Who Needs Church Anyway?

Date: 10/16/2010 
Who Needs Church?
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Honey bees are a miracle of creation. And of course, everybody enjoys the sweet stuff that they produce. But did you know that in order to produce 1 pound of honey, bees need to travel over 40,000 miles and visit about 2 million flowers. And of course, they provide a very crucial role in pollinating the fruits, the vegetables, the berries that we all enjoy. Matter of fact, it's so important albert einstein once said that if honeybees should cease to exist, man would only survive a few more years on the planet.

That's why it's especially troubling that in recent years, beginning 2007, more and more beekeepers have discovered that their hives are dying off in record Numbers. In some states, 30%-40% of the bee hives have been found empty. They call it ccd, or colony collapse disorder. They're not exactly what--sure what has been causing this, whether it's their diet or it might be some mites or some have even suggested that it was biologically engineered crops or cell phone radiation. But in any event, orchards that were once buzzing with activity are now strangely silent.

It makes you wonder what would happen if all the honeybees had died off. Probably would bring about an agricultural, a financial disaster, and maybe even a famine. It also brings to question another kind of disorder. It's called a church collapse disorder. A lot of churches are empty now too.

We're gonna talk about that. Who needs the church? Stay with us, friends. We'll discuss it on "M.I.Q.." How can I know that God is listening? Did I come from apes or prehistoric sludge? Can the Bible be trusted? What should I do with my life? College? Cars? A job? Can I ever be perfect? Can I make a difference? Do my parents need me? [Voices overlapping] "M.I.Q.," your questions, God's answers. Why do we join a church? Does being a member save us? Find out now on "M.I.Q.." Hello, friends. Welcome back to "M.I.Q.," Amazing Facts for teens.

Welcome to our audience here in cedar lake, Michigan. Those of you watching on television and online across the country and around the world, welcome. Thank you for joining us again. And even though this is the final program in the series, your journey for truth does not have to end. Go to M.I.Q.teens.

com. M.I.Q.teens.com. And you can see previous programs. You can also view different videos, you can read articles, and you can even post your own question online. If you have a Bible-related question, you can text that to us.

The number is 760-523-2287. And we'll try to get to as many questions as we can tonight on the program. Also a reminder. There is a lot of additional information that's not covered during the programs in the M.I.Q. answer book. I hope all of you here in our local audience have had a chance to take a look at the answer book and also those of you who are watching.

You can get more information on the book at M.I.Q.teens.com. Well, at this time we're gonna sing our theme song and I'd like to invite our singers to please come forward. Immediately following our song, ashley will have our opening prayer. Let's stand as we sing "Jesus is the answer." [Music] when I gaze up at the countless stars, we're on an endless sea. My mind may swim with questions bewildering to me, but then I read the Bible and seek your face in prayer.

I'm satisfied remembering your loving grace and care. Whatever questions I may have, whether great or small, I know Jesus died to save me and that he forgave me. Jesus is the answer to it all. Jesus is the answer to it all. I have so many questions I wonder in my heart.

How something comes from nothing, when did forever start? Why can't I see your glory? Where is the promised land? I'll trust that you will lead me there if I can take your hand. Whatever questions I may have, whether great or small, I know Jesus died to save me and that he forgave me. Jesus is the answer to it all. Jesus is the answer to it all. ♪ Dear Heavenly Father, please pour your Holy Spirit upon us and please bless pastor Batchelor's words.

Please help us to take what we have learned at these meetings and show others your love. We love you so much, lord. In your precious name, amen. [Music] amen. Thank you very much for The Song and for your prayer.

And thank you very much for joining us, friends, for "M.I.Q.." You know, we are dealing with the most important questions. I was thinking earlier today, do you know in the Bible it says there's a question that no man can answer, that even God does not have the answer for? You know that? It's in the book of Hebrews chapter two, I believe it's verse three, where it says, "how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, this salvation that Jesus has provided for us?" How are we gonna escape if we neglect that? We must do something about it and that's a big question. And so we're gonna be talking about some other questions that have come in during our presentation tonight, as well as addressing our study guide in just a moment. So what do we have? Just before we get to the questions, I would like to thank those in our audience and also those who are watching for the many questions that they have sent. Pastor Doug, we've had over 6,000 questions that have come in through text and through the internet, through M.I.Q., so just thank you and we've tried to get to as many of these questions as possible.

If we haven't answered your question, go to the M.I.Q. teens web site and you can see a number of answers to questions that we haven't had a chance to get to. Well, let's go ahead and see what we have for tonight. All right. [Music] our first question is from st. Joseph, Michigan.

How do you keep your relationship with God strong? I think that's what we all want to know, is once we've accepted Jesus, how do we nurture that. Not just maintain it, how do you grow it? See, the Christian life should not just be hovering. It should be upward. Peter describes it as a day that grows brighter and brighter until the day the Lord comes. That's the brightest of all, right? You know, I'm reminded that in the sanctuary that the Jewish people had in the wilderness, they had the courtyard.

That's where the sacrifice took place. They had the laver. That kind of represents baptism. Then you move into the holy place and there were three things there. There was a candlestick with seven candles on it.

There was a table with bread on it, 12 loaves of bread. And then there was an altar of incense. That represents the things, the ingredients that we need to have a healthy relationship with the Lord that will grow. The bread represents the Bible. Man doesn't love by bread alone, but by every word.

We need to feed on the Word of God. The altar with the incense represents prayer. Even tells you that in the book of Revelation. The altar represents the prayer of God's people. And then you've got that candlestick.

That's letting your light shine. Jesus said, "you are the light of the world. Let your light shine." So if we are daily growing in our Bible study, our prayer life is getting deeper, and if we are sharing and living our faith, letting our light shine, our relationship will not only hover, it'll grow and it'll be stronger and you'll mature until that day we're in the presence of God. Thank you, Pastor Doug. Let's take a look at our next question.

[Music] New York, New York. How do you regulate your daydreams? That's a challenge. Am I the only one whose mind wanders? I'm thankful that I don't have a video screen on my forehead for you to see what I'm thinking about in any given time because my mind is sometimes just ricocheting all over the place and I've got a really-- a challenge staying focused. You ever have your mind wander when you pray? You know, I think that's something that just gets better with time and you can discipline your thinking. First of all, don't feel guilty if you get distracted and your mind wanders a little bit.

It's just a sign of practice and maturity that if your mind wanders, don't say, "oh, how can I not control my mind?" Just bring it back to the subject. Bring it back, take a few deep breaths, and bring it back. And you can do this in your prayers too. Sometimes when you think your mind is wandering in your prayers, the Lord is actually speaking to you and he's directing your attention to something. And then, of course, the devil sometimes tries to distract us, but you'll be able to tell by the context of that.

And so just do your best to keep the central truth before you and it'll help you focus. All right, let's take a look at our next question. Hi, my name's Philip and I want to know if God created so many worlds with life throughout the universe, why did he send satan down here with us? That's a good question. You know, the Lord has made infinite words in space and how is it that we got lucky and the devil was stuck down here? And the Bible says, "woe to the inhabitants of the earth," Revelation 12. "Woe to the inhabitants of the earth, for satan has come down unto you, having great wrath because he knows he has but a short time.

" Why here? Why did he set up his beachhead, his headquarters here? Well, evidently, and it doesn't say this explicitly in the Bible, God allowed all of the created intelligent beings and worlds in the universe-- lucifer was able to campaign, just like he did with the angels, for their allegiance. They all rejected lucifer. When he came to this world and he met our first parents at that tree, that was the only place where they could be tested. He was able to entice our world, through our first parents, to listen to him. And because the Bible says in Romans 6, "whoever you obey, that's whose servants you are.

" Because our world basically said, "we're gonna listen to what the devil says instead of what God said." The devil claimed this as his planet. And Jesus basically--he kidnapped our planet because our first parents listened to him and Jesus basically paid the ransom to redeem us. But that's how he landed here. He found an audience. Don't let him find an audience in your heart.

Let's take a look at our next question. [Music] this question has come from yancyville, North Carolina. How do I share God with my family and friends? You know, once you find the truth, when you go from being dead to alive, sick to well, from being lost to being found, you're so excited that you want to tell everybody and say, "how do I reach them? How do I make them listen?" And you know, that's a struggle. I know when I first found the truth I just wanted to take all of my friends and just shake 'em and say, "this is the truth! You've got to believe it." And you know, you--i slowly developed a little tact and diplomacy. I think we talked about this a little another night.

Three principle things you can do, first of all, be a good witness. You can't force a person to love the Lord. You can wait until they're open and you share with them. Win 'em with love. You know, if you got neighbors you're trying to witness to, do kind things for 'em.

Show 'em love. If you're having some meetings or something at your church, invite them there. If they're willing to read or to watch a Christian dvd, share information with them. Be a good example, share information, and then pray. And God does hear--and pray persistently.

I know a lot of stories where one spouse prayed for the other unbelieving spouse for 20, 30 years. And the Lord finally softened their hearts and won them over. So you've got to be patient. And that's sometimes the hardest thing to do. All right.

Well, thank you, Pastor Doug, and thank you for all of your questions. Just a reminder. If you haven't yet seen the M.I.Q. answer book, please take a look at it. Go to the web site, M.I.Q.teens.com. And there's a lot of information in the book that you haven't been able to cover in each of the programs, so just a great resource and an important resource.

Yeah, we've got a lot more there. These presentations are sort of an overview, but a lot of the Scriptures and texts are there. We haven't had time to cover 'em all. All right. Well, thank you, Pastor Doug.

Thank you, Pastor Ross. Well, friends, tonight we're gonna talk about something that we've addressed here and there along the way, dealing with the subject of the church. Where does it fit in? You know, it is true in many American denominations that in recent years, somewhere between 60% and 70% of young people stop attending by the time they get into their early 20s. And I believe that all begins during the teenage years because their foundation starts to erode. A lot of parents during the teenage years, they feel like they're dragging their kids to church.

And you often hear someone say, "do I have to go to church? Why do I have to go to church?" What is the purpose of the church? Why do we go? And our lesson is actually titled "who needs church anyway?" Why is it so important? We're gonna dive in and talk about this today because it is a very important subject, as I think you'll agree as we proceed. Getting right into question number one. If I love the Lord, why do I need a church? Matthew 16, first of all, it's not our church. Matthew 16:18, Jesus said, "and I also say to you that you're Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hades will not prevail against it." Now it's, you know, one thing if you say, "I'd like to invite someone to come to my church or your church," but when we talk about the church of Jesus in the world, whose church is it? He--Jesus said, "it's my church." Now the word church--now we're using kind of an english word. It comes from scottish.

It's kirk. And originally, it was the gathering. In Hebrew, they called it the synagogue. It's a place where God's people come together. And it's not a building that we're talking about, though the church typically meets under some kind of edifice or a protected place.

But it's very important for God's people to recognize that he has called us to come together on a regular basis to worship him and that's not just once a week. There's other times we'd want to come together to pray. We need each other. Every baby needs a family. You know, I heard about a terrible experiment that a doctor did years ago, where they were talking about touch.

And he got a bunch of monkeys and he took these monkeys away from their mothers. They would never allow this experiment now. Took the monkeys away from their mothers, and this was back in the '50s, right after they were born and he put them in cage with a wire mother. And they were able to be nursed by this wire mother that held the bottle and they just never developed. Gave them all of their needs as far as water and food and the right temperature, cleaned the cage, but no touch, no mother.

And those babies, they didn't do very well. They needed touch. They died. They needed touch. They needed the socialization.

That's also true with people. We are designed to be social creatures. We talked about this when we talked about relationships. God said it's not good that man should be alone. We gather strength and knowledge from each other.

We need the experience of others. And so when a person comes to Christ, we're put into a family. That family is called the church and it's crucial. What happens to a baby sheep? Jesus said, "I'm the good shepherd." He's the chief shepherd. the Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.

What happens to a lamb if it's not with a flock or if it's not in the fold? It ends up being attacked by wolves. How many of you have said before or you've heard somebody say, "I'm gonna be a Christian, but I don't want to go to church"? Have you heard that before or you've thought that before? I see a few honest people raising their hands. Can't I be a Christian and just stay home? That's kind of like saying we've got a baby and we're gonna set it out in the woods. Or here you got a baby lamb and we're just gonna, you know, put it out there where the wolves are. We need each other for protection.

How effective is a soldier without an army? I know some of you are gonna say, "well, there's a few Samsons and rambos out there that did pretty good." But typically soldiers are more effective when they're part of an army. And that's the same way for a Christian. The church is like the army of God. It's a flock. It's a fold where we all work together.

Number two, what is the purpose for the church anyway? Ephesians 3:10, "to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in heavenly places." You know, the church is a place--it's a springboard of truth in the world. It is the earthly institution upon which God bestows his supreme regard. And by the way, if you're thinking, "I don't want to be part of an organized church," you got one alternative. "I want to be part of a disorganized church." Is God disorganized or is he organized? 1 Corinthians 14 says, "God is not the author of confusion." We need each other. We're more effective when we're together.

The reason the church is able to send missionaries around the world and I'm able to do what I'm doing right now is because of a body of believers that comes together. The church is so important. Someone said one time, "you can be a Christian without attending church if you can be a bee without a hive." Don't make much honey that way. "If you can be a soldier without an army, if you can be a salesman without customers, if you can be a politician who's a hermit, if you can be a football player without a team." The idea that you can be a Christian without a church, it just--you can't reconcile that in the Bible. The very essence of being a Christian is being part of the body of Jesus and that means part of that group of believers.

But, you know, sometimes people in the church are a little bit goofy. Is it true? Yeah, you know, seems like there's some strange people that are in the church. Some of 'em aren't very nice and maybe they're not very lovable. Number three, what was the early church like? Acts 2:44, sounds like it was an ideal place. All loved each other.

"Now all those who believed were together, and they had all things in common," not because it was mandated by the government, but because they chose to on their own. It's one thing when a government has a welfare system. It's something else when you get to choose to love and to give. I don't feel like I'm giving when I'm being forced to do it. You know what I'm saying? Christians back in Bible time were not required to share with everybody.

They were just so full of love they chose to do it. It wasn't mandated. I want to make that clear. "No man said that all that he had was his own, but everybody sold their possessions and their goods, and they divided it among any, as people had need." There was just this incredible love. They all pressed together.

They were filled with the Holy Spirit. When they had problems, they tackled them together. When they were attacked, they prayed together. When Peter was put in prison, the church got together, they prayed 24 hours for Peter and God opened the prison doors. You know, I've heard that with thoroughbred horses, if they're out in the fields and they're attacked by wolves, the horses all put their heads together and they kick at the enemy.

But with donkeys, donkeys all face the enemy and they kick each other. [Laughing] and if you're facing the enemy alone, we just end up kicking each other. We got to get our heads together. That's the Lord's plan. Number four, why should I join a church when there are hypocrites and judgmental people in the church? I mean, you know, that's what I said when I first thought about being a Christian.

"I don't want to be a Christian. They're all hypocrites." And you know who I thought were the worst of all were the preachers on television, the televangelists. To me, there weren't too many on the scale of slime. That was right up there at the very bottom. And I ended up being one.

Isn't that--all hypocrites. All they do is beg for money, that's what I thought back then. By the way, have we been begging for money during these meetings? Not till now. [Laughing] 'cause the meetings aren't over yet. But are you supposed to follow people if you're a Christian? Or do you follow Christ? Here's the Scripture for that.

Acts 6:1, even the early church wasn't perfect. "Now in those days, when the number of disciples was multiplying, there arose a complaint against the Hebrews by the hEllenists," those were the Greek believers, "because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution." They said, "you're being partial." And they were grumbling each other and they said, "how come they're getting more than we're getting? And you're not taking care of us." And they had arguments back then. What were the disciples talking about the night of the last supper? Who remembers? They were saying which of them--here's the 12 apostles of the church and they were arguing among themselves, "I'm better than you are." "No, I'm better than you are." "I bet I have a higher place. My office is gonna be better than yours in the Kingdom." "No, it's not. I'm gonna go to Jesus first and get a promotion.

" They're all fightin' among themselves which of them was the greatest. And then did they betray him? Did they deny him when Christ was arrested? And these are the leaders of the church. They were people. You know one reason the Lord puts us in the church? Very simple. If you forget everything else I'm saying--but don't forget everything else I'm saying.

Great commandment is love the Lord with all your heart and love your neighbor. You know why God commands anything? Because it doesn't come natural. God commands what doesn't come natural. We naturally do not love him with all our heart. We naturally do not love each other.

We've got love problems. So the way that you take care of the love problems is you drop people in an environment where they're surrounded with loving, lovable people, and then they'll learn to love. Well, that might help a little bit, but that's not the way it really works. If you want muscles, does God put you in a room full of muscular people and then all of a sudden you're gonna get muscles? That doesn't work that way. That'd be nice.

You know how it works? He puts weight on you. If you say, "lord, give me patience," do you get it ups in the mail? Here's a package of patience. Or does God give you delay to develop your patience? So if you say, "lord, give me love," you know what he's gonna do? He's gonna put you where there are people that are not very lovable and you got to love them. Jesus loved the world that hated him. He loved a world that crucified him.

And he says, "one of the reasons you need a church is because, yeah, there are gonna be some hypocrites and there'll be some good people that aren't consistent and there is gonna be some folks that don't love the way they should love. And that's where you're gonna learn to love." I mean, after all, the Lord says we got to love our enemies on the outside. We got to start by learning to love people on the inside. I think it's interesting in the Bible it says, "love your enemies." And it says, "love your neighbors." And someone brought out that's because your neighbor often ends up becoming your enemy. It seems like it's those closest to us that sometimes present the biggest challenge.

Look in the Bible. Who was it that killed abel? His brother. Who was it that betrayed Joseph? His brothers. Who was it that tried to kill David? His own king. He--i mean, philistines weren't as big a problem for David as his own king and his own son.

And you just March right on down through the Bible and you're gonna find out it was often friendly fire that was the problem. So why would we want to go to a church? So we can learn to love. We need it. The devil, that's exactly what he wants you to think is, "well, this is--people with problems in the church and so I'm gonna avoid it and I'm gonna be spiritual by myself." No, you won't. You'll become eccentric.

Your faith will not be balanced. We need each other because if you stay off by yourself--believe me, I did it. I lived in a cave. And you know what happens? People that isolate themselves become eccentric and out of balance. We need each other to keep us accountable and to teach us how to love.

And the church is not a hotel or a resort for saints. It's a hospital for sinners and we all need it. So it's very important for us to be part of the church. Okay, got to move right along here. Oh no, somebody's gonna ask this question.

Number five, why should I go to church when it's sometimes so boring? Ever thought of that? "Oh, I didn't get--what did he say? All I heard was [mumbling]. It's just so monotone. I couldn't understand anything. Why would I want to go back again?" You know, so often, as I said earlier, we think we're going to church to be entertained. Now you hope that the preacher's gonna preach a good sermon and I know not all of mine have been great.

And, you know, sometimes I come to the door and people are shaking my hands and you're hoping that they're gonna say, "appreciate the message," or something like that. But every now and then I'll preach a message where folks go out and they say, "nice weather today, pastor." And they can't wait to get out. And you think, "oh man, I was firing blanks today." So every preacher has their good days and their bad days, but you don't come just for the preacher. You know why some people join churches? Typically, you know why people join churches? All the wrong reasons. Number one, it's where my family went.

That's good, but that's not the reason. It's close to the house. What do they believe? "I don't know, but it's not very far away." So that's where we go. They got a good music program. That's always nice to have a church with good music, but that's not the reason to join a church.

The pastor is charismatic and good-looking like me, right? Or they'll say, "they got a good children's program." And that's great. Everybody wants that. You'd all like to have a dynamic pastor and you'd always like to have a good children's program. And you know what else they say? "I go there 'cause the people are friendly." Isn't that good? I mean, all of those things in and of themselves are fine. None of them are the right reason to join--oh, you know another reason some people join a church? "It's such a beautiful building.

" Why do you go there? "I don't know what they believe, but look at that stained glass. Splendid, I feel so peaceful in there. It echoes when they sing." It's a building. Some people go to the church, why do you go there? "Everybody who's anybody in this town goes to that church. If you want to make your way in this town, it's who you know.

You better go to that church." What do they believe? "I have no idea, but all the important people go that church." You know, these are some of the main reasons people pick a church. You know what the only right reason is to pick a church? That church is teaching the foundational teachings of God's Word. That's what they believe, that is their constitution, is the Word of God. And their music might be off key, the building might be rickety, they sometimes might have a few cranky people that aren't friendly, there might be all kinds of other issues, but if that is the group to whom God has committed the oracles of truth, that's Jesus' church. That's his bride.

It's the object of his supreme regard on the planet. Because God so loved the world and he saves people and people together make up the church. It's not the building. If all the church buildings got destroyed, would that destroy God's church? When the devil tried to destroy the church, he didn't go destroy buildings. He tries to destroy people.

And so you want to be part of that body of Christ. Now I don't know if I read the answer here. Why do I go to church when it sometimes is boring? I remember reading one time about a Sunday school teacher that was asking her children, "now children," group of, you know, 6-year-olds, "why is it important that we are quiet in church?" And one little girl said, "because people are sleeping." [Laughing] so sometimes it's not interesting, I know. I was preaching to one church one time where someone was snoring so loud they woke themselves up. [Laughing] and everybody around them turned and looked.

All right, Hebrews 10:24-25, "and let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is, but exhorting one another," encouraging. That's what I'm doing now. "And so much the more as you see the day approaching." What day is he talking about? The day of the Lord. The more that you see the day of the Lord approaching, he's saying that we should exhort, admonish, encourage, inspire one another. We need to get together.

When God poured out the Spirit during Christ' first coming, you know how that chapter begins? Chapter two of acts, it says, "they were all together of one accord, in one place, and there was a sound of a mighty rushing wind and the Holy Spirit came down." That is gonna happen again. Wouldn't it be sad if that was the day you said, "I don't--that's boring. I think was it andrew preaching today or is it Peter, Matthew? I'm not sure. But I don't know, I'm gonna stay home"? Holy Spirit be poured out. We need to take advantage of those opportunities.

I know a lot of people that have told me, "you know, I wasn't sure if I was coming to church today, but I decided to come and that was the very thing I needed in my life." It'd be a shame to miss it. We need to come to church. Question number six, but I'm just one person. What can I really do for God's church? 1 Corinthians 12:15, "if the foot should say, 'because I'm not a hand, I'm not of the body,' is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear should say, 'because I'm not an eye, I'm not part of the body,' is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body was an eye, where would the hearing be? And if the whole body was hearing, where would the smelling be?" In other words, you are all different parts of a body of Jesus. Jesus is still alive in the world today physically through you and me.

You know, when they were getting ready to crucify the Lord, he said, "destroy this temple and in 3 days I'll raise it up." And they said, "oh, this building's taken 46 years, what are you talking about?" And John adds, "he was talking about his body." What is the church called? The body of Christ. Where are the hands and the feet and the eyes and the mouth and the heart of Jesus today? Is it in the world? Yes, because if you become a Christian, he is living in you and so all of us with our different gifts together become Jesus in the world. So how important--how important a part of Jesus are you? And by the way, when you surrender your life to the Lord, he gives you gifts of the Spirit. You've got gifts--if you haven't made that decision yet, you've got gifts of the Spirit that God is waiting to give you you may not even know about. But you must surrender to him.

You're a crucial part of that body, and any part of the body that is separated doesn't live very long. I've got a friend that was--while he was in academy working in the shop, got to be careful, he was using the band saw, had a little accident, looking the other way, and chopped off the tip of his finger. Well, of course, it was bleeding. They wrapped him up and they took him several miles to the hospital. And they got to the hospital and they looked at it and they said, "where's the finger? We'll sew it back on.

" "Oh, we left that back at the shop." And they said, "well, it's--" they said, "go get it." And they said, "oh, it's too late now." They said, "because that finger's not gonna last very long disconnected from the body." If I said, "look at the person next to you, do you see a nose?" Everybody see a nose in most of us? I hope I'm not picking anybody out that doesn't have a nose. I shouldn't have used that wording, should i? Is it odd if I say, "look, a nose on a face"? Nobody thinks anything of it. But if I said, "look, a nose on the stage," you'd think, "well, that ain't right. I'm getting out of here," right? Because they don't belong on the stage, they belong on the body. And so if you say, "I'm a Christian, but I'd rather be on the stage by myself, or I'd rather be on the floor," that's not--you're not gonna live.

You got to be connected. I've said enough about that. We need each other to stay alive spiritually and it's God plan for us to be part of the church. Go to church to give. If you get anything, great.

Make up your mind you're coming to worship and thank and praise God and pray. You can do that no matter what the study or the sermon is like. We all come to worship God. You ever say amen? Amen. Thank you very much.

I enjoy that little point. Number seven, how do I enter the body of Christ, the church, officially? What's the mechanism that God talks about in His Word for that? 1 Corinthians 12:13, "for by one spirit we are all baptized into one body." Now a church might have--a denomination may have several churches scattered around, but they are to be one in Christ. And it's through baptism that we become part of that. Baptism is as important to a Christian as a weddings is to a marriage. Baptism is the ceremony by which you make a public commitment and say, "I'm going to accept the forgiveness of Jesus' offering.

I want to have my sins washed away." Baptism's a symbol of washing away of sin. That's why it's done in water. Person goes down in the water. They come out of the water, it's a symbol of cleansing. Baptism, the Bible says, also represents a death, a burial, and a resurrection.

Because when that person goes down in the water, they hold their breath. In the--hopefully you're, you know, holding your breath. You know, in the Bible, breath was the life. And when a person stopped breathing, they were dead. And so, that moment when you hold your breath, you come and you take a fresh breath.

By the way, when a baby is born, it's in an envelope of water and it comes out of that envelope of water and it takes its breath and it begins a new life. So all of that is represented, a marriage, a burial, a death, a resurrection, a new birth, a public declaration. All of that is encompassed in the teaching of baptism. Baptism is very important in the Bible. Final words of Christ, "go ye, therefore.

Teach all nations." By the way, did Jesus believe that baptism was important personally? Was he baptized? Was he baptized because he had sinned or was he baptized as an example for you and me? So that must be a priority. You know, one of the very important things about baptism is that he promises to fill us with his spirit. I don't know if I ever read this to you. Acts 2:41. I'll also read verse 47.

What's the Bible say about the importance of being in the church and baptism? "Then those who gladly received His Word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them." You jump to verse 47 and it says, "and the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved." Don't miss the connection between being baptized and that was the door through which they entered the church and it says they were saved, added to them, the body of Christ. So baptism really is the marriage ceremony where you say, "I've made my decision. I want my sins all washed away. I want to be filled with the Holy Spirit." Ad that is another very important point. It's hard to live the Christian life without the Christian spirit and sometimes we make a big emphasis on, yeah, you got to be baptized in water, but we don't talk much about the Spirit.

Matter of fact, I think our next question gets into that, so why don't we go there now? Question number eight, is baptism really that important? Nicodemus was talking to Jesus about this in John 3 and I think it's hard to miss the importance of this answer. Verse five, "Jesus said, 'most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of the water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the Kingdom of heaven.'" Jesus says in Mark 16, "whoever believes and is baptized will be saved." That's pretty important. We always talk about the water baptism. You need both. You need to be born of the water and born of the Spirit.

You know, when the Lord brought the children of Israel out of Egypt, that was an allegory of salvation. You notice Moses came to the pharaoh and said, "let my people go," just like Jesus goes to the devil and says, "let 'em go, I want 'em to be free." Pharaoh doesn't want to let 'em go, devil doesn't want to let go of you. But through a series of miracles and God's power, they get out of Egypt and where do they go next? They go through the red sea. And the Bible says, 1 Corinthians 10, that's like baptism. And then a pillar of fire came down and it illuminated their camp during the night and it gave them shade during the day.

It protected them from the Egyptians, their enemy. That pillar of cloud is the Spirit. The red sea is the water, baptism. They were baptized in the water and in the fire of God's Spirit. John the baptist said, "I baptize you in water, but someone's coming, he's gonna baptize you in the Holy Spirit and fire.

" If you want to be born again, you need both, born of the water, born of the Spirit, enter the Kingdom. By the way, our planet, planet earth, has gone through both baptisms or it will. Back in the days of Noah, it was baptized in water. Jesus comes again, it's gonna be baptized in fire, and then God's gonna make a new heaven and a new earth. What's gonna happen to the planet is what needs to happen to you and me.

We need to be born of the water, born of the Spirit, new creatures living new lives. Now there might be some of you thinking, "I got baptized, but maybe I wasn't taught, I didn't understand. It seemed like I slid right back into my old patterns." Well, I know what you're talking about. I went through that too and if I have time, I'll share a little bit about that with you. Question nine, what should I do to prepare for baptism? Isaiah 55:6-7, "seek the Lord while he may be found, call upon him while he is near.

Let the wicked forsake his way," that's repentance, "and the unrighteous man his thoughts," that's a new heart. "Let him return to the Lord, and he will have mercy on him; and to our God, he will abundantly pardon." God is telling us that he will abundantly forgive, he will abundantly pardon, but we must first of all be taught the basics of salvation. Do you need to wait until you know everything before you get baptized? Baptism's like marriage. Do two people have to know everything about each other before they get married? I'm still learning things about my wife now after 20 years. You still learn new things.

Is it important to--you need to be taught the foundational things that are the basics of the Christian faith, believing in the Bible, understanding God The Father, The Son, the Spirit. These fundamentals of Christianity, you should understand these things. What it means to be saved, how to maintain your relationship in the Lord. You need to repent of your sins. God'll abundantly pardon and turn from them.

Be willing to live a new life. If you're addicted to some practice, that ought to be laid aside. The idea, "well, if I could get baptized, then I think I could throw away my cigarettes." No, throw 'em away before you get baptized. You know, 'cause you represent a newborn baby. And if you come out of the baptistery and you're blowing smoke rings, it doesn't look like you're a baby Christian.

What would you think if you went to look at your baby in the hospital that had a cigar in its mouth? [Laughing] it just--it does--it's not right, is it? And so if someone says--you know, you're there in the bar and you've got the can of beer and a can of skol and someone says--you say, "oh, praise the Lord, I was--i was baptized today." By the way, I mentioned I was baptized twice. First time I was baptized, I wasn't taught very well and I thought, "hey, great." I was living in the cave. Some very sincere baptist Christians came by and they said, "brother doug, you know, are you Christian?" I said, "yeah, I just accepted Jesus." "Have you been baptized yet?" "Well, no. I hadn't really studied it." "Oh, you got water right here by your cave. Let's baptize you.

" They showed me a few verses, I said, "okay." So I got baptized and I felt born again 'cause that water came from melted snow, so I really felt born again when I came out. And I thought, "hey, this is great." And there was a sense of euphoria and I thought, "man, I got to go celebrate. I'm going to get some beer." And I went to town to celebrate my baptism, true story. Before the sun went down, I was in jail. [Laughing] of the day of my baptism.

And I was witnessing there in jail. "I got baptized today. This is great!" I hadn't been taught. So I was rebaptized later, when I understood what it meant to really make a commitment to turn from my sins. And by the way, I quit my smoking and my drinking before I was baptized.

And by the grace of God, he's kept me from those things. So you need to be willing--by the way, ladies, if a guy came to you and he said, "I love you and I want to marry you. I think you're great. Now you don't mind if I'm still dating betty sue," would you go for that? Well, you'd say, "no, you got to--those old relationships, we don't want you to have nothing to do with them." If you're gonna marry Christ, you don't want to be dating the devil, right? And so you ought to be willing to lay those things aside. And some are thinking, "well, do I have to get baptized in front of anybody? Can I just do it quietly by myself in the bathtub? Do I have to tell people about this?" And someone just kind of baptize themself.

I'll ask the girls again. If some guy said, "you know, I love you and I want to spend the rest of my life with you and I want to get married. Well, let's not tell anybody about this," you think, "what's wrong with me? You don't want anyone to know?" Would you go for that? If you love the Lord and you're committing your life to the Lord, why are you ashamed? Jesus died for you publicly. If you're gonna commit your life to him, don't be ashamed of him. Don't be afraid.

And if you're afraid of water, we haven't lost anybody yet. You're just-- we'll get you back out again. Don't let that scare you. I've actually met people that are afraid of water. Number ten, how long should I wait to be baptized? All right, let's suppose that I've repented of my sins, I want a new beginning.

Some of you who have been watching this series or coming to these programs, you may be thinking, "I think I'd like to commit my life to Jesus. I'd like to get a new beginning. What do I do?" How long do you have to wait? Acts 22:16, ananias said to Paul, "now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sin, calling on the name of the Lord." I don't know about you, but I was very thankful that day when I was baptized over 30 years ago and God washed away all my sins and I'm now a new person. And you know, you make mistakes along the way even after baptism. And, you know, we have an opportunity whenever we have the Lord's supper to renew that commitment to the Lord.

Doesn't mean you need to be baptized again every week. We all slip. We make mistakes. Don't get discouraged. Even in the church, you read about after Peter was converted, after Jesus ascended to heaven, he still made some mistakes and Paul had to call him on the carpet about it and he humbly accepted it.

They grew. They were human. And so being a Christian doesn't mean you're never gonna stumble and fall. But the consistent pattern of your life is gonna be one of following Jesus. Now in closing, I'd like to direct your attention to the Lord himself.

We already mentioned this earlier. Jesus was baptized for his sin? He did no sin. He was baptized as an example for you and me. And I think Christ was baptized in behalf of those who could never be baptized. Let's look for a moment at that verse that talks about the baptism of Jesus.

And you find this in Matthew 3:16-17. Jesus came to John the baptist. John the baptist baptized him. "When he had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately," the method of baptism in the Bible was immersion. "He came up from the water, behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon him.

And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, 'this is my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased.'" Everything in this verse that happened to Jesus at his baptism is something he wants you to experience. Notice he came up out of the water. After he was baptized, the heavens were open. You know, until you belong to God, you don't really have a right to that heavenly treasury. God opens the heavens.

He promises to open the windows of heaven and pour out a blessing you don't even have room enough to receive it. When you are the child of God, he opens the windows of heaven for you. The heavens were open, access to God. It says, "he saw." You know, before you're baptized, we're blind. You got the blind leading the blind.

But when you come to Jesus, he opens your eyes and he gives you a spiritual discernment that helps you really see what's going on behind the scenes in this cosmic conflict. It says next, "the Spirit of God came down." He gives you the Holy Spirit. Peter said, "repent and be baptized, every one of you, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." It's promised to us. Spirit came down on Jesus. He wants to give you the Spirit.

The Bible says cornelius got baptized. The Holy Spirit came down. Acts 19, these gentlemen got rebaptized. Holy Spirit came down. He wants to give you the Spirit to live a new life.

He'll do that. A voice was heard from heaven. Not only will you start to see, you'll start to hear. You'll hear God speak to you. Still, small voice, it'll say, "this is the way I want you to go.

" And as you pray and seek for God's guidance, he'll guide you. It says, "there was a voice heard from heaven." It said, "this is my beloved son." That's not just what The Father was saying to Jesus, but when you become a child of God and you're baptized, it's like it says in 1 John 3, "behold what manner of love The Father has bestowed on us that we should be called sons of God," and that would mean sons and daughters of God. You are adopted into God's family in a very real way when you're baptized, and I especially like this last part here. He said, "I am well pleased with you." God said to Jesus what he says to you. When you come out of that water, where are your sins? How much sin do you have? Did Jesus take 90% and you still got 10%? Or does God The Father look down on you and Jesus is now covered through his blood 100% of your sins, which means that when God looks upon you, you are crystal clear, pure in his eyes.

And he says, "I am well pleased with you," for his son's sake. You are adopted. The heavens are open. Everything that happened to Jesus he wants you to experience. And that's what that's all about, coming to the Lord with all your heart, repenting of your sins, trusting him to fill you with his spirit.

He wants you to have that experience. He wants you to have a new beginning. Why would we tell him that we don't want that? You know, we're ending this segment of our series now. It doesn't need to be over. In some ways I'm really praying this is just the beginning.

And you know, I'm just even praying as I'm standing here before you right now and I'm saying, lord, if there's anything else that I can say to appeal to the hearts of these young people that are watching, because I believe some of you are making decisions that will determine an eternal destiny. What profit is it if you gain all the world and you lose your soul? If you were to have a billion dollars and you could spend a month with a billion dollars in las vegas and do and buy anything that money can afford and you knew at the end of it you were going to a lake of fire, would you enjoy it? What could you possibly want in the world if you know that you're just heading for destruction? But if you commit your life to Jesus and you know from this point on, I am looking forward to eternity and bliss with God, new body in the presence of God, with my loved ones and people who share my faith, that's good news. That's eternal hope. That's what he's offering each one of you. And you know, I'd like to pray for you right now.

I think some are struggling about making this decision and I just want to pray. Would you, maybe who are watching and those are here, just bow your heads for a moment. Our loving father, we are so thankful that we can hear you calling us to follow you, to get that new beginning, to be married to Christ, to surrender our hearts, to have all of our sins washed away, to be filled with your spirit, to be adopted into your family, to be empowered, to serve you. All of this is encompassed in this decision to come to you just as we are. I pray every one of these young people who are here, who are watching, will say yes to you right now, that they'll not be deceived by the devil to follow the things of the world, but to follow you.

Fill them with your spirit. Help them make these decisions I pray in Jesus' Name, amen. You know, some of you have made this decision now to accept Jesus. I'd like to encourage you, please, contact your pastor, go to your youth pastor. It might your Christian teacher at the academy where you attend and say, "look, I've made a decision.

I was part of the M.I.Q. meeting and I want to follow Jesus." And they'll help you prepare for that decision of baptism and for new life. Let us know at Amazing Facts. Go to our web site and tell us about it. We'd like to pray for you and continue to stay in touch and appreciate your prayers as well. Well, you know, we've come to the end.

I think best thing we can do is go off the air singing our theme song. I'd like to invite our singers to come up and we're gonna put the words up on the screen. Why don't we stand together as we do this? When I gaze up at the countless stars or on an endless sea, my mind may swim with questions bewildering to me. But then I read the Bible and seek your face in prayer I'm satisfied remembering your loving grace and care. Whatever questions I may have-- [music] thank you for watching this episode of "M.I.Q..

"For more answers to your really important questions, come visit us at M.I.Q.teens.com. See you there. [Music] video games, television, shopping, they all eat up precious time. Well, why not take a much needed time out and get connected with God with the most important questions DVD series, a boxed set that includes 10 1-hour presentations and a 126 page companion guide to the most frequently asked questions on God, the Bible, and living a Christian life, presented by TV evangelist Doug Batchelor. To get your copy, visit afbookstore.com

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