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For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also—James 2-24,26

James reminds us what to do when we get old. Hugo McCord wrote in one of his last articles: “I am a wobbly has been on a walking cane with a failing mind, but hoping to be a nonagenarian June 24, 2001. I learned that big word to be ready to call Lois a nonagenarian on December 19, but on July 13, 2000, she departed “to be with Christ, which is far better” (Philippians 1:23). But as long as I “remain in the flesh” (Philippians 1:24), I believe there is something the Lord wants me to do everyday.” [nonagenarian means pertains to the nineties—Delbert].

“I am not as important as Jeremiah but the Lord, who knew Jeremiah before he was born about 642 BC (Jeremiah 1:5), had something for him to do even in his old age. Admirably, the weeping prophet (Jeremiah 9:1) kept nothing back in his preaching the word of Jehovah, but his listeners did not like his preaching (Jeremiah 42:7-10).”

Many assume they kidnapped him and forced him to accompany them to Egypt. There, according to various traditions, he met a martyr’s death being stoned by the Jews who resented him for his faithful reproofs. Whether he faced death in this manner the Bible does not say but it does state he was in Egypt where Jeremiah, a nonagenarian, preaches. “For I, Jehovah, will punish them that dwell in the land of Egypt, as I have punished Jerusalem, by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence. So that none of the remnant of Judah, which are gone into the land of Egypt to sojourn there, shall escape or remain, that they should return into the land of Judah, to the which they have a desire to return to dwell there: for none shall return but such as shall escape.” The people answer Jeremiah: “Then all the men which knew that their wives had burned incense unto other gods, and all the women that stood by, a great multitude, even all the people that dwelt in the land of Egypt, in Pathros, answered Jeremiah, saying, As for the word that thou hast spoken unto us in the name of the LORD, we will not hearken unto thee” (Jeremiah 44:13-16). Jeremiah then utters these famous words: “Thus saith the LORD; Behold, I will give Pharaoh-hophra king of Egypt into the hand of his enemies, and into the hand of them that seek his life; as I gave Zedekiah king of Judah into the hand of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon, his enemy, and that sought his life” (Jeremiah 44:30).

Long before the New Testament writers spoke of baptism, the Greeks used the very same word to describe the process of dipping, immersing, or submerging something. The root word “bapto,” from which baptism is derived, is translated as a form of dip in several passages: “dip the tip of his finger in water” (Luke 16:24); “when he had dipped the sop” (John 13:26); and “he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood” (Revelation 19:13). When English scholars began translating the New Testament into English from the original Greek, they sought to avoid controversy by transliterating the word for baptize (that is, substituting the letters of our alphabet for the Greek letters), rather than translating the word (giving the actual English equivalent). This allowed people to continue to believe and teach that either sprinkling, pouring, or immersion was scriptural baptism, despite the clear meaning of the original language. “Immersion” properly translates “baptism.” For example, a literal translation of Acts 2:38, “repent and be baptized,” would be “repent and be immersed.”

The first recorded practice of sprinkling came some two hundred years after the establishment of the church. Ancient historian Eusebius said that third century church leader Novatian, supposing he was dying, “received baptism, being besprinkled with water, on the bed whereon he lay (if that can be termed baptism).” Sprinkling, or “clinic baptism,” was reserved for the ill, and was held in disfavor generally until the council of Ravenna, in 1311, said that baptism was equally acceptable by sprinkling or by immersion. Substitution of sprinkling for immersion is an ancient innovation, but is not biblical.

Only immersion fits the Bible pattern. The nature of baptism is such that it requires “much water.” “John also was baptizing in Aenon near to Salim, because there was much water there: and they came, and were baptized” (John 3:23). Sprinkling or pouring requires only a “handful” of water, but immersion requires “much” water.

Also, baptism requires a going down into the water, and a coming up out of the water. Luke records the conversion of the Ethiopian eunuch: “As they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? . . . And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him. And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip” (Acts 8:36-39). They both went down into the water so Philip could immerse him.
Finally, New Testament baptism requires a burial and a resurrection. Paul describes the act of baptism this way: “We are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection” (Romans 6:4-5). Sprinkling and pouring do not picture a burial and a resurrection as immersion does.

Whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God Ruth 1:16 Boaz, a wealthy man of valor, lived when Judges led Israel. Valor has to do with courage and invincible resolution. As landowner, he was master of the harvest darting from field to field, even among the poor women gleaning after the harvest. One poor lady, named Ruth, caught his eye.
From inquiry he learned she lived with his near kinsman named Naomi, and had converted to Judaism. Immediately, he held compassion for her, telling his men to assist her in every way. They had her gleaning among the sheaves until the end of the harvest, and never reproached her, even pulled out bundles for her, and had her drinking water the men had drawn. They kept her safely close to the other maidens. Boaz followed the news of her loyalty, and found she was above reproach. Ruth always asked: “Why have I found favor in your eyes?”

As her mother-in-law, Naomi knew this young widow needed a husband, and knowing Boaz had his eye on her, began to make arrangements. The role of in-law is a difficult one, for she must be a kindly mother seeking welfare for this young Medianite widow of her son. Now, Naomi mistakenly thinks Boaz is next of kin, and so, rightfully, she should follow Jewish law of next kinsman (Deuteronomy 25:5,6).

Ruth accepts Naomi’s notion to be the wife of Boaz. Ruth anoints herself as a bride adorned for her husband and enters the threshing-floor, the common place for Boaz to sleep during harvest. Here he was asleep below the stars underneath a sheep-skin (rug like quilt) on level ground outside near the grain. Ruth uncovers his feet and lay there. About mid-night, he is alarmed with great fright to find a lady at his feet (a clear sign of her intentions to be his wife under the Near Kinsman Law). “Who are you?” he shrieked into the darkness.

“I am Ruth, next of kin. Spread your wings (covering) over me?”

For certain he understood her action: “You mean, you want a proposal of marriage?” It is like today’s placing of an engagement ring on the finger of one’s intended! No impropriety here! But Boaz jumps to explain, “I am not your next of kin, and under law I cannot be your husband!”

Afterward Boaz meditates and then decides to embark in getting this lady to be his bride. However under law, this required Boaz to redeem the estate of Mahlon, deceased husband of Ruth. The Law provided that if the nearest of kin would not make the redemption under Dt 25:5,6, the very next of kin could purchase the right, that is, redeem the right to be next of kin. Indeed, Boaz does purchase the lands of Mahlon and becomes the husband of Ruth. Their son was Obed whose son was Jesse whose son was David King of Israel, from whose pedigree came Mary whose son was Jesus, the Messiah!

Paul tells us that on the night He was betrayed, Jesus took bread, “and when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord's death till he come” (1 Corinthians 11:24-26). Jesus instituted this supper to be done in remembrance of Him. Paul said, “as often” as Christians partake of this memorial supper, they “show the Lord's death till he come.” There is no question that the church should partake of the Lord’s Supper (communion), but how often? Is the frequency of partaking of communion just a matter of opinion?

It would be strange if the Lord instituted a memorial and gave no guidance how often it should be done. The Jews received explicit instructions when they were to observe the Passover, Pentecost, and other memorials. The New Testament is clear that the early church assembled each first day of the week [Sunday] for worship. 1 Corinthians 14:23 speaks of the whole church “come together into one place” and Hebrews 10:25 warns against “forsaking the assembling of ourselves together.” The first day of the week was the time for the early church to assemble and partake of communion.

Luke tells us that Paul came to Troas “and upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight” (Acts 20:7). The verse before states, “we sailed away from Philippi after the days of unleavened bread, and came unto them to Troas in five days; where we abode seven days” (Acts 20:6). Paul and his company had waited a full seven days at Troas so that they could meet with the Christians of Troas on the first day of the week, “when the disciples came together to break bread.” Their stated purpose in coming together was “to break bread,” meaning to partake of the Lord’s Supper, or communion. The writings of many ancient writers such as Pliny, Justin Martyr, Tertullian, and others show that the universal practice of the early church was to meet each first day of the week to partake of the Lord’s Supper.

But was it every first day? When God told the Jews to "Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy” (Exodus 20:8), they understood that it was every Sabbath day that was intended, even though God did not specifically say to remember every Sabbath day. When Paul wrote, “Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come” (1 Corinthians 16:2), didn’t he mean that each first day of the week was the day for Christians to give? Each first day of the week, [the day of the Lord’s resurrection, and the day the church was established], is the day Christians are to observe communion. No other day is authorized by command or example of scripture.

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