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Sunday, March 18, 2018 am                                            Church Index

 

NT CHURCH 2017-18 (50)
Part of His Church (2)
Becoming Part of His Church (2)

         Last week we introduced the final section of our study of the NT church.  We began to address the terms of admission to the church – what is involved in being part of His church.  In this section we are addressing HOW we become part of the TRUE church and what that means.  

We have been noticing the book of Acts and what was done to spread the gospel.   Last week we discussed how the gospel was preached and heard in every account of conversion.  It was hearing the gospel first that produced belief and faith in Him.  We noted examples of repentance and confession.  One cannot be a child of God if he rejects these things.   But it DOES NOT end there.  There is one final step we find frequently in scripture and that is baptism.  Today we want to talk about this and notice its part where the church is concerned. 

 I.                     Baptized

a.       Mark 16:15-16, Matthew 28:18-20 – as Jesus gave the great commission, He instructed His apostles to go and baptize to be saved. 
1 Corinthians 12:13 – notes, “For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body…”  Paul, who early in this letter addressed their being baptized (1 Corinthians 1:14-15), was speaking of the church they were part of.  When we are properly immersed (for the right reason), we are saved and we are added to His body, His church.

b.       This was the typical pattern in Acts.  In multiple examples where we are given details, baptism is mentioned.  Consider the following:
Acts 2:37-38 – on the day of Pentecost, Repent and be baptized…
Acts 8:12-13 – Samaritans, including Simon the sorcerer were baptized
Acts 8:38-39 – the Eunuch was baptized by Philip on his way back to Ethiopia.
Acts 9:18 -  the first thing Paul after receiving his sight at the command of Ananias, is that he is baptized.   Acts 22:16, in more detail Paul explains what baptism did for him.  It washed away his sins.  In this act, he was “calling on the name of the Lord.”
Acts 10:47-48 – Cornelius, the first full Gentile convert, was commanded to be baptized in the name of the Lord.
Acts 16:14-15 – Lydia and her household were baptized after being taught by Paul and Silas.
Acts 16:31-34 – have heard “the word of Lord” with which he would be saved, the jailer washes the stripes of Paul (could this be an act of repentance), and is baptized with his family. 
Acts 18:8 – Paul in Corinth taught the gospel, and many, including Crispus (see 1 Cor. 1:14-15), hearing, believed and were baptized. 
Acts 19:5 – in Ephesus, 12 men heard that they had been baptized for the wrong reason, were then baptized “in the name of the Lord Jesus.

c.        These examples show definitively how early prospects heard the word of God and were baptized.
It is AFTER baptism  that we see results such as:
Acts 2:38 – for the remission of sins (also consider Acts 10:43 where it is tied to “whoever believes” as Peter teaches Cornelius.  VS. 47-48 SHOWS what they did because of this belief.)
Acts 8:39 – he went on his way rejoicing
Acts 16:15 – Lydia was judged to be faithful to the Lord
Acts 16:34 – rejoicing, having believed with all his household.

Acts 22:16– Paul’s sins were washed away, he called on the name of the Lord

d.       Not every example mentions baptism.
For example: Acts 17:34, Paul having taught in Athens mentions, However, some men joined him and believed, among them Dionysius the Areopagite, a woman named Damaris, and others with them.
This does NOT negate the need for baptism as we have noted in multitudes of passages.  It DOES demonstrate, as we have seen in this lesson in Acts 16:31-34, etc. that the word “believe” or even “repentance” can be descriptive of all that was done to make oneself right with God.

e.       CONSIDER the chart of conversions in Acts.  NO example of scripture mentions everything they did, but when we study what one must do, the best course is to put everything together and from that we formulate the plan God intends for us to follow.

 II.                   Romans 10:8-17 – a good passage to describe the process.  Sometimes used to say all one needs to do is believe and confess.  But notice the process that takes place:

a.       They hear the word – vs. 8, it is near them and was preached to them)

b.       They believe with the heart unto (in the direction of – same word as “for” in Acts 2:38) righteousness. 

c.        They confess with the mouth “unto (same word) salvation”.

d.       Vs. 13 – “for whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”  Consider this expression “call on the name of the Lord” – when and how does this occur? 

                                                   i.      It was mentioned in Acts 2:21 on Pentecost in Peter’s sermon.  How did those who were cut to the heart respond?  Remember the expression is in the MIDST of Peter’s sermon and quoting the OT (Joel 2:28-32).    Peter will explain what is involved.  Acts 2:38 is what Peter told them to do to be saved.  That is HOW they called on the name of the Lord – repent and be baptized.

                                                 ii.      Acts 22:16, Paul in recounting his conversion uses the same expression.  It was washing away his sins, “calling on the name of the Lord.”

                                                iii.      Continue to notice in our text – 14-17 – Calling comes AFTER believing, which comes AFTER hearing, which comes AFTER having the message preached. 

                                                iv.      Thus, the act of “calling on the name of the Lord” is not merely believing.  Not is it “the sinner’s prayer” which we do not find in scripture. It is fulfilling God’s commands which lead to our salvation.  1 Peter 3:21 – it is “the answer of a Good conscience toward God, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

  III.                  This is only the beginning.  As Christians, and part of the body of Christ, we are called upon to remain faithful to Him.  To live our lives for Him.  In baptism we have put to death the old man of sin and have been raised “to walk in newness of life.”  Romans 6:3-4.  It’s a changed life.  That is what much of the NT is about – how we live as Christians.  AND one thing you will find in the epistles, is that a congregation of the Lord’s people is PART of that life.  More on that in our next lesson.

 

Conclusion: An identifying characteristic of the TRUE church (one body – Ephesians 4:4) is their “terms of admission”, or how they teach that one is saved.  If a church (religious body) is teaching a false way of salvation, they are teaching a false way to Christ (Acts 4:12), or another gospel (Galatians 1:6-9).  How can they be the true church?  Think about it!