Don’t Waste Your Life…Or Your Death—Philippians 1:20-26


Levi Durfey 


20 According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death. 


21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. 22 But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labour: yet what I shall choose I wot not. 23 For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better: 24 Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you. 


25 And having this confidence, I know that I shall abide and continue with you all for your furtherance and joy of faith; 26 That your rejoicing may be more abundant in Jesus Christ for me by my coming to you again. (Philippians 1:20–26)


This is a great testimony from the apostle Paul. He was in prison in Rome, under a house arrest, with limited freedom. His court date was coming up. After that, he might going on living or he might die. But either option is just hunky-dory with Paul. 


To him, living would be gain and dying would be gain. It was a win-win situation for him.


I want to ask two main questions of this passage: First, how is living gain? Second, how is dying gain? Continue reading

And The Lord Hath Laid On Him The Iniquity Of Us All—Isaiah 53:4-6


Levi Durfey 


All of us have had problems in our lives that we could not solve by ourselves. It may have been medical or mechanical; it could have been mathematics or something else, but we simply couldn’t come to the solution by ourselves. 


Turn to Isaiah 53. The truth is, all of us are born in a situation where we have a problem—a spiritual problem—that we cannot solve by ourselves. We need help. Isaiah 53 describes our problem and God’s solution.


4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, 

And carried our sorrows: 


Yet we did esteem him stricken, 

Smitten of God, 

and afflicted. 


5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, 

He was bruised for our iniquities: 

The chastisement of our peace was upon him; 

And with his stripes we are healed. 


6 All we like sheep have gone astray; 

We have turned every one to his own way; 


And the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.


I want to come at this passage from two different angles. First, I want us to see how it describes our problem. Then, we’ll back up and take another run through to see God’s solution.

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Is Baptism Necessary To Be Saved?


Levi Durfey




Is baptism necessary to be saved? If it isn’t, then why should we be baptized? Many Christians have neglected being baptized for a variety of reasons, but in the end, it just boils down to not thinking baptism is that important.


It should be no surprise that there are Christian groups out there that have reacted against this seeming apathy to be baptized by making it a necessary part of being saved. 


One such group is called the church of Christ. One of their core beliefs is that a person must be baptized to be saved. Their “plan of salvation” is that you need to: Hear the Gospel, believe that Jesus is the Son of God, repent, publicly confess faith in Jesus, receive baptism for the forgiveness of sin, and remain faithful.


A popular book in the church of Christ is named, “Muscle and a Shovel” by Michael Shank. Shank’s book is basically the story about how he came to believe that baptism was necessary for salvation.


I could not find out why he named it “Muscle and a Shovel,” but it strikes me as a very odd name to give a book that is essentially a manual on how to get saved. Does it take muscle and a shovel to get saved?


I will say that I do appreciate the importance that Michael Shank and the churches of Christ give to baptism. I think they have overblown it by making  baptism necessary for salvation. But many other Christians have done the opposite and made baptism optional. The truth, as it often does, lies between.   


After thinking about this for awhile, I decided that if I got into a discussion with someone about whether or not baptism was was necessary for salvation, what I would do would be to change the topic: “So, what do you think about this crazy weather we’ve been having?” 


Okay, I wouldn’t change the subject that much, but I would try to focus the conversation more on the heart of salvation, namely…

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