Will you be robbed of your obedience?

Sunday, December 9, 2018
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A Look Deeper

Jesus prayed in John 17:20 “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; 21 that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. – (NKJV)

The “Christian” world today has literally thousands of churches claiming to be the body of Christ! The doctrines are often contradictory, often manmade or worse.

The approach of ecumenism declares “I am ok, and you are ok!”

Based on what Paul wrote, can that be true? 1 Corinthians 1:10 Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. 11 For it has been declared to me concerning you, my brethren, by those of Chloe’s household, that there are contentions among you. 12 Now I say this, that each of you says, “I am of Paul,” or “I am of Apollos,” or “I am of Cephas,” or “I am of Christ.” 13 Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?

The obvious answer to Paul’s questions is: No, of course not!

The Jewish leadership who opposed Jesus used syllogistic reasoning to convince themselves that Jesus was a sinner.

What is this “syllogistic reasoning?” A syllogism (a conclusion or inference) is a kind of logical argument that applies deductive reasoning to arrive at a conclusion based on two or more propositions that are asserted or assumed to be true.

Because Jesus healed a blind man and did other acts of kindness on the Sabbath, the Jewish leadership concluded He was a sinner and He must die.

His popularity and standing with the people threatened the leaders’ control and even their strained alliance with the Roman authorities.

Even after witnessing the signs Jesus performed, facts were ignored because of the danger to their position as leaders of the nation of Israel! And Lazarus, who was raised from the dead by Jesus needed to be killed as well.

Today, division in Christian doctrine in regard to baptism arises because of similar syllogistic reasoning.

Many teachers cite Titus 3:3-7 For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another. 4 But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, 5 not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life to prove that baptism is not essential to salvation.

Those teachers assert or assume that baptism is a work of man. If baptism is a work of man rather than obedience as an act of faith, then they would have a valid argument. But Titus says according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit. Isn’t that exactly what Peter spoke of in Acts 2:36 “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.”

37 Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” 38 Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

39 For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.”

Will you allow assertions or assumptions to rob you of obedience to Christ?

Jim Squires is active in the community and preaches at the Church of Christ. He can be reached at csquires@midrivers.com or 406-939-1109.