30 Minute Radio Lesson - WAVG Radio 1450 AM
Clarksville church of Christ
June 4, 2000
Speaker: Richie Thetford
Good morning and welcome to another presentation of "What Is Truth?" I'm Richard Thetford, evangelist for the Clarksville church of Christ, thanking you for tuning in this morning to WAVG radio to listen to a message of God. Before we get to our lesson of the hour entitled "Scriptural Baptism," I want to let you know about our Vacation Bible School that will be held at the Clarksville church of Christ on July 17-21 this year. We want to announce this early so that you can make plans now for you and your children to be able to attend this year's Bible school. Our Bible school will be held each night from 7:30-8:30 PM with this year's them being "How Shall the Young Secure Their Hearts?" This promises to be one of the best Vacation Bible Schools ever and we want you to plan on attending. You can enroll your children in one of two ways. If you have access to the internet you can enroll your children on-line by going to our WEB Site at www.ClarksvillechurchofChrist.org and follow the directions to enroll your children. You may also call 944-2305 and leave your name and phone number and we will return your call to get the necessary enrollment information. We look forward to seeing you and your children at VBS this year! At this time I want to encourage you to get your Bible, pen, and piece of paper out and be ready to write the scriptures down and turn to them as the truth of God's word is presented this morning. How many times has it been that you have heard something discussed in matters of religion and wished that you had a pencil handy to write down that passage of scripture or that particular thought? I want to give you a chance right now to get your pencil and paper ready so that you can be prepared to write these verses down so that you can do some serious study at a later date. Jesus said: "Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world" (1 John 4:1). As we have discussed on this program before, many false prophets are out there trying to deceive innocent people into believing a lie. I want to make sure that I am only presenting the truth of God's Word and I want you to test my words to make sure that I am not putting forth a doctrine that is false but rather is true. I want to encourage you this day to learn the truth. Jesus said plainly in John 8:32: "And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." Every sincere, religious person will want to learn the truth in order to make sure that his call and election is sure (2 Pet 1:10).
I want to ask each listener a very pointed question, yet a very important question. The question is: "HAVE YOU BEEN SCRIPTURALLY BAPTIZED?" You will notice that I did not ask, "Have you been baptized?" but, "have you been SCRIPTURALLY baptized?" There is a vast difference between the two questions. Many, many, people have submitted to some act which they call baptism. By this, I mean, many have been led into the water and have been immersed. But, it takes more than immersion in water for one to have Bible baptism. Others have gone through an act referred to as baptism by having water poured over them or water sprinkled upon them. There are many false ideas being believed and practiced by mankind relative to the subject of baptism. That is why I ask the question, "Have you been scripturally baptized?" HAVE YOU REALLY?
In order for baptism to meet Heaven's approval, there are at least three requirements which must be met: When we say Heaven's approval, we mean, not what you may wish or what I might like, but what does the throne of Heaven approve of. You see it matters little what our feelings might agree to; but, it matters a great deal as to what our Eternal God has said relative to this important subject. After all, He is the one that sent His only son to this earth to suffer and die for all of us. He did this because He loves us and He expects us to love Him in return and do all that He has commanded of us. Baptism is one of those commands.
Now let's look at three requirements of scriptural baptism. The FIRST requirement of scriptural baptism is that scriptural baptism must be administered to a person who is prepared for it. The candidate must be aware of what is being done. For this reason (among others), an infant is not a fit subject to be baptized. One who is scripturally baptized must prepare the heart by FAITH. Hebrews 11:6, states, "But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him." Did you hear what the inspired writer said? If one comes to God, that person must have faith. Not only do they have to have faith but they must have it in such a way that leads them to diligently seek Him. That means to do everything possible to be pleasing to God. But, how is this faith produced? Faith is produced by the hearing of the Word of God. Listen to Romans 10:17, "So then faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God." We learn here that unless one can hear, understand and believe the testimony of God's Word, that one cannot be scripturally baptized. Now friends, this a very important point. If you care anything about what God says, you must listen to this basic truth and that is that an infant cannot hear and understand the Word of God. This being the case, the infant cannot have faith. Therefore, the infant cannot be scripturally baptized. However, there are thousands of people that want to ensure that their baby infant has been baptized to ensure heaven. But an honest study of the Bible shows that an infant does not need to be baptized because an infant cannot believe, repent, or confess Christ. My friends, were you baptized while still an infant? If so, you were not scripturally baptized. I'm not here trying to get you upset at me as I am trying to say this as kindly as I can, but yet as forcefully as I can. I am interested in the salvation of your soul, which is the very purpose of this radio program that is brought to you each and every Sunday. But think about this, I am a preacher of the gospel of Jesus Christ. For me not to attempt to warn you is the same as me not being concerned about your soul. I truly desire for you to be able to go to heaven and because of this, I have a responsibility to let you know the truth concerning the word of God. I am not attempting to win some popularity contest. I am just extremely interested in getting as many people as possible to open their hearts to the revealed Word of God and to be moved to obey that word. And friends, think about this also; if I did not care about your soul, why would I say anything? We both know for a fact that it is always better to say nothing if you don't want to get people stirred up about something. I am not trying to get you stirred up against me, however, I care enough about your soul, that I hope to stir you into some deep soul searching as regard to your eternal salvation. I am presenting only what the Bible says, not what I may think concerning this or any other subject.
Also, mandatory to scriptural baptism is the preparation of the life of the candidate. This is performed by REPENTANCE. Repentance is a change of direction, a reversal, an about face. One must be filled with godly sorrow because of sins committed against God. Hear the apostle Paul again, "For godly sorrow worketh repentance unto salvation..." (2 Corinthians 7:10). This repentance results in a reformation of life and actions. It is a turning away from sin and a turning toward God. Here again infant baptism fails to meet this requirement, because the infant has not transgressed God's laws, thus not a sinner, and not in need of salvation. Can an infant repent of his or of her sins? If not, then the infant cannot be scripturally baptized.
Scriptural baptism must be preceded by an acknowledgment of one's belief in Christ. This is done by CONFESSION. Paul states, "that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation." (Romans 10:9-10). Jehovah has always demanded man to express himself in a positive affirmative manner. Can the infant confess his or her faith in Christ Jesus as the Son of God? If not, then the infant cannot be scripturally baptized. My friend, unless your baptism has been preceded by Faith, Repentance and Confession, you have not been scripturally baptized. So, I ask you again, HAVE YOU BEEN SCRIPTURALLY BAPTIZED? Here again is another example of man, not God, changing the rules of salvation. Man says "a baby must be baptized, because all people that are born are born in sin." God teaches that only those that believe, repent, and confess can be baptized. This takes an ability to be able to do those things. A baby does not yet have the ability to believe, repent, and confess. This should be something that everyone can see, yet many will continue down the road of denial. Denying the truth of God's word that is so clear and understandable to the honest, searching heart. The Bereans were praised by the apostle Paul because it was said of them that they "were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so" (Acts 17:11). They really did want to know the truth and they made sure that what Paul was presenting to them, could be backed up by scripture, not what they thought about the matter, or what some other man thought about the matter. You see, they didn't take Paul's word at face value, "they searched the scriptures." My friend, are you searching the scriptures right now to ensure that you are doing that which is right in the sight of God?
A SECOND requirement of scriptural baptism is that scriptural baptism must be done in the right way. Baptism is identified as being a BURIAL. Please turn in your Bible to Romans chapter six and let's begin reading from verse three. This is a very important passage of scripture in that it allows us to understand exactly what the purpose of baptism is all about. The apostle Paul writes:"Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? 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. For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. For he who has died has been freed from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him. For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 6:3-11). And again, the same apostle Paul writes to the brethren in 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." We also see used to describe this action is the statement, "wherein you were also raised with him, to walk in newness of life." So what do these passages of scripture really mean? It means that scriptural baptism must involve a burial and a resurrection of the candidate; a form of the death, burial and resurrection of Christ Jesus. Christ was crucified, buried and raised from the grave. So likewise, man today must be crucified to the sins of the world (Galatians 2:20), buried in the waters of baptism, and raised as a new creature in Christ. In Acts 8:36-39, we read of a man who was scripturally baptized. The passage of scripture reads: "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?" 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." So he commanded the chariot to stand still. And both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and he baptized him. Now when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught Philip away, so that the eunuch saw him no more; and he went on his way rejoicing." We see from this passage of scripture that they (the Ethiopian Eunuch and Philip the preacher) were riding along in the chariot and they came to some water. They stopped the chariot and both of them went down into the water. While in the water Philip baptized the man. Then, there was a "coming up out of the water." One must have help to misunderstand this example. No other action (short of immersion) will meet these requirements. This is why it is stated that John was "baptizing in Enon near to Salim, because there was much water there" (John 3:23). Why was much water needed? Because baptism is a burial in water; a going down into the water and a coming up from the water. Pouring water over a candidate, or sprinkling water upon a candidate does not require much water and will not meet the requirements of scriptural baptism. That also brings me to another point. Think about how convenient it is in those denominations that feel the necessity to baptize babies by sprinkling or pouring water over their head. I just wonder, how many parents, if they are really sincere in their belief that baptism for babies is essential, would allow their baby to be immersed in water? Some would, but I also know that some would not allow that to happen to their child. You see, my point is, that this and many other practices done in the name of religion is done by man, based upon the authority of a man, in order to do something in the name of religion that is convenient and agreeable to the congregation as a whole. Sprinkling and pouring for baptism is a man made doctrine that can not be found on any page of our Bible. Yet one will say I believe in God; I believe in Jesus; I love the Lord but will continue to practice things, to include unscriptural baptism for the sake of man and tradition. Yet Jesus clearly says, ""If you love Me, keep My commandments" (John 14:15). I ask you again, my friends, have you been scripturally baptized? Did you go down into the water and did you come up out of the water? If you did not, then you have not been scripturally baptized. And not being scripturally baptized, you will lose your soul and be condemned to an eternal hell.
A THIRD requirement of scriptural baptism is that scriptural baptism must be done for the right reason. The apostle Peter states that baptism is "for (unto) the remission of sins" (Acts 2:38). Saul was told to, "Arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins" (Acts 22:16). There is a definite connection between baptism and the removal of or washing away of one's sins. Baptism is NOT done "because of the remission of sins." Baptism is NOT done "as an outward act of some inward grace." Some religious bodies teach that one is baptized because their sins have already been forgiven. Such is not Bible teaching. Scriptural baptism is done as an act of obedience to God and until one obeys God that person is still in his or her sins. I am constantly reminded of the words of Hebrews 5:8,9, "though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him." Did you hear what the inspired writer said? Eternal salvation to all them that obeyHim. You must obey Christ. What did Christ say? "He that believes and is baptized shall be saved" (Mark 16:16). Have you done that? Have you been scripturally baptized? Dear friend, this is a serious matter. Eternity hangs in the balance.
The ONLY WAY that one can put on Christ, or get INTO Christ is by baptism. I know this for a fact because the Bible tells me so. Listen to the inspired writer as he records; "For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ" (Gal 3:26-27). Again, how do you put on Christ? How many have put on Christ? As many as were baptized into Him! My friend, until you are baptized, you are still OUT OF Christ; and if out of Christ, then you are still in your sins and will not see an eternal heaven. Jesus told Nicodemus very plainly in John 3:3-5; "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus said to Him, "How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born? Jesus answered, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God." What do we learn here concerning heaven (the kingdom of God)? Unless we are born of the water and Spirit, we cannot enter heaven! Friends, do you see how important it is to make sure that you are doing everything according to God's direction and not some man's direction? I want to go to heaven. I am sure that you really want to go to heaven. That being the case, then why not start right now to make sure that everything you do will be pleasing to God by doing His will? Jesus said, "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name? And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness" (Matthew 7:21-23)! We must DO the will of God if we want to enter into heaven and the joys thereof when this life is over.
So, let me ask you once again, HAVE YOU BEEN SCRIPTURALLY BAPTIZED? What is your honest answer? You need not worry about giving answer to me, for I am not your judge; but, you must give answer to God. Be honest with your Creator. Have you been scripturally baptized? If you have not met these three preceding requirements then you are still in your sins, and if you are still in your sins then, "where Christ is you cannot go." Jesus so states in John 8:21. Dear listener, will you not give serious consideration to this important question? If you have not been scripturally baptized, we plead with you that you obey God now --today. Do not procrastinate! You are gambling on your eternal destiny.
If you were in a burning building, would you not count me as a friend if I warned you of the dangers of the fire? Or, would you rather that I not call out to you and warn you of the fire? Should I just let you be destroyed in the fire? I truly believe that there are untold millions in danger of being lost in eternity. For this reason, if you are yet in your sins, I call upon you to see the danger of the pathway you are following and correct your life while time and opportunity is still with you. Please come and obey the word of the Lord before it is everlastingly too late.
This is Richard Thetford, evangelist for the Clarksville church of Christ thanking each of you for listening to this morning's broadcast and invite you to listen again next Sunday morning at 8:30 A.M. for another presentation of "What Is Truth?"