Welcome to the footnote¹ blog. Our goal each day is to examine a verse and give a short summary in commentary form or simply an encouraging note to help you remain faithful to God throughout the week. Either way we hope that the footnote¹ blog will comfort you through God's word and give you a better understanding of His will.
“And as he reasoned about righteousness and self-control and the coming judgment, Felix was alarmed and said, ‘Go away for the present. When I get an opportunity I will summon you.’” (Acts 24.25, ESV)¹
¹While imprisoned, Paul worked his way through the ranks in government until he was able to meet with multiple government officials with the goal to preach the gospel to each one of them. It was within this setting that we read, “After some days Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was Jewish, and he sent for Paul and heard him speak about faith in Christ Jesus” (Acts 24.24, ESV).
Notice that he wanted to hear Paul speak about “faith in Christ Jesus” (24) and yet in our text Luke records that Paul spoke to him “about righteousness and self-control and the coming judgment” (25). Therefore, faith in Christ Jesus involves at least these three things coupled with the facts about Jesus himself (that is, His life, death and resurrection).
Let’s briefly examine each point to determine what Paul taught Felix:
- Righteousness: to be justified before God, through forgiveness of sins and obedience to His commandments.
- Self-control: to control or master the evil desires (lust) of the body.
- Judgment: a time when God will judge everyone according to the life they’ve lived while on earth.
These are the things that must be taught to each sinner who wants to hear the gospel. Unless we are justified before God and practice restraint against sin then we will fear the coming judgment. This is one reason why Felix was alarmed - he did not want to obey! On the other hand, when we do these things because we have faith in Christ, we have nothing to fear concerning the judgment!
If you’d like to hear more about the gospel, contact Bryan Garlock or text 903.308.4905 to set up a study at your convenience!
“And now why do you wait? Rise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on his name.” (Acts 22.16, ESV)¹
¹This tell us when Saul, later Paul the apostle, was saved from his sins, added to the body of Christ, and became a Christian.
However, those who hold to a faith only doctrine try to refute God’s word by saying that Saul was saved on the road to Damascus when Jesus appeared to Him. If that's the case, why did Luke record that Saul was told to be baptized to wash away his sins? What sins did he have to "wash away" if he was already saved? In fact, if he was saved on the road then he was saved in his sins, not from his sins. Further, Jesus expressly said there was something for him to do when he arrived in Damascus. Interestingly, he was told to be baptized to wash away his sins.
Some argue that since Ananias called Saul "brother Saul" (Acts 22.13) that this indicated that he was already saved. The apostles often called sinners "brothers" or "brethren" not because they were brethren in a spiritual sense, but because they were brothers or kinsmen according to the flesh (See Acts 2.29 [Peter called them brothers before they were saved (2.38, 41)]; Rom. 9.3, etc.). Further, remember, Luke records that Saul was to be baptized to wash away his sins. If he was saved when Ananias called him brother Saul, what sins did he have to wash away?
These are not the only arguments that we could examine that are used against Acts 22.16, but, simply put, no amount of pervasive-type arguments change the truth of Acts 22.16. Either Saul was to be baptized to wash away his sins and call on the name of the Lord, or he was not. Which is it reader?
Have you been baptized to wash away your sins? (See also Acts 2.38) We'd love to study with you! E-mail Bryan Garlock or text 903.308.4905.
“And more than ever believers were added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women” (Acts 5.14, ESV)¹
¹What is meant by “added to the Lord” and how does one accomplish this? First, we should note that there are other verses where this language is used (cf. Acts 2.41, 47; 11.24) and second, whenever one is seeking to understand a passage it is not only wise to study all the passages together, but it is expected and commanded by God (Matt. 4.4; 2 Tim. 2.15; 2 Peter 1.19, etc.). In other words, one can easily come away from the verse above believing one thing when in fact not all the evidence has been presented.
Notice the following verses laid out in order:
“So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.” (Acts 2.41, ESV)
- Notice that those who were baptized were those “who received his word” and “were added that day”.
- At least two questions arise: “What were they added to?” and “If they were not baptized, were they added?”
- The first question is answered in the same context in verse 47 below. The second question is “no”.
“praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.” (Acts 2.47, NKJV)
- First, notice that the Lord does the adding; certainly, it is His right to do so.
- Second, our question above has been answered. They were added to the church by the Lord.
- Interestingly, we learn that those who are members of His church are also members of His body (Eph. 1.22-23, etc.). This means that those added by the Lord are added to His body; the same body He is the Savior of (Eph. 5.23).
- Also, note that the only ones that the Lord was adding were “those who were being saved”.
- Who was being saved? Per Acts 2.41 it was “those who received his word were baptized, and … were added that day”.
- Now we can better understand the next two verses.
“And more than ever believers were added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women” (Acts 5.14, ESV) and “for he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And a great many people were added to the Lord.” (Acts 11.24, ESV)
- These two texts do not exclude Acts 2.41 and 47.
- Much of the religious world see believers who were added as those who have a mental faith in Jesus. On the other hand, the bible shows that believers who are added are those who have received the word of God and have been baptized; one cannot separate the two.
- Therefore, when Luke writes “believers were added…” he is not recording anything different than he previously recorded, nor he is not claiming that “belief only” adds one to the Lord; he is simply letting the reader know that these were men and women who not only received God’s word, but obeyed it.
When we harmonize each verse above, we understand that to be added to the Lord we must receive the word of God, believe it, and obey it. To obey the gospel is to repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2.38). Only then can we be called believers who have been added to the Lord (Acts 2.41, 47).
Are you interested in learning more about being saved and added to the Lord? E-mail Bryan Garlock or text 903.308.4905.
"So they called them and charged them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus." (Acts 4.17, ESV).¹
¹Because of their pride and jealousy (Acts 4.16; 5.17), upset authorities would not let the apostles continue to preach Christ's name. Luke records, "'But in order that it may spread no further among the people, let us warn them to speak no more to anyone in this name.' So they called them and charged them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered them, 'Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge, for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard'" (Acts 4.17-20, ESV). After being caught teaching again, the authorities said, “We strictly charged you not to teach in this name, yet here you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching, and you intend to bring this man's blood upon us” (Acts 5.28, ESV).
When the apostles were arrested for preaching about Jesus Christ, they answered "we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard" and "we must obey God rather than men". We see the conviction of these men when they continued to speak God's word even in the face of opposition. In other words, while they are convicted for preaching the gospel, it is because of their conviction that they continue to preach!
Are we willing to stand firm on our convictions (beliefs)?
If you're interested in learning more about God's word, e-mail Bryan Garlock or text 903.308.4905.
“…And in Antioch the disciples were first called Christians” (Acts 11.26, ESV)¹
¹The name “Christian” simply means a follower of Christ. Besides Acts 11.26, the Bible uses the word Christian two other times within Scripture (see Acts 26.28; 1 Peter 4.16). It is no secret that the Bible is silent concerning denominations and their titles. For example, one cannot find the words “Baptist*,” “Methodist,” “Catholic,” “Lutheran,” etc. and yet all these denominations claim to be followers of Christ and believers of the Bible. Since faith comes by hearing the word of God (Rom. 10.17), it should be noted that one cannot have faith in that which he cannot read within Scripture.
Furthermore, since God’s word clearly condemns denominationalism (John 17.20-21; 1 Cor. 1.10), one must completely rid themselves of this human tradition (Matt. 15.1-9). In fact, this is what it seems many of the founders and early followers of denominations sought for. Consider the following:
Methodist denomination (founded in 1739): “Would to God that all party names and unscriptural phrases and forms which have divided the Christian world were forgot...” (John Wesley, Hardeman's Tabernacle Sermons, Vol. 5, pg. 60) John Wesley (1703-1791) was the founder of Methodism.
Lutheran denomination (founded in 1526): “I pray you to leave my name alone, and call not yourselves ‘Lutherans,’ but ‘Christians.’ Who is Luther? My doctrine is not mine. I have not been crucified for anyone. St. Paul would not permit that any should call themselves of Paul, nor of Peter but of Christ. How, then, does it befit me, a miserable bag of dust and ashes, to give my name to the children of Christ? Cease, my dear friends, to cling to these party names and distinctions; away with them all; let us call ourselves only ‘Christians’ after him from whom our doctrine comes.” (Martin Luther, The Life of Martin Luther, pg. 262) “Lutherans” (as they are known today) were founded by Martin Luther (1483-1546) but were named “Lutheran” posthumously.
Baptist denomination (founded in 1609): “I look forward with pleasure to the day when there will not be a Baptist living. I hope they will soon be gone. I hope the ‘Baptist’ name will soon perish, but let Christ’s name last forever.” (Charles Spurgeon, Spurgeon Memorial Library, Vol. 1, pg. 168) Charles Spurgeon (1834-1892) was an influential Baptist pastor.
The evidence is clear. Not only is denominationalism condemned by God, it was condemned by its founders and early followers. If you’re interested in learning more about denominationalism, e-mail Bryan Garlock or text 903.308.4905.
*The Bible does mention “John the Baptist” but this is simply identifying John’s role as one who baptized people and has nothing to do with the modern day sect that comes themselves “Baptist.” He can also be referred to as “John the Immerser.”