Saturday, December 4, 2010

Sir, What Must I DO To Be Saved?

Mark 16:14-18

"Later He appeared to the eleven as they sat at the table; and He rebuked their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they did not believe those who had seen Him after He had risen. And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”

These words of Jesus Christ to His apostles should be enough to end this message right here, but unfortunately in these last days of deception and strong delusion these scriptures have been glossed over as if they didn't exist by those who claim salvation is by faith alone, 'you don't have to DO anything', they say, 'Jesus did it all for you on the cross'. No baptism, no Holy Spirit, no righteous works, no obedience, no repentance, no fasting, no ceasing from sin, no holiness, no suffering, no self-denial, no conformation into the image of Christ. Yet this is exactly what many believe inspite of the teachings of Jesus and the word of God that clearly explains to us all what we MUST DO in order to be saved.

Jesus COMMANDS His apostles to GO and preach the good news to every creature, he who believes AND IS BAPTIZED will be SAVED. Very clear right? God in the flesh giving a command right? Did the apostles OBEY this command? We have the clear evidence of their obedience recorded in the book of Acts. The only book that records clear examples of converts to Christ and what they DID after they believed  the gospel that the apostles preached.

The same Jesus who said, "He who believes and is baptized will be saved", is the same Jesus who said in:

Luke 6:46

“But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say?

Is Jesus preaching salvation by works? Of course not!

What Jesus is preaching is what we must DO in order to be saved! God is the author of salvation for our soul, not us! Who are we to change what He spoke? And who is man that decides how his own soul will be saved?

Let's break down what Jesus said in Mark 16:16

He who believes and is baptized will be saved

Jesus told His apostles to go into the world and preach the gospel (good news) to every creature. The man or woman who believes the good news and is baptized will be saved.

First the good news needs to be preached by those whom the Lord sends into the world, the person who hears this gospel must believe what they have heard. So what does it mean to believe? The Greek word for believe is Pisteuo.

4100. pisteuo pist-yoo'-o from 4102; to have faith (in, upon, or with respect to, a person or thing), i.e. credit; by implication, to entrust (especially one's spiritual well-being to Christ):--believe(-r), commit (to trust), put in trust with. (Strong's Greek Lexicon)

What does the word faith mean?

4102. pistis pis'-tis from 3982; persuasion, i.e. credence; moral conviction (of religious truth, or the truthfulness of God or a religious teacher), especially reliance upon Christ for salvation; abstractly, constancy in such profession; by extension, the system of religious (Gospel) truth itself:--assurance, belief, believe, faith, fidelity.

Second, the person who believes needs to be baptized.

What does the word baptized mean?

907. baptizo bap-tid'-zo from a derivative of 911; to immerse, submerge; to make whelmed (i.e. fully wet); used only (in the New Testament) of ceremonial ablution, especially (technically) of the ordinance of Christian baptism:--Baptist, baptize, wash.

What does the word saved mean?

4982. sozo sode'-zo from a primary sos (contraction for obsolete saos, "safe"); to save, i.e. deliver or protect (literally or figuratively):--heal, preserve, save (self), do well, be (make) whole.

Jesus said to His apostles, go into the world and preach the good news, he who has faith in me or is persuaded by your message and is immersed in water will be saved.

What did the the people ask when they heard the gospel preached by Peter on the day of Pentecost?

Acts 2:36-37

“Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.” Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?”

What did Peter tell them when they asked him and the other apostles present, "what shall we DO?", did Peter and the other apostles tell them, "just believe!, that's it, that's all you have to do!", NO THEY DID NOT!. Peter being obedient to the command of Jesus Christ, and in agreement with the rest of the apostles and disciples said to them in:

Acts 2:38-39

"Then Peter said to them,“Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.”

Was Peter preaching salvation by works?

What happened when Philip the Evangelist preached the gospel to the Samarians?

Acts 8:12

"But when they believed Philip as he preached the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were baptized."

What happened when Philip preached the gospel to the Ethiopian Eunuch?

Acts 8:34-38

"So the eunuch answered Philip and said, “I ask you, of whom does the prophet say this, of himself or of some other man?” Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning at this Scripture, preached Jesus to him.  Now as they went down the road, they came to some water. And the eunuch said, “See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?” Then Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.”
And he answered and said, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” So he commanded the chariot to stand still. And both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and he baptized him.

Was Philip preaching salvation by works?

It is very clear in these scriptures as Philip preached Jesus to the Ethiopian Eunuch, that he explained to him what he must DO in order to obtain salvation for his soul, because the eunuch said, "see here is water, what hinders me from being baptized?" Philip was taught correctly by the apostles, he was filled with the Holy Spirit, and he knew what must be done by the one who believes the gospel. None of the apostles or evangelists in the first century told any convert to Christ that all they had to do was believe, so why do preachers today say this? And why do people believe this inspite of the clear teachings of Jesus and the clear examples of true conversion recorded in the book of Acts?

Paul's conversion:

Acts 9:17-18

"And Ananias went his way and entered the house; and laying his hands on him he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you came, has sent me that you may receive your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” Immediately there fell from his eyes something like scales, and he received his sight at once; and he arose and was baptized."

The conversion of the gentile Cornelius and his household:

Acts 10:42-48

"And He commanded us to preach to the people, and to testify that it is He who was ordained by God to be Judge of the living and the dead. To Him all the prophets witness that, through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins.” While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word. And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God. Then Peter answered, “Can anyone forbid water, that these should not be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?” And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then they asked him to stay a few days."

Again we clearly see Peter being obedient to the commands and teachings of Jesus Christ, what kind of minister would Peter have been if he were disobedient? He probably wouldn't have been the Lord's apostle very long!

The conversion of Lydia in Philippi:

Acts 16:13-15

"And on the Sabbath day we went out of the city to the riverside, where prayer was customarily made; and we sat down and spoke to the women who met there. Now a certain woman named Lydia heard us. She was a seller of purple from the city of Thyatira, who worshiped God. The Lord opened her heart to heed the things spoken by Paul. And when she and her household were baptized, she begged us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay.” So she persuaded us."

The conversion of the Philippian jailer:

Acts 16:29-34

"Then he called for a light, ran in, and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. And he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.” Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their stripes. And immediately he and all his family were baptized. Now when he had brought them into his house, he set food before them; and he rejoiced, having believed in God with all his household."

Some use this scrpture as proof text of just believe and you are saved, but how could the jailer believe on the Lord Jesus Christ without first hearing the gospel preached? This is why the scripture goes right on to say, "then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house". Then we see the jailer and his family respond after they heard the word and believed it, they were immediately baptized.

Did the jailer receive salvation by works? Or was he and his family being obedient to the words of Paul and Silas?

Paul said to the Roman saints about the Israelites in:

Romans 10:14-15

"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 unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, Who bring glad tidings of good things!”

In conclusion:

Jesus Himself taught His disciples the plan of God for the salvation of the soul, He appointed them, commanded them, and empowered them to go out into the world and preach the gospel to all nations. Those who believed this gospel were to be baptized, and because of their belief in the gospel, and the Lord Jesus Christ, the actions that followed their belief would lead to the salvation of their soul.

Abiding In His Love,

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