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the Pastor's Scratchpad

Tradition vs. Truth

“Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Acts 2:38).

In history there was a great man named Aristotle. He taught that heavier objects fall faster than lighter ones. Because he was one of the greatest thinkers of his time, people believed him. After two thousand years of people believing this, another man named Galileo called for learned men to come to the base of a high tower. He then climbed to the top and pushed off a five kilo and a one kilo weight at the same time. Much to the surprise of everyone who had gathered, both objects fell at the same time. The power of belief in man’s wisdom was so strong that the learned people refused to believe what they had seen. They denied Galileo’s experiment and insisted Aristotle was correct. The tradition of what they had been taught would not allow for a change of view and they persisted to believe an inaccurate teaching. 

This story was related in a book called, Strong Men in Tough Times, by Ed Cole.

When it comes to Bible teaching many people seem more inclined to follow tradition than scripture.

  • In the days of Jesus’ Christ earthly ministry one such group was the Pharisees. Jesus told them, (Mark 7:13) their tradition made the word of God of none effect to them. By them holding the “tradition of the elders” they missed out on the truth.
  • Many who proclaim Christianity have never searched the scriptures, as Jesus commanded the Pharisees to do (John 5:39). The Bible that we preach from this morning is not just a book that contains truth, it is the truth.
  • ( John 17:17) Jesus stated, “. . . thy word is truth.”
  • Psalms 19:7 - The law (teaching) of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.
  • Yet Jesus said there were some that did not believe him, because he told them the truth (John 8:45-46).


  • Although your grandmother may have been a good woman, you must not blindly follow her beliefs, but search out what the Bible says. She may have been right, but she may have only been following her tradition.
  • I’m amazed that there are some who are convinced they are going to heaven simply because they say, “I’m a Baptist” or “I’m a Catholic” or “I said the sinner’s prayer.” To make such a remark is a sure indicator they are following some tradition rather than truth.
  • I would that all could make the statement I know I’m saved because I have repented of my sins, been baptized in the name of Jesus Christ and received the gift of the Holy Ghost just as they did in Acts 2.

Speaking of being saved, “there is no scripture that says once saved always saved.”

  • If Acts 2:38 has been fulfilled in you, you must continue to walk in truth.
  • Acts 2:42 - And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.
  • Colossians 1:22-23, Jesus Christ will present us holy, unblameable and unreproveable in his sight, IF WE CONTINUE GROUNDED AND SETTLED AND BE NOT MOVED AWAY FROM THE HOPE OF THE GOSPEL.
  • The Apostle Paul wrote to Timothy, “Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.” ( 1 Timothy 4:16).

Have you been basing your salvation some past experience such as being baptized as a baby or a preacher declaring you were saved? According to your Bible, there is much more to salvation than that.  Don’t get stuck in tradition, dig into the Bible and discover truth.

John 9

  • Man was born blind was healed by Jesus.
  • Religious people would not accept the miracle although it was in clear evidence because they believed Jesus was a sinner.
  • The man who was born blind could actually see truth better than they could because those religious people were blinded by their tradition.
  • John 9:33 – “If this man were not of God, he could do nothing.”

Perhaps you were baptized according to tradition and not truth. You didn’t think twice about what was being said when you were baptized or whether or not it was important whether you were sprinkled with water or immersed in water.

But today, you have opportunity to know the truth because I’m going to show you what the Bible actually teaches.

1. Baptism is a necessary part of salvation.

  • Mark 16:16 - He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.
  • 1 Peter 3:21 –“ . . . baptism doth also now save us . . .”
  • In Acts 2, in answer to the question “what shall we do?,” Peter said, Repent and be baptized every one of you.”
  • In Acts 10:48 “And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord.. . “
  • Baptism is not just joining a church but it has a part in you being set free from sin and entering the Kingdom of God.
  • In Acts 2, repentance and baptism is for the remission of sin.
  • Jesus taught in John 3, ye must be born of the water and of the spirit to enter the Kingdom of God.
  • When Saul of Tarsus was baptized, the one who baptized him in water told him it would wash away his sins (Acts 22:16)

Biblically baptism is a heaven or hell, lost or saved issue.

2. Baptism is by immersion

  • The definition of the word is to dip or plunge.
  • Not one instance of sprinkling for baptism is recorded in scripture.
  • Jesus was baptized of John IN THE JORDAN.
  • The Ethiopian was baptized of Philip in the wilderness at a certain place because there was much water there.
  • Water Baptism associates one with the physical burial of Christ in the tomb and signifies lying to rest our old sinful nature.
    • Romans 6:4 – “Therefore 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.”

3. Baptism is in the name of Jesus Christ

  • Without exception, baptism was administered in the name of Jesus throughout the book of Acts.
  • Peter preached it in Acts 2
  • Philip practiced it in Acts 8
  • Peter commanded in in Acts 10
  • Paul taught in Acts 19, that you should believe in Jesus and be baptized in his name.

Acts 4:12 - Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

This may contradict your traditional thinking but it is Biblical truth. You may have thought that baptism should be administered by the repeated of the titles Father, Son and Holy Ghost but there is no occasion of it being performed that way in scripture. In fact, the Apostles NEVER used those words in conjunction with baptism.

Encyclopedia Biblica (1899) I, 473:  "It is natural to conclude that baptism was administered in the earliest times 'in the name of Jesus Christ,' or in that 'of the Lord Jesus."  This view is confirmed by the fact that the earliest forms of the baptismal confession appear to have been single - not triple, as was the later creed."

There is an old story about a ship’s captain who one night saw what looked like a light of another ship heading toward him. He had the signalman blink to the other ship, “Change your course ten degrees south.”

The reply, “Change your course ten degrees north.”

Again a response, “I am a captain and I say change your course south.”

To that the reply came, “I am a seaman first class. Change your course north.”

The captain was angry and signaled back, “I say change your course south. I’m on a battleship.”

The reply came back, “Change your course north. I’m in a lighthouse.”

If you have been on the wrong course, today the beacon of light you have seen is God’s Word. Don’t argue with God. His word is forever settled in heaven.

  • You must believe and obey his Word to be saved.
  • Today let truth guide you rather than tradition.

John 8:32 – “And ye shall know the truth , and the truth shall make you free.”

As leaders, it’s equally important for us to know how to follow as it is how to lead. In fact, many believe to be a good leader, you must first be a great follower and continue to follow well as you continue to lead well.

I would suggest that great leaders are equally in tune with how to follow well as how to lead well. So here are a few thoughts on following:

1. Good followers are finishers. They get the job done, take projects across the finish line and make things happen on their own.

2. Good followers anticipate. They understand what needs to be done next before having to be told, and they are always looking for ways to make the process better.

3. Good followers criticize in private and praise in public. Enough said on that.

4. Good followers are trustworthy. When given an assignment, a leader can be assured it will get done. Dependability—this is incredibly important.

5. Good followers are vision copycats. They take on, embody and live out the vision and mission of their leader and of the organization, helping set and model a cultural standard.

6. Good followers make their leader better. They push their leader and know how to "lead up" appropriately and intentionally.

7. Good followers lead themselves. They don’t need to be managed and aren’t needy. They are self aware and don’t need all the attention from the leader.

8. Good followers are principled. They are humble, disciplined and have complete integrity. They know it’s not about them, and what you see is what you get.

Brad Lomenick is president and key visionary of Catalyst—a movement purposed to equip and inspire young Christian leaders through events, resources, consulting and community. Follow him on Twitter @bradlomenick, or read his personal blog at


I can make you rise or fall. I can work for you or against you.

I can make you a success or failure.

I control the way you feel and the way you act.

I can make you laugh... work... love.

I can make your heart sing with joy... excitement... elation...

Or I can make you wretched... dejected... morbid...

I can make you sick... listless...

I can be as a shackle... heavy... attached... burdensome...

Or I can be as the prism’s hue... dancing... bright... fleeting...

lost forever unless captured by pen or purpose.

I can be nurtured and grown to be great and beautiful...

seen by the eyes of others through action in you.

I can never be removed... only replaced. I am a THOUGHT.
Why not know me better?

~ 1957, Bob Conklin ~