September 2012 Questions / Answers
The following questions are taken from emails and are printed below exactly as I received them. Names and contact information has been removed. The answers are in note form (sorry for any of my grammar errors) to be studied through. You’ll have to examine each Scripture below to see the points.
WANTS TO BE BAPTIZE IS IT TO EARLY?”
Š So that we can realize something, assembling with the church to worship God is not “going to church.” The church is the people not the place (I Corinthians 12:27; cf. Colossians 1:18).
Š Do you Scripturally believe that your grandson is lost (James 4:17; cf. Romans 6:23)?
Š I have never seen nor met a seven year old who understood the commitment it takes to obey the Gospel or that needed to be baptized for the remission of his or her sins. I am not saying it is impossible, I just have not seen it. I would sit down with your grandson and ask him a lot of questions (the same as I do with anyone who wants to be “baptized”). I would ask him what he knows about Jesus. I would be looking for him to tell me that Jesus is the Lord (Romans 10:9-10); that Jesus is the only begotten Son of God (John 3:16 and John 8:23-24); about his death, burial, and resurrection (I Corinthians 15:1-11); that Jesus is the head of the church (Ephesians 5:22-25); etc. If he does not know who Jesus is, he is far from ready to be converted.).
Š I would continue by asking him why he wants to be baptized. The answers I would be looking for are somewhat like this: (1) "For the remission of my sins (Acts 2:38)". (2) "To be saved (Mark 16:15-16 and I Peter 3:20-21)". (3) "I have repented of my sins and am now ready to be converted (Acts 3:19)". (4) "To be in Christ (Galatians 3:27)". (5) "To be born again (John 3:3-5)". (6) "To be added to the church of Christ (Acts 2:41; 47)".
Š I would then ask him to consider the cost of discipleship (Luke 14:25-33). I would ask him if he would love the Lord more than his parents, more than his friends, more than his toys, etc. (Matthew 10:34-37 and Matthew 22:37).
Š I would try to discourage him from being “baptized”. If he can be swayed from baptism he is certainly not ready to be a disciple of Jesus. If he is ready to be a Christian he will be adamant and you will not be able to prevent him from being born into Christ (Acts 8:35-39; cf. Acts 5:29).
Š I hope these things will help you some as you try to guide this young man. Just make sure he does not end up getting wet and not being converted. If he just gets wet he will go through life with a false sense of security (so to speak) that he is a Christian when he really did not know or understand enough to be converted. In the New Testament, we read of mature people obeying the Gospel. I am not aware of one child who did so. In fact, adults are to be converted and take upon themselves the mindset of a child (Matthew 18:1-4).
2. “Do works matter to God since we are saved by grace?”
Š You are saved by grace (Ephesians 2:5).
Š You are NOT saved by grace alone (Mark 16:15-16, John 8:31-32, John 10:9, Acts 3:19, Romans 8:24, Romans 10:10, I Corinthians 1:21, I Corinthians 15:1-2, Ephesians 2:8-10, Hebrews 11:6-7, etc.).
Š Works, though not works alone, are necessary to be saved (Matthew 16:27, I Corinthians 3:8, James 2:14-26, and II John 8).
Š Grace requires works (Ephesians 2:8-10, Hebrews 12:28, and Titus 2:11-14).
3. “Is it wrong for there to be differing ideas about the bible in the church?”
Š Yes, it is wrong to have Scriptural disagreements in the local church (John 17:20-23, Romans 15:6, I Corinthians 1:10, II Corinthians 13:11, Philippians 1:27, Philippians 2:2, Philippians 3:16, I Timothy 6:3-5, I John 5:7-8, II John 9-11, and Revelation 2:14-16).
4. “Can we really say that Satan was the serpent in the garden in Genesis 3?”
Š Yes, (John 8:44, I John 3:8 [“in the beginning”; cf. Genesis 1:1 and Mark 10:6], Revelation 12:9, and Revelation 20:2).
Š While we’ve proven the point, there is a more difficult text that also proves that Satan was the serpent in the garden. In the text I am about to submit for your studies, Ezekiel is saying that the king of Tyrus is Satan. Remember, when someone sins they can certainly be called Satan (cf. Matthew 16:21-23). That being said, Ezekiel is talking about this king (Ezekiel 28:11-12), but in the figures he uses we learn about a cherub that sinned in the garden. That text is: Ezekiel 28:13-16. Satan is an angel that fell (Luke 10:17-18).
5. “When something untrue is being taught in the church how long should it be allowed to continue? Advise please.”
Š The Bible teaches us NOT to allow error to be taught at any time (Ephesians 5:6, Colossians 2:6-8, I Timothy 1:3-7, and Hebrews 13:9).
Š There can be no waiting (Acts 18:24-28, Galatians 2:1-5, II Timothy 3:16-4:5, Titus 1:10-14, Titus 3:9-11, and Jude 3-4).
Š Anyone who hears that false doctrine and does not deal with it has sinned (Romans 16:17-18, Ephesians 5:10-11, and II John 9-11).
Š No one has tomorrow to get it right (Proverbs 27:1 and James 4:13-16).
6. “What does I Peter 4:8 teach about covering sins? Does this mean that if I know a brother is in sin I should conceal it if I love him?”
Š I Peter 4:8, in regard to love covering sins, is best explained in these words: “(19) Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him; (20) Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins” (James 5:19-20). *It is the SAME Greek word translated “cover” in I Peter 4:8 and “hide” in James 5:20 (“kaluptō” Strong’s #2572).
Š No, you cannot hide someone’s errors (Matthew 18:15-17 and Luke 17:3-4).
Š Hiding sin is wrong, as it must be confessed and repented of (Proverbs 28:13).
Š When sin is hidden rather than repented of, you have fake Christians (Matthew 23:25-28).
Š True love is rebuking the brother in error (Proverbs 27:5-6 and Revelation 3:19) and having them repent (Acts 8:13-24).
7. “How can we show someone that we are to follow Apostolic examples?”
Š Well, we’re not supposed to follow all “Apostolic examples”. The Apostles were not always right (Matthew 16:21-23, Galatians 2:11-17, etc.).
Š We are to follow “APPROVED EXAMPLES” of which the Apostle Paul clarified by showing Christ has to be at the head of such examples (I Corinthians 11:1).
Š Any approved inspired example, not just the Apostles, is to be followed: Philippians 3:17, Philippians 4:9, I Thessalonians 1:5-8, II Timothy 2:2, Hebrews 6:12, James 5:10, I Peter 2:21-22, etc.
8. “Should I do something if it violates my conscience?”
Š This is a loaded question that can be taken and answered many ways. Please consider that when studying this answer.
Š For the conscience that is wholly dependent upon the Scriptures, the answer would be “no” (Romans 14:23).
Š However, some people are guided by their feelings or heart and they call that their conscience. Those people disregard anything the Scriptures teach and just follow what they “feel” is right. This is WRONG (Proverbs 28:26, Jeremiah 16:12, Jeremiah 17:9, and Hebrews 3:12).
Š The person who is an honest Bible student and only says and does that which is authorized by the Scriptures (Isaiah 8:20, Matthew 28:20, Luke 4:4, and Colossians 3:17); MUST have a clear conscience in all that is done (Acts 24:16, I Timothy 1:5, and Hebrews 10:22).
Š On top of that, a faithful child of God will also consider the conscience of others when acting in the realm of AUTHORIZED liberties (I Corinthians 10:24-33).
Š Be cautious in that sometimes the conscience of some becomes overbearing and thus creates the presence of a false doctrine (I Timothy 4:1-5; cf. Romans 14:1-3).
© 2012 This material may not be used for sale or other means to have financial gain. Use this as a tool for your own studies if such is helpful! Preachers are welcome to this work, but please do not use my work so that you can be lazy and not do your own studies. – Brian A. Yeager