1. Are you like the Bereans? (Acts 17:10-11)
The Bereans were not a gullible people. They tested the teachings of religious teachers by searching the Scriptures to make sure what they were saying matched the Scriptures. They studied the Bible daily.
2. We must examine everything we are taught with regard to the Scriptures. What is the Gospel? (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) The word “gospel” means “good news.” In 1 Corinthians 15:1-4, Paul tells us the gospel is the good news of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus.
3. Turn to 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10. The Bible says in verse 8 that Jesus will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the Gospel. Since the Gospel is the good news of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus, how does one obey it? How does one obey the death, burial and resurrection? It starts with discipleship. The word “disciple” means “student” or “learner.” The words “disciple” and “disciples” appear more than 270 times in the bible, while the words “Christian” or “Christians” appear only 3 times.
Jesus said in John 8:31-32 that His true disciples will hold to His teachings and by doing so, that person will know the truth and be set by the truth of God’s Word. Therefore, a true disciple follows the Word of God. In 1 John 2:4, it says those who say “I know Him” yet do not do what He commands are liars and the truth is not in them. Verses 5-6 go on to say that the one who obeys God’s Word has God’s love truly made complete in him and he walks the way Jesus walked. Luke 14:25-33 describes what it takes to be Jesus’ disciple. Does this describe you? The word “hate” in the Greek means “love less.” We must be willing to love less our family, friends, and even our life, and love Jesus more. That which you love more will have more influence over you. Jesus is saying that He must have more influence over you than your closest relations. We must be willing to give up everything that stands in the way of God (verse 33), this even includes preconceived ideas. Matthew 7:13-14 and Luke 13:23-24 tell us that the road to eternal life is narrow and few enter it & that we must make every effort to enter into that narrow gate, because, many will not be able to enter it. We enter that straight and narrow gate by becoming His true disciples. If Luke 14:25-33 does not describe you, will you be willing today to do as Jesus says in this passage?
4. Becoming born again starts with Luke 14:26, 27 and 33. Have you ever been told that to become “born again”, you should say a prayer asking Jesus to come into your heart?
Asking Jesus to come into one’s heart is called by many the “Sinner’s Prayer”.
Did you know that the Sinners’ Prayer was started by a man named Charles Finney in the 1800’s?
According to Matthew 15:9, what type of commands lead to vain (useless) worship?
The Sinners’ Prayer is a man-made rule.
Would you like to see how people became born again in the Bible?
If you would, please read three passages that perfectly flow together to show us how we can be born again:
John 3:3-5 – A man must be born of water and Spirit to enter the kingdom of heaven…
Matthew 16:16-19 – Jesus gives Peter the keys of the kingdom…
Keys are for allowing entrance into a place.
Keys of the kingdom allow us entrance into the kingdom.
Peter was given the first opportunity to teach how one enters the kingdom, as you will see in the next passage.
Acts 2:22-38 – Peter delivers the keys of the kingdom…
Peter tells the people of the Gospel (verses 22-36)…
The people are convicted, believe what Peter says and want to know what they must do to be saved (verse 37)…
In Acts 2:38, Peter, the man given the keys of the kingdom, tells them to…
Repent (Greek word is ‘metanoeo’, which means, ‘change your mind’)
Be baptized (that’s the ‘born of water’ part)
Receive the gift of the Holy Spirit (that’s the ‘born of Spirit’ part)
Acts 2:38 = keys of the Kingdom
Notice in Acts 2:38 and Acts 2:41, the sinner’s prayer is missing
According to Acts 2:38, what two reasons must a person repent and be baptized for?
Acts 2:38 says we are to repent and be baptized for the remission (forgiveness) of sins and to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
However, those who teach the Sinner’s Prayer say one must repent and “ask Jesus to come into their hearts” for the forgiveness of sins and to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Who is right? God or man? See Romans 3:4.
In all the examples of conversions in Acts, the Sinner’s Prayer is missing. (Acts 8:12; Acts 8:13; Acts 8:35-39; Acts 16:14-15; Acts 16:31-33; Acts 18:8)
5. How does one obey the Gospel?
Read Mark 16:15-16.
Jesus said to go and preach the good news (gospel) to all.
According to verse 16, how does one obey the gospel? Who will be saved?
Mark 16:16 explains why all the converts in Acts believed and were baptized.
One obeys the gospel at baptism.
6. John 14:6 says Christ is the only way to the Father. And Ephesians 1:7 says His blood brings forgiveness of sins. Jesus shed His blood at His death.
According to Romans 6:3, how does one get into Christ and into His death (that is, His blood)?
The answer is baptism.
If you read Romans 6:3-4, you will see the gospel there. The death, burial and resurrection. This passage clearly shows that in baptism, we participate in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. We obey the gospel in baptism!
7. When does Christ circumcise our sins?
Colossians 2:11-12 says when we are buried with Him through baptism.
8. 2 Peter 2:21 warns us not to reject the holy commands passed down to us. It would be worse for those who learned it and rejected it than for those who never knew it.
9. Many will try to use scripture against scripture to defend their position that baptism is not necessary for salvation.Read Matthew 4:3-9. Jesus refuted Satan by saying “it is written”. We must follow His example and teach the Scriptures. In verses 6-7, Satan tried to use scripture against scripture. He said, “it is also written…”
11. Read John 3:16. This passage mentions nothing about baptism. Does this mean, therefore, that you do not need to be baptized to be saved? Using Jesus’ example in Matthew 4:6-7, how would you respond?
You can respond something like this: “It is also written in Mark 16:16, he that believes and is baptized will be saved” or “it is also written in Acts 2:38, repent and be baptized for the remission (forgiveness) of sins and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit”
12. Final Question: Read Acts 22:16. What is God telling you to do there?
13. Are you ready to become a true disciple and receive Christ as Lord in the manner described in Scripture?