Two things of interest happened last week at the truck stop. I got there early and was talking to a young man who had a good grasp of the Scriptures and a colorful way of explaining some basic concepts. I found it interesting, though, that he felt no need to get baptized. Getting dunked in water doesn't really do anything, he reasoned. He referred to the verse that talks about the washing of the water of the word. He studies the Bible, and that washes and cleanses him. While I agree that Bible study is good and has a cleansing effect, the Bible mentions water baptism over and over again. Even if one does have questions on what baptism really does, why wouldn't one want to be baptized anyway, given the Biblical example? And what about Jesus? Here was someone who had no need to have sins washed away through the waters of baptism, yet he was baptized.
I was going to turn to Matthew where John the Baptist questioned Jesus about wanting to be baptized even though he did not need to, and Jesus reply ("to fulfill all righteousness"), but I didn't get the chance. He remembered he had clothes in the laundry room that needed tending, but he would be right back. Turns out, he didn't come back. I believe this is somewhat of a malady these days, that is, the hesitancy to take this step, this commitment. I would like to know why that is.
[Jesus was always ready to answer hard questions with wisdom and the truth of the Scripture, and this seems to be a good example of the same. I have met others who argue against baptism, and while there are many different reasons, they virtually always follow the course of “do you have to be baptized to be saved”—none ever give specific scriptures explaining why a believer should avoid baptism. Yes, the thief on the cross (Luke ) was probably not baptized. But most other believers were. If God gives us something to do that helps us, I would hope every believer would want to do it. We may never know whether that man considered what you said and changed, or just forgot it. In any case, good seed was sown – NSE]
Not long after this, another man came in and told me that he
had studied the Bible intensely while in prison, and over the course of 18
months completed a Bible course by correspondence with a Bible school somewhere
[Another difficult error, but one I have seen multiple times in Sabbatarian circles. I cannot say that these people are unconverted, but when they believe that Jews and/or other races are not capable of salvation, it is very difficult to work with them. How can I call one man a brother when he regards my other brother as a “beast of the field”? That creates division which we should avoid! (Rom 16:17) -- NSE]
It was a good thing that I had only one truck driver today because it afforded him the opportunity to ask lots of questions one on one. He had been through during the week and picked up a tape. (There are lots of sermon tapes that people including me leave in a box for truck drivers to pick up.) My guess is, he picked up a tape from CEM because he wanted to talk about the state of the dead. Why, he asked, is there a need for a resurrection from the dead if people are already in heaven? What about Lazarus and the Rich man?
We worked our way through these questions in detail, including a review of the different resurrections and how Lazarus and the Rich Man, if viewed through the template of Revelation 20, can be made to fit the scenario of the resurrections just as easily as it could fit the theory of heaven and hell.
He and I spent a good hour and a half together, with him asking question after question, and my trying to answer them. I believe what he said about his interest in Christianity, that he only become interested about four months ago. He said. “One day he woke up and it was almost like God was telling him that he needed to pray, so he started praying.” He had only a basic knowledge of things, but was hungry for learning. He is surprised how much that is being taught is not really found in the Bible, and he wants to check up what people say against the Bible itself.
I always have a stack of tapes at the study to give away if
anyone is interested, and he asked me if he could have them all. I was happy to
accommodate him. These were all tapes from CEM, and he wanted to know if he
Sorry I have not shared the events of the day in some time. Not to minimize the value people place on the study summaries, but there is a matter of priorities. Often I have other tasks that take priority over writing, and unless something particularly out of the ordinary happens, there will likely not be a summary. But I can assure you that we have had the truck stop covered every week since inception, and I do believe we are providing a valuable service.
We had a total of seven guests today, and I must express my appreciation for the knowledge of the Bible that many of these men and women have. When you see a truck driver, please don't stereotype them. Many of them are quite educated (by both the world's standards and otherwise), and many have very solid Biblical understanding. Last week, for example, we had a couple who had attended bible school for a while and are now studying via correspondence. While I might not agree with all they believe, they do have some solid Bible understanding.
One woman today was quite interesting to listen to. When she started talking about the rapture, I asked her where the scriptures talk about the rapture, and she had some difficulty except by analogy. But lest you jump to conclusions about her, she has studied about the Holy Days and understands them quite well, but also has concluded that the Sabbath is the seventh day of the week.
One of the other truck drivers, who was also well-versed in the scriptures stated that God does not limit us to worship on one day of the week, and therefore the Sabbath is more of a principle than any one specific day of the week. She replied, before I had a chance, that of course we should worship every day of the week. But, the question isn't whether we should worship God on only one day of the week, but which day is the Sabbath according to the scriptures, and one can come to only one conclusion about that.
It was interesting that she said she would attend church on Saturday if she had a chance to, but she refuses to meet with Seventh Day Adventists, and truck stop ministries do not offer services on the Sabbath. We had a two-hour discussion today, and I left feeling pretty good about what happened.
[I hope that many independent congregations will take up this challenge and put their name in your local yellow pages as a “Sabbath-observing” church congregation. Many big cities do not have any listings except Seventh Day Adventists or possibly Messianic Jewish groups. The cheapest way to obtain a yellow pages listing is often by purchasing a second telephone number—a business line—for someone’s home. It usually comes with a free single-line yellow page listing. In many areas, you may not even need a second phone line or phone; the second number can ring the same phone with a “distinctive ring”. People looking for a Sabbatarian group often call listing in the yellow pages, so one does not need a big ad. Many have attended our local congregation because of our listing. Do not try to make your groups sound bigger than it is. If all you have is a small in-home fellowship, then just say that. Many whom God leads to the Sabbath want to get together on the Sabbath to study the Bible for some time. Later, God will lead you to do more. — NSE]