Sandpoint church of Christ

Join us in worshiping the Lord

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Question: What is available for my kids at your church?

Answer: At the Sandpoint church of Christ, we consider children to be vital part of our church. Jesus said, "Permit the children to come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these" (Lk 18.16). Therefore, we strive to help children feel important. We currently provide classes for all ages of children during our Sunday morning Bible class time (9:30-10:30 a.m.). Our Sunday morning worship time (10:30 a.m.) is designed for the whole family to worship together. We feel that children should grow up worshipping the Lord with their family. As they witness adults sincerely worshipping, they are being trained to do the same.

Question: Why does your church sing without instrumental music during worship?

Answer: The reason we sing without instruments is because the New Testament is very specific in regard to its instructions about music. It teaches us simply to "speak to one another in psalms, hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to God" (Eph 5.19; cf. Col 3.16). Thus, like the first-century Christians, we "sing" and we "make melody in our hearts to God". If this seems odd, you may not realize that a capella worship actually has been the universal practice of all Christians and all denominations for most of history. In fact, the word a capella, which refers to vocal singing unaccompanied by instruments, literally means "in church style". The "early church fathers" of the first three centuries A.D. unanimously rejected using musical instruments in worship. The first instruments were introduced by the Roman Catholic Church more than 1200 years after Christ died. Then during the Protestant Reformation, the instrument was rejected by nearly all Protestants until the mid to late 1800s. During the Restoration Movement of the 1800s, Restoration disciples once again rejected the use of the instrument as unauthorized by scripture. We are not to add to or subtract from the scriptures (1 Cor 4.6; 2 Jn 9; Rev 22.18-19), but rather to follow the pattern and practice of the apostles exactly as it was given to us (Acts 2.42; 1 Cor 11.1-2; Phil 3.17; 4.9; 2 Thes 2.15; 2 Tim 1.13). They tell us to sing to one another, so we do -- with all of our heart. In this way we seek to respect the silence of the scriptures (cf. 1 Pet 4.11). Since we do not know the mind of God unless he reveals it to us (1 Cor 2.11), we feel it would be presumptuous on our part to "play" when the Bible only tells us to "sing". It is not that we have anything against instrumental music in general. It is simply that God has not authorized its use in our worship.

Sometimes people appeal to the Old Testament to justify the use of instruments. Actually, however, the Old Testament teaching strengthens the New Testament silence in regard to instrumental music. For in the Old Testament, instruments were not used in worship until the time of David, who was commanded by God to add them to the worship. But they were only allowed to be played by the Levitical priesthood. However, the Levitical priesthood was done away with along with the Levitical worship (cf. Heb 8.13-9.1-6). The New Testament's specific instructions to "sing and make melody in your heart" seems to be an intentional silence. That is, instead of singing and making melody with instruments, we now sing and make melody with the heart. The Old Testament witness, coupled with the witness of 1800 years of Christian history, adds strong testimony to the silence of the New Testament on instrumental music.

Question: Do I have to be baptized to be saved?

Answer: The outline below will answer the question.

Baptism: The Reception of God’s Grace

·  The importance of baptism is seen in the many references to it in the New Testament. In fact, in Eph 4.4-6, baptism is one of the seven things Paul lists there as being fundamental to unity. Sadly, however, the religious world is anything but unified on the subject of baptism. There are many different views of the purpose, mode and meaning of baptism. Many churches teach that baptism has nothing to do with salvation. Is this so? Let us examine what the scriptures say on this subject. Let’s examine what baptism is for and let the Bible speak on this issue.

What Baptism is For:

1. Baptism saves you – Mk 16.16; 1 Pet 3.21

·  Mark 16.15-16: "Go into all the world and preach the gospel. He has has believed and has been baptized shall be saved, but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned"

·  Mark 16.16 makes baptism fundamental to "the gospel", on an equal footing with "belief".

·  1 Pet 3.21: "Baptism now saves you. Not the washing of the filth of the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ"

·  Here we see not only that baptism saves you, but how. Peter says it is an "appeal to God for a good conscience..." This is in keeping with Ananias' statement to Saul: "Why do you delay? Arise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on His name" (Acts 22.16). We call on God, appealing to him to wash our sins from our conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The power is not in the water, but in the death, burial and resurrection of Christ, to which you become connected through baptism (see below on Col 2.12 and Rom 6.3-4).

2. Baptism is for the forgiveness of sins

  • Acts 2.38:  "And Peter said, 'Repent and let each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit"

  • According to Peter, what is baptism for?

  • In the Great Commission Jesus said, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved, but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned".  Acts 2 is first gospel sermon after Jesus' commission to the twelve. And significantly, Peter’s first words in telling his listeners how to respond in faith are, "Repent and let each of you be baptized..."

  • But here we have Peter's own words telling us what baptism is for: "be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of  your sins".

  • A powerful illustration showing that baptism is "for the forgiveness of sins" is seen in comparing Mt 26.28 to Acts 2.38. The grammar construction and wording in both Greek and English are exactly the same for the two passages, except that baptism in Acts 2.38 takes the place of Jesus’ blood in Mt 26.28:

·  Mt 26.28 -- "For this is My blood of the covenant, which is...for forgiveness of sins"

·  Acts 2.38 -- " baptized…for the forgiveness of sins"

  • What is Jesus' blood for? It is "for the forgiveness of sins"

  • What is baptism for? Is it not for the very same thing?

  • But how can baptism, something we do, be put on same level as blood of Jesus? For one, it is the blood of Jesus that saves us, but one must come into contact with that blood. According to the scriptures, how do we access the blood of Christ? We access his blood by the faith response of baptism (based on a repentant faith in Jesus Christ; see on Rom 6.3-4 below). Baptism is not on the same level of Jesus’ blood in terms of importance. It only does the same thing (forgive sins) in that baptism is what puts us in contact with that blood. Jesus' blood is obviously the most fundament thing. But baptism is still essential "for the forgiveness of sins". We'll see why in the section on Rom 6, below.

3. Baptism puts one into the body of Christ – 1 Cor 12.13

  • 1 Cor 12:13: "For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit."
  • The body = the church, the saved (cf. Eph 1.22-23; Acts 2.27)

  • Here we see are baptized into the body.

4. Baptism unites us with Christ – Rom 6.3-4; Gal 3.27

  • Romans 6:3-4: "Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life."

  • Galatians 3:27: "For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ."

  • Notice the word “into” in each of these verses. It is from the Greek word eis, meaning “into, for, for the purpose”. It denotes direction, from outside into something. Thus, baptism brings you “into” Christ, where salvation is.

  • If baptism puts one into Christ, where are you before you are baptized?

  • Romans 6 pictures baptism as a death (to sin), a burial, and a resurrection, in the process itself uniting us (vs.5) with Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection, which baptism pictures. Of course, this is assuming that the one being baptized is doing so based on his faith (Rom 5.2) and his repentant heart (Acts 2.38). In baptism, one dies to sin (vs.2). The old man is crucified (vs.6).  Then we are raised to newness of life (vs.4). Thus we are born again (Jn 3.3-5).

  • Baptism, when done in faith and with a repentant heart, unites us to Christ, just as a wedding ceremony formalizes the lifetime commitment of love between a bride and groom, uniting them to one another in the bond of marriage. In fact, this parallel is all the more fitting because the church is the bride of Christ.

5. Baptism is how we call on the name of the Lord – Acts 22.16 (cf. 2.21; 1 Pet 3.21)

  • The Bible teaches that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved (Acts 2.21; Rom 10.13). But how does one "call upon the name of the Lord"? Is it simply through a prayer? Notice what the Bible says:

  • Ananias to Saul: "And now why do you delay? Arise, and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on His name"

  • Thus, by being baptized, Saul would be calling on the name of the Lord, washing away his sins.

  • Peter taught the same thing: "...who once were disobedient, when the patience of God kept waiting in the days of Noah, during the construction of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water [lit. 'saved by water']. Corresponding to that, baptism now saves you — not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience — through the resurrection of Jesus Christ."

  • Thus, just as Paul, in baptism, was calling on the name of God to wash away his sins (Acts 22.16), so Peter says that baptism is an appeal to (an asking of) God for a clear conscience through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. After all, as we have already seen, baptism is what connects us to the death, burial and resurrection of Christ (Rom 6.3-4).

In summary, what is baptism for? It is for...

1. Salvation 2. The forgiveness of our sins. 3. Putting us into the body of Christ. 4. Uniting us with Christ. 5. Calling on God to wash away our sins and clear our conscience for sin.

But doesn't this negate the grace of God, since baptism is a work?

  • Without going into the subject of grace and works at this time, let's simply notice that while baptism certainly is a work, it is a work of God. In fact, it is God who does the work in baptism:

  • Col 2.12-13: "...having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions"

  • Here we see once again (as in Rom 6.3-4) that it is baptism that we are buried and raised with Christ, but we see that it is by the "working of God". We see here the intimate connection between baptism and faith. In baptism, we are raised up to newness of life, based on our faith in the working of God. And just what is the work that God does in baptism? Verse 13 tells us: "When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions". In baptism, God forgives us all our transgressions, which is exactly what Peter said in Acts 2.38. But it is God who does the work. We simply submit. In fact, the actual act of baptism is almost completely passive. We are baptized by another person (as seen in all the NT examples). We cannot boast in some great work we have done. We have only allowed someone else to immerse us in water in the name of Jesus Christ. We really didn't do anything. Thus, baptism does not negate the grace of God. On the contrary, it emphasizes it.

  • Baptism further affirms the grace of God by showing that we are sinners in need of washing, cleansing, renewal, rebirth.
  • There is yet another way that baptism affirms God's grace: In baptism, God initiates, we merely respond.  Ironically, the “faith-only” doctrine often does the very opposite. Rather than exalting God’s grace by making God the initiator of our salvation, it makes man the initiator. For example, the “sinners prayer” is man initiating his own salvation by which we try to convince God to save us. Man initiates and God responds. The completely unBiblical concept of simply "asking Christ to come into your heart" likewise has man initiating, begging God to respond. But in the Biblical view of baptism, God has shown us what to do and we merely respond in faith. We trust HIM!

  • Thus, baptism is simply the reception of God's grace.
  • Friend, have you been truly saved? Have you put your faith in Jesus Christ (Mk 16.16), repented of your sinful life (Acts 2.38), confessed Jesus as Lord (Rom 10.9-10) and been baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of our sins (Acts 2.38)? If you believe in Jesus and are ready to repent, then why wait? Your eternal salvation is at stake. We would love to help come to Christ. Please contact us.