Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Update and Post on Acts 2:38

Here is an update on events this past month.

The past month I have led three people to the Lord. Two of whom were a mother and daughter. The daughter was round 25 and the mother in her 40's, I would guess. It is always nice to see family coming to know the Lord together. Mariann and I were out visiting in the village when we talked with both of them and they made a decision to put their faith Christ. The daughter has been attending church for several months now, and her mom was in the village visiting her. The mom lives on another island about three hours away. The other person was also in the village visiting family. She had not been back in her home village for several years. She works in the capitol city on the main island. While she was away, both her Mom and Dad received Christ, and come to church. She attended church faithfully with her family during her few weeks here with them. The Sunday before she left, she put her faith in Christ.

We also had two weeks where are water tanks went empty. This happens from time to time in dry season. (Last year we did not have one day without water in our tanks!) When the tanks are empty we head to the river for washing. Once you are used to it, it really is not all the bad. We have a river about 1 mile from the house that has fresh springs coming into from under ground. Very clean water! This past Saturday we had a big rain arrive and both are tanks are now about 3/4 full.

I have also received a new opportunity to put an article once a week in the main news paper for Papua New Guinea. It is called the Post Courier. My first article was published this last Saturday. I pray the Lord will use each article. My articles will deal with Biblical issues. I think it is a great opportunity, I hope it helps many! From time to time I will post on here the same article. The first one dealt with Acts 2:38 and Baptism. I will post below the article.

Acts 2:38 and Baptism
Baptism has been a divisive issue for centuries in the history of Christianity. One verse we hear a lot about in Papua New Guinea is Acts 2:38. I would like to examine a portion of this verse as it relates to baptism.
(Act 2:38) “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.”

Acts 2:38 is a verse that is widely misinterpreted by well meaning people. The misinterpretations are leading to a false gospel destructive to true Christianity. Many groups today use Acts 2:38 to teach that in order to go to heaven one must be baptized in water. I am a Baptist preacher, and place great emphasis on baptism. I was baptized shortly after my conversion, and I have baptized many here in PNG. However, baptism is not the entrance into heaven, nor does Acts 2:38 teach any such doctrine. Those trusting in water to wash away their sins have missed the true gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Does Acts 2:38 say one must be baptized in order to have their sins removed? No, it does not! Acts 2:38 does not say “Repent and be baptized to receive remission of sins.” It says, “…for the remission of sins”. Many think the word “for” in the verse means to receive. That is incorrect. “For” in this verse means as a result. You could see this by studying the meaning of the word and in the 1828 Webster’s Dictionary as well. There are many different ways to use the preposition “for”. I think we should allow the Bible to determine the meaning. Let’s look at Revelation 16:10 to understand the English word “for” better:

(Rev 16:10) “And the fifth angel poured out his vial upon the seat of the beast; and his kingdom was full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues for pain,”

Notice the last two words “for pain”. Read the verse again and ask yourself, did they gnaw their tongues to receive pain or because they were already in pain? The answer is they gnawed their tongues because they were already in pain, or as a result of pain. Now, if you interpret “for” in the verse the way many interpret “for” in Acts 2:38, you would have to say they gnawed their tongues, because they wanted to receive pain. That is clearly wrong. Let me give another example from the common English saying, “He jumped for joy!” Does the person jump to receive joy or as a result of joy? The answer is as a result of joy!

When you understand the meaning of “for” correctly in Acts 2:38, you see it is teaching us as a result of the remission of sins, we need to be baptized. After a person has his sins removed by faith in Jesus Christ, he should be baptized. It is not the water that washes away your sin. It is the blood of Jesus Christ. We are saved by grace thought faith (Eph 2:8, 9). If you add anything to that, it is no longer by grace through faith. My friend if you are trusting in water to save you, you have been deceived.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010


Last week, I was asked to preach a funeral for a 21 year old girl who died, when she fell out of the back end of a truck. I was told her uncle led her to the Lord one week before she died. The uncle was the one who contacted me and asked me to preach the funeral. The funeral would be in the village Punam which is about 5 miles from the work in Kudukudu. I was to preach twice in the village, first on Tuesday night and then again on Wednesday morning. In a village funeral, the whole village attends, so it is a great opportunity for the people to hear the Gospel. On Wednesday morning, I preached a strong Gospel message on Nicodemus. The people listened very intently. For most, it was their first time hearing a clear presentation of the gospel. (There is a church in the village. It is a “United church”, where the people hear salvation is by your works plus Christ. The United Church has strong Charismatic influence upon it. It also lacks much Bible Doctrine.) As I was preaching, it was clear the Lord was working on many hearts. When I finished preaching we buried the girl, and then talked. I came back to the village on Saturday to see if there was more who wanted to talk. A man stopped me, named Maswaton. He is in his 50’s and a member of the United Church. He wanted to know more about II Corinthians 5:21, a verse I talked about on Wednesday morning. I went over the Gospel with him, but he did not put his faith in Christ. This was all new to him and he knew it meant much of what he had been believing all these years was wrong. He wanted to consider what we talked about. He then came to my house on Tuesday morning to talk more. We talked about the Gospel for about an hour. He then said he wanted to receive Christ, which he did!

I have now been asked to come back and preach to the village again, which I will be doing tonight (Tuesday). There is no funeral or other event; it is just to hear the preaching. I am praying many more will turn to the Lord.

“…how shall they hear without a preacher?” Romans 10:14

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Playing or Praying?

Col 4:2-6 shows us today the importance of our prayer life and our public life, or as I put it on Sunday, our private life and public life. One of the most neglected areas today is prayer. Col 4:2 shows we should have persistence, passion, and the right position in our prayers. We are to “continue in prayer” or be persistent. Our prayer life should not be on Monday, then on Thursday and then again Saturday, if we have time. It should be on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. It should be persistent. It should be one of the most important parts of your day, every day! Continue in prayer!

The verse also said to “watch in the same”, or have passion in our prayers. If the devil cannot hinder you from being persistent in your prayer time, he will switch tactics. He will then attack how you pray. Many times we get the mechanical side down pat and we are persistent, but our hearts are not in it. During the “prayer time” our mind wanders from item to item. We spend 30 minutes to an hour with many vain thoughts during our “prayer time”. This is why we need to “watch in the same”. The Jews of old believed when you prayed, if your heart was not in it, then you never really prayed. I believe this to be true. When we pray we should pray with passion, with our heart staying focused on the Almighty God! We should leave the world we are in and go before His throne seeking Him! If we have the persistence without the passion we are wasting our time.

Next, verse 2 teaches the importance of having the right position when we pray. No I am not talking about kneeling or standing, eyes open or shut. I am talking about an attitude. The verse teaches we need the attitude of thankfulness when we pray. Thankfulness will produce at least two results that are keys to getting your prayers answered. First, it will produce humbleness. An attitude of thankfulness shows we do not come before God, demanding He answer us because of how great we are. God does not work for us, and just wait around for us to command Him. Some teaching on prayer almost treats God like He is some genie in a bottle, just waiting for us to rub it the right way and poof, He gives us three wishes. We come before Him humbly, ever so thankful he actually hears us! Secondly, it shows our faith in God. When we are thankful to Him, we recognize it is God who WILL hear our prayers and answer them. We also know the prayers He has answered already, were not answered because of some external circumstance, but because of God. Without faith we cannot please God (Heb 11:6), so this component is very important as we come to God in prayer.

Once we get our private life strong, it will greatly aid in our public life, which perhaps I will write about later.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

I am still preaching through the book of Colossians. The first two chapters deal with important doctrinally truths: 1) Christ is to be preeminent 2) we are complete in Christ; we do not legalism, rituals, etc... because, for the Christian, He has forgiven all our sin. (So many today do not understand we are complete in Christ. I need no other remedy for my sin.)

The next two chapters show us how the truths in the first two chapters should change our life. Lets just look at the first couple from Col 3:1-4:

1) It should change what we are seeking (“Seek those which are above”)
2) It should change what we are thinking (“Set your affections on things above”)
3) It should change what we are hoping for (we shall “appear with Him in glory”)

Christians today seem to show such little change after their “conversion”. It seems many still desire things of this world, and dwell on this life. We should be seeking those things which are above and truly living for God, and not just in word but in deed. Many do not want the change, then in truth they do not want Christ.

What are you seeking for this year Christian? What are you thinking of even now for this New Year? May Christ be what we seek, think and hope for in this New Year!