In 2 Peter 1, the apostle wrote to Christians beginning in verse 10, “Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. For this reason I will not be negligent to remind you always of these things, though you know and are established in the present truth. Yes, I think it is right, as long as I am in this tent, to stir you up by reminding you, knowing that shortly I must put off my tent, just as our Lord Jesus Christ showed me. Moreover I will be careful to ensure that you always have a reminder of these things after my decease.” (2 Peter 1:10-15, NKJV). The “these things” that Peter referred to were the list of what are often called “the Christian virtues” in verses 5-8. Having these virtues in ever increasing measure ensures that we will never become unfruitful in our service to the Lord.
Peter not only wanted Christians to increase in these virtues, but he also wanted Christians to be continually reminded of these truths and he was committed to repeating these things to them as long as he had breath in his body. Peter’s idea of repetition is still a good one for God’s people today. One of the reasons that we need to be constantly reading Scripture is to be reminded of God’s teaching. It is amazing how often you can read a passage that you have read dozens of times before only to find some new nugget of truth that escaped your attention previously. This often happens because we are reading at different stages in life or dealing with different issues and suddenly the Bible is literally screaming to us where it was merely whispering before. Or, maybe God is simply reminding us of a truth from His Word.
One subject that might fall into the category of “I’ve heard this before” is baptism. If you’ve been a member of the church that Jesus built for very long, then you have likely heard a lot of lessons on baptism. In fact, most of us can quote Acts 2:38 on cue! We tend to think that the Biblical teaching on baptism is pretty clear. Still, it is amazing how many people have misconceptions or misunderstandings about baptism. One passage of Scripture that often causes some to think, or even rethink, about baptism in a new light is Acts 19:1-5, “And it happened, while Apollos was at Corinth, that Paul, having passed through the upper regions, came to Ephesus. And finding some disciples he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” So they said to him, “We have not so much as heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.” And he said to them, “Into what then were you baptized?” So they said, “Into John’s baptism.” Then Paul said, “John indeed baptized with a baptism of repentance, saying to the people that they should believe on Him who would come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.” When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.” This passage makes it clear that the HOW and the WHY we are baptized is extremely important to God. It also raises questions about so called ‘re-baptism’. Who is a candidate to be immersed again and who shouldn’t worry about it? Some can’t remember why they were baptized. Some might even question what was said when they were baptized. Were the words spoken Scriptural?
A careful study of Acts 19 has caused many to ask questions about their conversion and wonder if they were baptized with the right method, by the right authority and for the right reason. Were they a proper candidate to be baptized? Certainly it mattered to Paul how those at Ephesus were baptized and the truth is that it still does matter today. Perhaps we should all look inwardly to see if the way we received salvation is in line with what the New Testament teaches? Maybe we need to be reminded what the Bible teaches about who needs to be ‘re-baptized’ and who doesn’t?
Our numbers show that while we have a ways to go to hit our goals for the year, we are starting to close the gap. Keep up the good work!
GOAL Thru June