Theology of Scripture

By Will Bossert

Why should you read your Bible? Is it because God says so, or because it is good for us? Many of us might think off the top of our head it is a simple answer, but unless we traverse the depths of this important question we might never connect our hearts to an answer to this question that brings about an understanding, respect, appreciation and dedication the Bible deserves. What we know and believe about scripture affects us on a grand scale. The Bible is polarizing, there is no middle ground with it. It is either God’s written Word that should impact every area of my current life, or it is just interesting literature that I should give no more care in the world as I do my daughters Dr. Suess books (of which I do enjoy reading during bedtime, but have never allowed Fox In Socks to impact my life in a significant way). The Bible is such a big deal that it is important for us to know why it is a big deal and decide why and how it should impact our lives. This is called a Theology of Scripture.

In the book Systematic Theology by Wayne Grudem, these four characteristics of Scripture are listed: Authority, Clarity, Necessity, and Sufficiency. I wish I had the time to explain each of these more thoroughly, but since I don’t, I will do my best to summarize what they mean to us. If you wish to gain a more exhaustive understanding of these characteristics please read chapters 4-8 of Grudem’s book.

  1. The Authority of Scripture:

“The authority of Scripture means that all the words in Scripture are God’s words in such a way that to disbelieve or disobey any word of Scripture is to disbelieve or disobey God.”

When we believe the Bible is actually God’s Word it changes us. We can no longer just read it with a sense of, “Oh that’s really nice, what Jesus did for us”. Instead, it should jar us into a realization that Scripture is literally God’s words. And just think, we have access to it,to the literary work of the almighty God! This is the God who created the entire universe.Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” He literally SPOKE things into existence. And He gave us His Words. This adds a unique level of gravity to the Bible and what it is trying to communicate to its readers. This is ultimately, who God is and how he has rescued humanity through His son Jesus. How awesome is that!

2.  The Clarity of Scripture:

    “The clarity of Scripture means that the Bible is written in such a way that its teachings are able to be understood by all who will read it seeking God’s help and being willing to follow it.”

I can remember a time when I would tell my Youth Minister, “I can’t read my Bible because I can’t understand it.” The truth, in my case, was that I was lazy and wanted an excuse to avoid reading it, and I was afraid I wouldn’t understand what I was reading . Once I decided to take seriously, the charge to be in the Word, my eyes were opened to the reality of this great book. One of the beautiful aspects of the Bible is that you do not have to be a scholar in order to read it and at least have a general understanding of it. What a loving God we have, that He would design it this way! This is not to say that we won’t have questions, but that as a whole this book is written to be understood. God wants the message to be comprehended in a way that it can be shared! Mark 16:15, “And He said to them,’Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature’.”  So please, don’t let fear keep you from reading your Bible, but instead, be encouraged and dig in!

When questions arise, a few things I have found helpful are: 1. Genuinely ask God for help. 2. Go to the scriptures and see if you can find an answer. 3. Use reliable commentaries (I’m sure Mike could direct you to a few great ones). 4. Be patient! We are not going to understand all of the things all at once. Some things will take maturity and time, and some will not be understood until God calls us home.

3. The Necessity of Scripture:

“The Bible is necessary for knowing the Gospel, for maintaining a spiritual life, and for knowing God’s will, but is not necessary for knowing that God exists or for knowing something about God’s character and moral laws.”

The reality is the Bible is a necessary component in the process of knowing the Gospel. Knowing the Gospel is not just a one time thing, we have to continually hear the Gospel work itself out in our lives and there is nowhere better to seek and search all of the facets of The Gospel than the Bible. Then beyond being necessary to know the Gospel, the Bible is where we must go in order to live a life that is transformed by God. We cannot just will ourselves into a new way of living, we need God’s good Word to teach, demonstrate, support, and convict us into a new way of living. Finally, comes the aspect of knowing God’s will. We often make this so complicated by thinking we have to discover God’s secret plan for our lives, but the truth is we can seek scripture in order to discover God’s will. Of course it doesn’t have specific specs for how your’s or my life should be played out, but with a disciplined depth of study one gets to know God more and more intimately and can distinguish between what is in God’s will and what is not and therefore be able to apply that to one's own life.

4. The Sufficiency of Scripture:

“The Sufficiency of Scripture means that Scripture contains all the words of God he intended his people to have at each stage of redemptive history, and that it now contains all the words of God we need for salvation, for trusting him perfectly, and for obeying him perfectly.”

We can be confident that the Bible and it’s 66 books are the complete, sufficient Words of God. We do not have to go searching for anything more. There are only two halves of Redemptive history, pre-Jesus and post-Jesus or Old Covenant and New Covenant. It contains everything we need for that which is necessary to be a Christian. Our salvation is in it completely, i.e. The Gospel. It contains all that God has chosen to reveal about who He is to us and what it reveals is a perfect God who has brought us into His story through Jesus. Now the reality is that God has not revealed all that there is, but it does contain all that God intended to give us.

Hopefully these characteristics of scripture inspire you to look at God’s word in a new light. That you would read it often and intentionally. Read it with a sense of it’s true value as God’s actual word that He has delivered in a way we can understand. We can be confident that it is complete and that it contains information that is necessary for our salvation, life and mission. Most countries in the world have easy access to the Bible and with the technology of Smartphones that is becoming even more true. The reality is that the accessibility of the Bible is such a wonderful thing, because it means more than ever, most people can read God’s word easily and for the most part affordably. Adversely, the accessibility of the Bible means that we generally do not give the Bible the respect and awe it deserves. The Bible truly is a treasure and it is my hope that as we look at all it is as we craft a proper theology of Scripture we will understand how valuable it is and devote ourselves to it.

 

#inhisword2018

By Mike Littleton

When I first became a Christian, I didn’t know what to do with the bible. I knew it was an important book–at least important enough to take along with me to church every Sunday. But beyond that I didn’t know much else. 

My early treatment of the bible was much like that of a textbook. Take it to class, open it when and where the teacher said, refer to it from time to time for homework, but otherwise keep it stowed away in a backpack or locker. In essence, the book contained information about how to pass the test, and since the teacher was more than willing to do all the studying and teaching for me, why should I bother doing so on my own?

This, however, is not how the bible is to be treated. It is not an antiquated textbook filled with information about how to pass the big test and gain entrance into heaven. No. This book is the living and active word of God (Hebrews 4:12). The words are not merely words, they are God’s words. When this book is opened, the words and stories being read are not merely the thoughts and imaginations of men and women from ancient times, but the actions and inspired words of the Creator of the universe.

God has spoken to us through a book. This book then is a well of invaluable treasure–the depths of which should be dug into for a lifetime.   

#KnowingJesusInHisWord
Last year, I had the thought of trying to read through the bible together as a church. This idea was by no means original. In fact, I only had the idea because a pastor friend of mine was going to do this with his church. However, I’d never seen this done and so I had no idea where to start. 

But after communicating the idea with another brother in Taproot, the idea of reading the bible together as a church began to shape into a reality.

Over the past several months, Quin Marlow has been diligently creating a plan that will enable Taproot to begin reading through Scripture together. We are excited to introduce this plan which we are calling #KnowingJesusInHisWord. In the coming weeks, you will be able to hear and read about the details of this plan, but before that happens I want to lay out why it’s important and helpful for us to read the bible together as a church family.

Why do this?
I could list many good reasons for us to work through the bible together as a church, but for now I just want to name one. It’s this: The bible reveals God.

From this one truth flows and entire list of realities. If the bible reveals God, and we are his people reading his words, then we’re going to know more of who God is. We’re going to have a greater understanding of who we are. We’re going to have a greater understanding of how and why the world works the way it does. Most importantly, we’re going to have a greater awareness of redemption and God’s good plan in the gospel. We’re going to know Jesus! 

God has spoken to us through a book. These words are His and so it only makes sense that if we’re to know Him, then we need to read what He has written to us. And why not do it together? How beautiful would it be for all of us to be on the same pages of Scripture? How well could this facilitate conversations about the things of God not just on Sunday mornings, but every day of the week?

So here’s to knowing Jesus in his word. This will be a challenging yet fun experience for us. May God give us the strength to be in his word together this year.

How A Bacon Wrapped Cross Defiles Christianity

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This is not Christian

Two weeks ago, someone, or some people, in our city wrapped a four-foot cross with bacon and pounded it into the ground in front of the one and only Mosque in town. I hesitate to draw more attention to the hatred and foolishness of such an act, but because a cross has been brought into this, something has to be said.

It must be understood that what these people did is by no means Christian. It’s not the biblical church. It’s not the biblical Jesus. It is in fact anti-Christian. It is anti-gospel. It is anti-Jesus. It goes against everything the cross of Christ actually stands for. You will not find such an act anywhere in the Bible.

My plea to whoever may be reading this is for you to understand that Jesus in no way condones or encourages this deplorable action. If you are a Christian understand that such an act does nothing but drag the name of Jesus and his church through the mud. It is not an act that furthers the gospel but hinders it and thus it must be condemned.

This is Christian

Our church, Taproot Church, has been working together through the book of Acts–the New Testament historical record of the early church. One of the themes that come up repeatedly is the very humanness of every single person and the offer of salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone to every human regardless of their race, ethnicity, or social status.

In Acts 14, Paul and Barnabas are worshiped by the people of Lystra as Greek gods. Their response is, “People! Why are you doing these things? We are people also, just like you” (Acts 14:15; emphasis mine). What Paul is saying here is that the gospel (good news) of Jesus levels the playing field. All humans, regardless of what or whom they may rightly or falsely worship are just that–humans. Humans in need of the one true and living God.

In Acts 16, the author records the conversion of three different people. Each of them are from entirely different worlds. They couldn’t be more different. They are opposites in race, ethnicity, and socio-economic status. Yet the conclusion of the story is that they all–as human beings–were in need of the same Jesus.

Our common humanness

“From one man He has made every nationality to live over the whole earth and has determined their appointed times and the boundaries of where they live” (Acts 17:26).

This verse is a reminder of our common humanity. That from one man every other man has come into existence. It’s also a reminder that we’re all a lot more alike than we tend to believe or realize.

Ken Wytsma talks about this in his book, The Myth Of Equality: “Beneath the skin we are all basically the same––and this is especially true at the genetic level. Genetically speaking, I (with my rather unmixed Dutch heritage) am more similar to a male Maori than I am to any female, including my own mother and daughters. Whatever genetic differences the Maori man and I might have throughout the rest of our twenty-three pairs of chromosomes, they are fewer than the number of gene differences between men (with one X – and one Y – chromosome) and women (who have two X- chromosomes), even when a man and woman are closely related…Indeed, the most remarkable thing about the genetics of humanity is how little diversity it contains in comparison to other populations of creatures, including other primates.”

In other words, scientifically speaking, I’m not that different than any other man on the face of this earth. And neither are you.

Track with me. This is important.

The Truth Of The Cross

You see, the actual good news of Christianity is that Jesus entered into this world in order to reconcile all types of people from every corner of this globe back to God. He finished the work that you and I could not. He did this by living a sinless life and dying a sinners death at the hands of people like…

You.

And me.

The sins of the conservative, the sins of the liberal. The sins of the Christian, the sins of the Muslim. Your sin and my sin put Jesus on the cross.

The cross is a symbol of suffering and shame. It’s a symbol of sacrifice and ought never to be associated with some sort of elite homogenous ideology. Americans (American Christians in particular) are not inherently better people than Muslims. This is what the true message of the cross tells us. It levels all humanity and says we’re all in need of the same thing. It declares that salvation is not for those who prove themselves most righteous before God. Rather, it declares that all are unrighteous, and the religious moralist who stands against planned parenthood is just as much a candidate for God’s saving grace (and needs it) as much as the Islamic man–even an avowed terrorist.

This is what the true message of the cross tells us. It levels all humanity and says we’re all in need of the same thing.

This cross is the way of the Christian life.

The cross declares God’s love for people like me, and also unlike me. There is no symbol that declares God’s desire for creating a diverse people like the cross. The Christian life should always reflect this desire.

It’s in light of all this that hateful actions like wrapping a cross in bacon and placing it in front of a Muslim Mosque must be condemned.

The truth of the Christian gospel is what enables us to see people the way God intended. In an increasingly diverse culture, may the cross remind us that we’re a lot more alike than we realize and at the end of the day our greatest need is the same–a crucified, but risen, Savior!

This post was originally published on Mike Littleton's personal blog. 

Sermon Recap

This past Sunday we worked our way through Acts 15. The big question we tackled through our text was, is grace alone enough? It was an obviously fitting text and question in light of that day being Reformation Sunday.

The great news we concluded with is that yes indeed, the grace of Jesus is enough! 

"We believe that we will be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they will." (Acts 15:11)

In case you missed it, you can listen here.

You can also find my preaching notes here.

Credentials for the Kingdom

If you weren’t aware or haven’t heard, August 1st was my first day working full time for Taproot Church.

This last year I was hired on part-time with Taproot as the “Director of Community Life”- a title that I perceived as a little too fancy for my person, like I needed a Masters degree in holiness to live up to the name or something. However, with no masters degree in tow, I have worked, worried, rejoiced, lamented and toiled this last year away. I have had times where I have thought to myself “Lord, you are working! How great you are to work through me!” and other times I have said “Lord, where are you? Why am I such a wreck? Leave me here to rot”.

So the progressions of my heart come and go; and what the Lord has left me with after this year of the highs and lows of ministry and the daunting prospect of this new full time position are these precious words:

“Jesiah, my son: you are weak”.

Weakness.

Some people may ask: What qualifies you to take on this ministry? Weakness will be my answer. “Utter neediness” will be listed under the skill-set section on the crumpled resume I turn in. “Complete Grace” will be underlined and emboldened on the page, because I am not fit for this task of full time ministry.

Weakness and the Kingdom

Weakness is what qualifies us for entrance into the Kingdom of God. Jesus, the maker and King of this Kingdom, spoke this in Mark 2:17: “Those who are well have no need for a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but the sinners”. Again, in Romans 5:6,8: “For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for us...God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

Weakness, neediness. Jesus came to be a physician for people such as this, people like you and me. Paul even goes so far as to say that he boasts in his weakness! Why? “So that the power of Christ may rest upon me” (2 Cor. 12:9). That is a bold statement!

This is absolutely antithetical to what we have been raised to value. Who do you follow on social media? Do-it-yourselfers, right? What type of people does our nation applaud? People who have picked themselves up by their own bootstraps and done the hard work and got rewarded by it. Not people who declare themselves weak and in need of a savior.

Sometimes we can even get this warped perspective of works based self-fulfillment in the Christian realm. We have the right “answers”; all we need to do is follow Jesus and everything will be alright. Just pray more. Just serve more. Just read your bible more. Then we get bummed that we can’t do those things consistently; we get bummed that we are weak! What we need is not to tough it out so as to prove our righteousness, we need a supernatural intervention of God to accept us, to change us. We need a savior!

The idea that we are sufficient to make or sustain a perfect life that will bring us ultimate fulfillment is a false gospel, no matter if the lie is packaged in a "Christian" or "secular" way. We are not sufficient to sustain our own happiness, fill our souls, or create a perfect existence for ourselves; whether that be from trying harder to pray to get Gods blessings, or seeking blessing from a perfect house in a perfect neighborhood. 

Self control and discipline that mark “successful” people can be (if we are in Christ) blessings poured out by the Holy Spirit; evidences of a changed life in Jesus. Apart from the Spirits power, however, they are just tools that help feed our narcissism; and leads us to be pharisees that look down on others.

I think all of Gods people can agree: we don’t want to be Pharisees or sluggards. But before we can be satisfied in Jesus, we have to be honest with ourselves: We are in need of him to do the hard work of changing us. We are weak; and are not powerful enough to create or sustain the perfect Christian life we all think we should have. I must admit it to myself: I am not powerful enough to do the work I need to do for Taproot. Similarly:

We are not loving enough to endure the hard-fought trials of marriage and parenting.

We are not smart enough to juggle a perfect work/life balance.

We are not courageous enough to speak the Gospel in all situations to our co-workers.

We are not wise enough to handle perfectly the storms and troubles of life.

We are not patient enough to stick-it-through in the discipling of others.

We are not humble enough to be discipled ourselves.

Think of all that is tasked upon you; consider the mountain of responsibilities that is placed upon your shoulders. Let it weigh on you a bit and then realize: you are not sufficient.


The Hope for the Weak

...But. (there is always a beautiful “but” in the Gospel)...

But Jesus is. He is our righteousness before men, and most importantly, before our God. Righteousness by definition is: “the quality of being morally right or justifiable”. All righteousness is transferred to us through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. The righteousness that we groan to have is not earned, but bought through the blood of Jesus and then lovingly given to us. This sacrifice is what brings up back to communion with our creator, which is the only place our souls have rest. Not only are we brought “right” before God, but through Jesus we are given the Holy Spirit; the same spirit that lived and moved in the life of Christ. Jesus is sufficient to not only save us from sin and make us right before God but to empower us to live new, joyful lives in him.  

Speak that to yourself: Jesus is sufficient. Jesus is sufficient today to strengthen you to do what you normally could not do through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Jesus is sufficient to give you grace and patience for your children today.

Jesus is sufficient to give you words to speak to your co-workers at a time of need.

Jesus is sufficient to give you sacrificial love for your spouse today.

Jesus is sufficient to give you satisfaction and joy today, regardless of your circumstances.

Jesus is sufficient to bring you back to his side when you failed and have fallen into sin.

Jesus is sufficient to change your heart to desire his word and his ways.

Jesus is sufficient to give you the gumption to work heartily for him.

...and Jesus is sufficient to give me the wisdom, self-control, and strength to do this work he has called me to do for Taproot. Romans 8:32 says: “He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?”

An acknowledgement of weakness, mixed with trust and faith in Christ alone breeds joy and love in the heart of the Christian that cannot be taken away (Romans 8:31-38). Communion with God through Jesus gives us the fruit of joy and the power of the Spirit to do the works he has called us to do. 

Okay. But what is it that I actually do you might ask? Here is a list of some things I will be doing for Taproot in my full time role:

  • I oversee our Gospel Communities. I do this by persisting in prayer for our communities, creating leadership training, and offering counsel and support to our GC leaders. I am currently putting together more leadership training to help equip even more leaders.

  • I oversee the church scheduling. All of our Gatherings and other events (club clean-ups, church camp, feasts, etc.) are coordinated/delegated out by me.

  • I help put out content occasionally for Taproot. This includes blog-posts mainly, but I also preach every once in awhile.

  • I am the liaison between Taproot and our Community. On occasions when we partner with other ministries and agencies around the Magic Valley, I would be a point person for our church (Examples: Staton Healthcare, Refugee Center).

  • I do whatever helps. Whatever would help clear Mike and John’s plate to teach, preach, and pray, I do. This includes trash runs, coffee buying, and keeping things stocked at the office.

I look at this list alongside my other list of being a good disciple of Jesus, Husband, Father, friend, son and laundry-task-master and I am instantly overwhelmed. But Jesus is sufficient to sow together my imperfect, fractured life for His glory, even when I don’t get all of my “to-do’s” done. I am still called to work “heartily for the Lord”- but he promises to pour out His strength to me when I am too exhausted to move. When I fail in my responsibilities either because of my weakness or because of my sin, I have a savior who advocates for me. I can trust my life in the God who loved me and gave himself for me. I can say in all things “It is well, oh my soul”! This is good news!

This truth is what I am banking on in coming on full time: Jesus alone doing the work that I cannot do in me and in our church.

Thanks for allowing me the wonderful joy and honor to work alongside you, Taproot. Together, let us sing with one voice “it is well” as we raise our families, love our Church, and reach this city with the Good News of Jesus; for He alone is sufficient for us all.

Family Church In August

During the month of August, our gatherings will be “family-style.” I don’t like calling it that because realistically every Sunday is "family-style", but what we mean by this is that Taproot Kids will be taking a break during the month of August, and therefore children of all ages will be with us for the entirety of our Sunday Gatherings. 

This is something we do on occasion in Taproot, and when we do it, it’s intentional. In other words, family church gatherings aren’t because of a lack of volunteers, a lack of organization or anything of the sort. (Though a great benefit is that our amazing Taproot Kids team gets a break!) 

Family church gatherings are done with the intention of discipling families. 

Why We Exist

Taproot exists to know Jesus and make him known. This is what it means to be a disciple and a disciple maker. Therefore, we structure our Sunday Gatherings and Gospel Communities around this mission and vision given to us by Jesus (Matthew 28:18-20). 

Included in this vision are the children of Taproot Church. In our current season, we’re thankful to have a growing Taproot Kids ministry that currently disciples children who are walking and up to six years of age. We know that this component of our gathering serves parents in their discipleship process and we hope to see it continue to do so. But one thing we want to be crystal clear about is that Taproot Kids is NOT the primary discipleship venue for our children. Rather, the purpose of Taproot Kids is to come alongside parents and help them to be the primary disciple makers of their children as God intended it to be.

This means that just as we believe the Sunday Gathering alone is not sufficient for any Christian to mature, so too Taproot Kids alone is not sufficient for the discipleship of our children.

Beyond The Gathering

Our Sunday Gatherings are geared toward the equipping of the saints. We open the bible every week and work through entire books of the Bible because we believe that Scripture is sufficient for our maturing as Christians. This, however, is not just a Sunday thing. Sunday’s are the sending out point for our mission of making disciples in the context of our every day lives. Furthermore, we connect our Sunday Gatherings with our Gospel Communities to continue making disciples and being discipled. 

So how does this relate to Taproot Kids? By proclaiming the finished work of Jesus week in and week out we are equipping you, the parents, to disciple your children. Yes, we seek to make disciples wherever we are, but the easiest and primary disciple making venue for most of us is in our homes and with our own families.  

Why Family Church?

So how does family church serve us in this? 

We believe that the occasional family church gathering helps all of us in the overall discipleship process. There is something beautiful about watching a little child raise his or her hands in worship to our Loving Father simply because he or she is watching mommy and daddy do the same thing. There’s something profound about watching a child fumble through the pages of a bible to follow along even though they might not be able to read yet. There’s something humbling about watching a child engage in the worship gathering with joy and laughter that “grown ups” have all too often and easily left behind.

Our children are learning from us as a collective family, and we are learning from them too.  

I’m looking forward to our month of family church gatherings, and I hope you are as well. I admonish you to not view this as an inconvenience but an opportunity to allow the little children to come to Jesus alongside their parents. 

Praying for His kingdom to come in Twin Falls as it is in Heaven.

Pastor Mike 

End Of Summer Schedule

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The final full month of summer is almost here and with that, we wanted to let you know what’s going on. Below is a quick look at what’s happening over the next six weeks.  

August 2nd - Pray First. 6:00-7:30 at the Taproot offices. Our offices are located at 140 Hansen Ave. E. Suite 2. 

August 6th - Sunday Gathering - We’ll gather as usual. 10:00 a.m. at the Boys and Girls Club. Quin Marlow will be preaching through Acts 9:32-43. 

August 13th - Sunday Gathering - Baptism Sunday! Outside on the front lawn of the Boys and Girls Club. If you would like to be baptized, please contact Pastor Mike or Pastor John. 

August 18th - 20th - Family Camp! Join us at Cathedral Pines. 

August 20th - NO SUNDAY GATHERING - There will be no Sunday Gathering at the Boys and Girls Club, but we’d love to have you join us at Cathedral Pines. 

August 27th - Sunday Gathering - Sunday Gatherings will return back to our regular rhythm. Boys and Girls Club at 10:00 a.m. 

September 3rd - Labor Day Weekend

September 10th - Taproot’s 3rd birthday! God has done much over that last three years, and we're excited to celebrate it. There will be more information about this celebration soon. 

If you have any more questions, please head on over to our contact page and we'll get back to ASAP. 

Pray First

Pray First is tonight! 

We’ve gathered to pray on the first Wednesday of every month since just about the beginning of Taproot’s existence. By God’s grace, we’ll continue to do so until He sees fit to lay her to rest or until Christ returns. 

If you haven’t joined us before, I encourage you to do so. 

Yes, I know the experience of most is that “corporate” prayer “meetings” are dull, mindless, and unfruitful. But not ours. (Yes. A little boasting in Christ). God is full of grace and mercy. Furthermore, Satan hates it when we pray. He especially hates it when we pray together. One pastor says, “If I were the devil, I’d do everything I could to keep the people from praying together.” I’m sure you can think of an experience that illustrates this reality.   

As much as God has met us in our Pray First gatherings, I believe He wants to meet us more. He wants us to seek His face and be filled with all His fullness (Ephesians 3:19). No, I don’t know what all this entails but I’m excited to find out. I hope you are too. 

Christ is all! 

Pastor Mike 

Baptism...should you, and why?

 

This Sunday is Easter. There is no bigger celebration for the Christian family. It is on this day of course that we pay special attention to the fact that Jesus resurrected from the grave thus defeating Satan, sin, death, and Hell. The good news of the gospel is that those who believe in this finished work are participants in this victory with Christ and his people. One specific way we get to celebrate this is by baptizing new believers.

This post is for those of you wondering if you too should be baptized.

What is baptism?

The simplest way to define baptism is this: Baptism is a public way for a new Christian to say, “I’m with Jesus.” 

Here’s a little lengthier and robust definition: "Baptism is a church’s act of affirming and portraying a believer’s union with Christ by immersing him or her in water, and a believer’s act of publicly committing him or herself to Christ and his people, thereby uniting a believer to the church and marking off him or her from the world.”* 

Why get baptized?

With a definition of what baptism is, the next question is, “why to get baptized?” This is a good question and an important one. There are some religions that teach that baptism is necessary for salvation. I'll address this more specifically in a bit, but for now, I’ll just say that we wholeheartedly disagree with this. The only necessary work for salvation is the work of Christ. It is our response to his finished work by faith and repentance that saves us. 

However, though we believe baptism isn’t necessary for your salvation, we believe it is essential to your faith. 

So why get baptized?

First, Jesus said to. This is the clearest reason for getting baptized. If Jesus says to do something, his followers should do it. This is seen most clearly in what we know as the Great Commission. Jesus said, "“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20; emphasis mine). Simply put, baptism is an essential part of what it means to be a disciple and a disciple-maker.

Second, we see the disciples of Jesus obeying Jesus’ command through the book of Acts. After Peter preaches his Pentecost sermon, the crowd responds. The gospel message cut deep into their hearts, and they wanted to know what to do. Peter said, “Repent and be baptized every single one of you for the forgiveness of your sins.” A few chapters later, a disciple named Philip is given the opportunity to share the gospel with an Ethiopian man. After hearing and believing the gospel the man replies, “See, here is water! What prevents me from being baptized?” 38 And he commanded the chariot to stop, and they both went down into the water, Philip and the eunuch, and he baptized him” (Acts 8:36-39)

We see in these texts that baptism wasn’t an option for disciples of Jesus. In fact, there is no such thing as an unbaptized disciple of Jesus in Scripture. 

What does baptism do?**

Baptism is often looked at as some sort of “super-spiritual” or “magical” act. But it isn’t. The physical act of baptism is simply being dunked under water, but this act has great significance. 

First, baptism is a public confession, and public confessions strengthen your faith. Baptism can be a little intimidating. You’re standing before a crowd of people, professing before them that you believe in Jesus’ finished work and that your life is wholeheartedly his for the rest of your days. That’s a big deal and a big commitment. But this is one of the most faith strengthening and affirming things a Christian can do. 

Second, baptism is an opportunity for evangelism. When you get baptized, it’s possible that people who don’t know Jesus are watching. In this case, baptism acts as a visual portrayal of what has taken place in a new believer. When you go under the water and are brought back up, you are visually displaying for people what Christ has done on the cross, and also what Christ has done in you. Specifically, you’re publicly displaying that your sins are washed away because of your faith in Christ.

Third, baptism confirms your new identity and commitment as a follower of Christ. By getting baptized you’re saying that you belong to Jesus, and by belonging to Jesus, you belong to his people too. Baptism is a public way of proclaiming that your life has been made new, and you’re going to live it in connection with your new family, the church. 

Does baptism save me?

This question was addressed briefly above, but I want to be clear in saying that baptism is not a work that saves you. It is not baptism that guarantees your place in God’s kingdom. Only the finished work of Jesus does that.  

How do we baptize?  

In Taproot, we practice baptism by immersion. This means we set up a portable tank of water and fully immerse the person being baptized under that water. 

Who should get baptized?

If you’re a Christian and you haven’t been baptized, then you should get baptized. You may only be a few minutes, days, or weeks old in your faith, but you should get baptized. You may also be someone who's been a Christian for 20 years who, for whatever reason, has never been baptized. You too should get baptized.

Baptism is for all people who believe that God has saved them by grace alone through faith alone in the finished work of Christ alone, and have never been baptized. 

It is a joy and privilege to celebrate new life in God’s family. We hope you’ll join us in the celebration this Sunday. 

If you have any question at all, please click on the link to email us and we’ll get back to you ASAP. 

Christ is all!

Pastor Mike

 

*This quote is taken from the booklet Understanding Baptism, by Bobby Jamieson. 

**These points are my own paraphrase of sections taken from Understanding Baptism.  

Clean The Club Night

Taproot Church is privileged to partner with the Boys and Girls Club of the Magic Valley. Every Sunday, we get to use their space for our church gatherings. But we don’t simply want to use the space. We want to steward it well for the glory of God. 

The Boys and Girls Club is a well used building. Every week, it’s filled with hundreds of kids from around our city and valley. One of the ways we can serve this great organization, is by helping maintain and clean the facility. 

Next Wednesday, January 25th, Taproot Church is hosting a Clean The Club Night. We’re going to work hard to clean the floors, scrub the bathrooms, wipe down walls, wash windows, and anything else we can do to help create a space where the people who use this facility every day can flourish. 

We’ll have cleaning supplies on hand, but you can bring your own too. The work will start at 6:30 p.m., and we’ll work for a couple of hours. If you can only make it for 30 minutes, that's great too. Anyone is welcome who wants to help. 
Childcare will not be provided, but your kiddos are more than welcome to join us. 
For more information, please email: info@taprootchurch.org.