Know Your Bible
The outdoor signs, which many churches have in front of their buildings, reveal much about their beliefs and practices. One I passed the other day said, "By The Authority Of God's Word, I Am A Blood Bought Child Of The King". If I understand the meaning, they are saying that what they did to become a child of the King is authorized by God in His word. That is, indeed, a wonderful and beautiful statement; IF IT IS TRUE!
Being familiar with the denomination which made this statement, here is what they practice in the matter of becoming a child of the King: "The repentance which the Gospel requires includes a deep conviction, a penitential sorrow, an open confession, a decided hatred, and an entire forsaking of all sin. This repentance God has enjoined on all men; and without it in this life the sinner must perish eternally. THE FREE WILL BAPTIST TREATISE, Chapter IX, Article 106,107. "All men are required to believe in Christ, and those who yield obedience to this requirement become the children of God by faith." Ibid, Chapter X, Article 114. Thus, their belief and practice is to be saved by repentance and faith.
Indeed, the Scriptures teach repentance and faith as a part of becoming a child of the King. Peter told those in Acts 2:36 "Therefore let all the house of Israel, KNOW ASSUREDLY that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ." Believing or knowing assuredly that Jesus was, indeed, "Lord and Christ", they replied in verse 37,"Men and brethren, what shall we do?". To which Peter replied in verse 38, "Repent". Thus far we see and have "authority of God's word" for repenting and believing in order to become a child of the King. This is what the church, which had the marque, believes and practices: repentance and faith to become a child of the King.
However, is faith and repentance all that Peter told them to do? Let's read verse 38 again: "Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost." In this statement, Peter is telling those who believe that Jesus is Lord and Christ to "repent, AND be baptized" for the remission (forgiveness) of sins. Whatever relationship repentance has to the "remission of sins", so does baptism.
It's the same thing expressed by Jesus in Mark 16:16: "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved." Whatever relationship "believeth" has to being saved, so does being "baptized". Thus we have Jesus and Peter joining baptism to faith and repentance. In order to be "saved"and to have "remission of sins", God's word teaches faith and repentance and baptism are necessary.
You cannot be saved before believing. Neither can you be saved before baptism. Belief and baptism come BEFORE a person is saved (Mark 16:16). You cannot have the remission (forgiveness) of sins before repenting. Neither can you have remission (forgiveness) of sins before baptism. Repentance and baptism come BEFORE the remission (forgiveness) of sins.
Therefore, we are not a child of the King before we believe, repent, and are baptized. For anyone to teach that a person can become a child of the King by JUST believing on Christ and repenting of their sins is not teaching by the authority of God's word. God's word nowhere teaches that sins are forgiven by just believing and repenting.
No one, since the resurrection of Christ, has become a child of the King without: (1) HEARING God's word. For "faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God" (Rom. 10:17); (2) FAITH in Christ. "Without faith it is impossible to please Him" (Hebrews 11:6); (3)REPENTING of sins. "I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish."(Luke 13:3) (Also, Acts 2:38, quoted above.); (4)CONFESSING Christ to be God's Son. "And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God." (Acts 8:37); and (5) being BAPTIZED for the remission of sins. (Acts 2:38, already quoted).
Therefore, by the authority of God's word, we must sincerely declare those who believe they are children of the King by repenting and believing are not His children. The reason why this must be said? They are unwilling to take ALL that God has said on the subject. Therefore, they are without authority from God.
---E.R. Hall, Jr.
The Origin Of Christmas
Would you be shocked to learn the word "Christmas" is not in the Bible? Would it also shock you to learn that the word "Christmas" has no reference to the birth of Christ?
If the word "Christmas" is not found in the Bible and has no reference to the birth of Christ, where did it originate and what does it mean? When we have to resort to a good reliable encyclopedia to find the true origin of Christmas, this ought to tell us something. As far as to the name "Christmas", The Britannica Encyclopedia says, "Liberius gave this reason for having Christmas: 'We have a Mass for every Saint, but there is no Mass for Christ'." From this we can see how the word "Christmas" originated: CHRIST + MASS = CHRISTMAS.
In fact, the birthday of Christ was never celebrated by the Apostles or the Christians in the first century. The Encyclopedia of Religion by Fern has this to say: "According to authentic records, no church festival was held in celebration of Christ's birth, until the first half of the fourth century." For over three hundred years after the birth of Christ, His birth was not celebrated.
Can you go to the Scriptures and find the day on which Jesus was born? People say it was December 25 but where is the Scripture that says such? Why, then, do people celebrate Dec. 25 as the day of His birth? Again, we have to go to encyclopedias instead of the Scriptures. The World Book Encyclopedia says, "Bishop Liberious of Rome in 354 A.D. ordered that December 25th be adopted as the birth date of Christ." Why would a Roman Catholic bishop use Dec. 25th of all days? The Lincoln Library of Essential Information can give us the answer: "December 25th was already a festive day for the sun god Mithra and appealed to Christians as an appropriate date to commemorate the birth of Jesus, the 'Light of the World'."
Someone may ask, "What's wrong with celebrating Christ's birthday?" The answer is: The Scriptures nowhere teaches us to commemorate Jesus' birth; much less how to go about it! What the Scriptures do command is for us to commemorate Jesus' death. "For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup
is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me." (1 Cor. 11:23-25). Jesus, Himself, commanded us to remember His death but makes no mention of remembering His birth. I ask, dear Reader, which do you faithfully remember: His birth or His death?
Our denominational friends say, with the best of intentions, "Let's put Christ back into Christmas."However, they need to realize that Christ was never in Christmas. The word itself has nothing to do with His birth. St. Nicholas, reindeer, the Christmas tree, mistletoe, and decorations that are associated with Christ's birthday did not originate from the Holy Scriptures but solely from Roman Catholic decrees and Pagan superstition.
Indeed, why put Christ into something that He did not originate nor command us to celebrate? However, let us imitate the Christians at Troas who gathered upon the first day of the week to remember the Lord's death by partaking of unleavened bread which commemorates Christ's body and drank the fruit of the vine which commemorates Christ blood. (Acts 20:7; Matthew 26:26-28).
Let us be thankful for His willingness to come to this earth and the fact that He was born of woman. But let us never forget that He came to this earth to die and shed His blood that we might have the remission of sins. Let that be what we remember every first day of the week as the Scriptures teach.
---E.R. Hall, Jr.
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