Saturday, March 26, 2011

A note about baptism

In Acts 22, Paul describes his conversion to Christ.

In verses 6-11, he says, "Now it happened, as I journeyed and came near Damascus at about noon, suddenly a great light from heaven shone around me. And I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?’ So I answered, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ And He said to me, ‘I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are persecuting.’ And those who were with me indeed saw the light and were afraid, but they did not hear the voice of Him who spoke to me. So I said, ‘What shall I do, Lord?’ And the Lord said to me, ‘Arise and go into Damascus, and there you will be told all things which are appointed for you to do.’ And since I could not see for the glory of that light, being led by the hand of those who were with me, I came into Damascus."

Is there any doubt that Paul believed in Jesus from the point that Jesus spoke directly to him? is there any doubt that he was repentant? His encounter with Jesus had turned his world upside down. If anyone could have had his sins taken away just by believing in Jesus and praying, it would have been Paul.

In verses 12 and following, Paul hears from Ananias, the teacher sent to him by God, what God's purpose in saving him was. “Then a certain Ananias, a devout man according to the law, having a good testimony with all the Jews who dwelt there, came to me; and he stood and said to me, ‘Brother Saul, receive your sight.’ And at that same hour I looked up at him. Then he said, ‘The God of our fathers has chosen you that you should know His will, and see the Just One, and hear the voice of His mouth. For you will be His witness to all men of what you have seen and heard."

Paul received a specific calling from the Lord. Yet, even at that, Paul was still lacking something crucial.

Therefore, as noted in verse 16, Ananias said to Paul, "
And now, what are you waiting for? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.’"

It was only in baptism that Paul's sins were washed away. Here, the Bible links baptism with calling on the name of the Lord.

Of course, baptism (from a Greek word for immersion) would mean nothing without the grace of God through the blood shed by Jesus for the forgiveness of sins. It would mean nothing without Jesus' resurrection, which makes it possible for us also to have a new life. And, it would not save without faith and repentance. We also need to follow this by being taught to obey Jesus' commands. Matthew 28:18-20. However, the Bible connects baptism with the point at which our sins are cleansed and we receive grace and the Spirit of God.

It is the point at which we are buried with Christ and raised to a new life in him. Romans 6:1-10 says,
1 What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2 By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? 3 Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.

5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6 For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with,a]">[a] that we should no longer be slaves to sin— 7 because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.

8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9 For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. 10 The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God."

It is also the point at which God circumcises our hearts. Colossians 2: In him you were also circumcised with a circumcision not performed by human hands. Your whole self ruled by the flesh was put off when you were circumcised byc]">] Christ, having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through your faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead.

What a marvelous work God does in us when we are baptized!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Loving the Word of God

Matthew 15:1-9 Then some Pharisees and teachers of the law came to Jesus from Jerusalem and asked, "Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? They don't wash their hands before they eat!" Jesus replied, "And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition? For God said, 'Honor your father and mother' and 'Anyone who curses his father or mother must be put to death.' But you say that if a man says to his father or mother, 'Whatever help you might otherwise have received from me is a gift devoted to God,' he is not to 'honor his father' with it. Thus you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition. You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you: " 'These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.'

John 8:31-32 To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, "If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."

Acts 17: 10-12 As soon as it was night, the brothers sent Paul and Silas away to Berea. On arriving there, they went to the Jewish synagogue. Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. Many of the Jews believed, as did also a number of prominent Greek women and many Greek men.

Proverbs 30: 5 Every word of God is tried and purified; He is a shield to those who trust and take refuge in Him.

Matthew 24:35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away.

Psalm 119:105 Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.

James 1:21 Therefore, putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls.

James 1:22a But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only,

2 Timothy 3:16 Every Scripture is God-breathed and profitable for instruction, for reproof and conviction of sin, for correction of error and discipline in obedience, for training in righteousness 2 Timothy 3: 16

Isaiah 66:2 Has not my hand made all these things,and so they came into being?"
declares the LORD. "This is the one I esteem: he who is humble and contrite in spirit, and trembles at my word.

John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word and the Word as with God, and the Word was God. (Note: this verse is about Jesus)

Following Jesus Part II -- God transforms us

2 Corinthians 3:18 And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect">[the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

I John 3:2-3 Beloved, we are God's children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.

Ephesians 5:1-2 Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

Ephesians 2:8-10 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God--not by works, so that no one can boast.For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Titus 2:10-14 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.

Ezekiel 11:19-20 I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh. Then they will follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. They will be my people, and I will be their God.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Foundations of Faith -- Following Jesus/Being a Disicple

Acts 22:19-26
19Now those who had been scattered by the persecution in connection with Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch, telling the message only to Jews. 20Some of them, however, men from Cyprus and Cyrene, went to Antioch and began to speak to Greeks also, telling them the good news about the Lord Jesus. 21The Lord's hand was with them, and a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord.
News of this reached the ears of the church at Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. When he arrived and saw the evidence of the grace of God, he was glad and encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts. He was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith, and a great number of people were brought to the Lord.
Then Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, and when he found him, he brought him to Antioch. So for a whole year Barnabas and Saul met with the church and taught great numbers of people. The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch.

Matthew 28:18-18Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."

I John 2:5-7 But if anyone obeys his word, God's love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.

Matthew 19:24-25 Then Jesus said to his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Some Foundations of Faith --

I Peter 3:15 -- But in your hearts, set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to anyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.

Ephesians 5:1-2 Be imitators of God,therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

Revelation 4:11 You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things and by your will they were created and have their being.

The Good News -- Matthew 4:23, Matthew 9:35; Matthew 11:5; Mark 8:35; Luke 4:17-19; I Corinthians 15:1-3

Faith and Grace -- Psalm 103:1-18; Luke 15:11-31; Ephesians 2:1-10; Titus 2:11-14; Titus 3:3-8; Romans 3:23-24

The Word of God -- 2 Timothy 3;16-17; Hebrews 4:12-13, John 8:31-32; I Timothy 4:16; 2 Timothy 4:2-3; Acts 17:10-12; Psalm 1, Psalm 19:7-11; Isaiah 66:1-3

Knowing Jesus -- Hebrews 1:1-3; Colossians 2:9; I John 2:3-6; John 14:6; Acts 4:10-12; John 17:3; Mark Chapter One

Our Need for a Savior; Sin -- Romans 3:21-24; Mark 7:14-3; Galatians 5:19-21; 2 Timothy 3:1-5; Colossians 3:5-11; Revelation 21:8; James 4:17; Romans 6:15-18; John 8:34-36; Romans 6:23

The Cross of Christ -- I Peter 2:21-5; I Corinthians 1:18; Matthew 26:28; Hebrews 9:14; I Peter 1:18-19; Revelation 1:5; Luke Chapters 22-23; Ephesians 2:1-10

The Resurrection of Christ -- Luke Chapter 24; Romans 4:25; I Peter 1:3; Acts 3:15; Acts 4:33; Acts 17:2-3; Romans 1:4

Following Jesus; the call to be Jesus' disciple; Jesus is both Savior and Lord -- Luke 6:46-49; Acts 11:5-26; Mark 1:16-20; Luke 9:23-27; Luke 9:23-27; Luke 14:25-35; John 13:34-35; Matthew 28:18-20; I Corinthians 15:20; I John 2:6; Matthew Chapters 5-7; Matthew 6:33; Matthew 22:37-38; Matthew 25:31-46;

Salvation and the Call to Repentance and Baptism: -- Acts Chapters One and Two; Acts 2:36-38; Luke 13: 1-5, 6-9; 2 Corinthians 7:8-11; Ephesians 4:20-24; Acts 2:38-40; Acts 8:34-39; Acts 16:29-34; Acts 22:12-16; Romans 6:1-4; Galatians 3:26-29; Ephesians 1:3-10; Acts 22:16; I Peter 3:21; Colossians 2:11-12

The Church -- John 17:20-21; Colossians 1:15-18; I Corinthians 12:12-27; Hebrews 3:12-14;
Romans 12:1-2; Corinthians 8:7; Ephesians 2:19-22; Hebrews 2:10-11; Acts 2:40-47; Ephesians 2:20; Hebrews 10-23-25; I Corinthians 11:23-29; Acts 4:31; Romans Chapter 12