Monday, February 1, 2016

Two FingersIt is a special holy day.  120 disciples have been meeting in a second story room since their Rabbi left.  Suddenly a marvelous occurrence takes place.  Those learners closest to the Rabbi are able to speak different languages which they have not learned.  This happening garners an immense crowd.  Some misunderstandings occurs.  One of the learners stands up and begins correcting the crowd’s thoughts.  Several thousand out of the huge crowd gladly receive his instructions (Acts 2:37-41).  Since those word were uttered some two thousand years ago, many “what ifs” have been offered to explain them.  Discussions have been introduced with more questions than answers.  Debates often proved who was better prepared.  Eloquence moved some, but not others.  Why is there a problem with Peter’s words or the response of the three thousand hearers?

Some think baptism is necessary, but not essential.  Some see no reason for it.  Some believe it must be done, but at the convenience of the candidate.  Others believe it must be done at the convenience of the church.  Still others think it is a symbol of what has already happened.  Some believe if you refuse to do it, you aren’t really saved.  Some believe it is the exact time Jesus’ blood is applied remitting the immersed person’s sins.  Yet, after all the squabbling, the fact remains!

•    They asked what to do.
•    They were told what to do.
•    They did what they were told to do.

Luke, the inspired historian tells us:

(1) About three thousand people understood what was asked.
(2) Those same three thousand understood the two things they were told to do.
(3) Those same three thousand understood how to do what they were told to do.
(4) Those three thousand were glad to do it.
(5) Those three thousand did it on “the same day” (Acts 2:41).
(6). Those who refused to believe did not do it!

When they did what Peter told them to do, what were they “added” to?  The King James and New King James reads, “the Lord added to the church.”  From the American Standard to the newest translations, we are told, “And the Lord added to them, day by day those that were saved.”

The Lord didn’t add them to the Church of God of Paul, the Church of God of Cephas, the Church of God of Apollos, the Church of Christ of Christ, or any denomination.  Those were human organizations created by men (1 Corinthians 1:10-13).  The baptism they submitted to on Pentecost did not put the three thousand into a denominational church. None now existed back then.  They were added to the saved!  A baptism for the purpose of gaining membership into a non essential religious organization is man’s idea, not God’s.  Baptism was into Christ (Galatians 3:26-27).  It was a burial and resurrection with Christ from his death (Romans 6:3-4).  The 3,000 on Pentecost did it as a result of gladly receiving Peter’s command (Acts 2:41).  Those who responded were added to the saved by none other than God Himself (Acts 2:41, 47).  The baptism commanded by Peter was never practices to put anyone into a man made church.  To do so totally misses the purpose of immersion!

We can argue it.  We can discuss it.  We can debate it.  We can “what if” it.  We can reject it.  We can confuse it.  We can misunderstand it.  We can change it.  But, after all is said and done, Luke still lays it out to for us, simple and plain.

•    They asked what to do (Acts 2:37).
•    They were told what to do (Acts 2:38).
•    They did what they were told to do (Acts 2:41).

Will we do any less?