CHAPTER 32-“FEED MY SHEEP” #Joh 21:16
This conversation between our Lord and Peter is one of the most beautiful and interesting stories of the New Testament. Our Lord excelled in conversation for in all things He has the preeminence. Whenever He conversed with anyone there was a sermon rich in truth. Think of His talk with Nicodemus, the fallen woman at Jacob’s well, the pharisees, His disciples.
These words of our Lord to Peter were designed to administer reproof and also to communicate forgiveness. Peter had behaved badly as a disciple of Christ. Along with the other disciples he had forsaken and fled but he had done worse than that. He had denied with cursing that he even knew the Lord. Christ had died and had been buried, but Peter had been to the grave and found it empty. More than that he had seen the risen Christ and was convinced that He was alive. But even so, Peter did not expect the Lord to have any further use for him and so one day he said to the other disciples, “I go a fishing” (#Joh 21:3). And they were in the same mood and said “We also go with thee.” But after a night of so called fisherman’s luck, the Lord appears to them and turns failure into success. He apparently ignores the others and says to Peter, “Lovest thou me more than these?” (#Joh 21:15). This cutting question thrice spoken hurt and humbled Peter. It was like a dagger in his heart. But the command, “Feed my sheep” (#Joh 21:16) also thrice spoken was the way of forgiveness and restoration. Peter had lost his office only temporarily; the Lord would fulfill His promise to wash Peter’s feet and give him a part with Him. He forgave his conduct and recommissioned him. Peter and Judas both fell from an office, the office of apostleship. But with this difference: Judas, as a lost man, lost his office forever; Peter as a saved man lost his only temporarily. Judas was an apostate; Peter was a backslider. Judas was an unbeliever and a devil; Peter was a sheep and a believer. Judas had remorse of conscience; Peter had godly sorrow. Peter came back to Christ with humility and penitence; Judas went away by the suicide route. Judas died at his own hands; Peter died as a martyr.
From this story I have gathered some thoughts that by the Spirit’s blessing may prove helpful.
1. This charge to Peter reveals the love of Christ for His people.
As the Good Shepherd, Christ had just laid down His life for the sheep. He had taken His life again and was about to leave them in the world. But He still loves them. “Now before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end” (#Joh 13:1). And in His love He commits them to an under shepherd. This command to feed the sheep causes Peter to think of preachers as under shepherds with Christ as the chief shepherd who will reward them for faithful care of His sheep. “And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away” (#1Pe 5:4). Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood” (#Ac 20:28).
1. The interest He claims in them: “My sheep,” “My lambs.” They were His
1a) by a gift from the Father. “I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine” (#Joh 17:9).
1b) By purchase. “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood” (#Ac 20:28);
1c) By reward for His travail of soul. “He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities” (#Isa 53:11).
2. The qualifications required in the pastors, or shepherd. There are several but only one mentioned here: Love to Christ. It was on this question of love that Christ examined and cross examined Peter. He would not trust them to one who did not love Him. It is not love for people but love for Christ that is needed. If we love Him we will love His sheep for His sake. If we love Him we will feed His sheep. If we do not love Him our service will be that of a hireling. “But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep” (#Joh 10:12-13). A hireling would starve them or poison them and forsake them. A hireling will fleece them and flog them. He will fleece them for his own interest, or flog them to get something off his chest. I heard of a preacher who boasted of his “sucker list.”
3. Provision of pasture. The word of God is the pasture of the sheep. As pastors we must lead them into the pasture.
2. Duty of the pastor to His people.
There are two words translated “feed”. The word in our text is different from the word in the 15th and 17th verses. In those two verses the word means “give food to,” but in our text it has a wider meaning and means shepherd or take care of. It includes feeding, but includes all that a shepherd is to do for sheep; feed, protect, govern. Requirements:
1. Unselfishness. “Woe to the idol shepherd who leaveth the flock!” (#Zec 11:17). “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD unto the shepherds; Woe be to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! should not the shepherds feed the flocks?” (#Eze 34:2).
2. Knowledge of the word. The sheep’s food is in this book. We are not to feed the flesh but the best principles the graces of faith, hope, love. Our preaching must not give men faith in themselves but in Christ. Hope is the grace that looks to something better in the future. We are feeding this grace when we preach that this earth has nothing for the saint; that the heavenly country is his fatherland. We nourish the grace of love by preaching the sovereign and gracious love of Christ.
3. What you must be to thrive on the Word.
3a) You must be a sheep or you will not know His voice in His word. “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me” (#Joh 10:26).
3b) You must be a sheep or else you will not relish the food of the Word.
3c) You must be a sheep or else you will listen to false teachers who are thieves and robbers. “All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them” (#Joh 10:8).
3d) You must be a sheep or else you will not enter by the door into salvation. Christ is the door. “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture” (#Joh 10:9).
—- End of Book—-
C. D. Cole-Definitions of Doctrine-Volume 3
CHAPTER 31-THE MINISTRY #1Co 4:1-21
Paul tells how ministers are to be regarded, what account is be taken of them, what attitude people should have toward them. We should not be too hasty in criticizing them or passing judgment upon their work.
1. They are ministers of Christ and stewards of the mystery of God. They belong to Christ. They are stewards of mysteries. A steward was a house manager, a slave under his lord, but a master over the other slaves in the same family. The gospel is here called mysteries. Mystery is something known only to the initiated. “He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given” (#Mt 13:11). The man who never preaches anything that everybody can’t understand is not preaching mysteries.
2. “It is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful” (#1Co 4:2). Plain honesty is what is required of a steward. This is what is expected of bank clerks and others in positions of trust, like public officials.
3. Human judgment does not count in appraising the work of preachers. The preacher cannot judge his own ministry. Paul was not justified by what he thought of his work. He placed little importance to what the Corinthians’ thought of it. The Lord is the only one who has the right or ability to judge. Failure to be conscious of one’s own sin does not mean that he is innocent. Most prisoners plead “not guilty”.
4. “Judge nothing before the time” (#1Co 4:5). Stop passing judgment, quit criticizing. The censorious habit was ruining the Corinthian church. Wait and let the Lord judge when He comes. He alone can judge the secret things of a man’s ministry. He will turn on the light and reveal it all. Wait and get His praise.
5. These principles are to be applied in their thoughts about Paul and Ananias. Apply these principles and you will not be puffed up for one against another.
6. It is God who makes ministers to differ. He speaks only of true God called ministers.
Preachers are to have no credit for their difference in gifts. But at Corinth they were making their different gifts ground for division. Different gifts are a great blessing. They are sovereignly bestowed. No preacher is the best example on all points. In calling and qualifying preachers, God does not imitate the candle maker who brings a tub full of tallow and pours it into one mold. All candles come out of candle molds just alike. We have diversity of gifts and divisions of labor. Exhortation, exposition, interpretation, tactfulness in visiting the sick and strangers.
Paul contrasts between the Corinthians and the apostles and uses sarcasm and irony. They were satisfied and having an easy time; the apostles were having a hard time.
C. D. Cole-Definitions of Doctrine-Volume 3
CHAPTER 30-THE LORD’S SUPPER #Mt 26:26-30 Mr 14:22-26 Lu 22:14-20 #1Co 10:16,17,20,21 11:17-34
The Old Covenant religion was characterized by ceremonies and the priest was the important person. He offered sacrifices for his own sins and then for the sins of the people. These ceremonies were typical and found their fulfillment in Christ. This made them temporary. They passed away with the coming of Christ and the one sacrifice He made.
In the New Covenant religion there are but two ceremonies or ordinances: baptism and the Lord’s Supper. Baptism symbolizes the work of Christ in death and resurrection; and also our legal union with Him in death and resurrection. In Him we are dead to sin and alive unto God. The Lord’s Supper symbolizes our participation of the benefits of Christ’s death and resurrection.
Baptism says that the believer is in Christ; the Lord’s Supper says that Christ is in the believer. These two ordinances gave us a full picture to the eye of the whole gospel. Do not save but give us a picture of what saves.
We will try to answer some pertinent questions concerning the Lord’s Supper.
1. What is it?
2. Why observe it?
3. How should we observe it?
1. WHAT IS THE LORD’S SUPPER?
1. It is a memorial supper. It is to be done in memory of Christ.
2. It is a church ordinance, a church act. The church must act in concert. Christ is one bread or loaf and the church is one body. At Corinth it was observed individually or in groups or parties. One group would come and bring their basket and eat, then another group, and so on. The rich would have a big meal and get drunk; the poor would have nothing and go away hungry. Paul says tarry one for another. Thinking of it as a church ordinance, we might ask, Who is to come to the table? What are the steps to take to get to the table?
2a) Salvation- one must be a believer.
2b) Baptism-all Christians say that baptism must precede the Lord’s Supper.
2c) Church membership.
2d) Self examination.
2. WHY OBSERVE IT?
1. Because Christ commanded it. “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” (#1Co 11:24).
2. It is to help us remember His blood shed for us. “And he said unto them, This is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many” (#Mr 14:24).
3. HOW SHOULD WE OBSERVE IT?
1. It is to be done worthily. That is, in a worthy manner. Not a question of personal worthiness. It is not to honor ourselves as if we were worthy. He is to be honored as the one altogether worthy.
2. What is the worthy manner of observing it? Answer: There must be the exercise of three faculties: memory, faith, and hope.
2a) Our memory must work. Memory looks back. We are to remember Christ, not father or mother or wife, or any other human being. And we are to remember Christ on the cross dying for our sins. Christ said: “This do in remembrance of me”. We are not to remember Jesus lying in the cradle or Jesus going about doing good. We are to remember Him as He hung on the cross.
2b) Faith must be exercised. What does faith do? It discerns his body. In partaking of the emblems of the body and blood of Christ we are symbolizing our faith. Just as eating is appropriating food for the body; so faith is appropriating the benefits of His shed blood.
2c) Our hope is exercised. “For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come” (#1Co 11:26). In observing the Lord’s Supper we should look back at the cross and look forward to the future when we will have all the benefits of the cross in glorification.
Communion is a misunderstood word. We talk about communing with one another at the Lord’s table. It is not communing with one another but with Christ. We commune with one another only in the sense that we are physically together, but we all participate together as a unit of His blood by means of the symbol. We participate symbolically occasionally while we participate by faith continually.
The Corinthians perverted the Lord’s Supper:
1. By mixing with heathen ceremonies, “Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord’s table, and of the table of devils” (#1Co 10:21).
2. By making it a common meal to satisfy hunger. “For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged” (#1Co 11:31).
3. By failure to discern the Lord’s body. “Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord” (#1Co 11:27).
4. The order and meaning of the Lord’s table. “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. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come. Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world. Wherefore, my brethren, when ye come together to eat, tarry one for another. And if any man hunger, let him eat at home; that ye come not together unto condemnation. And the rest will I set in order when I come” (#1Co 11:23-34).
C. D. Cole-Definitions of Doctrine-Volume 3
CHAPTER 29-THE BAPTISM THAT SAVES #Mt 3:13-15
At a banquet honoring some athletic celebrities, Helen Wills Moody was called on for a speech. She said something like this: “To be seen one has to stand; to be understood one has to speak distinctly; and to be appreciated one has to sit down.”
In this message I want to affirm something and then support that affirmation. I affirm that there is a baptism that saves. In this message we shall discover that baptism. What is baptism?
1. The baptism that saves is not the baptism of the sinner in water. It is not denied that water baptism saves figuratively and symbolically. Saul was already saved when he was told by Ananias to arise and be baptized and wash away thy sins. He was converted and called into the ministry when he met Jesus on the Damascus road. Water has cleansing properties and is a fit emblem of the blood of Christ that actually cleanses from all sin. It is also an emblem of the Holy Spirit and of the word of God.
1. The contention that water baptism saves is unreasonable as well as unscriptural. If water baptism is essential to salvation, then all who are unbaptized are in their sins and lost, regardless of how much evidence they may give of a birth from above. This theory shuts out all Quakers who do not believe in water baptism at all, but among whom can be found many people of evident spirituality. It also shuts out of heaven all unimmersed Presbyterians and Methodists. This view limits the number of the saved to a small denomination of professing Christians. The implication is narrow, carnal, and cruel.
2. Passages that may seem to teach baptismal remission can be fairly, honestly, and intelligently interpreted in the figurative sense. “Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God” (#Joh 3:5). Water is here made by some to mean baptism. But it is a false and dangerous scheme of interpretation to make water and baptism interchangeable terms. Water is often used where there can be no possible allusion to baptism. “Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again” (#Joh 4:13); “He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water” (#Joh 7:38); “Peter saith unto him, Thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus answered him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me” (#Joh 13:8); Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you” (#Joh 15:3). All through the gospel of John water is used in a figurative and spiritual sense to make John 3:5 refer to literal water of baptism is to use the word water in a different sense in which it is used in all the other places. And besides, the word baptism is not in #Joh 3:5 and to introduce baptism here is to violate the meaning of water in the gospel of John.
3. Water baptism cannot save because of the subject to be baptized. Baptism is for believers only and the believer is a saved person. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (#Joh 3:16); “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him” (#Joh 3:36); “But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name” (#Joh 20:31); “And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house” (#Ac 16:31). The pastor is looking for people to baptize; where will he find them among the saved or lost? The answer is obvious.
4. Water baptism cannot save because baptism is no part of the gospel which is the power of God unto salvation. “For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures” (#1Co 15:3,4). Paul thanked God that he had not baptized many of the Corinthians. “I thank God that I baptized none of you, but Crispus and Gaius;” (#1Co 1:14). “For though ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel” (#1Co 4:15).
5. Water baptism cannot save because of the design of baptism. Baptism is not a saving sacrament but a symbol of what does save; namely the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. Baptism speaks of the legal union between Christ and the believer. The believer is dead to the guilt of sin and alive unto God and to this, baptism testifies. Baptism is a burial and a burial testifies to the death of a person. Our old man was crucified with Christ. Old man does not mean our old nature, our old nature is still very much alive. The old man is the man of old the person I once was under law and cursed by it and awaiting the day of execution. As a believer in Christ I can look back at the cross and see the sentence of death against me executed in the death of Christ. Christ had my guilt upon Himself and died under it, then rose again, and as my Surety and substitute, I died and rose again in His death and resurrection. Now the purpose of baptism is to symbolize all this, to put it before our eyes in visible symbol.
This death and resurrection is not something to be felt, but something to be reckoned as so because God says so. “Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord” (#Ro 6:11). Reason may argue, but I do not feel dead to sin. But feeling has nothing to do with it. What God says is the important thing. And God says that what Christ did on the cross and in coming out of the tomb is what saves us. The believer is declared to be dead to the guilt of sin and alive unto God on the ground of the death and resurrection of Christ.
2. The baptism that saves is not the baptism in the Holy Spirit.
1. Because of the design of Spiritual baptism. Spiritual baptism was not for salvation but for power. Holy Spirit baptism was associated with the miraculous. The disciples (who were already saved) were told to tarry in Jerusalem until the coming of the Holy Spirit who would empower them for witnessing. Holy Spirit baptism at Pentecost enabled the disciples to speak in tongues or languages they did not know. “But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel” (#Ac 2:16). In Acts 8 the Samaritans who had been converted under Philip’s preaching and had been baptized in water received the Spiritual baptism through the laying on of the hands of Peter and John. “Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost” (#Ac 8:17). In Acts 10, Cornelius and others heard Peter say that whoever believed in Christ should receive remission of sins. And as Peter spake they believed and the Spirit fell on them and they spake in tongues. “To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins. While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God” (#Ac 10:43-46). I do not believe we have Holy Spirit Baptism today; else we would have people speaking in languages unknown to them as well as performing other miracles as they did in the early church. “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit” (#Eph 5:18).
And so the baptism that saves is neither water baptism nor Spiritual baptism. It is not the baptism of the sinner in anything. The baptism that saves is the baptism of the Savior at Calvary. The Bible speaks of baptism in water, in the Holy Spirit, in fire, and in suffering. And the way to be saved is to trust in what Christ suffered on the cross.
John the Baptist was baptizing in the Jordan River. He was baptizing people who came to him confessing their sins. He refused to baptize anyone else. He turned down the Jews who wanted to be baptized as descendants of Abraham. Jesus walked from Galilee to the Jordan and asked John to baptize Him. John demurred, saying, “I have need to be baptized of thee and comest thou to me?” (#Mt 3:14). John was baptizing self confessed sinners and he could not think of Jesus as a sinner. But Jesus prevailed by saying. “Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness” (#Mt 3:15). John then baptized Him. Jesus was not a sinner but He was in the sinner’s place and to save sinners He must work out a perfect righteousness for them. “And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (#Php 2:8). And so John’s baptism of Jesus fulfilled all righteousness only typically and figuratively. It pointed to another baptism of Jesus when He would be baptized in suffering and thus provide righteousness for sinners. The baptism of Jesus was a prophecy and pledge of the cross.
And so the baptism that saves was the baptism of Christ at Calvary. We find Christ speaking of another baptism after His water baptism. On His last trip to Jerusalem He told His disciples of His approaching death under the figure of a baptism. “Then came to him the mother of Zebedee’s children with her sons, worshipping him, and desiring a certain thing of him. And he said unto her, What wilt thou? She saith unto him, Grant that these my two sons may sit, the one on thy right hand, and the other on the left, in thy kingdom. But Jesus answered and said, Ye know not what ye ask. Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? They say unto him, We are able” (#Mt 20:20-22); “But I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened till it be accomplished!” (#Lu 12:50).
On the cross our dear Savior was immersed in suffering. Hear Him in the prophetic word: “The sorrows of death compassed me, and the floods of ungodly men made me afraid. The sorrows of hell compassed me about: the snares of death prevented me” (#Ps 18:4,5).
The cross is the place to look for salvation. The way of the cross leads home. The water baptism of Christ typified His baptism of suffering; and our baptism in water symbolizes what He did in his death and resurrection. His water baptism looked forward to the cross and our water baptism looks back to the cross. The baptismal pool that actually washes away sin was filled at Calvary, filled with the blood of Christ.
“There is a fountain filled with blood,
Drawn from Emanuel’s veins;
And sinners plunged beneath that flood
Lose all their guilty stains.
“The dying thief rejoiced to see
That fountain in his day;
And there may I,
though vile as he,
Wash all my sins away.
“Ere since by faith,
I saw the stream Thy flowing wounds supply,
Redeeming love has been my theme,
And shall be till I die.”
C. D. Cole-Definitions of Doctrine-Volume 3
CHAPTER 27-SACRAMENTALISM AND BAPTISM #Mt 3:11 12:41 Ac 2:38 1Pe 3:21
It is the glory of Baptists that we have preached a non- sacramental gospel. We are about the only great denomination in the world that holds that baptism neither saves, helps save, or keeps us saved. We have consistently held to the symbolism of the ordinances over against the sacramental idea. Baptism symbolizes a salvation already obtained through faith and sets forth in beautiful picture the great redemptive acts which are its objective causes.
Catholics have seven sacraments, Protestants have two, and Baptists have none. W. C. Taylor says that sacrament is a word of pagan militarism, alien to the New Testament and to apostolic Christianity. It took centuries to get the false translation of the word out of the printed Bibles, but the idea has outlived the word, and many religionists have no other concept of the ordinances.
And the idea is still expressed in the sacramental translation of the preposition eis. Sacramentalists make the preposition look only to the future, expressing purpose and never backwards, expressing cause. It can look either way and the context determines whether it looks forward in the sense of purpose or backwards in the sense of cause. Dr. Robertson says that it is not Greek grammar that determines the translations, but whether a man is evangelical or not. The general idea of the preposition eis is with reference to the context determining what the reference is “I indeed baptize you with water unto (eis) repentance” (#Mt 3:11). Phillips, an Anglican, translates #Mt 3:11: “I baptize you as a sign that your hearts are changed.” Baptism is with reference to repentance; not in order to get a man to repent, but because he has repented.
Nineveh repented eis the preaching of Jonah; not in order to get Jonah to preach but because of his preaching.
“Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins” (#Ac 2:38) :etc. C. B. W.: “You must repent and, as expression of it, let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ that you may have your sins forgiven.” W. C. Taylor: “Be baptized on the basis of the remission of sins previously obtained by repentance.”
“The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ” (#1Pe 3:21). R. S. V.: “Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a clear conscience.” In the Greek, the word for body is sarx, meaning the old sinful nature and the word for dirt is the word that means moral defilement. What Peter is saying is that Baptism saves only in figure and is not the washing away of the moral turpitude of depravity. “He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still” (#Re 22:11); “Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls” (#Jas 1:21): James is not prescribing a physical bath for salvation. He is speaking of moral filth.
Sacrament: “In classical usage means an oath, especially a military oath, and also a gauge in money laid down by two contending parties in court, is not strictly a Scriptural term, but occurs repeatedly in the Latin Vulgate as a translation of the Greek mysterion (mystery). It was first loosely employed for all sacred doctrines and ceremonies, and then more particularly for baptism and the Eucharist, and a few other solemn rites connected with Christian worship.” Schaff Hyphen Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge.
“The word was used in two senses
1. as a legal term to denote the sum of money deposited by two parties to a suit which was forfeited by the loser and appropriated to sacred uses;
2. as a military term to designate the oath of obedience taken by newly enlisted soldiers.” The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.
C. D. Cole-Definitions of Doctrine-Volume 3
CHAPTER 26-THE MEANING OF BAPTISM
Christendom seems to be hopelessly split over the ordinances. It is split over ordinances because split over the way of salvation. The ordinances are closely related to the gospel and the way of salvation. Christendom not even agreed on how many ordinances there are. Some say three, some two and some none. To me it is obviously true there are two, baptism and the Lord’s supper. Not the gospel, but picture or represent the gospel. Do not save, but testify to what does save.
Baptism is not an empty ceremony. It has a deep and blessed meaning. It was given for a purpose and when we find the purpose, we find the mode or act. The mode was changed because the design or purpose was perverted. This is easy to see: when men began to think that baptism saves they naturally changed the mode. Here is a lost man; he is sick and can not be immersed but he must be baptized to be saved, so he is sprinkled. Novatian, 250 A. D.
In most of our English translations of the Bible, the word for baptize is not translated, it is anglicised. King James I ordered the translators to keep the old ecclesiastical words without translating them. Baptize is not a translation. The Greek verb is baptizo. It is anglicised by changing the last letter from o to e. The Greek word for sprinkle is rhantizo and it is rightly translated sprinkle. If they had dealt with that word like they did baptizo they would have anglicised it and call it rhantize. Those who have been sprinkled have been rhantized, not baptized.
John Calvin: “But whether the person who is baptized be wholly immersed, and whether thrice or once, or whether water be only poured or sprinkled upon him, is of no importance; churches ought to be left at liberty, in this respect, to act according to the differences of countries. The very word baptize, however, signifies to immerse; and it is certain that immersion was the practice of the ancient church.”
WHAT BAPTISM IS NOT FOR:
It is not for the purpose of saving the sinner. The gospel is the power of God unto salvation, but baptism is not any part of the Gospel. The three gospel facts are the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. Paul: “For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect” (#1Co 1:17); “The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:” (#1Pe 3:21); “And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord” (#Ac 22:16).
WHAT BAPTISM IS FOR:
1. Baptism is to commemorate the death and burial of Christ. It commemorates by symbol the three facts of Gospel. Baptism testifies to the death of Christ. To commemorate His death we take a sinner who is dead to sin and plant him in the likeness of Christ’s death and raise him up in likeness of his resurrection. We take a sinner trusting in Christ and bury him in the liquid grave and then lift him out of it.
2. Baptism illustrates the believer’s position before the law of God. What is the believer’s legal status or station? He is dead to sin and alive unto God through Jesus Christ. It is not something to be felt but to be reckoned. “Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord” (#Ro 6:11). I must take this by faith. I do not feel as if I am dead to sin, but God says I am, and I take it on faith. Now if I am dead I must be buried and then raised up out of the grave. I must symbolize my own burial and resurrection. As a believer in Christ I have been crucified, buried and raised, and this is what is symbolized in my baptism. I did not know this when I was baptized. You believers here tonight have this advantage over me. I can see the meaning of my baptism now, but I did not see it then. You have a new life to walk in, and this new life is symbolized by the resurrection part of baptism.
So your baptism testifies to the faith you have in Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection. By faith you are united to Him and occupy His position before God in the legal sense. As the old man you have sinned and the sentence of death has been executed on your surety Jesus Christ. And now before the law as a new man you are to walk in the new life. This new life is to be lived by faith, faith that you have been crucified with Christ, faith “that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ” (#Php 1:6). “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God” (#Col 3:1).
3. Baptism anticipates the believer’s bodily resurrection from the dead. “Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him” (#Ro 6:8); “Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead?” (#1Co 15:29).
Baptism commemorates the resurrection of Christ. It illustrates the believer’s death to sin and resurrection to walk in a new life he has in Christ. It anticipates the resurrection of His people.
C. D. Cole-Definitions of Doctrine-Volume 3
CHAPTER 25-THE OFFICE OF DEACON #Php 1:1 1Ti 3:1-16
In our English Bible the word deacon occurs in only five places: “Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons” (#Php 1:1); “Likewise must the deacons be grave, not doubletongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre” (#1Ti 3:8); “And let these also first be proved; then let them use the office of a deacon, being found blameless…Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well. For they that have used the office of a deacon well purchase to themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus” (#1Ti 3:10,12,13). But in the Greek New Testament the word occurs many times and is translated minister or servant. And the word is applied to all kinds of ministers or servants: political, ecclesiastical, angelic, and Divine.
In #Ro 13:4, it is applied to the civil magistrate who is called “the minister” or “deacon of God to thee for good”. The apostles are often called ministers, the very word used for deacon. In Acts 1, Peter says in speaking of Judas, that “he was numbered with us, and had obtained part of this ministry” or deaconship (#Ac 1:17). And in electing Matthias to succeed Judas, the disciples prayed thus: “Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, shew whether of these two men thou hast chosen, that he may take part of this ministry” or deaconship (#Ac 1:24,25). Paul, speaking of himself and Apollos says, that they were ministers or deacons by whom the Corinthians believed the gospel. In #Eph 6:21,22 Tychicus is called “a beloved brother and faithful minister” or deacon. The angels of God are declared to be deacons in #Heb 1:14: “Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister” or to deacon “for them who shall be heirs of salvation?” And our Lord Jesus Christ is called a deacon in #Ro 15:8 where Paul says “that Jesus Christ was a minister” or deacon “of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises.”
So you see the word itself has no religious connotation; it simply means a minister or one who serves. It is the context in every case which determines the application.
Now this word of general use and varied application is applied to a specified class of officers in the church. And our English version translates the word “deacon” to designate this class of officers. In #1Ti 3:1-16, they are mentioned along with the pastors or bishops and their qualifications are given. In the Philippian letter they are addressed along with the bishops, indicating that they hold office in the same church with the pastors or bishops.
In the letter to Timothy the duties of deacons are not given but only their qualifications. And this must be because their duties were already well known. Paul is simply telling Timothy what kind of men to ordain to the office. To discover their duties, we must go back to the beginning of the office and see why they were appointed. And this takes us back to Acts Sixth chapter, where a division of labor was necessary.
1. THE ORIGIN OF THE OFFICE. Note,
1a) It did not originate with the fo unding of the church. The church at Jerusalem existed some time before the office of deacon was instituted. A church can exist without deacons but it cannot function properly without them.
1b) It originated in a crisis. The days of persecution for the early church were naturally days of poverty. There were a few well to do but most of the members were poor. In the interest of the whole body a common fund was created to which contributions were voluntarily made by those able to contribute. Barnabas sold a piece of property on Cyprus and put the proceeds into this common fund. Ananias and Sapphira sold some property and kept back part of the price, pretending and claiming they had placed all of it at the apostle’s feet. And for lying to the Holy Spirit, they were killed on the spot.
This liberality on the part of the rich greatly increased the labors of the apostles who were giving out rations daily to those in need. The foreign born Jews complained that their widows were being neglected in this daily ministration. They charged that the apostles were showing partiality to the home born members. When the apostles heard of the complaint, they neither admitted or denied the charge. They suddenly realized the need of a division of labor, and recommended that the church search “out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business” of feeding the poor. To use their own words, they said, “It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables” (#Ac 6:2). And the word “serve” here is the word for deacon. “But we will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry” or deaconship “of the word.” In other words, they said, We will deacon or minister the word while these seven men deacon or serve tables. Here is a clear distinction between two kinds of official service or ministry, the one in spiritual matters and the other in material things.
Look at the results of this division of labor: “And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith” (#Ac 6:7).
The church of Christ is a spiritual institution in a material or physical world. And while in the physical world it will have material or physical needs. We have many needs today the Jerusalem church did not have and its one major need is a minor need today. They had a multitude of poor people to be fed, while we have a comparable few. They had no church house to build and maintain, for they still used the synagogue as a place of worship and when they were put out of the synagogue, for many years they met in the homes of their people. Today we have church buildings for which there is no direct Scriptural sanction. But it is reason that we should have them. So this matter of serving tables covers all the material needs of a church: feeding the poor, feeding the pastor, feeding the janitor, feeding the furnace, feeding the light meter, and what not. Some things are left to sanctified human reason.
The reason given for deacons in the Jerusalem church was the necessity of a division of labor so the ministers of the word should not be hampered and encumbered with the material side of the church’s life. God calls His spiritual servants to a spiritual ministry, and this is to be a life of prayer and preaching the word.
2. It is interesting to see how other denominations regard this office.The Roman Catholic and Episcopal denominations make deacons a lower rank of the clergy who may preach and baptize. Baptists are not supposed to have any ranks in the ministry. The title “Assistant Pastor” is to be objected to because it is practically a recognition of rank. The early churches had a plurality of elders and were paid according to their work and not rank. “Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine” (#1Ti 5:17).
“Even so must their wives be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things” (#1Ti 3:11). Does this justify women deacons or deaconnesses, or is the reference to the wives of the deacons. This is a mooted point. Dr. Carroll thinks it justifies deaconnesses and in his church in Waco, Texas, he used women as deaconnesses to look after certain matters that deacons could not well attend to, such as preparing women candidates for baptism, making inquiries into the homes, etc.
It is also thought by some that Phoebe was a deaconness in the church at Cenchrea. The Williams translation renders the word deaconness. It is exactly the same word rendered deacon in #Php 1:1 and #1Ti 3:1-16, gender and all.
A literal translation of #1Ti 3:11 reads thus: “Women in like manner grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things.” It is argued that this could not refer to women generally, nor to the wives of the deacons because the pronoun “their” is not in the Greek. And also because the context is dealing with official classes in the church. But the next verse says when literally translated, “Let those who serve or deacon be men of one woman.”
3. Duties of Deacons:
3a) Not a board of directors to run the church.
3b) Not a jury to discipline members.
3c) Not a pulpit committee to hire and fire the pastor.
Deacons may serve on the pulpit committee as individuals when the church is without a pastor. Nobody has any authority over the pastor but the church acting under the Lord. Let the deacons stick to their work which is that of serving tables, looking after the temporal and material affairs of the church.
4. Qualifications of deacons:
4a) Men of good report men with a good name in the community.
4b) Full of the Holy Spirit and of wisdom. Spiritually minded men and men of judgment.
4c) Grave or serious minded men not given to levity and frivolity. This is not to be taken as being grouchy or mean and sour faced.
4d) Sincere in speech, not double tongued, saying one thing to one person and another thing to someone else.
4e) Not given to much wine. In the light of the present distress, I would say, a total abstainer.
4f) Not covetous, not greedy of filthy lucre.
4g) Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience. Sound in the faith with conviction. Not official teachers but have opportunity for private witnessing.
4h) Men who have proved themselves faithful as members of the church.
5. Reward of Deacons:
“Purchase to themselves a good degree and great boldness in the faith” (#1Ti 3:13). “For those who render good service win a good standing for themselves in their faith in Christ Jesus.” (Williams).
C. D. Cole-Definitions of Doctrine-Volume 3