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Salvation

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    Since the beginning of time, God has desired a close, special, intimate, personal, one on one, relationship with mankind.

    Each evening God himself walked and talked with Adam & Eve in the Garden of Eden – until Adam & Eve’s SIN separated them. Sin created a huge gulf or chasm between God and man. But God knew this would happen, so He set in motion His plan to bring salvation to mankind.

    In the meantime, God gave the pattern and instructions for a tabernacle – a portable tent – that served as a place where God could meet with man. The people were required to bring sacrifices for their sins, and God would roll their sins ahead for a year. God would only meet with one man (the high priest) once a year.

    Solomon, and later King Herod, built temples in which the people could worship God. Still, God observed their sacrifices and offerings, but did not have the personal relationship with man that He desired.

    Then God “robed himself in flesh”, and became a man named JESUS. For 33 years, he lived among us – a perfect, sinless man. Now He was living “with” us, but not “within” us! He gave Himself as the sinless sacrifice for our sins when He was crucified on the cross. His death on the cross, and the blood that He shed, built a bridge across the chasm created by sin. Now, man could have his sins forgiven. Jesus was then buried, rose from the dead, and some days later, ascended back into heaven.

    Fifty days later on the “Day of Pentecost”, God poured out His Spirit on the 120 believers waiting in an Upper Room in Jerusalem. NOW, God himself could live within man and commune with man – anytime, anywhere, about anything…  And with anyone that would invite Him in!!

    Where do we find the plan of salvation for the New Testament church?

    1. The Gospels

    The first four books are called “The Gospels”. In them, we find four men’s accounts of:
    Jesus’ birth
    Jesus’ ministry and miracles
    Jesus’ death
    Jesus’ burial
    Jesus’ resurrection

    There is no mention of the church in these books.

    2. Acts

    This book documents the birth of the church on the Day of Pentecost. God poured out His Spirit on the waiting believers, and then through them, reached the world with the gospel.

    3. Epistles

    These were letters written to saints (believers) and churches that had already experienced the plan of salvation.

    Let’s examine the book of Acts:

    • Chapter 1 – Jesus told the disciples to wait in an upper room until His power would come upon them.
    • Chapter 2 – Here is the account of the first outpouring of the Holy Ghost. 120 people were filled with the Holy Ghost (including Jesus’ mother). Peter stood up to explain to the curious crowd what had happened. In his preaching he recounted a quick history lesson and then explained to them that they had crucified the Messiah. They were convicted, and cried out, “What shall we do?” Peter answered with a three step plan of salvation:

    1. Repent,
    2. and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins
    3. and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

    This plan of salvation was experienced by 3,000 additional believers on the day of Pentecost, and then the gospel spread to other Jews, Samaritans, and then to the Gentiles.

    Let’s examine three accounts given in the book of Acts that illustrate this plan of salvation experienced by the early church:

    Note in each story:
    How they were baptized (italicized and bold) and
    What happened when they received the Holy Ghost (bold)

    Acts Chapter 2

    1 And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.
    2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.
    3 And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.
    4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance
    * * *
    37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?
    38 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.
    39 For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the LORD our God shall call.
    40 And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation.
    41 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.

    Acts Chapter 10 

    1 There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of the band called the Italian band,
    2 A devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God alway.
    3 He saw in a vision evidently about the ninth hour of the day an angel of God coming in to him, and saying unto him, Cornelius.
    4 And when he looked on him, he was afraid, and said, What is it, Lord? And he said unto him, Thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God.
    5 And now send men to Joppa, and call for one Simon, whose surname is Peter:
    * * *
    44 While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word.
    45 And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost.
    46 For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter,
    47 Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?
    48 And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days.

    Acts Chapter 19 

    1 And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples,
    2 He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost.
    3 And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John’s baptism.
    4 Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.
    5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
    6 And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.

    YOU can experience your own personal Pentecost!

    Then Peter said unto them, Repent,…” (Acts 2:38)

    Repent:

    • means to turn away from sin, and turn toward God
    • to turn from sin…to feel regret or contrition, to change one’s mind (Webster)
    • to go the opposite direction – away from sin, and toward God

    John preached repentance:

    • Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Matthew 3:2″
    • “John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.” Mark 1:4

    Jesus preached repentance:

    • “…except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.” Luke 13:3
    • “And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his (Jesus) name among all nations…” Luke 24:47

    Peter preached repentance:

    • “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
    •  Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.” Acts 3:19
    • “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. II Peter 3:9

    Paul preached repentance:

    •  “And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:” Acts 17:30

    “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins,…” (Acts 2:38)

    Baptism is necessary for salvation:

    • “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; …” Mark 16:16
    • “The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us…” I Pet. 3:21

    Baptism must be in Jesus Name:

    • “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. Acts 4:12
    • And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.” Colossians 3:17

    The disciples baptized everyone in Jesus Name:

    • “(For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.)” (Acts 8:16)
    • “And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord.” (Acts 10:48)
    • “When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. (Acts 19:7)
    • “And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord. Acts 22:16

    When you are baptized in Jesus Name, your sins are remitted, forgiven, washed away, never to be remembered against you!

    “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)

    The Holy Ghost is for everyone:

    • “For the promise (of receiving the Holy Ghost) is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.” Acts 2:39

    The Holy Ghost is a necessary part of the plan of salvation:

    • Jesus said “…Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God” (John 3:5). This is speaking of water baptism and the baptism of the Holy
      Ghost.
    • Peter said, “…ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” Acts 2:38
    • Paul said, “But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. Romans 8:9

    Speaking with tongues is the consistent evidence that each one received the Holy Ghost.

    • The Apostles & Mary (the mother of Jesus)
      “And when they were come in, they went up into an upper room, where abode both Peter, and James, and John, and Andrew, Philip, and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew, James [the son] of Alphaeus, and Simon Zelotes, and Judas [the brother] of James. These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren….And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. Acts 1:13,14, 2:4
    • Cornelius and his household
      “While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them…For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God.” Acts 10:44,46
    • Disciples of John the Baptist
      “And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.” Acts 19:6
    • Paul“I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all:I Corinthians 14:18

    In summary,

    The scripture reveals 3 facets of salvation:

    Repentance

    Remission of sins in Jesus Name Baptism

    Receiving the Holy Ghost with the evidence of speaking in tongues

    Paul called this “the Gospel”! “Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel…how that Christ died for our sins…and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day…” I Corinthians 1:1,3,4

    We experience the gospel when we’ve experienced the plan of salvation:

    Jesus died; We die in repentance
    Jesus was buried; We are “buried in baptism”
    Jesus rose again;  We receive the Holy Ghost & new life!

    When you have experienced repentance, baptism in Jesus Name and the infilling of the Holy Ghost, you have been born into the family of God. Jesus is now your Father, and you are His child.

    Paul wrote it this way:
    “…as God hath said, I will dwell in them and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters…” II Corinthians 6:16,18

    You are a CHILD OF GOD!

     

    By Brenda Moore
    Download This Bible Study

    By faith Noah, when he was warned about things not yet seen, with reverent regard constructed an ark for the deliverance of his family. Through faith he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith” (Hebrews 11:7, New English Translation).

    Several years ago, I moved into a new neighborhood and was getting acquainted with the lady across the street. While chatting about her home and how long she had lived there, she casually mentioned there was a bomb shelter beneath her garage. The house dated back to the cold war era when tensions ran high and people worried about a place of safety for their family. I don’t know if the space was now more of a novelty to her or if she trusted it to protect her during a cataclysmic event.

    I recently read of a man who has spent much of his life constructing an intricate 10,000-square-foot underground shelter to protect himself and others of like mind from nuclear fallout. Bruce Beach, who has been working on his project since the early 1980s, seems to have a well-thought-out plan that includes food, water, sanitation, air quality, and many other things required to sustain life, at least short term. He named his place of safety Ark Two.

    Preparing a Safe Place

    Noah also was concerned about safety for his family, but he had very good reason. In Genesis 6 we read of a direct warning from God of things yet to come. God then gave Noah specific instructions on the construction of an ark. His actions were visible to all, but it’s doubtful those who viewed his labors offered any words of encouragement. He would have become the neighborhood oddball, that strange person who causes snickers and mockery. None except his family regarded his words of warning.

    Many people today are concerned about their physical safety, but how many are putting the same thought into their eternal safety? God isn’t asking us to build a physical ark as He did Noah. He has already provided us an ark—a place of salvation—and it’s available to any who desires to enter. Our ark, our salvation, comes through Jesus. It is our way of escape.

    “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

    The Ark Is Ready

    Noah and his family found grace and were saved from the destruction of the flood. They chose to heed God’s warning and prepared accordingly. First Peter 4:7 warns us that “the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.” The Bible has given us clear warnings of the end time, but God also offers us grace—a way to escape. The ark is ready for any who will enter.

    “Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation” (II Corinthians 6:2b).

    Prayer: Thank You, Lord, that You have provided me a place of safety and salvation. Like the days of Noah, I see the evil around me and the disregard for things holy. Your Word tells me that the end is near. My prayer is not just for my personal salvation but that I can bring others into the ark. Jesus is our salvation and His mercy is available to all.

    In this week’s news, billionaire Robert F. Smith pledged to pay all student loan debt of the 2019 Graduating Class of Morehouse College. The lump sum of payment is estimated to be approximately 40 million dollars and according to The Wall Street Journal, “That donation covers the student loans for about 400 graduates.”[1]

    As I read through the reaction of some of the recipients, I began to cry because I was so happy for their blessing. They responded, “It’s a liberation gift.” “I’m still in disbelief.” Mr. Smith told one of the students, “Go out into the world and do things. Don’t worry about your debt’s.”[2]

    “Don’t worry about your debt’s.” What an incredible statement.

    The Debt of Sin

    I’m going to assume that most people reading this right now has some form of financial debt. I am not discounting this incredible blessing of Mr. Smith, but when you think of what Jesus did for us on Calvary, it surpasses any and all other gifts. Nothing compares to what our Savior did for us.

    The weight of debt is paralyzing. However, the weight of sin is deadly.

    This article led me into a quandary of questions. “Which would I be more excited about right now? Someone paying my debt –or– Jesus forgiving my sins?” If I’m completely honest, my husband and I have been on a walk by faith journey for over a year, and my constant prayer is for God to be our provider, and I thought, “I would be SO HAPPY for financial freedom.” But, I had to bring myself to an altar this morning and remind myself that nothing—NOTHING—is more important than my salvation. Nothing is more exhilarating that Jesus paying the debt of sin. Would I be happy if someone paid my debt? Yes, over the moon happy! However, I never want to be more happy about momentary blessings than eternal salvation.

    Colossians 2:13–14 explains what Jesus did for us, “And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.”

    Jesus paid more than 40 million dollars, He paid for our debts with His life. And, He paid the debt for more than 400 people, He paid the debt of all humanity.

    Never Forget

    I can never forget what He did for me.

    I never want to lose my deep sense of awe and gratitude of salvation, and I never want to forget the moment when I felt the weight of sin lift off me as I was baptized in Jesus name. More than anything in this world, Lord, I desire You.

    Prayer: Lord, thank you for your eternal blessings. Yes, Your word states that You are my provider, but more than blessing me financially, You will pay my debt of sin. I pray that you will bless Mr. Smith and his family, and I pray that You will bless every reader of More To Life Today, because You know their needs and You hear every prayer. We trust You, Lord, and we are so grateful for Your everlasting life.

    [1] Cameron McWhirter and Jake Holland, For Morehouse Class of 2019, Billionaire to Pay Off Graduate’s Debt, The Wall Street Journal, Monday, May 20, 2019—Vol. CCLXXIII NO. 117, A3.

    [2] McWhirter and Holland, Billionaire to Pay Off Graduate’s Debt, A3.