The life and teachings of the early church are the patterns that we need to follow if we are to be sure that we are truly walking in Biblical Salvation. These patterns are found both in the personal teachings of Jesus Christ throughout His ministry, which we find in the Gospels and also in the teachings of the early church that we find in the Book of Acts and the Epistles.
In this teaching, I will seek to show you the 4 crucial biblical steps that were followed by all who were members of the early church, more than 2,000 years ago, and why they are still relevant today in the modern church.
Step 4 Receive the Holy Spirit
Step No.1 Repent
"Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ,
let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance
from dead works and of faith toward God."
What is the meaning and significance of Repentance?
(Greek) metanoeó: to change one's mind or purpose
I repent, change my mind, change the inner man (particularly with reference to acceptance of the will of God), repent.
A Definition of Biblical Repentance
“True repentance is not only sorrow for sins and humble penitence and contrition before God, but it involves the necessity of turning away from them, a discontinuance of all evil practices and deeds, a thorough reformation of life, a vital change from evil to good, from vice to virtue, from darkness to light. *This is accomplished through a daily yielding of our lives to the inworking of the Holy Spirit in our hearts and the outworking of God's grace through the development of the fruit of the Holy Spirit.
"Repentance makes room for God to move in our lives, the deeper our repentance, the more God will do"
Who preached a message of Repentance in the Bible?
John The Baptist
(Matthew 3:1-2) In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!”
(Luke 3:7-9) Then he said to the multitudes that came out to be baptized by him, “Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance, and do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones. And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.”
(Acts 19:4) Then Paul said, “John indeed baptized with a baptism of repentance, saying to the people that they should believe on Him who would come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.”
(Mark 1:14-15) Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.”
*The Gospel is the Good News of the Messiah Jesus Christ
The Apostle Peter
(Acts 2:14,37-38) But Peter, standing up with the eleven, raised his voice and said to them, “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and heed my words...
..Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
The Apostle Paul
(Acts 26:19-20) “Therefore, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, but declared first to those in Damascus and in Jerusalem, and throughout all the region of Judea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent, turn to God, and do works befitting repentance.
The Twelve Apostles
(Mark 6:7,12) And He called the twelve to Himself, and began to send them out two by two, and gave them power over unclean spirits..
..So they went out and preached that people should repent.
Step No.2 Believe
Believing In Jesus Christ As Lord And Saviour
But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name:
(Greek) pisteuó: to believe, entrust
I believe, have faith in, trust in;
(Matthew 1:21) And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”
Jesus lived a perfect sinless life before God and therefore qualified as mankind's Saviour. He accomplished this by voluntarily giving up His own life and paying the price for our sins when He died for us on the cross.
(John 3:16) For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
God doesn't want anyone to perish and therefore He made a way that we could enjoy eternal life with Him.
(John 3:18) “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
(John 14:6) Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
God provided a way for us to be forgiven and accepted into the Kingdom of God, that way is through our belief in His Son, Jesus Christ.
(John 3:36) He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”
Everyone has the opportunity to believe, but not everyone chooses to believe, and therefore their sins can not be forgiven because they have rejected Christ's sacrifice for them.
(John 6:40) And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.”
The everlasting life that God gives us includes our physical body being raised or resurrected by God in preparation for our heavenly eternity.
(John 20:30-31) And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name
The Bible has been written so you might hear and believe God's words and by believing you may receive the gift of eternal life.
(Acts 16:31) So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.”
(Ephesians 2:8) For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God
Frequently Asked Questions About Salvation
Isn't Being A Good Person Enough?
Step No.3 Be Baptised
(Matthew 28:19-20) Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen
And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved, but he who does not believe will be condemned.
(Greek) baptizó: to dip, sink
lit: I dip, submerge, but specifically of ceremonial dipping; I baptize.
Why is Baptism so Important and What does it Signify?
(1 Peter 3:21) There is also an antitype which now saves us—baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,
(Colossians 2:11-12) In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.
Baptism signifies both a burial and a resurrection for the believer. As the believer goes under the water in Baptism he/she leaves their old life behind and as they emerge from the water they are spiritually positioned into the resurrection Body of Christ. Our conscience is cleansed and we can now have confidence before God because we have become a part of His family through Jesus Christ.
Nowhere in the Bible are babies baptized. Those who were baptized were old enough to confess their sins and choose to follow Jesus Christ. The Bible teaches a believer's baptism, and not merely a dedication as a baby. I would encourage all believers to be baptized as an adult in accordance with Jesus' command.
(Mark 16:16) He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.
Acts 22:16 And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.’
The Apostle Peter's Preaching on the Day of Pentecost
(Acts 2:38) Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
(Acts 2:41) Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them.
The Apostle Peter's Preaching in Cornelius's House
(Acts 10:47-48) “Can anyone forbid water, that these should not be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?” And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then they asked him to stay a few days.
Philip's Preaching at Samaria
(Acts 8:12) But when they believed Philip as he preached the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were baptized.
(Acts 8:35-38) Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning at this Scripture, preached Jesus to him. Now as they went down the road, they came to some water. And the eunuch said, “See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?” Then Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.” And he answered and said, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” So he commanded the chariot to stand still. And both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and he baptized him.
The Biblical Requirement For Baptism:
Then Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.”
Paul's Teaching on Baptism
(1 Corinthians 12:13) For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into one Spirit.
(Galatians 3:27) For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ
Baptised Into The Body of Christ
Through our water baptism, our spiritual position in the heavenly realm is transferred into the Body of Christ. All believers, worldwide and throughout the ages have been placed in this glorious abode of living in Christ, our Master and Saviour. When God sees us, He sees the righteousness of His Son, with whom He is well pleased.
Step No.4 Receive The Holy Spirit
When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
Receiving The 3rd Person of the Trinity
(Greek) pneuma: wind, spirit
wind, breath, spirit.
The Holy Spirit is God's Spirit, working upon the earth today. He enters into the hearts of believers and strengthens and encourages them in their walk with God. Without the Holy Spirit's work in our lives, it would be impossible to become more like Jesus, our Saviour.
As the Holy Spirit continues to transform us day by day, we are becoming more and more like Jesus. He is the Head of the Body, and we are His servants and the vessels that He lives in and works through upon the earth. We all have different jobs in the Body of Christ, according to the gifts and abilities that God Himself has given us through the Holy Spirit.