The Gospel Observer

"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations...teaching them to observe all that I commanded you, and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age" (Matt. 28:19,20).
October 13, 2013


1) Seven Good Reasons To Be Baptized (George Hutto)
2) Who is the "Faithful & Discreet Servant"? (Greg Gwin)


Seven Good Reasons To Be Baptized
by George Hutto

There are objections to the necessity of baptism for sinners today.  Folks say that being dipped in water has nothing to do with salvation from God.  But twenty-first-century sinners are no different from first-century sinners, and the gospel remedy is just as effective today as it ever was.  

Here are seven good reasons a sinner should be baptized today.  

1) Baptism is a command of God. "And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord..." (Acts 10:48). "...baptizing them...  Teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you..." (Matt. 28:19,20).  

A preacher once explained that baptism is certainly a command, but not necessary for salvation, which is quite a confusing idea for folks trying to learn about God.  The commands of God are for obeying, not for violating.  

The command to be baptized in water is not impossible, is not a request for sinless perfection, is not a work which merits salvation, and is not an act of self-righteousness.  Baptism is simply an act of obedience, and is required of all (Mark 16:15-16).  

2) Baptism washes away sin.  "And now why are you waiting?  Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord" (Acts 22:16).  Centuries before Christ, Naaman the Syrian came to the man of God for cleansing from his leprosy, and the instruction was to dip seven times in the Jordan.  When he obeyed, he was cleansed of his leprosy, but not until he obeyed (2 Kings 5).  

As the water of the Jordan was not the actual cleansing agent for Naaman's leprosy, so is the water of baptism not the actual cleansing agent for the sinner.  The cleansing agent is the blood of Christ (Rev. 1:5), but the cleansing happens at the point of baptism.  Saul, from the passage above, was not a special case.  The sins of every sinner can be washed away at the very point of baptism (Hebrews 10:22).  

3) A previous baptism may not be sufficient.  The folks at Ephesus had been baptized only with the baptism of John before Paul came to the city, but upon hearing the word more completely, they were baptized "in the name of the Lord Jesus" (Acts 19:1-5).  

Some people are baptized as infants, some to become a member of a denomination, and some just because it is expected by parents or friends.  In the Bible, "believers" were to be baptized, requiring a certain age and understanding.  Also, these believers were baptized for the purpose of having the guilt of their own sin forgiven (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:37-38).  

Those who objected to infant baptism during the Protestant Reformation were labeled "anabaptists," meaning "re-baptizers," and persecuted for their insistence on baptizing after a confession of faith.  Today in America, infant baptism is not so much the norm, but the reason a person is baptized should always be considered.  

4) It is where the new birth happens.  Bible students remember Nicodemus; and the Christ said to him, "Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God" (John 3:3-5).   The term "born again Christian" originates right here.  

The apostle Peter said, "Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth..., having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever..." (1 Peter 1:22-23). This new birth happens at baptism, the point in one's conversion which Peter compares to Noah's salvation in the ark (1 Peter 3:21).  

5) Baptism buries the "old man of sin."  "...As many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death... Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life...our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin" (Romans 6:3-6).  

The subject here is repentance, and repentance accompanies baptism in the conversion process.  The first gospel sermon included the command to "Repent, and be baptized..." (Acts 2:38).  Luke captures the Lord's very words, "that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all the nations..." (Luke 24:47).  

Turning from sin, baptism for remission of sin, and burying the old man of sin in repentance -- these go together, and baptism is key.  God saves us from our sin -- He does not save us in our sin.  The "old man" has to go.  

6) Baptism puts one into Christ.  "Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?" (Rom. 6:3).  "For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ" (Galatians 3:27).  

The repentant sinner is baptized into Christ: where the spiritual blessing are (Ephesians 1:3); where God's grace and kindness are shown to sinners (Ephesians 2:7); where there is consolation (Philippians 2:1); where there is promise of life (2 Timothy 1:1).  

Jesus said "I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one cometh to the Father but by Me" (John 14:6).  To be in Christ, one must be baptized.  

7) Baptism breaks the ice of procrastination.  The man of God asked Saul of Tarsus, "And now why are you waiting?  Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord" (Acts 22:16).

Often, a person puts off obeying the gospel as Felix did, hoping for a convenient time (Acts 24:25).  A convenient time to serve God may never come -- we must put one foot in front of the other in our service until we learn to walk.  God's religion is an active religion, not a passive one, and it begins with the question of the Ethiopian: "Here is water, what hinders me from being baptized?" (Acts 8:36).  

Now, folks may not object to baptism as much as they object to the necessity of baptism for salvation.  Above are seven good reasons for being baptized, assuming a person believes in Christ as the Son of God and he is willing to confess his faith.  They are taken from the primary source for Christianity, the Bible.  Thank you for giving them your serious consideration.  

-- Via Market Street Messenger, February 5, 2012, Volume IV, No. 6


Who is the "Faithful & Discreet Servant"?
by Greg Gwin

In the context of teaching about impending judgment, Jesus said: "Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season?  Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing" (Matthew 24:45-46).  It is clear that the Lord was speaking of all those who understand their obligations to Him and constantly work to fulfill their duty.  When He comes and finds them doing so, He will reward them.  

The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of the Jehovah's Witnesses claims that they, specifically, are that 'faithful and discreet slave' that has been put in charge over God's household.  The 'meat' which they dispense is their unique interpretation of God's Word.  Here's a sample of what they have said about themselves:

"The Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society is the greatest corporation in the world, because from the time of its organization until now the Lord has used it as his channel through which to make known the glad tidings" (The Watchtower, Jan. 15, 1917).  

"Only this organization functions for Jehovah's purpose and to his praise.  To it alone God's Sacred Word, the Bible, is not a sealed book" (The Watchtower, July 1, 1973, p 402).  

"We all need help to understand the Bible, and we cannot find the Scriptural guidance we need outside the 'faithful and discreet slave' organization" (The Watchtower, Feb. 15, 1981, p 19).  

It is obvious that these false teachers have perverted the clear message of Matthew 24:45-46 and are using it to promote their false doctrines.  Consider these points:

1. How are these 'faithful and discreet slaves' appointed to the Watchtower Society, and by what qualifications?  We read nothing of such a board in the pages of the New Testament.  

2. How did men ever understand God's truth before this man-made board was formed in 1881, and later claimed the role of 'faithful and discreet slave'?

3. If it is impossible to understand God's Word without the guidance of the Watchtower Society, then Paul was lying when he said we could read and understand the inspired message.  Note: ". . . By revelation he made known unto me the  mystery; as I wrote afore in few words, whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ"  (Ephesians 3:3,4).  

In demanding unquestioned allegiance to their teachings they have exposed themselves as 'the blind leading the blind' (Matthew 15:14).  

-- Via The Beacon, December 13, 2011

"I am writing these things to you, hoping to come to you before long; but in case I am delayed, I write so that you will know how one ought to conduct himself in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and support of the truth" (1 Tim. 3:14,15). 

"For we write nothing else to you than what you read and understand..." (2 Cor. 1:13).

The Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation

1) Hear the gospel, for that is how faith comes (Rom. 10:17; John 20:30,31).
2) Believe in the deity of Christ (John 8:24; John 3:18).
3) Repent of sins (Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).
4) Confess faith in Christ (Rom. 10:9,10; Acts 8:36-38).
5) Be baptized in water for the remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Rom. 6:3,4; Gal. 3:26,27; 1 Pet. 3:21).
6) Continue in the faith; for, if not, salvation can be lost (Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet. 2:20-22).

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