The Book of Acts, a book of conversions

Conversions in the Book of Acts

A mistake that is made in learning what we must do to be saved is by consulting only the books written to the saved without looking at what else is said in Scripture.

For example, many will quote the book to the Roman Christians; (Rom 10:9) without considering what Paul taught the Romans when he dwelt there for two whole years. [Acts 16:30]

They will quote the book written to the Ephesian Christians; (Eph 2:8-9) without considering what Paul taught the Ephesians [Acts 19:1-5].

These two examples show us why we must look into the book of Acts to see what lost people did. Those who heard the gospel and either obeyed it or rejected it. This is why it could be called the book of Conversions.

Let’s examine just a few of the conversions in this book to see how they responded to the preaching of the Gospel as commanded by Christ Jesus. [Mat 28:18-20]

Jews at PENTECOST [2:14-47] This represents the first gospel sermon after the DBR of Christ. The beginning of the church that Jesus promised to build [Mat 16:18] and the first example of those being saved. “Be saved from this perverse generation.” What happened? They HEARD the gospel [22-36]. They believed [37]. It must be inferred that they CONFESSED Jesus as the Christ the Son of God [Mt 10:32]. They were told to ‘REPENT & be baptized’ [38]. They were BAPTIZED into Christ [41] and 3,000 were added to the church. Then we see them ‘CONTINUING steadfastly in the Apostles Doctrine, which is from Christ [42; cr. John 14:26; 15:26; 16:13; 1Cor 14:37].

THE ETHIOPIAN EUNUCH [8:26-39] This man is reading from Isaiah and struggling with its meaning. Philip approaches him and is invited by the Eunuch to explain the passage. We then are told, “Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning at this Scripture, preached Jesus to him.” What Happened? He HEARD the gospel of Jesus [35]. He BELIEVED [36-37] It is inferred that he REPENTED [Luke 13:3; Acts 17:30]. He CONFESSES that Jesus is the Christ [37]. He is BAPTIZED with water, by immersion, into Christ [38-39 cr. Rom 6:3-4; Gal 3:27]. He went away REJOICING [39].

The Apostle PAUL (Saul of Tarsus) [9:1-18; 22:6-16; 26:12-19]. While on his way to persecute the church of Christ, Saul saw Jesus risen from the dead. He HEARD & BELIEVED [9:5-6]. He was REPENTANT [9-11]. He CONFESSED [5-6]. He was BAPTIZED [18]. When retelling of this event, he states that baptism was the moment his sins were washed away [22:16].

CORNELIUS [10:1-11:18] This story tells of the first Gentile conversion. We must read chapters 10 & 11 to get the full picture. They were told to HEAR and they HEARD [6, 22, 33-43; 11:14]. It is inferred that they REPENTED & CONFESSED [Luke 13:3; Act 17:30; Mat 10:32]. They were BAPTIZED in water [47]. They received remission of sins [43].

Chapter 11:1-18 contains the retelling of this event by Peter to those of the circumcision who contended with him about being with gentiles. This retelling is necessary to show that God had made the same gospel plan of salvation available to every nation [Mat 28:18-20]. Up to this point, the preaching had been only to the Jews. “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.” [Rom 1:16] The “Baptism of the Holy Spirit” only occurred twice, here and at Pentecost. It was done to show God’s approval at the beginning.

As you can see, the book of Acts shows people obeying the Gospel. The same method can be applied to…

LYDIA [16:14-15]

THE JAILER [16:25-34]

THE CORINTHIANS. [18:8]

THE EPHESIANS [19:1-5]

The same Gospel requires all after Pentecost to HEAR, BELIEVE, REPENT, CONFESS, be BAPTIZED in water & have FAITHFULNESS. God shows no partiality, no bigotry. The Gospel is for all and all must obey the Gospel in the same way. God is no respecter of persons.

He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him,” [Hebrews 5:9; cr 2Thess 1:8-9; 1Cor 15:1-4] –Spencer

Preaching JESUS in order

Preaching JESUS.

For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel.[1Cor 1:17]

Many will cite the above verse as proof that baptism is unnecessary for salvation. Does it really mean that? Not if you understand the context of the passage and the problem of sectarianism that existed in the church at Corinth.

Another point can be drawn out of this passage; preaching the gospel of Christ out of order. Because denominations reject baptism so vehemently, we often place baptism at the front of preaching of the Gospel.

It reminds me of a preacher trying to reach a denominational group. He said, “I think I’m only making them better Lutherans.”

We often preach against certain sins and unscriptural practices of denominationalism. (ie. instrumental music, social gospel, false worship etc.) While we are preaching the truth, there are preeminent truths.

Here’s an illustration of what I am saying. Before a child can run, they must first build strength to crawl, then stand, and then walk.

Another illustration is the building a house. We never begin to build with the roof! We begin with pouring a foundation, then the walls, and then the roof.

Much of our preaching emphasizes baptism without laying first the foundation of the Authority of Christ. We rightfully understand that the ‘steps’ of salvation are; Hear, then Believe, then Repent, then Confess, and then be Baptized. Once we become Christians we Grow and Endure. Unfortunately, we get caught up cramming faithfulness and baptism verses down the throats of those who haven’t truly yet believed in the Preeminence of Christ. [Col 1:18]

Jesus gave us the order when He gave what is commonly called “the Great Commission.” “All authority hath been given unto me in heaven and on earth. Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I commanded you: and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” [Matt 28:18-20]

An evangelist named Philip met up with a Eunuch where we read that he “preached unto him Jesus.” [Acts 8:35]. While nothing else is revealed about his preaching, we can necessarily infer that ‘preaching Jesus’ included submission to His authority.

How can we preach Jesus?

Philip…preached unto him…

JESUS, Acts 8:35; Matt 28:18-20 ‘Go ye…’

We begin with showing that

JESUS is the Christ, and He has all authority.

Mat 28:18 “All authority hath been given unto me in heaven and on earth.”

Hebrews 1; Mark 9:7 ‘Hear ye Him.’

Hearing is first, and hearing leads to Believing. [Rom 10:17; John 20:30-31]

Preaching Jesus must include the

EXAMPLE of His life leading to His Death, Burial, and Resurrection.  

This is the GOSPEL. 1Cor 15:1-4

Preaching Jesus must include teaching that we must

SUBMIT to His will,

Luke 6:46 And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say? [Mat 7:21-23; John 14:15; 15:14; 1John 5:3]

“And whatsoever ye do, in word or in deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” [Col 3:17]

This teaches us about Repentance from sins and Confessing Him.

Preaching Jesus must include teaching that we must go

UNDER the water to come in contact with His blood,

The Eunuch, upon hearing the preaching of Jesus, concluded baptism was necessary for Salvation. [Acts 8:35-38]

Matt 26:28; Rom 6:3-4

Only after laying the foundation of Hearing, Believing, Repenting, Confessing, will we have laid the foundation for scriptural Baptism. Mat 28:19

With a foundation in the Authority of Jesus, they’ll also believe they’re

SAVED if they Grow and Endure until the end.

“But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” 2Peter 3:18

“But he that endureth to the end, the same shall be saved.” Matt 24:13

Matt 28:20; Rev 2:10

Spencer

Fifth of Seven Musts of Salvation; BAPTISM

The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us.” [1Peter 3:21]

When presented with this passage and the others in this article, you’d think that a believer would jump at the opportunity to obey the commands of God & His Son Christ Jesus. Sadly, most will argue using denominational dogma to argue against God.

We didn’t invent baptism for salvation, God did. It perfectly matches His word. It matches what Jesus did. He died, was buried and was resurrected. [1Cor 15:1-4]

We’re commanded to obey the gospel [2Thess 1:8-9], but how does one obey DEATH, BURIAL & RESURRECTION?

BAPTISM in water through faith in the working of God!!!

#5, we must be BAPTIZED: All quotations are from the ASV or KJV

  1. Matthew 28:19
  • Mark 16:16
  • Acts 2:38
  • Acts 10:48
  • Acts 22:16
  • Rom 6:3-4
  • Gal 3:27

These are just a few of the many verses that command & show a believer must be water baptized to have their sins washed away and be saved. We didn’t bring this up, God did.

What is

BAPTISM? Mat 28:19; Mark 16:16; Acts 8:35-33; 22:16

It is a BURIAL and a resurrection. [Col 2:12]

Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.

It is AUTHORIZED by Christ’s command. [Mark 16:16]

He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

It is PART 5 of conversion. [Acts 2:38]. Hear, Believe, Repent, Confess and be BAPTIZED.

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.

It TRUSTS God’s working, not our own. [Col 2:12]

Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.

We are baptized INTO Christ & a putting on Christ.

[Rom 6:3-4; Gal 3:27]

For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.

Baptism SAVES you. [1Pet 3:21]

“The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us”

It is done at MIDNIGHT, midday, or the same hour upon H-B-R-C. Not a scheduled monthly social event. [Acts 16:33]

And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway.

If your denomination schedules baptisms, they don’t believe it is essential for salvation. People in the bible obeyed God IMMEDIATELY, the same hour. [cr. Acts 8:36]

Spencer

6 MORE simple objections pt5; It doesn’t say, ‘and is not baptized.’

Mark 16:16 He that believes and is baptized shall be saved; but he ...

 

SIMPLE OBJECTION #5; It doesn’t say, ‘and is not baptized.’

The Objection goes like this: “If baptism was important, how come Jesus didn’t say, ‘and is NOT baptized’ in the second part of Mark 16:16. If both parts are not present in the second half, then the part omitted is unnecessary.”

This falls under the silly category, not just the simple. Yet, I was given this objection recently in an online discussion. NO, the second part of verse 16 doesn’t say, ‘and is not baptized,’ and it doesn’t need to. The second part is contingent upon the completion of the first part. Look at the following illustration.

OMISSION of the second part is completely logical without the presence of the first part. “He that has food & eats it shall be nourished. But he that does not have food will perish.” If you don’t have the 1st part, the second part avails you nothing.

When you TAKE AWAY any part you won’t be saved. The person without belief is condemned already. “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.” [John 3:18] “Without faith it’s impossible to please God.” [Heb 11:6]

6 More Simple Objections pt4; What if I’m in a desert?

What Really Turned the Sahara Desert From a Green Oasis Into a ...

 

SIMPLE OBJECTION #4; What if you’re in a DESERT?

I heard his objection and the next one just this week in my public evangelism. They really are being used. An associate pastor [I don’t know what an associate pastor is] said, ‘What if you’re in a desert and want to be baptized, then what?” I replied, ‘Let me show you a bible passage.’ He ignored me and walked away. Folks, these are not straw man arguments, they are being used by error to justify disobedience to God. Let’s reason together and learn how to answer them.

The Objection goes like this: “Baptism isn’t required because if a believer was in a desert or on a battlefield, they would not be able to be baptized.” These kinds of “what if” arguments prove nothing and don’t change what God has said. They actually lead to error, ie, Sprinkling instead of immersion. God can extend mercy as He sees fit however, we are not God and only know what God has revealed to us. [Deut 29:29]

Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.”

[1Thess 5:21]

DON’T GO beyond the word of the Lord. I cannot go beyond or below the word of the Lord. Consider carefully these passages about adding to or taking away from God’s word.

  • Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you. [Deut 4:2]
  • What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it. [Deut 12:32]
  • For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: 19 And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book. [Rev 22:18]
  • Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar. [Prov 30:6]

EXCLUDING one command that saves EXCLUDES them all. What saves us? Look at the chart on the last page. All of these are essential.

SALVATION is at the place God puts it. Forgiveness is at faithful baptism. God drew the line of salvation at baptism. We’re not the final judge. All we can say is that such a person does not have a Biblical hope of salvation.

  • And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord. [Acts 22:16]
  • 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. [Acts 2:38]
  • He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. [Mark 16:16]
  • 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: 1Peter 3:21]
  • And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? [Acts 8:36]

EXCEPTIONS come from God, not man. God gave the children of Israel an exception to the Passover timing [Num 9:9-13]. God gave it, not man. We cannot go beyond the word of the Lord to do good or to do evil. [Mat 7:21-23] It’s presumptuous to speak where God is silent. “But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die.” [Deu 18:20] While we have no authority for stoning law breakers, the principle still applies. God makes the rules. [cf. 2Timothy 2:5] There are no exceptions to baptism.

REPLACING commands of God has been tried & failed. Naaman tried that. [2Kings 5:1-14]. A key verse: “My father, if the prophet had bid thee do some great thing, wouldest thou not have done it? how much rather then, when he saith to thee, Wash, and be clean?” [v13]

TURNING AWAY from the command of God is rebellion & blasphemous. “For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, And stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, He also has rejected you from being king.” [1Sam 15:23; John 12:42; 6:66]

This objection leaves us to wonder if it’s really about ability or willingness.

–Spencer

6 More Simple Objections pt3; What if I die on the way to baptism?

Apologetics Press - Do We Die to Sin Before Baptism or In Baptism?

 

SIMPLE OBJECTION #3; What if someone dies on the way to be baptized?

The Objection goes like this: “What if a person believes in Jesus and is saved, but on the way to be baptized they are killed before they can be baptized? I think God will save them because they were actively seeking to do the will of God.”

How to Answer: The first thing to note is that a usual part of this objection is the line, ‘they are saved after believing.’ There is no salvation by faith alone. It’s a subtle twist in the objection, so be sure you note it and correct it. “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.” [Mark 16:16]

Once that is addressed, you can move on to answer the main objection. What if I die GOING to the water?

First, remind them of GOD’S PLAN. We don’t get our authority through ‘I think, my opinion’ etc. The Bible states that we must first believe the Gospel, that Jesus is the Son of God, repent from our sins and to be baptized for the remission of our sins:

  • “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:16).
  • “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 2:38).
  • “Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them” (Acts 2:47).

Repent means to turn away from your sins. Remission means forgiveness.

Next, the objection stands if you can find just ONE PERSON who doesn’t need to be baptized. If so, then nobody needs be baptized. They want the made-up exception to be the rule. We have no authority to make exceptions to God’s commands.

IMMEDIACY is seen in the text. “And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord” (Acts 22:16; cr. Acts 16:33).

NOBODY is saved until they obey the Gospel. [2Thess 1:8; Rom 10:16-17]. Believers Baptized in water is the dividing line.

GOD KNOWS the end from the beginning. If questions will lead to every kind of disobedience. Here’s one, what if a person is on the way & will hear the Gospel and would have believed, but dies before hearing? I’ve had folks tell me the person would be saved! That means they’re saved before BELIEF! This is an egregious error based on ‘what if’ scenarios. ‘What If’ questions have no part in determining authority. The Word from God written in His scripture is our source for information. [Col 3:16]

Now, what does baptism represent? It represents Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection: “Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? 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. For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.” (Rom 6:3-6). [cr. Col 2:12; Acts 8:35-37; Acts 22:16; Gal 3:27]

 

–Spencer

6 more SIMPLE OBJECTIONS pt1

Nice ways to say you're wrong in English - The London School of ...

 

6 more SIMPLE OBJECTIONS pt1.

These are called simple objections because they could have been easily answered by the questioner through a casual reading of the text. In some cases, the objection has a mocking tone and aren’t very serious. Even then, with the application of a bit of reason they are easily answered.

God has said, “Come now, and let us reason together,” [Isaiah 1:18]

Faith in God is not blind. There is a preponderance of evidence that we may reason & consider. [Heb 11:1,6]

These simple objections are presented with this in mind, Let’s Reason Together.

 

SIMPLE OBJECTION #1; Was Saul (later called Paul) saved on the road to Damascus?”

This objection sounds like this; “Saul (later called Paul) saved when he fell off his horse on the road to Damascus.”

The Objection may be answered this way: Not everyone mentions a horse, but when they do you should recognize that this person either hasn’t read the passage or isn’t handling it aright. A casual reading of [Acts 9:1-9; 22:1-16; 26:12-20] will show that no horse is ever mentioned. This is a clear example of someone ADDING to God’s word.

This is an important first defense to many objections, are they accurately portraying what the text actually says? By going to the text, many misunderstandings could be readily cleared with a careful reading of scripture.

Here are 4 more answers to this simple objection:

If Paul was saved on the road to Damascus then why was he SAD, SCARED & SIGHTLESS for 3 days? For a saved person, he is the saddest saved person on record. Everyone else is rejoicing for their salvation. [Acts 9:6; 18; 22:10-16; cr Acts 8:39]

He was told to ARISE and go into Damascus to be told what to do. If he was saved on the road, he was saved without his knowledge of the gospel or the things he must do. ANANIAS had to tell him what to do. [Acts 9:6; 22:10].

His sins were yet UNWASHED. If he was saved on the way to Damascus, he was still in his sins. Ananias said, “arise and be baptized, washing away your sins.” [Acts 22:16] Can anyone assert that salvation occurs with one’s sins? This doesn’t make any sense.

Saul still needed to LEARN what he must do. Jesus didn’t tell him he was saved. For 3 days he waited Sightless & Afraid, deep in prayer and fasting. Why? Because he, as do we all, needed to hear the words of eternal life. Just as Cornelius in Acts 10:6, 22, 33. Romans 10:14, which Paul (previously Saul of whom we’re speaking about) wrote, “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?”

Instead of telling him what to do to be saved, Jesus sent him to Damascus where a preacher, Ananias, would tell him the words on how to be saved.

“For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.”

[1Cor 1:21 emph. mine seb]

No, Saul was not saved on the road to Damascus. He was saved when he obeyed the Gospel. The message hasn’t changed for us today. [Rom 6:3-4]

We must Hear the gospel of Jesus Christ, Believe it, Repent of our sins, Confess that Jesus is the Christ and be Baptized for the remission (removal) of our sins. We are then to live faithfully until death. It was the same for Saul, it is the same for us, it is the same for everyone. God is no respecter of person.

 

–Spencer

OBJECTIONS to the Gospel pt3

TLC_026: OBJECTIONS and SIDEBARS | Trial Lawyer Confidential

 

OBJECTIONS #5; You CAN’T lose your salvation. Once Saved Always Saved.

This Objection comes up as you discuss continued faithfulness after obeying the gospel and the possibility of apostacy. The key verse they use is, Romans 8:35-39. Nothing, they say, can separate us from the Love of God. What they fail to see is us, can we reject Him?

We can LOSE our salvation. We can stop LOVING God through our willing disobedience. “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.” [1John 5:3]

Can we escape through willful disobedience? “In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that OBEY not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:” [2Thess 1:8; cf Luke 6:46; Mat 7:21-19, emph mine Seb]

Paul saw a connection between his SERVICE toward God as a Christian and the possibility of being disqualified. If Paul thought he could become disqualified, why do you think differently? [1Cor 9:27]

Paul wrote Timothy about those who have a shipwrecked faith. [1Tim 1:19]. The parable of the sower shows that we need to ESTABLISH ourselves in the faith, to grow roots in faithfulness and produce good fruit. [Mark 4:13-20; cf John 15:1-6]

Do you need further evidence? Galatians 5:4.

OBJECTIONS #6; The Thief on the cross wasn’t baptized.

You’re right, he wasn’t. He didn’t become a Christian either! You see, the Thief was a Jew (context bears that out) who lived and died under the Law of Moses, the Old Testament system. The New Testament didn’t come into play until after the death of Jesus. [Heb 9:15-17; Luke 23:32-43].

Therefore, the Thief HAD NO COMMAND to be BAPTIZED. That command came after the resurrection of Christ. [Mat 28:18-20; Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38]

I often ask, “why pick the thief, why not be saved IN THE SAME WAY AS the rich young ruler?” [Mat 19:16-22] He asked for eternal life and was told to sell all that he had and give to the poor. When’s your garage sale?

An appeal to the Thief will not help you to ESCAPE God’s wrath [Heb 2:1-3; 2Thess 1:8-9]. ESCAPE only comes through obedience to the Gospel. [1Cor 15:1-4; Rom 6:3-4]

the Thief found FORGIVENESS before the removal of the Law of Moses, before the command to be baptized, before the New Testaments covenant of Christ, before the church was built, and before Christ died. Nobody today can meet those criteria to be saved like the Thief on the Cross.

 

–Spencer

Why does the church of Christ push baptism so much?

One of the criticisms against the Lord’s church and against His gospel preachers is that we emphasize baptism so much.

There’s a very simple and reasonable answer. To answer it, let’s look at what we have in common with the denominational world.

  • We BELIEVE in Jesus. They acknowledge Jesus as God & already know about Him, that He died, was buried and was resurrected. There are unbelievers, & for those I begin with HEARING God’s word.
  • We both agree that WORSHIP is found in the scriptures. We disagree about how to worship [in spirit & truth John 4:24], but we generally agree that Sunday worship is a part of the Christian life.
  • We agree that a person ought to be PENITENT, meaning that a person has to REPENT of sins. This is only denied by some denominational people.
  • We definitely agree that CONFESSING Jesus as the Christ is essential to salvation. The scriptures make confession essential. [Romans 10:9].

WHAT ABOUT BAPTISM?

This is where we divide widely. Actually, they’re not dividing from us as much as they’re dividing from the Scriptures. (see chart next page) We emphasize BAPTISM, because they don’t emphasize it at all regarding it being ESSENTIAL to salvation. They will baptize, even by immersion, but that is the end of the similarities. Here’s how I know they’re not following God’s word on baptism…

  • They SCHEDULE According to the word, folks who come to the knowledge of Jesus, are baptized immediately.

And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway.” [Acts 16:33]

  • They say, “BAPTISM DOESN’T SAVE.” This is a direct contradiction to the Apostle Peter, to Paul and certainly against Christ.

“He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved;”

[Mark 16:16]

Why Did Jesus Appear to Saul

Why did Jesus appear personally to Saul (later called Paul) on the way to Damascus?

  • To tell him what to do to be SAVED? No
  • To PARDON him?

After His ascension, Jesus never appeared to anyone to pardon sins. Why? Because God has ordained a law of pardon [Mat 28:19-20; Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38].

Jesus saves no one except through obedience to the gospel plan of salvation [Heb 5:8-9]. There is no scriptural evidence that He ever appeared and saved someone outside of gospel obedience. He did providentially bring sinners into contact with a gospel preacher who would tell them what to do to be saved.

Why did Jesus appear in person to Saul? The answer is to make him an Apostle [Acts 26:16-18].

The criteria to be an Apostle, a man must have seen the Lord Jesus Christ after He arose from the dead [Acts 1:22; 2Pet 1:16; 1John 1:1, 4:14]. Paul had not been a witness of the resurrection of Christ until the Lord appeared to him on the highway [1Cor 15:8].

  • Saul was a chosen vessel [Acts 9:15].
  • He was one ‘born out of due time’ [1Cor 15:8].

 

All of the Apostles were witnesses of the resurrection of Christ [John 20:19-31]. It was necessary for Paul to be made a witness also by this appearance of Christ to him on the Damascus highway. The purpose of the highway appearance was not to save him, but to make him a witness.

Ananias was instructed to go to Saul. He told him to “arise and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord” [Acts 22:14-16]. Note what he DIDN’T tell Paul…

  • To pray and ask Jesus into his heart.
  • To get religion.
  • To speak in tongues as a sign that Jesus accepted him.
  • That he was already saved.

 

He told him to “arise and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.” Just as Christ had commanded [Mat 28:18-20; Mark 16:16]

What did Saul do to be saved? FIRST, we note that he believed. Jesus had appeared to him on the road to Damascus. Saul was on a mission of persecuting the church of Christ. Then the Lord appeared to him and told him that it was Jesus he was persecuting. Saul saw Him and heard His voice. Saul believed in the risen Jesus on that Damascus highway. [Acts 22:10; 26:14-18]

NEXT, he repented. Upon arriving to Damascus, he was blind and his attitude was changed [Acts 26:19]. He was ready and willing to do whatever the Lord would command despite his past [Acts 22:10]. He went to the house of Judas at the Lord’s command. He waited for 3 days in a penitent state [Acts 9:9].

THEN he was baptized. He was a penitent believer in the Lord Jesus Christ. There was but one thing left for him to do. He was already a believer, and had already repented. He needed to be BAPTIZED FOR THE REMISSION OF SIN [Acts 2:38; 22;16].

In his letter to the Romans, he tells us how & why he was baptized. “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.” [Rom 6:3-4]

Notice the pronouns ‘us’ and ‘we’ by which Paul is including himself along with these gentile brethren among those buried with Christ by baptism. When he took that step into baptism, he himself was putting on Christ. [Gal 3:27]

From Pharisee of Pharisees and Persecutor of the church of Christ to ALL IN PAUL for the spreading of the gospel. What a shining example of faith and duty.

 

—Spencer