“What Prevents Me From Being Baptized?”
The above question was asked by an Ethiopian many years ago. As Philip preached Christ to him (Acts 8:35), they came to a certain water and “the eunuch said, See, here is water! What prevents me from being baptized? … and they both went down into the water, Philip and the eunuch, and he baptized him” (Acts 8:36-39). The question the eunuch asked is still valid. What is preventing you from being baptized?
Is false teaching preventing you? Many people today are taught that baptism is not necessary for salvation. They are told to simply believe or to say a sinner’s prayer for salvation. Isn’t it telling to see that when the preachers of the New Testament taught folks, those listening wanted to be baptized! Yet, when many preach today, people do NOT want to be baptized!
Please read Acts 8 and notice that when Philip preached Christ to the people in Samaria (Acts 8:5), he taught them about “the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ” and baptism (Acts 8:12). “Simon the sorcerer believed, and after being baptized, he continued with Philip” (Acts 8:13). When Philip spoke to the eunuch and “preached unto him Jesus” (Acts 8:35); the first time he saw plenty of water, he wanted to be baptized. Are we seeing a pattern? The teaching concerning baptism began with Christ (Matt. 28:19; Mk. 16:16). The apostles and disciples of the Lord then carried this message to the world (Acts 2:38, 10:48, 18:8, 22:16; I Pet. 3:21; Col. 2:12; Gal. 3:26-27). When the people heard the New Testament heroes preach, they wanted to be baptized. What is hindering you from being baptized?
Are friends and family preventing us? Depending upon our friends and family, they can pressure us to do the right things or the wrong things. Have they pressured us into not obeying the Lord? The Bible says: “We must obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29). Jesus said: “Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me” (Matt. 10:37). In order to please our Lord, we must obey His command to be baptized for the remission of sins regardless of what others might say about us (Phil. 3:8). What is hindering you from being baptized?
Does the urge for popularity prevent us? It is not popular to be a Christian. In fact, Jesus promised His apostles that men would hate them for no other reason than they served the Lord (Jn. 15:18-20). Peter said that some men would be “surprised when you do not join them in the same flood of debauchery” (I Pet. 4:4). We need to decide whether we wish for popularity with this world or to be the friend of God. We cannot have it both ways (Jas. 4:4)!
Could selfishness be preventing us? Some people refuse to do anything unless it is their idea. Could that be my attitude? Have I not been baptized simply because I didn’t want to? The Bible says that I need to put away such attitudes and place Christ’s kingdom first (Matt. 6:33). I need to love God even more than my own life (Lk. 14:26-27).
Whatever is hindering you from being baptized, realize that this hindrance is keeping you from enjoying spiritual blessings (Eph. 1:3); from being in a covenant relationship with Christ (Gal. 3:27); from having your sins forgiven (Acts 2:38, 22:16); from being a child of God (Rom. 8:16-17); and from a home in Heaven (Col. 3:1-4; Rev. 2:10). Is this really worth it?
Some Thoughts About Diotrephes
Diotrephes is mentioned in only two verses in the entire Bible. Yet, what is said about him echoes to this present day. His life and actions stand as a warning to us in the 21st century. The apostle John said, “I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not. Wherefore, if I come, I will remember his deeds which he doeth, prating against us with malicious words: and not content therewith, neither doth he himself receive the brethren, and forbiddeth them that would, and casteth them out of the church” (III Jn. 9-10).
After reading about Diotrephes and his actions, let us consider his life and make some applications to ourselves. 1) Diotrephes loved to have “preeminence” among folks. Yet, did we notice that there are only two verses in the entire Bible that even mention him? 2) In those two verses that mention him, he is referred to as a very wicked man. Think about it! 3) Jesus told His followers (and us today), “Whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted” (Matt. 23:12). We are warned about the dangers of pride in passages such as Proverbs 16:18, James 4:6, and many others. Let us examine our lives and see if pride is keeping us from doing what is right. Friend, is pride ruining you, or are you too proud to admit it?
Spotlight On A Bible Verse: Mark 16:16
“He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.” These words are the Lord’s plan for saving man in a “nutshell.” If one wishes to be forgiven of sins, he needs to believe on Christ and be baptized. In a world that teaches that salvation is by “faith only,” or by praying a prayer, etc., let us be satisfied with the words of our Lord on this subject. These words are often called “The Great Commission” because Christ sent His apostles to preach this message to the world (Mk. 16:15). In like manner, we who are Christ’s disciples need to continue spreading the word (II Tim. 2:2). We need to let folks know that in order to be saved, we need to believe on Christ (Jn. 8:24) and be baptized (I Pet. 3:21). Be warned that if we reject Christ’s words, there is no other way to be saved from sin.
- Jarrod Jacobs
Are You Free From Sin?
Salvation is something that is on people’s minds today. Certainly, the salvation of one’s own soul ought to be our concern (II Cor. 4:16; Ecc. 12:7). When Paul wrote the Romans, he told them that they were “set free from sin” (Rom. 6:18). When did this happen? Paul explains: “Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin which leads to death, or of obedience which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin, have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness” (Rom. 6:16-18).
Notice that the Romans WERE the servants of sin, but NOW have been made free from sin. What happened? They were “obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching.” What is this? The standard of teaching can be found in Romans 6:3-5. Here, Paul talks about the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Those who are Christians have been “united with him in a death like his” to be raised “in a resurrection like his” (Rom. 6:5). When is one “planted” and “raised”? This happens when one is baptized for the remission of sins (Mk. 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; 8:35-39; 16:30-34)!
Therefore, when one is “obedient from the heart” to the “standard of teaching” (not merely an “outward sign”); and is baptized for the remission of sins, he is THEN made free from sin. Are you free from sin?
Learning Lessons From Naaman The Leper (#7)
For the past few days, we have studied II Kings 5:1-14 in connection with the healing of the leper, Naaman. What applications can we make from this account?
From the young maid (II Kings 5:2-3), let us learn that God’s word is understandable, and can be obeyed by the young as well as the old. God’s word is just as understandable today as it was in the days of Naaman (Eph. 3:4, 5:17).
Let us learn that only God can save us, and His salvation is not for sale (II Kings 5:5, 15-16; I Pet. 1:18-19). Just as Naaman was cleansed on God’s terms (II Kings 5:10, 14), we will be saved on God’s terms, or not at all (Mk. 16:16; Acts 2:38).
We need to realize that we are known by what we do (II Kings 5:8). Our words only go so far. If we are a Christian, or are wicked, our actions will show it (Matt. 7:12, 21; I Jn. 3:18).
Instead of fighting against the Lord (II Kings 5:11-12), let us willingly obey God. Naaman was the first on record to suggest that cleansing power was in the water. It was not true then, nor is it true today when someone cries “water salvation” when we teach baptism for the remission of sins (Acts 22:16; I Pet. 3:21).
Finally, let us learn that we will be blessed by God only when we submit completely to the will of the Lord, just as Naaman did (II Kings 5:14; Rev. 22:14)! Are we obedient to the Lord? (Jas. 2:24, 26)