Summary: Reworked in July 2011 It’s interesting how the question of Baptism as related to salvation comes up.... and although the Bible speaks well of baptism in many places, usually when you hear some talk about baptism and salvation a disclaimer is given.
To sermon central members…… I would like to a couple of my fellow ministers for their teaching and counsel.
Although this message is in no way intended to speak for them, I would like to note that some of their thoughts have heavily influenced what I have said below.
Slide #1 1 Peter 3:18-21
Suppose that a man was walking in the desert and came across a dying man who had never heard the Gospel.
Being a good Christian.. the man shared the Gospel with the dying man and told him that he should place his faith in Christ, Repent of his sin, and by the way, Jesus also said that he should get baptized in water.
The dying man sincerely does all of the above but alas... there is no water available for baptizing anyone and later the same day, the man dies.
Have you ever heard a story like this? Did he go to heaven? What does God think about those who are not baptized?
Is their a difference between the normative necessity of baptism and the absolute necessity of baptism?
is there a difference between someone who sincerely wants to obey Christ by being baptized and is not able to..... and someone who is able to and who simply refuses to be baptized?
All of these are real world questions that many people ask about this topic....
and the world continues to talk and ponder...
in our scripture today... we have a puzzling statement! "Baptism saves you"
most of the ministers in modern day American Christianity hold the view that anytime the New Testament speaks about Baptism and Salvation... they view it through the filter of symbolism.
That is to say that Baptism symbolizes salvation. Baptism is an outward sign of an inward belief or grace.
at the end of the day... as a true believer in Christ.. we must ask ourselves... Why do I believe the things that i believe? Do I believe them because they were handed down to me? Do I believe them because most other Christians believe? Or do I believe because the plain teaching of Scripture leads me to believe?
As we continue, I sincerely ask you to have an open mind, and set aside what you may have previously been taught and see where God’s word truly leads.
The one place that we must never come to is a place where we would say, "I don’t care what the Bible says, I still won’t believer it." May God help us.
Peter cares deeply about those who would read his words... He cares even about you.
Would you notice with me what he says under the direction of the Holy Spirit?
Peter tells his audience that Christ died for sins… once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous to bring them to God…..
This is a very commonly quoted verse of Scripture but many times there is no context given...
He goes on to say that Christ preached to the spirits in prison who disobeyed long ago… when God waited patiently in the days of Noah … when 8 people were saved through the water….
Peter says that corresponding to that…. Corresponding to the water… corresponding to 8 people being saved through the water.......through the resurrection of Christ… Baptism now saves you!
Notice that it doesn’t say that Baptism symbolizes salvation…. It says that the water symbolizes baptism.. and that baptism saves…
WOW! Did he really say that? Why would he say such a thing?
Today I want us to have a closer look at some of the things that leads Peter to make such a statement, but before we do….
One thing that we should remember right up front…. Is that ultimately as we think about different things that come into play when we talk about salvation…
…….ultimately…. we are not the judge of another’s salvation….
Invariably a topic like this will bring many people to mind… and we think… “but what about my sweet grandma… who loved Christ and was never baptized?”
Or perhaps we think of someone who wasn’t so sweet.. and we are tempted to say… “Oh they were saved! Or Definitely they were not saved!”
We need to take care…. Not to do that…
There is only one who has the power to save and that’s God…… There is only one who is qualified to judge…. And that’s God…
and we must guard to make sure that we don’t get into the “Salvation Judging business”
The important question is not about all of the rest of the people that you think of….. The most important question of the day…. Is “What are you going to do with God’s word?”
How are YOU going to respond to what the Bible says?
I’ve shared with you…. several of the slogans of the Christian church in America … One that comes to mind as we approach this topic…. Is