Chapter # 7 Paragraph # 5 Study # 2
October 26, 2008
Lincolnton, N.C.

<478> Thesis: Though an overt action does set certain things in motion in a cause/effect universe, the attitude of God is unaffected by any overt action. Introduction: Last week we stepped out upon the "bridge" that Luke built in chapter seven between his "faith" material and his "love" material. We reviewed the "point" of chapter seven and were reminded that he is addressing the "how?" question of the final paragraph of Jesus' "Sermon on the Mountain": how does one go about building upon a foundation that will keep the house from falling down around our ears? Luke's answer is simple to summarize: one builds with wisdom by "loving" Jesus and "believing" His words. It's not so simple to apply to the daily issues of wisdom. Last week we also pointed out that Luke put "the baptism of John" squarely between those Jesus would have called "wise" and those Jesus did call "fickle children". Because Luke did this, I felt constrained to raise a question or two about the entire issue of John's baptism of people in water. The question we considered last week was "Why did John baptize?". We gave one answer: John's baptism was a divinely mandated "action" in a cause/effect universe that automatically set certain "effects" in motion. Then we asked what the text tells us those "effects" were. We saw that Luke tied the issue of whether a person was baptized by John to the central issue of the entire chapter: How does one live wisely so as to build a house that will not collapse around us? Luke claims that those who were baptized by John had the discernment to recognize the legitimacy of God's actions in their setting. Luke also claims that those who rejected John's baptism continued to be foolish children. Thus, Luke told us that one of the "effects" of the "action" of submission to John's baptism was spiritual discernment. This morning we are going to step further out onto the "bridge" by asking this question: given the fact that Luke ties John's baptism to the issue of "wise discernment", do we conclude that "baptism saves"? As with our question/answer last week, there is a short answer and a long answer. The short one is, "No". The long one is coming.