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The New Testament Church 0002 - Lesson 4

Its Ordinances

    1. Water Baptism
    2. The Lord’s Supper
    1. What It Is.
      1. The meaning of the word
        1. The word baptism along with its various forms came into the English language in the 1200s.
        2. The most basic meaning of the word is to immerse.
      2. The historical record
        1. Baptism by immersion
          1. Immersion was always performed in the earliest churches according to church historians such as Schaff, Mosheim, etc.
          2. Immersion was performed in rivers and lakes, in private baths, in subterranean waters and later in man-made baptisteries
          3. The sprinkling of water is spoken of by several of the early church writers (including Justin Martyr and Tertullian) as being purely heathen.
        2. Baptism for believers
          1. Clement of Rome (ca AD 96) said that “they are right subjects of baptism, who have passed through an examination and instruction.”
          2. Clement of Alexandria (ca AD 190) said, “The baptized ought to be children in malice, but not in understanding; even such children who, as the children of God, have put off the old man with the garments of wickedness, and have put on the new man.”
          3. Tertullian (ca AD 216) said that “adults were the only proper subjects of baptism, because fasting, confession of sins, prayer, profession, renouncing the devil and his works, are required from the baptized.”  And, “The soul is sanctified, not by washing, but by the answer of a good conscience—baptism is the seal of faith; which faith is begun and adorned by the faith of repentance.”
          4. The Lutheran church historian, Mosheim, in speaking of the first century after Christ, states, “Whoever acknowledged Christ as the Saviour of mankind, and made a solemn profession of his confidence in him, was immediately baptized and received into the church.” And, “The sacrament of baptism . . . was performed by the immersion of the whole body in the baptismal font.”
      3. The scriptural practice
        1. The baptism offered of John
          1. There are some distinctions between John’s baptism and our baptism today.
          2. John’s message and his purpose for baptism certainly show some distinction from our message and purpose.
          3. We do know, though, that the mode of John’s baptism was the same as our mode (John 3:23).
        2. The baptism of the Lord Jesus (Matthew 3:13-17)
          1. The Lord came to the Jordan to be baptized of John (Matthew 3:13).
          2. When He was baptized He “went straightway out of the water” (Matthew 3:16), or as Mark said, “straightway coming up out of the water” (Mark 1:10).
          3. The Trinity approved of the baptism.
            1. The Lord Jesus requested the baptism.
            2. The Holy Spirit descended from heaven like a dove (Matthew 3:16; Mark 1:10; Luke 3:21-22; John 1:32).
            3. The Father spake from heaven (Matthew 3:17; Mark 1:11; Luke 3:22).
        3. The baptism of the Ethiopian eunuch (Acts 8:26-39)
          1. The eunuch was reading Isaiah (Acts 8:28).
          2. Philip preached concerning the Lord Jesus (Acts 8:35).
          3. The eunuch desired to be baptized (Acts 8:36).
          4. The eunuch asked about the requirements (Acts 8:36).
          5. Philip gave the requirements (Acts 8:37).
          6. The eunuch confessed his faith (Acts 8:37).
          7. They “went down both into the water” (Acts 8:38).
          8. Philip baptized the eunuch (Acts 8:38).
          9. They came “up out of the water” (Acts 8:39).
    2. What It Is Not.
      1. It is not a means of salvation.
        1. The history of baptismal regeneration
          1. One of the earliest corruptions of Bible doctrine
          2. A carryover from Judaism and the gospel of the kingdom
          3. Men as early as Justin Martyr (ca AD 150)) were teaching baptismal regeneration.
          4. Even today, every major Protestant group, as well as the Roman Catholics, teach some form of baptismal regeneration.
          5. Baptismal regeneration became the basis for a number of other false doctrines.
            1. Pouring and sprinkling
              1. Baptism is necessary for salvation.
              2. Some people, because of sickness, etc., cannot be immersed.
              3. Another way must be provided or these people will be lost.
              4. Infant baptism further reinforced the practice of sprinkling.
            2. Infant baptism
              1. Infants are born polluted by sin and therefore need remission of sins for salvation.
              2. Remission of sins comes only by means of baptism.
              3. Therefore, infants must be baptized so that they will go to heaven if they die before they are old enough to believe.
            3. Post-baptismal sins
              1. Further corruptions came about from a concern for post-baptismal sins which (it was believed) were not washed away in baptism.
              2. The doctrine of penance was eventually formed to atone for the sins that were committed after baptism.
              3. Later, extreme unction was added as a safeguard.
              4. Purgatory finally became necessary for those who failed to do enough penance.
              5. Indulgences and prayers for the dead were the results of the doctrine of purgatory.
              6. In this doctrinal environment, assurance of salvation became absolutely impossible.
              7. NOTE: Since all this corruption is the logical result of the doctrine of baptismal regeneration and since the Protestant churches never succeeded in ridding themselves of this belief, therefore the return of the Protestant churches to the doctrinal position of Roman Catholicism is only a matter of time.
        2. The gospel according to Paul
          1. Paul presented his gospel in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4.
            1. How that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures (1 Corinthians 15:3)
            2. That He was buried (1 Corinthians 15:4)
            3. That He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures (1 Corinthians 15:4)
          2. He stated that his purpose was to preach the gospel, and in the same verse he contrasted that with baptism (1 Corinthians 1:17).
        3. The thief on the cross (Luke 23:40-43)
          1. If baptism is a requirement for salvation then the Lord Jesus had no right to tell the thief that he would be with Him in paradise.
          2. Some have argued that this event took place before the death of Christ on the cross and that it changed when Christ died.
          3. The problem with such a statement is that the thief outlived the Lord Jesus (John 19:31-37).
Andrew Ray

Daily Proverb

Proverbs 28:16

The prince that wanteth understanding is also a great oppressor: but he that hateth covetousness shall prolong his days.