Summary: A sermon on objections to NT immersion (Material adapted from Eddie Parrish of The Truth In Love, P.O. Box 865, Hurst, Texas 76053, The Truth About Baptism, #1019 to #1021 Objections to Baptism; conclusion adapted from Brian Jones from Christian Standard)
Max Lucado- Baptism separates the tire kickers from the car buyers.
Baptism is essential for salvation. It is not just helpful or advisable or needful but essential, in other words cannot have one without the other.
When we say this many disagree and they give many objections to this teaching.
Thesis: Objections to baptism (many more but just these few)
Salvation is by faith
Amen to this statement, very biblical statement. Just a few Scriptures here but many
Romans 1:17, NIV.
Romans 3:30, NIV.
Romans 5:1, 2, NIV.
We believe in this. However, the problem here is not so much this teaching but people misunderstand faith. They equate faith with belief and nothing more.
Need to comprehend that faith is conditional. If is unconditional then the world world is saved (universalism) or the Lord picks and choses who is a member of the elect.
Take for instance Naaman in 2 Kings 5. “So Naaman went with his horses and chariots and stopped at the door of Elisha’s house. Elisha sent a messenger to say to him, “Go, wash yourself seven times in the Jordan, and your flesh will be restored and you will be cleansed.”” 2 Kings 5:9, 10, NIV. Naaman believed this (not at first) and did as he was told. He believed and dipped in the Jordan 7 times and we find, “and his flesh was restored and became clean like that of a young boy.” 2 Kings 5:14, NIV. See the promises of God are conditional. Naaman believed the prophet and obeyed. Did he have the cleansing of leprosy at the moment of his belief? No, only after he had fully obeyed did the cleansing come.
“Yet at the same time many even among the leaders believed in him. But because of the Pharisees they would not confess their faith for fear they would be put out of the synagogue; for they loved praise from men more than praise from God.” John 12:42, 43, NIV. These leaders had belief, but they would not confess that belief because of the consequences. No one would argue that these leaders were in a saved condition but isn’t that what some do when they say that only belief is necessary for salvation.
Salvation is by faith but what is included under faith? Just belief according to many. Need to view faith as an umbrella and under faith is belief, repentance, confession, baptism and other things that come from faith. Faith is just the basic term that describes all of these, picking out various aspects and responses of faith. Faith is the foundation on which all further acts of obedience are done. When a person believes, repents, confesses and are baptized, why do they do that? Because of their faith in Jesus Christ. Faith undergirds all of this.
Salvation is not by works but by faith. Amen again! “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-- not by works, so that no-one can boast.” Ephesians 2:8, 9, NIV. There is nothing we can do to earn God’s salvation. This is true and God gives us salvation not based on merit but on grace. In the same way, none of these things, belief, repentance, confession and baptism pay the price for our sins. However, we must do them to enjoy the gift of grace given through Jesus Christ.
Many say that baptism is a work and belief is not a work. Jesus disagrees. “Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?” Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”” John 6:28, 29. This is a work! Something to consider. This is not a work of that makes us worthy (no one is worthy) but a work of obedience, meeting the conditions.
You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that--and shudder. You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith (“belief?”) alone. James 2:19, 24.
“Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him” Hebrews 5:8, 9, NIV.
The Thief on the cross
Read Luke 23:39-43, NIV.
The thief on the cross was not baptized and Jesus guaranteed that he would be with him in paradise (saved). Therefore, one does not have to be baptized to be saved, going to heaven.
As long as we are alive, we are able to dispense our possessions in any way that we see fit. If we want to give away a valuable possession, we can do that. After we die, our possessions will only be dispensed to others according to our written last will and testament. This is the legally binding authority on how our possession will be dispensed once we die.