Catholic Infant Baptism

22 02 2021

Listen to the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

Holy Baptism is the basis of the whole Christian life, the gateway to life in the Spirit (vitae spiritualis ianua), and the door which gives access to the other sacraments. Through Baptism we are freed from sin and reborn as sons of God; we become members of Christ, are incorporated into the Church and made sharers in her mission: “Baptism is the sacrament of regeneration through water in the word.”

Let’s take the errors line by line. The catechism starts off by saying that baptism is the basis or foundation of the whole Christian life. Paul tells us that Christ is the foundation or basis of the Christian life (1 Corinthians 3:11). In Matthew 16:18 we see that the basis for entering the Christian life is profession of faith not baptism.

Rome claims baptism is the gateway to life in the Spirit. What does Scripture say of this? In Romans 8:9 we are told that those who do not have the Spirit are not His children,

What is the gateway to life in the Spirit? Let’s look back to the Scriptures for the answer.

In Acts 10 we see Peter take the Gospel to Cornelius. He and his household believed the Gospel and in verse 44 we see them receive the Spirit.

While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word.”

Did they enter life in the Spirit through baptism? No, it was through hearing and believing the Gospel. It was by faith not of works as we see expressed in Ephesians 2:8-9.

In fact it mentions that they were baptized after receiving the Spirit. Not only did they not receive the Spirit through baptism but receiving the Spirit was the basis for baptism.

Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?” (Acts 10:47)

The catechism claims that through baptism we are freed from sin. Scripture says that it is through our obedience to the Gospel that we are freed from sin.

But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.” (Romans 6:17-18)

The catechism claims that through baptism we are reborn as children of God. Does Scripture agree with this claim? Hardly, it actually opposes it.

Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.” (1 Peter 1:23)

Here we see that we are reborn not through baptism but the word of the Lord. What is the word of the Lord? Look a little further in this same chapter.

But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.” (Vs. 25)

So the word of God is the Gospel. Look at John 1:12 and you will find the difference between Roman Catholicism and Biblical Christianity.

But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.”

We become children of God by believing on His name. Not by baptism, a system of penance, or the mass. Those who receive Him are born again.

The catechism claims that through baptism we are incorporated into Christ’s Church. We need to understand that they are referring to the universal body of believers not the local church. Let’s look again away from Rome and towards the Scriptures. At his sermon on Pentecost Peter preached Christ. We see the result in Acts 2:41.

Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.”

So the souls of those who believed the Gospel were added to the small group of believers. They were baptized but the focus on the verse is on them receiving their word not their baptism.

The catechism says that through baptism we are incorporated into Christ. What does the Bible teach?

Hebrews 3:14 says that we are partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence to the end. In other words if we continue in faith. Listen to Peter in 2 Peter 1:4.

Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.”

We are partakers of the divine nature by faith. How do I know this? Because the promises he mentions here are for “us” who is the “us”? Listen to verse 1.

Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.”

The promise of partaking in the divine nature is to those who have received faith. We know that faith is a gift of grace according to Ephesians 2:8-9. A gift cannot be earned or merited. It can only be received.

Rome does not deny salvation is by grace they simply deny the sufficiency of grace. They deny that grace alone saves. In fact the Council of Trent condemned with anathema those who believed salvation was by faith alone.

Turn to Romans 4:2-9.

For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin. Cometh this blessedness then upon the circumcision only, or upon the uncircumcision also? for we say that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness.”

The catechism calls it regeneration through water in the word. This quote is almost Biblical. It comes from Ephesians 5 where Paul is talking about Christ and His church.

That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word.” (Vs. 26)

This is not in regards to the unsaved but the church and it’s not in regards to initial salvation but sanctification. He wants to present to Himself a glorious church without spot or wrinkle. He sanctifies His church through the washing of water.

Is this actual, literal water? No, it is the water of the Word. He uses His Word as a purifying and cleansing agent.

They lean heavily upon John 3 to justify baptism as a means of salvation. Let’s look at the passage in question to see what it says. (Turn)

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.” (John 3:5)

What they are doing is using a proof text. They do this by pulling a single verse out of a chapter to prove their point. We need to put the verse in context to see what it is actually saying. In verse 3 Jesus simply tells him that he must be born again. This confuses Nicodemus.

Nicodemus responds by asking how someone can be born a second time. He asks if he must enter his mother’s womb again and be born. Then in verse 5 Jesus draws the distinction. He says you must be born of water (physical birth) and of the Spirit (second birth).

Continue into the next verse, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” He clearly explains the birth of water is the physical birth and the birth of Spirit is the second birth. He closes His explanation in verse 7, “Marvel not that I said unto thee, ye must be born again.” He explained that the command to be born again was referring to the spiritual not the physical.





Christians and Birth Control

18 02 2021

I hesitate to touch on extremely controversial topics but I do feel this is one area that needs to be addressed. Birth control is pretty much accepted as normal by all people both Christian and secular. This wasn’t always the case. In the middle of the 20th century, most Christians were either suspicious of birth control or rejected it altogether.

As feminism grew in America it crept into the church and over several generations, the issue of birth control became more difficult to address. We no longer considered what the Bible said on the issue. All of our defenses of its use came from secular reasoning, not Biblical discernment.

As you can probably tell I am not in favor of its use. This is not an unbiased look at the issue. This is a consideration of the issue from a Bible-based worldview. Let me give you a breakdown of why I oppose birth control.

1. Chemical birth control causes abortion.

When we talk about birth control most people refer to the pill or chemical birth control. Since I believe life begins at conception that life is killed by the functions of the pill. One of the functions of birth control pills is to thin the lining of the uterus to prevent implantation if fertilization does occur.

This kills the fertilized egg thus killing that new life. If abortion is murder (and it is) then this is also murder. We soothe our conscience by saying that it’s only if the method fails but that does happen anywhere from 3%-5% of the time. The fact that the life is small and we don’t know it’s being killed makes us feel better but I don’t think it clears us of guilt in the eyes of God.

2. Birth control of all types is an affront to the sovereignty of God.

The Bible is clear that God is sovereign over all things. The Bible establishes this truth which is not debatable.

“In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will.” (Ephesians 1:11)

God works all things according to the counsel of His own will. This must include the giving of life. I don’t see any way to explain that His authority ends there. It doesn’t, He is in complete control of all things.

“But our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased.” (Psalm 115:3)

I’ve heard people say that God can overrule their birth control if He wants to give them a baby. I guess my question would be this: why would you try to stop birth if you believe God is sovereign? It’s God who gives life so who are you trying to stop with birth control?

If the answer is God then you have a problem. You are admittedly and actively trying to stop God from working. I never want to work against God.

3. Birth control usurps God’s authority.

The Bible is very clear that God is the giver of life.

God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things.” (Acts 17:24-25)

God is the giver of life. We see God opening and closing the womb in Scripture. This wasn’t a temporary practice until we were able to open and close the womb ourselves. This is God’s area to control not ours.

So Abraham prayed unto God: and God healed Abimelech, and his wife, and his maidservants; and they bare children. For the Lord had fast closed up all the wombs of the house of Abimelech, because of Sarah Abraham’s wife.” (Genesis 20:17-18)

In the story of Jacob with his wives Rachel and Leah we see the Bible declaring over and over that God opened one womb and closed another then when He was ready He opened the one that was closed and closed the one that was open. He granted Sarah a child when she was naturally too old because He is sovereign over the womb.

Consider Jeremiah the prophet. God didn’t just know him after he came into existence nor did He ordain Jeremiah a prophet after conception but before Jeremiah was even conceived God knew him and ordained him a prophet.

Then the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.” (Jeremiah 1:4-5)

Consider what Jacob told Rachel about her lack of children.

And when Rachel saw that she bare Jacob no children, Rachel envied her sister; and said unto Jacob, Give me children, or else I die. And Jacob’s anger was kindled against Rachel: and he said, Am I in God’s stead, who hath withheld from thee the fruit of the womb?” (Genesis 30:1-2)

He asks if he is in the place of God to decide if she will have children. I believe that when we try to stop conception we are usurping the authority and place of God. This is serious business.

Be very careful in these types of decisions. If God is the giver of life then we may find ourselves fighting against Him. Is that the place we want to be in? You may raise the objection that this isn’t the right time but shouldn’t God decide when it is or isn’t the right time?

Do we believe that God can’t be trusted? Do we believe He will do us wrong? I surely hope not.





Gerry Preaching at FPA

1 05 2020

This is Gerry Collins preaching the Gospel at an FPA abortion clinic in Bakersfield, California.





You Have No Right to Your Rights

30 04 2020

Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword. Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?” (Matthew 26:52-54)

One of the biggest hindrances to American Christianity is politics. We have so merged the two that to be a conservative republican is to be a Christian. I see Christians everywhere demanding their rights. This is not in and of itself evil. We are guaranteed certain rights and it’s not wrong to want those rights.

What tends to happen is a mean spirit seems to fester and before too long Christians are name calling and angrily demanding their rights. I have seen Christians get into arguments with police officers over their rights while street preaching. Often it is unnecessary and seldom Christ honoring.

In the text above Jesus makes a clear statement that as the Son of God He had certain rights and yet to fulfill the will of God He had no claim to those rights. In other words all of our rights stop at the cross which is the ultimate place of submission to God. Our right to live the life we desire stops at the cross.

Our right to vengeance dies at the cross, our right to self exaltation dies at the cross, our right to our reputation dies at the cross, our right to anything comes to an end at the cross. The cross is the end of self. While the heathen (Republican and Democrat) scream for their rights, believers know that we don’t have a rightful claim on all of our rights.

When I’m taking the Gospel door to door I often leave a tract on a house that says “no soliciting.” The reason is that I know that religious free speech is protected by the 1st Amendment and is not covered under soliciting laws. The problem is that the average person doesn’t understand that. Too often I have seen Christians in shouting matches with people over their right to leave a tract.

While I agree in the right to do it I also have to admit that it may be better to forego that right as a witness to that lost person. I’m not a good testimony when I scream my rights at them. Many point to Paul using his Roman rights while in captivity. True, he did as far as it benefited the Gospel, but he also at times he laid aside his rights in order to further the Gospel.

If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things? If others be partakers of this power over you, are not we rather? Nevertheless we have not used this power; but suffer all things, lest we should hinder the gospel of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 9:11-12)

Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel. But I have used none of these things: neither have I written these things, that it should be so done unto me: for it were better for me to die, than that any man should make my glorying void.” (1 Corinthians 9:14-15)

We as believers find the will of God to be our ultimate authority. All other rights whether political or even Biblical must be held only in the light of their value to the will of God.





Celebrating Good Friday

10 04 2020

I come from a Christian tradition that doesn’t necessarily celebrate Good Friday. There is debate as to whether Jesus died on Wednesday, Thursday or Friday. There are good arguments on all sides of the debate but I’m not planning to weigh in on it right now.

The question is this: is it wrong to celebrate Good Friday? My answer is no, in fact my family attends Good Friday services even though I am not convinced that is the actual day of His death. I want to address two common arguments used against Good Friday to see if they have any validity.

1.Good Friday is a Catholic holiday.

The problem with this objection is that you could make the same arguments against Christmas and Easter. In fact many people do make that argument. I find that most of the people I know who are against Good Friday do in fact celebrate Easter and Christmas. We should strive for consistency in our Christian lives.

Also consider that Catholics doing something or believing something doesn’t make it wrong. Seventh Day Adventists condemn us for meeting on Sunday because Catholics meet on Sunday for example. Catholics believe in the Trinity as do I. Catholics believing something that’s true doesn’t make it wrong for us to believe it. Catholics doing something doesn’t make it wrong to do as long as it doesn’t violate the Scriptures.

2.I don’t believe Jesus died on Friday.

This is the second most common argument. Do you celebrate Christmas? Was Jesus born on December 25th? I know a lot of people who use this argument who would also deny Jesus was born on December 25th yet they celebrate Christmas.

This is hypocrisy. Once again we need to be consistent in how we live our lives. This argument is one of the most inconsistent. I was reading that the Declaration of Independence wasn’t actually signed on July 4th, If I remember it was July 3rd yet those who rely on this argument never take a stand on the 4th of July.

My point is that Good Friday is a day set aside by many Christians to remember the death of Christ. This is not a bad thing, in fact all secular calendars mark the remembrance of the death of Christ. That can’t possibly be a bad thing. I feel many Christians waste an opportunity to preach the Gospel because of their man mad tradition which is all opposition to Good Friday is.

It’s not a consistent argument which hurts our Christian testimony and it’s not a Biblical argument because the Bible is clear on the subject.

One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks.” (Romans 14:5-6)

If you don’t celebrate a certain day then that’s okay but don’t judge those who do. For those of you that don’t it’s fine as well. I’m not judging you or saying that you should. My argument is that each needs to be persuaded in their own mind but don’t use inconsistent arguments against your brother. We need to strive for consistency in our Christian lives and in understanding towards others in the body who do things a little different than we do.





Free but Servant to All

31 03 2020

My pastor recently preached from Romans 14 about Christian liberty. The Bible makes it clear that we are not under the law.

“For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.” (Romans 6:14)

We have liberty having been freed from the curse of the law by Christ who was our perfect law-keeper and who met the demands of the law on our behalf. The text in Romans 14 deals with judging others for using their freedom differently then we use ours.

While we are free the Bible also teaches that we are servant to all. We are to serve one another and live our lives for the benefit of the brethren.

“For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.” (Galatians 5:13)

“Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.” (1 John 3:16)

In Acts 15 a council was called in Jerusalem to consider what was required from the Gentile believers. The answer was given by James.

Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God: But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood.” (Acts 15:19-20)

The argument was that since they were justified by faith why put them under the law which was a burden that even the Jews couldn’t keep. James said the Gentiles had to abstain from a few things but why?

The answer is unity. There were tensions in the Jewish/Gentile church and many Jews were trying to bring them under the law. James didn’t take away the liberty of the Gentiles but instead affirmed it then advised they abstain from certain things offensive to the Jews.

Often times we boast in our liberty yet we forget that things we enjoy in liberty others cannot and we may weaken the faith of our brother.

But if thy brother be grieved with thy meat, now walkest thou not charitably. Destroy not him with thy meat, for whom Christ died. Let not then your good be evil spoken of: For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. For he that in these things serveth Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men. Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another. For meat destroy not the work of God. All things indeed are pure; but it is evil for that man who eateth with offence. It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak.” (Romans 14:15-21)

We have tremendous liberty in Christ but with that liberty comes great responsibility to act in a manner that conveys love for our brother. The faith of others is more important than the liberty we possess. All things must be done in love looking to the things of others before our own things.





Come and See

10 01 2020

I preached this message at McKee Road Baptist Church on 1/5/20 for the Sunday Morning Service

 





Resolutions

31 12 2019

This is a sermon I preached at McKee Road Baptist Church in Bakersfield, Ca. on 12-29-19.

 





Rick Preaching at Redwood Baptist Church

22 12 2019





Rick Preaching at PAC 12 Championship

22 12 2019








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