Long before the New Testament writers spoke of baptism, the Greeks used the very same word to describe the process of dipping, immersing, or submerging something. The root word “bapto,” from which baptism is derived, is translated as a form of dip in several passages: “dip the tip of his finger in water” (Luke 16:24); “when he had dipped the sop” (John 13:26); and “he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood” (Revelation 19:13). When English scholars began translating the New Testament into English from the original Greek, they sought to avoid controversy by transliterating the word for baptize (that is, substituting the letters of our alphabet for the Greek letters), rather than translating the word (giving the actual English equivalent). This allowed people to continue to believe and teach that either sprinkling, pouring, or immersion was scriptural baptism, despite the clear meaning of the original language. “Immersion” properly translates “baptism.” For example, a literal translation of Acts 2:38, “repent and be baptized,” would be “repent and be immersed.”

The first recorded practice of sprinkling came some two hundred years after the establishment of the church. Ancient historian Eusebius said that third century church leader Novatian, supposing he was dying, “received baptism, being besprinkled with water, on the bed whereon he lay (if that can be termed baptism).” Sprinkling, or “clinic baptism,” was reserved for the ill, and was held in disfavor generally until the council of Ravenna, in 1311, said that baptism was equally acceptable by sprinkling or by immersion. Substitution of sprinkling for immersion is an ancient innovation, but is not biblical.

Only immersion fits the Bible pattern. The nature of baptism is such that it requires “much water.” “John also was baptizing in Aenon near to Salim, because there was much water there: and they came, and were baptized” (John 3:23). Sprinkling or pouring requires only a “handful” of water, but immersion requires “much” water.

Also, baptism requires a going down into the water, and a coming up out of the water. Luke records the conversion of the Ethiopian eunuch: “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 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” (Acts 8:36-39). They both went down into the water so Philip could immerse him. Finally, New Testament baptism requires a burial and a resurrection. Paul describes the act of baptism this way: “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. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection” (Romans 6:4-5). Sprinkling and pouring do not picture a burial and a resurrection as immersion does.

Baptism is perhaps the most misunderstood and misinterpreted concept in the Bible. There are those who would have us believe that baptism is not necessary for salvation. Others will say that it a good thing to do, and we really ought to, but it is strictly optional. Still others say that baptism is necessary, but only to join the local church.

Not only do Christians disagree on whether baptism is a necessary part of salvation, there is also disagreement as to the form and who should receive it. Some say that infants can, should, or even must be baptized. While others contend that one should be of the age of accountability. There is disagreement as to whether the form of baptism should be by immersion, sprinkling, or pouring.

All the disagreement noted above is purely on the part of mankind. The Scriptures are in full agreement on all these points. If one reads the New Testament he will find no place where more than one form of baptism is used and he will not find a multitude of opinions as to the necessity of baptism for salvation. So, let's see exactly what the Scriptures have to say about the subject of Baptism.

The wise man in the book of Proverbs admonishes us to "buy the truth, and do not sell it" (Prov. 23:23). Truth is to be a valuable commodity in our lives -- we are to obtain it at all costs and once obtained, never let it slip from our hands. It is the truth that sets us free from the shackles of sin (John 8:32). When I started preaching I labored under several false assumptions, one of them was that all people valued the truth in the same way I did. I thought that if you would go out and tell people the truth that they would jump at the chance to go wherever it led. However, some people love darkness more than light , because their deeds are evil (John 3:19).

Not only was I wrong about the world in general hungering for the truth, I was wrong in my assumption that all the people claiming to be Christians were really striving to find out what God required of them -- I'm talking about people who occupied the pews in buildings where I have preached. I've found out that a lot of people want "the truth" as long as it does not disturb them or present any challenges in their lives.

  1. "Without faith it is impossible to be well-pleasing unto him; for he that cometh to God must believe that he is and that he is a rewarder of them that seek him" Hebrews 11:6
  1. First, we must believe that God is -- that he exists.· The universe is one of the best sources of evidence in proof of such. "For the invisible things of him since the creation of the world are clearly seen, being perceived through the things that are made, even his everlasting power and divinity" Romans 1:20.
  1. Two broad solutions are offered for the origin of our universe: naturalism/materialism [usually identified as evolution] and creationism. In the previous verse, creationism is specified as the correct answer [see also: {bible 9}Genesis 1:1; Exodus 20:11; Psalms 19:1-3; Psalms 33:6-9; Isaiah 45:18;Jeremiah 27:5].
  2. By a study of the universe and a logical search for its origin, you and I can know that God exists, that he is powerful and that he is divine. Without this intellectual acceptance, it is impossible to please him.
  1. Second, we must believe that God is a rewarder of those who seek after him. -- Where is he? Who is he? What is he like? What does he want? Without some kind of revelation, we have no answer. 1 Corinthians 2:10.
    1. That's where the Bible comes in. For "all scripture is given by the inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness" 2 Tim. 3:16.·· By turning to "the implanted word, which is able to save...souls" James 1:21, we learn about God and the life he requires of us.
  1. Now, let's assume that you and I both accept the existence of a divine being based on the existence, the size and the intricate design of our universe. Let' s also assume that we accept the Bible as his divinely inspired revelation.
  2. That being true, let's turn to his revelation to see why we have to seek him and what we must do to have a relationship with him. Let's turn to the Bible to see what we must do if we really want to go to heaven and live with him.

Preachers have always had to put up with those saints who sleep during services. Eutychus, who fell out of the window in Acts 20, is probably the best known. While in Troas, Paul preached in a upper room where the church had gathered together. Luke tells us that "in a window sat a certain young man named Eutychus, who was sinking into a deep sleep. He was overcome by sleep; and as Paul continued speaking, he fell down from the third story and was taken up dead" (Acts 20:9). I have met a few folks who had a habit of "sinking into a deep sleep" during periods of "worship." Have you ever wondered why these people decide to catch up on their sleep while the gospel is being preached? It could be the preacher is boring. However, it has been my observation that "sleeping saints" don't really care who is preaching they're going to sleep regardless. Let me offer a few suggestions as to why they sleep:

The Late Show Those who stay up Saturday night to watch the late, late show usually can't keep their eyes open on Sunday morning. Their problem is one of priorities. The gospel of Christ rates well below reruns of World War II movies and the latest slasher films.

Medication I've known several brethren who could not stay awake because of their medication. This is not their fault, they try their best to participate and I admire them for attending in spite of physical infirmities.

Lack Of Interest Here is the major cause of "sleeping sickness." If someone were to lecture on how to make a million dollars in real estate, these folks would find a way to stay awake, even if they had to put toothpicks in their eyelids to keep them open.

Working The Midnight Shift I truly admire those who put in a full nights work and get home just in time to get ready for morning services. Many people would stay home and sleep, but these brethren really want to worship God. They show their family and their brethren where their true priorities are.

What should we do with "sleeping saints"? When I lived in Evansville, Indiana we had one man who was a perpetual embarrassment, not only because he slept during services, but sometimes he even snored. One Sunday he slept through all of the sermon, the invitation song and the closing prayer as well. Someone woke him up as we were leaving the building. One lady suggested we should have just turned out the lights and left him there. I had another idea, but it involved the use of Crazy Glue, and some thought it was not appropriate.

If a person sleeps during periods of "worship" those who sit near them need to find out why. Those who sleep during services are a hindrance and detriment to the growth of any congregation. Visitors and our own children can see their lack of commitment to the Lord.

When We Meet


9:30 AM....... Bible Classes
10:30 AM..... Worship
6 PM.............Evening Worship

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6:30 PM...... Bible Class

GBN Live

Church of Christ

2501 Broadway
Rockford  IL 61108
Preacher:  Maurice Brown
Daytime Phone: (815) 874-9995

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