13 Objections to Baptism

13 Objections to Baptism
by
Dave Miller, Ph.D. (used by permission-see end notes)

A Look Back at 2012 as 2013 Zips By.
Some churches historically have taught that water immersion is the dividing line between the lost and the saved. This means that a penitent believer remains unforgiven of sin until buried in the waters of baptism (Romans 6:4). Much of the denominational world disagrees with this analysis of Bible teaching, holding instead that one is saved at the point of “belief,” before and without water baptism. Consider some of the points that are advanced in an effort to minimize the essentiality of baptism for salvation.

Objection #1: “Jesus could not have been baptized for the remission of sins because He was sinless; therefore, people today are not baptized in order to be forgiven. They merely imitate Jesus’ example.”
The baptism to which Jesus submitted Himself was John’s baptism (Matthew 3:13; Mark 1:9). John’s baptism was for the remission of sins (Mark 1:4; Luke 3:3). This truth is particularly evident from the fact that when Jesus presented Himself to John for baptism, John sought to deter Him, noting that, if anything, Jesus needed to baptize John (Matthew 3:14). Jesus did not correct John, as many seek to do today, by falsely arguing that baptism is not for remission of sins. Rather, Jesus, in effect, agreed with John, but made clear that His baptism was an exception to the rule.
Jesus’ baptism was unique and not to be compared to anyone else’s baptism. Jesus’ baptism had the unique purpose of “fulfilling all righteousness” (Matthew 3:15). In other words, it was necessary for Jesus to submit to John’s baptism (1) to show His contemporaries that no one is exempt from submitting to God’s will and (2) more specifically, Christ’s baptism was God’s appointed means of pinpointing for the world the precise identity of His Son. It was not until John saw the Spirit of God descending on Jesus and heard the voice (“This is My Son…”) that he knew that “this is the Son of God” (John 1:31-34; Matthew 3:16-17).
Of course, John’s baptism is no longer valid (Acts 18:24-19:5). John’s baptism paralleled New Testament baptism in the sense that both were for the forgiveness of sins. But John’s baptism was transitional in nature, preparing Jews for their Messiah. Baptism after the cross is for all people (Matthew 28:19), in Jesus’ name (Luke 24:47; Acts 2:38; 19:5), into His death (Romans 6:3), in order to be clothed with Him (Galatians 3:27), and added to His church (Acts 2:47; 1 Corinthians 12:13). We must not use Jesus’ baptism to suggest that salvation occurs prior to baptism.

Objection #2: “The thief on the cross was not baptized, and he was saved.”
When we “handle aright the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15), we see that the thief was not subject to the New Testament command of immersion because this command was not given until after the thief’s death.¹ It was not until Christ was resurrected that He said, “He who believes and is baptized will be saved” (Mark 16:16). It was not until Christ’s death that the Old Testament ceased, signified by the tearing of the Temple curtain (Matthew 27:51). When Jesus died, He took away the Old Testament, “nailing it to the cross” (Colossians 2:14).
The word “testament” means “covenant” or “will.” The last will and testament of Christ is the New Testament, which consists of those teachings that apply to people after the death of Christ. If we expect to receive the benefits of the New Testament (salvation, forgiveness of sin, eternal life), we must submit to the terms of the will for which Christ is mediator (Hebrews 9:15), for “where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator; for a testament is of force after men are dead; otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator lives” (Hebrews 9:16-17).
So prior to the Lord’s death and the sealing of the New Testament, the baptism for the forgiveness of sins that would be in effect after the crucifixion was not a requirement for those who sought to be acceptable to God. Indeed, while Jesus was on Earth in person, He exercised His authority to forgive sin (Matthew 9:6). People now, however, live during the Christian era of religious history. Prior to Christ’s death, there were no Christians (Acts 11:26). For a person to reject water baptism as a prerequisite to salvation on the basis of what the thief did or did not do, is comparable to Abraham seeking salvation by building an ark—because that’s what Noah did to please God. It would be like the rich young ruler (Matthew 19) refusing Christ’s directive to sell all his possessions—because wealthy King David did not have to sell his possessions in order to please God.
The thief on the cross could not have been baptized the way the new covenant stipulates you and I must be baptized. Why? Romans 6:3-4 teaches that if we wish to acquire “newness of life,” we must be baptized into Christ’s death, be buried with Christ in baptism, and then be raised from the dead. There was no way for the thief to comply with this New Testament baptism—Christ had not died! Christ had not been buried! Christ had not been raised! In fact, none of God’s ordained teachings pertaining to salvation in Christ (2 Timothy 2:10), and in His body the Church (Acts 2:47; Ephesians 1:22-23), had been given. The church, which Christ’s shed blood purchased (Acts 20:28), had not been established, and was not set up until weeks later (Acts 2).2
We must not look to the thief as an example of salvation. Instead, we must obey “from the heart that form of doctrine” (Romans 6:17)—the form of Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection through baptism (Romans 6:3-4). Only then can we be “made free from sin to become the servants of righteousness” (Romans 6:18).

Objection #3: “The Bible says, ‘Christ stands at the door of your heart,’ and all we have to do to be forgiven of sin and become a Christian is to invite Him into our hearts.”
It is no doubt startling to discover that the Bible simply does not say such a thing. The phraseology is reminiscent of Revelation 3:20—the passage usually invoked to support the idea. But examine what Revelation 3:20 actually teaches. Revelation chapters 2 and 3 consist of seven specific messages directed to seven churches of Christ in Asia Minor in the first century. Thus, at the outset, we must recognize that Revelation 3:20 is addressed to Christians—not non-Christians seeking conversion to Christ.
Second, Revelation 3:20 is found among Christ’s remarks to the church in Laodicea. Jesus made clear that the church had moved into a lost condition. The members were unacceptable to God since they were “lukewarm” (3:16). They had become unsaved since their spiritual condition was “wretched and miserable and poor” (3:17). Thus, in a very real sense, Jesus had abandoned them by removing His presence from their midst. Now He was on the outside looking in. He still wanted to be among them, but the decision was up to them. They had to recognize His absence, hear Him knocking for admission, and open the door—all of which is figurative language indicating their need to repent (3:19). They needed to return to the obedient lifestyle essential to sustaining God’s favor (John 14:21,23).
Observe that Revelation 3:20 in no way supports the idea that non-Christians merely have to “open the door of their heart” and “invite Jesus in” with the assurance that the moment they mentally/verbally do so, Jesus comes into their heart and they are simultaneously saved from all past sin and have become Christians. The context of Revelation 3:20 shows that Jesus was seeking readmission into an apostate church.
Does the Bible teach that Christ comes into a person’s heart? Yes, but not in the way the religious world suggests. For instance, Ephesians 3:17 states that Christ dwells in the heart through faith. Faith can be acquired only by hearing biblical truth (Romans 10:17). When Bible truth is obeyed, the individual is “saved by faith” (Hebrews 5:9; James 2:22; 1 Peter 1:22). Thus Christ enters our lives when we “draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience [i.e, repentance—DM] and our bodies washed with pure water [i.e., baptism—DM]” (Hebrews 10:22).

Objection #4: “A person is saved the moment he accepts Christ as his personal Savior—which precedes and therefore excludes water baptism.”
To suggest that all one has to do to receive the forgiveness of God and become a Christian is to mentally accept Jesus into his heart and make a verbal statement to that effect, is to dispute the declaration of Jesus in Matthew 7:21—“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.” To be sure, oral confession of Christ is one of the prerequisites to salvation (Romans 10:10). But Jesus said there is more to becoming a blood-bought follower of His than verbally “calling on his name”3 or “inwardly accepting Him as Savior.” He stated that before we can even consider ourselves as God’s children (Christians), we must show our acceptance of His gift through outward obedience—“He that does the will of My Father.” Notice the significant contrast Jesus made: the difference between mental/verbal determination to accept and follow the Lord, versus verbal confession coupled with action or obedience (cf. James 2:14,17). This is why we must do everything the Lord has indicated must be done prior to salvation. Jesus is telling us that it is possible to make the mistake of claiming we have found the Lord, when we have not done what He plainly told us to do.
Jesus said: “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God” (John 3:5). Jesus also stated: “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:16). Honestly, have you accepted Christ as your personal savior—in the way He said it must be done? He asks: “But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do the things which I say?” (Luke 6:46, emp. added).

Objection #5: “We are clothed with Christ and become His children when we place our faith in Him.”
Read Galatians 3:26-27: “You are all children of God by faith in Christ Jesus, for as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” The words “put on” (NKJV) are a translation of the Greek verb enduo which signifies “to enter into, get into, as into clothes, to put on.” Can we be saved prior to “putting Christ on” or “being clothed” with Christ? Of course not. But when and how does one put on Christ—according to Paul? When one is baptized in water. Those who teach we can be saved before baptism are, in reality, teaching we can be saved while spiritually naked and without Christ! Paul affirms that we “put on” Christ at the point of our baptism—not before.
Paul wrote these words to people who were already saved. They had been made “sons of God by faith.” But how? At what point had they “been clothed with Christ”? When were they made “sons of God by faith”? When were they saved? Paul makes the answer to these questions very plain: they were united with Christ, had put on Christ, and were clothed with Christ—when they were baptized. Ask yourself if you have been clothed with Christ.

Objection #6: “Baptism is like a badge on a uniform that merely gives evidence that the person is already saved.”
The New Testament nowhere expounds the idea that baptism is merely a “badge” or “outward sign of an inward grace.” Yes, baptism can biblically be referred to as a symbolic act; but what does it symbolize? Previous forgiveness? No! Romans 6 indicates that baptism symbolizes the previous death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. Thus the benefits of Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection (remember, Jesus’ blood, which blots out sin, was shed in the context of His death, burial, and resurrection) are realized and received by the individual when he obediently (in penitent faith) submits to a similar ordeal, i.e., the death of his own “old man” or “body of sin” (Romans 6:6), burial (immersion into a watery tomb), and resurrection (rising from the watery tomb).
Denominational doctrine maintains that forgiveness of sin is received prior to baptism. If so, the “new life” of the saved individual would also begin prior to baptism. Yet Paul said the “new life” occurs after baptism. He reiterated this to the Colossians. The “putting off of the body of the flesh by Christ’s circumcision” (Colossians 2:11) is accomplished in the context of water immersion and being “risen with Him” (Colossians 2:12). Chapter 3 then draws the important observation: “If then you were raised with Christ [an undeniable reference to baptism—DM], seek those things which are above” [an undeniable reference to the new life which follows—not precedes—baptism].

Objection #7: “Baptism is a meritorious work, whereas we are saved by grace, not works.”
“Works” or “steps” of salvation do not imply that one “merits” his salvation upon obedient compliance with those actions. Rather, “steps” or “a process” signifies the biblical concept of preconditions, stipulations of faith, or acts of obedience—what James called “works” (James 2:17). James was not saying that one can earn his justification (James 2:24). Rather, he was describing the active nature of faith, showing that saving faith, faith that is alive—as opposed to dead and therefore utterly useless (2:20)—is the only kind that is acceptable to God, a faith that obeys whatever actions God has indicated must be done. The obedience of both Abraham and Rahab is set forth as illustrative of the kind of faith James says is acceptable. They manifested their trust by actively doing what God wanted done. Such obedient or active trust is the only kind that avails anything. Thus, an obedient response is essential.
The actions themselves are manifestations of this trust that justifies, not the trust itself. But notice that according to James, you cannot have one without the other. Trust, or faith, is dead, until it leads one to obey the specifications God assigned. Here is the essence of salvation that separates those who adhere to biblical teaching from those who have been adversely influenced by the Protestant reformers. The reformers reacted to the unbiblical concept of stacking bad deeds against good deeds in an effort to offset the former by the latter (cf. Islam). Unfortunately, the reactionary reformers went to the equally unacceptable, opposite extreme by asserting that man need “only believe” (Luther) or man can do nothing at all (Calvin). The truth is between these two unbiblical extremes.
From Genesis to Revelation, faith is the trusting, obedient reaction that humans manifest in response to what God offers. This is the kind of “justification by faith” that Paul expounded in Romans. Like red flags at the very beginning (1:5) and at the end (16:26) of his divinely inspired treatise, he defined what he meant by “faith” with the words “obedient faith” (hupakoeinpisteos), i.e., faith that obeys, obedience which springs from faith.4 This fact is precisely why God declared His willingness to fulfill the promises He made to Abraham: “because Abraham obeyed My voice and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My laws” (Genesis 26:5). Hence, in Romans Paul could speak of the necessity of walking “in the steps of the faith which our father Abraham had” (Romans 4:12). Until faith obeys, it is useless and cannot justify.
The Hebrews writer made the same point in Hebrews 11. The faith we see in Old Testament “men of faith” availed only after they obeyed God-given stipulations. God rewards those who “diligently seek Him” in faith (vs. 6). Noah “became heir of the righteousness which is by faith” when he “prepared an ark.” If he had not complied with divine instructions, he would have been branded as “unfaithful.” The thing that made the difference, that constituted the line of demarcation between faith and lack of faith, was obedient action—what James called “works,” and Paul called “faith working through love” (Galatians 5:6). In this sense, even faith is a “work” (John 6:29). Hebrews 11 repeatedly reinforces this eternal principle: (1) God offers grace (which may at any point in history consist of physical blessings, e.g., healing, salvation from enemies, land or property, etc., or spiritual blessings, e.g., justification, forgiveness, salvation from sin, being made righteous, etc.); (2) man responds in obedient trust (i.e., “faith”) by complying with the stipulated terms; and (3) God bestows the blessing.
It would be wrong to think that man’s obedient response earns or merits the subsequent blessing. Such simply does not logically follow. All blessings God bestows on man are undeserved (Luke 17:10). His rich mercy and loving grace is freely offered and made available—though man never deserves such kindness (Titus 2:11). Still, a non-meritorious response is absolutely necessary if unworthy man is to receive certain blessings.

Objection #8: “Not only is baptism nonessential to salvation, even faith is a gift from God to a person. Man is so depraved that he is incapable of believing.”
Surely, God’s infinite justice would not permit Him to force man to desire God’s blessings. God’s intervention into man’s woeful condition was not in the form of causing man to desire help or miraculously generating faith within man. God intervened by giving His inspired Word, which tells how He gave His Son to make a way for man to escape eternal calamity. Faith is then generated in the individual by God’s words which the person must read and understand (Romans 10:17; Acts 8:30). The individual then demonstrates his faith in obedience.
Did the walls of Jericho fall down “by faith” (Hebrews 11:30)? Absolutely. But the salient question is: “When?” Did the walls fall the moment the Israelites merely “believed” that they would fall? No! Rather, when the people obeyed the divine directives. The walls fell “by faith” after the people met God’s conditions. If the conditions had not been met, the walls would not have fallen down “by faith.” The Israelites could not claim that the walls fell by their own effort, or that they earned the collapse of the walls. The city was given to them by God as an undeserved act of His grace (Joshua 6:2). To receive the free gift of the city, the people had to obey the divinely stipulated prerequisites.
Notice the capsuling nature of Hebrews 11:6. Faith or belief is not given by God. It is something that man does in order to please God. The whole chapter is predicated on the fundamental idea that man is personally responsible for mustering obedient trust. God does not “regenerate man by His call, thus enabling man to respond.” God “calls” individuals through, by means of, His written Word (2 Thessalonians 2:14). In turn, the written Word can generate faith in the individual (Romans 10:17). How unscriptural to suggest that man is so “totally depraved” that he cannot even believe, thus placing God in the position of demanding something from man (John 8:24) of which man is inherently incapable. But the God of the Bible would not be guilty of such injustice.
Some people approach passages like Romans 10:17 in this fashion: (1) God chooses to save an individual; (2) God gives him the free gift of faith; and (3) God uses the Gospel to stir up the faith which He has given the person. Yet neither Romans 10:17, nor any other passage, even hints at such an idea. The text states explicitly that faith comes from hearing Christ’s Word. Notice verse 14, where the true sequence is given: (1) the preacher preaches; (2) the individual hears the preached word; and (3) believes. This sequence is a far cry from suggesting that God miraculously imparts faith to a person, and then the Holy Spirit “stirs up” the faith. Such a notion has God giving man a defective faith which then needs to be stirred up. The text makes clear that God has provided for faith to be generated (i.e., originated) by the preached Word. God does not arbitrarily intervene and impose faith upon the hearts of a select group of individuals.
According to 1 Corinthians 1:21, mankind did not know God, so God transmitted His message through inspired preachers so that those who respond in faith would be saved. Paul wrote in Romans 1:16 that this gospel message is God’s power to save those who believe it. Notice that the Gospel is what Paul preached (vs. 15). Thus the preached message from God generates faith and enables people to be saved.
We see the same in Acts 2:37. What pierced the hearts of the listeners? Obviously, the sermon. Acts 2:37 is a demonstration of Romans 10:17—“faith comes by hearing…the word of God.” God did not change the hearts of the people miraculously; Peter’s words did. If denominational doctrine is correct, when the Jews asked the apostles what they should do, Peter should have said: “There’s nothing you can do. You are so totally depraved, you can’t do anything. God will regenerate you; He will cause you to believe (since faith is His ‘free gift’).” Yet, quite to the contrary, Peter told them that they needed to do some things. And they were things that God could not do for them.
First, they were required to “repent.” Biblical repentance is a change of mind (Matthew 21:29). A “turning” follows repentance (Acts 3:19) and consists of some specified action subsequent to the change of mind. John the Baptizer called this turning activity, which follows repentance and serves as evidence that repentance has occurred, “fruits” (Matthew 3:8). After being convicted (Acts 2:37—i.e., believing the truth of Peter’s contentions), they were told to “repent,” to change their minds about their previous course of life. What else were they to do?
Peter did not tell them to “repent and believe.” Their belief was already abundantly evident in their pricked hearts and their fervent petition for instructions. What was lacking? Peter said (i.e., God said) they still lacked baptism. Remember, the only difference between dead faith and saving faith is outward action—compliance with all actions that God specifies as necessary before He will freely bestow unmerited favor in the form of forgiveness.
Thus baptism marked the point at which God would count them righteous if they first believed and repented. Baptism served as the line of demarcation between the saved and the lost. Jesus’ blood could wash their sins away only at the point of baptism.

Objection #9: “The preposition ‘for’ in the phrase ‘for the remission of sins’ in Acts 2:38 means ‘because of.’ Hence, they were baptized because of sins for which they were forgiven when they believed.”
The English word “for” has, as one of its meanings, “because of.” However, the Greek preposition eis that underlies the English word “for” never has a causal function. It always has its primary, basic, accusative thrust: unto, into, to, toward. We must not go to the text, decide what we think it means, and assign a grammatical meaning that coincides with our preconceived understanding. We must begin with the inspired grammar and seek to understand every text in light of the normal, natural, common meaning of the grammatical and lexical construction. The same grammatical construction of Acts 2:38 is found in Matthew 26:28—“into the remission of sins” (eisaphesin hamartion). Jesus’ blood, the blood of the covenant, was undeniably shed for many “in order to acquire remission of sins.” This is the natural and normal meaning of the Greek preposition—toward, in the direction of. Had the Holy Spirit intended to say that baptism is “because of” or “on account of” past forgiveness, He would have used the Greek preposition that conveys that very idea: dia with the accusative.
Similarly, in Acts 2:38, if repentance is not “because of” remission of sins, neither is baptism. Regardless of person and number considerations, Peter told his hearers to do both things. The act of baptism (connected to the act of repentance by the coordinate conjunction) cannot be extricated from the context of remission of sins by any stretch.

Objection #10: “When the Philippian jailer asked what to do to be saved, he was simply told to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.”
As further proof that God does not miraculously bestow faith on a person through the Holy Spirit, observe that Paul told the jailer that he (the jailer) had to believe; he did not answer the jailer’s question with: “You don’t have to do anything. God will give you faith.” On the contrary, Paul and Silas told him that he had to manifest faith in Jesus. But was this pagan jailer in a position at that moment to do so? No, he would have to be taught Who, how, and what to believe. No wonder, then, Luke records immediately: “they spoke the word of the Lord to him” (Acts 16:32). If Romans 10:17 can be trusted, the words which Paul and Silas proclaimed generated faith in the jailer. And those same words surely included the necessity of repentance and baptism, because the jailer immediately manifested the fruit of repentance (by washing their stripes), and likewise was immediately baptized (not waiting until morning or the weekend). Observe carefully Luke’s meticulous documentation, that it was only after the jailer believed, repented, and was baptized, that the jailer was in a position to rejoice. Only then did Luke describe the jailer as “having believed in God” (vs. 34), i.e., now standing in a state of perfected belief.5

Objection #11: “Saul was saved before and without baptism while he was on the road to Damascus when Jesus appeared to him.”
The actual sequence of events delineated in Acts shows that Saul was not saved while on the road to Damascus. Jesus identified Himself and then accused Saul of being a persecutor (Acts 9:5). Saul “trembled” and was “astonished” (hardly the description of a saved individual), and pleadingly asked what he should do—a clear indication that he had just been struck with his lost and undone condition.
This question has the exact same force as the Pentecostians’ question (Acts 2:37) and the jailer’s question (Acts 16:30). All three passages are analogous in their characterization of individuals who had acted wrongly (i.e., the Pentecostians had crucified Jesus, Saul was persecuting Christians, and the jailer had kept innocent Christians jailed). Likewise, in each instance, the candidates for conversion are portrayed as unhappy (i.e., the Pentecostians were “cut to the heart,” Saul “trembled” and “was astonished,” and the jailer “came trembling”—i.e., he was frightened). They were scared, miserable individuals, suddenly brought face to face with their horribly unacceptable status before God. Such is hardly an apt description for saved individuals. Where is the joy, peace, and excitement that comes when one’s sins have been washed away?
Saul was not forgiven on the road to Damascus—he still needed to be told what he “must do” (Acts 9:6). He still lacked “hearing the word of the Lord.” The only way for Saul to hear the Gospel was through the agency of a preacher (Romans 10:14; 1 Corinthians 1:21). Similarly, an angel told Cornelius (Acts 10:4) that his prayers and money had gone up for a memorial before God—yet he was unsaved. He needed to contact an inspired preacher, Peter, “who will tell you words by which you and all your household will be saved” (Acts 11:14). Likewise, before Saul could learn of God’s plan that he be the great “apostle of the Gentiles,” he first needed to hear the Gospel expounded and told how to respond to what God offered in Christ.
Rather than tell him what he needed to do to be saved, Jesus told him to go into the city, where a preacher (Ananias) would expound to him the necessity of salvation. Notice: Saul waited in Damascus for three days without food and drink, and was still blind. Here’s an individual who was still miserable, unhappy, and unsaved, awaiting instructions on how to change his unfortunate status. Acts 9:18 condenses Saul’s response to the preached Word, while Acts 22 elaborates a little further on the significance of Saul’s response. Ananias said, “And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord” (Acts 22:16).
Notice Ananias’ inspired connection between baptism and sins being cleansed. If Saul was saved prior to baptism, it was wrong for Ananias to say that Saul still had sins that needed to be washed away. Ananias did not congratulate Saul because his sins already were washed away, and tell him that he needed to be baptized only as a “badge” or “outward symbol” or “picture” of what had already occurred. He plainly said Saul’s sins yet needed to be washed away. That can be accomplished only by Jesus’ blood in the act of baptism. The water does not cleanse the sin-stained soul—Jesus does. And Ananias clearly stated when (not how or by Whom) that occurs. If Saul’s penitent faith would not lead him to submit to water immersion, he could not have had his sins washed away by Jesus. Instead, he would have remained in opposition to Jesus. Remember, Scripture never portrays baptism as symbolic of previous sin removal. The only symbolism ever attached to the act of baptism is its (1) likeness to Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection (Romans 6:3-5); (2) its comparison to the removal of sin like circumcision removes skin (Colossians 2:12); and (3) its likeness to Noah’s emergence from a sinful world (1 Peter 3:20-21). God literally (not symbolically) removes sin and justifies the individual by grace, through faith, at the point of baptism.

Objection #12: “If baptism is necessary to salvation, Jesus would have said, ‘but he who does not believe and is not baptized will be condemned’ in Mark 16:16. And besides, the last twelve verses of Mark 16 are not included in the oldest and best Greek manuscripts.”
The omission of “and is not baptized” in Mark 16:16 is completely logical and necessary. The first phrase (“he who believes and is baptized”) describes man’s complete response necessitated by the preaching of the Gospel: Faith must precede baptism, since obviously one would not submit to baptism if he did not first believe. It is non-essential to ascribe condemnation in the second clause to the individual who is not baptized, since the individual being condemned is the one who does not initially believe. The person who refuses to believe “is condemned already” (John 3:18) and certainly would not be interested in the next item of compliance—baptism. He who does not believe would obviously not be baptized—and even if he would, his failure to first believe disqualifies him from being immersed. Only penitent believers are candidates for baptism. An exact grammatical parallel would be: “He who goes to the store and buys coffee for his father will receive $5.00. He who does not go to the store will be spanked.” Obviously, if the child refuses to go to the store, he would not be in a position to buy coffee, and it would be redundant—even grammatically and linguistically inappropriate—to include the failure to purchase the coffee in the pronouncement of an impending spanking.
Are the last verses of Mark 16 uninspired? The textual evidence supporting the authenticity of Mark 16:9-20 is exceptional in light of the vast sources available for establishing the original text. While it is true that Vaticanus and Sinaiticus omit the last 12 verses, it is positively misleading to assume that “the validity of these verses is weak.” In fact, the vast number of witnesses are in favor of the authenticity of verses 9-20. The rejection of Vaticanus is less weighty in light of its comparable exclusion of the Pastoral Epistles, the last part of Hebrews, and Revelation. The rejection of Sinaiticus is similarly unconvincing, since it includes some of the Apocryphal books.6

Objection #13: “Romans 10:9-10 indicates that all one needs to do is believe and confess Jesus.”
The use of eis in Romans 10:10 cannot mean “because of.” Verse nine explicitly says one will be saved “if” he confesses and believes in the heart. Confession and faith are therefore prerequisites to forgiveness. They are God-ordained “responses” to the preached Word (vs. 8) and must occur before salvation is imparted by God. In other words, one’s soul is purified when he obeys the truth (1 Peter 1:22). Jesus provides eternal salvation to those who obey Him (Hebrews 5:9).
But is baptism excluded from salvation since only faith and confession are mentioned in Romans 10:9-10? Notice, four chapters earlier, the order of Romans 6:17-18: (1) slaves to sin; (2) person obeys; (3) made free from sin (righteous). Item (3) cannot occur unless item (2) occurs first. The “whole” of man is to reverence God and keep His commands (Ecclesiastes 12:13). To whom does God give the Holy Spirit? To those whom He arbitrarily chooses, without any consideration of the individual’s necessitated response? No. Acts 5:32 says God gives the Holy Spirit to those who obey Him. God has always conditioned the bestowal of spiritual blessing upon prior obedient response (Jeremiah 7:23; Genesis 26:4-5). Deuteronomy 5:10 says God shows mercy to those who love Him and keep His commands.
In Romans 10, Paul is not stressing the specific aspects of the conversion process. That is not the context. Rather, the context addresses whether one is acceptable to God in the Christian dispensation due to physical heritage (i.e., race/ethnicity), versus whether one is saved when one complies with God’s instruction. Paul was stressing that their nationality could not bring the Jews into God’s favor. Rather, people are saved when they render obedience to the Gospel. He quoted Joel 2:32, where the emphasis is on the word “whosoever” in contrast to “Jews only.” Verse 12 argues that God does not distinguish on the basis of race. The individual’s response to the preached Word is the deciding factor. However, Romans 10 does not reveal all of the details of that obedient response. One must be willing to search out the whole truth on such a subject.
If repentance is essential to salvation, one must concede that such teaching must come from some passage other than Romans 10. Does Romans 10:10 mean that repentance is unnecessary, just because it is unmentioned in the text? No, since repentance is required in chapter 2:4. If not, then why assume baptism to be nonessential simply because it is not mentioned in this particular text? It is enjoined in chapter 6:3-4. To ascertain the significance of baptism in God’s sight, one must go to passages that discuss that subject, rather than dismiss them in deference to verses on faith. If God says, “faith saves” (Romans 5:1), let us accept that truth. If God says, “baptism saves” (1 Peter 3:21), let us accept that truth, too! Jesus Himself said: belief + baptism = salvation (Mark 16:16), not belief = salvation + baptism.
Notice also, Romans 10:10,13 does not say that salvation can be acquired by mere verbal confession (e.g., “I accept Jesus into my heart as my personal Savior”). Why?
(1) Nowhere is the statement, “Accept Jesus as your personal Savior,” found in Scripture.
(2) Jesus forever dashed the idea of salvation by mental acceptance/verbal profession alone in Matthew 7:21 and Luke 6:46, where He showed that oral confession alone is unacceptable. In every age, there have been specified actions of obedience that God has required before He would count individuals as pleasing or acceptable. In fact, if faith is not coupled with the appropriate obedient action (like baptism), then such faith is unable to justify. Such faith is imperfect (James 2:17,20,26) and therefore cannot save!
(3) The phrase “call on the name of the Lord” is an idiomatic way to say: “respond with appropriate obedient actions.” It is the figure of speech known as synecdoche (i.e., the part stands for the whole). To “call” on God’s name is equivalent to saying, “Do what He tells you to do.” Isaiah 55:6 told the Jews of Isaiah’s day to call on God. Verse 7 explains how: (1) forsake wicked ways, (2) forsake wicked thoughts, (3) return to the Lord. To obey these three stipulations constituted “calling on God.”
Likewise, those in Jerusalem who “called on the Lord’s name” (Acts 9:14,21) had done so, not solely by verbal confession, but by repentance and baptism for forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38). Similarly, Paul himself became a Christian, that is, he “called on the name of the Lord”—not by verbally confessing Christ—but by being baptized (Acts 22:16). For Paul, “calling on the Lord’s name” was equivalent to (not precedent to) being baptized. God washed his sins away by the blood of Jesus at the point of his baptism.
CONCLUSION
Though the bulk of Christendom for centuries has veered off into Calvinism and other post-first century theological thought, the meaning and design of baptism is determined by the New Testament. The verses in the New Testament that speak about baptism are definitive. They indicate that water immersion precedes salvation—along with faith, repentance, and confession of Christ’s deity. No objection has ever overturned this divinely intended function.
ENDNOTES
1 Although the thief may well have submitted to the precursor to NT baptism, i.e., John’s baptism, it also was “for the remission of sins” (Mark 1:4; Luke 3:3).
2 See also Dave Miller (2003), “The Thief on the Cross,” Apologetics Press, http://www.apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=11&article=1274&topic=86.
3 Cf. Eric Lyons (2004), “Calling on the Name of the Lord,” http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/597.
4 Rudolf Bultmann (1968), “πιστεύω,” Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1982 reprint), 6:206; Fredrick William Danker (2000), “ὑπακοη,” A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago), third edition, p. 1028; James Denny (no date), “St. Paul’s Epistles to the Romans” in The Expositor’s Greek Testament, ed. W. Robertson Nicoll (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans), 2:587; J.B. Lightfoot (1895), Notes on Epistles of St. Paul (London: Macmillan), p. 246; H.P.V. Nunn (1912), A Short Syntax of New Testament Greek (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press), p. 42; Geoffrey H. Parke-Taylor (1944), “A Note on ‘είς ὑπακοὴν πίστεως’ in Romans 1.5 and xvi.26,” The Expository Times, 55:305-306; A.T. Robertson (1931), Word Pictures in the New Testament (Nashville, TN: Broadman Press), 4:324; Marvin Vincent (1946), Word Studies in the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans), 3:5; W.E. Vine (1966), An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words (Old Tappan, NJ: Fleming H. Revell), p. 123.
5 W.M. Ramsay (1915), The Bearing of Recent Discovery on the Trustworthiness of the New Testament (London: Houghton and Stoughton), p. 165.
6 For a more thorough discussion of this matter, see Dave Miller (2005), “Is Mark 16:9-20 Inspired?” Reason & Revelation, 25[12]:89-95, December, http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/2780.

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God’s Protection and God Alone our Refuge! Week 8 of 52 Weeks.

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Stacking up Rocks~copyright Shelia Holmes 2017

 

God’s Protection and God Alone our Refuge! Week 8 of 52 Weeks.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018
Week 8 of 52 Weeks of Devotionals by Shelia~s Notes as we are studying Jesus through the entire Bible~Genesis to Revelation
This weeks devotional will be looking at Some Psalm passages and how they tie into New Testament passages about Jesus.
The Reign of the LORD’s Anointed ~The Son of God
Psalm 2:7 “I will surely tell of the decree of the LORD: He said to Me, ‘You are My Son, Today I have begotten You. Acts 13:33 That God has fulfilled this promise to our children in that He raised up Jesus, as it is also written in the second Psalm, ‘YOU ARE MY SON; TODAY I HAVE BEGOTTEN YOU.’ God predicted the coming of His Son way back in Psalm 2:7. The writer of Acts tells of the fulfilled promise about Jesus.
Jesus the Messiah would be despised and crucified and hated without cause:
Luke 23:13-22(please read) Pilate Seeks Jesus’ Release: But the anger crowd wanted Jesus killed.
Verse 22 And he said to them the third time, “Why, what evil has this man done? I have found in Him no guilt demanding death; therefore I will punish Him and release Him”
Verse 23 But they were insistent, with loud voices asking that He be crucified. And their voices began to prevail.
Matthew 27: 35 When they had crucified Him, they divided up His garments among themselves by casting lots. Verse 46 About the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying ELI, ELI, LAMA SABACHTHANI? that is, ‘MY GOD, MY GOD, WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME?” also found in Psalm 22:1
This is not the end of the story: Jesus died for the world’s sins (John 3:16-17) but He also was raised and He lives.
Acts 13:30-38(please read) But God raised Him from the dead; and for many days He appeared to those who came up with Him from Galilee to Jerusalem the very ones who are now His witnesses to the people. And we preach to you the good news of the promise made to the fathers, that God has fulfilled this promise to our children in that He raised up Jesus. But He whom God raised did not undergo decay. Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through Him forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you,
Jesus the Messiah would be Lord at the Right Hand of God:
Psalm 110:4 -5 The LORD has sworn and will not change His mind, “You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek. The Lord is at Your right hand;
Then in 1 Peter 3:21:22 Corresponding to that, baptism now saves you—-not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience—through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who is at the right hand of God, having gone into heaven, after angels and authorities and powers had been subjected to Him.
Psalm 61:1-2 Hear my cry, O God; Give heed to my prayer. From the end of the earth I call to You when my heart is faint; Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
Psalm 62:1-8 My soul waits in silence for God only; From Him is my salvation. He only is my rock and my salvation, My stronghold; I shall not be greatly shaken.
My soul, waits in silence for God only, For my hope is from Him. He only is my rock and my salvation, My stronghold, I shall not be greatly shaken.
On God my salvation and my glory rest; The rock of my strength, my refuge is in God. Trust in Him at all times, O people; Pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us.
Lots to think about this week. Be sure to open your Bible and read all the passages and see if you can find other passages that go along with these. Thanks for stopping in and reading this. Please leave a commit. Would love to hear from you.
Have a blessed day. It is icy here in May Town as I type this. Stay safe and warm
For a free Bible Study go to: http://www.worldbibleschool.org
All pictures and content are copyrighted by Shelia Holmes 2107

Jesus’ Baptism: Week 7 of 52 Weeks of Devotionals by Shelia~s Notes

Week 7 of 52 Weeks of Devotionals by Shelia~s Notes

Jesus’ Baptism

We have talked at great lengths in the previous weeks about how Jesus Christ is prophesied throughout the OT. Jesus is in every book of the Bible. How awesome is that?

Last week I jumped right into why Jesus came to earth. He was rich but He became poor for our sake. He came to save the lost world of humanity. He came to teach us what we are to do to obey.  He came to seek and save the lost. He came to be our Passover sacrifice as we learned earlier. He came to fulfill the prophecy of God. These are some of  the reasons He came.

This week we will look at His Baptism.

Jesus’ Baptism

What does Jesus’ baptism say about the importance of obedience and of baptism?

Matthew 3:13-17

Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptized by him.  But John would have hindered him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and you come to me?”
But Jesus, answering, said to him, “Allow it now, for this is the fitting way for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he allowed him.  Jesus, when he was baptized, went up directly from the water: and behold, the heavens were opened to him. He saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove, and coming on him.  Behold, a voice out of the heavens said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”

Jesus was baptized to fulfill all righteousness. Jesus was without sin but He did the will of His Father by being baptized. We are taught what to do to have our sins forgiven in Acts 2:38  Peter said to them, “Repent, and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

We are to repent and be baptized for the forgiveness of sins. This is what we must do to be obedient to the will of God.

Jesus learned the Obedience. Hebrews 5:8-9 Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered. And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation,

Jesus lived, suffered and died as a man to show us what obedience to God looks like. Jesus did not have to be baptized for the forgiveness of sin. He had no sin. He was baptized to fulfill the righteousness of God’s will.

Luke 7:30 But the Pharisees and the lawyers rejected God’s purpose for themselves not having been baptized by John. Their hearts were too stubborn to obey.

Jesus’ baptism fulfilled the appearance of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit in one spot of time. This is a huge statement and witness of the power and might of God.

As we read in Matthew 3:13-17  Jesus, when he was baptized, went up directly from the water: and behold, the heavens were opened to him. He saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove, and coming on him. Behold, a voice out of the heavens said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”

  1. Jesus was baptized
  2. The Holy Spirit came in the bodily form of a dove,
  3. The Father spoke from heaven.

The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are three distinct Beings.

God miraculously demonstrated Jesus’ special nature when Jesus was born. He again demonstrated Jesus’ special character at the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry.

Jesus and His disciples taught us what we must do to obey and be saved through Jesus Christ precious blood.

  1. I must Hear the saving message of Christ’s Sacrifice. Romans 10:17, 1 Cor. 1:18
  2. I must Believe Jesus is the Son of God. John 8:24, Hebrews 11:6
  3. I must Confess Christ as my Lord. Matthew 10:32-33, Romans 10:9-11
  4. I must Repent of my sinful conduct. Luke 13:3-5, Acts 17:30
  5. I Must be Baptized for the Forgiveness of my sins. Acts 2:38, Acts 22:16
  6. I must Teach others the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Matthew 28:20

If you have any questions, please notify me. Thanks for coming.
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What does the Bible say about being a Busybody(Nosey)?

What does the Bible say about being a busybody/(Nosey)?
http://www.gotquestions.org

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Answer: A busybody is a person who meddles in the affairs of others. Sometimes this meddling is under the guise of “helping,” but usually the “help” is unwelcome and uninvited. Busybodies are often people who are dissatisfied with the level of drama in their own lives and gain satisfaction by becoming involved in the problems of other people. Gossip is usually a staple of every busybody, but it is usually camouflaged as a “prayer request” or given under the pretense of asking for advice.

The Bible has strong words for busybodies (2 Thessalonians 3:11; 1 Timothy 5:13). First Peter 4:15 warns us, “Make sure that none of you suffers as a murderer, or thief, or evildoer, or a troublesome meddler.” It is noteworthy that Peter lists meddling as prohibited right along with murder and theft. Busybodies within the church often camouflage their nosey meddling as compassionate concern. The difference between meddling and concern, however, is whether or not the intrusion is beneficial or productive in the lives of others.

Some people have difficulty recognizing themselves as busybodies, so a few questions can aid in determining whether or not attempts to “help” are in fact meddling. A potential busybody should ask him/herself the following questions:

1. Is this any of my business? (1 Timothy 5:13)
2. Has God given me this assignment? (Ephesians 6:19)
3. Am I qualified to involve myself with this? (Romans 14:10)
4. Is my true motivation to bring help, or do I only want to feel needed? (1 Corinthians 13:1)
5. How much of my “discussion” about the situation could be classified as gossip? (Proverbs 11:13)
6. What was the result the last time I intruded in a situation that was not my problem? (Proverbs 26: 11)
7. Has my opinion been sought by those involved? (Proverbs 27:2)
8. Am I motivated by love for this person or by a sense of my own importance? (1 Corinthians 16:14)
9. Am I basing my “help” on Scripture or on my own opinion? (Proverbs 16:25)
10. Do I respond with anger when my “advice” is not accepted or found to be flawed? (Proverbs 17:10)

The answers to these questions can help us determine whether our involvement in the affairs of others is, in fact, meddling. If we recognize that our real motivation is the enjoyment of being in the center of other people’s issues, it may be time to let God deal with that insecurity. It is important to remember that busybodies rarely think of themselves as insecure. If we find ourselves often embroiled in the secrets of others, it may be wise to seek the oversight of a trusted friend or pastor. An objective person can help clarify our motivations and keep us from becoming a busybody.

What does it mean to be a busy body?
A busybody is a nosy, meddling person, who’s very interested in what other people say and do. If you’re a busybody, you can’t help offering advice to friends, whether they want it or not. Busybodies are known for trying to help with situations in which they’re not necessarily welcome or needed

What is the meaning of a gossiper?
A gossiper is someone who talks eagerly and casually about other people. If you like to spread rumors and hear the latest news about your friends, you might be a gossiper. When you gossip, you talk enthusiastically about other people’s news or business. To do this regularly is to be a gossiper.

If you have been guilty of this now is the time to repent. If you want to study the Bible please go to this free Bible study: www.worldbibleschool.org

Open Their(Our) Eyes

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Paul is the writer of this passage. Paul had his eyes closed for three days so he might see with his heart. It took a face to face meeting with Jesus to truly open his eyes.

Acts 26:14-15 And falling on the ground he heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” And he said, Who are you Lord? And He said, “I am Jesus whom you are persecuting,” Jesus told Saul to get up and go to Damascus. Saul got up, his eyes were open but he could not see. He went three days without sight.

How many days have we gone without sight? Our eyes are open but we do not see God~Jesus. We go through the motions but we are not doing what God wants us to do. Paul was preaching and persecuting Christians in good faith. He believed he was doing God’s will. How many things are we doing that we believe is God’s will~~~but it turns out not to be?

How many times does Jesus come before us and we do not see Him but our eyes are wide open?

1 Timothy 1:15 though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief. Are we just like Paul? Are we ignorant and unbelieving.

Jesus wants to rescue us just like He did Paul. Will we let Him open our eyes and heart? Acts 26:17-18 Jesus tells Paul why He rescued him, so he can go to the Jews and Gentiles, ‘to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion“ of satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me.’

Jesus has already paid the price for our hostage ransom. He died for our sins and He wants us to live for Him.

First: You shall love the Lord your God with all your soul and with all your mind, and with all your strength.

Second: John 15:10 If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His Love.

Third: Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

It is a free gift but we have to choose to accept it. The only way to get into Jesus Christ is to do what He tells us to do.

Mark 16:16 He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned.

Acts 2:38 Peter said to them, Repent and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Do you see that there is a condition on this. If we are baptized then we will have forgiveness of sins and receive the gift….

I found at least 44 scriptures that mention baptism. Don’t you agree that baptism is critical? That is 44 scriptures that are life or death statements.

Galatians 3:27 For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. We have to be baptized into Christ to get into Him.

1 Corinthians 12:13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greek….

This may be the biggest step we have to take to have our eyes opened. There are many false teaching out there that contradict the word of God.  My challenge is to seek the Word of God to see what He wants us to do. NOT the world’s view of what God wants, NOT man’s view of what God wants. I challenge you to look up all the scripture on Baptism-Baptized and do your own study. PM me is you have questions and I will be happy to study with you.

Or you may go to the link below to do your own bible study.

www.worldbibleschool.org

When Your words came, I ate them;

When-your-words-came- Jer 15 16 torn noteJeremiah’s Prayer

Jeremiah 15:15

You who know, O Lord,
Remember me, take notice of me,
And take vengeance for me on my persecutors.
Do not, in view of Your patience, take me away;
Know that for Your sake I endure reproach.

16. Your words were found and I ate them,
And Your words became for me a joy and the delight of my heart;
For I have been called by Your name,
O LORD God of hosts.

God’s Answer

19. Therefore, thus says the LORD, “If you return, then I will restore you—
Before Me you will stand;
And if you extract the precious from the worthless,
You will become My spokesman.”
21. ” So I will deliver you from the hand of the wicked,
And I will redeem you from the grasp of the violent.”

Jeremiah has the job of prophesying to Jerusalem what God is going to do to them because they have turned from Him and will not repent.

Verse 2. “Those destined for death, to death;
And those destined for the sword, to the sword;
And those destined for famine, to famine;
And those destined for captivity, to captivity.”

Jeremiah’s heart must be extremely heavy and broken to have to bear the burden of telling Jerusalem this bad news. He has been prophesying to them for many years and they do not listen to him. They have turned from God to serve useless idols and gods.

Jeremiah may be weary and tired of talking to Jerusalem and their not listening. He has been mistreated and abused as he has spoke for God.

Do you ever feel like you are in a similar situation as Jeremiah. Do you feel like no one is listening to you and everyone is abusing you? Maybe you have health issues. Maybe you have an issue with a child. Maybe you have an issue with your husband or co-worker. Maybe you have an issue with a brother or sister in Christ. Maybe you have an issue with your own attitude.

Maybe your issue is with God. Maybe you are not listening to God. Maybe you are not repenting of your stiff-necked ways and hardened hearts that your issues have caused. Not all issues are big, noticeable issues. Some issues that keep us from God are tiny and we may be the only one who knows what it is.

Just like God told Jeremiah-He tells us.

Therefore, thus says the LORD, “If you return, then I will restore you– Before Me you will stand. And if you extract the precious from the worthless, You will become My spokesman.

If we eat the words of God like Jeremiah, they will become our joy and the delight of our hearts.

 16. Your words were found and I ate them,
And Your words became for me a joy and the delight of my heart;
For I have been called by Your name,
O LORD God of hosts.

Let us never forget if we have been baptized into Christ Jesus we are called by His name~~~O LORD of Hosts.

For a free bible study go to: www.worldbibleschool.org

 

When We Feel Like a Failure.

It May Seem Like We Have Failed but God Has Not.

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Anyone ever feel like you do not always understand why things do not work out the way you planned? I wish God would speak directly to us today to tell us exactly what He wants us to do. I wish He would say yes this is what I want you to do, or no don’t do that. Do you think we would really listen to Him or just argue with Him and tell Him what we want? Maybe I do not know what I am wishing for. There might be stricter consequences if He did that. We know He speaks directly to us through His Word and that is good enough because that is His plan.

I may fail God but He will never fail me. God will not fail us or forsake us. Hebrews 13:5 Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, I WILL NEVER DESERT YOU, NOR WILL I EVER FORSAKE YOU.

Joseph’s brothers did evil to him but God used it for His glory and good. Genesis 50: 19 But Joseph said to them, Do not be afraid, for am I in God’s place? As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring this present result, to preserve many people alive.

But sometimes I am a little confused on exactly what He wants me to do at a particular time in my life. I feel like the Israelites wandering in the wilderness for 40 years, not knowing what is going to happen next. I feel like Moses when he did not get to cross the Jordon into the promise land.  God spoke through Moses for 40 years.  Then in the end when he could not enter the promise land but he showed great faith when he spoke to the Israelites.  I cannot imagine how broken hearted Moses was but I can empathize with him. This seems more real to me than ever now. BUT Moses kept his faith and he gave God the glory and credit.  God was the one who crossed the Jordon ahead of them. Not Moses.  Deuteronomy 31: 3 It is the Lord your God who will cross ahead of you; …. Moses tells them in Deuteronomy 31:6 Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the LORD your God is the one who goes with you.

What seems like failure to us may very well be glory and success for God.  We do not know God’s ways and that’s the way He planned it. He has revealed everything we need to know to us. Romans 11:33-36   Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! For Who HAS KNOWN THE MIND OF THE LORD, OR WHO BECAME HIS COUNSELOR? Or WHO HAS FIRST GIVEN TO HIM THAT IT MIGHT BE PAID BACK TO HIM AGAIN? For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.

God does not need us at all. Acts 17: 24 The God who made the world and all the things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things; and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each of us; for in Him we live and move and exist, …For we also are His children.

He does not need us, YET, He desires us. James 4:5 Or do you think that the Scripture speaks to no purpose: “He jealously desires the Spirit which He has made to dwell in us”?  8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double minded.  10 Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord and He will exalt you. He desires us to be in His presence so much that.

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He gave His Only Son for our sacrifice. John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.

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Galatians 3:27 For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 1 Corinthians 12: 13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit. One thing I do know for sure:  The greatest commandment is found in Deuteronomy 6: 5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. Matthew 22: 36-37 Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law? And He said to him, YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND. This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it. YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.

Without faith, we would be so lost we would die. We would not know which way to turn.  We truly stepped out on faith when we moved to Zambia and we continue to live our life on faith in God and all He says in His word is true. We do not fully understand what has happened or why and we may never know in this lifetime. But we believe Romans 8:28 is true and God will cause this all to work for His good and His glory. Romans 8:35 Who will separate us from the love of Christ: Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril or sword?

My charge to you is to keep the faith and keep on keeping on.

Romans 8: 37 But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.  1 Peter 4:11 Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

We have been afforded the opportunity of a lifetime to live in Chipata Zambia for six months.  However, our greatest opportunity is to serve God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength where ever we are.

If you want to find this faith go to: http://www.worldbibleschool.org

My Beautiful Mother-10 Years

Mother-for-blog

My Mother was born on November 18, 1928.  She was named Winnifred Denise Shannon. She was called Denise, Rusty or “He” all her life.

Her Mother was Ruth Parker Shannon who was born in 1909 in Hooker Oklahoma.

My Mother was raised by her Mother and her Grandparents: James Ace Parker and Virgie Myrtle Pittman Parker.  They lived on my Great Grandparents farm near Red Springs, Texas. Mother called it the Sand Hills.

Mother was a beautiful child and grew into a beautiful woman. She grew up carrying a heavy burden that was not even hers. Because of that, she determined that she would be a great Mother and she lived up to that determination.

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She met and fell in love with a tall, dark, handsome young man named Bob Morrison down in those Sand Hills. He hailed from Saint Jo, Texas but migrated to Red Springs, Texas with some of his relatives to pick boles (cotton) one fine Fall.

Mother was almost 12 years old and Daddy was five years older. They had their first date during the first Fall, shortly after she turned 12.  Bob came back several more Falls to pick boles, or was it to court Denise? This went on for almost four years. When Denise was 15 and 1/2, Bob convinced her to marry him. He was already on his was to serve during World War II. They married in September 1943, just two months before she turned 16. Daddy spent the next three years in Germany, France, and Italy. Mother said more than once, when he came home he was a different man than she had married.  Daddy returned to Mother. The war was over but the battle still raged in her husband.

By February of 1947 they had added a beautiful baby girl to their small family. My sister Sharron was born of the 5th of February. She was dark haired and brown eyed. Three years later another baby girl was born into the family. Mother said she always wanted a bald-headed baby. Guess what? She got it and it was me. I stayed like that until I was well over two years old. She said I looked like an old, toothless, bald man. That cured her desire for a bald-headed baby.

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Mother, Sharron and Shelia

Three years later we finally got our baby boy. Bobby Earl was born on March 16, 1953. His birth is the first memory I have. I remember being so happy when he was born. I thought he came along just for me. He was always so special to me.

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Sharron, Shelia and Bobby

He was ornery and beautiful at the same time. The picture below depicts his orneriness. We were all cleaned up waiting on our Grandmother-Mama Ruth and Great-grandparents-Pawpaw and Mawmaw, to come see us.  In the meantime, Bobby found a mud puddle to ride his trike through. That’s the way he rolled.

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The Three of Us

We were not a family of picture-takers. This is a rare one of our family. Mother’s brother and his family were there, so I guess we got the old Brownie camera out.

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Bob, Denise, Bobby, Sharron and Shelia

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Bobby Earl

This is one of the last pictures I have of Bobby.

He was in a car accident and paralyzed

from the neck down when he was just 21.

He lived 13 months and died at the age of 22 years.

That is a story for another time.

Mother and Daddy and their grand children. Missy being the oldest grandchild got to name the grandparents. She chose Bob for Bob and He for Denise. Thus they became known as Bob and He to everyone who knew them.

Sharron has three kids and I have one. Sharron has several grandkids and I have zero. She has three great-grandkids. I have zero.

Back to my beautiful Mother.

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Shelia and Mother

This is one of my favorite pictures of my Mother. It was taken three years before she passed from this life. She loved birds and the Spring Time. One of her favorite hymns was I’ll Fly Away. She did fly away on April 7, 2007.

What was so ironic about that date; it was my Dad’s earthly birthdate. He passed from this life on April 27, 1992.

Mother lived a simple life. If she was guilty of anything it had to be that she loved too much. She loved her children and family deeply until her last day. She got to see all of them before she passed.

She taught me so much about God and life. She taught me to cook, sew and clean. She taught me how to worry about the ones I love. (Not always a good thing). I am more like her in a lot of ways than I want to be sometimes.

She taught me so much about dying too. The doctor told her that there was nothing else he could do for her but she could go to Hospice if she would like. My heart stopped beating and I could not breathe, as I turned to look at her, dreading to see the look on her face. Remember, she taught me to worry. It seemed like I was moving in slow motion. As I looked her squarely in the face, she had the most peaceful look I had ever seen on her face. She actually glowed. Her blue eyes sparkled and she had the sweetest-slight smile on her face. She said, “I am ready.”

Never in my life have I seen anyone so ready to die. From that moment on she could hardly keep from smiling. She was so tender and kind to everyone she came in contact with. Even when the pain was so intense that it brought tears to her eyes. That was a Tuesday and she left this world four days later, on a snowy Saturday around noon. She had just seen all of her loved ones and she was ready to take her leave by flying away.

As we mark the 10th anniversary of her death, I will never get over her not being here. I am forever thankful that God made her and she became my Mother.

Psalm 139:13-16 For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my Mother’s womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from You,  When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth; And in Your book were all written the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them.

I feel her is the Springtime when the grass turns green and the birds are back in full force. She loved the Spring because she was a child of the outdoors and nature. She grew up in those Sand Hills and she knew every inch of them.

I feel her when I hear her voice inside my head. I feel her when I think of how much she loved her family.

Sometimes I even hear her voice come out of my mouth. I know because Tommy tells me that sounded like Denise Morrison. I own it, I am my Mother’s daughter, good or bad. Mostly good.

I would like to have one more hug, one more birthday song on the phone from her, I would like to have one more loving me so deeply that it hurts from her. There are so many one mores I would love to have from her. But, I could never ask her to come back to this world for anything. She is so much better off than we are.

My Mother You will Always Be

I will love you forever,

I will love your always,

Always my Mother you will be.

Thank you, Mother, for all of the love and everything you did for me and taught me.

Shelia

Create in Me a Clean Heart Oh God!!!

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I want to learn to serve God
with all my heart,
with all my soul,
with all my mind and
with all my strength.
Matthew 22:36-40  says;
 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?”
 And He said to him, 
“You shall love the Lord your God 
with all your heart 
and with all your soul 
and with all your mind.
This is the great and first commandment
If the greatest commandment 
is to love the Lord my God with all my heart, soul
and mind, I have to study God’s Word to
learn what this truly means.
I need a clean heart to accept God’s Word.
Deuteronomy 30:6
And the LORD your God will circumcise your heart
and the heart of your offspring, so that you will
love the LORD your God with all your heart and
with all your soul, that you may live.
Psalm 51:10
Create in me a clean heart,
O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Ezekiel 36:26
And I will give you a new heart,
and a new spirit I will put within you.
And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh
and give you a heart of flesh.
God is the one who can create  a new heart in me.
He will remove my heart of stone
and give me a living heart of flesh.
Psalm 139:23
Search me, O God, and know my heart!
Try me and know my thoughts!
Romans 8:27
And He who searches hearts knows
what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes
for the saints according to the will of God.
Proverbs 4:23
Keep your heart with all vigilance,
for from it flow the springs of life.
Matthew 5:8
“Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they shall see God.
Proverbs 3:5-6
Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
and he will make straight your paths.
James 4:7-8
Submit yourselves therefore to God.
Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.
Cleanse your hands, you sinners,
and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
Psalm 119:11
I have stored up your word in my heart
that I might not sin against you.
Colossians 3:16
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly,
teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom,
singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs,
with thankfulness in your hearts to God.
Hebrews 4:12
For the word of God is living and active,
sharper than any two-edged sword,
  piercing to the division of soul and of spirit,
   of joints and of marrow,
   and discerning the thoughts and
     intentions of the heart.
 God is the only one who can give me a clean heart.
 He is the only one who can remove my old heart of stone.
Father keep my heart from any evil 
so that I will live with You forever.
Father, create in me a clean heart 
and make me like You in all my ways.
Father, I pray that I will love You and 
You only with all my heart, and all my mind,
and all my soul.
Father I do not want to love any other god but You.
Father, please make Your living word dwell in my heart, 
my mind and my soul all the days of my life. 
Father,  please remove any unworthy thoughts 
from my heart, soul and mind.
Search me, O God, and know my heart!    
Try me and know my thoughts!
Thank You for creating a clean heart in me God.
Thank you God for searching my heart and
 knowing my ways and thoughts.
Thank you for revealing Your will to me
through Your Holy and inspired word.
In Jesus Most Holy Name I pray, Amen.
If you want to learn how to serve God
with all your heart just click on this link for a Free Bible Study.
This post is adapted and updated from an earlier one I posted in2014
All content and photos are copyrighted by Shelia Holmes 2017©

What Does God’s Word Say About Grumbling and Complaining?

What Does God’s Word Say About Grumbling and Complaining?

DSC_0409First, what is the definition of grumble/complain?

To complain about something in a bad-tempered way, a complaint, a low rumbling sound.

Some words that describe grumble: mummer, moan, groan, whine, mutter, grouse, bleat, carp, cavil, protest.

Complain: to express dissatisfaction or annoyance about something.

If one looks closely at this picture of the older man with a stick for a cane, they will notice that he has no shoes on his feet. His hat has holes in it but it helped keep the sun off his head. His suit jacket have worn edges and his pants are thread bear.

 

Yet he is dressed in the very best clothes he owns. He dressed up to come to see the dentist.

DSC_0377The mass of people are standing in line with the hopes of getting some physical relief.

What do these people have to complain about?

Let me count the ways:

  • The old gentleman stood in line in the hot sun for hours to get one tooth pulled.
  • He was very elderly as you can see from the picture he needs help to keep him steady.
  • No one knows how far he walked to get to the Medical Mission, or whether he has had anything to eat or drink.
  • What teeth he has left are all very decayed.
  • The dentist will only pull one.
  • When he is finished he still must travel back to his abode.
  • The dentist may or may not be back in his walking distance next year.
  • This may be the first and last time he will ever see a dentist. No matter how bad his teeth become.
  • The people in the second picture may have walked many hours, or even days, with the hope of seeing a doctor, dentist or optometrist.
  • They may have even slept outside in the cold winter night (35-40-degree weather) so they could be near the front of the line in the morning. Now they stand in line in the hot winter sun for hours waiting to see a medical personal.
  • They may or may not have had a meager share of nshema ( a corn meal dough) since they left their village.
  • They may or may not have had a drink of water, little lone clean water.
  • This may be their first and last time ever to see a medical personal.

What in the world would they have to grumble about?

What in the world do they not have to grumble about?

Lack of everything-health care-food-clothes-water-living quarters-you name it and they have it to complain about.

What is in the world do we have to grumble or complain about?

We could list many things.

What does God say about grumbling and complaining?

Numbers 11:1

  • Now the people became like those who complain of adversity in the hearing of the LORD; and when the LORD heard it, His anger was kindled, and the fire of the LORD burned among them and consumed some of the outskirts of the camp.

Jude 1:16

  • These are grumblers, finding fault, following after their own lusts; they speak arrogantly, flattering people for the sake of gaining an advantage.

1 Corinthians 10: 9-10

  • Nor let us try the Lord, as some of them did, and were destroyed by the serpents.  Nor grumble as some of them did and were destroyed by the destroyer.

Philippians 2: 14-16

  • Do all things without grumbling or disputing; so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I will have reason to glory because I did not run in vain nor toil in vain.

God’s word is plain on what He thinks and feels about our grumbling or complaining.

Philippians 2: sums it up:

Do all things without grumbling or disputing;

It doesn’t say it is okay to grumble sometimes or about somethings.

It says DO ALL THINGS WITHOUT GRUMBLING…..

Why?

  • So that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God.
  • Above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation.
  • Among who you appear as lights in the world.
  • Holding fast the word of life.

We may just very well be the light to someone in this crooked and perverse generation.

We may just very well lead someone to Jesus Christ so He can save their soul.

God cannot stand grumblers.

  • He gives us many examples in the bible of how He handled them.
  • He destroyed them.

My challenge to myself and you is:

  • Let us stop grumbling before it is too late.
  • Let us be the light of Christ to this dark world.
  • Let us live as children of God.
  • Let us hold fast to the Word of Life.

For a free bible study go to : www.worldbiblschool.org

Scriptures are taken from NASB