“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?
Lies The Devil Tells
Satan has many lies that he tells people (Jn. 8:44). “It does not bother my conscience” is a lie used to justify sins. Put another way, “Let your conscience be your guide” is the advice given to many when faced with a questionable situation. While this can be good advice, remember our conscience can be trained not to bother us when we sin. The Bible tells us that our conscience can be “seared” (I Tim. 4:1-2) or “defiled” (Titus 1:15-16). Would a “defiled” conscience be a very good guide?
Before he became a Christian, Paul was with those who stoned Stephen and consented to his death (Acts 7:58, 8:1). Paul found Christians and put them in prison for being Christians (Acts 8:3). Acts 9:1-2 reveals that his trip to Damascus was to obtain more authority to persecute the Christians. He declared that he wasted the church and was more zealous than his fathers in doing so (Gal. 1:13-14). Then, as Paul looked back on his life, he said, “Men and brethren, I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day” (Acts 23:1). Did Paul’s conscience bother him as he consented to the death of Stephen, or as he took Christians and tried to get them to blaspheme the Savior (Acts 26:11)? No! Friends, our conscience cannot be the standard for judging right from wrong in every situation.
Friend, when we sin, we will be held accountable for sin regardless of whether or not it bothered our conscience! Let us follow God’s word as our only standard of authority. When we justify sin by our conscience, we are falling for one of the Devil’s lies!
Lies The Devil Tells
Satan has many lies that he tells people (I Pet. 5:8). Unfortunately, many have listened to his lies to justify sin and error. Let us study another lie Satan tells us.
Some justify themselves by falling for the lie that says, “There are others doing worse.” How many times have we heard this? Perhaps our children have said this to excuse their behavior. Did you accept it from them? Would we accept this excuse in any other area of life? Why then would we expect God to accept this excuse? While we may categorize sin, God does not. He says, “The soul that sinneth, it shall die” (Ezek. 18:20). He says that our sin (all sin) will separate us from Him (Isa. 59:1-2)! Remember King Omri (I Kings 16:23-26)? The Bible records that he was the most sinful king up to that time in the history of Israel. Since this was true, did Omri’s sins justify past kings who were “not as evil” as Omri? Of course, not! Saying we are “not as bad” as someone else is not a wise comparison (II Cor. 10:12).
Our standard today is the word of God. We must speak by the word of God (I Pet. 4:11). It will make us complete (II Tim. 3:16-17), allow us to grow (Heb. 5:12-14), and one day will be our standard in the Judgment (Jn. 12:48). The Bible reveals that we will be judged based upon what we have done (Ecc. 12:13-14), not on what someone else has or has not done that makes us look better! Let us not fall for a lie that we would not accept from anyone else!
Lies The Devil Tells
Satan has many lies that he tells people (I Pet. 5:8). Let us study two more lies Satan tells us.
Satan lies by telling us that we “deserve” this or that. In the beginning, Satan deceived Eve by planting that “seed” of a lie (Gen. 3:4-5). A host of sins are committed today because people think they “deserve” this or that. In truth, we ought to be thankful that we do not get what we deserve!
We “deserve” separation from God (Isa. 59:1-2), not His fellowship (II Jn. 9). We “deserve” God’s wrath (Rom. 3:23), not His mercy (Jn. 3:16). We “deserve” dying in our sins, not Jesus dying for our sins (Matt. 20:28). Let us never get so high-minded as to think that what we have received from God is what we “deserve”!
Another lie says, “It is for a good cause.” No, the end does not justify the means! Sin is still sin no matter what the reason! One of Satan’s most potent lies is getting men to justify sin by looking for a possible “good side.” The Bible teaches that folks were punished when they committed sin for a supposed “good cause” (II Sam. 6:6-7).
Paul told the Romans that some had “slanderously reported” that he had said, “let us do evil that good may come” (Rom. 3:8). The end does not justify the means! When God reveals His will, He expects it to be followed exactly. We cannot make sin righteous by saying that sin was “for a good cause.” We are not at liberty to devise our own plans. Friend, do not fall for Satan’s lies!
Lies The Devil Tells
Satan has many lies that he tells people (I Pet. 5:8). Satan wants our souls, and will do anything, including lying to us, to lure us away from God. Let us consider some lies that the Devil tells us.
“Nobody will ever know” is a lie of Satan for several reasons. First, when you sin, you know it! If others are involved (they usually are when they assure you “nobody will ever know”), then they are going to know, too! Finally, one more important than all others will know about the sin, God (Prov. 15:3; Ps. 139:7-14)! One day, we are going to be judged by God who sees all and will judge the “secret things” we have done (Ecc. 12:13-14; Rom. 2:16; II Cor. 5:10). He knows!
Another lie folks believe is, “You can repent later.” Who among us is promised a “later”? The Bible says “now” is the day of salvation (II Cor. 6:2), and “Today if you will hear his voice, harden not your hearts” (Heb. 3:7-8, 15). The obituary page is filled with people who thought they had a “later” to make their lives right. We don’t have a “later”! Seeing that all we have is “now,” we need to become a Christian while we can. (Mk. 16:16). Ananias emphasized this when he asked Paul, “Why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized...” (Acts 22:16). The only reason you have been blessed with this day is because God wants you to make your life right with him before it is too late (II Pet. 3:9)!