Sunday, January 30, 2011

                When faced with tough decisions/ jobs, do you keep going or do you want to quit? No matter where you may be at this time on your walk with or away from God, chances are you may not have it as bad as you think if you look at the weeping prophet, Jeremiah. Even though he is speaking the words that God had ordained him to speak. It is though no one is listening. His message is not a popular message and he does not have many faithful followers. Jeremiah is feeling that the whole world is against him. And that it is all God's fault. I dare say that all people have at times lamented, “Why me?” to God.  Here is a taste of what Jeremiah faced when God told him his job, i.e. proclaim the word.
1. Zedekiah, King of Judah came to Jeremiah and asked if he would go to God and seek a miracle to keep Nebuchadnezzar from attacking them.
2.  Jeremiah came back with the answer:
a) I will not give you a miracle.
b) Not only that, I will make your weapons useless against Nebuchadnezzar.
c) Anyone not killed in war or pestilence will be given as slaves to Nebuchadnezzar.
3.  They made plans against him. (Jeremiah)
A. To kill him—His own family threatened to kill him if he didn’t quit preaching gloom and doom.
B. To create rumors against him---to destroy his effectiveness.
C.  To just ignore him.
            Just for the record, God warned him of all that he would face right from the start and reassured his prophet on several occasions that God will be there for him. In chapter one verse nineteen, He told Jeremiah, “And they shall fight against thee: but they shall not prevail against thee; for I am with thee, saith the Lord to deliver thee.”
            Let us look at the scripture with Jeremiah voicing a complaint in chapter twenty verses seven through eighteen:
 7O LORD, thou hast deceived me, and I was deceived; thou art stronger than I, and hast prevailed: I am in derision daily, every one mocketh me.
 8For since I spake, I cried out, I cried violence and spoil; because the word of the LORD was made a reproach unto me, and a derision, daily.
 9Then I said, I will not make mention of him, nor speak any more in his name. But his word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay.
 10For I heard the defaming of many, fear on every side. Report, say they, and we will report it. All my familiars watched for my halting, saying, Peradventure he will be enticed, and we shall prevail against him, and we shall take our revenge on him.
 11But the LORD is with me as a mighty terrible one: therefore my persecutors shall stumble, and they shall not prevail: they shall be greatly ashamed; for they shall not prosper: their everlasting confusion shall never be forgotten.
 12But, O LORD of hosts, that triest the righteous, and seest the reins and the heart, let me see thy vengeance on them: for unto thee have I opened my cause.
 13Sing unto the LORD, praise ye the LORD: for he hath delivered the soul of the poor from the hand of evildoers.
 14Cursed be the day wherein I was born: let not the day wherein my mother bare me be blessed.
 15Cursed be the man who brought tidings to my father, saying, A man child is born unto thee; making him very glad.
 16And let that man be as the cities which the LORD overthrew, and repented not: and let him hear the cry in the morning, and the shouting at noontide;
 17Because he slew me not from the womb; or that my mother might have been my grave, and her womb to be always great with me.
 18Wherefore came I forth out of the womb to see labour and sorrow, that my days should be consumed with shame?
Jeremiah is human like us. He was in a bad way and complained. Christian people while being new creations in Christ with the Holy Spirit inside are still going to be human and mess up. We complain. It is my thought that Jeremiah needed to suck it up just like we need to do when troubles come. Nowhere in the whole cannon of scripture do we see that those who follow God are promised a joyful existence. That’s funny in an ironic sense because our joy does from the Lord. As Christians, we are to have joy because of Christ, but really, on the contrary, Christ warned his disciples of the troubles they would face for His sake. The apostle Paul had joy because of the Lord, but he suffered constantly. Christ in Acts 9:16 said this about Paul in reference to his conversion, “For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name's sake.”    
We will see in Jeremiah’s words that although he was upset about his situation deep down he knew God’s deliverance would ultimately come. Jeremiah gets to the point in verse nine that he says: Then I said, I will not make mention of him, nor speak any more in his name. But his word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay.
Due to the situation, Jeremiah is done talking about the Lord. He says basically, “I’m done with God. I won’t speak anymore about him. BUT you know I can’t stop talking about him because I know He is true. Jeremiah knows that everyone is against him, but he cannot quit because he knows God. God’s word is like fire and when it gets down in the inside, it burns up everything that is not right by God. It burns up your will and you take on God’s will. It burns up that heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. When the word comes in it will burn up hatred and bring in happiness. It will burn up malice and envy, it will burn up back biting and make you love everybody. When God word really get inside of you can’t do what you want to do. When God’s word get inside you even though you want to quit even though you want to throw in the towel you can’t quit.
As Christians, we know that life is hard and sometimes we wish we could just stay in bed and hide. But we also know that Christ is with us every moment. Christians feel his presence. If you are reading this and you aren’t a Christian, you may think I’m crazy for saying that I feel the presence of the Lord. I don’t expect you to understand it yet. God wants you to come to him. He is at your heart wanting you to accept Christ as Savior. When you do, your eyes as well as your heart will begin to see what Christians have known for over two thousand years.
            Verses fourteen through eighteen show us ole Jeremiah cursing the man who told his dad he was a father, saying God should have killed him, and so forth. We can’t be like that, folks. Some of the greatest Biblical heroes if you will were whiny little drama queens. Moses used every excuse in the book to not lead.  Rahab a prostitute believed in God and helped his chosen people the Israelites. David, the man after God’s own heart, was a murdering adulterer, Elijah after the success on Mount Caramel begged God to let him die, Peter, was always shooting his mouth off , and ole Jeremiah needed tissues because of his situation.  My point is that God used all these imperfect men and woman for greater tasks than they believed they could accomplish.
The burning desire to serve God as a child of the King must remain stronger than the strain of the job itself if we are to continue. The strain gets heavier as we focus on circumstance and the acceptance and opinion of people. The burning gets hotter when we focus on God’s call, provision, and confidence in you as a child. He would never ask you to do a job that was too great to accomplish when we work in his power. He chose Jeremiah to preach the truth. However, God does not require us to be capable. He requires us to be available.

Saturday, January 29, 2011


            Ever been called a dirt bag? It’s not so bad. Plants and such will not grow if the dirt they are buried within is not rich in nutrients. Christian people are like the dirt. Contrary to secular belief, our first ancestor was formed from the dirt.  Today we find Jesus teaching the masses using a parable. This time, however, is different. After speaking the parable, Jesus then explains it in simple terms so that his disciples, the originals, and we can understand. I am not going to add to anything, but rather elaborate on his given points.
Luke 8:4-8
"A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path; it was trampled on, and the birds of the air ate it up. 6Some fell on rock, and when it came up, the plants withered because they had no moisture. 7Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up with it and choked the plants. 8Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up and yielded a crop, a hundred times more than was sown."
"This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is the word of God. 12Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. 13Those on the rock are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away. 14The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life's worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature. 15But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.”
          While I hold to the philosophy there are only two kinds are people in this world, those whose names are written in the book belong to and with the Lord God and those, whose names are not, will be in the Lake of Fire forever, Jesus elaborates by speaking specifically about how people react upon hearing the Gospel message or the seed as Jesus explained in verse twelve. First are those who know of God, but do not believe.
“Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved.”
          Other than pompous, in your face, agnostic comedians, educated idiots, and self-proclaimed atheists, everyone on this planet if asked, will say they are aware of a greater power, a Supreme Being, and or God. The first kind is those who just don’t know enough to make a life altering decision. Teenagers are the best example here. A child can be a “bad” kid regarding his behavior with most people in authority, but the same kid will in many cases not ever use God’s name in vain or let others poke fun at the concept of God. The “bad” kid more times than not does not understand the concept of Cross, Christ, and Grace, but he knows instinctively that God is real. He just doesn’t make the the connection between God and the fact that The Bible are inseparable.
        Jesus mentions Satan’s role. Satan, as Peter described in I Peter 5:8, is a roaring lion seeking those he may devour. James wrote in chapter 4 verse 7 in the book same as his name: Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Satan wants to kill, decimate, destroy and annihilate every one of God’s beloved creations. That’s you by the way if you did not know that. Many people think that Satan is as powerful as God. They read the line, then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, and think, Satan is equal to God. That is not the case at all. All we have to do to avoid sin, Satan’s initial hold on us, is to look to God. Remember James wrote to submit ourselves not to the sin, but to God. We do not have the power to fend off carnal, fallen desires without Jesus. No Christian is perfect. We are new creations in Christ. Our old desires and thoughts will be erased if we truly submit and give our hearts fully to God. If we do that, Satan cannot touch us. However, those who know not of Christ, submitting, and His Grace, do not know or have the word in their hearts. These are people who have the theological knowledge of a third grader that goes to Sunday school every fifth Sunday. Sin is never ugly to those it consumes. The consequences are hideously repulsive after we realize our actions were sinful.
            The second type is the one that covers most Americans if recent polls indicate the flip-floppy thoughts of those who wear the mantle of Christian.
13Those on the rock are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away.
          Most people leave their Sunday services with a refreshing zeal if they have truly given God the full hour or so. We are a people that are on fire for God right up until the minute trouble comes and we forget what Jesus has done for us. If we don’t have roots then we cannot stand firm. Isaiah said we must stand firm in the faith or we won’t stand at all. Scripture consistently teaches that God does not want those who are lukewarm. With Christ, all things are black and white without gray areas.  Jesus says in Matthew 12:30, “He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters.” Those people without roots despite their good intentions or big plans to perhaps start a ministry will end up scattering and falling away.
        Salvation is not something that can be lost. To think it is, would mean scripture, God’s Word is mistaken. Peter teaches in I Peter 3:18, For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. I am not going to pretend to know whether or not a commitment made to God is real. That is between the person and the Lord. Said person’s life, if a real commitment is made, will reflect their desire to live for God. We are not saved by the number of good actions we do, although commendable, God’s Grace is a gift to all who accept and believe. Teenagers again are good examples to use. A kid can grow up going to church but never grows in church. Their walk with God is not so much a walk, but a casual stroll on Sunday and maybe Wednesday. When a kid either goes off to college or simply out of her parents’ home, she will be exposed to many other secular influences and will become disobedient in essence falling away. How many times have you heard someone say, “When I was little, I was big into church,” or “I was involved in my church’s youth group, but we stopped taking so many trips. It’s not fun anymore.” So many people act like Christians because it makes them feel good for a season. It makes them feel good right now. The real lasting relationship with God is a lifelong process. As parents, we cannot live our lives for our children. All we can do is follow God’s teachings in that we teach them the way they should go. After that, it’s between them and God.
          “Well, I would go to church, but it’s my day off,” says the tired Christian. The argumentative person plays both sides of the record here. “Well, Christians are supposed to keep the Sabbath holy.” If a Christian answers ANYTHING, the argumentative person replies, “Some people have to work on the Sabbath.” When confronted with this, I respond like so: “The Pharisees attempted to trap Jesus because He healed on the Sabbath and He and disciples picked grain I think once. Jesus stated to them, "The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath." For those who must work on the Sabbath, this is my, Tinin’s thought, take a moment, some time to worship and exalt the Lord during the course of your day at work. I say all this to tie it to the third type of person.
14The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life's worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature.
        The people who hear the Good News, the Gospel and know Him are the third type. They sadly are similar to the second type. It sounds like these people know Who Christ is and why they need Jesus, but they use the clichéd “life gets in the way,” line to justify why they aren’t growing in faith. Paul addressed the church at Corinth in regards to their spiritual maturity in I Corinthians 3:2-3: I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. You are still worldly.
          Say whatever you will to justify your own thoughts and actions concerning your time with Jesus. Regardless of what you say if you fall into the third category, you are not growing because you are a spiritual baby unable to give the Lord a real, true commitment because you are trying to live your life for you rather than for Jesus. The new creation in Christ is the home for the Great Comforter, the Holy Spirit. You will, in all aspects of your life, live for Christ denying yourself. The thorns Jesus spoke of can be anything. We worry about money, paying the bills, what’s for supper, etc. I understand. Those thoughts are legit when you have to take care of a family. Yet, we good people, Christian and nonbeliever alike are swallowed up by our worries despite the fact Christ, the Lord said not to worry about a thing.
Luke 12:22-26 Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?”
 I’m talking to myself first folks. I worry constantly. By doing that, I am rebelling against what Christ says. I do not trust Him fully when worry consumes me. Ouch, right. Are you thinking, “Amen” or as my preacher chides, “Oh me”? Peter wrote: Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” Most armchair theologians will say, “Oh one cannot do just that. One cannot just pray away all your worries.” That’s not what Peter wrote through God’s inspiration. The key words are due time. God contrary to our desire works on His time.  Allow me to re-echo what Jesus says: “He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters.”
          Finally, we come to the final type, the producer, the good dirt. Christians who fall into this final type are the dirt bags so to speak.  
But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.”
          The Bible teaches the heart is deceitful. However, it stops being deceitful when we become new creations in Christ. When our commitment to Him is real, we truly hear the Word of the Lord rather than just casually listening. Retaining the Word is not simply reciting John 3:16 faster than the other members of your Sunday school class. Retaining is not just picking a few verses from Proverbs because they fit your lifestyle. It is great to have scripture memorized at the drop of a dime, but if you have memorized merely words in a sentence, what have done? Nothing. What do you know? Nothing. You have played church so to speak.
Psalm 119:11 I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.
            If we persevere through any given situation we make it through, we survive. Webster’s Dictionary defines it as so: to persist in a state, enterprise, or undertaking in spite of counterinfluences, opposition, or discouragement. Jesus says by preserving we will produce a crop. The seed remember is God’s Word, His message, we do not save anyone’s soul. God does. We Christians are the clichéd hands and feet. If we grow in Christ, our faith and intimate knowledge of Him will never cease. Each day we will learn something new. The core of Christianity is Jesus saves. If we Christians were really on fire for His kingdom everyone we meet would label us Jesus freaks because we have the answer to all the challenges of life; JESUS CHRIST. We produce a crop when our lives reflect His love, His Grace. We produce a crop when we tell the lost how He will save them! We produce a crop when He says us, “Well done my good and faithful servant.”

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


Question: "How can I know for sure that I will go to Heaven when I die?"

Answer: Do you know for certain that you have eternal life and that you will go to Heaven when you die? God wants you to be sure! The Bible says: “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life” (1 John 5:13). Suppose you were standing before God right now and He asked you, “Why should I let you into Heaven?” What would you say? You may not know what to reply. What you need to know is that God loves us and has provided a way that we can know for sure where we will spend eternity. The Bible states it this way: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

We have to first understand the problem that is keeping us from Heaven. The problem is this - our sinful nature keeps us from having a relationship with God. We are sinners by nature and by choice. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). We cannot save ourselves. “For by
grace are you saved, through faith, and this not of yourselves – it is the gift of God. Not by works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9). We deserve death and hell. “For the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). BUT------------

God is holy and just and must punish sin, yet He loves us and has provided forgiveness for our sin.
Jesus said: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). Jesus died for us on the cross: “For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous to bring you to God” (1 Peter 3:18). Jesus was resurrected from the dead: “He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification” (Romans 4:25).

So, back to the original question – “How can I know for sure that I will go to Heaven when I die?” The answer is this – believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved (Acts 16:31).To all who received Him, to those who believed in His Name, He gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:12). You can receive eternal life as a FREE gift. “The gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23). You can live a full and meaningful life right now. Jesus said: “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10). Romans 10:13 says “
For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”  Jesus told Nicodemus, Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life.” It is a matter of faith in CHRIST. You can spend eternity with Jesus in Heaven, for He promised: “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you may also be where I am” (John 14:3).

Saturday, January 22, 2011


            How’s your sight? Do you see things as they are or how you want them to be? Jesus spoke about sight and how we view all things. We see His words in Matthew chapter 6 verses 22-23.

The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!

                According to the People’s New Testament, the light of the body is the eye. This is not an abrupt transition, but bears on the same subject. If one's eye is diseased, all he sees is wrong. So the mind, or conscience, is the light of the soul. If these be darkened, all is darkness; if these see aright, all is light.
                Let’s talk about how we look at say sin. What is sin? Sin is anything, thoughts or actions that are contrary, opposite, and in opposition to the holy, perfect will of God Almighty.  Many will deny such a thing exists. Those of us that deny sin is even real in our lives will not see our need for Christ, our need of salvation. Regardless of religious belief or disbelief, all who do not admit and or recognize Jesus as the Savior will think this is a message of foolishness. However, those who call Christ Lord know what I speak. If you don’t know Jesus as Lord, if you’ve never heard the Gospel explained, let me talk directly to you in this message.  The Bible says that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. We are made righteous in God’s sight by belief in Christ as Lord. We are made righteous by admitting that we are sinners. We are made righteous in God’s sight when we confess Christ as our Lord.  If we do not see that, then spiritually we aren’t seeing correctly even though we are looking. Let me give you an example of this. If a Christian sees a brother or sister in Christ straying from the path, we are to kindly correct that behavior. That is, we are seeing correctly. If we turn a “blind eye” to their behavior then we are as scripture teaches in verses twenty-two and three, then we are being spiritually incorrect.
                Regarding Jesus’ words concerning the evil eye, Clarke in his commentary said this: An evil eye was a phrase in use, among the ancient Jews, to denote an envious, covetous man or disposition; a man who repined at his neighbor's prosperity, loved his own money, and would do nothing in the way of charity for God's sake. Our blessed Lord, however, extends and sublimes this meaning, and uses the sound eye as a metaphor to point out that simplicity of intention, and purity of affection with which men should pursue the supreme good. We cannot draw more than one straight line between two indivisible points. We aim at happiness: it is found only in one thing, the indivisible and eternal God. It the line of simple intention be drawn straight to him, and the soul walk by it, with purity of affection, the whole man shall be light in the Lord; the rays of that excellent glory shall irradiate the mind, and through the whole spirit shall the Divine nature be transfused.
                We must not be spiritually blinded. Singleness of eye represents singleness of purpose. A divided mind is hard to deal with. A person so afflicted is unstable in all of his ways. Indecision is frustrating, and prevents decisive action. But a person who does not know whether he will serve the Lord, or not, and puts off accepting salvation through Jesus Christ, is making a decision through default! Those who can only see what the flesh and the devil desire will make decisions in the dark! Their decisions will not be influenced by spiritual truths, nor will they be made in the light of eternal interests.
                What does all this mean? Paul states that if we mind the things of the flesh, or constantly take care of the flesh, we will become fleshly, if we mind the things of the Spirit, or constantly take care of the Spiritual man, we will become Spiritual. Hank Williams sang a song about seeing the light. Those in The Bible that were blind, but healed often said, ‘I can see.’ Jesus Christ is The Light of The World. If you believe and have made him Lord of your life, you see life differently. You live every day for Christ. If the message of the cross is foolishness to you, and regardless of why you don’t believe, you are blind and cannot see the very concept of being a sinner, why you need Him, and most importantly the saving Grace of Christ that so desperately wants you. If you do see your need and believe in your heart that Jesus is the Lord, that He died for you only to have God raise Him from the dead then all you have to do is accept Him.
                How do I do this you may be asking? First there’s no magic formula. You cannot work your way to Heaven. The Bible teaches that come to Christ do so by faith. You just pray to God.
                Father God,
                Lord I know that I’m a sinner. Lord, I know you love me so much that Jesus took my place on the cross and died for me. I believe that He died, but rose again.  God, I’m sorry for living without you. I turn from my sins and ask Jesus to be my Lord. I confess Him Lord. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Saturday, January 15, 2011


            There are a number of divisions in the Christian church ranging from when and how often to partake the Lord’s Supper, to worship with or without musical instruments, and the list goes on and on. There is one issue that divides perhaps more than any other. The issue is baptism.
Matthew 3:7 (Also in Luke 3:7)
7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, “Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?
            Here was John the Baptist speaking. He starts out our look at baptism because he was the envoy if you will, the messenger, sent forth to pave the way. John baptized with water as scripture will show and baptized with said liquid for repentance. The baptism that is done after Christ’s death involves so much more than water. Luke 3:12 shows that tax collectors came to be baptized. Luke 7:29-30 speaks about tax collectors and lawyers receiving John’s baptism.
Matthew 20:22-23(Also in Mark 10:38-39)
But Jesus answered and said, “You do not know what you ask. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?”
They said to Him, “We are able.”
23 So He said to them, “You will indeed drink My cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with; but to sit on My right hand and on My left is not Mine to give, but it is for those for whom it is prepared by My Father.”
            Jesus is at first speaking to two who really want to be the favorite sons, James and John. Notice first that Christ uses the words baptism and baptized, but nowhere does he say water, baptism or salvation together. The baptism He spoke of was His death and subsequent resurrection. 
            Christ concludes that yes, they will be able to drink from the cup and be baptized with the baptism He would endure. Keep this in mind for later references. The baptism Christ spoke of was representative of belief in Him as the crucified Christ Risen Savior. It is a repetitive theme throughout the New Testament that will see momentarily.
Mark 1:4-5
John came baptizing in the wilderness and preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. Then all the land of Judea, and those from Jerusalem, went out to him and were all baptized by him in the Jordan River, confessing their sins.

            Again we see John and his baptism of repentance for the remission of sin. What does remission mean? In short, it means forgiveness. John’s baptism had its place, but it became void after the events of the cross and empty tomb.

Mark 11:30
The baptism of John—was it from heaven or from men? Answer Me.”
            The religious snobs were trying to trap Christ, but Jesus as God always does answered them with a question of His own. When they couldn’t answer, Jesus told them that He would not tell them. If one looks at what I wrote above concerning John’s baptism, the answer should be clear. John although filled with the Holy Spirit was paving the way for the Christ. If his baptism, water baptism, prior to the crucifixion was all that was needed, then Christ’s job at the cross was not really needed.  
Luke 3:3
And he went into all the region around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins
            Again, John is preparing the way and this was prophesized by Isaiah many years before.
Luke 7:29
And when all the people heard Him, even the tax collectors justified God, having been baptized with the baptism of John
            Jesus had just finished telling two men answers to the questions John had He spoke to the masses speaking kind words about John. He told the crowd that the folks who were the least in the Kingdom would be greater than John.
Luke 12:50
But I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how distressed I am till it is accomplished!
            Jesus was not talking about a water baptism. The baptism He spoke of was His death, His payment for our sin debt, His gift to the father and to all mankind. As you know or perhaps will see for the first time as this work progresses, we are a part of Christ’s baptism as Christians. This baptism is the one he said James and John would be a part of.
Acts 1:22
beginning from the baptism of John to that day when He was taken up from us, one of these must become a witness with us of His resurrection.”
            Peter is giving a summary of the Good News.

Acts 10:37
that word you know, which was proclaimed throughout all Judea, and began from Galilee after the baptism which John preached
            Peter was responsible for first witnessing to the Gentiles.
Acts 13:24
after John had first preached, before His coming, the baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel.
            Paul when witnessing gave account at times like Peter had in summary. 
Acts 18:25
This man had been instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things of the Lord, though he knew only the baptism of John.
            The man in the scripture is Apollos. He knew of Christ, but only knew of John’s baptism. Some may wonder how that is that a man could be instructed bin the way of the Lord, but not know about the Risen Christ. How was John filled with the Holy Spirit before birth? I don’t know nor do I feel like I have to know every mystery of God. God allows us to know what he wants us to know. The unbeliever will call Christians simple minded for my stance, but it’s more than a stance. I’m at total peace with what I know about scripture thanks be to God.   
Acts 19:3-4
3 And he said to them, “Into what then were you baptized?”
So they said, “Into John’s baptism.”
4 Then Paul said, “John indeed baptized with a baptism of repentance, saying to the people that they should believe on Him who would come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.”
            Here we have Paul reiterating the whole thesis of salvation (saying to the people that they should believe on Him who would come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus). The baptism of John was similar in meaning to the Old Testament’s offerings.
Romans 6:4
Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
            Sounds clear, right? We were buried with Christ through baptism-this is the baptism Christ spoke of from Luke 12 (If you don’t remember, it was His death). As He was raised by the Father, so are we. How can I say His death is baptism? I don’t. God’s inspired truth does, as I point to it. Look at what Paul wrote to the Ephesians.

Ephesians 4:5
one Lord, one faith, one baptism;
            One baptism is not a water baptism. The one spoke about here is Christ’s death and resurrection. Again, look back at the previous verses.
Colossians 2:12
buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.
            The key word in this verse is faith. You were raised with Him through faith.
I Peter 3:21
There is also an antitype which now saves us—baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,
            This verse is a part of a larger piece detailing Noah and his crew being saved from the Flood. Okay here we go: To adequately understand the scripture, the words must be understood, so here are definitions for the word antitype: 1. One that is foreshadowed by or identified with an earlier symbol or type, such as a figure in the New Testament who has a counterpart in the Old Testament. 2. An opposite or contrasting type.
            Let’s take the first definition and apply it. The OT’s Flood being water is the antitype of NT baptism. Everyone with me? The Old Testament’s Flood counterpart or second half is Baptism. Well, that certainly sounds like water baptism saves a person, one might say. That would read that way IF the following was not also included in regards to baptism. Baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), So in other words the verse reads, There is also a symbol, a counterpart, a figure that now saves us-baptism THROUGH THE RESSURRECTION OF CHRIST. Again this is the baptism that Christ spoke about in Luke 12. One more time including the parts about Noah and the Ark. Just as the Ark saved Noah, so does baptism through the resurrection of Christ.
            If we take the second definition and apply it, we see, the verse still has the same meaning. There is also an opposite which now saves us-baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  If the flood’s opposite, contrasting type, and or counterpart is baptism then it doesn’t refer to a saving water baptism, but rather the baptism that Christ spoke of in Luke 12. 

Hebrews 6:2
of the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.
                This focuses on showing us the body of Christ that we should not be still focused on the fundamentals of our faith, but rather grows from them and become stronger Christians. This does not mean that we trivialize what Jesus has done, but we must as His children grow spiritually. If a first grader can add 2 and 2 and get 4 that is great, but when that first grader becomes a second grader, more is expected. Do you see the point of this verse? Christian people should not bicker among themselves. It is Satan’s plan to divide the people of God.
Matthew 3:11 (Also in Mark 1:8, Luke 3:16)
I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.
            John The Baptist says it pretty clear. He said Christ would baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire. Fire refers I believe to judgment.
Mark 1:4
John came baptizing in the wilderness and preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.
John 1:25-28
And they asked him, saying, “Why then do you baptize if you are not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?” John answered them, saying, “I baptize with water, but there stands One among you whom you do not know. These things were done in Bethabara  beyond the Jordan, where John was baptizing.
John 1:31-34
I did not know Him; but that He should be revealed to Israel, therefore I came baptizing with water.”
32 And John bore witness, saying, “I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and He remained upon Him. 33 I did not know Him, but He who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘Upon whom you see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ 34 And I have seen and testified that this is the Son of God.”
                John The Baptist says in reference to Christ that He, Jesus, will baptize with the Holy Spirit? The answer is the baptism that again Jesus spoke of in Luke 12. Scripture teaches that Christ did not baptize anyone on earth with or in water. We receive good people the Holy Spirit when we accept Christ as Lord.
I Corinthians 1:17
For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of no effect.
            Paul baptized a number of people when the Spirit led him to do so. Here he gives his purpose. Christ sent him to preach the Gospel but not with his own words. The Gospel is the death and resurrection of the Lord. The hope, that is to say, God’s promise to his people began in stable, died on a cross, but rose from the grave leaving an empty tomb to testify. If we think water baptism adds to our salvation then what a shameful thing we have added to Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. Anyone who says it (our salvation) is belief in Christ plus baptism or anything else has essentially overlooked the crucified Christ by denying the saving Grace of the Risen Savior. 
  BAPTIZED (A lot of references were mentioned in the previous section as to not be repetitious)
Matthew 3:6
and were baptized by him in the Jordan, confessing their sins.
            John The Baptist once again.
Matthew 3:13-16 (Also in Luke 3:21)
13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him. 14 And John tried to prevent Him, saying, “I need to be baptized by You, and are You coming to me?”
15 But Jesus answered and said to him,Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he allowed Him.
16 When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him.
            I included verse 15 to show that it is right to be baptized. Jesus was baptized not for the forgiveness of sins because He was fully God yet fully man albeit a sinless one. While it is right to be baptized as Christ was, we must not put emphasis on the act of baptism over the cross and empty tomb.

Mark 16:16
He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.
            This verse does not a doctrine make. What am I saying? There are many within the Christian brotherhood, the flock, which take this verse and add it to the Grace of God that flowed from the cross. Who is baptized? Those who have acknowledged their need for Christ as Savior are the ones who should be baptized. Those are the same people who by acknowledging their need of Christ repent of sinful behavior. Sorry, sprinkling water on an infant isn’t baptism. The verse does not read all who believes and in addition to is baptized. Sadly many teach and preach that. Obedient Christians should be baptized. There is no reason not to be. The problem in the church arises when someone’s commitment and or salvation is questioned by the body when the former accepts Christ as Lord and waits a week or so to be baptized. As we will see here and as I wrote covering The Acts of The Apostles, the formula for baptism is always repenting from sin, accepting Christ, and then the act (BAPTISM) itself. The act or rather plan of Salvation is simpler; Repenting and belief in Christ. Notice the last line, but he does what? He who does not believe will be condemned. It was not he who believes not and is not baptized. Why is that? Oh right, baptism is a sign, a symbol of obedience as a Christian.    
John 3:22-23 and 3:26
After these things Jesus and His disciples came into the land of Judea, and there He remained with them and baptized. 23 Now John also was baptizing in Aenon near Salim, because there was much water there. And they came and were baptized./ And they came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, He who was with you beyond the Jordan, to whom you have testified—behold, He is baptizing, and all are coming to Him!”
John 4:1-2
Therefore, when the Lord knew that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John (though Jesus Himself did not baptize, but His disciples)
            The key words are Jesus made and baptized more disciples. How did He make disciples? Well, they listened to His words and believed. Baptism followed after belief. That is again the formula I mentioned earlier. Baptism follows belief.
John 10:40
And He went away again beyond the Jordan to the place where John was baptizing at first, and there He stayed.
            This is geographical information.
            I believe I’ve covered baptism in my writing over Acts, but we will revisit for accuracy here.
ACTS 1:5
for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”
            Jesus promises the disciples that they will be what? Baptized by the Holy Spirit. Guess what didn’t involve water? That is right, the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
ACTS 2:28
Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
            The original wording in the native language speaks volumes. What this verse does not mean is that salvation by the Spirit follows water baptism. Any number of scriptures pertaining to people believing on and in Christ followed up with immediate baptism can and does lend itself to validating verse thirty-eight’s legitimate claim to baptismal regeneration. But a verse or two by itself cannot and does not make a doctrine mean what we want. Recall 21'AND IT SHALL BE THAT EVERYONE WHO CALLS ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED. Also think about the very words of Christ as recorded in John 11:25-26, "I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. This directly corresponds with what Peter mentioned from Joel and what Paul later wrote to the Romans by saying under God’s inspiration, “If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. For the Scripture says, ‘WHOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED.’ For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him; for ‘WHOEVER WILL CALL ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED.’” Pay close attention to the next verse:
ACTS 2:41
Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them.
            It says those who received as in believed the word, the Word is Jesus by the way. After accepting/receiving the Word they followed up with baptism.
ACTS 8:12
But when they believed Philip as he preached the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were baptized. Then Simon himself also believed; and when he was baptized he continued with Philip, and was amazed, seeing the miracles and signs which were done.
            When the people hear Philip preach about the Word, scripture teaches that they believed.
ACTS 8:16
For as yet He had fallen upon none of them. They had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
            Commentators disagree about it, but I will throw my two cents in the ring. Do I know why the Holy Ghost had not yet fallen on them? No. I think it might possibly have something to do with perhaps the people did not fully commit their hearts and souls to Christ. These people were baptized in Christ’s name only. It is like I wrote concerning chapter two, the act of baptism is meaningless if a real commitment is not present. Christ originally told the apostles to wait until the Spirit came upon them. That was then. So, do we today, have to wait for the Spirit to come upon us? Must we have the ordained lay hands on us? No. That is not my answer, but the Word.      
I Corinthians 12:13 “For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.”
Romans 8:9 tells us that if a person does not possess the Holy Spirit, he or she does not belong to Christ: “You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.”
Ephesians 1:13-14 teaches us that the Holy Spirit is the seal of salvation for all those who believe: “Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession—to the praise of his glory.”
ACTS 8:36-38
Now as they went down the road, they came to some water. And the eunuch said, “See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?”
37 Then Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.”
And he answered and said, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.”
38 So he commanded the chariot to stand still. And both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and he baptized him.
             First, the Ethiopian read, heard, then understood by Philip who Christ is. He heard the Gospel message. Upon seeing water, he wanted to know basically why wait. There are some in the Christian world that teach salvation is acquired through Jesus and baptism. That is not the case. Our faith in Christ alone is the saving ingredient. But the new believer was so fired up for Christ because he believed in Him as Lord, he wanted to be baptized. There’s no arguing that. The act of baptism would have been meaningless if he had not first made a commitment to Jesus, the Son.
ACTS 9:18
Immediately there fell from his eyes something like scales, and he received his sight at once; and he arose and was baptized.  
            This refers to Saul/Paul three days after his Damascus Road conversion. Paul believed first before he could be baptized.
ACTS 10:47-48
Can anyone forbid water, that these should not be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?48 And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then they asked him to stay a few days.
            Peter is defending baptizing the Gentiles who have ALREADY received salvation that is The Holy Spirit. Let us take a look at that order. No one can refuse water baptism for those who have received, (PAST TENSE) the Holy Spirit. Does Jesus command believers to be baptized? Yes, He does. Does the baptism save us? Maybe from dirt. The baptism is a symbolic ceremony that demonstrates our identifying ourselves to and with Christ. This is why Peter orders the new believers to be baptized. To be saved, we must believe.
ACTS 11:16
Then I remembered the word of the Lord, how He said, ‘John indeed baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’
            Peter recalls what we already know from the Gospel concerning the Holy Spirit.
ACTS 16:15
And when she and her household were baptized, she begged us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay.” So she persuaded us.
            This refers to a woman, Lydia, who heard the Word from Paul and believed. After believing, baptism followed. Again it followed, but at no time was her salvation hinged on the act of immersion.
Acts 16:33
And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their stripes. And immediately he and all his family were baptized.
            Let’s backtrack a minute to the scripture in context.
30 And he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”
31 So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.” 32 Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. 33 And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their stripes. And immediately he and all his family were baptized. 34 Now when he had brought them into his house, he set food before them; and he rejoiced, having believed in God with all his household.
            Verse thirty-two clearly teaches that all who were in the home heard the Word of God and believed. Having heard first heard, then believing on Christ, they were baptized.
ACTS 18:8
Then Crispus, the ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his household. And many of the Corinthians, hearing, believed and were baptized.
            II know it is repetitive now, but look and see the formula. It is belief then baptism. Would they have been any less saved if the baptism didn’t immediately follow? No. Nowhere does scripture teach that baptism has to follow immediately.
ACTS 19:3-5
And he said to them, “Into what then were you baptized?”
So they said, “Into John’s baptism.”
4 Then Paul said, “John indeed baptized with a baptism of repentance, saying to the people that they should believe on Him who would come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.”
5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.

            In nineteen, Paul asks certain disciples if they had received the Holy Spirit when he believed. His response is, “What? Who?”
            “Who have you been baptized in?” Paul questioned.
            So Paul explains.  
            Now here is a situation that many argue about. Paul lays hands on the men. The Spirit came on them. When they were baptized the first time it was in John’s repentance. The baptism in Christ is in the Spirit. The book of John records that Christ blew on the disciples and they received the Spirit. This was temporary because they along with others totaling one hundred twenty receive the Spirit permanently at Pentecost. So you see, all those that believe in Christ as Lord had not received the Spirit until the appointed time. The book of Acts is a transitional book for the transitional period of growth of the church. Why did they receive the Spirit by Paul placing his hands rather than at the moment of belief? I don’t know. But what I do know is that now, since the Good News has been verified and ratified if you will, people upon belief of and in Christ I think it was pretty dramatic that it occurred this way because it certainly introduced the Gospel to Asia. 
ACTS 22:16
And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.’
            Once again, baptism does not save anyone! Before Christ, John’s baptism was of repentance not salvation. We are “baptized” with and in the Holy Spirit upon acceptance of Christ. The physical act of water baptism does not add an extra year of salvation to eternity. Salvation rests in Christ alone. To be obedient Christians, baptism must be done, but nowhere in scripture will one ever find a word that says baptism has to be immediate. Salvation once obtained is true and sealed. Here are four thoughts commentators use to prove that the idea of baptismal regeneration is bogus.
1.      Paul’s conversion teaches that he was saved first before his baptism.
2.      Cornelius, the first Gentile convert was baptized after he accepted Christ as Savior.
3.      Titus 3:4-7 But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, 5 not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
4.      All apostles agreed with Paul’s teachings because work with me here, the teachings of Paul did not belong to Paul, but to God.
Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?
            This train of thought is validated by the earlier noted scripture that speaks of being buried in Christ and rising with Him. We have verses one and two of chapter six addresses the idea of Christians sinning after being saved. Becoming a Christian is becoming a new creation, the old has passed away so why then should a sinner turned saint continue to sin? Now most folks will say, “I’m human, not perfect, Don’t judge me!” However, Christians that are growing in the Grace of Christ will not have the desires of their old live without the Holy Spirit’s Grace on them. Yes, Christians sin, but after sinning, we are convicted by the Spirit and then make it right by confession to God and then abstaining from said sin.
I Corinthians 1:13-16
 13 Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?
14 I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, 15 lest anyone should say that I had baptized in my own name. 16 Yes, I also baptized the household of Stephanas. Besides, I do not know whether I baptized any other.
            Paul again speaks about being thankful to not have baptized any of the Corinthians with the noted exceptions. By this point in our look at scripture, it should be noted that Paul like the other apostles did not teach baptismal regeneration.
I Corinthians 10:2 
Moreover, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers were under the cloud, all passed through the sea, 2 all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea
            It doesn’t refer to the crossing in the sea. For one, the waters were parted for the children of Israel and two, more importantly, the use of baptized here is figurative if baptize means to immerse. Was Moses not at God’s command, the leader of the Israelites for a time?
 I Corinthians 12:13
For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into one Spirit.
            The baptism Paul wrote about is you guessed it, the Holy Spirit.
I Corinthians 15:29
Otherwise, what will they do who are baptized for the dead, if the dead do not rise at all? Why then are they baptized for the dead?
            Chapter 15 in general deals with the resurrection of the dead. Paul cites the example of those who were baptized as a proof of the resurrection. Their actions symbolized their hope that they would live again. The resurrection is the hope of the dead.
Paul's question seems to be, "Why are they baptized for the dead, if the dead do not rise at all?" This verse is not correctly translated from the Greek. Paul is not talking about being baptized "in the place of," "on behalf of," or "for" the dead. The Greek word translated "for" is huper, and it has several meanings: "above," "over," "instead of," "for the realization of," or "for the hope of," depending upon the context.
 Galatians 3:27
For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
            Being baptized into Christ is accepting Him. The phrase many of you translate into all of you. We put on Christ by living our lives like him showing that our commitment to Him is real.

Many scholars say there seven types of baptisms ranging from Moses to the cross to fire. That’s all well and good; however, for you and me, and all future believers we must look to Christ and the baptism of the Holy Spirit. I pray this look at scripture has enlightened you on your walk with Christ. Soon we will look at part II: Belief followed by Faith.