Gospel Gazette Online
Volume 20 Number 11 November 2018
Page 2


Please, Baptize Me!

Louis RushmoreWithout the companions of conviction and conversion, true redemption or salvation remains elusive. Firm conviction and authentic conversion will lead a person to obey the Gospel even when it may be inconvenient or dangerous to do so.

Zealous disciples of Jesus Christ left something on purpose—a worldly lifestyle, a family religion, maybe even family or possibly a vocation. “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me” (Matthew 10:37-38 NKJV). The apostles left even honorable occupations (e.g., fishing) to more effectively devote themselves to fulltime service in the ministry of our Lord. What the apostle Paul suffered illustrates the extent to which conviction and conversion can manifest itself in unmitigated Christian zeal. “But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ” (Philippians 3:7-8). Much earlier, the apostle Peter contemplated the sacrifice that he and the other apostles were experiencing in the face of conviction regarding and conversion to the Christ.

Then Peter answered and said to Him, “See, we have left all and followed You. Therefore what shall we have?” So Jesus said to them, “Assuredly I say to you, that in the regeneration, when the Son of Man sits on the throne of His glory, you who have followed Me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My name’s sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life.” (Matthew 19:27-29)

Many are the militant Christians from the first century after the establishment of the Lord’s church through the present who demonstrate in their daily lives—without apology—the effect of their conviction and conversion.

Zealous disciples of Jesus Christ adamantly refuse to go back to their former ways outside of Christ (Ephesians 2:12). “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?” (Romans 6:1-2). “How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him” (Hebrews 2:3). “But Jesus said to him, ‘No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God’” (Luke 9:62). Soldiers of Christ (2 Timothy 2:3), sheathed in the Gospel armor (Ephesians 6:10-17), boldly and steadily march forward with the Captain of their salvation (Hebrews 2:10) into the thickest and most heated spiritual war (2 Corinthians 10:4-5; 1 Timothy 1:18). The Gospel armor provides no protection for the back; retreat simply is not an option. We will overcome with the Lamb of God (Revelation 17:14).

Zealous disciples of Jesus Christ are determined to be Christians only—nothing more and nothing less! They cannot be bribed to be otherwise, and neither can they be dissuaded from their conviction and conversion by persecution of any sort and to any degree.

But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you are blessed. “And do not be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled.” But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed. For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. (1 Peter 3:14-17)

“Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter” (1 Peter 4:16). Militant disciples of Christ are determined to be Christians no matter what the world may inflict upon them—even death (Revelation 2:10).

How, though, does a person become such a one who is willing to leave his or her former ways on purpose, even if it is inconvenient? Further, how does one arrive at the determination that he or she will not go back to the way things were? What leads a man or a woman to become a Christian—a Christian only—nothing more and nothing less? Upon becoming acquainted with the pure Gospel of Christ, a soul’s response—conviction and conversion—results in salvation and active service (John 15:8; James 4:17; Romans 2:13) of our Lord Jesus Christ. “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves” (James 1:22).

In Acts 2 on the birthday of the church, preaching the Gospel “cut to the heart” (v. 37) about 3,000 souls (v. 41). They inquired, “What shall we do?” (v. 37). The apostle Peter responded in the next verse, “…Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins…” Hence, they were baptized and consequently added to the church by our Lord (v. 47). The point here for our consideration is that these people’s response to the Gospel was conviction and conversion. They were proactive and desired to be saved from their sins because they possessed conviction and conversion. Later, in Acts 8, the Ethiopian treasurer was proactive in his own salvation as well. Upon being acquainted with the Gospel of Christ by Philip, he evidenced conviction leading to his conversion when he asked to be baptized (v. 36).

Rather than asking or even begging someone to be baptized for the remission of their sins, it is a wonderful thing when someone essentially says, “Please, baptize me!” Earnest conviction and conversion that results from one’s response to the Gospel of Christ resembles the “good ground” of the Parable of the Soils or the Sower (Matthew 13:8). “But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty” (Matthew 13:23). Without firm conviction and authentic conversion, though immersed (Romans 6:3-5; Colossians 2:12), souls will fall away and be lost (2 Peter 2:20-22)—resembling the “stony places” and “thorns” in our Lord’s parable (Matthew 13:5-7). If percentages can legitimately be extrapolated from the Parable of the Soils, at best, only a third of those who respond favorably to the Gospel—as a result of unwavering conviction upon which they base their conversion—are reliable Christians upon whom our Lord can depend.

Brethren, please examine your personal conviction and conversion (2 Corinthians 13:5). Furthermore, Brethren, please try to instill firm conviction and authentic conversion in those to whom you take the Gospel of Christ. Without the companions of conviction and conversion, true redemption or salvation remains elusive.


Blessed Is He that Readeth

Rodney Nulph, Associate Editor

“The studious perusal of the Sacred Volume will make better citizens, better fathers, and better husbands” is a quote that has been attributed to Thomas Jefferson. That quote has come under attack by some as something someone heard him say, but not a direct quote of the former President. Whether Jefferson said it or not does not take away from the truth of the quote. Reading, studying and applying the Bible will always make mankind better! In giving the Revelation, Jesus reminded, “Blessed is he that readeth…” (Revelation 1:3). While Bible reading is often encouraged among religious folks, many times newcomers to the Bible have no idea where to start or how to start. May I offer some suggestions in the reading of your Bible?

Firstly, read regularly. To become a proficient Bible reader, one must make the necessary time to read. God’s Word is our spiritual food (1 Peter 2:2; Matthew 4:4; Job 23:12) that nourishes our thoughts, deeds and way of life. If we do not eat the proper food physically, our bodies suffer, and if we do not eat the proper food spiritually, our spirituality suffers. D.L. Moody was once told by a man that he just did not have time to read the Bible every day. Mr. Moody replied, “My friend, if you are too busy to read the Bible every day, then you are busier than Almighty God ever intended any human to be, and you had better let some things go, and make the time!”

Secondly, read slowly. Sometimes the goal to “get through the Bible in a year” prohibits us from really understanding what we read. There are no prizes awarded by God for the most times we read the Bible in a year! Someone correctly said, “It does not matter how much of the Word of God you go through, but how much of the Word of God that goes through you.”

Thirdly, read systematically. This may be the most common mistake made when it comes to reading the Bible. One day a person is in Genesis, the next day in Matthew, and the next day in Psalms. A good outline of the entire Bible will help in this process. For example, group the prophets together as to the time in which they wrote and to whom they wrote. Habakkuk, Zephaniah and Jeremiah all prophesied to Judah during the same time period; so, reading these three books together gives one the true picture of God’s Word. Many other examples could be given, but however you choose to read, to get the most out of the time spent, read systematically.

Fourthly, read inquiringly. As you read, keep three major questions in mind with a goal to answer those questions from your reading. “Who is the writer?” “To whom is he writing?” “What is the major reason for this writing?” For example, when one reads Colossians, if he or she comprehends certain elements, understanding will be much fuller. Paul was in prison while he wrote. The church at Colosse was being influenced by the world around it (e.g., idolatry, Judaism, et al.), and as such, Christ was taking a “back seat.” Thus, Paul wrote to magnify Christ and to show that in all things He must be first (Colossians 1:18). Seeking the answers to certain questions as one reads will make reading much more enjoyable and memorable.

Lastly, but certainly not least, read prayerfully. Spending time talking to God before He speaks to you will make your study much richer. Ask God for wisdom and understanding! A reverent talk with the Author will make the Book much sweeter!

Reading the Bible is such a daunting task if one seeks to understand what he reads. However, the blessings that come as a result from a serious study of God’s Word cannot be matched. Bible readers are dealing with eternal things. Anything else besides the Bible will one day be destroyed, but God’s Word lasts forever (Matthew 24:35). Read it to be wise, believe it to be saved, and practice it to be holy! Truly “Blessed is he that readeth…”!

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