Views of Mark 16:16

by Jeffrey W. Hamilton

Text: Mark 16:14-20


I.         Jesus had just one meaning in mind when he spoke Mark 16:16.

            A.        It isn’t for men to put their own spin on Jesus’ words - II Peter 1:20-21

            B.        Not that this has ever stopped people from trying

            C.        God doesn’t author confusion - I Corinthians 14:33

            D.        But men create confusion

II.        He who believes and is baptized will not be saved

            A.        Atheists hold the view that there is no God and thus nothing to be saved from.

                        1.         In their view it doesn’t matter if you believe or are baptized, they don’t think it will make any difference

            B.        But also all non-Christian religions who don’t accept Jesus’ divinity also hold this view - John 3:16

                        1.         They hold beliefs of salvation by some other means

                        2.         Though there is no other way - John 14:6

            C.        God desires everyone to be saved - I Timothy 2:4

                        1.         But it is based on belief in His existence - Hebrews 11:6

                        2.         Of which He has given plenty of evidence - Romans 1:20

                        3.         It is foolish to say there is no God - Psalms 14:1

III.       He who does not believe and is not baptized will be saved

            A.        This is the belief of universalists.

                        1.         They believe God saves everyone, reasoning that a loving God would not condemn anyone to hell

                        2.         Jesus died for all, so they claim that all are saved

            B.        But Jesus warned that few would be saved - Matthew 7:13-14

                        1.         Sin will keep you out of heaven - Ephesians 5:5-6

                        2.         Jesus will punish both those who do not know God and those who do not obey - II Thessalonians 1:7-9

IV.      He who does not believe and is baptized will be saved

            A.        Those who practice infant baptism advocate this.

                        1.         After all, an infant cannot believe; yet, the claim is that a baptism (actually sprinkling of water) will make them saved without belief.

                        2.         What they claim they are being saved from is the inherited sin of Adam.

            B.        However, there are prerequisites to baptism that infants cannot meet, beyond belief

                        1.         There is repentance - Acts 2:38

                        2.         And confession - Romans 10:8-10

            C.        Baptism does not mean sprinkling

                        1.         It means immersion

                        2.         It requires much water - John 3:23

                        3.         Seen in Acts 8:35-39

            D.        But even more fundamental, no one inherits sins - Ezekiel 18:20

                        1.         Children have not knowledge of good and evil – the result of Adam and Eve’s sin - Deuteronomy 1:39

V.        He who believes and is not baptized will be saved

            A.        This a view held by many who follow some aspects of John Calvin’s theology.

                        1.         These insist that salvation comes at the point of faith alone.

                        2.         If one is baptized, it is seen as an optional step, perhaps required to join a denomination, but certainly not to be saved from sin.

            B.        It contradicts James 2:24

            C.        Obedience is required for salvation - Matthew 7:21-23; Hebrews 5:9

                        1.         So do we acknowledge that baptism is commanded or not? - Acts 10:47-48

                        2.         This was in obedience to Jesus’ command - Matthew 28:18-20

            D.        What about the thief on the cross?

                        1.         First, it can’t be proved that he wasn’t baptized

                                    a.         John and Jesus were both baptizing - John 3:22-23

                                    b.         The thief, while dying on the cross, knew Jesus was going to come into his kingdom - Luke 23:42

                                    c.         Somehow, the thief understood more than Jesus’ own disciples

                        2.         Second, the command in Mark 16:16 was given after Jesus’ resurrection – after the thief died. Laws are not retroactive.

            E.        What does baptism do?

                        1.         Mark 16:16 - It saves

                        2.         John 3:3-5 - Puts a person into the kingdom

                        3.         Acts 2:38 - Gives forgiveness of sins

                        4.         Acts 2:38 - Brings the promised gift of the Holy Spirit

                        5.         Acts 22:16 - Washes away sins

                        6.         Romans 6:3-7 - Represents the death, burial and resurrection of Christ

                        7.         Romans 6:3-7 - Crucifies our old self, removes sin, frees us from sin, so we can walk in a new life

                        8.         Colossians 2:11-13 - Removes the body of flesh, makes us alive with him, forgives all our transgressions

                        9.         Galatians 3:27 - Clothes us with Christ

                        10.       I Peter 3:21 - It now saves

            F.        Does a person have faith if they do not obey all that Jesus commanded? - Matthew 28:19-20

VI.      He who believes and is baptized will be saved

            A.        This view alone takes Jesus’ words at face value - John 12:48-50

            B.        Which view do you believe? Which view will you practice?

            C.        The kingdom is too valuable to pass up - Matthew 13:44-46

Based on “5 Views of Mark 16:16" by Allen Webster

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