First the Question: Are Christians, in the present Dispensation of Grace, to obey all of the commandments which the LORD Jesus Christ, while on earth, gave to His disciples and to others?
Please take a moment to respond at the LLM Question of the Day
And now the answer to the LLM Question of 7-7-2011
Question: Do you believe that the Body of Christ, the Church of God during this current Dispensation of Grace, began at Pentecost? Yes or No?
Answer: NO! The Body of Christ began AFTER Pentecost. Now, on this question out of 762 responses, 67.5% of you got this right. Therefore,
Today let us consider, The One True Church of God in the Dispensation of Grace, pt. 4 of 4
The Fundamentalist leaders who are today opposing and doing all in their power to thwart the recovery of the Body truth of Ephesians, which is, “to make all men see the dispensation of the mystery, and endeavor to keep the unity of the Spirit” Ephesians 3:9, teach that the Body of Christ began on the day of Pentecost.
(Before moving forward let me just say here and now, that in NO WAY did the Body of Christ, (the Church of God for this Dispensation of Grace, the Dispensation of the Mystery), begin PRIOR to Pentecost. Let’s clear that ridiculous doctrine out of the way immediately.)
Ok, back on point.....
And just to be confusing, these same Fundamentalist leaders are agreed that the message proclaimed on the day of Pentecost is NOT God's message for today. However, they are by no means agreed, among themselves, as to "how much" or "how little" of the program of the Book of Acts, the Four Gospels, the Epistle of James and the Epistle to the Corinthians and the Epistle to the Hebrews should be included in the program for the Body of Christ. Neither have they any Bible system for the selection or rejection of such of the Book of Acts program as seems good to them. Some of them omit the LORD’s Prayer; some include it. AND, no big surprise here, most of the younger preachers get their programs from the Fundamentalist leaders.
So, it is still the question, "have any of the rulers believed on Him?" John 7:48
What a responsibility for the rulers! Think of what many of the outstanding Fundamentalist leaders right here in America will have to answer for. The worst part about it is that some of them know better. Others of them are not so far along in the truth of God as they were several years ago, having turned their backs on truth far in advance of what they are now teaching.
Remember, the temptation for an in-offensive and popular ministry is difficult to resist.
Also, remember, when anything religious can be added to the cross of Calvary, then is the offense of the cross ceased. Galatians 5:11. This refers just as much to water baptism today as it did to circumcision in the Apostle Paul's day.
Any Christian, Fundamentalist or otherwise, who claims to have Holy Spirit fellowship with other Christians in a business meeting or in some community association AND AT THE SAME TIME excludes them from full fellowship, (such as membership), in the assembly or congregation to which he belongs because of different views concerning water baptism, is inconsistent, if not insincere.
Any Christian who makes water baptism the basis of fellowship in the LORD is OUT of the will of God, and is acting contrary to the Holy Spirit, and to the plain teaching of the Word of God.
The majority of the outstanding Bible teachers among the Fundamentalists are Scripturally endeavoring to lead orthodox Christians to clearly see the difference between the Law and Grace. This is indeed a most important and praiseworthy ministry. But then they mess it all up! Because they seem to be ignorant of the fact that they can frustrate the Grace of God by ADDING to God’s Grace water baptism, just as much as they can by adding some commandment which the LORD gave to Israel.
Surely great headway has been made during the past hundred or so years in the matter of getting the Children of God from under the law; BUT the work will have to be done over. Why? Because, the present day Fundamentalist Baptist and so forth pastors, preachers, and Bible teachers continue to lead them from UNDER the Law TO under the water.
In all, there are only a few of the outstanding fundamentalist Bible teachers that read "water" into the ONE baptism of Ephesians 4:5. HOWEVER, some of them have been FORCED to make that one baptism "water", in order to support their un-scriptural position, and maintain their position in the denomination.
THEN, absurdly, by their public utterances they repudiate what they try to persuade themselves that they believe; for they say that water baptism plays absolutely no part in a man's salvation. According to their confessions and creeds, water baptism in no way aids a believer to become a member of the One Body of Ephesians; neither will the believer's refusal to be immersed in water in any way affect his remaining a member of that one Body of Christ, either here or hereafter. All of these teachers, whose ability is respected by Bible students, believe in the Christian’s eternal security; that he is saved by Grace without works, and that works and religion never help in any way to keep him saved after he has become a member of the Body of Christ by Faith in the redemptive work of the Son of God.
BUT THEN, what pastor, or board of elders, governing a company of God’s Children, united for Christian fellowship and service in an assembly, whether they call it a "church" or "brethren", has the Scriptural right to DEMAND for MEMBERSHIP in their church, or fellowship in their assembly, a religious ceremony which they unanimously admit is wholly UN-necessary for membership in the Bible Church, the Body of Christ?
To require an ordinance for entrance into an organization, or for participation in some fellowship, and call that organization or fellowship the Body of Christ, and at the same time admit that the Bible makes no such requirement for entrance into the Bible Church, known as the Body of Christ, is to prove that the human organization differs from the Bible Church and is to that extent UN-SCRIPTURAL
It would seem that intelligent students of the Word of God, familiar with the divisions and sects, in the Christian Church down through the centuries, would be so disgusted with the thirty, or more, different theories concerning water baptism that they would try to deliver the Body of Christ from this Israelitish ceremony which Satan has used more than any one thing to destroy the unity among God's people. Just a little bit of thinking should convince any Child of God that the Holy Spirit could NEVER have been referring to water when He said, "endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit": "ONE baptism." Ephesians 4:3-7. We would not expect unity on the basis of two Bodies or two LORDs. Then why on the basis of two baptisms?
To read "water" into Ephesians 4:5 would be to do away with any possibility of unity; as would also to make it both water and Spirit baptism. And if our Fundamentalist brethren acknowledge that water baptism is NOT essential to become complete in Christ, and part of Him, dead, buried, raised and seated with Him, WHY then make it essential to fellowship with other members in that Body? Is more required for human fellowship than for Divine fellowship? Can you not see the absurdity of their position?
They say, "no", "it is NOT essential to salvation or Body membership; but it is necessary to get into MY assembly or our Fundamentalist Association." "It is not necessary to salvation, but....but.....but......but." Not one of their "buts" will stand the test of Scriptures: nor is one of them sure of what he thinks he believes: whether it is a seal of salvation, a witness to the world, an outward symbol of an inward work, a seal to take the place of circumcision, or a burial with Christ, or a door of entrance to the local assembly. They look so ridiculous, because they are trying to FORCE water baptism in where the Scripture proclaims it does NOT belong!
After the Scriptures have been searched and NOT ONE of the positions has been the unity of the Spirit and to make all men proved, THEN they appeal to Historic Christianity, and the ceremony is retained on the grounds of the traditions of the fathers INSTEAD of on the authority of the Word of God. It is interesting, but sad, to see the shifting from Mark 16:15-18, Acts 2:38 to other Scriptures to prove that water baptism had one meaning up to the Tenth Chapter of Acts, and another meaning from then on.
It is a known fact that many gifted Fundamentalists during the past hundred years have taught, unreservedly, that the Great Commission is NOT the marching orders of the Church for today. And those who have taught that it IS, must believe that it has been revised considerably, if we are carrying on the LORD's program under the commission of Matthew 28:19-20.
How could it be possible to take Ephesians truth for our program, and obey Ephesians 3:9, and then ALSO obey Matthew 28:20? How could a Child of God learn from Ephesians 4:8-15 which member of the Body of Christ is to baptize the other member? Where is any member of the Body of Christ instructed in the Bible to baptize another member or be baptized by another member? If the LORD places us in the Body by the ONE Baptism, why try to add a physical baptism to that member, who has been accepted in Christ and complete in Christ? Colossians 2:13-16.
Let us earnestly contend for the program, the fellowship, and the unity, of the One True Church for the Dispensation of Grace, The Body of Christ, the Bible Church....RATHER than for that of the Baptist Church, the Pentecostal Church, the Roman Catholic Church, the Assemblies of God Church, the Church of Christ Church, the Episcopalian Church, the Presbyterian Church, or the Whatever Du Jour Church.
Truly no one thing has hindered members of the Body of Christ from observing Ephesians 4:3 and Ephesians 3:9 more than his clinging on to water baptism.
Is it not the truth that a believer can neither endeavor to keep the unity of the Spirit nor make all men to see what is the Dispensation of the Mystery, if he insists on water baptism for members of the Body of Christ? Is it not conversely true that those who endeavor Scripturally to keep the unity of the Spirit and to make all men see the Fellowship of the Mystery will NOT hold on to water baptism?
Surely we have observed a great difference between the message, the requirements, the order, and the sphere of blessing, as declared by the Apostle Peter and the Eleven on the day of Pentecost and those in the Epistle to the Ephesians.
On the day of Pentecost the message was concerning Joel's prophecy, David's prophecy, and the truth that God had made The Jesus, whom Israel had crucified, both LORD and Christ. Those guilty Israelites were to repent of their awful crime, be baptized unto the remission of sins, and receive the Holy Spirit. "Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day were added about three thousand souls." Acts 2:41. "And the LORD added daily such as should be saved." Acts 2:47. Though there is some question about the words "to the church" in the Greek, yet the Church was there. BUT were they raised and seated in the heavenlies. AND, then and there blessed with all spiritual blessings in the heavenlies?
In order that the penitent Israelites might be added to the church, the requirement was TWO baptisms....water baptism and Holy Spirit baptism. According to most of our Fundamentalist Bible teachers, those 3000 Israelites on the day of Pentecost experienced 1 Corinthians 12:13, and they were then and there baptized by the Holy Spirit into the same Body of Christ that is described in the Epistle to the Ephesians. HOWEVER, if this is true, surely we all have some questions to ask...."if any of the 3000 Israelites had refused to be immersed in water (or be sprinkled), would they have received the Holy Spirit?", and next, "were not two baptisms required on the day of Pentecost for membership in that Pentecostal Church and for fellowship and unity with other members in that Church (Body)?"
Our answer to the first question is "NO"; and to the second question, "YES". Then this third question, "are we not told specifically in the Epistle to the Ephesians that membership in that Body of Christ and the unity and fellowship of the members of that Body, both with the Head and with fellow members, is on the basis of one baptism?" YES! And now one more question, "was not the receiving of the Holy Spirit in Acts 2:38 dependent upon repentance AND water baptism, WHILE the receiving of the Holy Spirit in Ephesians 1:13 is dependent upon BELIEVING the Gospel of salvation, which was NOT of works (no water baptism), Ephesians 2:8-9?" If one believer baptizes another believer to aid him either in salvation or to become a member of the Body of Christ, is not that salvation and Body-membership by Grace PLUS works?" And THEN, how do we reconcile Mark 16:15-16 with Ephesians 1:13, Ephesians 2:8 and Ephesians 4:5? Dwell on these questions.
Unless we had accepted the interpretation of some recognized Bible teacher, that the Church of Acts 2:38-47 is the Body of Christ of Ephesians, could we make the identification by diligent study and comparison of the Second Chapter of Ephesians? Do we not find different messages to different people....the one in fulfillment of the words of Israel's prophets, and the other the written revelation of Christ in heaven never revealed to ANY of Israel's prophets? Ephesians 3:3, and Ephesians 3:8. Do we not see different Gospels or at least different Gospel programs, different promises, different orders and different spheres of blessings? Do you believe that the saved Israelites would have had fellowship with Cornelius, if he had not had two baptisms? Did not the Corinthians have two baptisms; Acts 18:8 and 1 Corinthians 12:13?
Now pay attention: Should we not uncompromisingly demand two baptisms, water baptism and Holy Spirit baptism, for membership in the Body of Christ and for fellowship among the Body members, OR ELSE see the DIFFERENCE in the Church during the Acts period and the Body of Christ AFTER the Acts period, and Scripturally eliminate all but one of the baptisms of the "Acts" period? So, which shall we eliminate?
We trust that this series of messages may at least cause the children of God to get their eyes off of human leaders and cease to believe that a statement is Scripturally true, because some outstanding Bible teacher says so. And we trust also that the Holy Spirit may help all to see that all Bible truth must be appropriated and applied by the members of the Body of Christ in the light of the Body truth of Ephesians, Colossians and 2 Timothy.
“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” Acts 16:31, while there is still time!
So There You Have it!
Spread this message to everyone you know, far and wide. The time is short
Grace be to you and peace, from God: our Father, and The LORD Jesus Christ.
In The LORD Jesus Christ,
The Lion and Lamb Ministry
Pastor David Picos, D.D.
Minister and Ambassador for Christ in the Ministry of Reconciliation (2 Cor. 5:18-20)