Fred R. Coulter—February 13, 2010

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It's very interesting how they have formulated a lot of their doctrines. Let's go back and review one of those doctrines here, which is that the gospel given to the Jews was different than the gospel that was given to the Gentiles. As we have examined the Scriptures, we find that isn't so.

Let's come to 1-Corinthians 3, and let's see what Paul wrote. As we read what he wrote, let's remember Jesus taught the twelve apostles—correct? Yes, indeed! He taught the Apostle Paul, too. Yes, indeed! When you say that the twelve apostles were only for the Jews, and therefore, we don't have to consider the things in the Gospels, but we take just the writings of the Apostle Paul and what he said, and we put those together in a spiritual way. We're going to see (in just a little bit) one of the things that they have come to is this: It's no longer necessary to baptize. Now not all evangelicals are that way, but let's see what Paul wrote here. This is really a lesson for us today in everything that we do. There are different levels of understanding, but it's the same Gospel, just like it was then, just like today.

1-Corinthians 3:1: "And I, brethren, was not able to speak to you as to those who are spiritual, but as to those who are carnal—even as to babes in Christ. I gave you milk to drink, and not meat; for you were not able to receive spiritual meat; and neither are you able now, for you are still carnal. For since envy and contention and divisions are among you, are you not carnal? And are you not walking according to human ways?" (vs 1-3).

And after reading the book, Quitting Church, it is very evident, since they have estimated that there are 67-million so-called professing Christians who have quit going to church. One of the reasons they came across was: They're fighting, they're arguing, no one really knows the Scriptures, they come to church and every week it's the same old thing. So they go to another church. And it's the same old thing. What happened with 9/11 was, 'Let's all go to our churches and synagogues, and return to God. God, bless America.' Well, they flooded all the churches on the sixteenth of September for that one week and those who got there, heard the same thing that they heard before. So you have these problems here.

Verse 4, so it was also in the church of Corinth: "When someone says, 'I am of Paul,' and another one says, 'I am of Apollos,' are you not carnal? Who then is Paul? And who is Apollos? They are but ministers through whom you believed, even as the Lord gave to each one. I planted and Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. Therefore, neither is he who plants anything, nor he who waters; for it is God Who gives the increase…. [So even the Apostle Paul and those who were the teachers and ministers were there to help the brethren grow in their relationship with God.] …Now he who plants and he who waters are one, but each shall receive his own reward according to his own labor. For we are God's fellow workers..." (vs 4-9).

And it's interesting. We'll see in a little later study here that the word for fellowship and communion are the same and it means fellowship as well as partnership; which is very interesting, because if we are in fellowship with God we are in partnership with Him. We will see how that comes about. That's very interesting, indeed, and that gets into the very essence of baptism, when we understand it.

Verse 10: "As a wise architect, according to the grace of God that was given to me, I have laid the foundation, and another is building upon. But let each one take heed how he builds upon it. For no one is able to lay any other foundation besides that which has been laid, which is Jesus Christ…. [Which means what? Paul taught Jesus Christ. He also said that everyone has to adhere to the sound words of Jesus Christ.] (Now notice the warning, v 12): …Now if anyone builds upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay or stubble" (vs 10-12).

So these are the various qualities of spiritual growth. Three are of great value: gold, silver, precious stones. They are increased in value with heat, and heat and fire is a type of trial. Wood, hay, and stubble are those things that burn up and they're likened to the parable where the sower of seed—three out of the four didn't make it, fell by the wayside, fell into shallow soil, thorns and thistles took it out. Same thing. Gets burned up. Time of trial, they run away.

Verse 13: "The work of each one shall be manifested; for the day of trial will declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall prove what kind of work each one's is" Now isn't that an interesting statement, because that lines up with everything that we find in the Gospels and in Revelation. How are we going to be judged? According to our works! How is it then that some who profess Christianity say if we have faith and belief, we don't need works? Why is it that the Apostle Paul would write it this way that it's going to be according to the work, if there are no works? Well, the truth is Christianity is difficult, and it takes a lot of work.

Verse 14: "If the work that anyone has built endures, he shall receive a reward. If the work of anyone is burned up, he shall suffer loss... [Now if he's been converted, it says]: ...but he himself shall be saved, yet as through fire.... [So that shows, what we would have to say, is the minimum requirement for salvation. A lot of people like to have the minimum. What happens if you have a credit card and you only pay the minimum? You never pay it off. It's the same thing spiritually.

Then he makes some very interesting statements concerning our relationship with God, because here's what it gets down to: "Don't you understand that you are God's temple, and that the Spirit of God is dwelling in you?" That's the whole purpose. That's why God does not need a building, He doesn't need a temple. When you go back and you read in the Old Testament, did not Solomon get in trouble when he built a temple, even though God told him to build it? Yes, indeed! We can look in our own lifetimes and see those who were building great physical things for God—where are they now? They don't have them because the important thing is that the Spirit of God is dwelling in you. And how does the Spirit of God come to dwell in you? That is answered through baptism and the meaning of baptism, and yet, some of the evangelists claim you don't even need to be baptized. We'll look at their rationale and see. We'll look at some Scriptures in a little bit which seem to indicate, 'Hey, maybe they're right.'

Now let's finish off this section here, v 17: "If anyone defiles the temple of God, God shall destroy him because the temple of God is Holy, which temple you are…. [Now that takes a lot of clarification. How do you defile it? By sin! What is sin? Transgression of the law! By uncleanness, by evil thoughts, that's how you defile it.] …Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you thinks himself to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, so that he may be wise in God's sight. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God for it is written, 'He entraps the wise in their own craftiness'" (vs 17-19). Sound like a certain President we know today? Yes, indeed! It happens over and over and over again.

"And again, 'The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain.' Therefore, do not let anyone boast in men; for all things are yours, Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas... [Including Peter. Now, who was Peter? Peter was one of the apostles to the circumcision—is that not correct? Yes, indeed!] ...or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come—all are yours; and you are Christ's, and Christ is God's" (vs 20-23).

So the foundation is Christ. The result of that foundation is to have God dwelling in you, so that you become a temple of God. Now all of that is an act of grace. As a matter of fact, I gave a sermon to show that everything that we do and even commandment-keeping—the way God wants the commandments kept in the spirit—has to be through the grace of God.

  • Is it not the grace of God to have your sins forgiven? Yes!
  • Is it not the grace of God to receive the Holy Spirit? Yes, indeed!
  • Is it not the grace of God, then, through the power of the Holy Spirit and Christ dwelling in us, to have the laws and commandments of God written in our hearts and minds? Yes!

How are we to keep the commandments of God? In the letter or in the spirit? In the spirit! (Matt. 5, 6, 7)—correct? So, therefore, when it talks about commandment-keeping for the saints vs the works of the law that the Gentiles do (Rom. 2)—in keeping the law in the letter of the law—therefore, the commandment-keeping that Christians do, with the Spirit of God within them—which is the grace of God—having the commandments of God written in our hearts and our minds; what we do in commandment-keeping then is part of the grace of God in the New Testament, not the works of ritual law for the Old Testament or the works of ritual law of the traditions of Judaism, or Catholicism, or Protestantism, because all of them have their own works.

Let's see some things here concerning baptism. First of all, let's come to Matthew 3 and we will see that Jesus Christ Himself was baptized—right? So if He was baptized, and we will see what He said about it. Matthew 3:13: "Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptized by him." Now here it is, God in the flesh—correct? Yes! Coming to John the Baptist who is messenger to prepare the way; to be baptized by him [John].

"But John tried to prevent Him, saying, 'I have need to be baptized by You, and You come to me?' Then Jesus answered and said to him, 'You must permit it at this time; for in this manner it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.' Then he permitted Him to be baptized…. [So being baptized is an act of righteousness—is it not? We will see that not only is an act of righteousness, it's an act of what Paul calls justification.] …And after He was baptized, Jesus came up immediately out of the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove, and coming upon Him. And lo, a voice from heaven said, 'This is My Son, the Beloved, in Whom I have great delight'" (vs 14-17). So it's interesting that He was baptized and to fulfill righteousness. Why do some evangelicals say you don't have to be baptized, all you have to do is believe?

Let's come to John 4, and let's see something else. Just like when they say, 'Oh, the Old Testament has been fulfilled and done away and we don't need that.' In the same manner when they say, 'Well, we don't need to follow the Gospels, because that was teaching for the Jews only and not for us.' What happens? How many people then read the Old Testament? 'Well, if it's all fulfilled and we don't need it and we don't have to keep the commandments of God, why read it?' Never asked the question: Why is it in the Bible? You think it's there for a reason? Then when you really start reading some of the prophecies, you have to ask the question: Has every one of these things been fulfilled? Is the Kingdom of God on the earth? Isa. 2: Are all nations going to Zion where God is and finding out how we're going to live? Is there peace on earth? No, there isn't! If you've never done a real detained study in the Old Testament, go through and ask yourself the question: Has this all been fulfilled?

Plus also remember, here's another thing in the Bible that you'll come to understand, which is this: There's a duality of prophecy, sometimes a tri-ality of prophecy. Which is there's the immediate fulfillment, there can be repeated fulfillments, and there can be the final fulfillment—all of those.

Let's see something astounding here in John 4:1 "Therefore, when the Lord knew that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John... [Quite a statement—isn't it?] ...(Although Jesus Himself was not baptizing, but His disciples)" (vs 1-2). Now that's also an interesting statement—isn't it? They're obviously baptizing in preparation for the coming of the Holy Spirit, which came on the Day of Pentecost after Jesus had ascended to heaven.

So what are you going to do about it? You say that baptism is not required, yet Jesus was baptizing.

  • Would you say what He was doing was in vain?
  • Would Jesus do something that was not required?
  • Would Jesus do something that is contrary to God?
  • Would He tell His disciples to do that?

Let's come to Galatians 3. I know we got there one time before. We'll be back there to cover that again. By the way, we are making progress on getting the book on Judaism is not the law or religion of Moses. I think you're going to be very astounded, because most books about the Jews are attacks upon them. This is stating the facts, what happened to them. Why did they end up the way that they were when Jesus had come and they didn't recognize Him? What we do is we take all the quotes from different Jews themselves, and let them explain their own situation.

Galatians is hard to understand unless you know about Judaism. So when that book comes, as Laverne mentioned, 'Boy, I got another book. You expect me to read all the time.' I said, 'Well, you just take it a step at a time, because we've been doing this for a good number of years.'; same way with the evangelicals. We know they're zealous. Otherwise, they wouldn't be doing the things that they would do, it's one thing to have zeal, but it's another thing to have zeal according to knowledge. Galatians was what? Who composed the Galatian churches? Gentiles, a few Jews, because Paul always went to the synagogue first. Then the Gentiles came. We'll see that a little bit later.

Galatians 3:26: "Because you are all sons of God... [Now just put in your margin: 1-John 3:1-2, 'Behold what glorious love the Father has for us, that we should be called the children of God.' John was what the evangelicals call a Jewish apostle. If there was a different gospel given to the Jews than to the Gentiles, why are his writings very similar to Paul's writings? The answer is: there wasn't a different gospel.] (Now notice v 27. What are you going to do with this with the majority of those in the churches of Galatia being Gentiles): ...For as many of you as were baptized into Christ did put on Christ" (vs 26-27). Can we conclude from this they were baptized? Of course, and we will see that undoubtedly they were.

"There is neither Jew nor Greek; there is neither bond nor free; there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus" (v 28). Very interesting statement! That is your spiritual standing before God, because physically there are still Jews, there are still Greeks, there are free and bond, there is male and female. But spiritually we are all one in Christ.

Now notice v 29, and we'll elaborate this at another time, because this will entail another whole sermon. "And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise." What does baptism have to do with Abraham? We'll find out about that a little later. So this is why God inspired the Bible to be written in the way He did: 'here a little, there a little, line upon line, precept upon precept'—that we put it together.

Now unfortunately a lot of those who believe in these strange doctrines, though they call themselves Christians and evangelicals, do just the opposite. They take a little here and reject that over there. They take a precept over here and reject another one over there. Whereas, what God wants us to do—and I call this the process of addition—you put all the Scriptures together and build the full picture, so you understand what you're talking about. The way that they do when they come along and say, 'Well, we don't need the Old Testament. That's been fulfilled and done away.' And when they say, 'Well, we don't need the Gospels, really, because that was for the Jews, so don't spend too much time there. Read the things in Apostle Paul, but we need to be careful about what we read in the Apostle Paul because he still has some things in there concerning law.'

How did they come to the conclusion that they did not need to be baptized? Was Paul baptized? Yes! To what? Ananias said, 'Come on, get up, be baptized and wash away your sins.' Now having been baptized, do you think he would go along and not baptize people? First of all, we're going to look at the Scriptures which may give an appearance, if you use the theory of Scriptural study of subtraction. Because I'm going to neglect all the Scriptures in the book of Acts which talks about baptism, and we are going to look at the Scriptures which talk about belief.

Let's go to Ephesians 1 and I will show you one of the basis that they claim baptism is not necessary. I tell you how I came to understand that. One day as I was flying back from one of my visits back in the Midwest. I was coming back from Tulsa. Of course, you know that's the middle of the Bible belt there. At that time we had the New Testament done. This was quite a few years ago. I noticed a man, I was on the aisle seat and just two seats up on the aisle was another man reading his Bible. So I watch him. He was reading the Bible all the time that I was on the plane with him, and he read it right up until the time they said to put your stuff away, we're going to land. So I had a New Testament in my briefcase, so I thought, well, I'll give him a New Testament. So I said, 'Here's a New Testament. It's something you might like to read.' I thought I had done a good deed. Here's someone looking for the Truth. I gave him a New Testament.

He was a full-fledged evangelical. He was absolutely irate with the New Testament, and with the section on baptism that we have on beliefs, water baptism. He ripped the cover off and he mailed back the cover to me, written on there, 'You are a heretic. You are a dangerous man. This New Testament is blasphemous.' I thought, whoa. How could he sit there and read his Bible and I gave him the New Testament, and I get this reaction back from him? And here's what he quoted to me. He said, 'You don't need to be baptized.'

Ephesians 1:11: "Yes, in Him, in Whom we also have obtained an inheritance, having been predestinated according to His purpose, Who is working out all things according to the counsel of His own will; that we might be to the praise of His glory, who first trusted in Christ; in Whom you also trusted after hearing the Word of the Truth, the gospel of your salvation; in Whom also, after believing, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory" (vs 11-14). Doesn't say anything about baptism there—does it? So if you believe, you don't need to be baptized.

So what is one of the things that they do? They have what they call counseling to lead someone to Christ. I know I observed this when I went down to the Bible museum for a special seminar in Goodyear, Arizona. They were showing some things of Tyndale, and so forth. So I wanted to go down and see what they had to say. But they also had some church services there. One of the things that they did to lead new people to Christ was this: they talked to them.

  • Do you believe that Jesus is the Savior? Yes!
  • Do you believe that He died for your sins? Yes!
  • Do you accept Jesus as your Savior? Yes, I do!
  • 'You are saved.'

That's the way that it's done by a lot of evangelicals. No baptism! So here's one of the Scriptures that they use, Acts 4. This is one having to do with the Jews, but it doesn't say anything about baptism—chapter 2 does. Acts 4:4: "But many of those who had heard the message believed, and the number of men was about five thousand." So they believed. It doesn't say anything about baptism.

Let's look at another one. Acts 5:11: "Then great fear came upon the whole church, and upon all who heard these things. And many signs and wonders were done among the people by the hands of the apostles; (and they were all with one accord in Solomon's porch; and none of the others dared to join them, but the people magnified them; and believers were added all the more to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women)" (vs 11-14). So they believed, were added to the Church. No mention of baptism—right?

Let's come to Acts 6:1: "Now in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a complaint by the Greeks against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration." The number of disciples was multiplied. Again, no mention of baptism. So therefore, we have to conclude that baptism is not required.

Let's come to Acts 11 and I have had this brought up several times. Remember, we already covered this. Remember what happened when Cornelius and his whole household believed. The Holy Spirit came upon them and then they were baptized afterwards. So, they brought up, 'Well, did they receive the Holy Spirit without being baptized?' Yes, but they didn't understand the purpose of it. It was to show Paul and the Jews who were with him that the Gentiles being uncircumcised could receive the Holy Spirit. We're going to see later on, yes, Paul baptized Gentiles as well.

Acts 11:19: "Now those who had been scattered by the persecution that arose concerning Stephen went through Phoenicia and Cyprus and Antioch, speaking the word to no one except Jews only. But certain men among them who were Cypriots and Cyrenians came to Antioch and spoke to the Greeks, preaching the Gospel of the Lord Jesus. And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number believed and turned to the Lord" (vs 19-21). Doesn't say anything about baptism, so therefore, you can believe and turn to God just like the little process we went through:

  • Do you believe that Jesus is the Savior?
  • Do you believe your sins are forgiven through His shed blood?
  • Do you accept Him as your personal Savior?
  • Do you open your heart to Him? Yes!

And it can be a very emotional experience, because people want to have their sins forgiven. They look to them and say you're saved. So they read that and they think, boy, that's something!

Let's come to Acts 13:12. This is when Barnabas and Saul went out on their first evangelical tour, if you want to call it that, and the proconsul had believed after confrontation with the false prophet, Bar-jesus, which means the son of Jesus. Interesting name—isn't it? Acts 13:12 "And after seeing what had happened, the proconsul believed, being astonished at the teaching of the Lord." Again, he believed! Nothing about baptism! This is getting interesting—isn't it?

Verse 48: "And when the Gentiles heard this, they rejoiced; and they glorified the Word of the Lord, and believed, as many as were appointed to eternal life." Again, it doesn't mention baptism—does it? So if you go through and pick out these certain Scriptures you can make a case where it looks like you don't need to be baptized.

Come down to Acts 14:1: "Now it came to pass in Iconium that they went together into the synagogue of the Jews and spoke so powerfully that a great number of both Jews and Greeks believed." Again, nothing about baptism! What are we getting into here? Let's see if we can solve the problem, because the problem can be solved. We've only given part of the Scriptures. We haven't given the other part.

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Now let's continue on and see about baptism or not. Now the evangelical that wrote me very nastily said, 'Don't go to Matthew 28.' So we will go there. 'And don't tell me that this was part of the command, because the Gospels were not written until several hundred years afterwards.' Wrong!

Matthew 28:18. "And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, 'All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Therefore, go and make disciples in all nations, baptizing them... [Does all nations include the Gentiles? Of course! Does it include the Jews? Yes!] ...into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit... [Though that appears to be a trinitarian formula, it was not written with the intent to be a trinitarian formula, but we won't get into that at this time. How can you say that you don't need to teach the Gentiles the things in the Gospels?] ...teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you.... [Now how you going to get around that? You can't have it both ways. You have to take all the Scriptures and put them together, then you can understand what is meant by them.] ...And lo, I am with you always, even until the completion of the age. Amen'" (vs 18-20). Are we at the completion of the age yet? No,but we're close—right?

Let's come to Mark 16:15 and let's see the parallel account there: "And He said to them, 'Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to the whole creation.... [Now did they finish that job? No, they all died. But through their writings the job is being finished by the people that God raises up—is that not correct?] ...The one who believes... [and doesn't need to be baptized, shall be saved. No!] ...and is baptized... [If you go into all the world, are you going to all nations, you're going to Gentiles? Yes!] the one who believes and is baptized shall be saved, but the one who does not believe shall be condemned" (vs 15-16). Now, how are you going to get around that?

The truth is concerning when the New Testament was canonized, when it was written and canonized together, you need to read the commentary that we have in the Bible and look at the chronology. If you're not able to read the commentaries, look at the chronology, and you will see that the internal evidence of the New Testament itself shows that it was written very early on, and that it was canonized by the Apostle John after writing the book of Revelation and with him were probably Andrew and Philip and Mark.

Let's just take a little quick detour here to see a couple of things. Let's come to the last chapter of the Gospel of John. Before we get into John 21, let's see where the original ending of John was. The last verse in John 20, because John was written fairly early on. Then there were things that he added to it as inspired by Christ to do so. But notice how he ended it the first time. This makes sense when you read it.

John 20:31: "But these have been written, so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing, you may have life through His name." The only thing that is missing there is an amen—correct?

All right, now come over here to John 21:24,and almost everyone misses this point: "This is the disciple... [John is referring to himself] ...who testifies concerning these things and who wrote these things... [Now notice this next sentence. It goes from the singular I to the plural we.] ...and we know that his testimony is true.... [Who wrote that in there? The ones who were with John canonizing the New Testament, finalizing it—have to be!—which then tells us what? This fulfills the requirement of the Scriptures and the requirement of God that in mouth of what? Two or three witnesses every word shall be established—correct? So you have the three synoptic gospels, which are the witnesses—correct?—that's three. Then you have John, which is separate, unlike the other three, but now then we have this one verified by the we. Now if you read the Epistle of 1-John you will see the same thing.] (Now notice what happens here): ...But there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, Ido not suppose that even the world itself could contain the books that would be written. Amen" (vs 24-25).

Very interesting. Since we're right here, the last chapter of the Gospel of John, just turn the page to the first chapter of the Gospel of Acts, and let's read something else here. Let's pick it up in v 6 after they wanted to know when the kingdom would be restored. Remember the promise that was given to the twelve apostles concerning Israel and the resurrection. What did Jesus tell them? That in the kingdom you will sit on twelve thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel—correct? Hey, they're ready for that job right here—aren't they? Listen to what they said. And of course Jesus had already been raised from the dead and was seen of them forty days and forty nights and this was on the day He ascended into heaven for the last time.

Acts 1:6: "So then when they were assembled together, they asked Him, saying, 'Lord, will You restore the kingdom to Israel at this time?.... [Unspoken: Yes, we'd like those thrones, Lord.] ...And He said to them, 'It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father has placed in His own authority; but you yourselves shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and unto the ends of the earth'" (vs 6-8). Now that could not happen without the written Word of God and the New Testament preserved. You tie that together with what He said there in Matt. 28, that 'Lo, I'll be with you until the completion of the age'—all that time.

Let's look at all of the places in the book of Acts where baptism is mentioned, and we are also going to see that Gentiles were baptized. Acts 2—after they were convicted in heart they asked the apostles what to do (v 37).

Acts 2:38: "Then Peter said to them, 'Repent and be baptized... [So what comes first? Repentance, baptism.] baptized each one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you yourselves shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all those who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God may call.'.... [So what happened?] ...Then those who joyfully received his message were baptized; and about three thousand souls were added that day" (vs 38-39, 41). Then many more believed, etc.

Let's come here to Acts 8. Now this becomes very interesting, because here's the first encounter in the book of Acts with Gentiles, and it has to do with the city of Samaria and it has to do with Philip, who was one of the deacons or evangelists that was ordained. Let me give you just a little background concerning Samaria. Those of the ten tribes of Israel, because Samaria was their capital city, were carried off into captivity, and the Assyrians brought in different ones from the various tribes in Babylon and put them in the area.

Now they also, later to around Ezra's time, they also developed a priesthood from one of the renegade priests out of Jerusalem, Manasseh was his name. Then the governor of Samaria built a temple like the one in Jerusalem, and they kept the first five books of Moses. So here was a competing Jewish-like religion in Samaria, but it was Gentile. Remember, Jesus told his apostles, 'Do not go into any of the cities of the Samaritans,' when they went out on their first trial preaching tour, 'but go to the lost children of the house of Israel.' Now, here it's after this time, and so we find that they're going to Samaria.

After there was persecution and Saul was ravaging the church, and people were scattered. Acts 8:5: "Then Philip went down to a city of Samaria and proclaimed Christ to them; and the multitudes listened intently with one accord to the things spoken by Philip when they heard and saw the signs that he did, for unclean spirits, crying with a loud voice, came out of many of those who had them; and many who were paralyzed and lame were healed. And there was great joy in that city" (vs 5-8).

Now we also have a very interesting encounter here. So here was a very important man in Samaria; and it's written here so that we actually know the real source of the beginning of what later became the Roman Catholic Church. Verse 9: "But there was a certain man named Simon..." Since he was a magician, he was called Simon Magus. So if you have some time to read and study or maybe you can go online and go to McClintock and Strong's Cyclopedia of the Bible and look up Simon Magus and you will find is there an awful lot of material about this man. And he did go to Rome and his name was Peter. So you can put the two and two together. The true Apostle Peter was an apostle to the Gentiles and he never went to Rome. Let's continue on here.

"...who from earlier times had been practicing sorcery... [Now what is sorcery? That is witchcraft—right?] the city and astounding the nation of Samaria, proclaiming himself to be some great one. To him they had given heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, 'This man is the great power of God'.... [That sounds an awful lot like the office of the pope today—doesn't it? It's amazing what's buried in the Bible, when you really get into it.] ...Now they were giving heed to him because he had for a long time bewitched them with sorceries. But when they believed Philip, who was preaching the Gospel—the things concerning the Kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ—they were baptized, both men and women" (vs 9-12). What does this tell us? Gentiles who believed were baptized. Is this before the encounter with Cornelius? Yes, indeed! We just have to add one little caveat in there, could it be that since they had their roots in a Jewish-like religion that perhaps they practiced circumcision? We don't know, but here we have the first baptism of Gentiles. They believed and were baptized. Interesting statement.

Now notice what happened here, because we will see something was left off deliberately. God must have caused Philip not to lay hands on them right after being baptized for a specific purpose. Verse 13: "Then Simon himself also believed; and after being baptized, he steadfastly continued with Philip; and as he beheld the signs and great works of power that were being done, he was amazed. Now when the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the Word of God, they sent Peter and John to them…. [Why send Peter and John, the two leading apostles? Because they knew something was up in Samaria.] …Who, after coming down to Samaria, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Spirit" (vs 13-15).

So this also tells us, just like Acts 2, 'repent,' which also means believe, 'and be baptized and you shall receive the Holy Spirit.' And the Holy Spirit comes with the laying on of hands. There are three times where you have the speaking in tongues and supernatural receiving of the Holy Spirit:

  • the Day of Pentecost
  • the encounter with Cornelius
  • and his household (in Ephesus).

Those are the only three times in the New Testament.

They laid their hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit. Now, v 18: "Now when Simon saw that the Holy Spirit was given by the laying on of the hands of the apostles, he offered them money... [This is where 'simony' comes in, by an office, which later in the Catholic Church you could buy a Cardinalship. Didn't matter who you were. As long as you had enough money, you could become a Cardinal. How's that for conversion? That's why it's called simony.] ...saying, 'Give this authority to me also, so that on whomever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Spirit.' But Peter said to him, 'May your money be destroyed with you because you thought that the gift of God might be purchased with money" (vs 18-20).

He wanted an apostleship. God gave them the discernment to see that he had not repented, although Philip baptized him. I wonder what the conversation with Philip was with John and Peter after this. They probably told him, 'Now you don't go out and baptize someone who is dedicated to sorcery and witchcraft.'

Now notice v 21: 'You have neither part nor lot in this matter... [In other words, you have no part in the Gospel of God. You have no 'lot,' because they cast lots to replace Matthias, remember that? 'You cannot become an apostle.'] ...for your heart is not right before God. Repent, therefore, of this wickedness, and beseech God, if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you; for I perceive that you are in the gall of bitterness and the bondage of unrighteousness.'.... [And Simon fell on his knees and repented greatly. No, he didn't!] ...But Simon answered and said, 'You beseech the Lord on my behalf... [No one can repent for you. That's the whole point.] that none of those things which you have spoken may come upon me'" (vs 21-24). They preached more to the people, then went back to Jerusalem.

Now we also have in chapter 8 something else here. We have the Ethiopian eunuch. Now would you concede that the Ethiopian eunuch was a Gentile? Yes! What happened? Philip came to him when he was reading the book of Isaiah, and the angel of the Lord said to him, 'Go up to the chariot and speak to this man.' He went up there and asked him, 'Do you understand what you're reading?' He said, 'No, I don't. I need someone to explain it to me.' So he explained it to him. Then they came to a place where there was water. He said, 'What prevents me from being baptized?' He believed so he was baptized.

We briefly mentioned this, but let's pick it up here in Acts 9:15: "But the Lord said to him... [That is to Ananias, when Saul was going up to Samaria to take him back in bonds to Jerusalem. After he said, 'Boy, he's been doing damage to the saints.'] ...'Go, for this man is a chosen vessel to Me, to bear My name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel; for I will show him what great things he must suffer for My name.' Then Ananias went away and came into the house; and after laying his hands on him, he said, 'Brother Saul, the Lord has sent me, even Jesus, Who appeared to you on the road in which you came, so that you might receive sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.' And it was as if scales immediately fell from his eyes, and he instantly received sight; and he arose and was baptized" (vs 15-18). Paul was baptized.

Then we know about the Gentiles, Cornelius, we've already covered that. What are we seeing? Where we read 'they believed' then what had to follow that in order to be converted? Where it says 'they believed' and doesn't mention anything about baptism, then when we put these other Scriptures together, what must we conclude? That since they believed, they had to be baptized, in order to receive the Holy Spirit of God.

Acts 16:14: "And a certain woman who worshipped God was listening; she was named Lydia and was a seller of purple from the city of Thyatira; whose heart the Lord opened to receive the things spoken by Paul.... [Apparently this woman was a Jewish trader, because he went down by the river where prayer was known to be made on the Sabbath day, etc.] ...And after she and her household were baptized... [So, {her} mind was opened, that means she believed. Afterwards she was baptized:] ...she besought us, saying, 'If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and lodge there.' And she constrained us" (vs 14-15).

Paul went into Philippi, he and Silas, and they were arrested for preaching the Gospel and thrown into the jail. And they were put there with their feet in stocks. Acts 16:25: "But about midnight, Paul and Silas were praying and singing praises to God, and the prisoners were listening to them; and suddenly there was a great earthquake, so great that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors opened, and the bonds of all were loosed.... [Now how's that for a miracle? The great escape!] ...When the jailer awoke from his sleep and saw the doors of the prison open, he drew a sword and was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had escaped. But Paul called out with a loud voice, saying, 'Do not harm yourself; for we are all here.' And after asking for lights, he rushed in and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas... [God sent the message, 'Don't mess with My men.'] ...And when he had brought them out, he said, 'Sirs, what must I do, that I may be saved?'.... [Being in the city of Philippi, which is a Greek city, would you not suppose that he was a Gentile? Of course!] (So what did he say?): ...Then they said, 'Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved, you and your household'" (vs 25-31).

Now if you stopped at that one place and went no further, you could say, 'Well, they believed.' But notice: "And they spoke the Word of the Lord to him, and to all those in his house. And he took them in that hour of the night, and washed their wounds; and he and all his household were immediately baptized" (vs 32-33). So there's a baptism of the Gentiles. How you going to get around that?

Acts 17 we find that here we have those who believed, but it doesn't tell us that they were baptized. That was in Thessalonica.

Let's come to Acts 18:7; here he comes to Corinth, went into the synagogue, and preached, and there were the Gentiles there as well. "And after departing from there, he went into the house of a certain one named Justus, who worshiped God, whose house adjoined the synagogue. But Crispus, the ruler of the synagogue, believed in the Lord with his whole house; and many of the Corinthians who heard believed and were baptized" (vs 7-8).

So where we read 'they believed' has to also include being baptized, though it doesn't put it there every time, because you can't have one Scripture fighting another Scripture. You can't have one excluding the other.

Now come here to Acts 19, and we are going to see something very interesting here. Let's ask the question: should a person be baptized again if they've never received the Holy Spirit? The answer is yes! What if you were baptized in another church? What did Paul do in a very similar situation here?

Acts 19:1: "Now it came to pass that while Apollos was in Corinth, Paul traveled through the upper parts and came to Ephesus; and when he found certain disciples, He said to them, 'Did you receive the Holy Spirit after you believed?' And they said to him, 'We have not even heard there is a Holy Spirit.' Then he said to them, 'Unto what, then, were you baptized?' And they said, 'Unto the baptism of John'" (vs 1-3). That's as close to the real thing as you can get—right? Yes!

"And Paul said, 'John truly baptized with a baptism unto repentance, saying to the people that they should believe in Him Who was coming after him—that is, in Jesus, the Christ.' And after hearing this, they were baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus. Now when Paul laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with other languages and prophesied.... [So that's the third of the three occasions where it happened that way.] ...And all the men were about twelve" (vs 4-7).

So then it says he stayed there and preached for three years and many believed. And if they believed, what happened? They had to be baptized! So here's also a situation where that you can be baptized and not receive the Holy Spirit in the same circumstances they had back there in Acts 8, without the laying on of hands. So here they were baptized again, received the Holy Spirit.

So from this what can we conclude? That if you put all the Scriptures together you see that if you believe you must also be baptized. And you can't take some Scriptures and negate other Scriptures. Rather you have to put them all together, and when you do, you come up with the full story. It all gets back to what Jesus said, 'Make disciples, teach them all things I commanded, and baptize them. Go into all the earth, preach it to all the creation.' So there you have the whole thing.

So that's where the evangelicals fall short in their explanation for those who do not believe in baptism.

Scriptural References:

  1. 1-Corinthians 3:1-23
  2. Matthew 3:13-17
  3. John 4:1-2
  4. Galatians 3:26-29
  5. Ephesians 1:11-14
  6. Acts 4:4
  7. Acts 5:11-14
  8. Acts 6:1
  9. Acts 11:19-21
  10. Acts 13:12, 48
  11. Acts 14:1
  12. Matthew 28:18-20
  13. Mark 16:15-16
  14. John 20:31
  15. John 21:24-25
  16. Acts 1:6-8
  17. Acts 2:38-39, 41
  18. Acts 8:5-15, 18-24
  19. Acts 9:15-18
  20. Acts 16:14-15, 25-33
  21. Acts 18:7-8
  22. Acts 19:1-7

Scriptures referenced, not quoted:

  • Matthew 5, 6, 7
  • Romans 2
  • Isaiah 2
  • 1-John 3:1-2
  • Acts 2:37
  • Acts 17

Also referenced: Books:

  • Quitting Church by Julia Duin
  • McClintock & Strong's Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological & Ecclesiastical Literature