Acts 2:29 Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day.
30 Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne;
31 He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption.
32 This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses.
33 Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear.
34 For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand,
35 Until I make thy foes thy footstool.
36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.
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.
We have been looking at God’s way of salvation. We have noticed that many people have accepted a distorted and corrupted idea of God’s salvation. It is shocking to see how many people are willing to accept a false doctrine rather than a true doctrine. Many will accept the false doctrine even though the Bible clearly teaches something completely different.
The doctrine of salvation is extremely important. Jesus told Nicodemus:
John 3:3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
4 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?
5 Jesus answered, 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.
Nicodemus had trouble understanding what Jesus was telling him. Jesus did not accept Nicodemus’ wrong understanding. Salvation is far too important to allow someone who lacks understanding to distort the truth.
To continue our current discussion, this week there was a report given on a false religious site that suggested that more than 7,800 people trusted in Jesus Christ for salvation in one meeting. This meeting took place in Egypt. The speaker sounds like a modern day Billy Graham. He boasted that at least 27 different denominations got together to set up this meeting that was attended by around 17,000 people. This speaker was quite excited about the supposed salvations. He declared the Holy Spirit was definitely present at this meeting.
The ecumenical nature of this meeting is overlooked by too many. Another problem here is when a popular speaker gets up and declares something like this, the people just shut their minds off and accept what the speaker says without thinking about it. The Holy Spirit is never in support of an ecumenical meeting. Discernment was non-existent at this meeting.
He also talked favourably of the large Coptic Orthodox community in Egypt. Coptics hold to similar false doctrines as the Roman Catholics do. They are not born again Christians. They have a long history but it was never sound. In the late 20th century there has been a closer dialogue with Roman Catholic leaders and thus they have been accepted into “the mainstream of Orthodox Christianity”. Any group that is acceptable to the Roman Catholics is not acceptable to God.
This man is very excited about what he witnessed, but he lacks Biblical discernment. The organization that was interviewing him is also quite excited about what he was saying. This organization is a very ecumenical organization. They also talked of the number of people in that area who were having visions and dreams.
As I mentioned a couple of days ago, I am not God. God can do whatever He wants to do. He does not ask my permission to do anything. I am accountable to God. It is important for each person to understand that we will answer to God. Thus it is important to be careful to honour Him in our lives.
God has given us His Word. His Word is exactly that: it is His Word.
God gives us very clear teaching on salvation. It is never based on feelings. It requires “repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 20:21). The Bible warns:
II Timothy 3:1 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.
2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,
4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;
5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
We are living in the last days. Biblical discernment is greatly lacking. Most people are running on feelings, rather than truth. As Paul wrote, they have a form of godliness, but deny the power thereof. God directed Paul to command the true saints to turn away from such vanity. That is my position. If someone wants to endorse the false teaching that is abounding today, they can do that. They will not do that in our church. We will continue to warn against it and we will seek to help people to see the importance of building their lives upon the truth.
Souls are far too precious to just let them waltz their way into hell.
Matthew 16:26 For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?
You will notice in verse 37 of our opening text that the people were pricked in their hearts due to the preaching of the Gospel. The preaching of the Gospel brought some 3,000 souls to true Biblical salvation, and then Biblical baptism and being added to the local church in Jerusalem. In Acts 4:4 we read of another 5,000 that heard the word and believed. Nothing is mentioned of visions and dreams here. The Holy Spirit works through the faithful preaching of God’s Word in the hearts of the hearers and brings them to repentance and true salvation. It is not an “experience” or a “feeling”. It is engaging the mind to receive the Word, and the Holy Spirit drilling that Word into the soul of the lost individual and the person yielding to the work of the Holy Spirit in their heart. That is what brings salvation. That is the fruit that remains. That is what true saints pray for and work to accomplish under the direction of the Holy Spirit.