Kyle Massengale of the Madison AL church had me on his iQuest podcast last night as a guest. The assigned topic was “Water in the Plan.”

You can tell from the title that baptism was the subject. We covered some of the usual ground, but had some interesting items in the mix that you might not normally expect. So don’t think ho-hum and move on. The story I conclude with is worth hanging on until the end.

Skype was quirky last night and didn’t work. (I blame Microsoft!) I wound up calling on a land line. My part of the podcast lasted for an hour, so I’ll have a hefty phone bill this month. But it was worth it.

Perhaps because of the land line, there was an echo in the first part of the podcast behind me. But their geek guy got it fixed. The archived file was edited, and it sounds normal.

We were originally scheduled for two weeks ago, then came the tornadoes through Alabama. After that, I forgot about it until Kyle buzzed me on Facebook a couple of hours ahead. So I jotted down some talking points to go with. Kyle was great at keeping the subject moving.

I found myself stammering for the English words. Too many “uhs” in my speech. Perhaps it won’t take the listener’s attention away from the subject matter.

This was my second experience at being a guest on a podcast. iPreach was my first go-around.

But the Pharisees and the experts in the law rejected God’s purpose for themselves by refusing to be immersed by John.
Luke 7:30

The Jewish leaders’ refusal to be immersed by John signaled their rejection of God’s purpose for them.

John had been “sent from God” (John 1:6) to prepare the way for Jesus. His message included a change a life and immersion in water so that sins might be forgiven. Although his baptism was preparatory and temporary (see Acts 19:1ff), during that period it was part of God’s purpose as a concrete sign of repentance and to bring about God’s forgiveness. Continue reading

Preliminary ideas for a sermon on the baptism of Jesus, from Matthew 3:13-17. Here’s the text in the NET Bible:

13  Then Jesus came from Galilee to John to be baptized by him in the Jordan River. 14  But John tried to prevent him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and yet you come to me?” 15  So Jesus replied to him, “Let it happen now, for it is right for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John yielded to him. 16  After Jesus was baptized, just as he was coming up out of the water, the heavens opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming on him. 17  And a voice from heaven said, “This is my one dear Son; in him I take great delight.”

Jesus’ baptism clearly shows his uniqueness: he is without sin. He is God, evident from the three persons of the Godhead being present. But for all that, there are also parallels between Jesus’ baptism and ours.

Opposition: John resisted, however lightly, Jesus’ request for baptism. Our Lord had to reason with him before he yielded. We may encounter light or heavy resistance from others as well, for various motives. We should try reasoning, but insist on obedience whether others accept or not.

Beginning: Jesus’ baptism marks the beginning of his ministry. Ours also marks the beginning of our life in Christ and service to God. Continue reading

When considering a touchy subject, I must remind myself: I’m on a quest for what is right and true. Am I open to truth? Am I willing to look again at a subject that has been argued over for centuries? Sensitive or not, a topic deserves reexamination whenever it’s related to salvation.

There comes a time when a person questions his conversion and asks if his salvation is secure. This is a healthy process, if one compares one’s experience with the teaching of the Bible about conversion. Continue reading

It’s a common view that the ark saved Noah and his family from the water. The flood is seen as the threat to their safety, since it destroys the human population of that period.

That view is reflected in what must be the worst rendering of the New Living Translation, which I otherwise appreciate: “Only eight people were saved from drowning in that terrible flood” (1 Peter 3:20). The original text says nothing about drowning! Continue reading