I. UNLESS YOU HAVE BEEN CIRCUMCISED AFTER THE MANNER OF MOSES, YOU CANNOT BE SAVED.
A. Today we have those who are saying, "Unless you have been baptized after the manner of the Church of Christ, you are not saved." Others who are saying, "Unless you have been baptized in the name of Jesus only, you are not saved."
1. These are the same types of people as came to the church in Antioch.
a. The one is preaching circumcisional regeneration.
b. The other is teaching baptismal regeneration.
c. Both are teaching salvation by rituals.
d. A ritual is a work, thus both teach salvation by works.
B. There are those who say that if you do not worship on Saturday, you are not saved.
1. They declare that Sunday worship is the mark of the beast.
2. This also is salvation by works.
C. How am I saved?
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: [it is] the gift of God:
Not of works, lest any man should boast.
Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;
1. When the Philippian jailor asked Paul, "What must I do to be saved?" Paul responded:
Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. He did not say, be circumcised, be baptized in the name of Jesus only, or keep the Sabbath day.
II. THERE IS A GREAT SIMILARITY BETWEEN BAPTISM AND CIRCUMCISION.
A. Both are symbolic rituals.
B. Both signify the decision to live after the Spirit rather than to live after the flesh.
1. In circumcision there is the cutting off of the flesh.
2. In baptism, there is the burial of the old life of the flesh.
3. What if you have been circumcised, but you are still living after and being controlled by the flesh?
For circumcision verily profiteth, if thou keep the law: but if thou be a breaker of the law, thy circumcision is made uncircumcision.
a. Does circumcision make you spiritual?
b. Does this mean that everyone who has been circumcised is spiritual?
C. What if you are living a spiritual life, yet you have never been circumcised?
1. Does this then mean that you are really unspiritual.
2. Is spirituality dependant on circumcision?
D. Is true circumcision an outward or an inward experience?
For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither [is that] circumcision, which is outward in the flesh:
But he [is] a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision [is that] of the heart, in the spirit, [and] not in the letter; whose praise [is] not of men, but of God.
Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no more stiffnecked.
And the LORD thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live.
E. What is God most interested in, your outward or your inward man?
And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the LORD your God: for he [is] gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil.
Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess.
[Thou] blind Pharisee, cleanse first that [which is] within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also.
Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead [men's] bones, and of all uncleanness.
Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.
F. As God looks at you today, is He looking at your outward appearance or is He looking at your heart?
And it came to pass, when they were come, that he looked on Eliab, and said, Surely the LORD'S anointed [is] before him.
But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for [the LORD seeth] not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.
G. What is true about circumcision, is equally true about baptism in water.
1. It is possible to be baptized 100 times and still not be saved.
2. The ritual of baptism does not and cannot save you.
a. You say, "Gottcha pastor! For Peter wrote:
The like figure whereunto [even] baptism doth also now save us. Therefore what you have just taught is contrary to the teaching of the Bible.
b. Hold on, read the rest of that verse. This is the danger that comes by wresting a verse out of its context. Peter continued, (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:
3. True baptism is of the heart, and if it hasn't happened there, all of the dunkings in water, and formulas declared are not going to save you.
H. Paul was very forthright when he wrote to the Galatians about this subject.
Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.
Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing.
For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law.
Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.
For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.
For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.
I. If faith is the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross in making atonement for my sin is not sufficient for my salvation, but I must also trust in the work of baptism, then surely Paul was guilty of heresy and blasphemy when he wrote to the Corinthians and declared:
I thank God that I baptized none of you, but Crispus and Gaius;
Lest any should say that I had baptized in mine own name.
And I baptized also the household of Stephanas: besides, I know not whether I baptized any other.
For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.