OceanSide church of Christ

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Victor M. Eskew


A.             Religious questions have always been in the minds of men and women.

B.              One of the first questions to be asked of Jesus is found in Matthew 12:10.

And, behold, there was a man which had his hand withered.  And they asked him, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath days?  That they might accuse him.

C.              The purposes of religious questions are many:

1.                To inquire for a legitimate answer.

2.                To entrap the one who is asked the question.

3.                To incite an argument.

D.             The Bible teaches us several things about answering questions.

1.                Be ready to answer (I Peter 3:15).

But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts:  and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.

2.                Do not answer a fool if it makes you like him (Prov. 26:4).

Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him.

E.              Over the past several months, we have received a few questions from members ofOceanSide.

1.                Some of these have been answered in bulletin articles.

2.                Some we have kept in order to provide answers within a lesson. 

3.                Let’s begin by looking at a question about cremation.


A.             Cremation:  The act of reducing a corpse by burning.

B.              Until the mid-1800s, cremation was opposed by most religious groups in Christendom.  There were many reasons for this:

1.                Many thought the body was holy since it was the instrument that accomplished the Lord’s will (Rom. 6:12-13).

2.                It was also believed that the body is an integral part of the person and should be disposed of with reverence and honor. 

3.                There was also the belief that cremation had it origins in pagan practices.

4.                Lastly, most sought to follow the steps of Jesus who was buried in a tomb instead of being burned (Matt. 27:57-60).

C.              Of late, cremation has become more popular.

1.                Cost:  It is usually cheaper to cremate.

2.                Psychological:  Some would rather be burned than to have their remains rot in the ground.

3.                Stigma:  There is more acceptance of the practice by religious groups.

4.                Environmental:  Cremation is a safer environmental practice.

D.             The question still remains, however, can one be cremated and get to heaven?

1.                Let’s ask a couple of other questions:

a.         Can one donate his body to medical science?

b.         Can one be embalmed?

c.         Can one be buried at sea?

                        2.         The Bible does not legislate on the matters of burial.

a.         Most people who died in the Bible were buried either in tombs or in the ground (Abraham buried Sarah, Gen. 23:3-4).

                                    b.         However, just outside of Jerusalem was the garbage dump.

                                                1)         It was a place of continual burning.

2)         The bodies of criminals, outcasts, and the poor were often burned in this place.

3.         How one’s body is disposed of at death is a matter of personal decision.  Whatever method is chosen, the body returns to the dust (Eccl. 12:7).

Then shall the dust return unto the earth as it was…

E.              Whatever happens to the body after death will not prevent the Almighty God from resurrecting it.

1.                John 5:28-29.

Marvel not at this:  for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.

2.                Revelation 20:12-13.

And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened:  and another book was opened, which is the book of life:  and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.  And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them:  and they were judged every man according to their works.

II.      WHAT HAPPENS TO THE MAN WHO BELIEVES, REPENTS, AND CONFESSES, BUT DIES BEFORE BAPTISM?  Is he condemned, or is heart right enough with God to be saved?

A.             A question like this can fall into the category of one designed to entrap.

1.                It is a question that is emotionally charged because it deals with eternal salvation or eternal condemnation.

2.                Many times the one who asks the question already has his/her mind made up about the matter.

B.              To answer this question, we must turn to the Word of God with rationality and faith.

1.                Isaiah 8:20.

To the law and to the testimony:  if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.

2.                I Peter 4:11.

If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God…

C.              The Bible is the inspired Word of God (II Tim. 3:16).  Whatever it says is true because it is from God who cannot lie (Titus 1:2).  What does the Bible say about baptism and salvation?

1.                Two verses.

a.         Mark 16:15-16.

And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.  He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

                                    b.         I Peter 3:21.

The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

2.                These two verses are very plain.  One must be baptized in order to be saved.  If one is not baptized, he is not saved.

3.         NOTE:  There is not one example of a person that was saved without being baptized after Jesus died on the cross and after Acts 2.  If so, where is it?

a.         Some will try to argue that the thief on the cross is an example of one save without baptism.

b.         Answers:

1)         First, he is not an example of one saved without baptism after Jesus’ death and after Acts 2.

2)         Second, those who use the thief cannot prove that he was never baptized.  They assume that he was not.  He could have been baptized by John the Baptist.  Who is willing to stake his soul’s salvation on an assumption?


A.             Both questions were asked in such a way that they revolve around a person’s interest in eternal salvation.

B.              Eternity should be in the minds of everyone.

1.         What we do here has eternal consequences beyond.

2.         Our last question shows the importance of doing what one knows to do immediately.  If you have the knowledge of what you need to do to be saved, then “O, Why Not Tonight”?