LIFE AND DOCTRINE
“This, then, is how you should pray: “ ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.’ Matthew 6:9-13
The last part of that prayer is what I want to focus on: “Deliver us from the evil one”. We know that Satan is described as the “deceiver” and “father of lies”. He’s a scammer. He tries to work his scams on all of us, trying to scam us out of our salvation and being with God forever. Satan is always at it with his shenanigans and scams, and in many ways we may not even realize. Some of them come in the form of jacked up Bible definitions and mis‐ understood principles that trip us up. Skewing the meaning of words like “sin, repentance, faith, baptism, and Christian”, are part of his scams. For most people, “sin” means “evil deeds”. For Catholics, “repentance” means just confessing what you did wrong and trying to feel bad about it. “Faith” is understood as a sincere intellectual agreement of a Christian principle, but with great feeling. It’s like focusing on a Christian concept and mustering up as much sincerity as you can about it. “Baptism” has a whole buffet of different definitions and so does the word “Christian”.
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your Name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, You evildoers!’ Matthew 7:21-23
That may be one of the most haunting scriptures in the Bible. Maybe these souls didn’t grasp the true meaning of what the word “Lord” meant for their lives. You have to ask. “How in the world did these people get scammed out of heaven by Satan”? How did these people, that looked so much like “Christians”, get scammed out of being saved and turned away by Jesus?
This is how: Satan’s Scam of Life Without Doctrine.
“Meanwhile a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus. He was a learned man, with a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures. He had been instructed in the way of the Lord, and he spoke with great fervor and taught about Jesus accurately, though he knew only the baptism of John. He began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they invited him to their home and explained to him the way of God more adequately.” Acts 18:24-26
This is an account of a guy named Apollos described as a high-powered believer. The text also says that a couple named Aquila and Priscilla were listening in on him. Their conversation with each other may have gone something like this . . .
Aquilla: Hey, Precilla! Look at that Apollos guy! He’s incredible! Look at him! He really knows the Bible. He really loves God. He probably went to Seminary because he teaches Jesus accurately. He’s even got fervor! Look how fired up he is about Jesus and doesn’t hold back about sharing his faith. He’s GOTTA be a Christian. You KNOW that guy’s saved. How can he not be? Priscilla: I don’t know, Aquilla. Which is the more important part of salvation? Life or doctrine? He’s preaching John’s baptism. Aquilla: Yeah. I see what you mean, Honey. His life looks pretty awesome and impressive, but his doctrine is definitely jacked up by what he’s preaching about baptism. His hearers are going to get misled too. Priscilla: Yeah. He’s preaching about an expired baptism. John’s baptism went out with the Old Covenant when Jesus died. The Holy Spirit was never a part of John’s baptism either and came after the cross. That means Apollos doesn’t yet have the Holy Spirit. He doesn’t know people need to be baptized specifically in the name of “Jesus” now. Aquilla: You’re absolutely right. Bless his heart. He’s missing one wing of his spiritual airplane – His doctrine. I think we need to invite him over and “explain to him the way of God more adequately”. Do you think he’ll be humble and teachable? Priscilla: Hopefully. Hopefully he won’t have a lot of religious pride and blow us off.
Apollos did have a happy ending and became an essential part of the 1st century church!
In Acts 2:36-41, After preaching the very first Gospel sermon ever by Peter the Apostle, the crowd responded with convicted hearts, “Brothers, what shall we do?” With the same two-part life, doctrine principle, Peter replied, “Repent [with your life by making Jesus Lord] and be baptized [the doctrine of making him Christ], every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins”.
Which part of receiving the forgiveness of sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit is most necessary, repentance or baptism? Both. Peter didn’t say repent OR be baptized, he said “AND”. How many Bible believing people out there have been scammed by being baptized without truly repenting? How many Bible believing people out there have been scammed by trying to live a good life without being baptized? Being baptized without repenting, invalidates your baptism. Repenting without being baptized, invalidates your repentance. Either of those invalidates forgiveness of sins and receiving the Holy spirit, according to Peter’s words. If we don’t want to end up being called “evil-doers” by Jesus, we need to be continual learners about what God tells us in the Bible about life and doctrine so we can make Jesus truly our Lord and Christ as God intended!
In other words, don’t fall for Satan’s scam of life without doctrine. Don’t be scammed by an inadequate doctrine of baptism just because you or someone you know may be educated with a thorough knowledge of the scriptures, has been instructed in the way of the lord, speaks with great fervor, and teaches about Jesus accurately. – Ben Eisenschmidt