Authority

And it came to pass, that on one of those days, as He taught the people in the temple, and preached the gospel, the chief priests and the scribes came upon Him with the elders, and spake unto Him, saying, “Tell us, by what authority doest Thou these things? Or who is he that gave Thee this authority?” And He answered and said unto them,
“I will also ask you one thing; and answer Me: The baptism of John, was it from heaven, or of men?”
And they reasoned with themselves, saying, “If we shall say, ‘From heaven;’ he will say, ‘Why then believed ye him not?’ But and if we say, ‘Of men;’ all the people will stone us: for they be persuaded that John was a prophet.” And they answered, that they could not tell whence it was. And Jesus said unto them,
“Neither tell I you by what authority I do these things.”   Luke 20:1-8

One Mightier

“The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God; as it is written in the prophets,
‘Behold, I send My messenger before Thy face, which shall prepare Thy way before Thee. The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make His paths straight.’
John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.  And there went out unto him all the land of Judaea, and they of Jerusalem, and were all baptized of him in the river of Jordan, confessing their sins.  And John was clothed with camel’s hair, and with a girdle of a skin about his loins; and he did eat locusts and wild honey; and preached, saying,
‘There cometh One mightier than I after me, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose.  I indeed have baptized you with water: but He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost.’ ” Mark 1:1-8

The Presence

“And Jesus, when He was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon Him: and lo a voice from heaven, saying, ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.’ ”  Matthew 3:16-17

Jesus, the Christ of God; and there is no other, and never will be. There is only One Messiah, and His name is Jesus.

This is shown with great display as Jesus comes and presents Himself for baptism to fulfill Righteousness. Notice that His baptism was by immersion He “Went up straightway out of the water”. When He rose up there was the presence of the Holy Spirit of God in the form of a dove coming to Him “Lighting on Him” and there was the voice of the Father from heaven. The holy, holy, holy Three in One.

Notice also the Father makes it known to all who will hear, “This is My beloved Son” and He has no other only begotten Son but Jesus. If Jesus the Messiah is the Son of God, He is the Incarnation of of God – God in flesh. The God – Man.

Jesus came to die for the sins of the world; mine and yours. He died on the cross taking all sin upon Himself; even becoming sin for us (2 Corinthians 5:21) dying in our place; He was buried, and He rose from the grave justifying forever those who will call on His name.

Will you call on the name of Jesus Christ today and be saved?

The Safe Place

“The name of the LORD is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe. ‘  Proverbs 18:10

“And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, ‘Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost.’ And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized.”  Acts 9:17-18

Let us always remember the safe place for anyone to be is in the name of the LORD, trusting Him, and growing in His love, mercy, grace, and His correction as well.

Remember the tormentor Saul sought to destroy the safe place of the LORD, which is in the name of the LORD, and he had an encounter with the Lord Jesus Christ, and bowed before Him. When Saul had met the LORD and humbled himself before Him he was filled with the Holy Spirit and the LORD used him mightily for the glory of His name. Let us pray to do likewise in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Let me tell you that Jesus Christ the Son of the Living God died on the cross for your sins, He was buried, and He rose again to justify forever those who will call on His name. If you will call on Him today, right now, He will hear you and will give you eternal life.

Words of Jesus; Son of God, God the Son – 091229

“And it came to pass, that on one of those days, as He taught the people in the temple, and preached the gospel, the chief priests and the scribes came upon Him with the elders, and spake unto Him, saying, ‘Tell us, by what authority doest Thou these things? Or who is he that gave Thee this authority?’ And He answered and said unto them,
‘I will also ask you one thing; and answer Me: The baptism of John, was it from heaven, or of men?’
And they reasoned with themselves, saying, ‘If we shall say, ‘From heaven;’ He will say, ‘Why then believed ye him not?’ But and if we say, ‘Of men;’ all the people will stone us: for they be persuaded that John was a prophet.’ And they answered, that they could not tell whence it was. And Jesus said unto them,
‘Neither tell I you by what authority I do these things.’ ”  Luke 20:1-8

Words Of Jesus; Son of God, God The Son – 071320

“Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. But John forbad Him, saying, ‘I have need to be baptized of Thee, and comest thou to me?’  And Jesus answering said unto him,
‘Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness.’
Then he suffered Him.  And Jesus, when He was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon Him: and lo a voice from heaven, saying,
‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.’ ”  Matthew 3:13-17 (KJB)

Rooted And Built Up In Jesus Christ

“As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in Him: rooted and built up in Him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.
Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. For in Him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.
And ye are complete in Him, which is the head of all principality and power: in whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: buried with Him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised Him from the dead.
And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath He quickened together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses; blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to His cross; having spoiled principalities and powers, He made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.”  Colossians 2:6-15  (KJB)

The Coming and Fulfillment of Righteousness

“But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, ‘O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance: and think not to say within yourselves, ‘We have Abraham to our father’, for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but He that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire: whose fan is in His hand, and He will throughly purge His floor, and gather His wheat into the garner; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.
Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. But John forbad Him, saying, ‘I have need to be baptized of Thee, and comest Thou to me?’ And Jesus answering said unto him, “Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness. Then he suffered Him. And Jesus, when He was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon Him: and lo a Voice from heaven, saying, ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.'” Matthew 3:7-17  (KJB)

The Light That Shines

The Light That Shines

Matthew 4:1-25

Jesus never declared Himself to be King. It is decreed by scripture that there would be a King to always sit upon the throne of David. Jesus is often called the Son of David, and that means He is the One to sit on the throne.

As the king He is the Light. As the Light He even calls us the Light. We will see in the fourteenth through the sixteenth verses that Jesus is the fulfillment of the prophecy of Isaiah concerning the Light that would break the darkness of Zabulon and Nephthalim. That Light shines still today around the world in the lives of His people.

I. THE LIGHT IS VICTORIOUS OVER THE DARKNESS IN HIS TEMPTATIONS (vv. 1-11)

A. Following His baptism Jesus was “led of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil” (v. 1)

1. This was a testing of His being, and to strengthen Him in Spirit.
2. His faith must be tested in order to be obedient to the Father — “Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;” Heb. 5:8 (KJV).

B. The first temptation was concerning His desire and, ours to Survive.

1. “If you are the Son of God”
2. “Turn these stones to bread”
3. Survival sometimes tempts us to take shortcuts around what is right, good, godly and best.
4. Jesus said, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God”

C. The second temptation was concerning His desire, ours to be Secure.

1. The devil’s temptation was one that would require Jesus to prove arrogance and stupidity, not security.
2. When one has genuine security it does not have to be proven to anyone – if you must prove it you don’t have it.
3. To prove His Security at this point and this manner would be to tempt God. “Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God”.
4. Jesus was so secure that He trusted that His Father would take Him all the way to fulfill His destiny, and that destiny as a Man was to die on the cross.

D. The final temptation was concerning His desire, and ours to be successful.

1. Worship me, and I will give you the kingdoms of the world (Ps. 2:8).
2. Jesus would one day have dominion of the kingdoms of the world, but not this way; Jesus knew there was a debt to pay, the sin debt which was owed to the Father.
3. Worshipping God, the Creator, is the only means of success.

II. THE LIGHT SHINES WHERE JESUS DWELLS (vv. 12-17)

A. Jesus as the Light continued the message of the Baptist – the message of repentance.
B. Notice that Jesus departed from Nazareth, and came to Capernaum to dwell.

1. This was His place of residence; his ministry headquarters now. (John 6:16-24).
2. One thing that always stands out in the Gospel of Matthew is that Jesus fulfilled Scripture.

C. Jesus wants His Light to shine in and through you.

III. THE LIGHT SHINES IN AND THROUGH HIS FOLLOWERS/DISCIPLES (vv. 18-22).

A. Jesus walks along the seashore seeking men to follow Him.

1. The sea often represents the realm of mankind, and their doomed, despairing, drowning, dying cries for help.
2. That sea of man is still here and we are all still needy, by when we have come to the light we can go with Jesus.

B. Jesus takes Simon and Andrew first, then He calls James and John.

1. These were all fisherman, and He finds them all about the task of their work.
2. They can understand the call “Come follow me, and I will make you fishers of men”.

C. The call still rings through the word and the hearts of His disciples, “Come follow Me”.

IV. THE LIGHT SHINES AS EVIDENCE OF HIS HONOR, GLORY AND POWER, THROUGH HIS TEACHING, PREACHING AND HEALING (vv. 23-25).

A. These are the credentials of the Divine King – the Son of God.

1. In His teaching He taught with supreme authority (7:29).
2. In His preaching He announced the kingdom of heaven.
3. In His healing and miracles it was divine clarification of His identity and authority.

B. The greatest healing and miracle Jesus came to do was to give Light to the darkness of human hearts.

“The heart of the human problem is the problem of the human heart”

C. Why do we follow Him?

1. Is it solely because of what He can do for us?
2. Is it solely because of what He has done for us?
3. Is it because He loved us and made it possible that we love Him?
4. Is it because of who He is?

SUMMARY –

I. IN HIS LIGHT THERE IS VICTORY OVER EVERY TEMPTATION.
II. THE LIGHT OF JESUS SHINES WHERE HE DWELLS; LET HIM SHINE IN AND THROUGH YOU.
III. HAVE YOU HEARD THE CALL OF JESUS – “COME FOLLOW ME”?
IV. HAVE YOU EXPERIENCED HIS LOVE, THAT ENABLES YOU TO LOVE HIM, BY EXPERIENCE OF HIS GRACE AND SALVATION?
V. CONFESS YOUR SIN, REPENT OF SIN, BELIEVE THAT JESUS DIED, WAS BURIED, AND ROSE AGAIN.

-Tim A. Blankenship

After His Passion

“The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, until the day in which He was taken up, after that He through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom He had chosen: to whom also He shewed Himself alive after His passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God: and, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but Wait for the promise of the Father, which, ye have heard of Me. For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.” Acts 1:1-5 (KJV)

A great many people are familiar people are familiar with the movie called “The Passion” made for the movie screen several years ago; but not everyone is very familiar with the Person of the Passion; and that is Jesus Christ.

The Acts are the continuing accounts of the Physician named Luke who also penned down the Gospel account of Luke.  Luke was not only a physician, but a historian as well.  The verses above show us that continuing account of the crucified, buried and resurrected Lord Jesus Christ.

I just want to leave you with some thoughts on phrases and words through this first chapter;

  1. “Taken up”  and “As He went up”  verses 2, 9, 10, 11;
  2.   “After His passion”  v. 3;
  3.   The continuing of the Gospel of Christ… “But ye shall receive power…” verses 7-8;
  4.   “These all continued with one accord in prayer…”  v. 14;

In verse 11 it should be noted that the admonition is to be telling people about Jesus, His passion, and that He is alive, and one day, soon, returning; and not to be gazing at the skies, and enamored with the signs.

Of course there is much more for chapter one. This will not be a …

What Do I Want For Christmas? Day 357

What do I want for Christmas?

I want every pastor who believes the Bible to be the inerrant, infallible word of God, and that Jesus is the Christ the Son of the Living God; and God the Living Son to begin writing on a weblog [Blog] such as this; and share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with the possibility of reaching millions, maybe billions of souls for the name of Christ.

Jesus said,

“All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20

But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Acts 1:8 (NKJV)

W4CL – Righteousness

“Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. But John forbad Him, saying, ‘I have need to be baptized of Thee, and comest Thou to me? And Jesus answering said unto him, ‘Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness.’ Then he suffered Him.”  Matthew 3:13-15 (KJV)

Coming to John the Baptist for baptism;  these are the first words of Jesus spoken in the Gospel of Matthew.  The baptism of Jesus was for the purpose of fulfilling the righteousness of God.  Jesus certainly did not need to be baptized; except for that purpose.  John recognized it and baptized Him.

Since the first words of Jesus recorded in Matthew were concerning righteousness; I would believe that righteousness is a very important part of Christian living.

Righteousness is doing the godly thing.  The right thing.  Thinking and acting Biblically in a corrupt world.  If you are living like the world; you are not living righteously.

W4CL – Faith

“O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are ye so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh? Have ye suffered so many things in vain? If it be yet in vain. He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doeth He it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?”  Galations 3:1-5 (KJV)

The Church of Galatia was foolish enough they were beginning to rely on works, maybe it was sacraments – baptism, the Lord’s Supper [Communion], etc. – for salvation.  Paul calls them “Foolish” and “Bewitched” or deceived.

It is faith that moves mountains.  It is only the grace of God through faith that saves, and it is God alone who gives faith.

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”  Ephesians 2:8-10 (KJV)

Note that grace and faith are a “Gift of God”.  The gift that has been given us the death of God’s only Son Jesus Christ on the cross.  His burial and bodily resurrection confirms the work of grace.  Faith believes God, and lives for Him and His glory.

The Word for Christian Living to day is Faith.

Words for Christian Living – All One Body

“For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. For the body is not one member, but many.”  1 Corinthians 12:12-14 (KJV)

In our physical body we have had no choice about how we are made.  We may have been made with a weak heart, weak muscles, and even diseased in some way.  We all have body parts that are failing us in one way or another; especially as we age.  It is still our body, and it is one.

Just as we often have no choice with the parts of our physical body we have no choice with who makes up the Body of Christ – Christians.  Only God has made that choice by His grace.  In Jesus Christ we are all the Body of Christ on earth.  Each of us have a part in His Body.  Each is important.  Any one of us who hurts or causes hurt, hurts the whole Body.  Think of that the next time you are tempted to sin.

-Tim A. Blankenship

B F & M – Baptism and the Lord’s Supper

As Baptists we do not consider Baptism or the Lord’s Supper as sacraments – or as being necessary for one’s salvation – that would be an addition to grace.  Baptism is a command of Scripture, but if it is not obeyed from a heart of love for Christ, then it would be without meaning and purpose.  The following is the Statement of Faith concerning these ordinances:

“VII. Baptism and the Lord’s Supper

Christian baptism is the immersion of a believer in water in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. It is an act of obedience symbolizing the believer’s faith in a crucified, buried, and risen Saviour, the believer’s death to sin, the burial of the old life, and the resurrection to walk in newness of life in Christ Jesus. It is a testimony to his faith in the final resurrection of the dead. Being a church ordinance, it is prerequisite to the privileges of church membership and to the Lord’s Supper.

The Lord’s Supper is a symbolic act of obedience whereby members of the church, through partaking of the bread and the fruit of the vine, memorialize the death of the Redeemer and anticipate His second coming.Matthew 3:13-17; 26:26-30; 28:19-20; Mark 1:9-11; 14:22-26; Luke 3:21-22; 22:19-20; John 3:23; Acts 2:41-42; 8:35-39; 16:30-33; 20:7; Romans 6:3-5; 1 Corinthians 10:16,21; 11:23-29; Colossians 2:12.”

Baptism is also the confession of our faith in Christ, His death, burial and resurrection.  It is symbolized by the putting under the water – the death and burial, and the resurrection by coming up from the water.  The celebration of Baptism should be just that a Celebration of one’s faith in Christ.  When you are baptised invite your saved and lost friends to declare unto them your faith in Jesus Christ, and proclaim it by the baptism into Christ Jesus and the local church.

The Lord’s Supper can only legitimately be received by those who have followed the Lord faithfully into the baptismal waters.  Jesus Himself, commanded us to partake of the Lord’s Supper in remembrance of Him until He comes again.  Every time we take the bread which reminds us of his body, bruised from the beatings, broken, and bleeding we are to do it with the expectation of His soon return.  We take the cup of the ‘fruit of the vine’, we are reminded of that precious blood that was shed for our salvation.  “The life of the flesh is in the blood”, and “it is the blood that maketh atonement for the soul” (Leviticul 17:11).

The blood of Jesus Christ sufficient to save the whole world, but only efficient enough to save those who will believe.

-T.A.

Baptists and Baptism

Below, you will find some quotes taken from one who is now the First Vice President of the Southern Baptist Convention, and another from  a quote of a Regular Baptist who lived from 1788 – 1866.  These are and were devout Baptist preachers.

I received these from the Landmark Southern Baptist discussion group.  The parenthesis at the end of each quote is of the moderator of that group – Ben Stratton.

“I believe you have to have certain things in order to be a New Testament Church.    First of all you must preach, believe, adhere to as a congregation that salvation is by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone including security of the believer.  I had a mega-church pastor chide me because I said that this was a qualifier for a New Testament church.  He said you’re ruling out a whole bunch of people when you add that security of believer.  I said that’s ok.  They may be fine Christian people and they may be going to heaven and may have a great time when they get together but they’re not a New Testament church because a New Testament church teaches salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone including security of the believer.  (This) makes it a New Testament Church.   Doesn’t have to have Baptist over the door but it does have to have Bible in its doctrine.  So that means also baptism by immersion of believers only.  You can’t sprinkle or pour and be a New Testament Church.   I’m not talking about getting to heaven, I’m talking about being faithful to the Word of God.”  Jim Richards.

(The above quote is from a sermon Jim Richards preached in the chapel at the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas on November 01, 2006.  Richards is the executive director of the Southern Baptists of Texas state Convention {SBTC}.  Notice that Richards contends that eternal security and believer’s immersion are two of the requirements for a group to be a true New Testament Church.  This is one of the reasons that Baptists reject the immersions of these groups.)

“A considerable congregation had gathered, and I delivered as plain and pointed a discourse, and as definite as I could.  I then explained the circumstances which had led to that appointment, and that I was authorized by the Bethel Church, of which I was a member, and which was located in the district of Cape Girardeau, to give an invitation to any persons wishing to be baptized and become members of the Bethel Regular Baptist Church.  I added that if they could give full and satisfactory evidence of the hope that was in them, I was ready and willing to baptize.  But I would wish all to understand, that the Baptists alone were by us considered a gospel church, and therefore they received none into their fellowship or communion, except on public profession of their faith in Christ, according to the doctrine of His grace. . . No probationers of six months, no infants who were sprinkled on the profession of their parents, nor any others but believers in Jesus Christ were received.  Therefore, all who joined this church must renounce alliance with all other denominations.  They should treat all men friendly as men, but have no communion or fellowship with any but the Baptist Church of Christ; for they should look upon all others as the daughters of mystic Babylon.  ’I have been thus particular, as I wish to deceive no one,’ said I.  ‘We wish to be understood to say, as did the Lord in reference to this “Mystery, Babylon” (if any of God’s people be ensnared by her), Come out of her my people, and be ye separated from her.”  Wilson Thompson

(Wilson Thompson (1788-1866) was a Regular Baptist preacher in Illinois.    The above quote is from pages 152-154 of “The Autobiography of Elder Wilson Thompson” published in 1867.  The time period for the quote is during the War of 1812.   Thompson like the majority of Baptists during that time believed that the Baptists alone were the only true church and that Baptists should not have any alliances with other denominations.   Because Thompson identified with the Primitive Baptists after the missions controversy (circa 1830) most Southern and Missionary Baptist historians have missed this source.  A special thanks to my good friend R. L. Vaughn of Texas for pointing it out to me.  He has an excellent website – Ministry and Music – Seeking the Old Paths

This was first posted at All Things Baptists June 30, 2007.

-T.A.

Power On Their Lives – Mark 16:15-20

“And He said unto them, ‘Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. 17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; 18 They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.’
19 So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, He was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God. 20 And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.”  Mark 16:15-20

Jesus gives us the Great Commission in Matthew 28 and it is longer and more detailed in its application there.  Here, however, we have a simple “Go and preach the gospel to every creature”, and then, what follows are signs, evidence that they are servants of God.  Because of the newness of this message of grace, that Christ died for our sins, was buried and rose again, there must of necessity have been proofs of their words being true.  The gospel is true and powerful to save, but the Scriptures [New Testament] had not yet even started to be written.  Today, we have the completed Scriptures [Old and New Testaments], and we no longer need evidence of the power of the gospel to save.

“He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved…” seems like a salvation of works, but any one who comes believing in Jesus will in obedience follow the Lord in water baptism.  It is the “Public confession” of one’s faith in Jesus.   When a person comes to faith in Jesus they have a desire to obey Him in all things.  The first step of obedience, and the believer’s first call is a public testimony, and that is shown in baptism.  Baptism is the testimony of Jesus’s death, burial and resurrection, and by baptism you tell the world of your faith in Jesus and that you have died to the old life, been buried putting it all away, and have risen to new life in Him.

According to the apostle John in the gospel he wrote, “He that believeth not is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God” (John 3:18).  You could  ask the question, a fearful question, “What does one have to do to go to Hell?  The answer to that is absolutely nothing.  You can be saved by grace through faith in Jesus, His finished work on the cross and the resurrection, and enjoy the glory of Jesus for all eternity.  You can do absolutely nothing and spend eternity in Hell.  The truth of the matter is we are all condemned, dying, hellbound sinners.  We are born in that condition – separated from God, hating God, loving ourselves, and seeking our own way, and not God’s way.  There are some who believe that once this life is over that is it.  There are even some professing Christians who believe only the saved will have an “Eternal life” while those who do not know God through His Son Jesus will simply go back to the dust, and their “spirits” will cease to exist.  Part of the way that God created us in His image is that He gave us an eternal soul and spirit.  Not “Eternal” in the sense that He is; like “Eternal past”, but an eternal future, and our eternity with Christ actually begins with our faith in Him.  The condemned person’s eternity without Christ begins at the death of the physical body, and it will be an eternity without light, without friends, without satisfaction of desires.  It will be an eternity of torment, or flames, heat, no water, nothing to quench your thirst.  It will be a place without God’s love, only wrath.

These were signs of authentication.  They were evidence of the power of God to save those who believe, and the resurrection of Jesus from the grave.  The first sign Jesus gives is the power to “…Cast out devils [demons]”.  There is evidence of this in Acts with a young girl who is “demon possessed”, and brings great profit to her owner, because she can “Foretell” the future.  Paul was bitten by a poisonous serpent, and without harm (Acts 28).  The apostles Peter and John, on their way to the temple, meet a man who is lame, and by their words, “Rise up and walk” he gets up and walks (Acts 3).  Paul raises a young man named Eutychus from death (Acts 20).  There are many accounts in the book of Acts of the work of the Spirit of God in the lives of the apostles, doing miracles, signs and wonders, to confirm the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  It is the Gospel which is being promoted not the miracles, and we must always remember that.

The changed lives of millions through the years is evidence of the power of the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Men and women who have had hate filled, murderous hearts are changed into loving, compassionate, caring individuals who reach out to others with the truth of Christ.  Men and women who have selfishly stolen from others through greed, lust, and larceny are changed into giving, unselfish individuals who love Christ and have given their all for Him.

One sign of the resurrection of Jesus is His ascension into Heaven to His Father’s right hand.  The apostles all witnessed it.  Peter, James and John, Matthew, and all the rest, except Paul for he had not yet come to faith in Jesus.  Jesus fulfilled all the Scriptures concerning the things concerning Himself and His first coming, and He will fulfill all the things concerning His Second coming.

The disciples/apostles were the ones who are responsible, by the power of the Holy Spirit, for the beginning of the Church – the Body of Christ.  Without the Holy Spirit confirming their word, there would be no church.

Can we go out in the same power of the Spirit that they did?  Most certainly, and now we have something much better than miracles, signs and wonders.  We have God’s Spirit confirming His written Word.  It is finished.  There is no more being added to it, and anyone that does add to it or take away from it will find the curses of His Word in their lives (Rev. 22:18-19).

There is nothing impossible to those who walk in the Spirit of God.  Praying for the power of the Spirit on Christian lives.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From Luke – 031811

The gospel of Matthew deals with Jesus as King; the gospel of Mark shows Him as servant; in the gospel of Luke we see Him as a man, but more than a man, the God-Man; Son of God and Son of Man.

Someone once said,  “The Son of God became the Son of Man, that the sons of men might become the sons of God.”  O, the grace, mercy, love and power of God; how marvelous He truly is.

Looking at the genealogies of Matthew and then, of Luke we see a difference in the way they are reported.  Matthew begins with Jesus Christ Himself and ends with Joseph.  Luke begins the Joseph and goes backward to God Himself.  Joseph is declared by Luke to be “son of Heli” who is believed to be Joseph’s father in law, thus being Mary’s genealogy.

There are some,  who would tell us that the reports of the two gospel accounts, being so different means they are opposed to one another, thus contradict.  There is another alternative to that.  God never contradicts, this is God’s Word.  It is correct, God is correct.  Matthew gives us the genealogy of Joseph, and Luke gives us the genealogy of Mary.

Who is John the Baptist?

“And as the people were in expectation, and all men mused in their hearts of John, whether he were the Christ, or not;   John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire: whose fan is in His hand, and He will throughly purge His floor, and will gather the wheat into His garner; but the chaff He will burn with fire unquenchable.  And many other things in his exhortation preached he unto the people.”  Luke 3:15-18 (KJV)

He was the promised son of elderly parents, Zacharias, and Elisabeth.  They had been unable to have children for all the years they had been married, and then, one day while Zacharias is ministering within the temple an angel comes to him and tells him that he and Elisabeth will have a son.  They are to name him John.  He is to be the messenger of the Messiah, preparing the way before Him.

The Baptist gives glory to the Christ of God, and takes none for himself.  He is a man who lived in the wilderness, dressed in camel’s hair, and ate honey and locusts (Matthew 3:4).  He preached the message of repentance, calling the people to be rid of sin in their hearts and lives, the Christ is coming.

Many were seeing the Baptist as though he might be that Christ.  He, however, tells them that he is not worthy to loose the latchet of His shoes.  That One is “mightier than I”.  He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.  John the Baptist points the people to the Messiah/Christ of Israel; who is the Savior of the world.

That One, the Messiah has come to die for the sins of the world.  He is set to come again, to rid the world of sin.  He will come.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From Matthew 030411

Beginning today reading Matthew 1 – 4.

We have been reading the books of Moses, and now we turn to the first four Gospels of the New Testament.  In doing this we will keep a better focus on Whom the whole of the Bible is about.

Matthew is one of four of the gospel presentations and written by Matthew who was at the time of Jesus’s calling a tax collector (9:9).  He was doing his work, Jesus comes along and calls him to follow, and he leaves all and follows Jesus.

When we look at Matthew this gospel is related to the King of israel, and His Kingdom.  In chapter one is the geneaology of the King; in chapters 5 – 7 we have what could be called His Kingdom Manifesto; chapter 13 are parables – stories which all relate to His Kingdom on earth;  chapter eighteen deals with those who would enter His Kingdom having the heart of a child; and chapters 24 – 25 deal with when He sets up His Kingdom on the new earth.

For today let’s look at the following verses,

“And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers.  And He saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.  And they straightway left their nets, and followed Him.  And going on from thence, He saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and He called them.  And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed Him.”  Matthew 4:18-22 (KJV)

Jesus has been to John the Baptist, been baptized by him; and the gospel of John at this point says that the Baptist saw Him coming and says, “Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).  John was no stranger to Jesus; after all they were cousins according in order of family births.  In the beginning of chapter 4 following His baptism Jesus has been “Led of the Spirit into the wilderness” to be tested by the devil.  Jesus passes the test with power and authority of the Spirit and the Word of God.

The Word of God was the means by which Jesus rebuked and rejected the lies of the devil.  The Word of God is important to Matthew as he writes this gospel account of Jesus.  In the first two chapters alone there are at least 17 Old Testament prophecies of  the Christ or Messiah, and Matthew relates them to Jesus alone.

Following His temptation in the wilderness Jesus sets out to fulfill His task.  His ultimate task as we look at the gospels will be set toward Jerusalem and the cross.  While walking by the sea of Galilee on this particular day Jesus sees Peter and Andrew fishing with nets, and calls them to follow Him.  They follow.  Now this was their way of living, it was Peter’s and Andrew’s business; they caught fish and sold them at the fish market.  It wasn’t a lucrative job, but it was an income.  Leaving these nets required an act of faith in the One they were going to follow.

Jesus’ s promise was to make them fishers of men.  To be a fisher of men is to call others to follow Jesus.

There were two others who were also called “Sons of thunder” (Mark 3:17) and their names were James and John.  These four would become close to Jesus, particularly Peter, James and John.

Jesus is still calling people; men, women, boys and girls to follow Him.  Have heard that call?  Follow Him, and begin a wonderful journey of life, living and eternal life with Him.

We will be in the New Testament through the gospel of John, then return to the Old Testament.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Mark Eleven – Twenty Seven through Thirty three

“And they come again to Jerusalem: and as he was walking in the temple, there come to him the chief priests, and the scribes, and the elders, 28 And say unto him, By what authority doest thou these things? and who gave thee this authority to do these things? 29 And Jesus answered and said unto them, I will also ask of you one question, and answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I do these things. 30 The baptism of John, was it from heaven, or of men? answer me. 31 And they reasoned with themselves, saying, If we shall say, From heaven; he will say, Why then did ye not believe him? 32 But if we shall say, Of men; they feared the people: for all men counted John, that he was a prophet indeed. 33 And they answered and said unto Jesus, We cannot tell. And Jesus answering saith unto them, Neither do I tell you by what authority I do these things.”  Mark 11:27-33 (KJV)

WHERE DOES JESUS GET THE AUTHORITY TO DO SUCH THINGS AS PURIFY THE TEMPLE?

If you are anything like me you are thinking to yourself that these religious leaders must be “fuming mad” at Jesus.  Here for the second time in three years He has come into the Temple compound, and tossed tables, money, caused animals to scatter, and “offended” many of the people and upset the business of the Temple people.  The thing we must realize is that God was offended by their “Business” in His house.  They were more concerned with the pocketbook than with the hearts of the people.  They were more upset over the money than they were with the shattered lives of the people around them.

Who gave Jesus the authority to do what He did?  Who did He think He was anyway?  We know the answer to that question – He was/is the Son of God, in the flesh.  He is the Creator of the world.  His authority came from Heaven.  His authority came from His position as Creator, Son, Savior, Messiah, Lord, Redeemer, Master, Healer, Sustainer, the Almighty, and many other titles and names that is given Him.  Now, where does the authority come from?  Who gave Him this power?  Did He need to ask  permission?  NO!  It is all His.

These leaders would not answer Jesus’ question concerning John the Baptist.  They knew what He would say if they would acknowledge John as a prophet of God.  They were also afraid to answer he was just from men lest they received ridicule and rejection from the people.  They would not stand on anything, so they would fall for a lie instead.  They would have suffered rejection from the people because they saw John the Baptist as a prophet of God.  How foolish, and how weak.  It only proves they wanted only popular approval.

Why did Jesus not answer their question?  If they were rejecting John’s message, they would not believe Jesus’ message of Himself.  Why waste the time and effort to bother with an answer.  There are times when an answer is not warranted or deserving of those who ask it.  This was one of those cases.
Jesus was always willing to answer honest questions.  He answered  many of them.  This was not an honest question.  It is like you or me proving our identity, and then, having someone ask us, “Are you sure you are who you say you are?”  Only with Jesus it is much more severe.

Jesus is the Son of God, became flesh, who died for our sins, carried our sins away at His burial, and after three days He rose from the dead for our justification, and He is one day soon returning for those who are His in the rapture of the Church, and then returning to earth to rule and reign for a thousand years and then for all eternity.  Do you know the God/man Jesus?

-Tim A. Blankenship

Teaching Baptists Distinctives

The following is by John A. Broadus on The Reason to Teach Baptists Distinctives:

I. Reasons Why Baptists Ought to Teach Their Distinctive Views
1. It is a duty we owe to ourselves. We must teach these views in order to be consistent in holding them. Because of these we stand apart from other Christians, in separate organizations – from Christians whom we warmly love and delight to work with. We have no right thus to stand apart unless the matters of difference have real importance; and if they are really important, we certainly ought to teach them. We sometimes venture to say to our brethren of some other persuasions that if points of denominational difference among evangelical Christians were so utterly trifling as they continually tell us, then they have no excuse for standing apart from each other, and no right to require us to stand apart from them unless we will abjure, or practically disregard, our distinctive views. But all this will apply to us likewise unless we regard the points of difference as having a substantial value and practical importance as a part of what Christ commanded, and in this case they are a part of what he requires us to teach.

And this teaching is the only way of correcting excesses among ourselves. Do some of our Baptist brethren seem to you ultra in their denominationalism, violent, bitter? And do you expect to correct such a tendency by going to the opposite extreme? You are so pained, shocked, disgusted, at what you consider an unlovely treatment of controverted matters that you shrink from treating them at all. Well, the persons you have in view, if there be such persons, would defend and fortify themselves by pointing at you. They would say, “I am complained of as extreme and bigoted. Look at those people yonder, who scarcely ever make the slightest allusion to characteristic Baptist principles, who are weak-kneed, afraid of offending the Paedobaptists, or dreadfully anxious to court their favor by smooth silence: do you want me to be such a Baptist as that?” Thus one extreme fosters another. The greatest complaint I have against what are called “sensational” preachers is not for the harm they directly do, but because they drive such a multitude of other preachers to the other extreme — make them so afraid of appearing sensational in their own eyes, or in those of some fastidious hearers, that they shrink from saying the bold and striking things they might say, and ought say, and become commonplace and tame. And so it is a great evil if a few ultraists in controversy drive many good men to avoid sensitively those controverted topics which we are all under obligation to discuss. The only cure, my brethren, for denominational ultraism is a healthy denominationalism.

2. To teach our distinctive views is a duty we owe to other fellow-Christians. Take the Roman Catholics. We are often told very earnestly that Baptists must make common cause with other Protestants against the aggressions of Romanism. It is urged, especially in some localities, that we ought to push all our denominational differences into the background and stand shoulder to shoulder against Popery. Very well; but all the time it seems to us that the best way to meet and withstand Romanism is to take Baptist ground; and if, in making common cause against it, we abandon or slight our Baptist principles, have a care lest we do harm in both directions. Besides, ours is the best position, we think, for winning Romanists to evangelical truth. Our brethren of the great Protestant persuasions are all holding some “developed” form of Christianity — not so far developed as Popery, and some of them much less developed than others, but all having added something, in faith or government or ordinances, to the primitive simplicity. The Roman Catholics know this, and habitually taunt them with accepting changes which the church has made while denying the church’ authority, and sometimes tell them that the Baptists alone are consistent in opposing the church. We may say that there are but two sorts of Christianity –church Christianity and Bible Christianity. If well-meaning Roman Catholics become dissatisfied with resting everything on the authority of the church and begin to look toward the Bible as authority, they are not likely, if thoughtful and earnest, to stop at any halfway-house, but to go forward to the position of those who really build on the Bible alone.

Or take the Protestants themselves. Our esteemed brethren are often wonderfully ignorant of our views. A distinguished minister, author of elaborate works on church history and the creeds of Christendom, and of commentaries, etc., and brought in many ways into association with men of all denominations, is reported to have recently asked whether the Baptists practise trine immersion. A senator of the United States from one of the Southern States, and alumnus of a celebrated university, was visiting, about twenty years ago, a friend in another State, who casually remarked that he was a Baptist. “By the way,” said the senator, “what kind of Baptists are the Paedobaptists?” Not many years ago a New York gentleman who had been United States minister to a foreign country published in the New York Tribune a review of a work, in which he said (substantially), “The author states that he is a Baptist pastor. We do not know whether he is a Paedobaptist or belongs to the straiter sect of Baptists.” Now, of course these are exceptional cases; but they exemplify what is really a widespread and very great ignorance as to Baptists. And our friends of other denominations often do us great injustice because they do not understand our tenets and judge us by their own. As to “restricted communion,”for example, Protestants usually hold the Calvinian view of the Lord’s Supper, and so think that we are selfishly denying them a share in the spiritual blessing attached to its observance; while, with our Zwinglian view, we have no such thought or feeling. These things certainly show it to be very desirable that we should bring our Christian brethren around us to know our distinctive opinions, in order that we may at least restrain them from wronging us through ignorance. If there were any who did not care to know, who were unwilling to be deprived of a peculiar accusation against us, with them our efforts would be vain. But most of those we encounter are truly good people, however prejudiced, and do not wish to be unjust; and if they will not take the trouble to seek information about our real views, they will not be unwilling to receive it when fitly presented. Christian charity may thus be promoted by correcting ignorance. And besides, we may hope that some at least will be led to investigate the matters about which we differ. Oh that our honored brethren would investigate! A highly-educated Episcopal lady some years ago, in one of our great cities, by a long and patient examination of her Bible, with no help but an Episcopal work in favor of infant baptism, at length reached the firm conviction that it is without warrant in the Scripture, and became a Baptist. She afterward said, “I am satisfied that thousands would inevitably do likewise if they would only examine.”

But why should we wish to make Baptists of our Protestant brethren? Are not many of them noble Christians — not a few of them among the excellent of the earth? If with their opinions they are so devout and useful, why wish them to adopt other opinions? Yes, there are among them many who command our high admiration for their beautiful Christian character and life; but have a care about your inferences from this fact. The same is true even of many Roman Catholics, in the past and in the present; yet who doubts that the Romanist system as a whole is unfavorable to the production of the best types of piety? And it is not necessarily an arrogant and presumptuous thing in us if we strive to bring honored fellow-Christians to views which we honestly believe to be more scriptural, and therefore more wholesome. Apollos was an eloquent man and mighty in the Scriptures, and Aquila and Priscilla were lowly people who doubtless admired him; yet they taught him the way of the Lord more perfectly, and no doubt greatly rejoiced that he was willing to learn. He who tries to win people from other denominations to his own distinctive views may be a sectarian bigot; but he may also be a humble and loving Christian.

3. To teach our distinctive views is a duty we owe to the unbelieving world. We want unbelievers to accept Christianity; and it seems to us they are more likely to accept it when presented in its primitive simplicity, as the apostles themselves
offered it to the men of their time. For meeting the assaults of infidels, we think our position is best. Those who insist that Christianity is unfriendly to scientific investigations almost always point to the Romanists; they could not with the least plausibility say this of Baptists. And when an honest and earnest-minded sceptic is asked to examine with us this which claims to be a revelation from God, we do not have to lay beside it another book as determining beforehand what we must find in the Bible. Confessions of faith we have, some older and some more recent, which we respect and find useful; but save through some exceptional and voluntary agreement we are not bound by them. We can say to the sceptical inquirer, “Come and bring all the really ascertained light that has been derived from studying the material world, the history of man, or the highest philosophy, and we will gladly use it in helping to interpret this which we believe to be God’s word;” and we can change our views of its meaning if real light from any other sources requires us to do so. There is, surely, in this freedom no small advantage for attracting the truly rational inquirer. But, while thus free to search the Scriptures, Baptists are eminently conservative in their whole tone and spirit; and for a reason. Their recognition of the Scriptures alone as religious authority, and the stress they lay on exact conformity to the requirements of Scripture, foster an instinctive feeling that they must stand or fall with the real truth and the real authority of the Bible. The union of freedom and conservatism is something most healthy and hopeful.

4. There is yet another reason —one full of solemn sweetness: To teach our distinctive views is not only a duty to ourselves, to our fellow-Christians, and to the unbelieving world, but it is a duty we owe to Christ; it is a matter of simple loyalty to him. Under the most solemn circumstances he uttered the express injunction. He met the eleven disciples by appointment on a mountain in Galilee; probably the more than five hundred of whom Paul speaks were present also: “And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All authority is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye, therefore, and disciple all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.” The things of which we have been speaking are not, we freely grant, the most important of religious truths and duties, but they are a part of the all things which Jesus commanded; what shall hinder us, what could excuse us, from observing them ourselves and teaching them to others? The Roman soldier who had taken the sacramentum did not then go to picking and choosing among the orders of his general: shall the baptized believer pick and choose which commands of Christ he will obey and which neglect and which alter? And, observe, I did not quote it all: Go, disciple, baptizing them, “teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” Shall we neglect to teach as he required, and then claim the promise of his presence and help and blessing?

Let us as Baptists be faithful in the preaching and teaching of the Scriptures, from which we gather our Baptists Distinctives.

Posted by T.A.

The Sign of the Covenant

The Sign of the Covenant

“And God said unto Abraham, Thou shalt keep my covenant therefore, thou, and thy seed after thee in their generations. This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; Every man child among you shall be circumcised. And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the covenant betwixt me and you. And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you, every man child in your generations, he that is born in the house, or bought with money of any stranger, which is not of thy seed. He that is born in thy house, and he that is bought with thy money, must needs be circumcised: and my covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant. And the uncircumcised man child whose flesh of his foreskin is not circumcised, that soul shall be cut off from his people; he hath broken my covenant.” Genesis 17:9-14 (KJV).

This covenant sign is much more painful than the covenant sign Believer’s have during this day of grace.

  • “A confirmation to Abraham and his seed of those promises which were God’s part of the covenant, assuring them that they should be fulfilled, that in due time Canaan would be theirs: and the continuance of this ordinance, after Canaan was theirs, intimates that these promises looked further to another Canaan, which they must still be in expectation of. See Heb. 4:8.’ ‘An obligation upon Abraham and his seed to that duty which was their part of the covenant; not only to the duty of accepting the covenant and consenting to it, and putting away the corruption of the flesh (which were immediately and primarily signified by circumcision), but, in general, to the observance of all God’s commands, as they should be at any time hereafter be intimated and made known to them; for circumcision made men debtors to do the whole law, Gal. 5:3. Those who will have God to be to them a God must consent and resolve to be to him a people.” From the MATTHEW HENRY COMMENTARY on the whole Bible.

Though baptism is a token of salvation it does not save. It is the testimony of one’s salvation. One must be bold in one’s faith and the correct place to start is by submitting to God’s ordinances. To be disobedient we disregard God’s call and bring in shame (Luke 9:26 – “For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father’s, and of the holy angels.” Luke 9:26 (KJV). Lest we should forget we are reminded several times there is more.

“Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.” Mark 8:38 (KJV)

” It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him: If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us: If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.” 2 Timothy 2:11-13 (KJV).

With Abraham there was no doubt as to his identity. He was a man called of God. Yes, there were times he fell, but God picked him back up, cleaned him up, and calls him faithful. Failure for any of Abraham’s seed to be circumcised resulted in the broken covenant. The failure; of an individual who has recently confessed Jesus Christ as Savior; to be baptised as soon as possible is placing his/her confession in jeopardy of question, and most of all to the individual’s own heart and mind.

-by Tim A. Blankenship