Do you believe that university life is about more than classes, assignments, studying and weekends? Are you interested in finding more meaning and purpose in your life? Do you enjoy listening to and sharing ideas with others? Then, please join our weekly Bible discussion group.

Campus Bible Talk meets every Monday during the school year (except during holidays and during Reading Week Breaks) at Athabasca Hall, Heritage Lounge, at 6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

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Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Counting the Benefits and the Cost of Following Jesus...

In our last lesson, we looked at some of the reasons to be baptized: 1. To be born again from the water and the spirit. 2. To receive forgiveness of sins. 3. To receive the Holy Spirit.
We discussed the urgency of baptism—that people were baptized immediately or shortly thereafter their decision to do so, without any fanfare or sort of ceremony related to baptism—and that all examples in the Book of Acts put baptism in the context of salvation: they do not mention one without mentioning the other.
We also talked about how baptism is not for babies, but people who have a full understanding of the reasons and the need to be baptized. And we concluded by mentioning the need for someone to consider whether his/her baptism was done for the right reasons.
Today, we’re going to look at what next. Baptism is not the end, but actually the beginning of our walk with Jesus. So, what comes next, after baptism, and have we counted the benefits and the costs of following Jesus?
In life, when we are considering a course of action (going to university/finding a job) or making a purchase (car, cellphone), it is useful to compare the benefits to the cost. What will I profit from this choice or by having this product in my life? And what is the cost?
When it comes to university, for example, what are some of the benefits?
What about the costs?
In Acts 11:19-26, we read about the Church in Antioch: 19 Now those who had been scattered by the persecution that broke out when Stephen was killed traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch, spreading the word only among Jews. 20 Some of them, however, men from Cyprus and Cyrene, went to Antioch and began to speak to Greeks also, telling them the good news about the Lord Jesus. 21 The Lord’s hand was with them, and a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord.
22 News of this reached the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. 23 When he arrived and saw what the grace of God had done, he was glad and encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts. 24 He was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith, and a great number of people were brought to the Lord.
25 Then Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, 26 and when he found him, he brought him to Antioch. So for a whole year Barnabas and Saul met with the church and taught great numbers of people. The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch.
What are Jesus’ followers called here?
First called ‘disciples’ then later ‘Christians’.
What do these words mean to you? ‘Disciple’ means student or someone who learns, and this shows they learned Jesus’ teachings and followed them in their lives. ‘Christian’ showed who you belonged to, where your citizenship was – in Christ.
Note that these were called Christians, without making any distinction of them being Catholic or Lutherans or protestants.
In Mark 1:16-18 we read the story when Jesus calls His first disciples or followers: 16 As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. 17 “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” 18 At once they left their nets and followed him.
What does it mean to follow?
To have someone lead you, to give up what you want and instead to do what they want. Like a trail guide, there is someone you trust to take the lead and guide you on the right path.
So a follower of Jesus, follows Jesus, in all aspects of life, in word, thought and deed.
What does Jesus mean when he said that Simon and Andrew will be fishing for men?
Jesus gives them meaning in life. There is no greater purpose in life than to influence the eternal destiny of other people, helping them to gain salvation in Jesus Christ. Go out, look for, work on, patient, attract and gather some. Jesus wants all disciples to be fishers of men.
In Luke 9:23-26, we read: 23 Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. 25 What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self? 26 Whoever is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.

Who is Jesus speaking to in these verses? “Whoever” or “anyone” – so not a select few but rather He is speaking to all people who would want to follow Him. 

What does it mean to deny self? We are to deny just as Peter did in Matthew 26:14 when he denied Jesus. I don’t know the man! We do not simply do what we want or feel like doing, especially when it is contrary to what God wants. 

In Jesus day, what did they use the cross for? Crosses were horrific, painful instruments of death. 

What does it mean to take up your cross? Take up your instrument of death and kill your sinful self and sinful actions daily with it. It means to do whatever God asks of you. For Jesus, dying on the cross was the role the Father needed Him to do. It is a daily death of sinful self and doing the Lord’s will. 

What does it mean to follow Jesus or be a disciple of Jesus? To be a disciple of Jesus or to follow Jesus means a person has to say no to self and yes to Jesus in all situations in their lives daily.

Again in Luke 14:25-33, we read: 25 Now great multitudes went with Him. And He turned and said to them, 26 “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. 27 And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. 28 For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it— 29 lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, 30 saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish’? 31 Or what king, going to make war against another king, does not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? 32 Or else, while the other is still a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks conditions of peace. 33 So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple.

Then in Matthew 10:37-38, we read: 37 He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. 38 And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me.
What are the conditions Jesus states we must meet if we want to follow Him? We must want to please Jesus more than pleasing any other person, even ourselves. Matthew 10 shows that ‘hate’ means to ‘love less’.

Why is the decision to build a tower a good metaphor for deciding to follow Jesus?
The person building the tower thinks of the costs and benefits and if they can really build and maintain it before they begin. This ensures success. We do the same in making the decision to become a Christian/disciple. BENEFITS/COST EXERCISE.

There are 3 things Jesus says are necessary to be a disciple of His:

1)        Love for God (vs 26): A person must put God first in his/her life. God is on the throne of our lives and no one else. We do not put family, friends, work, recreation or anything else in this world as a priority over God and His will for our lives. Neither do we put the things of this world ahead of God but rather God is why we say and do the things we do.

2)        Denial of Self (vs 27): A person must be willing to continually crucify the desires they have that are contrary to what God would want them to do.

3)        Complete Surrender (vs 33): A person must be willing to give up EVERYTHING and not just SOME THINGS. A person must be willing to turn all areas of their life over to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. He is the Master of your life. (Colossians 3:23-24).

Hebrews 6:4-6 warns us about the dangers of coming to faith and then leaving: 4 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, 5 and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, 6 if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame.
Why is it this way?
The next time, we will talk about the benefits of becoming a Christian.

Friday, January 11, 2019

Reasons to be Baptized

In our last lesson, we discussed what the Bible says about whether we need to be baptized or not. We looked at the example of Jesus—He was baptized so to “fulfill all righteousness” as we read in Matthew 3. We discussed that if it was not important, why would Jesus insist that He be baptized? Then we looked at how Jesus said in John 3, that “no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit.” And we ended by focusing on Jesus command given in Mark 16:16: Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.
Today we are going to look at five reasons to be baptized. Now, let’s keep in mind that every time “baptism” is mentioned in the Bible, it is always directly or indirectly related to salvation. In all ten examples of conversions in the Book of Acts, baptism is part of the salvation process. Believing, confessing, repenting are mentioned in some of them.

Q: Why is that?

Q: Why is baptism mentioned at all times?

Baptism is something that is mentioned in all ten examples, because it was something that these people needed to do. And there was always an urgency attached to the baptism, something that needed to be done right away, after the person was convinced of their need to be saved. In Acts 16:31-33, we read: They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.” 32 Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. 33 At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his household were baptized.

Q: When did baptism happen?

In Acts 22:16, we have the conversion of Paul and we read: And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name.’

Q: Why was baptism so urgent in this case for Paul?

Reasons to be Baptized...

The main reasons to be baptized, besides having salvation, are as follows:

1.         To become disciples of Jesus – Matthew 28:18-20: Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.

How does one become a disciple? Being baptized, learning and obeying the teachings of Christ.

2.        To be born again – John 3:5

We mentioned this before, not a physical birth, of course, but the symbolic. How can one be born again from the water if baptism is removed from the plan of salvation? What is to replace this water if not the baptism?

3.        To receive forgiveness of sins – Acts 2:38

When Peter talked to the Jews, he told them to: “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Q: Did these people have faith?

Q: Did these people have the forgiveness of their sins?

4.        To receive the gift of the Holy Spirit – Acts 2:38

It’s the same verse, but this time we can highlight that baptism would give these people the gift of the Holy Spirit, which they did not have and would not have unless they were baptized.

5.        To be buried and resurrected with Christ – Romans 6:3-5

In these verses we read, 3 Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.

Again, if we remove “baptism” from the picture, what is supposed to take its place? How do I get buried with Christ so that I can be raised again?

Please note that faith, repentance, or obedience are not the terms that are associated with this process of being buried and raised again. It is the word “baptism” that is used in this verse and in all other verses that we reviewed.

Finally, a short note about the idea that is taught sometime that “baptism is an outward proclamation of an inward conversion” or “the outward expression of what is in your heart.” While these might sound good, the problem is that they are not based on the Bible. There are no verses that connect baptism with this expression.

“Confession” is the moment and the step where we tell the people around us, with our mouth, that we believe in Jesus as our Lord. So we have faith in our heart, and we express this faith through the confession. This is clearly taught in Romans 10: 9-10, which we studied the last time, but today we’re just going to read: If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

Conclusion: The Bible teaches clearly on the need to be baptized so that one can be saved. If we remove baptism from the plan of God, we have an incomplete plan, and a person that is very close to being saved, but it is not saved.

In our next lesson, we’ll study about remaining saved and about counting that cost that comes with us remaining in Jesus Christ.


1.      Baptism is not for babies, but only for people who have reached the age of maturity – not specific age given in the Bible, but the person needs to have understanding of their situation and the need for baptism.

Who should be baptized?  Those who can and have been taught the gospel, can believe the message, repent of their sins and confess faith in Christ’s ability to save us.  Mark 16:15-16, Acts 2:37-38, Acts 8:36-39.

2.     Is someone saved before baptism?
The newness of Life starts after baptism as we read in Romans 6:4-5.
The math of Jesus (Believe + Baptism = Salvation) Mark 16:15-16, man’s incorrect math (Believe = Salvation + Baptism)

3.     Should I be baptized if I was baptized?
Yes, if one was baptized for the reasons that are not given in the Bible:
a.      Forced into baptism (did not do it on own freewill);
b.      (No teaching took place) Matthew 28:19;
c.      Not taught correctly (I was saved before, symbol of inward grace, etc.)
d.     Wrong baptism - Acts 19:1-6

4.    When should I be baptized?
a.      When I am taught and convicted – Acts 2:36-41
b.      Any hour, time, the same day – Acts 2:41 and 47, 8:36-38, 16:25-34