Wanted: Dead or Alive

A Study of Romans 6: In the early church whole families were baptized, infants included. Wesley explains this by defining baptism as a ‘means of grace’: that, in the case of infants, it is not what men do, but what the Father does through men’s obedience. I baptize babies because I believe that the Father’s favor is applied to the infant in response to the faith of the minister, parents, the sponsors and the congregation.

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PREVIEW  John & Charles Wesley: Selected Writings & Hymns

Romans 6:1. WHAT SHALL we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? 2. By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?



Codex Sinaiticus

New Testament:

from the famed discovery


The earliest, oldest New Testament text has finally been released to the public.  You may read the Codex Sinaiticus online - but only if you know Greek!  To read it inCodex Sinaiticus New Testament H T Anderson English English, you need the only English translation we know.  The H. T. Anderson English Translation of the Codex Sinaiticus, with the three extra early New Testament books and the Sonnini Manuscript of Acts 29 included, and the original absences of certain verses (put in there later by the 'church') is now available only at here.  

THIS IS NOT A CHEAP, SCANNED-IN FACSIMILE. This is a first edition of the text published in easy-to-read Georgia font with plenty of room between verses for your notes.2 points between verses, hard or soft cover.


The Nazarene Acts
of the Apostles

Also known as
The Recognitions of Clement

Ever wonder why PAUL and not PETER received the mission to the lost tribes?  Wasn't Peter the stone upon which the "church" was to be built?  In this new translation of the Nazarene Acts, we follow Kefa (Peter) as he itinerates from Jerusalem and up the Mediterranean coast up to Tripoli, as recorded in the journals of his successor, Clement of Rome (Phi 4:3).  Every message Kefa preached, the company he kept, and the great works of faith the the Almighty accomplished through him are herein recorded.  This 300 page volume has been 'hidden' in the back of an obscure volume of the "Church Fathers" all this time.  Could it be that, in establishing the Gentile 'church' by pushing away from Judaism, this history was purposely hidden?


Regarding SIN and LAW


1 John 3:4. Every one who commits sin is guilty of lawlessness; sin is lawlessness.

Romans 4:15b ...where there is no law there is no transgression.

What is the Law? It is what was brought down the mountain on stone tablets by Moses.

The law is found in Exodus 20. How many laws are there? How many laws can we name?

We call the Ten Commandments the "Moral Law."

There are other laws that applied only to the Israelite society that Paul calls "Ordinances." These are not necessarily written on the heart. Paul speaks of them as "The Bond" --

Col 2:13. And you, who were dead in trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, Yahweh made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, 14. having canceled the bond which stood against us with its legal demands; this he set aside, nailing it to the torture stake.

Did Yahshua do away with the Law? NO. He obeyed the law to the letter, fulfilling it. He summarized the Moral Law in this way:

Matthew 22: 37. And he said to him, "You shall love Yahweh your Elohim with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. 38. This is the great and first commandment. 39. And a second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40. On these two commandments depend all the law and the prophets."

Where does the Moral Law reside now?

Jer 31:31. "Behold, the days are coming, says Yahweh, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah ... 33. ...I will put my law within them, and I will write it upon their hearts; and I will be their Elohim, and they shall be my people. 34. And no longer shall each man teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, 'Know Yahweh,' for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says Yahweh; for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more."

Some people say that this wonderful passage only refers to the "house of Israel and the house of Judah." And they are right. All Jews are Israelites, but all Israelites are not Jews!

Those of the house of Judah are the religious Jewish people who, over hundreds of years, migrated out all over the world, and now reside in all races and countries. They still call themselves "Jews."

The house of Israel, which is also called "Jacob" in the Bible includes not only the Jews, but also those 10 tribes that were scattered and ended up (primarily) in the satellites of Great Britain, which includes us in the US.

The new covenant and its moral law is written upon our hearts, and Yahweh has forgiven our previous lawlessness and set us on a new course and destiny. But that is only part of it the New Covenant. There are two other important parts.


Keeping the sacraments: Yahshua said that this New Covenant not only in the heart but also in the blood.

Luke 22:19. And he took bread, and when he had given thanks he broke it and gave it to them, saying, "This is my body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me."

20. And likewise the cup after supper, saying, "This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood."

The heart is the pump for the blood. This is more than symbolic, it is physiological, as well.

Finally, the seventh-day Sabbath and the Seven Festivals of Yahweh are to observed. A culture is known by it’s calendar. Look what happens in the Millennium.

Is 66: 18. "For I know their works and their thoughts, and I am coming to gather all nations and tongues; and they shall come and shall see my glory, 19. and I will set a sign among them. And from them I will send survivors to the nations, to Tarshish, Put, and Lud, who draw the bow, to Tubal and Javan, to the coastlands afar off, that have not heard my fame or seen my glory; and they shall declare my glory among the nations. 20. And they shall bring all your brethren from all the nations as an offering to Yahweh, upon horses, and in chariots, and in litters, and upon mules, and upon dromedaries, to my holy mountain Jerusalem, says Yahweh, just as the Israelites bring their cereal offering in a clean vessel to the house of Yahweh. ... 22. For as the new heavens and the new earth which I will make shall remain before me, says Yahweh; so shall your descendants and your name remain. 23. From new moon to new moon, and from sabbath to sabbath, all flesh shall come to worship before me, says the Lord.

Zech 14: 16. Then every one that survives of all the nations that have come against Jerusalem shall go up year after year to worship the King, Yahweh Sabbaoth, and to keep the feast of booths. 17. And if any of the families of the earth do not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, Yahweh Sabbaoth, there will be no rain upon them.

Although the common Calendar is but a shadow or a counterfeit or imitation of the Holy Times of Yahweh, at least following the common Calendar in a dedicated fashion will help to get New Covenant people ready for the real thing later on

Regarding GRACE

Shall we sin so that grace may abound? There were many cults that taught that the only way to really know forgiveness was to intentionally be as sinful as possible. A modern day figure is known for this religious philosophy -- Gregory Rasputin (d 1914) of historic fame.

What is grace? Grace: charis - favor. Charism is often translated "gift." Charismata is plural and is translated "spiritual gifts" in Romans 12. But for our purposes, grace is undeserved or unmerited favor. Charismata does not mean spiritual gifts, it literally means "favors." Therefore when someone flaunts a spiritual gift, you can always say truthfully, "You don’t deserve to have it!" Better to call them spiritual "graces" than gifts. We get them whether we are worthy or not. How it works is best described in an illustration: In Schindler’s List - the power is not in having the free ability to kill and killing, but having the free ability to kill and choosing not to.

Yahweh graces the world, such as it is, by preserving it. He graces repentant believers by justifying them freely, then programming his laws inside them, so their tendency is to no longer be lawbreakers, but law abiders. If believers are to be responsible for upholding the Moral Law in Kingdom Come, they must then make every effort to abide by it in Kingdom Now. Intentionally breaking the Moral Law is not a means of greater favor. Just the opposite; intentionally breaking the Moral Law eventually leads to losing one’s justification. Nobody becomes perfect overnight; and grace abounds for the new believer. On the other hand, us old-timers know better than to break the moral law; we feel better and live longer when we abide in the gracious moral law of Yahweh.

Resurrected through Baptism

3. Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Messiah Yahshua were baptized into his death?

Baptism is a required ordinance of the church, the doorway into the Kingdom of Heaven. Methodists have a very different interpretation of the meaning of baptism than fundamentalists. For them, baptism is primarily the evidence of a confession of faith, the ‘outward sign of an inward change.’ It is a symbolic burial with Yahshua, without which one can’t get into heaven, and that is all it is. For us, baptism is a sacrament, which means it is an act Yahshua commanded that not only is symbolic, but brings greater grace (or "unction") to the baptized through faith. For fundamentalists, baptism is a public expression of one’s repentance; for Mainliners like us, baptism is primarily what the Almighty accomplishes rather than what we accomplish. In lowest terms, for fundamentalists, baptism is a ritual only; for us, it is a ritual and a sacrament and a means to greater favor with Yahweh.

The mechanism of baptism is always a matter of disputation, especially in regards to (1) what is required of the baptized and (2) how the water is to be applied.

(1) Universally, for people of sound mind and over the age of 12, baptism requires at least repentance and a public confession of faith. Although the Biblical evidence for it is pretty slim, we hold that infant baptism as valid for good reason: Lydia, a European woman of some means, was baptized with her whole household, according to Acts 16:

12b. We remained in Philippi some days; 13. and on the Sabbath day we went outside the gate to the riverside, where we supposed there was a place of prayer; and we sat down and spoke to the women who had come together. 14. One who heard us was a woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple goods, who was a worshiper of Yahweh. The Lord opened her heart to give heed to what was said by Paul. 15. And when she was baptized, with her household, she besought us, saying, "If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay." And she prevailed upon us.

Additionally, in 1 Cor 1:16 Paul says he baptized the whole household of Stephanus in Corinth. We assume the children were baptized.

In the early church whole families were baptized, infants included. Wesley explains this by defining baptism as a ‘means of grace’: that, in the case of infants, it is not what men do, but what the Father does through men’s obedience. I baptize babies because I believe that the Father’s favor is applied to the infant in response to the faith of the minister, parents, the sponsors and the congregation. Vows are made; promised are to be kept; faith is applied; grace flows freely. The Almighty is pleased to preserve the infant (or those unable to answer for themselves) unto eventual justification and salvation.

(2) As to the application of water, baptizo means immerse. In Jewish tradition, the devout would baptize themselves often by walking down into a small pool chest-deep, then bend into the water or toss it upon themselves. John the Baptizer and Yahshua used the living water of the Jordan and just prayerfully walked in and immersed themselves -- no one held their nose and dipped them backward. Because baptism should be done as soon as someone converts and because the congregation will normally not want to go down to the creek, we pour the water on. Because baptism is a sacrament and not just a ritual, I have come to believe that the method is not as important as whether the Spirit is doing something in the process. Just because something is dramatic, does it mean it is more effective? No.

Noteworthy is the fact that those who had been baptized by John in the Jordan were rebaptized in the name of Yahshua.

Acts 19: 1. WHILE APOLLOS was at Corinth, Paul passed through the upper country and came to Ephesus. There he found some disciples. 2. And he said to them, "Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?" And they said, "No, we have never even heard that there is a Holy Spirit." 3. And he said, "Into what then were you baptized?" They said, "Into John's baptism." 4. And Paul said, "John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in the one who was to come after him, that is, Yahshua." 5. On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Yahshua. 6. And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came on them; and they spoke with tongues and prophesied.

The United Methodist Church does not recognize or practice rebaptism, since they (we) believe it is a one-time sacrament. I do not agree with this position, nor with the formula used by the church to baptize. But this is a long-standing dispute in the church that has been pretty quiet lately. If you want to know more about Biblical baptism, I’ve written extensively on it -- I’ll supply you with reading material.

Raising to New Life in the NOW

4. We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, so that as Messiah was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.

The supernatural benefit that originates from baptism is that we might have a new purpose in life as we walk in accordance with the New Covenant. With the new purpose comes a new outlook on life -- a new point-of-view. And because baptism is sacramental -- a spiritual reality -- there also comes a birthing of power for living that was not previously there -- the privilege of approaching the throne of the Almighty boldly instead of in timidity; in expectation rather than in mere hope; as a son or daughter rather than a mere human.

And Resurrected Life Later

5. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.

His resurrection was bodily, but his body had different qualities. This is the ‘better resurrection’ that Paul talks about elsewhere.

Did you know there is a gene that controls aging? This is a brand new discovery. Humans are ONE GENE AWAY from immortality. Each cell in the body has a built in timer to self-destruct. Scientists have been able to isolate the aging gene in a human cell and turn it off. The cell lives forever, barring accident and disease. Scientists say that if they can learn to control THIS ONE GENE THROUGHOUT THE BODY, there will be no more aging. The trick is to treat every cell in the body, and then to genetically breed out the ‘aging mechanism’ from new cells that are produced. There will be no aging in the resurrected body of the Messiah’s elect.

In addition, this resurrected body will exist in four dimension instead of three, and will be able to perceive activity in all four dimensions. That means that the resurrected body will not have the limitations of height, width and depth or the perception of matter like walls and doors. In the fourth dimension, matter is perceived as energy. In practicality, this means there will no longer be physical limitation as to where one can go. To be primarily a fourth dimensional being means that one will be like angels, immortal, but able to appear at will to three dimensional beings like humans in any form one chooses.

Although this sounds like fantasy, ask a physicist or a mathematician, religious or not. They will tell you with certainty that the fourth dimension exists and that it could well be inhabited. Then they will prove it to you on paper in signs and symbols that only a genius could interpret.

Made Free by Crucifixion

6. We know that our old self was crucified with him so that the sinful body might be destroyed, and we might no longer be enslaved to sin. 7. For he who has died is freed from sin.

It is the body that is subject to sin, not the spirit. But he is also talking about putting our desires to sin to death, using all the benefits acquired from having been baptized into his death. Although death is the answer to the problem of sin, we have plenty to live for! That is why we must be free from the desire to sin (break the law) -- there is much work to be done for the Kingdom.

Death Merely a Consequence

8. But if we have died with Messiah, we believe that we shall also live with him. 9. For we know that Messiah being raised from the dead will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. 10. The death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to Yahweh.

Just as Yahshua ever lives unto the Almighty (that is for the sake of serving him), we too live to serve him. We live long lives now. But then life was short and death was a very fearful thing. Now for some life is so long that when death comes, people are often prepared for it and go into it painlessly. Not so in the days of Paul. Not so for those martyred for a cause. The Almighty is in charge of you now; you need not fear death - fear is a hindrance to living for Him.

How Shall We Live?

11. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to Yahweh in Messiah Yahshua.

Worth discussing!

  ©2001 Jackson Snyder  June 23, 2001

New Century Sermons