Know Your Bible Course

By Gene Tope

I. WHAT MUST I DO TO BE SAVED?

Of all the important questions of a lifetime, this one is the most important. My happiness here below and my eternal welfare depend on a correct answer to the question. It seems strange that the vast majority of mankind goes rushing madly through life giving little or no thought to the salvation of their souls. Let us not be like the majority, but let us search the Scriptures for God's answer to our soul's need.

Let us notice some basic considerations:

  1. Man cannot save himself - "It is not in man that walketh to direct his steps" (Jeremiah 10:23). The sinner cannot dictate to God what he will do to save himself. Neither morality nor good works are sufficient to save the soul (Titus 3:5). Preachers cannot devise a creed or catechism that will be of any benefit.
  2. We must recognize Jesus as the Savior - "I am the WAY, the TRUTH, and the LIFE: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me" (John 14:6).
  3. We must submit ourselves to the will of God - "What wilt Thou have me to do?" (Acts 9:6). Many come to the Bible, find God's answer, and then refuse to do it! Others hear what they must do, but obey only those requirements that seem reasonable to them, leaving undone divine requirements of equal importance.

THE GREAT COMMISSION

Let us hear the words of our Savior. After His resurrection, and just before His ascension, Jesus gave command to the apostles that they must preach the Good News concerning salvation to the whole world. Here are the three gospel records:

"Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost" (Matthew 28:19).
"And He said unto them, Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned" (Mark 16:15, 16). "And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name among all nations, beginning in Jerusalem" (Luke 24:47).

If we summarize these accounts, here is what Jesus requires:

Matthew 28:19 - Teaching and Baptism.
Mark 16:15,16 - Preaching, Believing, and Baptism.
Luke 24:47 - Preaching, Repentance, Remission of Sins.

Placing these in their logical order, we see that as sinners hear the Gospel preached, they are required to:

QUESTIONS ON SECTION I
CHOOSE THE CORRECT ANSWER
  1. Jesus is _________ to salvation.
    sometimes the way
    possibly the way
    one of the ways
    the only way
  2. Preachers can devise a way of saving man.
    True
    False
  3. We must obey God's will to be saved.
    True
    False
  4. Repentance is necessary for salvation.
    True
    False
  5. We should be baptized before hearing and believing the Gospel.
    True
    False
II. ACTS -- THE BOOK OF CONVERSIONS

At Christ's ascension, He commanded the apostles to wait in Jerusalem until they received heavenly power. This occurred shortly as the Holy Spirit came upon them at Pentecost (Acts 2:1-4). Peter and the eleven were enabled to speak in tongues (foreign languages), and so amazed a great crowd that had gathered. After showing that the coming of the Holy Spirit was in fulfillment of Joel's ancient prophecy (Joel 2:28-30), Peter then proceeded to speak to the people about their own needs.

Now read Acts 2:22-47.

Peter began by proving the divine Sonship of Jesus. His main proof was the resurrection of Christ, and this he showed by quoting the prophecies of David as found in the Psalms. Peter declared that Jesus had now ascended to the right hand of God, having received great authority, and was made both Lord and Christ.

The climax was reached when Peter's audience, pricked in their hearts, said to the apostles, "Men and brethren, what shall we do?" Here is the inspired reply: "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" (2:38). Note that Peter faithfully required the same things Jesus had commanded in His commission. Those seeking forgiveness must: Repent and be Baptized to receive remission of sins.

Some people say that there is nothing man can do to save himself, that God must do everything. But Peter, through the Holy Spirit, exhorted the people: "Save yourselves from this untoward generation." Verse 41 shows how this was accomplished: "Then they that gladly received his word were baptized."

QUESTIONS ON SECTION II
TRUE OR FALSE
  1. The events of Acts 2 were the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy.
    True
    False
  2. Peter could not convince the Jews of Christ's divine Sonship.
    True
    False
  3. Peter's audience asked: "Men and brethren, what shall we do?"
    True
    False
  4. Repentance, but not baptism, is necessary for remission of sins.
    True
    False
  5. Peter said: "Save yourselves from this untoward generation."
    True
    False
III. THE EUNUCH - Acts 8:26-40

Acts 8 has two examples of conversion. The first, found in verses 1-12, tells how the Samaritans hearing Philip preach Christ unto them, believed and were baptized. The latter case is found beginning with verse 26. You are asked to begin with verse 26 and read to the end of the chapter.

In this interesting account we find our subject an unusual man: "An eunuch of great authority" (he would be equivalent to our Secretary of the Treasury) and yet a religious man, he "had come to Jerusalem for to worship, was returning and sitting in his chariot reading Isaiah the prophet." A great man, a religious man; this was a man God wanted to save. An angel called Philip from his labors in Samaria and sent him out to a deserted spot where he saw a chariot coming along. The Holy Spirit told Philip to go join the chariot, the eunuch invited him up and Philip began to explain the Scriptures to this seeking individual.

The eunuch was reading from the prophet Isaiah in the section now designated chapter 53. Though writing over 700 years before Christ's birth, Isaiah was inspired to graphically picture His suffering and death. As the eunuch read, however, he was puzzled. His question to Philip was, "of whom speaketh the prophet this; of himself, or of some other man?" Philip began here "and preached unto him Jesus."

Though we do not have Phillip's sermon, its results are clearly stated.

As they rode along, they came in sight of water. The eunuch had been sufficiently taught to know what he must do to obtain forgiveness of sins. At his request for baptism, he had first to confess his faith in Christ (see also Romans 10:9, 10). Then, the chariot was stopped, both the preacher and the eunuch went down into the water and he was baptized. His work done, Philip was caught away by the Spirit and the eunuch went on his way rejoicing. What a wonderful experience he had to relate when he reached Ethiopia. Perhaps this is the way the Gospel first came to be preached in East Africa.

QUESTIONS ON SECTION III
TRUE OR FALSE
  1. The eunuch, being a religious man, was saved before Philip preached to him.
    True
    False
  2. Isaiah (Esaias) foretold the sufferings and death of Jesus.
    True
    False
  3. Philip preached Jesus to the eunuch.
    True
    False
  4. The eunuch confessed his faith in Jesus.
    True
    False
  5. The eunuch rejoiced before he was baptized.
    True
    False
FILL IN THE BLANKS
  1. Who told Philip to go south from Jerusalem toward Gaza?
    Peter
    Satan
    an angel of the Lord
    Jesus
  2. Isaiah's prophecy concerned the suffering and death of ______.
    Peter
    Satan
    an angel of the Lord
    Jesus
  3. Philip asked, "Do you ________ what you are reading?"
    care about
    have interest in
    believe
    understand
IV. THE CONVERSION OF SAUL

One of the most noteworthy accounts of conversion is recorded in three chapters of Acts: chapter 9, 22, 26. All three accounts should be studied. In Acts 22, Paul gives a personal account of how he became a Christian, and it is this chapter we now refer to. Dealing with the chapter by sections, we find:

VERSES 3-5 -- Paul's statement of how he was zealous for Moses' law and persecuted Christians even unto death. With this purpose in mind, he set out for Damascus.

VERSES 6-11 -- tell of the Lord's appearance and its effect on Saul. Just before they reached Damascus, about noon, a great Light shone around him and a voice from heaven spoke to him. Saul's questions are two: "Who art Thou, Lord?" and "What shall I do, Lord?" To the latter he is told, "Go into Damascus and there it shall be told thee of all things which are appointed for thee to do." Being now blind, and led by the hand, Saul is brought to Damascus, where we are told (Acts 9:9) he spent three days fasting and in prayer (9:11).

VERSES 12-15 -- now tell us of the appearance of Ananias, who is sent by the Lord to tell Saul what he must do. First of all, Ananias restores his sight, then he tells him that he must be a witness of Christ to all men.

VERSE 16 -- contains the command to be baptized: "and now why tarriest thou? arise and be baptized and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord." Saul did not hesitate to obey (9:18) and thus this great persecutor found the forgiven of sins.

Since so many say, "I want to be saved just as Paul was," it will be wise to ask ourselves just what Paul had to do to be saved. There was, first of all, the miraculous over which Paul had no control: the appearing of Christ, his blindness, God's appearing to Ananias. These were "one time only" events and are not found in conversions today. But, let us notice some things over which Paul did have control and see how he reacted.

1) He turned from unbelief to belief. Some might say, "well, he had no choice in the matter," but in reality he did. He could have denied the vision, as many Pharisees before him had denied strong proofs of Christ's Sonship. Instead, he said, "I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision" (Acts 26:19).

2) He repented. This is seen both in his fasting and prayer and also in his change of life after baptism. The primary meaning of repentanpce is "a change of mind." Truly no one ever had "a change of mind" more radical than did Paul.

3) He was baptized. The words of Ananias are, "arise and be baptized and wash away thy sins" (22:16). This he did immediately (9:18).

QUESTIONS ON SECTION IV.
TRUE OR FALSE
  1. There are three chapters in Acts which record Saul's conversion.
    True
    False
  2. Saul thought he was doing wrong when he persecuted Christians (see also Acts 26:9,10).
    True
    False
  3. Christ told Saul to go into Damascus in order to learn what he must do to be saved.
    True
    False
  4. Saul was saved outside Damascus, as soon as he saw the heavenly vision.
    True
    False
  5. Saul was saved only after baptism.
    True
    False
FILL IN THE BLANKS
  1. Saul asked, "what shall I ______ Lord?"
    do
    say
    see
    believe
  2. "Arise and go into _________."
    Bethlehem
    Jericho
    Jerusalem
    Damascus
  3. Who was a devout man according to the law in Acts 22:12?
    Saul
    Peter
    Paul
    Ananias
  4. Who did God chose to "know His will, and see the Just One, and hear the voice of His mouth" (Acts 22:14)?
    John
    Peter
    Ananias
    Saul
  5. Why was Saul told to arise and be baptized?
    to join the church
    to show he was righteous
    to wash away his sins
    his sins had already been forgiven
V. THE CONVERSION OF THE JAILER - Acts 16

Years after his conversion, Paul found himself persecuted for the cause of Christ. Acts 16 tells how he and Silas were put into-prison for doing good (vss. 16-24). Though cruelly beaten, they were not discouraged. About midnight as they were praying and singing hymns to God, a great earthquake shook the prison and they were set free. The jailer, supposing his prisoners had escaped, drew a sword to kill himself. But, Paul called out, "Do thyself no harm; for we are all here." The jailer, trembling with fear, went in to them and brought them out and asked, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" Vss. 31-34 record his conversion:

1) He is told to believe in the Lord Jesus -- vs. 31.

2) The word of the Lord is preached to him and his family that they might know what to believe -- vs. 32.

3) He and his family were baptized immediately -- vs. 33.

4) They rejoice -- vs. 34.

The jailer was not saved by faith alone. He had to obey all the commands of the Great Commission. When Paul told him to believe (vs. 31), he was pointing out that faith is essential to salvation. But faith alone will not save anyone (James 2:20, 24). It must be faith that will obey, as the jailer and his family did.

QUESTIONS ON SECTION V.
TRUE OR FALSE
  1. Paul and Silas were beaten for wrong doing.
    True
    False
  2. The jailer only had to believe in order to be saved.
    True
    False
  3. The jailer both believed and was baptized.
    True
    False
  4. The jailer and his family decided to delay baptism because it was so late at night.
    True
    False
  5. Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.
    True
    False
SUMMARY

The book of Acts was written to show how people became Christians. It is the Great Commission in action. As we study these sermons of inspired preachers we find exactly what they told sinners to do:

1) Believe in Christ -- Acts 16:31.

2) Repent of sins -- Acts 2:38.

3) Confess faith in Christ -- Acts 8:37, Romans 10:10.

4) Be baptized to wash away sins -- Acts 22:16.

QUESTIONS ON SUMMARY
  1. List the steps to salvation (Acts 16:31, Acts 2:38, Acts 8:37, Romans 10:10, Acts 22:16).
    belief, repentance, confession, baptism
    faith only
    faith, confession
    belief, repentance
  2. Just believing can save a person.
    True
    False
  3. Baptism is necessary to salvation.
    True
    False
  4. A person should wait a while before obeying the Lord's commands.
    True
    False
Plan of Salvation As Given In The Book Of Acts
Heard Gospel Believed Repented Confessed Were Baptized Blessings
Three
Thousand
2:1-47
  Repented
2:38
  Baptized
2:38, 41
Sins
forgiven - Holy Ghost
2:38
Samaritans
8:5-12
Believed
8:12
    Baptized
8:12
 
Simon
8:13
Believed
8:13
    Baptized
8:13
Therefore, saved
Mark 16:15, 16
Ethiopian
Eunuch
8:26-40
Believed
8:37
  Confessed
8:37
Baptized
8:38
"Went on his way
rejoicing"
8:39
Saul
9:1-18;
22:1-16
      Baptized
22:16
Sins washed away
22:16
Cornelius
10:1-48;
11:1-17
Believed
15:7
    Baptized
10:48
Was saved
11:14
Lydia
16:14, 15
      Baptized
16:15
 
Jailer
16:25-40
Believed
16:31, 32
    Baptized
16:33
"Rejoiced"
16:34
Corinthians
18:8
Believed
18:8
    Baptized
18:8
Washed, saved
1 Corinthians 6:11;
15:2
Ephesians
19:1-7
      Baptized
19:5
 
Hearing + Belief + Repentance + Confession + Baptism = Salvation from Sin
WHAT ABOUT YOU?

As you study this lesson, has the conviction grown within you that your "conversion" does not match the ones in Acts? Possibly you need to take the first step in believing. Maybe you were not informed concerning the importance of baptism. Whatever your need, we stand ready to assist you in becoming a New Testament Christian. This is too important a matter to delay. Please, let us hear from you now.

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Copyright (c) Know Your Bible Course 2011