Grace and Baptism (#1024)
Good morning. We’ve been covering many things about the grace of God in these recent sessions. And, we’re going to get into an area now referred to in most of church history as sacraments, which is an interesting word. It is a word that means mysteries in Latin. We have the Greek word mysterion, basically identical to our word for mystery. In the Latin translations of the Bible use the word sacramentum or sacrament. So, the sacraments in church history started with what they called them, these holy mysteries and they consider them a sort of focus or centerpiece of Christianity. They started with baptism and what they call holy communion, which I haven’t actually found that term in the Bible, maybe it is in there, but I missed it. Also called the Eucharist. Then they added things like confirmation, ordination of priests and monks, let’s see what else they had, they had marriage, again, I don’t think is mentioned in the Bible, except in the marriage in Canaan where Jesus Christ turned the water into wine, I don’t think marriage is mentioned in the Bible. There is certainly nothing in the Bible to tell you how to perform a marriage ceremony, much of that is simply cultural and traditional.
Nothing wrong with culture and tradition, but it is important to separate what is culture and tradition. Like Easter bunnies and Christmas trees aren’t exactly in the Bible, but their fun. As long as we don’t start thinking that God will bless you more if you have Easter bunnies, were fine. I don’t care if they are chocolate Easter bunnies or what do they call those spongy ones with the sugar on them, there is name for those — Peeps, yeah, those, they’re good. And then they have one called unction where the priest puts oil on your head and that is mentioned once or twice in the Bible. I think it is mentioned once in the gospels and then in the book of James, the legalistic epistle is it mentioned. And it is often used as what they call the last rites in the Roman church and some others where they feel it is very important for you to have the oil put on you, be prayed for and have your sins forgiven. But so much of all of these sacraments are based on a misconception that you are not really born again because of the work of Jesus Christ, they have to do all this stuff. I mentioned to you in an early session that in the Middle Ages, it was very common for knights and other medieval nobility to wait and get baptized on their death bed because they felt that of all the sacraments the one that gave you the most forgiveness of sins was baptism. And you didn’t want to die with a lot of sins hanging over your head, so you either might go to hell or spend years or centuries in purgatory, so the best thing was to get baptized on your death bed. Then all your sins would be forgiven and you would die before you would do anything else wrong. And understand the logic of it, but it is based on not believing the Jesus Christ really paid for your sins. So you need these sacraments to clean thing up.
So at any rate, we won’t get into every sacrament considered in Church history. And different groups have different sacraments or ceremonies, or rituals that they carry out, but we’re going to get into a couple of them that are mentioned widely in the Bible and are generally widely misunderstood and mispracticed. In some of them, I believe the practices are actually wrong and un-Biblical. In other ones they aren’t un-Biblical, they are just not necessary, they are stuff that people added. Again, having Easter bunnies and Christmas trees, there is nothing wrong with them, they’re just not Biblical. So it is just a fun ceremony, it is sort of like having fireworks on Halloween. There is nothing wrong with that, but I don’t know if it gets you born again quicker if you shot of firecrackers. Oh course you know with Halloween, there was this thing in Church history that the first of November was All Saints Day, and then all the ghouls and demons came out the night before to goof the saints up so they wouldn’t have a good all saints day. So maybe you shoot of fireworks to scare the demons away, I’m not quite sure how it all developed.
But, at any rate it is an interesting topic this grace. Just to let you know, I’m six or eight more topics in mind to cover on it before we’re done. So, we’ll get through as many of those as we can and then review some of them at our weekend in October 10th. So, with that not so brief introduction, I think we are going to get into Grace and Baptism, that is the so called sacrament. It is not called in the Bible a sacrament, its not called a holy mystery, but it is practiced in the Bible. Now to start, we’re going to do a little review on two churches in two different administrations. Let’s look at John chapter three…
As taught by Bruce Mahone on 20210718. All rights reserved.
Verse Listing and Notes
Two churches, two administrations:
John 3:29; 14:1-4 – bride; Ephesians 1:22, 23; Colossians 1:18 – body
Galatians 2:11-3:14, Romans 10:4 – Christ is the end of the law.
This never quite sunk in to the first century church. As in the days of Jesus Christ, there were always those who wanted to promote legalism at the expense of the truth of God’s Word. Matthew 15:1-9.
Baptism: ceremonial washing.
Mark 7:3, 4 – vs. 4: wash, washing – baptize; Luke 11:38 – wash – baptize
Church of the bride: water
Matthew 3:5, 6 – in Jordan
Something greater soon to come:
Matthew 3:11 – but in contrast, baptism of holy spirit is to come later.
Matthew 28:19 – baptize in my name (earliest quotations of this verse): no water is mentioned. Water has been read in by those who want to promote legalistic practices, just as others wanted to promote circumcision in the early church. This phrase used throughout Acts (check in homework assignment!)
The coming of Pentecost:
Acts 1:4-8 – talking about the gift of holy spirit (no water!) They already had water from the time of John — something greater was about to come.
Acts 2:1-4 – Pentecost: no water.
So where do people get water in Acts?
Acts 10:47; 11:16 – Peter was about to follow his legalistic habits, until he remembered the Word of the Lord.
Acts 19:2, 3 – Two baptisms: they had only heard of John’s (water).
Acts 8:38 – Philip: early in Acts, grace not fully revealed.
Acts 21:20 – Zealous for the law: still true today.
Strictly speaking, baptism in holy spirit refers to the day of Pentecost. Since then, the gift of holy spirit has been available for anyone to receive by getting born again — being baptized in the name of the Lord, cleansed in everything that name represents. Gal. 3:27, 28; I John 1:7.
NOTE: No mention of baptism just prior to death to ensure forgiveness of sins and salvation!