Browsing Tag

Baptism

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Sister to Sister: “Mammy, I want to tell you…”

Ezra, my 4-year-old grandson, just called to tell me about the baptisms that are occurring tonight after a Bible study that his parents have been conducting with a couple that visited the marriage seminar at Edgewood recently. This is blessing my world tonight in so many ways and on so many levels. 

The obvious and most important is that two souls are being washed tonight. Two precious souls added to the body of Christ. Two souls saved by the mercy of God and the blood of Jesus (Romans 6:1-4)

The second reason that what’s happening right now is pivotal is that these two people being baptized are parents of very small children. That means that these kids, from this night forward, will be parented by intentional, devoted Christians—people who are directing them with eternity always in the forefront. It means that whatever brokenness or spiritual poverty may have existed in the former generations, no longer has to exist. Tonight is the forging of the first link in a chain that can be unbroken—each generation forging its own link and each generation guiding the next to faithfulness. These small children will never have to remember a time when their parents were walking away from the Lord. 

The third thing that’s wonderful is that I’m basking in the joy that a mother gets in knowing the next generation is evangelistic. It’s not always easy and pretty to be conducting Bible studies with a two-year-old and a four-year-old in tow. It’s not always easy to offer hospitality, to make sure that your children and those who belong to the ones who are hungering for the gospel are quiet enough, so that concentration on truth can occur in the next room. It’s not always easy, but it is always eternally gratifying. 

And that’s the part that makes a grandmother’s heart sing: “Mammy, this is Ezwa…. I want to tell you that Mrs. Kiki and Mr. Lavardo and Jo-Jo and all of them are going to get to go to heaven now. Dey WEALLY are. It’s because I been so good to dem and Cohweenanna has, too. We been teachin’ dem about God. Dey have already been baptized tonight.” 

Well, you and I know that they will not go to heaven because Hannah and Ben’s son has been good to them. They will, just like you and me, get to go to heaven because God’s Son has been so good to them. All the same, I’m happy that Hannah and Ben are putting joy into Ezra and Colleyanna when souls are reached with this good news. I’m glad she is showing them that they can have a part in someone coming to know the Lord. I hope they will get to experience this ultimate bliss over and over in their lives.  

It is ultimate bliss for this lifetime. Only heaven can be better than this. 

Tomorrow, I am going to go and teach women lessons from Titus 2. Because of tonight’s little four-year-old testimony of the power of parenthood, I’m going to speak the truths about motherhood with a little more conviction…perhaps with a little more clarity. The future of the body of Christ is dependent on what parents are putting into the hearts of their children. I’m so thankful for parents who are serious about the transferral of their families to that eternal home around the throne. And I’m supremely grateful for that sweet couple in Georgia who woke up this morning in an unwashed and lost state. Tonight, they are going to bed washed and heaven-bound. What blessed children will be sleeping down the hall from them!

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

For the Diggers: Have You Had this Surgery?

We should really be careful not to talk about any particular avenue of salvation as ” _________only” salvation; like “I’m saved by faith only” or “I’m saved by baptism alone”.  Biblically there are a number of saving elements–things without which salvation just cannot occur. There are senses in which we are saved by the blood, grace, faith, baptism, the Savior, the cross,  the truth, the Word, repentance, belief, God, Christ, His eternal purpose, His church, mercy, and our own free will or choices. And that list is not exhaustive.

Some have requested the lists of verses given on the last podcast about how we are saved by the truth or the Word of God. (That was question #7.) Here they are:

John 17:17

Romans 10:13-17

2 Timothy 3:15-17

Ephesians 1:3

2 Thessalonians 2: 14-17

Romans 1:16

I Thessalonians 2:13

Corinthians 1:17-18

James 1:21-22

1 Peter 2:2-3

John 8:31-32

Ephesians 1:12-13

Colossians 1:5

Also requested were the passages from number ten. Although we should be careful not to say we are saved by any of the above elements alone or only, we can surely appropriately say that we cannot be saved without faith, or without grace or without baptism, etc…

But there is just one thing, on this list of things that saves us, that is the exact point of the washing from sins…the point at which I bury the man of sin and rise to walk with Christ. Here’s the list of  verses we gave about the point at which the washing of sins occurs:

1 Peter 3:21

Acts 22:16

Romans 6:3,4

Galatians 3:27

Acts 2:38

Mark 16:16

Ephesians 6:26

Hebrews 10:22

John 3:5

Acts 2:41

Matthew 28:28

1 Corinthians 6:11

Ephesians 1:7; 2:13

1 John 1:7

Colossians 1:14; 2:12

Romans 3:24,25

Titus 3:15; 2:14

Colossians 2:12 pictures God as the surgeon and  baptism as the operation. If I can look at myself as the patient in the operating room, I can more readily understand that there is a point (baptism) at which God performs the surgery. At this point, all trespasses are removed (verse 14). When I submit to His surgery, I am not “saving myself” or “working” to earn salvation.  The surgery is His free gift and His work. I am simply laying down on his table in gratitude to Him for performing the operation without which I cannot be saved.

I hope this is helpful and, more, I hope if there is one reading with whom I could study and/or for whom I could pray about salvation, that you would be sure to contact me. That is the thing for which there must/will always be time in my life. I know there’s a legion of women who are digging deep who live for chances to share the Word!

 

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

“Sweep in Heaven Peace”

Matthew 25 is one of those rare passages containing a glimpse into the world beyond this one. The curtains of the judgement scene are pulled for a few brief verses and we are clearly taught from those judgment verses that, when we do good things for the brethren, we are doing them, in essence, for the Lord. 

So, on the way to the crisis pregnancy center, where my daughter was volunteering on that Thursday morning, she explained to her kids that, when Ezra and Colleyanna were in the playroom that she would be attending (a place where siblings, of mothers who were being encouraged NOT to abort their unborn children, would be entertained and watched) that they would be doing an important job. She explained that they would be helping mothers learn how to be better mothers and take good care of their babies; that it’s a great day because they would actually be doing something for Jesus. Ezra, who is four, took the job seriously.

Following their time at the pregnancy center, they headed to Chik-Fila, where they were meeting my son-in-law, Ben, and their friend, Carina, to study the Bible. Hannah told the children about the importance of the Bible study and that, when they were playing nicely during the study, they really were getting to do yet another thing for Jesus. 

The best part of the day was yet to come. At the conclusion of the study, Ben told their sweet friend that he and Hannah were always available should she decide she wanted to be baptized into Christ. She responded “Could I just do it right now?”

In their excitement to take her to the water, Hannah hurried the kids into the car and began to explain to them that Carina was going to be baptized for the remission of her sins. From the back seat, Ezra smiled a huge smile and said “You mean we get to do something for Jesus AGAIN?”

It had been a long and full and very blessed day. On the way home, the radio was playing “Silent Night.” Hannah was thinking about other things (good things) and didn’t even notice the song on the radio until she heard the little voice again from the back seat:

“I wuv this song. You know why? Because it says, ‘sweep in heaven peace’ and Carina gets to go to heaven now. I think this is a God song. A God song for Carina.”

May you and I have that heart…a heart that loves getting to do things for Jesus…a heart that wants “heaven-peace” for people in a troubled world… a heart that wants a “God-song” for all the people who could use His music in their lives!

 

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Do You Need to Write this Love Letter?

The following is a letter originally drafted for a woman I met rather coincidentally in a small southeastern town in which I was speaking not too long ago. She was a spirited young woman who made my day by giving me a beautiful cookbook. I had to leave quickly and was unable to study with her at the moment we met. Perhaps the letter below might help another soul somewhere who is yet in sin, or perhaps it might help you as you approach a friend who is coming near to the kingdom. I know I do not always make the most of opportunities to love people in the way that makes an eternal difference. I hope I can do better.

Dear Valerie,

It was really a joy to get to meet you a couple of weekends ago when we spoke in ____________. I am so pleased with my cookbook. Please forward my small donation to the charity about which we spoke. Thanks so much for thinking of me. I love to cook and I love new cookbooks, especially this one with potent reminders of the spiritual bread of life.

I am always refreshed and thankful to meet people who have a zeal for spiritual things and whose lives have led them down a path to a grateful realization that God is so merciful and good. That was definitely you! I know you’re very thankful and amazed by his care and that He has allowed you to overcome so much and come to this good place in your life where you finally have a chance to glorify Him with blessings that he bountifully gives to you.

The burden on my heart now is to be sure that you are in Christ and do have that hope of heaven. I carry this burden with me to every place I speak and I see it in every new face I meet. I just had to write and be sure about this because I am going to stand before the same judgment bar one day that you will and I just want to tell as many people as I can. It’s not that I have any secrets about the will of God that you don’t have. It’s just that the devil is very busy deceiving in our world today through the hundreds of denominations out there all teaching different and opposing plans of salvation. The devil really doesn’t care how religious we are if he can just keep us outside of Christ. He doesn’t care what good hearts we have if he can just deceive those good hearts into accepting false teachings. He doesn’t care how many good things we do for our neighbors if he can just keep us out of Christ. He knows that forgiveness and redemption and all spiritual blessings are found only in Christ (Eph 1:3, 7). So he loves to make people think they are in Christ when they really have not done what the New Testament says to do to be in Christ. I don’t know about you personally, but I love your heart of submission and I want to be sure that I help you if these are things you have not thought about before. I think you are right about something you said to me. When people really want to do the will of God, He can bring people into their lives for a reason. I hope that he can use me in a small way in your life. I am praying as you study the things that are in this letter that you will want to be sure that you have followed his will and that you are in Christ where forgiveness is.

About 98% of the world of “Christendom” today teaches that all you have to do is pray the sinner’s prayer in order to be saved. Something like, “Lord Jesus, come into my heart. Thank you for loving me and saving me right here and right now…” The problem with that is it’s just not found in the Bible anywhere. It is true that he loves us and that he is willing to save every last one of us (II Peter 3:9), but as with all of his blessings, his salvation is conditional on our obedience. It really bothers me that the devil uses this “sinner’s prayer” that is nowhere in scripture to deceive so many people into believing that they are saved, when, in reality, they are still in sin.

It is true that belief in the fact that Jesus is the son of God is a prerequisite for salvation. Without that faith it is impossible to please him or be saved (Mark 16:15,16, Heb.11:6). It is true that we have to repent or put away sin from our lives. If we keep on sinning on purpose, we will perish (Luke 13:3). We have to confess that faith in Jesus as God’s Son (Romans10:10). While all of these things are essential steps toward salvation, the Bible nowhere ever says that these things put us into Christ. It’s just not there.

But the New Testament does tell us what it is that does put us into Christ: Look at these clear teachings:

Rom 6:3 Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?
Rom 6:4 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.

According to this verse, it is baptism that puts us into Christ. Look at another:

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

Again, God just made it as plain as day how we put on Christ.

We can ask the same question lots of ways:

How do I wash my sins away?

Acts 22:16 And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.’

When am I forgiven?

Acts 2:38 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.

What do I do to be saved?

Mark 16:16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved;

Exactly what saves me?

1Pe 3:21 There is also an antitype 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…

In fact, in every case in the book of Acts where people desired to be saved, they clearly were immediately baptized for the remission of their sins(Acts2, Acts8, Acts 9, Acts 10,11, Acts 16). In one case the man actually risked his life in the middle of the night to leave the jail and go be baptized. If he had been caught by his Roman superiors, he would have surely been executed (Acts 16). Each time I read and reread all of these passages, I get so upset at preachers who are reading the same Bible I am reading and yet are willing to ignore these plain teachings about baptism and teach that it is not essential for salvation…that it is just a symbol of your salvation. Romans 6:3,4 teaches us that baptism is the very place where we contact the death of Christ. If we don’t go down into those waters with a heart of submission, knowing that we desperately need his salvation, we do not even come in contact with the death and blood of Jesus!… and that is a scary reality to take to judgment.

The point is this. If I was baptized because I thought I was already saved, then I was not coming to God on his terms. I was not being baptized for the remission of sins like they did in Acts 2:38. I was not doing it to wash away my sins (Acts 22:16). I was not doing it to be saved (Mark16:16). It was not a step of faith if I did it as a symbol that I was already saved. I was putting my will above his. I was saying, “Lord, I was saved without ever being baptized into the death of your son, and now I will be baptized to show that I have already been saved without doing what you said I must do to be in Christ.” If I am a member of a church that teaches baptism is not essential to be in Christ, then I am a member of a church that is misleading people into a false security of salvation.I said all of those things because I could tell your heart was an open one to His will. I am praying as you read this that you will just want to be sure that you are doing and teaching what the Bible (the only word we have today from God) says about salvation. There is no more important subject. I have already been praying for you and for the good things you are doing already. I just pray that now that you have this letter in hand, you will look carefully at these passages in the context of the whole New Testament and be very careful not to be led astray by any person (including me!) I have nothing personally to gain by telling you this, except to know that I will not have to look into your face in the judgment day and know that I was silent about this very important subject. Just be sure the church with which you are working is the church of the New Testament, teaching the same thing that first opened its doors of salvation to the world in Acts 2. If we do what they did on that day, we will be what they were…Christians. But if we become involved in a religion that leads people astray we will be accountable for that, too. Remember, the devil doesn’t mind religion at all. In fact, since he is the father of lies (John 8:44), he loves false religions. Not every one that says “Lord, Lord” (i.e. not every one who is religious) will enter the kingdom (Matthew 7:21,22 ), but he that obeys the will of God. I could go on and on…
…And I will, if you have any questions at all with which I might be able to help. I’ve thought of you often and prayed for you. Again, let me thank you for my gift. I hope that this letter finds your heart open to do and teach all of his will. You can be a great minister for His cause to other ladies. So many are searching for these truths and so many are being led astray. Let me know if I can help further.

Because of Calvary!

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

For Scripture Sleuths Only! (By Request from Digging Deep)

The Digging Deep study in the previous month included a comparison of the baptism in the Red Sea (Exodus 10) and the baptism of a sinner today. This comparison is made by the Spirit in I Corinthians 10. Here’s a partial list of components of that comparison. The scenarios surrounding the journey through the Red Sea are in the opening chapters of Exodus. Scriptures about the New Testament counterpart are included below.

  1. Both candidates of “baptism” had a former master (Romans 6:16-18). Pharaoh was a cruel, murderous liar. The devil, our former master, is a cruel (I Peter 5:8), murderous (Romans 6:23), liar (Rev. 12:9).
  2. The Israelites  were committed to the new leadership of Moses to travel toward the promised land. We yield to the new leadership of Jesus Christ. These two leaders have many likenesses. Among them are these:
    1. They were both Hebrews (Exodus 2; Luke 2:4).
    2. They were both born under rule of cruel Kings (Pharaoh and Herod, Exodus 1,2; Matt. 2:1-13)
    3. Both were hidden in Egypt (Exodus 2; Matt. 2:1-15).
    4. Both were hiding from cruel kings who wanted to kill them (Exodus 2; Matt. 2:1-15).
    5. Both turned water to another substance (Exodus 4; John 2:1-12).
    6. Both fasted forty days (Ex. 34:28; Matt. 4:2).
    7. Both were mediators (Ex. 32:11-14; I Timothy 2:5).
    8. Both were lawgivers (Exodus 24:12; Romans 8:1,2).
    9. Both chose twelve men to send out (Numbers 13; Matt. 10:1-5).
    10. Both were/are leading to a promised land (Dt. 8:7,8; John 14:1-4; I Peter 1:3-9).
    11. Both were victims of attempted stoning by their own people (Exodus. 17:1-4; John 8:59).
    12. Both offered people water from a Rock (Exodus. 17:6; John 4:1-14; I Cor. 10:4).
    13. Both of their faces shone (Exodus 34:35, Matt 17:2).
    14. Both were shepherds (Exodus 3;John 10:10,11).
    15. Both have victory songs (Exodus 15; Rev. 15:2,3).
    16. Both had missions of redemption (Deut. 7:8; I Peter 1:18,19)
  3. The escape through the Red Sea elicited a great rejoicing among the subjects as is evidenced in Exodus 15. Our baptism should and does elicit great joy (Acts 8: 39).
  4. Both baptisms preceded the giving of a new law. The first was given from Mount Sinai in Exodus 20. Our new law was given from the mountain of Jerusalem (Luke 24:47).
  5. Food was given after the passage through the Red Sea. It was manna and quail in the wilderness. Our new food is the bread of life (John 6:35).
  6. People died at the Red Sea baptism (the Egyptians, rebelling against God). The man of sin (the rebellious man) dies in baptism today (Romans 6:5,6)
  7. The Red Sea was the beginning of a trip to an inheritance in a promised land (Deut. 8:7,8). Our baptism is the beginning of our trek to our inherited promised land  (I Peter 1:1-5, Rev. 21:7).

If you love God and His Word, you have to love this list. If you are not involved in the Digging Deep study. you should still take time before you die to study this list. It will stop you in your spiritual tracks and make you more in awe of Him.

 

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Sister to Sister: Alex Underwater

images-16Last Friday night, we had a two hour prayer session as part of our West Huntsville women’s seminar. We prayed for many people. We prayed for doctors who are performing surgeries and families who are making decisions. Many prayers we prayed were in view of eternity and in behalf of lost people. One such young man was Alex.

Alex is Amy’s boyfriend and he’s been studying and thinking on the gospel of Christ. He has only a few months at home before he enters the military.  We prayed that he would obey for all the right reasons and we prayed for wisdom for Amy as she makes decisions about their young relationship.

The good news is that Alex was baptized into Christ on Tuesday afternoon. I knew you’d want to rejoice with Amy and me.

Lots of things happened while Alex was underwater— in that “grave” of baptism, burying the old man of sin. Here are a baker’s dozen of them.

  1. His sins were remitted (Acts 2:38).
  2. His sins were washed away (Acts 22:16).
  3. He became saved (Mark 16:16).
  4. His name was written in the book of Life (Phil. 4:3).
  5. He put on Jesus (Gal. 3:27).
  6. He contacted the death of Jesus (Romans 6:3,4)
  7. He got into Christ (Romans 6:3,4).
  8. His conscience was washed clean (I Peter 3:21,22).
  9. He became a sanctified and holy man (I Corinthians 6:9-11).
  10. He became a royal priest (I Peter 2:5-9).
  11. He began a new life (Romans 6:4).
  12. He was added to the church of Jesus Christ (Acts 2:47).
  13. He was redeemed (bought back) by the blood of Jesus (I Peter 1:18-22).

Is there someone reading who would like to have the things Alex got while underwater? Would you like to have a clean conscience, even in a world full of the dirtiness of sin? I’d love to help you to the blood of Jesus—the blood which can make and keep you clean till you’re all done living here on earth. It’s the best kind of life. Email me at ddprayers2015@gmail.com.