Introduction: Confession time. Do you have fantasies about being
great, or beautiful or powerful? Over the decades that I’ve been
fighting in the courtrooms for religious liberty, I have this
recurrent fantasy of being some kind of modern day Roman warrior –
battling the bad guys. Of course, my muscles are small, I’m not wild
about blood, and if you came at me with a sword, I’d likely run the
other way. As I get older, the muscle situation is not improving.
Some of my ancestors actually had “Running” as their last name! One
of the customs of Roman warriors is to tap their chest over their
heart with a closed fist as a symbol of loyalty to Rome. More than
once I’ve done that as an act of loyalty to God. Instead of silly
fantasies, does God have real symbols of loyalty to Him? Do God’s
symbols make sense? What does the Bible reveal about this? Bible
study warriors, let’s charge forward and see what we can find in our
study of this topic!

  1. Naaman

    1. Read Mark 16:15-16. These are some of Jesus’ last words to
      His disciples. What is the path to salvation? (To believe
      and be baptized.)

      1. What is the logic behind the act of baptism? Why
        should it be a sign of loyalty and belief?

    2. Read 2 Kings 5:1. What relationship does Naaman have to
      God? (God is working through him.)

    3. Read 2 Kings 5:2-3. Is Naaman the enemy of Israel? (Yes!
      He is taking God’s people as slaves.)

      1. What kind of attitude does the slave girl have
        towards the man who holds her in slavery?

    4. Read 2 Kings 5:4-7. How did the King of Israel view
      Naaman’s medical condition? (It was a death sentence. “Can
      I … bring back to life?”)

      1. Compare the King’s attitude with the slave girl’s

    5. Read 2 Kings 5:8-10. In what ways does this remind you of
      baptism? (Baptism addresses a problem that is fatal.
      Baptism is a kind of washing.)

    6. Read 2 Kings 5:11-12. What kind of objections does Naaman
      raise? (Leprosy should be cured by magical power! If it is
      cured by water, at least it should be clean water. This
      makes no sense to Naaman.)

    7. Read 2 Kings 5:13. What counter logic do Naaman’s servants

      1. Remember when we started out, I was talking about
        Roman warriors and how they show allegiance? If
        baptism is a symbol of our allegiance to God, should
        we have the same kinds of objections as Naaman? (How
        can water wash us of our sins? Sin is an “inside”

      2. Why would God use baptism, as opposed to some test of
        loyalty, to be the gateway to salvation? (We see
        grace everywhere if we just look. Naaman was a mighty
        warrior. God told him to just wash. God didn’t ask
        for deeds. He didn’t ask for money. He just asked
        Naaman to put aside his logic and wash. Anyone who
        trusted could wash. Washing was the cure for certain

    8. Read 2 Kings 5:14-15. What does God do for Naaman? (He
      cleans him from leprosy – the rot of death.)

  2. Baptism

    1. Read 1 Peter 3:18-21. How is the flood like baptism? What
      has this to do with Jesus’ sacrifice?

      1. Peter tells us that baptism is not about “dirt,” but
        is a pledge. What does the flood teach us about this
        “pledge?” (The pledge was a decision to enter the
        ark. They chose to believe that destruction was
        coming and God’s plan was the only way to escape

    2. Read Colossians 2:9-14. Is the pledge in baptism one of
      obedience, like that of a Roman warrior? (No. We take the
      “pledge” in baptism, but it is God who makes us clean. He
      nails our sins to the cross. He lives in us.)

    3. Read Romans 6:1-4. How does this pledge work? (We make a
      decision to die to sin – to join in Jesus’ death on the
      cross. Jesus’ death is our death for sin. We are to live a
      new life.)

    4. Read Romans 6:5-10. What other results follow from this
      pledge? (Jesus’ resurrection is our resurrection from
      eternal death.)

    5. Read Romans 6:11-14. Is this pledge something we continue
      to make? (Yes. The New Testament does not speak of
      multiple baptisms, but it tells us to “offer” our self to
      God. Baptism is the pledge that we want to join in Jesus’
      life, death and resurrection. Then we make a daily
      decision to affirm that pledge by joining in the battle on
      God’s side.)

      1. Read 2 Kings 5:17. How does Naaman’s pledge help us
        to understand our baptismal pledge? (When we see what
        God has done for us, the natural response is to say
        “I will always serve You.”)

    6. Read Matthew 28:18-20. Why is the Trinity at the heart of
      baptism? (Because our pledge of fidelity is to the entire
      Godhead. Because we want a relationship with all three.)

  3. Foot Washing

    1. Read John 13:3. Put yourself in Jesus’ place. If you knew
      this, how would you feel? (I would feel like celebrating!
      Of course, knowing the cross was ahead would put a damper
      on my emotions.)

    2. Read John 13:4-5. How is “so,” the right transition word?
      If you are the Master of the Universe, why is “therefore
      He started washing feet” the logical conclusion? So, he
      started cleaning toilets. So, he started raking leaves.
      So, he carried out the trash.

    3. Read John 13:6-7. Are we in the same boat as Peter? This
      does not make sense!

    4. Read John 13:12-16. Now, answer the “so” for me. How is
      Jesus’ understanding that He is the Master of the Universe
      the logical foundation for “so He started washing feet?”

      1. How was Jesus about to become the Master of the
        Universe? (By giving up His life for us. By dying in
        our place. If Jesus’ triumph was one of self-sacrifice, so our triumph must be the same.)

    5. Read John 13:14 and John 13:17. When most Christians
      celebrate the Lord’s Supper, they do not wash each others
      feet. Should they? (Yes. Jesus tells us to do this. Just
      as baptism is a symbol of our entry into the Kingdom of
      Heaven, so foot-washing is a symbol of our commitment to
      Christian service. We are blessed by this symbol of self-sacrifice.)

  4. Lord’s Supper

    1. Read Matthew 26:19-20. Jesus directs His disciples to
      prepare the Passover. What did the Passover celebrate?
      (Read Exodus 12:5-7 and Exodus 12:12-14. Passover
      celebrated an escape from a judgment of God.)

      1. What elements of grace do you find in Passover? (The
        people had to follow the directions for preparing and
        posting the blood, but escape from judgment had
        nothing to do with whether the people in the house
        were good or bad. God looked for the blood, God did
        not evaluate the character of the people inside.)

      2. Why did Jesus direct His disciples to celebrate the

    2. Read 1 Corinthians 11:23-26. How are Passover and the
      Lord’s Supper linked? (Jesus used the Passover meal to
      create a new ordinance. Instead of remembering that the
      blood on the doorpost saved them from the judgment of God,
      we now remember that the blood of Jesus shed for our sins
      saves us from the judgment of God.)

    3. What common theme do you find in baptism, foot washing and
      the Lord’s supper? (They all celebrate God giving up
      Himself for us.)

      1. Why does God want us to take the pledge of baptism,
        wash feet and participate in the Lord’s supper? (To
        fix in our minds what Jesus has done for us and the
        centrality of giving up ourselves for the benefit of

      2. Think about the sin that plagues you the most. What
        part does selfishness play in it? (Lord, forgive me
        for my selfishness! The pledge of the Roman warrior
        was not so much about being strong and brave, it was
        about something greater than the individual warrior.
        The same is true for us.)

    4. Friend, will you take the pledge of loyalty to the Kingdom
      of God? Will you confess the sin of selfishness and use
      the reminders God has ordained to restrain your selfish

  5. Next week: The Law and the Gospel.