The Four P’s of New Testament Baptism

After Jesus had been crucified, resurrected, and spent forty days instructing His apostles, and just before He ascended back into heaven, He gave them this charge, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.  He who has believed and been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned,” Mark 16:15-16.  With this simple commission, they were sent forth and the world was forever changed.   The formula for salvation is put forth in its simplest terms: Belief + Baptism = Salvation.  However, although few argue for salvation without faith, many seem to doubt or understand the importance of baptism.  Let’s use the divine commentary of other NT passages to see if we can provide some clarity to half of what Jesus said produced salvation.  For the sake of simplicity and hopefully help us remember the prerequisites and purpose of baptism, let’s use four P’s…

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Speaking Where, When, and How the Bible Speaks

The first part of 1Peter 4:11 reads, “Whoever speaks, let him speak, as it were, the utterances of God…”  Though the preceding verse and the rest of this one focuses on stewardship- employing the special gift(s) given by God to be used to the benefit of others and to His glory, the portion quoted emphasizes the need for authority in our speech…

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Heterosexual “Christian” Hypocrisy regarding Homosexuality

We Christians often bristle or are dismissive of the charge of “hypocrisy” without really considering that it might actually be accurate.  To be sure, it is frequently falsely levied as the last (or first) resort for those who have no other legitimate defense for their sinful practices.  And let’s be clear, there is no scriptural defense for homosexuality, as 1Corinthians 6:9 clearly indicates.  But these things notwithstanding, Christians are being hypocritical regarding homosexuality by…

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We Seem to Have It Backwards

In mechanics, carpentry, and other kinds of work, sometimes you can install a part or piece 180 degrees out- and thus exactly backwards, and it will still fit, but obviously won’t work.  This ISN’T a problem particular to physical construction or repair.  Sometimes, we can get things exactly backwards in spiritual matters also.  For instance…

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Growing “Weeds” instead of “Fruit”

Have you ever noticed how easy it is to grow weeds and other worthless or undesirable plants?  Basically, just do nothing more than refuse to pull them up, chop them off, or poison them, and you’ll have a fantastic crop in no time at all without any cultivating, watering, fertilizing, or real effort.  Just leave them alone and they’ll take care of the rest!  But by contrast, seemingly the most desirable plants- whether flower, fruit, vegetable, or even grass, are often the most difficult to grow.  They require proper soil tilling and preparation, careful planting, optimum amounts of water, nutrients, and sunshine, and freedom from the competition of or destruction by the undesirables (weeds as well as insect and animal pests).  And, these things must be done over a sometimes-lengthy period of time just to grow the desirable plants to maturity and productivity. Here, yet again, the spiritual mirrors the physical…

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“For Richer, for Poorer, in Sickness and in Health, Until Death Parts Us”

The words are easily recognizable, and equally understandable- but are they the truth?  With these and other words, we promise undying love, endless devotion, and unquestionable loyalty and faithfulness “until death parts us,” and then divorce the mate with whom we stood before God, family, and friends to promise these things.   Why?

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Can We “Fall from Grace”?

I sure have…. many times…. in many ways…. but, it wasn’t God’s grace that somehow moved away or “threw” me.  No, it was I who stumbled and fell....

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Self-Deception: Six Lies We Tell Ourselves about Sin

The results of being spiritually deceived are the same whether Satan, Someone Else, or Self is the source of the deception.  But, being self-deceived is probably the most dangerous because it tends to be the most pervasive, and the hardest to correct.  We can become complicit in our own deception regarding many things, but let’s consider six lies we tell ourselves about sin…

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Fatal Flaws of Ancient Israel (and Modern America?)

We’ve all heard that “History repeats itself.”  But somehow, we never seem to think we’re the ones repeating it- at least at the time.  Both Roman 15:4 and 1Corinthians 10:11 warn Christians against duplicating the mistakes of ancient Israel.  But have we heeded these warnings?  Isn’t America now making the same mistakes as their religious predecessors?  I think so, at least in some key areas….

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Is “The Church Losing Its Young People,” or Are “Young People Leaving the Church”?

Though the unresolved results of the title question are the same, the solutions sought to “fix” the problem are very different based upon which scenario is perceived to be more accurate.  If "the church is losing its young people," then typical solutions proposed are to change the church to make it more attractive to the target group. But, if "young people are leaving the church," we need to change the hearts and minds of young people regarding the place and purpose of the church as God intended it.  Let’s reason through a few things in these regards…

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Daily Verse

“But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.””

- 1 Samuel 16:7

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