John Stott writes in his book Our Guilty Silence that people in the Bible seemed to ask the right questions. The rich young ruler asked Jesus what to do to inherit eternal life (Mark 10:17). The crowd on the Day of Pentecost pleaded with Peter, “What must we do?”(Acts 2:37). And the Philippian Jailer asked Paul and Silas what he needed to do to be saved, (Acts 16:29).
People don’t seem to be asking the questions in quite the same way or the same language. People are searching and people will want to know what it will take for them to be saved, to accept Jesus, to become a Christian. And that’s good!
In a previous post, I noted that Acts is a significant book. It is a book that teaches the doctrine of Christ and the doctrine of salvation and what must happen in a person’s life for them to have this gift of grace, salvation, and eternal life offered by God. The seeds and some of the mature plants of doctrine and theology are found in Acts. So . . . what does it say? What does Acts teach?
Read the following passages and you will notice several elements that are common between all of these conversion experiences in the book of Acts.
- Acts 2:14-41 ( http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Acts+2&version=NASB )
- Acts 8:25-39 ( http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Acts+8&version=NASB )
- Acts 9:3-18 ( http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Acts+9&version=NASB )
- Acts 10:23-48 ( http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Acts+10&version=NASB )
- Acts 16:22-33 ( http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Acts+16&version=NASB )
In each of these situations because Jesus is preached, people were convicted in their hearts about Jesus and their guilt of sin in relation to Jesus, thus the picture at the beginning of the post. It begins with preaching Jesus. We preach Him with our life, with our actions, with our words, and with our message. Preaching Jesus is the key and believing in Jesus is turning the key that will open the door to salvation [John 3:15-17, 36; 20:31; Acts 4:4; 8:12; 16:31 & 34; Romans 1:16; 3:22; 10: 9 & 10 and tons more).
Another element that we find is repentance. Some of those are feeling the need to repent and have the heart of repentance, some are having to be instructed to repent, but repentance is there nonetheless. Repent does mean to change, but more than a sense of guilt, change that moves one away from living in and with sin in their life to moving toward God and righteousness that comes from God because one is in Christ (Acts 2:38; 3:19).
Another element is this, confession. Like Peter when Jesus asked the Apostles what they believed about Him, “You are the Christ” Mark 8:29. Confessing Jesus. I believe he is the Son of God raised from the dead. I know that I am a sinner and by my repentance at least I am confessing my failure (Romans 3:23). I even have a song I wrote, inspired by 1 Timothy 3:16 I call My Confession. I should record it some day. Carlos Santana hasn’t been available to play on it for me yet – LOL. It’s that style of music. The chorus goes like this: He’s my friend, He’s my Lord, He is God, the Living Word. He’s my Savior, Intercessor, Mighty God. This is my confession; I confess, I believe Jesus is the Son of God (Romans 10: 9 & 10; 1 Timothy 6:12; 1 John 1:9).
And another element of accepting Christ and becoming a Christian is immersion. Most Bibles will use the term baptize and baptism. It simply means to dip, to plunge, to go completely under the water. And the only part that the one being baptized does in the process of baptism, is that they submit themselves to God and whoever is taking them into the water and bringing them back out. It is all because they believe in Jesus and are repenting and confessing Christ (Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 2:38 & 41; 8:12; 8:36 & 38; 9:18; Romans 6:3; Galatians 3:27).
What we’re trying to do right here is help those who don’t know what to tell people when you have been able to share Jesus with them and they ask, in whatever way they will ask, what one must do, what must happen for them to receive Jesus and God’s grace of salvation.
If you are not a born-again believer, which according to the Bible would be called a Christian, and you want to accept the gift of grace that God is offering you, do one of a two things; either get in contact with someone from a Christian church and talk with them about your decision to follow Christ, or contact me and I will be glad to help you with all this. May God bless you!