The Doctrine of Baptism
The year is 1638. A man named John Clarke organizes one of the very first Baptist churches in early America. One of his church members has fallen sick and John Clark, along with a visiting preacher named John Crandall, and a church member by the name of Obediah Holmes visit the sick family.
While they hold a prayer service for the sick, officers of the colony arrest them. They are hauled off into a state-sanctioned church building, while services are being held.
Later, they are imprisoned and tried for “not taking off their hats in a religious service”.
Governor John Endicott, the first governor of the colony was present during the trial. It is recorded that during the proceedings the governor yellowed in a rage to John Clarke: “You have denied infants baptism. You deserve death!”
The three were found guilty and Clarke and his friends had the option of paying a steep fine or receiving lashes. Friends came to the rescue and offered to pay their fine. But John Clark refused and asked for the lashes instead, standing firm on the belief that he had done no wrong.
John Clarke was whipped until the blood ran down his body and his shoes overflowed with his own blood.
His body was so badly gashed that he couldn’t lie down for two weeks, but had to sleep on his hands, elbows or knees so that his marred body would not touch his bed.
This was not in England. This was not the Dark Ages. This was the Massachusetts Bay Colony in early America. And all this over infant baptism.
In another nearby colony where Presbyterianism was the established civil religion, another Baptist church was started by settlers in the colony. While the Baptists were by far the majority of settlers (there were only 5 non-Baptist families in the entire settlement), the civil government decided to build a Presbyterian church and fund its building by taxing the Baptist settlement.
The Baptists made this plea to their government:
“We have just started our settlement. Our little cabins have just been built, and little gardens and patches just been opened. Our fields are not cleared. We have just been taxed to the limit to build a fort for protection against the Indians. We cannot possibly pay another tax now.”
Yet the tax was levied. And since they could not possibly pay it at that time, an auction was called! Their cabins and gardens and properties were all sold. Of course, they received only 10 cents to the dollar and the settlement was destroyed.
The Bible commands us to faithfully observe only two sacraments until the time of Jesus’ return: the communion of the Lord’s supper and the water baptism of believers.
This week I’d like to cover the doctrine of baptism. You’d think that something as simple as water baptism would not require that much examination, but there are so many false teachings surrounding water baptism that it gets really complicated.
So here’s a summary of what I’d like to cover today.
- What is the purpose of water baptism and what does it represent? What is it’s meaning?
- According to the Bible, who has the authority to baptize another believer?
- I’d like to also look at some of the false teachings about baptism, including: infant baptism, baptismal regeneration (the concept that baptism is a necessary component of salvation), sprinkling v. full immersion, as well as give you a brief history of baptism itself.
The command to baptize is most clearly found in Matthew 28:19, in what is commonly called, ‘The Great Commission’. Jesus gives us this command:
19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
We see that the commission of baptism is linked to the charge of evangelism in Jesus’ last words in the Gospels. “Go ye therefore … “
We are all commanded to evangelize. This isn’t a special calling reserved for a select few, but for every Christian.
Besides baptism and the Lord’s communion, we are not commanded to follow any other sacraments, holydays, new moons, or festivals.
Colossians 2:16 states:
Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath [days] …
So wouldn’t you agree that if only two sacraments are prescribed by the Bible that we should be mindful to understand these sacraments properly and to faithfully observe them until the end of time?
Baptism began with the Holy Spirit’s work through John the Baptist.
Matthew 3:5-6 says:
5 Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judaea, and all the region round about Jordan,
6 And were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins.
Notice they weren’t turning from sins – but confessing their sins.
Now we talked a lot more about this in the last sermon, but I just saw a video of Ray Comfort preaching to a woman who was willing to accept Jesus Christ as her Savior, and he sent her away and told her point blank that “being sorry for your sins and asking Jesus to forgive you, and believing in Him is not enough! But that you actually have to go and stop sinning, stop all your sins, in other words, follow the Law of God first, before you can get saved. Which we know is impossible.
We got much more into that in my last sermon entitled, the Muddy Gospel of Lordship Salvation.
But these are elementary, fundamental, principles of the faith and while we should be building on the foundation of these simple doctrines, it has become dangerously critical in today’s churches for us to re-assert these basic doctrines and principles of the faith;
For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.
In our fast-paced fragmented culture, proper study has not been allocated to these basic principles, let alone to doctrines which will lead us “unto perfection” in Christ Jesus as Paul explains:
Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God,
2 Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.
So Paul is saying we should be through talking about the basic principles of salvation and baptism among the Saints and move on to stronger meat. But it’s important that we look at these things.
- SO WHAT ARE THE CONDITIONS OF BAPTISM?
- Obviously, the very first step is that you have to really be saved.
Going back to John the Baptist in Matthew 3:6, we see that “confession of sins” is inseparable from baptism. “And were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins.”
If you haven’t confessed to Jesus Christ that you’re a sinner and been saved, don’t bother getting dunked in H2O, because water can’t save you! You are saved when you realize you’re a sinner, confess your sins to Jesus Christ and ask Him to forgive you, understanding that He died to take on Himself the penalty of your sins, was buried, and rose again on the third day. That is the Gospel.
You can’t add anything to it nor subtract anything from it.
- Understand that baptism proceeds the moment of faith; it does not precede it. You don’t get baptized into faith; rather, faith demands that you be baptized once you’re saved.
So this automatically excludes both infant baptism and baptismal regeneration, the idea that baptism saves. We’ll get more into these false teachings in a moment.
- While baptism is not a requirement for salvation, baptism is is commanded by the Bible. It is not optional for the believer and every believer should get baptized right away.
When you look at examples of Baptism in the Bible, there is almost never a gap between the moment of salvation and water baptism.
Examples from the Bible that we have are often single events where all of these things, including confession, salvation, and baptism, are all happening in the same moment or very close together.
Now, obviously, faith has to come first, because why would you get baptized if you don’t believe?
[Let’s turn to Acts 8 as an example]
We looked at Acts chapter 8 last time about Philip and the Ethiopian Eunuch in relation to salvation; but this passage is actually a Biblical picture of both salvation and baptism. In verses 36-38, the Bible says:
36 And as they went on [their] way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, [here is] water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?
37 And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.
38 And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.
So first, we see that a condition of salvation and baptism is believing with “all thine heart” that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.
Now of course, the NIV and other modern corruptions remove verse 37 completely and it skip over to verse 38. It’s literally left blank.
According to the NIV, the Eunuch doesn’t even get saved, he just gets wet, because the part that says, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God” is deleted from most modern versions.
Now we sometimes get criticized when we present the Bible’s plan of salvation in a concise, simple manner. Critics say it sounds too much like a formula. And they would be right if someone were to just mouth the words without meaning it. You can’t be saved by simply repeating the right words, but the purpose of laying out a plan of salvation is to convey the Gospel message in a clear way that can be easily understood and received in the plainest way.
Romans 10:9 states:
That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
So we’re not just saying to mouth the dead words of a formula; believing in your heart is a definite condition of salvation.
So after the Eunuch believes in his heart and confesses with his mouth that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, Philip baptizes him.
Notice, baptism comes after salvation.
Baptism and regeneration have nothing in common; it is the blood of Jesus that cleanses from sin. Baptism is just a symbol of that. And we’ll get more into the symbolism in a moment.
But notice also, there was no waiting period!
Philip didn’t make an appointment with the Eunuch to come back to church and have his pastor baptize him. And notice he didn’t even invite him to the church’s Bible 101 Class or ask him to become a member of his church.
The eunuch was baptized right away.
And that’s the example we are given of pretty much every baptism in the Bible. It’s immediate.
Now, today, we don’t always have large bodies of water laying around. Unfortunately our modern technological conveniences and paved roads and highways have taken care of that. But as soon as humanly possible, a believer should get baptized in water by full immersion.
Notice also there wasn’t any discussion of what kinds of sins the eunuch was involved in. I’ve heard stories of pastors who won’t baptize new believers who they deem are living in sin. The problem with that, is we’re all living in sin!
1 John 1:9 says: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
So don’t call something unclean which Jesus has cleansed. Baptize every new believer into the body of Christ, and then deal with their sin!
Look also at Acts, chapter 22, the story of Paul’s baptism which also communicates the great sense of urgency around a believer’s baptism.
In Acts 22, a devout man, a disciple, named Ananias comes to Paul and says, “Brother Saul, receive thy sight”. Paul had been blinded for three days after meeting the Lord Jesus Christ on his way to Damascus to persecute Christians, what is commonly referred to as Pauls’ Damascus Road conversion.
And Ananias says to Paul, starting in verse 15:
“For thou shalt be his witness unto all men of what thou has seen and heard.
And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.”
Why tarriest thou? Says Ananias.
To tarry is to delay … notice tarry has the word “tar” in it. Tarry literally means to move like tar, you know like when you see thick tar being poured, how it slowly oozes out. So Ananias tells him not to tarry, to arise and be baptized.
Baptism generally falls under two categories: what people who like fancy words call this pedobaptism which is “child baptism” and “credobaptism” or “believers baptism”.
We practice “believers baptism” in this church; this means that in order to be baptized, you have to be at an age where you are intellectually capable of understanding at least the very basics of the Gospel and intentionally receiving Jesus Christ as your Savior.
Let me say this: there is absolutely no record of infant baptism in either the Bible.
And do you want to know which Bible verse they use to justify infant baptism? It’s the weakest Bible verse that they could pick to make their case, because there aren’t any Bible verses that support infant baptism!
We’ve covered the conversion of the prison-guard in Acts chapter 16 a couple times before, where Paul & Silas are miraculously freed from prison and the prison-guard gets saved after believing in Jesus Christ.
In Acts 16:31-33 says:
31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.
32 And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house.
33 And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway.
Now does it say anywhere in those verses that there were babies or infants in his household?
You can see how weak their argument is.
Another verse they use is Mark 10:14:
Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.
Of course, Mark 10:14 has nothing to do with water baptism, and you can see immediately how weak their arguments are.
Now as I’ve mentioned in past sermons, history is just history, and cannot be trusted as we would trust the Bible; Winston Churchill said: “History is written by the victors”, and with that in mind, we read history with a grain of salt. But history shows us that:
… the first written indication of infant baptism that we have comes from a so-called early church father who the Catholics and Eastern Orthodox revere (no surprise) named Irenaeus. Sometime just before the year 200, Irenaeus writes of children and infants being “born again to God”. But even that reference is obscure because it doesn’t specifically mention water baptism.
Then we get to another so-called early church father, named Origen. Now if you want to find the source of most of today’s heresies, the best place to start is usually with Origen. He’s almost always at the center of every longstanding false teaching.
Origin lived to approx. the year 254. And he specifically mentions infant baptism in three of his writings.
Now, here’s where it gets interesting. If you trace back the history of the Catholic church, it really comes down to a man, an emperor of Rome, a man named Constantine.
In the year 312, Constantine claimed to have a vision in which he saw a fiery cross in the sky with the inscription: “By this symbol you will conquer”.
After his vision, he was able to unite both Christians and Roman pagan soldiers into fighting a war against the enemies of the Roman state. Kind of like your Fox News Christians of today who are deceived into supporting unjust wars under the banner of Conservative Christianity. And look, I think the Democrats are a thousand times worse; I’m all for defense, but the wars we’re fighting today aren’t about protecting our country as much as about expanding power and resources for the convenient use of the New World Order.
In 312, Constantine allegedly converted to Christianity after his vision and called an ecumenical council of churches, where they began to co-operate and form together under his leadership.
Of course, the majority of churches joined him, but some independent churches and bishops refused – and maintained their autonomy.
Constantine combined his enormous political power with the churches who joined him and created a centralized church government or hierarchy, which he himself ruled. Christ was dethroned as head of the church and a man was put in His place.
The hierarchy began to set down doctrines and a church government which would lay the groundwork for the eventual rise of the Roman Catholic church.
Ecumenical council after ecumenical council established false teachings such as baptismal regeneration, which in turn led to the need for infant baptism. They reasoned that if baptism saves souls then infants should also be baptized as soon as possible, preferably around the 8th day, like in circumcision.
Other false doctrines were set through the ecumenical councils such as Mariolatry, the doctrine of purgatory, Saints and image worship, infant communion, and transubstantiation through the centuries.
In AD 416, infant baptism became compulsory as a matter of Roman law and it was now illegal not to baptize your baby; and those who refused this edict, were severely punished and persecuted through the centuries.
Much martyr blood was spilled; some estimates claiming as high as fifty million killed during the Dark Ages who refused the edicts of the Roman Catholic church.
Among the persecuted were groups of believers that the new state-sponsored Hierarchy called “Ana-Baptists”, meaning “re-baptizers”, because “AnaBaptists” did not recognize infant baptism and “re-baptized” believers as adults, although they considered it the believer’s first real baptism (believers baptism).
The Anabaptists, just like Christians of Paul’s day, were named by their enemies and embraced the name proudly.
Eventually, the prefix “ana” was dropped in the 16th century and the believers became known simply as “Baptists”.
Now my intention is not to get into the full history of the Baptist church, but if you want more information on that, there is a good little book called “Trail of Blood” by Dr. JM Carrol who expounds on this more profoundly.
OK, so to summarize:
The conditions of baptism include:
Knowing you’re a sinner and turning to faith in Jesus Christ as Savior for the forgiveness of your sins. You can not separate this essential condition from baptism. It is a prerequisite and there’s no point in being baptized until you understand that work is His, not ours. There is nothing that we can add to or subtract from His finished work of redemption. He has said, It is finished. John 19:30.
Water baptism is a picture of the death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ; and it is our joining together with Him as we put to death our old nature and are born again, believing in the resurrection to follow, with Christ the firstfruit.
That is why we don’t “sprinkle”, but do full body immersions in water. “Sprinkling” is not a picture of baptism! It’s nothing, it’s meaningless. It doesn’t represent anything, because it’s not a picture of the finished work of redemption.
The Catholic church, which is the greatest proponent of both infant baptism and baptism by sprinkling, in its infancy as a church, admitted that according to the Bible, baptism was by full immersion, but changed baptism by immersion to sprinkling by Papal authority, stating that the church is unerring and has every right to do so, even above the instructions of Holy Writ.
Romans 6:3-5 is why immerse and not sprinkle:
Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?
Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like 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 planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection.
Many churches today have continued in the tradition of infant baptism, and now twist the meaning of Colossians 2:11 as their supporting Bible verse.
Churches take Colossians 2:11 which speaks of spiritual circumcision and make a comparison between OT circumcision and New Testament Baptism.
While you’re turning to Colossians 2:11 …
Aside from the Roman Catholic Hierarchy started by Constantine, churches that baptize babies include Lutherans, Presbyterians, Episcopalians, the United Church of Christ …
Now don’t get me started on the disgusting organization that calls itself the United Church of Christ. [We have one here in Walla Walla called the First Congregational Church of Walla Walla, United Church of Christ] which accepts sodomotes and confused transgendered lost souls into their congregation as saved believers.
Here is the United Church of Christ website: “No matter who – no matter what – no matter where we are on life’s journey – notwithstanding race, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, class or creed – we all belong to God and to one worldwide community of faith.”
Other groups that baptize babies include most Methodists, Anglicans, as well as the Greek Eastern Orthodox church. In other words, the majority of all the world’s so-called Christian churches.
Of course, this shouldn’t surprise anyone, since all these sprung up out of the Catholic Hierarchy during the Protestant reformation.
Some of these baptize by sprinkling and others, like the Eastern Orthodox startle babies by suffocating them temporarily in water in full immersion infant baptism.
These organizations justify infant baptism by teaching that baptism is the New Testament equivalent of the Old Testament circumcision, what they call a “circumcision made without hands”, and use Colossians 2 along with Genesis 17 which ordains according to the Old Testament, circumcising babies after 8 days.
Let’s read 1 Colossians 2:11-13:
In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ:
Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.
And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;
It’s a slightly complicated passage, but Paul is basically saying that our circumcision is a spiritual circumcision, “one made without hands” and that we are circumcised into Christ at the moment of belief and subsequent baptism.
Colossians 2:11-13 is actually a picture of the fact that without Jesus we are cut off from God, that we are dead in our sins, as though we were uncircumcised – cut off from God – because of our sinful condition before salvation.
So Colossians 2 isn’t talking about infant baptism in any way.
There are some SYMBOLIC similarities between circumcision of the OT and baptism from the NT, such as baptism being a symbol of our salvation in the same way that circumcision in the flesh represented the salvation of OT believers. But remember circumcision by itself didn’t save; it was still faith.
Romans 2:29 states:
But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.
Baby baptism is not what Paul intended by Colossians 2. And to think so is not only silly; it’s poor exegesis, an intellectually dishonest reading of the Bible.
Now We Come to the Question of Who Can Baptize believers?
Who has the authority to do water baptisms? Is it the pastor and deacons only, committed disciples, or can any Spirit-filled Christian baptize a new believer?
Let’s first begin with a statement by Paul in 1 Corinthians chapter 1.
Paul was thankful that he did not baptize often, but left this task to his disciples, because factions within the body were occurring between those who had placed too much loyalty in Paul and those who had given their allegiance to Apollos.
1 Corinthians 1:13-17:
13 Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?
I thank God that I baptized none of you, but Crispus and Gaius;
Lest any should say that I had baptized in mine own name.
And I baptized also the household of Stephanas: besides, I know not whether I baptized any other.
For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel …
Paul specifically lists the only people he ever baptized: Crispus and Gaius and the household of Stephanus. And that’s it!
It was not many of the apostles that baptized but this task was left to their disciples. The leaders of the church dedicated their time to the more important task of preaching the Gospel.
So who has the authority to baptize?
There is one straightforward answer to this question.
The short answer is that any genuine born-again believer as a priest of the Most High has the authority to baptize a new believer into the body of Christ. Because, like Paul said, you’re not being baptized into a person or into a local church for that matter, but into the body of Christ.
I know there are some who don’t like this simple answer, but it’s because they’re being overly religious and placing too much emphasis on the leadership of the church and on the bishops and deacons.
And that’s a very dangerous thing to do.
In Revelation 1:6, John the Apostle writing to the churches says that Jesus Christ
… And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
If you are a king and a priest unto God and his Father, do you think you have the authority to do something as simple as water baptism? Some churches and leaders want to reserve this authority for themselves, but it is not theirs to give. It is Christ’s and His alone!
Now I’m not advocating rebellion against your pastor or church leadership; my purpose is to give you right doctrine.
You will find nowhere in Scripture that gives the specific qualifications of who can baptize!
However, the Bible lays out examples for us that are ideal.
Under normal circumstances, we see repeatedly that water baptism was committed unto the disciples of Jesus Christ, who were trustworthy followers and not living carnally. There are baby Christians who have been saved for 20 years and remain babies. That’s not who you want baptizing you if at all possible.
In Matthew 28:19, Jesus gave the Great Commission:
Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
The Great commission applies to every believer! So while a disciple and committed Christian is ideal, any believer has the authority to baptize.
1 Peter 2:5 & 9:
Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.
But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:
So once we understand all of this, the next thing to recognize is that salvation, and therefore baptism, as a symbolic token or picture of our salvation connects us together in our common bond with every true believer in Jesus Christ.
Now I’m not talking about the pseudo-spiritual Universalist, New Age concept that says we’re all one … and everyone’s connected to everything in the universe and it’s all cosmic energy and it’s all god … and we’re all god and you’re god …
I’m talking about the fact that as believers we are grafted together into one spiritual body, with water baptism being a symbolic picture of unity in the family of Christ.
1 Corinthians 12:13 states:
“For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.”
I believe in local congregations operating autonomously free of interference from outsiders, churches of likeminded believers, assembled together as one body, but at the same time, we cannot deny that as individual believers and churches we are of one family, one greater body, with Christ as head. That doesn’t diminish the local church, but unites us with believers in every place and time.
What I’m not saying is that there is one universal church. A church is a local congregation. There are many churches, but there is one family in the Kingdom made up of those who worship God in Spirit and in Truth (John 4:24).
Galatians 3:26-28 states sounds a lot like 1 Corinthians 12 which we just read.
For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus …
Notice that the verse says we are baptized into Christ, not into a local church. If any church requires baptism into their church, run out the front doors as fast as you can, because you’re in a dangerous cult!
So if we are one of body, every believer is your brother in Christ, your sister in Christ, your father, and your mother. I have a stronger connection, love and affection, for my brothers and sisters in Christ than to my own flesh and blood who are not saved.
When I first got saved and my parents and brother and cousins and uncles were not believers, the words of Moses in Exodus 2:22 resonated deep within me: “… for he said, I have been a stranger in a strange land.”
It was only among the family of God and likeminded believers, that I felt at home.
We’re all familiar with the profound words of Jesus in Matthew 12:48-50:
“… Who is my mother? And who are my brethren? And he stretched his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother” (12:48-50).
Notice the special emphasis placed on disciples, on “whosoever shall do the will of my Father”. It’s the committed disciples that Jesus placed special emphasis on as His family.
Romans 5:7 says:
For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.
Every believer is made “righteous” simply by putting his faith in Jesus Christ and having his sins washed away by the blood of Jesus. But not every Christian is living as he should. You may be righteous in so far as salvation is concerned, but until you are a committed disciple, you’re not necessarily living a “good” life.
Don’t think that because salvation is a free gift, that discipleship is easy.
It’s easy to get saved; it’s hard to forsake your desires and your will in place of His and to become obedient as a disciple of Christ.
Now obviously, you’re going to care more about your immediate family and your friends first, because that’s how God made us and that’s not a bad thing.
One of my favorite verses in the Bible is:
1 Timothy 5:8:
But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.
God has established this verse in our hearts and in His Word: that we are to care for our families first.
These Scriptures help us balance the call to love every believer in the Lord with loving those immediately closest to us.
Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.
Within the macrocosm of the One body of Christ, there is the microcosm of the local congregations operating under the authority of The Bible.
I want to end with Mark 16:16, because it is the #1 verse that people who believe in baptismal regeneration use, to support their claim that baptism saves. And I know we’ve already covered this false teaching, but I want to end with that because on the surface Mark 16:16 looks like a strong argument from their side; that I want the Biblical answer stuck in your head for your use:
Back up just 1 verse to verse Mark 16:15 for the context:
15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.
16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.
At first, it sounds like Mark 16:16 is saying that you have to believe and be baptized to be saved.
But if you read the rest, on the other side of the same sentence are the words: “but he that believeth not shall be damned”.
It does not say: “he who does not believe and is not baptized will be damned.” It just says, “but he that believeth not shall be damned.”
So Mark 16:16 is teaching that when you get saved, you’ll be baptized. And those who don’t believe will be damned.
You have to read both sides of the sentence and not stop halfway through.
This reminds of a story. When we first moved here, we were looking for KJV-Only Baptist churches in the area and we went to a church in a little town nearby, and we noticed some strange things that the pastor said during the sermon. The first thing we noticed was that he said something like, “Now, we all know that we can’t get any doctrine from the Old Testament.” And brother Marshall and I just kind of looked at each other, like uh-oh. And he said some other strange things, and we went to talk to him after the service and here we are in this Baptist church and the pastor brings up Mark 16:16 and says, “See, what do we do this with this?” Mark 16 says you have to get baptized to be saved. So his answer was to stop baptizing people and to say that that was a different dispensation for the early church only and that baptism is not even necessary anymore.
And I said to him: “It’s kind of ironic that a Baptist preacher who doesn’t believe in baptism.” And he looked over at me and confided, “Oh, I don’t always tell everyone, especially when I first meet them but I’m not really a Baptist.”
And then he goes on to tell us that the Great Commission was not a command and that we’re not even commanded to evangelize! Tht Jesus was only speaking to the apostles!
Talk about a hyper dispensational church!
So there I am standing in a Baptist church speaking to a Baptist pastor who doesn’t believe in the Old Testament, who doesn’t believe in baptism, and who doesn’t believe in evangelizing. On top of that he says he’s a Pauline Christian, and says you can only get doctrine from Pauls epistles, not even from Jesus Himself!
Needless to say, we never stepped foot in that church again.