Lesson 1: The Word, the Gospel and the Doctrine
Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the present truth.
We use what I call a Back to the Basics approach in all our teachings. The reason for this is that too many people are looking for the next best, exciting thing in God when they haven't been properly grounded in the basics. This often leads to confusion or at best, a shallow and superficial Christianity that will not carry you through the tough times. These teachings will lay a foundation for you that will enhance all your future growth in Christ.
A Word about doctrine
In our quest for revival and restoration, we recognize that before we can fully experience New Testament power, we must first return to New Testament patterns, principles and priorities. When the patterns are right, the glory of God will manifest and His power will be released. The early believers "continued steadfastly in the apostle's doctrine, in fellowship, the breaking of bread and in prayers." (Acts 2:42). As God restores these apostolic truths to His church today, He is laying a foundation that can be built upon securely.
We must acknowledge that God is neither explained by nor limited to any set of doctrinal beliefs or statements. There is as well the danger, as church history has shown, of men limiting themselves by such articles, becoming totally unprepared to advance in God when the light of recovered truth begins to shine. We see the results of this in the many denominations and organizations around us. The trend among some, however, of declaring doctrine to be unnecessary or unimportant, is absolutely contrary to scripture. The Bible is clear on the importance of sound doctrine. It must not only be sound, pure and scriptural, but it must also be obeyed.
All beliefs have their roots in various teachings, true or false. These doctrines, when believed and practiced, determine not only our actions, but also our character and ultimately our destiny. Many otherwise sincere people have been led into deception. Thus, it is essential for us to be fully established in the doctrines as set forth in the scriptures. When a believer is established in the apostle's doctrine they will no longer be blown about by every wind of doctrine (Eph 4:4) or become ensnared by the doctrines of demons (I Tim 4:1).
-It does matter who and what we believe--
(Titus 1:9, 2:11; II Tim 3:14-17; I Tim 4:6,13,16, 6:1-3)
To fully understand the Bible, it is necessary to know a few basic facts about it. First let's look at the four divisions of the New Testament.
The Four Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John
These biographies of Jesus Christ were written by four eyewitnesses of Jesus' life and ministry. They record the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The four writers recorded some of the same happenings, but they recorded many that are unique to each book as well.
Acts (Actions of the Apostles)
The history of the early church is recorded in the book of Acts—events leading up to the Day of Pentecost, the outpouring of the Holy Ghost, the first preached message of the church age, and several examples of churches being established.
The books of Romans through Jude are letters written by the apostles and other leaders to churches and other people who had already received the salvation experience. They explain how to grow in God, they warn of false prophets, and they discuss the resolution of problems in the church.
This is a book of prophecy written in symbolic form. For example, in one place a pale horse represents death; in another a woman represents a false church. This book is hard to understand without first studying the rest of the Bible. A new convert would be advised to begin Bible study with the Book of Acts or one of the Gospels.
The Importance of the Word
In order to please God, we must obey His Word. We can only obey the Word of God if we have first studied it so that we know what it says. Thus, the Word of God is of utmost importance.
This people draw nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoreth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain do they worship me teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.
People in today's society boldly declare that they can worship God any way they see fit, and that God will have to accept whatever worship they give Him. So it was in the days of Jesus, and here we find His response to this attitude. "In vain" means literally "to no effect."
In the days of Adam, Cain tried to worship God in a way other than offering a blood sacrifice, which God specified, and his offering was rejected (Genesis 4:l-7)> It was true in the time of Jesus, and it is still true today. We must worship God in the manner He specifies.
Sanctify them through thy truth: Thy word is truth. As thou hast sent me into the world, even so I have sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth. Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their words.
Here Jesus specifies that we are to believe on Him through the apostle's words. Where do we find their words? In the Bible.
In a confusing world where everyone preaches something different, how do we know what the truth is? God's Word is Truth!
I Peter 1:22-25
Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently. Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the Word of God which liveth and abideth forever For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth and the flower thereof falleth away. But the Word of the Lord endureth forever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.
We find I this passage of scripture that we purify our souls by obeying the truth, and we are born again by the Word. The Word, preached to us by the gospel, shows us how to be born again.
But the hour cometh and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father seeketh such to worship HIM. God is a Spirit and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth.
To be a true worshipper of God, we must worship Him both in spirit and in truth. As we have seen, God's Word is truth (John 17:17). Along with the true teachings of the Bible, we must also have the Spirit. Likewise, we must not settle for just having the Spirit; we need to have the true teachings of the Word.
The Importance of the Gospel
Let us look at some verses of Scripture about the importance of the Gospel.
For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ; for it is the power of salvation to everyone that believeth: to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, the just shall live by faith.
How do we get salvation? By obeying the gospel, for the gospel is the "power of God unto salvation." If we want healing, we need the healing power of God. If we want salvation, we need the power of God to salvation. God could have chosen any way He wanted to save mankind, and He chose the Gospel!
II Thessalonians 1:7-10
And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels. In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of His power. When He shall come to be glorified in His saints and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.
Many people begin to attend Church to escape the wrath of God. However, this passage lets us know that we must know God and obey the gospel to avoid His wrath. Just going to church is not enough.
Some people believe that the gospel was just for the apostles' time, but verse 10 shows that the same gospel the apostles taught is the gospel that is going to be believed in the last days.
According to the Bible, the gospel of Christ is indispensable to our Christian life.
The Importance of Doctrine
The word doctrine comes from the Greek word didaskalia, which means "instruction" or "teaching." It does not mean "opinion," as many believe. Doctrine is extremely important in our Christian walk with God as the following verses of Scripture show.
II Timothy 3:14-16
But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; and that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness. That the man of God may be perfect thoroughly furnished unto all good works.
Some people may say, "See, I don't have to change because the Bible tells me to continue in the things I have learned." But if we understand the Bible, we realize that Paul is telling Timothy to continue in what Timothy has learned from scripture and from Paul himself. God is no respecter of persons, so it only makes sense that we also should continue in what the apostle Paul taught Timothy. (But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience...!! Tim 3:10).
I Timothy 4:13-16
Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery. Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all. Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shall both save thyself, and them that hear thee.
Remember that this entire book is a letter from the apostle Paul to Timothy. In this passage Paul clearly tells Timothy to give attendance to doctrine. He also tells him that this doctrine will save him (Timothy) and those who hear him.
But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.
This book is a letter from Paul to the churches at Rome. In it he explains that they were made free from sin because they obeyed the doctrine that the apostle delivered to them. Once again, God is no respecter of persons, so we need to obey that same doctrine.
II Timothy 4:2-3
Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears.
The apostle Paul prophesies of a time when men will not endure sound (complete or whole) doctrine. Instead, they will find a preacher who will "tickle their ears," or preach what they want to hear.
We should be careful not to follow a preacher just because he sounds good or tells us what we want to hear. Instead, we should look for one who teaches sound and completely the apostle's doctrine.
Additional Scriptures on the Word
Here are some additional verses of Scripture about the Word with points we must understand in order to be successful in our walk with God.
II Peter 1:20-21
Knowing this first that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.
We've all heard people say, "I have my interpretation, you have yours." But the Bible says that the Scriptures are of no private interpretation. The Bible says what it means and means what it says!
II Peter 3:15-17
And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given him hath written unto you; as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction. Ye therefore, beloved. Seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own steadfastness.
The apostle Peter points out that the apostle Paul wrote letters "according to the wisdom given unto him." He is letting us know that there are things in the Bible that take some wisdom to understand, so it is possible to twist the scriptures to our own destruction.
If we find something in the Bible that we do not understand, we should keep obeying what we do understand and wait for a fuller understanding of the rest. We should not let the deeper things make us fall from our steadfastness.
Beware of False Prophets Matthew 7:13-24
Enter ye in at the strait gate; for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in there at: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit; neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my father which is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? And in thy name have cast out devils? And in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock...
When the Bible speaks of sheep, it generally refers to God's people. "Come to you in sheep's clothing," means that false prophets will come as ministers of God. In today's terminology, they would be called preachers of the gospel.
How can these false prophets be detected? Jesus said we can know them by their fruits, or their actions. If they call on the name of the Lord but do not do His will, they are false prophets.
Many people will follow the teachings of these false prophets, sincerely believing that they have a place in heaven. But they will be terribly deceived. Jesus will call them "workers of iniquity" even though they had done wonderful works in His name.
Whoever hears Jesus' sayings and does them is like a wise man who builds his house on a rock. Where do we find the sayings of Jesus? In the Word of God.
II Corinthians 11:13-15
For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.
The apostle Paul warns the church about false prophets. They pretend to be apostles of Christ, but Paul calls them "deceitful workers."
II Timothy 3:13
But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.
The apostle Paul warns that evil men and seducers will deceive and will be deceived. Even if they were deceived and sincerely believed what they were teaching, even if they did not realize their error, they would still be wrong. We should not hate them or wish them ill, but we certainly should not follow them.
II Timothy 3:1-7
This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, truce breakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady high-minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof; from such turn away. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.
The days we are living in are perilous to our spiritual walk. Some people have a form of godliness (they belong to some kind of religion), but they "deny the power "of God to work in Man' s life today. They may get involved in deep theological discussions and possess incredible amounts of knowledge about the Bible, but they never come to the simple knowledge of salvation.
Let them alone; they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.
Jesus compares some Pharisees to blind men. We can use the same comparison to the false prophets of our time. No matter how much the people following believe in their teachings, they are all going to fall in the same ditch.
I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: which is not another; but there are some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I yet pleased men, I should not be a servant of Christ. But I certify you, brethren that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.
Even in the apostles' day, some people were trying to change (pervert) the gospel. Paul emphasized that if a man, or even an angel from heaven, preaches any other gospel than that which the apostles preached, he is accursed. False prophets will arise in our day (they are already here); preaching a message different from what the apostles preached and bring upon themselves and their hearers the curse of God.
Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. For in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.
We must beware of philosophies and traditions of men that do not line up with the word of God. If we allow ourselves to believe something a man says instead of what God has said, then we are "spoiled." The word "spoil" here has the connotation of being stripped, defeated, or robbed as in the "spoils of war." In a sense it means that we could have our salvation stolen from us because we believed man' s philosophies instead of the Bible.
God forbid; yea let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightiest be justified in thy sayings, and mightiest overcome when thou art judged.
If a man says something that disagrees with the Bible, then that man is wrong and the Bible is right.
Lesson 2: Salvation According to the Word
This lesson deals with what the Bible has to say about the most important topic of all—our Salvation. The following are some questions we will try to find biblical answers to in this lesson.
1. What does it take for a person to be saved?
2. Is believing the only thing we must do to be saved?
3. Are there actual examples of people "getting saved" in the New Testament?
4. Is there more than aspect to biblical salvation?
Words of Jesus Concerning Salvation: Luke 19:10 For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost
Jesus Christ himself told us that the purpose of His coming to this earth was the salvation of man. Each person on earth is responsible to make sure His sacrifice was not in vain in that person's life.
There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him. Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born? Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and [of] the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit. Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be? Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things? Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness. If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you [of] heavenly things? And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, [even] the Son of man which is in heaven. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.(KJV)
This is one of Jesus' first references to salvation. Let's look at it in detail. For one thing, we see that we absolutely must be born again of the water and the Spirit to enter the kingdom of God.
In verses 15 and 16 we see that belief is also fundamental to our salvation. Please note that unless believing somehow incorporates being born again of the water and Spirit, we have a direct contradiction in the Word of God, and the Bible does not contradict itself.
The Great Commission
The final instruction Jesus gave His apostles is known as the great commission, which is recorded in three of the four Gospels. Upon examination, five different aspects to the great commission are found. The first four are steps to salvation. The fifth is the result of receiving the "power from on high."
1. belief (mentioned once)
2. Repentance (mentioned once)
3. Baptism (mentioned three times, including Luke's comments on "remission of sins" which we will see later is referring to baptism)
4. the promise of the Father/power from on high
5. miracles and signs
And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, [even] unto the end of the world. Amen.(KJV)
Jesus instructs His apostles people to do the things He has commanded them. Notice that in verse 19, He says to baptize in the name (singular) of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. So we see that we must use a name when baptizing. Father is not a name, Son is not a name, Holy Ghost is not a name. These are only titles, or ways in which God is manifested. Then what is the name in which we are to be baptized? The name of Jesus!
And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover. So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God. And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with [them], and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.(KJV)
Here we find belief, baptism, baptism, and miraculous signs mentioned. Notice that one of the signs is speaking with tongues, or speaking in a language you have never learned before.
Although some people say that speaking with other tongues is of the devil, such an erroneous belief is not found in the Bible. In fact, Jesus Himself said that those who believe will speak with new tongues. In I Corinthians 14:39, the apostle Paul said we are to "Forbid not to speak with tongues."
And he said unto them, These [are] the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and [in] the prophets, and [in] the psalms, concerning me. Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And ye are witnesses of these things. And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high. And he led them out as far as to Bethany, and he lifted up his hands, and blessed them. And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven. And they worshipped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy: And were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God. Amen.(KJV)
Jesus gave His apostles understanding, so we can be sure that when they said something they knew what they were talking about.
Repentance and remission of sins (baptism) are also listed here in Luke's recording of the great commission.
We will see later in this lesson that the "promise of my Father" refers to the gift of the Holy Ghost.
The Message on the Day of Pentecost
Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ. Now when they heard [this], they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men [and] brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, [even] as many as the Lord our God shall call. And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation. Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added [unto them] about three thousand souls. And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.(KJV)
This is the very first gospel message preached in the new church age to sinners in need of salvation. We see hear that Peter included repentance, baptism (notice a name is mentioned), and the receiving of the Holy Ghost.
Although some say that the Holy Ghost was only for the apostles, that view is not biblical. Many others were filled with the Spirit and Acts 2:39 states that the promise is for generations to follow.
How are sins remitted? By water baptism in Jesus' name. Notice carefully, that both a birth of water (baptism) and the Spirit (Holy Ghost) are mentioned in this passage.
Now let's look at each of these aspects individually. The fact that the Bible stresses one aspect in one passage does not negate the other passages. Each aspect is indispensible to our salvation.
He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet [given]; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)(KJV)
Jesus talks about believing and receiving the Holy Ghost. Here He adds that we must do it according to the scriptures. He makes it clear that the "rivers of living water" of which He speaks refer to the Spirit, which is the Holy Ghost.
But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, [even] in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? So then faith [cometh] by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.(KJV)
Some people say that this particular passage of scripture is the only one that really counts in the whole Bible and that none of the other passages really mean anything. Let's see what we can gather from a verse-by-verse-examination.
But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, [even] in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;(KJV)
Paul begins by quoting the Old Testament. He says that the word is in their mouths and in their hearts, which is the word of faith that we and the apostles preach.
That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.(KJV)
The apostle Paul explains what part the heart and mouth play in salvation. A person believes with his heart and confesses with his mouth unto (sometimes translated as "until") salvation. He says that a person shall be saved when this is fulfilled, but he does not say a person is saved only by belief and confession.
For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.(KJV)
He goes back to the Old Testament and quotes some more scripture.
How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!(KJV)
Paul says that a person cannot call on or believe in the Lord until he hears the gospel preached by a man sent of God.
But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?(KJV)
Paul ties "obeying the gospel" to "believing our report." If we really believe, we will obey the gospel. When seen in its true light, this passage does not contradict the passages of Scripture we read about obeying what the apostles preached. Instead, it actually confirms them.
So then faith [cometh] by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.(KJV)
Finally, he sums it all up by saying, "Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." Remember, Paul began in verse 8 by saying he was speaking of the word of faith which the apostles preach.
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.(KJV)
Paul said that the gospel of Jesus Christ is "the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth." What do we believe? The gospel. If we want to be saved, we must believe the gospel.
And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.(KJV)
Again we see the importance of repentance and the necessity of believing. Believing what? The gospel. The above two verses go hand in hand with the one we read about believing on Jesus according to the scriptures (John7:38).
But without faith [it is] impossible to please [him]: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and [that] he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.(KJV)
This shows us that we must have faith to please God.
Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.(KJV)
We also must have works along with our faith for it to be effective. (Read the rest of James 2 to get a fuller understanding of this truth.)
II Thessalonians 1:7-10
And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.(KJV)
Notice in verse 8 how Paul ties in knowing God with obeying the gospel, not just believing it.
In verse 10 we see that what the apostles preached is the same thing that has to be believed in the last days when Jesus comes to be glorified with all those who have believed the apostles' testimony.
We see from the above Scripture that believing is indeed a necessary aspect of our salvation. The second aspect is repentance.
In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.(KJV)
The very first thing John preached concerning Jesus was repentance.
I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.(KJV)
Jesus Himself preached repentance and stressed it strongly.
II Peter 3:9
The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.(KJV)
We find here, about thirty years after the death of our Lord, that repentance was still being preached. Peter shows us that to come to repentance is to avoid perishing; therefore repentance is absolutely necessary for salvation.
I Peter 3:20-21
Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water. The like figure whereunto [even] baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:(KJV)
In this passage Peter compares the saving of Noah and his family by water during the flood to our being saved by being baptized in water. According to Acts 2:38, we are to be baptized "for the remission of sins.” To have our sins remitted is to be released from the guilt or penalty of sin. Remission of our sins is possible because Jesus paid the penalty by His death on the cross.
Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer [it to be so] now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him. And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him:(KJV)
Some say, "I don't need to be baptized." But here we see that Jesus Christ himself was baptized to fulfill all righteousness. Who are we to say that we do not need to be baptized if He, who was perfect, was baptized?
And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.(KJV)
This verse records the instruction of Ananias to Saul of Tarsus. Saul became the apostle Paul, the man who wrote much of the New Testament. It is here we find that baptism washes away sins.
Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, [even] by him doth this man stand here before you whole. This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.(KJV)
Remember that in Matthew 28:19 we saw that we were to be baptized in the Name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost? What was that name? Verse 12 states that the only name by which we can be saved is the name of Jesus Christ.
Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also [in the likeness] of [his] resurrection:(KJV)
This passage shows the actual role baptism plays in our salvation. It allows us access into His death and burial and therefore into His resurrection. Notice that we will be raised in the likeness of His resurrection only if we have first been planted in the likeness of His death.
For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.(KJV)
Saying we have "put on Christ" is another way of saying that we have taken on His name or have been joined to His family.
The verses of scripture we have just examined show that baptism in Jesus' name is essential to our salvation.
And, being assembled together with [them], commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, [saith he], ye have heard of me. For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence. When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.(KJV)
This is another glimpse of the last earthly moments of Jesus Christ. He makes it evident here that the "promise of the father" is the baptism of the Holy Ghost. It is evident that at this time they had not yet received it. He also points out that to receive the Holy Ghost is to receive power.
And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language. And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans? And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born?(KJV)
This passage records the initial outpouring of the Holy Ghost on the Day of Pentecost. Notice verse 4 that they began to speak with other tongues when they were filled with the Holy Ghost.
But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all [ye] that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words: For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is [but] the third hour of the day. But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy:(KJV)
Peter begins the first message of the new church age by quoting Joel 2:28. God had planned to pour out His Spirit all the way back in Joel's time, and what happened on the Day of Pentecost was the fulfillment of this prophecy.
For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people.(KJV)
This is another Old Testament reference to the Holy Ghost.
In whom ye also [trusted], after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,(KJV)
The believers in Ephesus received the Holy Spirit after hearing the truth of the gospel and believing it. This shows the connection between believing and receiving the Spirit.
I Corinthians 6:19
What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost [which is] in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?(KJV)
True Christians must have the Holy Ghost dwelling in them.
But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. And if Christ [be] in you, the body [is] dead because of sin; but the Spirit [is] life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.(KJV)
This passage shows how vital receiving the Holy Spirit is to our salvation. Verse 9 states that unless the Spirit of God dwells in a person, that person is none of His.
Note: The terms "Holy Ghost," "Holy Spirit," "Spirit of God," "Spirit of the Lord," and "Sprit of Christ," are synonymous terms that refer to one and the same Spirit(l Corinthians 12:13). (See Genesis 1:2; Matthew 3:11; Luke 11:13; Acts 1:5; Acts 2:4; Romans 8:9; II Corinthians 3:17; Ephesians 1:13; I Thessalonians 4:8; I Peter 1:11).
We have seen that belief, repentance, water baptism in the name of Jesus, and the gift of the Holy Ghost are essential elements of our salvation. Now let's look at some places in Scripture where people actually experienced salvation for the first time to see if the followed these guidelines.
The Samaritans Acts 8:6-17
And the people with one accord gave heed unto those things which Philip spake, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did. For unclean spirits, crying with loud voice, came out of many that were possessed [with them]: and many taken with palsies, and that were lame, were healed. And there was great joy in that city. But there was a certain man, called Simon, which beforetime in the same city used sorcery, and bewitched the people of Samaria, giving out that himself was some great one: To whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, This man is the great power of God. And to him they had regard, because that of long time he had bewitched them with sorceries. But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done. Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John: Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost: (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.) Then laid they [their] hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.(KJV)
Notice carefully that in verses 6-8, people were healed, they received joy, and they had demons cast out; yet they had not received the Holy Ghost. People may say, "I have the joy of the Lord, so I must have the Holy Ghost." Or, "I was healed so I must have the Holy Ghost." Or, "I received the Holy Ghost when I repented." However, none of these things are identifying signs of the infilling of the Holy Ghost.
Some people claim that people receive the Holy Ghost as soon as they believe; others as soon as they are baptized. But this scripture passage shows that the Holy Ghost does not automatically come at either of these times. In verses 12-13, the people believed and were baptized. Yet they did not receive the Holy Ghost at that time.
Healing, joy, deliverance, belief, and baptism are all separate and distinct experiences from receiving the Holy Ghost.
Note in verse 16 that the people had been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
Saul of Tarsus Acts 9:17-18
And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, [even] Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost. And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized.(KJV)
This passage relates the conversion of Saul, who was renamed Paul and became a great apostle. Notice that he was baptized and filled with the Holy Ghost just like everyone else in the New Testament church. God is no respecter of persons. Everyone must follow the same plan to be saved.
Although these two verses do not specifically record that he spoke in tongues, we can be assured that he did so because in I Corinthians 14:18, the apostle Paul said, "I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all."
Cornelius Acts 10:44-48
While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter, Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we? And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days.(KJV)
Note that Cornelius was just a man who feared God (Acts 10:22), fasted, and prayed (Acts 10:33); yet he did not have the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost fell on Cornelius and his household while Peter was preaching. How did Peter know they had received the Holy Ghost? Because he heard them speak with tongues (verse 46). After they had received the Holy Ghost, Peter commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. We know that Jesus is the name of the Lord. (See Matthew 9:28; Acts 4:33; Acts 7:59; Acts 9:5; II Peter 1:11).
The Philippian Jailer Acts 10:30-33
And Cornelius said, Four days ago I was fasting until this hour; and at the ninth hour I prayed in my house, and, behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing, And said, Cornelius, thy prayer is heard, and thine alms are had in remembrance in the sight of God. Send therefore to Joppa, and call hither Simon, whose surname is Peter; he is lodged in the house of [one] Simon a tanner by the sea side: who, when he cometh, shall speak unto thee. Immediately therefore I sent to thee; and thou hast well done that thou art come. Now therefore are we all here present before God, to hear all things that are commanded thee of God.(KJV)
Here a jailer asked Paul and Silas what he had to do to be saved. In verse 33 we see that Paul baptized him in the middle of that same night, so Paul obviously taught him on baptism and its importance.
John the Baptist's Disciples Acts 19:1-6
And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples, He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost. And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John's baptism. Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. When they heard [this], they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid [his] hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.(KJV)
The Apostle Paul met some of John the Baptist's disciples in Ephesus. When he found that they had not heard about the Holy Ghost, he asked them how they had been baptized. When he found that they had been baptized by John the Baptist, and not in the name of Jesus, he reminded them that John had told his converts that they were to believe on one who would come after him; that is, on Jesus Christ. After Paul had explained this, John's disciples accepted this deeper truth that was revealed to them and wanted to be rebaptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. After being baptized, they received the Holy Ghost when Paul prayed for them. Again, the sign that they had received the Holy Ghost was that they spoke with tongues.