesus’ first references to salvation. Let’s look at it in detail. For one thing, we see the we absolutely must be born again of the water and the Spirit to enter the kingdom of God.
In verses 15 and 16 we see that belief is also fundamental to our salvation. Please note that unless believing somehow incorporates being born again of the water and spirit, we have a direct contradiction in the Word of God, and the Bible does not contradict itself.

Beware of False Prophets

Monday, April 9th, 2007

Matthew 7:13-24 Go in through the narrow gate, for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and many there are who go in through it. Because narrow is the gate and constricted is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it. Beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. You shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thorns, or figs from thistles? Even so every good tree brings forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree brings forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruits, nor can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that does not bring forth good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you shall know them. Not everyone who says to Me, Lord! Lord! shall enter the kingdom of Heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in Heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, Lord! Lord! Did we not prophesy in Your name, and through Your name throw out demons, and through Your name do many wonderful works? And then I will say to them I never knew you! Depart from Me, those working lawlessness! Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on a rock.

When the Bible speaks of sheep, it generally refers to God’s people. “Come to you in sheep’s clothing” means that false prophets will come as ministers of God. In today’s terminology, they would be called preachers of the gospel.
How can these false prophets be detected? Jesus said we can know them by their fruits, or their actions. If they call on the name of the Lord but do not do His will, they are false prophets.
Many people will follow the teachings of these false prophets, sincerely believing that they have a place in heaven, but they will be terribly deceived. Jesus will call them “workers of iniquity” even though they thought they had done wonderful works in his name.
Whoever hears Jesus’ sayings and does them is a wise man who builds his house on a rock. Where do we find the sayings of Jesus? In the Word of God.

II Corinthians 11:13-15 For such ones are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. Did not even Satan marvelously transform himself into an angel of light? Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves as ministers of righteousness, whose end shall be according to their works.

The apostle Paul warns the church about false prophets. They pretend to be apostles of Christ, but Paul calls them “deceitful workers.”

II Timothy 3:13 But evil men and seducers will go forward to worse, deceiving and being deceived.

The apostle Paul warns that evil men and seducers will deceive and will be deceived. Even if they were deceived and sincerely believe what they were teaching, even if they did not realize their error, they would still be wrong. We should not hate them or wish them ill, but we certainly should not follow them.

II Timothy 3:1-7 Know this also, that in the last days grievous times will be at hand. For men will be self-lovers, money-lovers, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, unyielding, false accusers, without self-control, savage, despisers of good, traitors, reckless, puffed up, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness, but denying the power of it; even turn away from these. For of these are those who creep into houses and lead captive silly women loaded with sins, led away with different kinds of lusts, ever learning and never able to come to the full knowledge of the truth.

The days we are living in are perilous to our spiritual walk. Some people have a form of godliness (they belong to some kind of religion), but they will “deny the power” of God to work in man’s life today. They may get involved in theological discussions and possess an incredible amount of knowledge about the Bible, but they never come to the simple knowledge of salvation.

Matthew 15:14 Let them alone. They are blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.

Jesus compares some Pharisees to blind men. We can use the same comparison to the false prophets of our time. No matter how much the people following them believe in their teachings, they are all going to fall in the same ditch.

Galatians 1:6-12 I marvel that you so soon are being moved away from Him who called you into the grace of Christ, to another gospel, which is not another, but some are troubling you, and desiring to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from Heaven preach a gospel to you beside what we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we said before, and now I say again, If anyone preaches a gospel to you beside what you have received, let him be accursed. For now do I persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I yet pleased men, I would not be a servant of Christ. And, brothers, I make known to you the gospel which was preached by me, that it is not according to man. For I did not receive it from man, nor was I taught it except by a revelation of Jesus Christ.

Even in the apostles’ day, some people were trying to change (pervert) the gospel. Paul emphasized that if a man, or even an angel from heaven, preaches any other gospel than that which the apostles preached, he is accursed. False prophets will arise in our day, preach a message different from what the apostles preached, and bring upon themselves the curse of God.

Colossians 2:8-9 Beware lest anyone rob you through philosophy and vain deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the elements of the world, and not according to Christ. For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.

We must beware of philosophies and traditions of men. If we allow ourselves to believe something a man says instead of what the Word of God says, that we are “spoiled.” The word “spoil” here has the connotation of being defeated or robbed, as in “the spoils of war.” In a sense it means that we could have our salvation stolen from us because we believed men’s philosophies instead of the Bible.

Romans 3:4 Let it not be! But let God be true, and every man a liar; as it is written, “That You might be justified in Your sayings, and will overcome when You are judged.”

If a man says something that disagrees with the Bible, then the man is wrong and the Bible is right.