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First, you have to HEAR the gospel of Christ, which is that Jesus is the Son of God, who came to earth and died on the cross as a sacrifice for everyone's sins. (Matthew 7:24-27, Romans 10:17)
Next, you have to BELIEVE it. (Mark 16:15-16, John 20:30-31, Hebrews 11:6). But it takes more than faith. You actually have to do something. (James 2:24)
Then, you must REPENT, which means you've got to turn away from your sinful ways and be obedient to God's word. (Luke 13:3, Acts 2:38,17:30)
Then, you need to CONFESS that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and our Savior. (Matthew 10:32-33, Acts 8:36-37)
You must be BAPTIZED, which means immersed in water for the forgiveness of sins. (Mark 16:16, Acts 2:38, 8:36-38, 22:16, Colossians 2:12-13) Once you're saved it doesn't mean that you'll stay that way.
You must REMAIN FAITHFUL. (Matthew 3:10, John 8:31, 15:10, 1 Corinthians 9:27, Galatians 5:4, Colossians 1:22-23, Hebrews 3:12, 10:26-31, James 5:19-20, 2 Peter 2:20-22, 3:16-18, Revelation 2:4-5)
What is Bible baptism? According to Strong's Comprehensive Concordance of the Bible, "baptize" in Acts 19 and elsewhere is derived from the Greek word "baptizo" which means "to make whelmed (i.e. fully wet)." It is derived (according to Strong's) from the word "bapto" which means "to whelm, i.e. cover wholly with a fluid." So, in Greek, baptism is an immersion or a full covering. But, we do not need to be Greek scholars to realize this. We can see how the word is used in the Bible. Romans 6:4 refers to baptism as a burial: "therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life." (Romans 6:4) Paul used similar wording when writing to the Colossian Christians: "... buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him from the dead." (Colossians 2:12)
Paul said of the Israelites: "Moreover, Brethren, I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers were under the cloud, all passed through the sea, all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea...." (1 Corinthians 10:1-2) Were the children of Israel in the "midst of the sea" (Exodus 14:22) or sprinkled by it? Were they "in it" or was it poured over them?
Consider John, the baptizer. The Bible says of him: "Now John also was baptizing in Aenon near to Salim, because there was much water there. And they came and were baptized." (John 3:23) Why would John need much water? Because he was fully covering his subjects with water, he was immersing them.
"Why would it matter to God if a person is immersed or sprinkled?" I do not know why only specific incense offerings were allowed in the Old Testament, but they were. And Nadab and Abihu lost their lives when they departed from God's pattern. (Leviticus 10:1-3) Neither do I know why Naaman was commanded to wash in the Jordan river(2 Kings 5:10), but he was. And he was not healed until he obeyed the Lord's command.
"But what makes immersion better than sprinkling or pouring?" By itself, nothing that I know of. Yet God said "immerse," not "sprinkle" or "pour." By the word of God, immersion is acceptable, sprinkling or pouring is not.
I have a small piece of plastic I carry around. The type of the plastic is not remarkable. No special process was used to make it. Yet I can go into a store and purchase very expensive items just by presenting this piece of plastic. (Of course, it is a credit card.) Why would a store give me a computer, for instance, because I let an employee hold my card? Because there is a bank somewhere that has agreed to give that store money in exchange for the numbers on that card. The bank makes that card special, not the card itself. Without the backing of the bank, the card is worthless.
So now, suppose I reason, "It is just a piece of plastic. I will find another scrap of plastic somewhere, write a few numbers on it, take it to a nearby store and buy something with it!" Why not? Because no bank has said that it will honor any purchase made with my "counterfeit" credit card. But a bank has said that it would honor the credit card that it gave me. So, there is a big difference in those two pieces of plastic: the bank will honor one, but not the other. It is not in the card, but in the word of the bank.
Immersion is an ordinance received from God. Sprinkling or pouring is not. I should not expect God to "honor" sprinkling or pouring when He said to immerse. By the word of God, immersion is special to wash away sin. (Acts 22:16) Have you been immersed in the name of Jesus?
The great news of the Gospel is that Jesus Christ died for your sins. Whoever you are, whatever your condition might be, you can receive the grace of God: The forgiveness of your sins and eternal life on the day of Judgment!
The Bible is full of testimonies that give assurance anyone can come to God if they so desire. The Word records many examples of God reaching out to the most unlikely people. They are our examples. If He wanted to save them, you can rest assured, He wants to save you. Jesus came "to seek and save that which was lost" (Luke 19:10), and as He walked the earth He spread the message of salvation to the Jews, a people who had rebelled against God time and time again. And Jesus reached out to one of the worst sinners among them. "Then Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, 'Look, Lord, I give half of my goods to the poor, and if I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore fourfold' And Jesus said to him, 'Today salvation has to come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham...." (Luke 10:8-9)
Even the Jews who had betrayed and murdered Jesus were invited to receive forgiveness of their terrible sin: "Now when they heard of this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, 'Men and brethren, what shall we do?' 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." (Acts 2:37-38)
Saul of Tarsus was a sinner beyond measure who persecuted Christians and blasphemed the name of the Messiah of Israel. Yet God called even Saul (later known as Paul) and Paul made the most of God's gift: "This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. However, for this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all longsuffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life." (1 Timothy 1:15-16) Paul became God's example for us. If God wanted to show mercy to Paul, you know He wants to show mercy to you.
Many times God calls every one of us through His word: "For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age...." (Titus 2:11-12)
"Whoever desires" may come to Jesus. (Revelation 22:17) You must deny your sinful ways and turn to a life of righteousness, yet go to God you can! "The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance." ( 2 Peter 3:9) Someone will say, "How can I stop sinning? I can't do it on my own. I'm not strong enough." Well, the gospel is just full of good news. Once obedient to God, you will have His help in overcoming evil temptations." Paul writes, "No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it." (1 Corinthians 10:13) Therefore, there is no room for excuses, no room for delays. Today is the day of salvation for you. (2 Corinthians 6:2)
There are several instances in the Bible where a scientific principle is casually mentioned that would not be discovered until centuries later. For Instance :
It would not be discovered until the 17th century that animal blood was not suitable for consumption, but God, in Leviticus 17:10-16, said that no one should drink blood.
In Leviticus 17:11 God states that blood is necessary for life. That fact would not be known until the 19th century.
In 1900, Karl Landersteiner discovered that blood in all humans was the same, that it did not change between races. God already knew that. He said so in Acts 17:25-26.
In Ecclesiastes 1:7, the Bible talks about the Water Cycle. The Water Cycle was not established until 1841.
In Leviticus 13 God tells His people how to diagnose leprosy early. The method was not scientifically discovered until the 17th century.
It wasn't until 1500 that men knew the earth was not flat. They could have saved some time by reading the Bible. Both Isaiah 40:22 and Proverbs 8:27 indicate the earth is round.
Sir Issac Newton discovered, in 1697, that the earth was suspended without support. Job already knew. See Chapter 26, verse 7
People didn't really know until the 16th century that it may be harmful to eat certain kinds of animals, but God warned His people in Levititcus 11:1-30.
1 Corinthians 15:39 says that flesh is different between humans and animals, but until 1930, with the advent of the electron microscope, scientists thought that the same cells made up all flesh. Genesis 15:5 mentions that the stars are infinite in number, but science wouldn't recognize that until 1940.
Currents in the oceans weren't discovered scientifically until 1854, but everyone could have known before then by reading Psalm 8:8. Science found out about underwater springs in the ocean in 1930. God knew about it from the beginning. Read Genesis 7:11 and Job 38:16. In the 17th century people found out that quarantine was an effective measure for disease control. Leviticus 13 mentioned it centuries earlier.
Karl Jensky thought he found something new when he discovered Radio Astronomy in 1932, but God knew about it before. It was mentioned in Job 38:7.
In 1860 it was proven that the perfect seaworthy ship design ratio was 30:5:3, the same ratio God instructed Noah to use when he built the ark. Read Genesis 6.
How could a book accurately account for so many scientific truths that were not discovered until centuries later? This book must be from God.
We communicate with each other by words and gestures. Each conveys a powerful message. Yet words are perhaps the most powerful means of communication. Wars are begun, treaties ratified, marriages established, friendships molded and a myriad of activities in our lives are made up of words. In our relationships before God, words have an important role. With them we can find truth and error. The danger of changing one word can change the complexion of Truth. Charles Spurgeon, renowned Baptist preacher, preached to thousands every week in London's Metropolitan Tabernacle where no instruments of music were used. When asked why he did use the organ in worship, he cited 1 Corinthians 14:15 as his answer and remarked, "I would as soon pray to God with machinery as to sing to God with machinery." Did you happen to notice the preceding two sentences made no sense? The power of one word is that it should have read: "when asked why he did NOT use the organ in worship!" Notice how one word can change the whole meaning.
One word changed the world from a creation of purity to a world of sin. When Satan came to Eve in the Garden, he asked, "Has God indeed said, 'You shall not eat of every tree of the garden?' And the woman said to the serpent, 'We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; but the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, 'You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.' Then the serpent said to the woman, 'You will NOT surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil. So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate." (Genesis 3:1-6) In this case, Satan added only one word and changed the course of the world.
Men today change the word of GOD by adding or subtracting words and many times only one word. For example, many in the religious world teach that one can be saved by faith (alone). J.M. Pendleton writes, "Justification includes the pardon of sin, and the promise of eternal life on principles of righteousness; that it is bestowed, not in consideration of and works of righteousness which we have done, but solely through faith in the Redeemer's blood". The doctrine of faith alone saving man is adding a word to the inspired word of God. Martin Luther changed the reading of Romans 3:28 to "Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith (ONLY)..." God tells us, "You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only." (James 2:24) It is true; works alone can save no man. But neither can he be saved by faith alone. If James 2:14-26 is correct, and it is (2 Timothy 3:16-17), then man cannot be saved by either-alone.
With the teaching of faith alone comes the doctrine that baptism is not necessary for salvation. There is not one scripture in the word of God that teaches one does not have to be baptized in order to be saved. What God does say is that baptism is essential to salvation and apart from baptism, no man can be saved. (Acts 2:38, 1 Peter 3:20-21, Acts 22:16) Men, influenced by Satan, would have us believe that baptism is NOT essential for salvation just as Satan told Eve, "You will NOT surely die." Today Satan uses the same word to drive men away from the Truth of Salvation by adding the word NOT. Does one word make a difference? It could mean your eternal salvation.
There are so many "churches" out there to choose from. How can you know which one to go to? The answer is simple. Choose one that does things the way Christ and His chosen apostles established them in the first century.
Observe the Lord's Supper with both unleavened bread and fruit of the vine on the first day of the week. (Acts 20:7; Matthew 26:26-29, Luke 22:14-20, 1 Corinthians 11:23-29)
Sing praises to God and encouragement to one another. (Ephesians 5:19, Colossians 3:6)
Teach the Bible. (Romans 10:14)
Participate in prayer. (Acts 12:12, 16:25)
Take a collection for needy saints on the first day of the week. (1 Corinthians 16:1-3)
Intermingle social activities with worship, such as eating and drinking except to observe the Lord's Supper. (1 Corinthians 11:17-22, 11:34)
Use the assembly for monetary transactions. (Matthew 21:12-13, Mark 11:15-17, Luke 19:45-46, John 2:13-16)
Entertain or entice. (John 6:26; Matthew 6:33)
Raise money through any other means than the contribution. (1 Corinthians 16:2, 2 Corinthians 9:7)
Spend money dedicated to the service of the Lord for anything other than:
1. Needy saints. (Acts 11:29, Romans 15:26, 1 Corinthans 16:1, 2 Corinthians 8:4, 9:12) Note that giving to the poor outside of the church is an individual responsibility, not the church's. (1 Corinthians 13:3)
2. Preaching and teaching. (1 Corinthians 9:14)
3. Arranging for a place to assemble and items necessary for worship. (Hebrews 10:25, Acts 20:7)