DEFINITION: Blasphemy is disrespect shown towards God, His Word, or something that is deemed holy.
FACTS ABOUT BLASPHEMY:
Blasphemy can occur in various ways. You can blaspheme not only by what you say, but also by your conduct. Riotous, sinful behavior does not show respect towards God and His Word and is a form of blasphemy. Using God’s name in vain as a curse word is blasphemy.
Blasphemy starts in the heart. Jesus said that blasphemy–as other sins–begins in the heart (Mark 7:20-23).
Blasphemy is sin. Jesus said one who blasphemed needs forgiveness (Mark 3:18).
DEALING WITH BLASPHEMY:
Identify your blasphemous behavior. Are you committing blasphemy by what you say or do?
Repent. Blasphemy is sin (Mark 7:20-23). As in all sinful behavior, it requires repentance.
Ask God to create a new heart in you. Since blasphemy comes from the heart, your heart needs to be changed. Claim this scripture: “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws” (Ezekiel 36:26-27).
WHAT GOD’S WORD SAYS ABOUT BLASPHEMY:
I tell you the truth, all the sins and blasphemies of men will be forgiven them. (Mark 3:28)
And He said, “What comes out of a man, that defiles a man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within and defile a man.” (Mark 7:20-23, NKJV)
But now you yourselves are to put off all these: Anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him, (Colossians 3:8-10, NKJV)
And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven. (Luke 12:10)
(See the “Unpardonable Sin” in this database.)
DEFINITION: Bitterness is characterized by an unforgiving spirit and accompanying negative and critical attitudes. It begins when you harbor offences by others, allow disappointments to germinate in your heart, and permit resentment to grow.
FACTS ABOUT BITTERNESS:
Bitterness is destructive. Bitterness is a bottled-up feeling that will eat away at you until you finally explode externally or implode spiritually (Galatians 5:19-20).
Bitterness affects others. Bitterness will spread from you to others: “See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many”>(Hebrews 12:15)
Bitterness affects how you talk. Paul said that the mouths of unrighteous men are filled with “cursing and bitterness” (Romans 3:14).
Bitterness is sin. Peter told a man named Simon: “You have no part or share in this ministry, because your heart is not right before God. Repent of this wickedness and pray to the Lord. Perhaps he will forgive you for having such a thought in your heart. For I see that you are full of bitterness and captive to sin” (Acts 8:20-23).
Bitterness will hinder your ministry. Peter told Simon that he had no part of the ministry because of the sin and bitterness in his heart.
DEALING WITH BITTERNESS:
Determine what caused your bitterness. What event, circumstance, disappointment, relationship, etc., planted the root of bitterness in your heart? Go to the root cause and identify it so you can deal with it.
Repent of your bitterness. Repent and ask forgiveness for bitterness and the unforgiveness, anger, etc., that caused it.
Extend and ask forgiveness. You may need to ask forgiveness of others who have been affected by your bitter spirit. You may also need to forgive someone who hurt or failed you which led to your bitterness. The Bible commands: “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (Ephesians 4:31-32).
WHAT GOD’S WORD SAYS ABOUT BITTERNESS:
Hide me from the secret plots of the wicked, From the rebellion of the workers of iniquity, Who sharpen their tongue like a sword, And bend their bows to shoot their arrows–bitter words, That they may shoot in secret at the blameless; Suddenly they shoot at him and do not fear. (Psalm 64:2-4, NKJV)
“You have no part or share in this ministry, because your heart is not right before God. Repent of this wickedness and pray to the Lord. Perhaps he will forgive you for having such a thought in your heart. For I see that you are full of bitterness and captive to sin” (Acts 8:20-23).
There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one. Their throats are open graves; their tongues practice deceit. The poison of vipers is on their lips. Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness. Their feet are swift to shed blood; ruin and misery mark their ways, and the way of peace they do not know. There is no fear of God before their eyes. (Romans 3:10-18)
Love… is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.(1 Corinthians 13:5)
Husbands, love your wives and do not be bitter toward them. (Colossians 3:19, NKJV)
Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. (Ephesians 4:31-32)
Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord. Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of man; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled. (Hebrews 12:14- 15)
Does a spring send forth fresh water and bitter from the same opening? (James 3:11, NKJV)
But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. (James 3:14-15, NKJV)
DEFINITION: The word “baptize” used in the Bible means to entirely immerse or submerge.
FACTS ABOUT BAPTISMS:
The New Testament mentions four different baptisms. These are Christ’s baptism of suffering; the baptism of John; Christian baptism; and baptism in the Holy Spirit. The first two were unique to New Testament times. The last two are experiences for all believers.
-Christ’s baptism of suffering refers to His death on the cross (Luke 12:50). This baptism was unique to Christ and His suffering for our sins.
-The baptism of John was performed during his ministry. John made two demands on the people: Repentance and public confession of sins. Those who were willing to meet these God-given requirements were baptized by John in the Jordan River as a public testimony that they had repented of their sins. John’s baptism was for those who repented prior to the death and resurrection of Christ.
-Christian baptism is the term used to refer to water baptism of a person who has confessed faith in Jesus Christ. The biblical pattern for this baptism is immersion in water.
-The baptism of the Holy Spirit is an immersion in the power of the Spirit that occurred after the ascension of Christ back into heaven (Acts 2).
Christian baptism should be done by immersion in water, following the example of the Lord Jesus Christ (Matthew 3:13-17).
Baptism in water is a command. It is not an option. Many believers procrastinate or ignore water baptism because they think it is optional. Jesus commanded his disciples saying: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 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, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:18-20). From that point on, people were baptized upon their confession of faith, fulfilling the Lord’s command.
Requirements for Christian baptism in water are:
-Repentance: Repenting from your sin (Acts 2:38-39).
-Believing in the Lord Jesus Christ and confessing Him as Savior (Mark 16:15-16).
-Instruction. New believers should be taught the meaning of baptism before they are baptized. This does not have to be lengthy instruction. Most New Testament converts were baptized immediately after conversion (Acts 8:36-38).
Baptism of babies. When Jesus was an infant, His parents brought Him to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord, but He was not baptized (Luke 2:22). Jesus was baptized when he was old enough to know what He was doing and the reason why He was doing it (Matthews 3:13-17). Babies can be presented to the Lord for dedication and blessing by the laying on of hands, but a person should not be baptized until they understand the meaning of the act and have met the Biblical requirements. There is no set age at which this understanding comes. It depends on the mental and spiritual development of each individual child.
Baptism does not save you. It is a public confession that you have been saved, you are dead to the old life, and risen to new life in Christ (1 Peter 3:21-22).
The significance of Christian baptism is that you are following the Lord’s example by making a public confession of faith (Romans 6:1-4). It symbolizes death to sin as you are immersed in the “grave” of water and resurrection into new life as you come up out of the water.
Words to be spoken at the time of baptism. According to the Bible, baptism “in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ” or in the “Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit” are both acceptable to be spoken at the time of Christian baptism. There is no conflict between either wording because both refer to the Trinity of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The following wording is suggested: “Upon the basis of the confession of your faith, in the name of God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, I baptize you into the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Requirements for baptism in the Holy Spirit. You must be a believer: “Peter replied, ‘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. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off–for all whom the Lord our God will call'” (Acts 2:38-39). You receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit just as you did salvation: By faith.
DEALING WITH BAPTISMS:
If you are not saved, accept Christ as your Savior. This is mandatory in order to participate in Christian baptism.
After accepting Christ, be baptized by immersion in water as a public confession of your faith, your death to the old life, and your resurrection to new life in Christ. Water baptism is usually done by a pastor or spiritual leader.
Receive the gift of the Holy Spirit baptism after your conversion. Study the following instances of the baptism of the Holy Spirit in New Testament times:
-Acts 9:17-19 recalls how Saul (Paul) received his healing, baptism in the Spirit, and water baptism all in one day.
-Acts 2:2-4 records what happened on the day of Pentecost.
-Acts 10:44-46 records what happened when Peter preached the Gospel to a man named Cornelius and his family.
-Acts 19:6 describes what happened to the first group of converts at Ephesus.
See also Acts 1:8, Matthew 3:11, Mark 1:8, Luke 3:16, John 1:33, Acts 1:5, and 11:16. For further instructions see the Harvestime International Network publication entitled “Ministry Of The Holy Spirit” available at http://www.harvestime.org.
WHAT GOD’S WORD SAYS ABOUT BAPTISMS:
I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.(Matthew 3:11)
Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. But John tried to deter him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John consented. As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:13-17)
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 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, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)
He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.”(Mark 16:15-16)
The people were waiting expectantly and were all wondering in their hearts if John might possibly be the Christ. John answered them all, “I baptize you with water. But one more powerful than I will come, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. (Luke 3:16)
I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high. (Luke 24:49)
Then John gave this testimony: “I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. I would not have known him, except that the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is he who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ I have seen and I testify that this is the Son of God.” (John 1:32-34)
And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever–the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. (John 14:16-17)
For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.(Acts 1:5)
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. (Acts 1:8)
When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. (Acts 2:2-4)
“In the last days,” God says, “I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy.” (Acts 2:17-18)
Peter replied, “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. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off–for all whom the Lord our God will call.”(Acts 2:38-39)
But when they believed Philip as he preached the good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. (Acts 8:12)
When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them. When they arrived, they prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit, because the Holy Spirit had not yet come upon any of them; they had simply been baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus. Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit. (Acts 8:14-17)
As they traveled along the road, they came to some water and the eunuch said, “Look, here is water. Why shouldn’t I be baptized?” And he gave orders to stop the chariot. Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptized him. (Acts 8:36-38)
Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord-Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here–has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized, and after taking some food, he regained his strength. (Acts 9:17-19)
While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message. The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles. For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God. Then Peter said, “Can anyone keep these people from being baptized with water? They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have.” So he ordered that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked Peter to stay with them for a few days. (Acts 10:44-48)
“As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit came on them as he had come on us at the beginning. Then I remembered what the Lord had said: ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.'” (Acts 11:15-16)
Before the coming of Jesus, John preached repentance and baptism to all the people of Israel.(Acts 13:24)
One of those listening was a woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth from the city of Thyatira, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message. When she and the members of her household were baptized, she invited us to her home. “If you consider me a believer in the Lord,” she said, “come and stay at my house.” And she persuaded us. (Acts 16:14-15)
Then Paul left the synagogue and went next door to the house of Titius Justus, a worshiper of God. Crispus, the synagogue ruler, and his entire household believed in the Lord; and many of the Corinthians who heard him believed and were baptized. (Acts 18:7-8)
Meanwhile a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus. He was a learned man, with a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures. He had been instructed in the way of the Lord, and he spoke with great fervor and taught about Jesus accurately, though he knew only the baptism of John. He began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they invited him to their home and explained to him the way of God more adequately.(Acts 18:24-26)
While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul took the road through the interior and arrived at Ephesus. There he found some disciples and asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” They answered, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” So Paul asked, “Then what baptism did you receive?” “John’s baptism,” they replied. Paul said, “John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance. He told the people to believe in the one coming after him, that is, in Jesus.” On hearing this, they were baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus. When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied. (Acts 19:1-6)
What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 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. (Romans 6:1-4)
For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body–whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free– and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. (1 Corinthians 12:13)
There is one body and one Spirit–just as you were called to one hope when you were called– one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. (Ephesians 4:4-6)
…having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead. (Colossians 2:12)
…and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also–not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a good conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at God’s right hand–with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him. (1 Peter 3:21-22)
(See also the Harvestime International Network publications entitled “Foundations Of Faith” and “Ministry Of The Holy Spirit” available at http://www.harvestime.org)
DEFINITION: Backsliding is when a believer deliberately goes back into sin, turns away from God, or becomes rebellious to the will of God. Backsliding starts in the heart and then is expressed through outward actions.
FACTS ABOUT BACKSLIDING:
Backsliding is closely aligned with carnality. One’s own desires and devices are acted out in opposition to God’s will (1 Corinthians 3:3; Proverbs 14:14).
Backsliding results from a general falling away from God due to conscious rejection of the truth revealed in His Word. Sins of the flesh also lead to backsliding, i.e., deliberately engaging in immorality, addictions, etc. There is an indifference towards God, His Word, and the church, and making other things a priority ahead of the spiritual.
Your own backsliding condemns you. It is your own backsliding that condemns you (Jeremiah 2:19). Jesus did not come to condemn you, but to give you abundant life (John 10:10)
Backsliding is a sin. Like all sin, God will forgive it when you repent.
DEALING WITH BACKSLIDING:
Identify the issues that caused you to backslide. Was it disappointment with God? Did you refuse to do something God asked you to do. Was it because of unanswered prayer? Hanging out with worldly people in worldly places? Unwholesome media through the TV, Internet, videos, music, and literature? Did you continue to engage in willful sin or did you just grow cold in your intimate relationship with God? It is important to identify where you began to backslide so that you will not fall into the same trap again.
Confess backsliding as sin. Ask forgiveness, and you will be forgiven (1 John 1:9).
Pray for restoration. David prayed: “Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me” (Psalm 51:12).
Make a new commitment to God. After praying for restoration, David promised to make evangelism, praise and worship, and sacrificial living a priority (Psalm 51:13-19).
WHAT GOD’S WORD SAYS ABOUT BACKSLIDING:
Can papyrus grow tall where there is no marsh? Can reeds thrive without water? While still growing and uncut, they wither more quickly than grass. Such is the destiny of all who forget God; so perishes the hope of the godless. (Job 8:11-13)
Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord does not count against him and in whose spirit is no deceit. (Psalm 32:1-2)
Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. (Psalm 51:12)
Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you. Make level paths for your feet and take only ways that are firm. Do not swerve to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil. (Proverbs 4:25)
If you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all. (Isaiah 7:9)
Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? (Isaiah 43:18-19)
Let him return unto the Lord … for He will abundantly pardon. (Isaiah 55:7)
“Your wickedness will punish you; your backsliding will rebuke you. Consider then and realize how evil and bitter it is for you when you forsake the Lord your God and have no awe of me,” declares the Lord, the Lord Almighty. (Jeremiah 2:19)
Return, faithless people; I will cure you of backsliding. Yes, we will come to you for you are the Lord our God. (Jeremiah 3:22)
Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who depends on flesh for his strength and whose heart turns away from the Lord. (Jeremiah 17:5)
1 will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely… (Hosea 14:4)
Some people are like seed along the path, where the word is sown. As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them…Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful. (Mark 4:1518-19)
And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger. I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee… (Luke 15:17-18. The story of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15 is a tremendous example of being restored after backsliding.)
You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere men? (1 Corinthians 3:3)
So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! (1 Corinthians 10:12)
Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. (1 Corinthians 15:58)
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)
Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lamp stand from its place. (Revelation 2:4-5)
(See also “Unfaithfulness” in this database.)