I want to concentrate on Acts 2 verse 42:
What that tells you is that when you get to the page of baptism you haven’t arrived, you’ve started; you haven’t reached the finishing post, you haven’t got your certificate!
Now, you can say: ‘I’ve done it all’, ‘It’s all done.’ In fact, you’ve reached the ‘starting point’. And the most important thing is that you continue, that you carry on.
It is not just a one-off thing that you sort of suddenly have this religious fit and you decide you’ve got to be baptized.
It’s a commitment to Jesus Christ, to following Him through the rest of your life, and it’s the starting point, not the finishing line.
Repent, be baptized, receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, be saved from this perverse generation: that’s where you start from.
Now you continue in the faith, in Jesus Christ.
A couple of weeks ago when Keith Malcomson gave his talk on baptism which was a very good talk.
If you didn’t hear it, it’s on our website, so listen to it.
He spoke about the fact that, when we are baptized, we are identified with Jesus in his death, buried with Him through baptism unto His death.
And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we should walk in newness of life.
We buried the old life, buried it in baptism and are risen to new life in Jesus Christ. And having been baptized and identified – going down into the water is the symbolism of dying to our old life – coming up out of the water is a symbolism of rising to newness of life in Jesus Christ.
Therefore, we should walk in newness of life, we should put to death the old man, the old woman, the person we were, and we should rise to newness of life in Jesus Christ.
What is needed to do this? That verse 42 is so important!
I’m just going to speak briefly on those things and, more importantly, on the last one, on prayer, the apostles’ doctrine they continued in, the teaching which the apostles were giving, the teaching which lines up with the teaching of the apostles in the scriptures.
One of the big problems we have in what developed into Christianity was that much of what was verbally, nominally Christian didn’t conform with the apostles’ teaching.
So, we had a rise of a what we call an ‘apostate church’ which went away from God.
What is very important is that we continue in the teaching which we find in this Book, in the Word of God.
And today, we find many people, in fact many people come to me and say, ‘I live in an area where I don’t hear the Gospel being preached, churches where they don’t teach the things of God. What am I going to do? How am I going to cope with this?’
It’s so important that the church which we live in continues in the apostles’ doctrine and in teaching, that we continue in the teaching which we’ve received by the Word of the Lord, by the Holy Spirit, by the gifted men who wrote down the scriptures as they were directed by the Holy Spirit and who have given us the Word of God. That we continue in it, and we continue to follow the Lord Jesus Christ.
We have to recognize that Jesus said they’re going to be false teachers and false prophets (Matthew 24:24) coming who are going to lead you astray. So, you have to learn to discern between the truth and the error.
How do you know the truth? Well, the truth is what’s going to set you free (John 8:32) from the power of sin. Truth is what’s going to concentrate your mind on the essentials of the Gospel: that we are sinners, that we need to repent and believe the Gospel, to believe that Christ died for our sins, was buried, and rose again from the dead.
This is what is going to save us from eternal judgment.
That there is a judgment coming. The Bible says,
Each one of us shall give account of our lives before God after we die, after we go to be with the Lord.
The Bible tells us that there are two destinations you can go on to:
- One is to heaven, and
- One is to hell
Jesus said there is a broad road which leads to destruction (Matthew 7:13) and there are many people on it.
There’s a narrow road which leads to life and there are a few who find it.
We must be those who are on that ‘narrow road’ which leads to life, those who’ve found it through faith in Jesus Christ.
What’s important, if you’re on a road, is that you reach the destination you want to go to.
You don’t go because of the comforts of the road; you go because you want to get somewhere.
The broad road leading to destruction which many people are on may be the easy road to go on, but it’s going to lead you to destruction, to eternal separation from God in hell and God doesn’t want anybody to go there.
That’s why He wants us to repent and believe and go on the narrow road which leads to life, the narrower road which is life through faith in Jesus Christ.
We know that if this is difficult – and it is difficult to follow Jesus because you’re going against the flow, you’re going against the mainstream – and you have to commit your life to Jesus, you have to follow Him, you have to do what He tells you to do, and to be open to the leading of His Holy Spirit, believe the things of which I’ve spoken of today.
We know that there is a judgment coming upon the whole world because of sin. I believe we’re living in the last days as we see so many things happening around us which are pointing us to the Second Coming of Jesus the Messiah where the world is like a sinking ship.
If you’re going to stay on the world system, you’re going to drown in that sinking ship.
One thing you can do is to get off the sinking ship and get onto the lifeboat, which is faith in Jesus, which will take you to a place of eternal security.
I believe that in these days, the true church should be teaching about the Second Coming of Jesus because it’s certainly much on the agenda and it’s something that’s going to happen, and we need to be ready for the coming of the Lord.
We’re going to continue in the apostles’ teaching and the first thing is to make sure that we’re hearing the Word of God, that we’re studying it we’re studying the Word of God for ourselves so we can learn what God says in His Word.