LUKE 18:15-17

Verses 15-17 “15And they brought unto him also infants, that he would touch them: but when his disciples saw it, they rebuked them.
16But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.
17Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein,”

Infants were brought to Jesus.  And for what purpose?  That he might touch them and bless them; not that he might baptize them.  That we should not baptize infants is no mystery since there are none baptized in the Bible.  The Bible is clear that we should baptize only those who have believed and repented of sin, and of course, infants have not done that.  Baptism of neither infant nor adult fits them for heaven.  Only Jesus can do that, and it will never be based on any human works of righteousness (Titus 3:5).  However, infants who die go to heaven whether they have been baptized or not, because all infants who die are among the elect of God.  The passage before us teaches us that Jesus loves little babies and little children.  Children are just as important as adults, and we should give them just as much attention in our ministry.  We should bring them to Jesus in our prayers and in our gospel work.  If there are drudges who think that we are giving too much attention to little children, we should ignore such critics.  In verses 16 and 17, Jesus means that all who would enter heaven must have a child-like personal faith in Him.  Jesus may also have reference here to all the infants and little children who have died, for they make up a very large portion of the population of heaven.

LUKE 3:7-14

Verses 7-14 “7Then said he to the multitude that came forth to be baptized of him, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?
8Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance, and begin not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, That God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.
9And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: every tree therefore which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
10And the people asked him, saying, What shall we do then?
11He answereth and saith unto them, He that hath two coats, let him impart to him that hath none; and he that hath meat, let him do likewise.
12Then came also publicans to be baptized, and said unto him, Master, what shall we do?
13And he said unto them, Exact no more than that which is appointed you.
14And the soldiers likewise demanded of him, saying, And what shall we do? And he said unto them, Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely; and be content with your wages.”

John required works fitting of repentance before he would baptize any who sought his baptism. It would be a good practice, even today, to require some evidence of a true change in behavior before we baptize people and count them as members of the local church. As for the works fitting of repentance, John gave answers to three categories of people who asked, “What shall we do then?” First, he said to the people generally that they must give some evidence that they care for the less fortunate. Second, regarding the publicans, He told them to be honest in their tax collecting, not overcharging the people. Third, he said to soldiers that they must not injure people unnecessarily or falsely accuse people, and that they must not be greedy for higher pay. These are all good qualities for a believer to display in his life. More compassion, more honesty, more truthfulness, and more contentment are among the good changes that repentance should help produce. These good qualities can not save a soul, but a soul who has been saved will desire to have these qualities, and we should expect to see them is one who says that he has repented.

 

MARK 7:1-13

Verses 1-13 “1Then came together unto him the Pharisees, and certain of the scribes, which came from Jerusalem.
2And when they saw some of his disciples eat bread with defiled, that is to say, with unwashen, hands, they found fault.
3For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, except they wash their hands oft, eat not, holding the tradition of the elders.
4And when they come from the market, except they wash, they eat not. And many other things there be, which they have received to hold, as the washing of cups, and pots, brasen vessels, and of tables.
5Then the Pharisees and scribes asked him, Why walk not thy disciples according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashen hands?
6He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.
7Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.
8For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do.
9And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.
10For Moses said, Honour thy father and thy mother; and, Whoso curseth father or mother, let him die the death:
11But ye say, If a man shall say to his father or mother, It is Corban, that is to say, a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; he shall be free.
12And ye suffer him no more to do ought for his father or his mother;
13Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.”

There are several Greek words in this passage which are translated “wash” or “washing.” The Greek word from which we get the word baptism is found in verses 4 and 8. “Baptizo” and “baptismos” have to do with dipping (immersing, plunging, dunking, burying). We are told that the Pharisees washed (dipped) their hands, their cups, their pots, their vessels, and their tables. Of course, tables here is not the kind with four legs such as we might have in our dinning rooms today. Rather, “tables” here refers to the cloths, spreads, or rugs by which the people reclined to eat their meals.

The “washing” referred to was a ceremonial washing to show that they were clean after coming in contact with Gentiles or with the things of the world. It was a washing based upon tradition. It was all a matter of legalism (making up rules for others to follow). There is nothing wrong with being clean, but the purpose of this dipping of the hands was to comply with man made rules. And the Pharisees “found fault” with Jesus because He did not comply with their rules. As for Jesus, He upbraided the Pharisees in a very scathing manner. Not only is it wrong to make up rules for others, rules not in the Bible, it is also wrong to be hypocritical, as the Pharisees were, and as all legalists are today. There is nothing wrong with following some traditions, but the traditions of men are not to be valued like the commandments of God, nor confused with them.

MATTHEW 19:13-15

Verses 13-15 “13Then were there brought unto him little children, that he should put his hands on them, and pray: and the disciples rebuked them.
14But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.
15And he laid his hands on them, and departed thence.”

Infants should not be baptized because none were baptized in the New Testament and because they can not believe upon Jesus as personal Savior. However, little children as young as 3 or 4 years of age can sometimes understand that they are sinners and that Jesus died for their sins, and they do sometimes trust in Jesus. These little children should be baptized as soon as they understand the meaning of baptism. In the above passage, Jesus says that His kingdom is made up mostly of little children. We should keep in mind that all of the little ones who die as infants, born or unborn, are saved by God’s grace.

MARK 1:4, 15

Verses 4 and 15 “4John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins…. 15And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.”Both Jesus and John the Baptist came preaching repentance. Repentance is a change of mind that results in a change in behavior.The message that people must repent is still needed today. No one gets saved without repentance. So those who say that repentance was necessary only for the Jews of Jesus’ and Paul’s day are in serious error and completely misdirected. No one can get saved without changing his mind about Jesus, about sin, and about himself. Jesus’ words in Luke 13:3 are still a valid message for our day, “I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.”

John the Baptist, like the apostles of our Lord (Acts 2:38), preached that those who have repented should be baptized because of the remission of sins. Baptism is an outward expression of an inward possession, a testimony to the church and to the world that the one baptized has been saved from sin. There is no example in the New Testament of anyone being baptized who had not repented and trusted Christ as Savior.