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 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.
“And Samuel said, ‘Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams.’” (1 Samuel 15.22).¹
God gave clear instructions for Saul to devote to destruction all the Amalekites for their opposition to His people (1 Sam. 15.2-3). Unfortunately, Saul did not obey God’s word (8-9). The prophet Samuel asked, “What then is this bleating of the sheep in my ears and the lowing of the oxen that I hear?” (14) “Saul said, “‘They have brought them from the Amalekites, for the people spared the best of the sheep and of the oxen to sacrifice to the Lord your God, and the rest we have devoted to destruction’” (15).
The problem is God did not say “spare some sheep and oxen to sacrifice to me.” Instead, He commanded them to devote to destruction all that had life; to completely eradicate the Amalekites from the face of this earth for punishment of their sins (18)*. Therefore, God punished Saul that day by ultimately taking away his kingdom (26, 28).
While God enjoys fragrant offerings and sacrifices to Him, He does not tolerate disobedience to His word. One cannot choose to disobey part of a command to try and please Him with part of another command. In other words, the end does not justify the means or “to obey is better than sacrifice.”
If you’re interested in learning more about fully obeying God, then e-mail Bryan Garlock or text 903.308.4905.
*For additional study of why a loving God would devote whole nations to destruction under the Old Testament please click here.
“….For when Moses was about to erect the tent, he was instructed by God, saying, “See that you make everything according to the pattern that was shown you on the mountain.” (Hebrews 8.5, ESV)¹
¹God has always expected His people to follow the pattern of His word in their worship and service to Him. For example, He told Moses, “You shall not add to the word that I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God that I command you” (Deut. 4.2). This is accomplished by following the pattern of God’s word as seen in our text (see Heb. 8.1-5). Further, Paul penned, “Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus” (2 Tim. 1.13).
If a dressmaker fails to follow the pattern, he or she will make a different dress than was intended by the patternmaker! Likewise, if we fail to follow the pattern of worship and service to God, we will not accomplish that which He purposed and planned.
Therefore, when it comes to becoming a Christian, worshipping God and living a godly life, nothing short of true worship and obedience to His word is acceptable to Him (Mark 16.16; John 4.24; Luke 6.46).
We must follow the pattern of worship and service that has been provided to us by God Himself. We are like dressmakers, but He is the patternmaker.
If you’re interested in learning more about following the pattern of Scripture, please e-mail Bryan Garlock or text 903.308.4905.
“And now why do you wait? Rise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on his name.” (Acts 22.16, ESV)¹
¹Why did Ananias ask Saul “why do you wait”? It is because of what baptism accomplishes. Notice that Ananias told Saul to “be baptized and wash away your sins….” Since baptism in the name of Jesus is for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2.38), one must conclude that it is in baptism where our sins are washed away. Therefore, we can understand the reason Ananias wanted Saul to rush to be baptized; it was because he was still lost in his sins until he obeyed Jesus!
Notice other reasons why we must not wait to be baptized in the name of Jesus:
- Mark 16.16: baptized to be saved
- John 3.5: baptized to enter the kingdom
- Acts 2.38: baptized for the forgiveness of sin
- Rom. 6.3: baptized into Christ
- Rom. 6.4: baptized to walk in newness of life
- 1 Cor. 12.13: baptized into the body of Christ
- Gal. 3.27: baptized to put on Christ
- 1 Peter 3.21: baptism saves you
Simply put, baptism stands between the sinner and salvation! If you’re interested in learning more about baptism and salvation e-mail Bryan Garlock or text 903.308.4905.
“Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.” (Eph. 5.15-16, ESV)¹
¹Time is one of the most precious things in this life. One reason for this is because every second that goes by is another second that we cannot get back and another second closer to our death. Here’s a scary thought: the second we are born we begin to die!
A quick internet search will show that we watch an average of 5 hours of television a day while browsing our social media accounts for an average of 1 hour and 40 minutes and consuming food and drink for nearly 1 hour and 8 minutes. This does not include sleep, work, commute times, shopping, sports, school, cooking, cleaning, reading, exercising, playing games, or even going to the bathroom! Simply put, we spend a lot of time doing several things in this life.
However, in all that we do, are we making the best use of our time? There is nothing necessarily wrong in the stated activities above, but one could argue that it becomes wrong when these things either consume all our time or are placed before the time necessary to serve God.
In fact, as Christians all our time belongs to God! What does that say about the things we do? Again, while watching television or playing sports is not sinful in and of itself, they become sinful when these things compete with God’s time (our service to Him and others). When this happens, God is no longer first in our lives, but placed on the “back burner.”
On the flip side, what happens when we fill our lives with sinful things? Since the two (sin and God) cannot co-exist in one’s life, we must choose what remains consistent. In other words, which master will we serve, sin or God? (Matt. 6.24, 33; Rom. 6.16-18, etc.)
Let us not fill our lives with innocent or sinful activities that simply distract us from giving our time to God. If you’re interested in learning how to walk wisely before God, e-mail Bryan Garlock or text 903.308.4905.