Well, Maybe…

Okay yes, we’re still cheating, but this series is one of our longer ones, so we assure you it will be fine

Here’s the link: https://sway.office.com/KZUndWC5QnGHI5yv

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A Mood and a Mode (V2)

“Well that was an interesting study this morning,” I told Felicity as we left the church and headed to Burger King.

                “Yes it was,” she agreed.

                “I guess I really never noticed what he said about Charity,” I remarked.

                “What’s the topic supposed to be tonight?” Steve asked.

                “Not sure,” Felicity answered. “Brother Holmes is speaking tonight, though.”

                “Were we going to stay here for the evening service?” Susanna asked.

                I looked at Felicity. “Mother and I decided to stay for all of the services,” I answered.

                “Yippee!” the children chorused                                   *                                             *                                             * *

                “Good evening, Amos,” Pastor Mast greeted us that evening. “Good to have you back.”

                “Thank you,” I replied.

                The evening service passed as the morning one. After the sixth song, Pastor Mast announced, “And again, thank you for coming tonight. This evening Brother Jesse Holmes will be speaking.”

                “Thank you, Pastor,” Brother Holmes began as he stepped up to the pulpit, “and good evening. Tonight my topic is  titled, ‘A Mood and a Mode’. Take your Bibles and turn to Matthew 28:19-20. Matthew 28, verses 19 and 20:

‘Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.’

                “Tonight we’re going to look at the mood and the mode of baptism. And by the way, I want to thank Brother Miller for the message this morning; it fits very well with tonight.

                “The mood of baptism. Baptism is defined in Scripture as a public witness of our faith in Christ. Mark 16:16 says: ‘He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

                “Baptism follows salvation. We must be saved to be baptized. We just read Mark 16:16; perhaps some would think baptism saves you. Here we see that that’s not true. ‘He that believeth not shall be damned’, not, ‘is not baptized’.

                “So the mood of baptism involves salvation as well as a realization that this is a public witness to my faith in Christ.

                “And it’s not something to be taken lightly,” Brother Holmes went on. “This is a serious matter; not that we cannot be happy at our baptism, but it isn’t something we should have an attitude of ‘If I have to’, either. We should want to do it, and shouldn’t make someone do it.

                “That also means we shouldn’t pressure someone into getting baptized. The candidate needs to be willing to be baptized, should have a desire to be baptized, and should understand what it’s all about. This would also imply that the parents cannot baptize their children as infants. Acts 8:37, Philip says, ‘If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest.’ The Ethiopian had asked if there’s anything hindering him from being baptized. Philip told him there wasn’t if he was saved. The Ethiopian said, ‘I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God’ and was baptized. Your newer versions don’t have that verse by the way.”

                Brother Holmes looked under the shelf. “Is there any water here?” he asked. “Oh here it is, sorry.”

                “Now,” he continued, putting the water back in its place, “let’s look at the mode of baptism. How many of you here have been baptized?”

                Most hands went up.

                “How many of you were immersed or believe in immersion?”

                Almost all of the hands went up

                “How many of you were poured or sprinkled?”

                A couple of hands went up, including ours.

                “And how many of you believe in these methods or aren’t sure what you believe?”

                A couple of hands went up.

                “And how many of you do not understand the question?”

                No hands went up.

                “Okay,” Brother Holmes resumed, “the mode of baptism, according to Baptists of all ages, is immersion. Is that what the Bible says, then?

                “Look at Matthew 3:16-17,” Brother Holmes stated. “Matthew 3:16-17.”

                “And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased,” Brother Holmes read. “Here we see how John baptized, and we see that Jesus was baptized by immersion. ‘up out of the water’; that should be easy for anyone to see. Now, we know that John’s baptism was of God, so if God ordained immersion, and since Jesus was immersed, could it be that the mode of baptism is immersion?

                “Well, let’s take a look at Acts chapter 8, verses 26-40. Acts 8:26-40. Here we have the story of the Ethiopian eunuch, which I already alluded to. Philip found the eunuch and talked to him and explained the Gospel to him, and along the way, they came across some water. Starting in verse 36, the Bible says, ‘And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him. And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing. But Philip was found at Azotus: and passing through he preached in all the cities, till he came to Caesarea.

                “So Philip baptized by immersion, look at that!” Brother Holmes stated. “‘Yeah but you see,’ you say, ‘the Philippian jailor, he was poured.’ Not true! Not true, not true, not true! He took Paul and Silas, washed their stripes, and then was baptized. They were out of the jail by that time; Acts 16:32 says that Paul and Silas spoke to all of the jailor’s house. Nice try, though!”

                Brother Holmes cleared his throat. “Romans 6:3-4,” he stated, turning several pages in his Bible. “‘Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.’ Did you notice that phrase ‘buried with him by baptism’? The only, repeat, only way we could be buried by baptism is to be totally immersed in the water. Colossians 2:12 also says that we are buried with him in baptism. Nowhere in Scripture is water baptism referred to as a symbol of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, as Mennonites and Amish and others teach.

                “Also consider,” Brother Holmes added, “that the Greek word where we get our word baptism means ‘to immerse in a fluid’. Not that the Greek is needed, but that is where the word baptism comes from nevertheless.

                “So in conclusion,” Brother Holmes stated, “we see that the mood of baptism is salvation in Christ, and the mode of baptism is immersion. Let’s pray.”  

A Small Moment

      Today in the Church there is a theory, a thesis, a belief, that Israel fell from God’s favour in 70 AD and has been replaced by the Church. The ones who subscribe to this system believe that God has cast Israel out and now the Church has taken the mantel, consequentially giving the Church the responsibility to build the kingdom of God on earth. Interestingly enough, those who believe that the Church is now Israel, Replacement Theology as it’s called, usually believe in a Post-Tribulational Rapture or subscribe to the Amillennialist view of the end times.

     While I could spend an entire week on this topic talking about “everlasting” and “eternal” promises made to Israel by God, or all day on Romans 11, I want to bring forward a verse that I came across the other day while reading.

      The verse in question is Isaiah 54:7: “For a small moment have I forsaken thee; but with great mercies will I gather thee.”   God has been speaking to Israel this entire chapter, and suddenly tells them this.

     Now while this may seem a bit of a straw man argument, considering this verse is in the middle of telling Israel how God will punish them for leaving Him, it seems to carry some significance. “a small moment”, God says. Let’s not forget that time is slightly irrelevant to God, which means that “a small moment” could be a few years or a couple thousand.

      The best thing is, if we couple this verse with Paul’s statement “blindness in part has happened to Israel”, things begin to make sense. Much like a seasonal item, God has put Israel “in backstock” until the Church’s “season” is finished. That season is ending soon, my friend, so let’s prepare ourselves before the season finale.

     Here’s an odd thought: Everyone who believes in Replacement Theology always takes the blessings and never the curses. Odd.

What the Hell

Of all the topics spoken of in Christianity, Hell has got to be one of the more popular. Some believe that Hell doesn’t exist; others believe that when a person dies and goes to Hell, they burn up into ashes and cease to exist. But what the Hell is the truth? (Yeah, bad pun, I know).

     Let’s first establish what Hell is. No, I don’t mean the psychological state of mind or the figurative hell we have to deal with at work or home at times, but the place spoken of as opposite of Heaven. Yeah, THAT Hell.

      The Bible never actually tells us where Hell is; just that it IS. While some speculate that Hell is in the center of the earth, that is somewhat impossible, as 1) Hell is a spiritual dimension like Heaven, and 2) Hell will last forever, while earth won’t. We’ll discuss this in a moment.

     So let’s just assume for the hell of it (sorry, I’ll stop) that Hell is  in some “alternate dimension”. What is it?

     The Bible describes Hell as a place of torment. The rich man in Luke 16 said he was “tormented in this flame”. Jesus said Hell is a place of fire in Mark 9.

     Hell is also described as eternal. Yes, eternal. Not temporary, not “you can buy your way out”, but forever. Jesus said the flame “dieth not” in Mark 9. In Revelation 20, Death and Hell are “cast into the lake of fire”, which will last forever.

     As far as the notion that you’ll go to Hell and burn up, that can easily be dispelled by Revelation 20:10. According to the Bible, Satan will be cast in the lake of fire “where the beast and the false prophet are”. Yep, after one thousand years, those two are still there. We won’t mention it says Hell “gave up the dead that were in [it]” three verses later. Oh shucks, I just did.

     “But a loving God won’t send someone to Hell.” Really? REALLY? The problem isn’t that God sent you there; YOU sent you there, when you rejected God. God originally designed a perfect world with no sin, no death, and no pain. But because God gave man a free choice, He had to make evil in order to have good and the ability to choose either. You can’t have light without dark; good without bad. It just doesn’t work. Furthermore, God originally designed Hell after Satan fell from Heaven (Matthew 25). But when man chooses to follow his own path instead of following God, much like a parent, God says “Okay, have it your way.” As one speaker put it, “I believe Hell will be so bad for the same reason Heaven will be so good. God is present in Heaven, and not in Hell.” I’m paraphrasing a little, but it’s a reasonable statement.

     So yes, Hell exists and is a nasty place to go, and while Jesus provided the only way to avoid Hell, He’s more than just your ticket out of Hell. So let’s be sure to take Jesus seriously when He says “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

                                                                                –Agent Winters

Why Support Israel?

Today we hear many things out of the Middle East, some exciting and some not so exciting. But, why support Israel at all, any ways?

While David casually mentions that we should pray for the peace of Jerusalem in the Psalms, the Biblical support of Israel stems from God’s promise to Abraham in Genesis: “I will bless them that bless thee”.

As far as Christian support of Israel, along with the command to preach the Gospel to every creature, including Jews, Israel is also key to the last times. Jesus said to keep an eye on Israel in the last days. Israel in paramount to the seven years of the Tribulation, as the last of Daniel’s Seventy Weeks involves them. God picked Abraham and Israel to show His power, mercy, and grace to the world, and will finish this plan during the seven years. Thus support of Israel stems from a study and correct interpretation of end times events.

While some tend to push the idea that God has replaced Israel with the Church. Paul disputes this idea in Romans 11, as well as God’s promises to Abraham, David, Isaac, and Israel itself that are “eternal”, “everlasting”, etc. And no, there are no “twelve lost tribes of Israel”.

“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee.”—Psalm 122:6