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Thursday, November 4, 2021

How to improve my marriage

In the early 1950s, Ray Robinson was working in Troy, Alabama with Goodyear.
The son of the woman who owned the boarding house where he was staying once
told Ray, "I have someone that I'd like for you to meet." He took him
across town to Troy State University and introduced him to a young lady from
Fort Deposit, Alabama who was studying to be a teacher. Her name: Louise
Moorer. Ray and Louise went on a date. Six months later they were married.

When Ray and Louise got married, Ray was on a two-week leave from the Air
Force. He was stationed at Scott Air Force Base in Illinois. He drove down
from Illinois to Fort Deposit, got Louise, drove over to Mississippi -
because you could get married a lot more quickly there - and Ray married a
woman of noble character that would be his loving companion and closest
friend for 65 years.

Those 65 years brought them great joys and deep sorrows, including the loss
of a son, a daughter, and their one remaining son paralyzed from the waist
down in a car accident. But through it all, their love for one another and
their faith in God remained strong.

One evening after their 60th wedding anniversary, their granddaughter, Mary
Kent, asked Ray about the secret to a long and happy marriage. He looked at
her in the eyes and smiled. He said, "Oh, that one's easy. Just two words.
'Yes ma'am!'"

Reflecting on that moment, Mary Kent recently wrote: "I wish, in that
moment, he had been behind the camera to capture the sheepish smile that he
could still put on my grandmother's face after all those years. It was the
kind of smile that can only come out of the gratitude for being deeply and
unquestionably adored."

When Louise was diagnosed Alzheimer's disease late in her life, Ray stayed
by her side, caring for her, until she died. He would tell you he was only
reciprocating the loving care she had always provided for him.

The Bible instructs: "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved
the church and gave Himself for her" (Ephesians 5:25). How did Christ love
the church?

Selflessly: Jesus put the needs of others - our needs - above His own. Our
greatest need is salvation from sin. Jesus took our sins upon Himself and
died on the cross so that we can be reconciled to God through Him (1 Peter
2:24; 2 Corinthians 5:17-21).

Sacrifically: He "gave Himself for her," Paul says. He purchased the church
with His own blood (Acts 20:28), for only His blood can cleanse us from sin
(1 John 1:7).

God will save from sin, add to the church, and give eternal life to those
who place their faith and trust in Jesus (Acts 16:30-31), turn from sin in
repentance (Acts 17:30-31), confess Jesus before men (Romans 10:9-10), and
are baptized (immersed) into Christ for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38).
He will continue to cleanse from sin those who continue to walk in the light
of His Word (1 John 1:7-9).

"Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave
Himself for her" (Ephesians 5:25). Do you want to know what that looks
like? Consider the love of Ray Robinson for his dear wife, Louise. That
love is worthy of emulation.

Submit your life to Christ and love others like Christ loves you. I think
that's what Ray would tell us, for that is the way that he lived and loved.

-- David A. Sargent

* In loving memory of Raymond Kent Robinson, Sr. (6/4/1929 - 10/13/2021) and
Louise Moorer Robinson (2/25/1931 - 6/8/2017). Until we meet again.

David A. Sargent, Minister

Friday, September 24, 2021

Air Florida Flight 90

The Skutnick

It was an icy, wintry day, January 13, 1982, when Air Florida Flight 90 took
off from Washington National Airport (now Ronald Reagan Washington National
Airport) headed to Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.
Tragically, the plane crashed into the 14th Street Bridge over the Potomac
River shortly after take-off. Of the 74 passengers and five crew members,
only four passengers and one crew member survived.

A helicopter was involved in the rescues. "Eagle 1, a United States Park
Police Bell 206L-1 Long Ranger helicopter (registry number N22PP), based at
the 'Eagles Nest' at Anacostia Park in Washington and manned by pilot Donald
W. Usher and paramedic Melvin E. Windsor, arrived and began attempting to
airlift the survivors to shore. At great risk to themselves, the crew
worked close to the water's surface, at one time coming so close to the
ice-clogged river that the helicopter's skids dipped beneath the surface"
(Wikipedia).

After successfully towing two survivors to shore with a lifeline, the
helicopter and its crew returned to the wreckage in the icy waters of the
Potomac. This time two lifelines were dropped down to the remaining
survivors. Arland Williams, Jr., who later drowned, passed one lifeline to
"Joe Stiley, who was holding on to a panic-stricken and blinded (from jet
fuel) Priscilla Tirado, who had lost her husband and baby. Stiley's
co-worker, Nikki Felch, took the second line. As the helicopter pulled the
three through the water and blocks of ice toward shore, both Tirado and
Felch lost their grips and fell back into the water" (Wikipedia).

"Priscilla Tirado was too weak to grab the line when the helicopter returned
to her. A watching bystander, Congressional Budget Office assistant, Lenny
Skutnik, stripped off his coat and boots, and in short sleeves, dove into
the icy water and swam out to successfully pull her to shore" (Wikipedia).
The helicopter went back to get Felch and paramedic Windsor stepped out onto
the helicopter skid and grabbed her by her clothing to lift her onto the
skid with him, bringing her to shore.

U.S. President Ronald Reagan invited Skutnik to attend the 1982 State of the
Union address on January 26, 1982. He sat next to First Lady Nancy Reagan.
In his address, Reagan praised Skutnik with these words:

"Just two weeks ago, in the midst of a terrible tragedy on the Potomac, we
saw again the spirit of American heroism at its finest: the heroism of
dedicated rescue workers saving crash victims from icy waters. And, we saw
the heroism of one of our young government employees, Lenny Skutnik, who,
when he saw a woman lose her grip on the helicopter line, dived into the
water and dragged her to safety."

Skutnik received a standing ovation from the audience. He was deservedly
hailed as a hero. *

When we were "drowning" in sin, Jesus came to our rescue. He temporarily
removed His heavenly robes of splendor and clothed Himself in human flesh.
He descended into the "troubled waters" of this world and gave His life on
the cross in order to rescue us from sin. Only He, the sinless Son of God,
could pay the price for our sins in order to save us.

"For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous,
to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the
Spirit" (1 Peter 3:18 NIV84).

If we accept His lifeline, we can be saved through His atoning sacrifice.

God will save and give eternal life to those who place their faith and trust
in Jesus (Acts 16:30-31), turn from their sins in repentance (Acts
17:30-31), confess Jesus before men (Romans 10:9-10), and are baptized
(immersed) into Christ for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38). He will
continue to cleanse from sin those who continue to walk in the light of His
Word (1 John 1:7-9).

Won't YOU take of the Lifeline through your trusting obedience?

-- David A. Sargent

* Information gleaned from "Lenny Skutnick" and "Air Florida Flight 90"
entries in www.wikipedia.com.

David A. Sargent, Minister
davidsargent1@comcast.net

Monday, September 13, 2021

Jack Zorn

Impact

On August 28, 2021, wonderful tributes were made to a man who impacted
thousands of people for good and for God. Jack Zorn was the man who was
memorialized that day with glory to the God that he served.

One of the people who spoke at Dr. Zorn's funeral was a distinguished
African American man in uniform. The uniformed man may not have been known
by many in attendance at the funeral, but this man knew and deeply
appreciated Dr. Zorn. He shared that day and also on Facebook how Dr. Zorn
had impacted his life. Here is his Facebook post:

I've always wanted to be an aviator since age six. When I was about 13, I
would ride my bicycle from Mobile Hwy to Dannelly Field Airport [in
Montgomery, AL] just to hang on the gate all day long watching F-4 Phantoms
takeoff and land. One day a wonderful man named Dr. Jack Zorn (Lads to
Leaders founder) saw me hanging around the fence at Montgomery Aviation and
asked if I wanted to come inside and get a close up of his Cessna 182
(N1444S). Of course I accepted because I had never seen the inside of a
cockpit up close. Later he received permission from my mother and we
actually went flying on several occasions. I initially got in trouble
because my mother didn't know her son was riding a bicycle on Highway 80
chasing F-4's, but she knew my passion. I thank the Lord for allowing our
paths to cross, and I pray that he knows that it was an ordained meeting
that I will cherish for the rest of my life. I now pay it forward to the
youth in hopes that I may impact a young life the same way he impacted mine.
I will forever miss him! To God be the glory!

Thomas Day, First Officer
ATP, CFI, CFII, MEI, AGI, IGI
Birmingham, AL

Because of Dr. Zorn's encouragement, Thomas Day fulfilled his dream of
becoming an airplane pilot.

A good friend of mine, Steve Phillips, shared Day's Facebook post on his
page. Dr. Zorn's daughter, Rhonda Fernandez, posted a comment thanking
Steve for sharing the information and included these words of reflection:
"[I'm] so proud of Daddy. [Here was] a little boy - many days a week for a
very long period of time [with] his nose in the chain link fence, invisible
to all except Daddy."

That young teen, Thomas Day, is forever grateful that Dr. Zorn noticed him,
befriended him, and encouraged him to fulfill his dreams.

Dr. Zorn "noticed" many young people throughout his life and encouraged them
to become Christians and leaders in the church. By his example, his
influence, and the Lads to Leaders/Leaderettes Program that he began, my
children, many children at Creekwood Church of Christ, and thousands of
children throughout the world have been impacted and challenged to become
Christian leaders.

I think Dr. Zorn "noticed" people because every soul is important to God.
Every person has sinned (Romans 3:23) and desperately needs a Savior. God
loves every person so much that He gave His one and only Son to die on the
cross for the sins of the world (John 3:16; 1 John 2:2). God will save and
give eternal life to those who place their faith and trust in Jesus (Acts
16:30-31), turn from sin in repentance (Acts 17:30-31), confess Jesus before
men (Romans 10:9-10), and are baptized (immersed) into Christ for the
forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38). He will continue to cleanse from sin those
who continue to walk in the light of His Word (1 John 1:7-9).

Dear reader, God has "noticed" you and wants to save you for an eternity.
Won't you accept His loving offer by trusting and obeying Jesus?

-- David A. Sargent

P.S. With love, appreciation, and admiration for Dr. Jack Zorn (1934-2021)
for his love for God, Jesus, the Word of God, and for his passion to teach
and train young people to become Christian leaders.

David A. Sargent, Minister
davidsargent1@comcast.net

Church of Christ at Creekwood
http://www.creekwoodcc.org

1901 Schillinger Rd. S.
Mobile, Alabama 36695

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Monday, August 23, 2021

Store employee pays veteran's grocery bill

The Difference

An elderly man, who is also a veteran, was at the grocery store register
purchasing his groceries when he realized he didn't have enough money to
cover all of the items. The veteran has used up a $25 grocery store gift
card but still owed $3 more to obtain the rest of the things that he needed.

His cashier, Briar Poirier, from Oxford, Massachusetts, said, "I've got
this," and he pulled out his own wallet to get the money to pay the
difference. "The gentleman had a couple basic necessities and looked like
he was a little down on his luck and the man fought for our country, fought
for our freedoms," Poirier told WBZ. "It's the least I could do for him."

Renee Falcioni, from Killingly, Connecticut, witnessed Poirier's act of
compassion. She said she saw the veteran's eyes "light up" at Poirer's
deed. "He shook his hand and said thank you and had a big smile from ear to
ear," Falcioni told WBZ.

Falcioni also posted about Poirier's kindness on Facebook. Her post
received thousands of likes and hundreds of comments and shares. Falcioni
commented: "Thank you Briar for being such an amazing young man and a big
thank you to your parents for raising such an amazing, kind-hearted,
conscientious, and caring young man!!!"

May I turn your attention to another act of compassion that has a few
similarities to Poirier's act of kindness? There are some differences in
the actions as well:

1. The debt is far greater. In fact, it is too great for any of us to
pay with our own resources.
2. Each of us owes this unpayable debt.
3. The matter of the debt has eternal implications.
4. Only one Person could pay this debt. He willingly did so for each
of us.
5. He paid this debt for us, not because we were good or kind or
merited the repayment in some way.

The debt that each of us has and cannot repay is the debt of sin (Romans
3:23). None of us has the resources to pay the debt ourselves, for sin is
an offense to a Holy God (Isaiah 59:1-2). But God loves each of us so much
that He gave His Son Jesus to pay the debt of our sin so that we can be
reconciled to Him (John 3:16; 2 Corinthians 5:17-21). Jesus paid the debt
for us with His life; He died on the cross for our sins (1 Corinthians
15:1-4). Jesus did this for us when we were weak and unable to pay the
debt, sinners offending the Holy God, and even enemies in rebellion against
Him (Romans 5:6-10). The wonderful news is that if we accept His offer of
salvation, He will give us eternal life. If we reject His offer, we will
receive eternal destruction (Matthew 7:13-14; Romans 6:23).

God will save and give eternal life to those who place their faith and trust
in Jesus (Acts 16:30-31), turn from their sins in repentance (Acts
17:30-31), confess Jesus before men (Romans 10:9-10), and are baptized
(immersed) into Christ for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38). He will
continue to cleanse from sin those who continue to walk in the light of His
Word (1 John 1:7-9).

Jesus' death, burial, and resurrection make all of the "difference" in our
lives now and forever. Won't YOU accept His offer of salvation and eternal
life?

-- David A. Sargent

* Information gleaned from "Store employee pays veteran's grocery bill: 'The
least I could do'" by Ann W. Schmidt of Fox News, www.foxnews.com

Saturday, July 31, 2021

Author James Herriot

Paid in Full

Author James Herriot tells of an unforgettable wedding anniversary he and
his wife celebrated early in their marriage. His boss had encouraged him to
take his wife to a fancy restaurant, but Herriot balked. He was a young
veterinarian and couldn't really afford it. "Oh, do it!" the boss insisted.
Herriot reluctantly agreed and surprised his wife with the news.

En route to the restaurant, Herriot and his wife stopped at a farm to
examine a farmer's horse. Having finished the routine exam, he returned to
his car and drove to the restaurant, unaware that his checkbook had fallen
in the mud. After a wonderful meal, Herriot reached for his checkbook and
discovered it was gone. Quite embarrassed, he tried to offer a way of
making it up.

"Not to worry," the waiter replied. "Your dinner has been taken care of!"

As it was, Herriot's employer had paid for the dinner in advance. *

God has done the same for us. Jesus' utterance on the cross, "It is
finished" (John 19:30), is a Greek term meaning "paid in full." On the
cross, Jesus paid for the debt of our sins and He paid the debt "in full."

In Today's Walk in the Word (7/22/21), Joe Barnett stated this sublime truth
succinctly:

Jesus paid our sin debt.

We owed it but couldn't pay it. He didn't owe it but paid it. The debt is no
longer owed - It has been paid in full.

We could get by on nothing less.

We need nothing more.

We rely on nothing else.

"Hopelessly in debt" is now past tense. **

All we have to do is accept God's offer of forgiveness and eternal life on
His terms. God will cancel the debt of sin and give eternal life to those
who place their faith and trust in Jesus (Acts 16:30-31), turn from their
sins in repentance (Acts 17:30-31), confess Jesus before men (Romans
10:9-10), and are baptized (immersed) into Christ for the forgiveness of
sins (Acts 2:38). He will continue to cleanse from sin those who continue
to walk in the light of His Word (1 John 1:7-9).

Your debt has been paid if only you will accept God's offer on His terms.

Won't YOU?

-- David Sargent

* As qtd. by Darryl Dash, www.dashhouse.com. ** "Paid in Full." Today's
Walk in the Word (7/22/2021) by Joe Barnett, Pathway Evangelism,
www.pathwayco.com.

.

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Why don't some churches use instrumental music in worship?

“Why don’t you use instrumental music?”

Frequently we are asked about our practice of observing a cappella music in our worship services. Folks are curious. They want to know why we don’t have instrumental music. Our practice is different - we’re not like the majority of other religious groups. What is the reason? People really want to know. So they ask, “Why don’t you use instrumental music?”

With no intention to be flippant, we might very well respond with a counter-question: “Why should we?” That’s fair, isn’t it?  Those who think that instrumental music is right and proper ought to be able to tell us why they think so. When we ask this question, the typical responses are:
 
“We really like instrumental music.” Be careful here - - remember that our goal is to please God, not men, not even ourselves (Gal.1:10).

“Well, everyone else is doing It”   Anyone who thinks that this proves the real acceptability of a thing needs to be reminded that Jesus said the majority of people (even the majority of “religious” people) will be condemned in the day of judgment. Read Matthew 7:13-14, 21-23.

“God gave certain people musical talent, and they ought to be able to use it  If this logic works, then the fella who is a talented mechanic would be justified in rebuilding a car engine during the worship services, too. And the surgeon who wants to glorify God could do an appendectomy before the assembled congregation. Surely we can see the flawed thinking behind this argument.

”They used instruments in the Old Testament”   True, but we are no longer under that law (Col. 2:14-16). We need to find our authority in the New Testament - and there is none.
 
In the final analysis, everything we do religiously must be based on the authority of the Lord (Col. 3:17). If we cannot defend a practice by appealing to the Scriptures, then we ought not to do it. There is simply no New Testament authority for the use of instrumental music in our worship. That settles it!

- by Greg Gwin

 

Friday, July 16, 2021

Awake, My Heart, J. Sidlow Baxter

The Royal Visit

In his devotional book, Awake, My Heart, J. Sidlow Baxter shared the
following anecdote:

In 1934, a British magazine told the story of young Prince Edward and a
visit he made to a small hospital where thirty-six hopelessly injured and
disfigured veterans of the First World War were tended. He stopped at each
cot, shook hands with each veteran, and spoke words of encouragement. He
was conducted to the exit but observed that he had only met twenty-nine men.
At that point he questioned those present, "I understood you had thirty-six
patients here. I have only seen twenty-nine."

The head nurse explained that the other seven were so shockingly disfigured,
that for the sake of his own feelings, he had not been taken to see them.
The prince insisted that he must see them. He spoke to each of them and
thanked them for the great sacrifice they had made and assured each that it
would never be forgotten.

Then he turned to the head nurse and said, "There are only six men. Where is
the seventh?" He was informed that no one was allowed to see him. Blind,
maimed, dismembered, the most hideously disfigured of them all, he was
isolated in a room where he would never leave alive. The nurse said to the
Prince, "Please don't ask to see him." But the Prince could not be
dissuaded.

The nurse reluctantly led him into a darkened room. The royal visitor stood
there with white face and drawn lips, looking down at what had once been a
fine man, but now was a horror. Then the tears broke out, and with lovely
impulse, the prince bent down and reverently kissed the cheeks of that
broken war hero. *

Sidlow made this apt application: "There is one who has stooped far, far
lower, to kiss a far, far worse ugliness - not the physical disfigurement of
a broken hero whose brokenness called forth reverent gratitude, but the
leprous, evil ugliness of corrupt sinners and hard rebels against infinite
love!"

The One who "stooped" so far to demonstrate such undeserved love was Jesus
Christ, the Son of God. "For when we were still without strength, in due
time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one
die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God
demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners,
Christ died for us." - Romans 5:6-8

God will save and give eternal life to those who place their faith and trust
in Jesus (Acts 16:30-31), turn from their sins in repentance (Acts
17:30-31), confess Jesus before men (Romans 10:9-10), and are baptized
(immersed) into Christ for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38). He will
continue to cleanse from sin those who continue to walk in the light of His
Word (1 John 1:7-9).

Because of His love for us, Jesus "stooped" low through His incarnation and
crucifixion, so that you and I can be raised up to enjoy eternal blessings
"in the heavenly places" in Christ (Ephesians 2:1-10).

-- David A. Sargent

* As cited in www.ministry127.com

Wednesday, July 7, 2021

If we are autonomous beings that elevate preferences over truth, we will be in a state of chaos

True Freedom

 

Referring to our Western culture, Christian apologist Abdu Murray states, “If we are autonomous beings that elevate preferences over truth, we will be in a state of chaos.” *

 

For a case study of the veracity of Murray’s statement, read chapters 19-21 of the book of Judges in the Bible.  Warning: you will likely be disturbed by what you read.  “Why is that in the Bible?” some may ask.  The moral degradation that is revealed in that time is directly connected to a philosophy that was adopted by the people: “In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes” (Judges 21:25).

 

If every person does what he or she wants – without regard to morality or how it may affect others – then the result is moral chaos and degradation.  “If we are autonomous beings that elevate preferences over truth, we will be in a state of chaos.”  Because of this truth, Murray concludes that “true freedom requires boundaries.” *

 

Dr. Tony Evans has illustrated the concept of freedom within boundaries by using the analogy of a kite:

 

There was a kite that thought to itself one day, “It sure would be nice if I wasn’t hooked up to this string. This string is holding me back. There’s this man down there holding onto this string. If I was just free from the string, I could fly so much higher. I could get so much farther. I wish that man down there would let the string go so I could be free to be me and fly to the sky.”

 

The man let the string go, and the kite thought to itself, “Whee! I’m free.” So the kite was just flying up there and flopping all over in its newfound freedom — no longer subordinate to someone holding the string. Until a fierce wind came by. It began to take control of the kite. It slammed the kite to the ground, tearing it to shreds, breaking the wooden pieces that held it together.

 

Now the kite was destroyed because it didn’t understand one thing. It was being held by the string so it could fly and soar. But the moment it detached itself from the person holding it, there was no freedom. The kite became subject to an enemy ready to slam the kite, at the right time and in the right place.

 

Likewise, we can choose to be free from God. But we will then be free for the Devil to come slam us unless we give God permission to hold onto that string. We’d be wise to declare, “God, I don’t want to be free of You!” *

 

The truth is: we are selfish, sinful creatures (Romans 3:23).  When we “do what is right in our own eyes” ignoring the Word of God, we bring chaos and destruction.

 

However, God still loves us and wants to save us.  He gave His Son Jesus to die on the cross for our sins (John 3:16; Romans 5:8-10), so that through Him we can be saved and live eternally with Him (Romans 6:23).

 

God will save and give eternal life to those who place their faith and trust in Jesus (Acts 16:30-31), turn from their sins in repentance (Acts 17:30-31), confess Jesus before men (Romans 10:9-10), and are baptized (immersed) into Christ for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38).  He will continue to cleanse from sin those who continue to walk in the light of His Word (1 John 1:7-9).

 

And, in His Word, God reveals the way we ought to live and experience true freedom: freedom to live as we ought within the boundaries set by our loving Creator.

 

-- David A. Sargent

 

* Information gleaned from “True Freedom” by Marylin Joy Tyner of POW Apologetics, www.powapologetics.com.

 

Monday, June 28, 2021

Why should I be baptized?

A Lesson on Baptism

sIX “rIGHTS” OF bAPTISM

INTRODUCTION:

A.              Texts:  multi-text

B.              How old are you?

1.               Obviously, it depends on when you were born.  I’m not talking about your physical birthday.

2.               How old are you spiritually?  The answer depends on when you experienced the new birth, when you were born into the family of God through baptism.  (Relate personal baptism at age 11 -- August of 1978).

C.             One unique characteristic concerning churches of Christ is the emphasis that is put on baptism.

1.               Example:  A particular preacher preached on baptism all of the time.  He was asked by elders to preach on other subjects.  He asked, “Well what do you want me to preach on?”  The elders suggested that he begin in Genesis and preach the whole counsel of God.  The next Sunday morning the preacher got up to preach and began his sermon with these words:  "‘In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.  The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters’ which brings me to the subject of baptism.”

2.               Baptism IS a Bible subject.  “In the 269 chapters of the New Testament, ‘baptism,’ appears more than 100 times” (Meador 127).

3.               Yet, many questions surround this practice:

a.               Is it necessary for salvation?

b.               Does baptism include sprinkling and/or immersion?

c.               What about infant baptism?

d.               What about re-baptism?

D.             Concerning baptism as the Bible presents it, let us observe SIX RIGHTS OF BAPTISM...

I.                 THE RIGHT AUTHORITY:  CHRIST.

A.              "And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.  Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen" (Mat 28:18-20 NKJV).

1.               “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth” – Jesus is the “Commander-in-Chief,” whatever He says, goes!  He is the Authority!  He is the Head of the church (Ephesians 1:22-23).

2.               “God therefore and make disciples [students, learners], baptizing them.”  First, there must be a study of the Word of God (reading, preaching/teaching, etc.).  The proper response to the teaching of God’s word includes baptism.

3.               We call this “The Great Commission.”

B.              The right authority is Christ, NOT…

1.               Feelings.

2.               Preconceived ideas.

3.               Traditions of men.

4.               The teaching of a particular teacher.

C.             “Our Lord began His personal ministry by being baptized (Matt. 13:13-17), and ended His earthly stay by giving the Great Commission in which He commanded baptism (Matt. 28:18-20; Mk. 16:15,16)” (Winkler “Bible” 112).

II.               THE RIGHT SUBJECT:  PENITENT BELIEVER.

A.              The Philippians jailor (Acts 16:31-34).

1.               Review context:  Paul & Silas beaten & imprisoned – singing and praying at midnight – earthquake – jailor stopped before committing suicide (vs. 20-29).

2.               Read and discuss vs. 30-34.

B.              Jews on Pentecost (Acts 2).

1.               Topic of apostles’ sermon:  Jesus!  (vs. 22-36).

2.               Read and discuss 2:37-38.  Note:  they already believed in Christ!

III.            THE RIGHT ELEMENT:  WATER.

A.              NOT (see Winkler “Bible” 112).

1.               It could not be the baptism of suffering, since this baptism was fulfilled in our Lord’s suffering and death and the subsequent persecution of His disciples (Matthew 20:20-23).

2.               It could not be the baptism of fire, since this is yet to come (Matthew 3:11-12; Rev. 20:15; 19:20).

3.               It could not be the baptism of the Holy Spirit, for only Christ could administer such: ""I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire" (Mat 3:11 NKJV).

B.              Water baptism is the one baptism that is in effect today.

1.               Philip & the Ethiopian Eunuch (Acts 8:26-39; see especially vs. 35-39).

2.               The Apostle Peter: "For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit, by whom also He went and preached to the spirits in prison, who formerly were disobedient, when once the Divine longsuffering waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water.  There is also an antitype [like figure] which now saves us; baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ”  (1 Pet 3:18-21 NKJV).

3.               The household of Cornelius (Acts 10:1ff, esp. vs. 44-48).

C.             This is NOT to say that we believe in water salvation!

1.               It is only through the blood of Christ that our sins may be washed away!

a.               ""For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins."  (Mat 26:28 NKJV)

b.               "Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him" (Rom 5:9 NKJV).

c.               "how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?" (Heb 9:14 NKJV).

d.               "Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered outside the gate" (Heb 13:12 NKJV).

e.               “…Knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot" (1 Pet 1:18-19 NKJV)/

f.                 "If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.  But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin" (1 John 1:6-7 NKJV)

g.               "and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth. To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood,"    (Rev 1:5 NKJV)

2.               However, God has declared that the blood of Christ washes our sins away WHEN we are baptized in His name.

a.               Compare Naaman (2 Kings 5:1-14) and Elisha’s instructions.  The power was not in the waters of the Jordan River; the power was in God.  The power of God was activated when Naaman obeyed the prophet’s instructions.

b.               In baptism, the power is not in the water; the power is in God.  That power is activated when one’s faith in God leads one to obey the Lord’s instructions concerning what one must do to be forgiven of his sins.

D.             An objection is often raised:  “From what you teach about baptism, you’re trying to be saved by works.”

1.               “In fact, when my religious friends argue that baptism is a work I now say ‘Yes, baptism is definitely a work ... but not my work.’  Faith is my work.  Coming to God is my work.  But the real accomplishment is not my performance but His.  And, interestingly enough, this is precisely how Paul put it” (Meador 136):

“In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.  And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses” (Colossians 2:11-13).

“Every mention of my part in baptism is passive.  It is done to me, not by me.  And God is clearly the major player, the surgeon performing spiritual surgery ... bringing life and forgiveness” (Meador 136).

2.               “My baptism was Jesus-driven and Christ-focused.  Neither a sectarian ritual nor a High-Church sacrament, baptism was not designed to achieve personal merit before God.  Only Jesus ‘earned’ anything before God.  He alone achieved merit on the cross.  This is why my baptism was Jesus-driven ... My personal faith in Jesus Christ brought me to my baptism.  Christ achieved my salvation on the cross and I simply accepted what He offered me.  As I obeyed Christ in my baptism, I learned the crucial lesson that everyone must learn about salvation -- salvation does not result from what I do, but from what Christ did on the cross for me.  My baptism showed me that while I can’t ear salvation, I can receive God’s precious grace.  In fact, my baptism took me back to the cross of Jesus.  That’s where the story of my salvation really started!” (Meador 137).

IV.           THE RIGHT PURPOSE:  REMISSION OF SINS/ SALVATION.

A.              "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" (Acts 2:38 NKJV).

B.              “"Can anyone forbid water, that these should not be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?"  And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then they asked him to stay a few days."    (Acts 10:48 NKJV)

C.             Ananias to Saul:  "'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 NKJV).

D.             "Or do you not know that 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.  For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection" (Rom 6:3-5 NKJV).

E.              "For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body; whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free; and have all been made to drink into one Spirit."    (1 Cor 12:13 NKJV)

F.              "For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.  For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ" (Gal 3:26-27 NKJV).

V.              THE RIGHT ACTION:  IMMERSION.

A.              Immersion, as indicated by the meaning of the word “baptism.”

1.               “Baptism” is a transliterated word, not a translated word. A translated word is a word out of another language (Greek) given an English spelling and pronunciation” (Winkler “Water” 112).  The Greek word baptizo was transliterated to our word, “baptize.”

2.               A translation (definition) of the word would be:  “to dip, plunge, or immerse” (Winkler “Water” 112).

B.              Immersion, as indicated by baptism being described as a burial.

1.               "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" (Rom 6:4 NKJV).

a.               The Gospel:  death, burial and resurrection of Jesus.  "Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you; unless you believed in vain.  For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:1-4 NKJV).

b.               It is the Gospel that saves: "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek" (Rom 1:16 NKJV).

c.               The Gospel saves when one obeys the form of the doctrine (gospel): "But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered.  And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness" (Rom 6:17-18 NKJV).

d.               “Baptism beautifully portrays the death, burial and resurrection of our Lord (Rom. 6:1-4)” (Winkler “Bible” 112).

2.               Paul wrote to the Christians in Colosse saying, “[You have been] "buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead" (Col 2:12 NKJV).

VI.           THE RIGHT TIME:  NOW.

A.              Consider the Ethiopian Eunuch (See Acts 8:35-39).

B.              Consider the Philippian Jailor (see Acts 16:31-34).

C.             Consider Felix the Governor (see Acts 24:24-25).

D.             Consider Agrippa (see Acts 26:26-29). “Almost Persuaded.”

CONCLUSION:

A.              Consider the joy of a new birth.  “And the eunuch went on his way rejoicing” (Acts 8:39).  Have you experienced the new birth?

B.              A surprising discovery:  “the most profound statements on baptism are really addressed to those of us who have already been baptized.  I had earlier thought that most of the Bible teaching on ‘baptism’ surely was directed to those who had never been baptized.  But apparently God wants us to continue to look back at this defining moment in our spiritual journey.  He wants us to savor it, to appreciate it, to understand it, and to be strengthened by it ... It’s truly life’s defining moment” (Meador 127-128).

C.             Baptism is a new beginning – a glorious beginning.  Yet, it is a beginning, not an end.  Have you been faithful to the Lord?

 

SOURCES:

Meador, Prentice A., Jr.  “The Mystery of Baptism -- A Personal Odyssey.”  Directions for the Road Ahead:  Stability in Change Among Churches of Christ.”  Jim Sheerer and Charles L. Williams, editors.  Chickasha, OK: Yeomen Press, 1998.  126-142.

Moorer, Rex.  “Six Rights of Baptism.”  Notes taken in the form of a skeleton outline by David A. Sargent during a Gospel Meeting at the Flatwoods church of Christ outside of Fort Deposit, AL, on 8/10/95.  See Baptism file.

Winkler, Wendell.  “Bible Baptism.”  Things That Accompany SalvationSound Doctrine for Everyday Living Series.  Montgomery, AL: Winkler Publications, 1972.  112-121.

 

David A. Sargent, preaching minister
Mobile, Alabama

 

 

Friday, June 11, 2021

George Mueller built many orphanages at Ashley Down, England

You Matter

George Mueller (1805-1898) built many orphanages at Ashley Down, England.
Without a personal salary, he relied only on God to supply the money and
food needed to support the hundreds of homeless children for whom he cared
in the name of Christ. A man of radiant faith, Mueller kept a motto on his
desk for many years that brought comfort, strength, and uplifting confidence
to his heart. It read, "It matters to Him about you." Mueller believed
that those words captured the meaning of 1 Peter 5:7, and he rested his
claim for divine help on that truth.

"Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you." - 1 Peter 5:7 NIV

Mueller testified at the end of his life that the Lord had never failed to
supply all his needs. *

Audrey Mieir has expressed the truth of 1 Peter 5:7 and Mueller's motto with
these words:

Be not troubled with thoughts of the morrow, Of duties you surely must do.
On the Lord cast your burden of sorrow;
It matters to Him about you!

Be not weary when trials are given,
But trust Him to carry you through.
He will make all a pathway to heaven;
It matters to Him about you!

Then be patient until His appearing,
'Tis dawn almost now on your view;
For the mists of this dark age are clearing.
In love He is planning for you! *

Take this truth to heart: "It matters to Him about you."

How can we know that?

Because when we were weighted down with a burden that was too great for us
to bear - the burden of our sins - God gave His one and only Son to die on
the cross for our sins (John 3:16). "He Himself bore our sins in His body
on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by His
wounds you have been healed" (1 Peter 2:24 NIV).

God will lift the burden of sin and give eternal life to those who place
their faith and trust in Jesus (Acts 16:30-31), turn from their sins in
repentance (Acts 17:30-31), confess Jesus before men (Romans 10:9-10), and
are baptized (immersed) into Christ for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38).
He will continue to cleanse from sin those who continue to walk in the light
of His Word (1 John 1:7-9).

And, God will help His children with other burdens that may arise in this
life. Why? Because He cares. "It matters to Him about you." You matter
to God.

"Cast your burden on the LORD, And He shall sustain you" (Psalm 55:22 NKJV).

-- David A. Sargent

* Information gleaned from illustrations on 1 Peter 5:7 from www.bible.org.

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