Your word is a lamp to my feet
And a light to my path.
(Psalm 119:105)


Volume 02, Number 47

Published by
Mt. Baker
church of Christ

1860 Mt. Baker HWY

Mailing Address:

       P.O. Box 30821
  Bellingham, WA 98228
       (360) 752-2692

Bible Classes..........9:30 AM
Worship..10:30AM; 6:00PM

Bible Classes.........7:00 PM

Web site: Mt. Baker church
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Editor......John Bass


In this issue:

Jim McDonald

The words, “Many Corinthians, hearing, believed and were baptized” in Acts 18:8 record the consequence of the renewed efforts of Paul to preach after Timothy and Silas joined him in Corinth. He had come from Macedonia where the three had earlier taught. Paul had reasoned each Sabbath in the synagogue in Corinth, but opposition arose (as so often it did) from those Jews who would not accept the gospel. He left the synagogue and went into the house of a man named Titus Justus. However, Paul’s preaching was not in vain: the chief ruler of the synagogue believed and was baptized personally by Paul (1 Corinthians 1:14) and in addition, “Many Corinthians … were baptized”. Those converts were followed by others who heard and obeyed. God had told Paul, “I have many people in this city” and the church continued to grow.

These new disciples believed because they had first heard: that is the way through which faith comes (Romans 10:17). Then, after they had believed they were baptized. They were baptized for the same reason Paul was — to be saved (Acts 22:16). Of them Paul wrote, “For in one Spirit were we all baptized into one body, whether Jew or Greek, whether bond or free and were all made to drink of one Spirit” (1 Corinthians 12:13). Although they all “drank of one Spirit” — through miraculous spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians 12:7-11), and the “gift of the Holy Spirit” was promised to those who are baptized (Acts 2:38), the Holy Spirit was not the element in which they were baptized — that was water — they were led to be baptized by the teaching of the Holy Spirit. God baptized men in the Holy Spirit (Joel 2:28); men baptize men in water (Acts 8:36; Hebrews 10:22; 1 Peter 3:21-22). The Corinthians had been baptized into one body; and just as the Romans had been, they had been baptized into the death of Christ (Romans 6:3). And when they were baptized, they had been baptized into Christ and had put Him on — just as the Galatians (Galatians 3:26-27).

Paul baptized Crispus, ruler of the synagogue, Gaius, and the house of Stephanas (1 Corinthians 1:14-15). He didn’t remember baptizing any others. He was thankful that he had baptized no more, lest any of them should say they had been baptized into his name (1 Corinthians 1:13-15). The apostle didn’t say he was thankful that none others had been baptized; he was thankful that he had only baptized the few he had, lest any should say he baptized by his own authority or into his own name. Paul preached but others, like Silas and Timothy, could baptize those who wished to be.

When Peter and John had been preaching to a multitude in Solomon’s Porch (Acts 3:13-26), they were arrested and put into prison. But many others were baptized: the number of disciples came to be about 5,000 men (Acts 4:4). These were baptized by someone other than Peter and John because they were in prison at the time. Paul wrote the Corinthians that “God sent me not to baptize but to preach the gospel” (1 Corinthians 1:17). We are not to understand that Paul was saying that baptism was no part of the gospel (as some insist was what he meant). He only meant that God had inspired him with the message of the gospel and others could, and easily did, baptize those who believed the gospel Paul preached and wanted to be saved.

Paul reminded the Corinthians that baptism was the point of separation between a lost man and a saved man; an old man and a new man — and yet they still could be lost. He wrote, “For I would not have you ignorant, brethren, that our fathers were all under the cloud and all passed through the sea; and were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; and did all eat the same spiritual food; and did all drink the same spiritual drink; for they drank of a spiritual rock that followed them: and the rock was Christ. Howbeit with most of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness. Now these things were our example …” (1 Corinthians 10:1-6). The point Paul made is this: the baptism of Israel “unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea” was the time in which Israel was freed from their slavery in Egypt, and yet, although they were no longer slaves, there was still danger to them. They were on their way to the Promised Land, but they weren’t there yet. Many of them never saw that land because they displeased God in the wilderness and died there.

The example to the Corinthians was, just as Israel was free from the slavery of Egypt when they passed through the sea and the waters returned to their natural course again (that body of water separated them from their Egyptian slavery), so the Corinthians had, by their baptism into one body, been separated, from the guilt of their sin and were on their way to their Promised Land (Heaven) — but they weren’t there yet. The various lusts and devices which Satan, through his fiery darts, pierce us with, can cause us, if we yield to Satan’s overtures, also to “fall in the wilderness”. It is imperative that “if any man thinketh he standeth, let him take heed lest he fall” (1 Corinthians 10:13).

First Corinthians was written for Christians who lived in Corinth in that day — and for us who live nearly 2,000 years later. We can still start, but fall. The words of Paul in 1 Corinthian 16:13 are a sober warning to us: “Watch ye. Stand fast in the faith. Quit ye like men. Be strong. Let all that ye do be done in love”.


Heath Rogers

Our recent Wednesday evening study of 1 Corinthians chapter 9 ended without time to cover an important section. After assuring the Corinthians that he does practice self-denial of personal rights for the benefit of others (vs. 1-18) and stating his desire to do what he can to save as many as he can (vs. 19-23) he then expresses the diligence he shows in these efforts (vs. 24-27). Let's dig into this last section.

"Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it" (v. 24).

The Corinthians were familiar with the ancient Olympic games and the glory that accompanied them. Paul used the training and diligence of these athletes to illustrate the diligence needed in living the Christian life. The prize offered by Christ is something we must obtain.

"And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown" (v. 25).

The word temperate is from a Greek word meaning "to exercise self-control." Athletes use self-control in their training to be able to compete at a championship level. Also, athletes in the Greek games had to abide by strict laws and regulations concerning their food, training schedule, and free time.

The Olympian's crown of olive branches and leaves was subject to decay. Neither the wreath, nor the glory that accompanied it, lasted forever. Christians strive for the crown of life (James 1:12; Rev. 2:10) and eternal glory (1 Pet. 1:4; 5:4).

No sacrifice is too great for those who want to win. While Christians may have certain rights (like eating meats or receiving support for preaching), there may be occasions when we choose to deny ourselves these rights. When that which we wish to obtain is greater than that which we have the right to enjoy, we will gladly practice self-control.

"Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air" (v. 26).

Paul took the course that was set before him more seriously than an Olympic athlete. He was not "shadow boxing." He wasn't aimlessly throwing punches. His spiritual efforts were put forth with purpose, control, and skill.

"But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified" (v. 27).
Paul brought himself into total subjection, regarding not only his sinful desires, but also his liberties. Whatever stood in the way of God's will being done, Paul exercised the strength to set it aside in favor of the furtherance of the gospel.

Paul did so with the understanding that he could be disqualified. This comes from a Greek word describing one who has failed a test. Paul is clearly stating that he can fall from grace. If not, the passage makes no sense, especially when we proceed into the next section speaking of the historical fact of Israel's apostasy (1 Cor. 10:1-13). If Paul can't lose his soul, then what kind of disqualification is the object of his concern? If an inspired apostle took the possibility of disqualification this seriously, how much more must we?!


Created by John Bass, last updated.  11/24/2023

The Mount Baker Beacon is a weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA.
Send all questions, comments to the editor, John Bass at (360) 325-5149 or johnbass2468@gmail.com