The Day of Pentecost, pt. 4
(Secrets of a Great Church)
How can a church be defined as “great”?
A great church is one that’s serious about Christ’s command to go into all the world and preach the gospel. No church is truly great if they are not fulfilling the great commission.
Dynamics of a Great Church:
v. 41/47 The LORD did it, it was genuine! Unfortunate the lack of emphasis many churches give to being saved!
Ill.—church placed ad in paper making fun of churches like FBC saying, “You’re welcome at our church no matter how many times you’ve been born!” [sad!]
The lost are welcome, and…they’ll be instructed in their greatest need: how to be born again!
We should examine what salvation is from 2 major perspectives:
God’s part/Man’s part
Divine side/human side
Many denominations emphasize just one to the exclusion of the other…for example, they might emphasize the divine side about predestination, irresistible grace, and so cancel the human side of man’s free will [free agent]…others do just the opposite…but there needs to be a balance of the 2…let’s examine both:
v. 37 We should earnestly pray for genuine conviction…I cannot “sell” someone on salvation/you cannot talk someone into being saved!
3 step process:
v. 39 God arranges circumstances in a person’s life so they may be exposed to the truth…I like to call them “divine appointments”
ill.—dad’s divine appointment
that’s not an accident/coincidence…that’s providence!/a divine appointment!
You’re not here today by accident! We serve a sovereign God that has brought you here for a reason/He’s arranged the circumstances to cross our paths!
v. 37 “pricked in their heart”
No one can get saved until they are convicted of their need as a sinner that is lost!
No matter how great the message/heart-rending our illustrations may be/touching, emotional our worship service may be…only the Holy Spirit can sweep in bringing true conviction!
Ever thought about what we ask people to believe here, week after week?
That Mary, a woman never touched by a man, became pregnant, gave birth to the Son of God, who lived a perfect life, never fought w/ siblings!, died but came back to life, went away on a cloud but is coming back on a white horse!
[When you put it like that it’s a wonder we EVER convince anyone!]
That’s the whole point, we don’t! But the Holy Spirit DOES!
He not only calls and convicts them of their need, but then He convinces them of the truth!
That’s God’s part in salvation…He takes the initiative, He makes the first move, then the ball is in our court!
Ill.—Adam and Eve sinned in the garden of Eden…and they didn’t go looking for God, He came looking for them! “Adam, where art thou?”
The ball is in our court now…let’s look at salvation from the human side, man’s part in salvation:
v. 38 Repent is God’s first word to a lost soul!
…except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.
Repentance = a change of mind which leads to a change of action
Repent and Believe are used interchangeably in the Bible, like 2 sides of the same coin [turn from/turn to].
-We must change our mind about sin
[prodigal son “came to himself”, then he decided to leave the hog pen and go home]
This notion today that you can get saved and it not result in a change in their lifestyle is foreign to the Bible.
II Cor. 5:17
Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
You’ve gotta worry about people who claim to be saved, yet have never changed their mind about sin! Were they just looking for fire insurance? Their policy will be terminated!
They may have gotten their name on a church roll, but is it in the Lamb’s book of life?
Let’s be reminded that the word Christian means Christ-like/follower/imitator of Christ!
v. 41 they got saved…v. 42 they CONTINUED!
Adrian Rogers: “If nothing happened to you after you walked the aisle to get saved, then nothing happened to you WHEN you walked the aisle to get saved!”
It’s a change in attitude toward sin.
Not saying a Christian becomes sinless, but rather that they should desire to sin LESS!
[it’s the difference between falling in a mud hole and wallowing in it!]
-We must change our mind about the Savior
v. 36 Realize who He is, He’s your Messiah! What you determine about Jesus Christ will determine where you spend eternity.
Do you believe Jesus is Who He claimed to be?/did what the Bible says He did?/is your only hope for heaven?
…and be baptized?…
What a shame that some try to take this verse and twist it to mean that baptism saves! Nowhere does the Bible teach that…we must interpret scripture w/ scripture, in context.
You can read other sermons by Peter in ch’s. 3 and 5, and he tells them how to be saved, and never mentions baptism!
Acts 16—jailer asks how to be saved, and the answer comes back: believe!
So, why did Peter say to repent and be baptized?
The little word “for” is in the gk. eis, pronounced (ace)
It does not mean, “in order to”, that would be the greek word ina, (heena)
Eis is used 1,800 times in the NT, meaning for, at, toward, unto, into, on the basis of, or on the grounds of…
The men of Nineve … repented at the preaching of Jonas…
In English we’d say, he was arrested FOR stealing.
Was he arrested in order to steal? No, because he already stole…he was arrested FOR stealing…because he stole, he was arrested.
Some of the truth is lost in the translation here…so it could read: repent…and be baptized because of the remission of sins!
One of the key rules of hermeneutics (bible interpretation) is this: never use 1 or 2 hard to understand verses to try to contradict hundreds of clearly understood verses, like:
Eph. 2:8, 9 for by grace…
Jn. 3:36 he that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life
Acts 10:43 whosover believeth in Him shall receive remission of sins
Jn. 3:16 for God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him…
Philip to Eunuch: “if thou believest w/ all thy heart thou mayest…”
He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.
Tho’ baptism is not necessary for salvation, it is very much necessary for submission!
Baptism does not confer salvation…it confirms salvation!
So, 2 questions:
Have you been born again?/genuinely saved?…If so, have you followed the Lord in baptism?
Ill.—Evangelist Jess Henley tells of his 27 year old g’daughter who had spots found on her liver/went in for surgery/surgeon came out afterwards w/ tears in his eyes saying, there’s nothing we can do…she has maybe 6 months to live/…she had 2 small children!/during that 6 month period she wrote a letter to her family, “Don’t worry about me…when I heard I didn’t have long to live, I got alone, on my knees and I examined myself to make sure I’m saved, going to heaven, don’t worry about me!”
What does your salvation consist of? What you have may be good enough to live by while you’re out having a good time…but, is it good enough to die by? What if you had only a short time to live? Would you reexamine? Shouldn’t you reexamine then, right now?
If you know you’ve been saved, have you made it public thru baptism?/identifying w/ Him?
After Peter said repent he said be baptized…then he said, “Every one of you!”
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