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1 Corinthians 9:11
"If we sowed spiritual things in you, is it too much if we should reap material things from you?"

 

 

 

 

 

Evangelism:
The Time Is Now!

Section 1, Chapter 9

Unalterable Biblical Foundations
For Successful Evangelism

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See Video:   What it Means to Trust in God

Psalm 11:3 ó "If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?"

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Study Questions

There are certain Biblical foundational doctrines and beliefs in Christianity that cannot be altered or played with if one is to be assured of being successful in Evangelism and in oneís faith. If they are, the meaning and integrity of the Christian message collapses.

Whenever I talk to a new congregation, the first thing I ask them is how do we know that the Bible is the only written word of God to man and that all that it teaches cosmologically, historically, theologically and scientifically is absolutely true? No one has ever had the knowledge to give me an answer. I ask the same question of Moslems and Mormons about their sacred books: "Why do You believe that the Koran is Godís Word and that Mohammed is Godís prophet?" More often than not they will say to me, "Because I have an inner witness and feeling that it is true!" I will then say to the Moslem in reply,

"That is interesting, because when I ask a Mormon why he believes that the book of Mormon is the word of God and that Joseph Smith is a prophet of God, he will give me the same answer: ĎI have an inner witness and feeling that it is true.í Which of you is right and which of you is wrong?"

One time one of these Moslems asked me in response, "Why do You believe that the Bible is the Word of God and that Jesus Christ is the only Way to God, Godís Son?" I answered him,

"I believe that the Bible is the only written Word of God to man and that Jesus is the only way to God, God Himself in the flesh, but not because I feel it is true. I may get up one morning and really feel and believe that God is alive and get up another morning and feel like God is dead. Our feelings are fickle and unreliable. The reason why I believe that the Bible is Godís only written Word to man and that Jesus is God the Son and the only way to God and Godís final revelation to man is because when Jesus was asked by His enemies what His proof to these claims were, He looked them straight in the face and said, ĎOkay, I will give you proof! Kill me! I will stay dead and then on the third day come back from the dead to prove to You that My claims about Myself and that what Moses wrote and the rest of the Old Testament are true!í"

I then go on to explain to the Moslem or Mormon that Jesus did rise physically from the dead with more than five-hundred and twelve witnesses to that fact who ate and visited with him for forty days after his resurrection and then witnessed His ascension to Heaven to sit at the Fatherís right hand of power. I then open the Bible and show them what Jesusí disciplesí response was to His Resurrection from the dead:

John 2:22 "When therefore He was raised from the dead, His disciples remembered that He said this; and they believed the Scripture [Old Testament], and the Word which Jesus had spoken [New Testament]."

I then go on to explain to them that no other religious founder of history ever gave any proof that the message they had to give really did come from God or that they truly were messengers of God. They all have died and their graves can be visited. I am then free to go on to share the claims of Biblical Christianity.

The Apostle Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 15:12-18 that Christianity stands or falls on the fact of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. He wrote,

1 Corinthians 15:12-18 "Now if Christ is preached, that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, not even Christ has been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain. Moreover we are even found to be false witnesses of God, because we witnessed against God that He raised Christ, whom He did not raise, if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished."

Getting back to our original question, "How do we know that the Bible is the Word of God?" We know it is the word of God because Jesus came back from the dead to prove to us that it is His Word, His Word alone. The first Biblical foundation of Christianity which cannot be altered or played with, if we are to be successful in Evangelism and in bringing men and women to saving faith in Jesus Christ, is that Godís Word: the Judeo-Christian Bible is Godís Holy Word, Godís written Word to man ALONE, and our proof to this is Jesusí Physical Resurrection from the dead. The moment we question this truth, we are automatically defeated and Christianity and everything else that it stands for falls to the ground and dies. Jesus made this issue very plain to us in Matthew 5:17-19,

"Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish, but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not one iota or one point shall pass away from the Law, until all is accomplished. Who ever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and so teaches others, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven."

Jesus did not just teach that the Bible is His Holy Word written to man, but that every single letter is inspired in the original Hebrew and Greek down to the smallest letter and mark. He further stated that anyone who spoke against even the smallest commandment in the Bible would be called least in the kingdom of heaven. If you want to be successful in Evangelism, and in bringing men and women to saving faith in Jesus Christ, the first thing you must do is accept by faith, founded on the Physical Resurrection of Jesus Christ, that the Judeo-Christian Bible is ABSOLUTELY the Word of God in all that it affirms down to the letter, His ONLY Holy inspired written Word to Man ALONE.

The first thing that is communicated on the first two pages of my Salvation Tract, What Is Eternal Life? (WEL), is the significance of Jesusí Physical Resurrection which is that it proves absolutely that God exists; that the Bible is the only written word of God to man; that Jesus Christ really is Godís ONLY Son that He sent into the world; that death, eternal separation from God, is sinís penalty; that God accepts Jesusí death in our place for our sins; and that, finally, God will give eternal life to anyone who receives His Son as Savior and Lord of their lives.

The second Biblical foundational truth that cannot be altered or played with, if we are to be successful in Evangelism and in bringing men and women to saving faith in Jesus Christ, is that we must take Mosesí teachings in the Bible about the creation of the cosmos, the earth and the creation and constitution of man in six twenty-four hour days and the fall of man literally. This foundational truth is clearly communicated on page three of WEL. Jesus said, recorded by the Apostle John John 5:46-47 "For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote of Me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?" In this passage, first of all, Jesus affirms absolutely that Moses is the author of the first five books of the Bible known as the Law, the Torah or the Pentateuch. Secondly, He reaffirms His being God Himself in the flesh: Yehovah Elohim. Who is Moses writing about? About Jesus Christ: Yehovah Elohim. The name Jesus, Yeshua (['Wvwhy) , itself means Yehovah isSavior.54 Third, Jesus affirms that everything that Moses wrote about Him is absolutely true; so much so that He states that if we do not take what Moses wrote about how He created the cosmos, the earth, and man, and what Moses recorded about manís fall and Godís judgment of man through the flood and all other recorded events of the Old Testament as being absolutely literally historically true that we will not believe anything He says as being absolutely true either.

Moses wrote in Exodus 20:11 "For in six days Yehovah made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore Yehovah blessed the seventh day and made it holy." Moses taught that the heavens, the earth and man were created in six literal twenty-four-hour days. He taught, not that man evolved, but that he was created instantly by God with a spirit, soul and body and in Godís image. He taught that death was not a part of Godís Creation, that before Adam and Eve sinned there was no death in the world. This is diametrically opposed to the teaching of Evolution which teaches that life on earth evolved and that death has always been a part of the chain of life. Moses taught that death is the result of Adam and Eveís sin, that before they sinned there was no death in the world. Moses further taught that, as a result of manís sin, manís spirit died and and his ability to have relationship with God died as a result. This means that now when man is born into the world, he is born soulishly and physically alive, but spiritually dead. To be spiritually dead means to be without the means or capacity to have relationship with God. This is why Jesus, God the Son, became man. Why? So He could abolish the enemy, death, by paying sinís penalty for us on the Cross. As a result of His death for our sins, when we receive Him as Savior and Lord, our spirits are brought back to life (2 Cor 5:17), back into union with the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 6:17) and as a result back into relationship with God (John 4:23-24). Also as a result of Christís death for our sins, eventually death and the effects of sin on the rest of creation will be removed also (Rom 8:19-21).

The moment we separate ourselves from the Bible, man no longer knows that he was created to be a tripartite being with a spirit, soul and body and that the reason for his problems are because of his dead spirit and lack of relationship with God. When one accepts literally and understands what the Bible teaches about manís creation and fall taught in Genesis Chapters 1-3, he then understands what his problems are centered in and why he needs Jesusí Salvation for his sins.

Humanistic psychology teaches that man has a body and a soul and some only a body. Not only do they not teach or emphasize the spiritual aspect of man, neither do they understand it. This is because they do not take into consideration the counsel of Godís Word. Proverbs 21:30 states, "There is no wisdom and no understanding and no counsel against Yehovah." God teaches us through Isaiah 30:1 that the only thing that will please Him is what we do that is out of His initiative by His Holy Spirit through our human spirit; that anything we do, no matter how good it appears before man, if not done out of relationship with God and His initiative through the Holy Spirit is sin. The Bibleís definition of sin is anything we do without God period! Because man is born into the world soulishly and physically alive, but spiritually dead, everything he does is out of the initiative of his soul and therefore sin. This is what we mean by man being in total depravity: not whether a person is good or bad but that whatever he does he does without God or Godís initiative. This is why anything man does cannot save or correct his lost condition because it comes from the initiative of his soul, not from the initiative of God. This is why secular psychology trying to solve manís problems by focusing on his soul will not ultimately solve manís problems. Man is dead and destined for hell and stays that way, no matter what his therapy is, until He receives Jesus Christ and is born again spiritually and comes back into relationship with God. Until man does this, he does not even begin to solve whatever his problems are because his trying to solve his problems through the reasoning of his soul, rather than through the initiative and counsel of God first, is the problem. Whatever manís problem is, Godís will for him in the matter is the only solution. This is why Secular psychology is not the answer to any of manís problems because they are not dealing with what is really manís problem: his dead spirit and broken relationship with God, and what Godís will is for the person in the matter which when once known will solve the problem they are seeking counsel about. Understand that this is not an attack against the profession of psychology or psychiatry, but what it is based on. Psychology and psychiatry based on the Word of God and led and administered through the Holy Spirit is a very powerful healing tool. However, when based on manís reason and the initiative of his soul alone is totally destructive and does not lead to any true solution to manís problems or needs.

If man had not been created in Godís image with a spirit soul and body in perfect relationship with God, which was then later destroyed through manís sin, that would mean that what man is today is what he has always been. This would mean that he is normal and that death is normal. This would also mean, therefore, that there is no meaning to Jesusí death and resurrection for man because man is normal and therefore in no need of salvation. This is what happens when you do not take the first three Chapters of the Book of Genesis as literal historical fact: the Gospel loses all meaning and purpose and falls to the ground.

But if God did create man instantly with a spirit, soul and body and in His image and with everlasting life and man chose to rebel against God resulting in his spiritual and physical death (Genesis 2:16-17), then what man is today is not normal. Man is not what God originally created him to be. Death in the world is not normal. If this is true, then Jesusí coming and death to save us from our sins and to deliver us from our fallen condition and spiritual and physical death have total meaning and an answer for the sinful condition that man is in. This is why we must take what the first three Chapters of the Book of Genesis teach us about the creation of the cosmos, the world and the creation, constitution and fall of man as being absolutely literally historically true and why we cannot alter these teachings of the Bible.

See Illustration

This is what page three of WEL does: first, it establishes that Moses is the author of the first five books of the Bible. Jesus said John 5:46-47

"For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me", thus Jesus affirmed that Moses is the author of the first five books of the Bible. Second, it establishes who Moses is writing about: Jesus said, "For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me, for he wrote of Me." Who was Moses writing about? About our Creator and His creating the world and man. What Creator? According to Jesus Christ, Moses was writing about Him. In saying this Jesus affirmed that He is Yehovah Elohim of the Old Testament our Creator in the flesh.

Third, WEL affirms that what Moses wrote about the Creation of the world and Adam and Eve and about the fall of man and Godís judgment of man through the World Wide Genesis Flood and all other recorded events in the Old Testament, and what Jesus said, the New Testament: Godís Word is absolutely true and why: because Jesus came back from the dead Physically Alive! to prove to us that the Bible is true and that it is to be taken as literal historical absolute truth. Once you establish this, the person you are sharing the Gospel with will take to heart everything else you share in the pages that follow including that man is not normal but fallen sinful man and in need of redemption through Jesus Christ.

The third Biblical foundational truth that cannot be altered or played with, if we are to be successful in Evangelism and in bringing men and women to saving faith in Jesus Christ, is what the Bible teaches us Jesus claimed about Himself: that He is fully God and fully Man. The significance of Jesus being God Himself who came down from Heaven and became man is all wrapped up in what is necessary for our salvation. I discuss all aspects of this thoroughly in Chapter 1 of Section 3.

Page four of WEL states clearly what the critical claims of Jesus Christ are concerning Himself. Jesus claimed to be God the Son, Godís ONLY Son. The Apostle John writes, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God " (John 1:1). Jesus said about Himself, 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 eternal life." The Apostle Paul wrote concerning the significance of Jesusí Physical Resurrection: Romans 1:3-4 "who was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead." Jesus claimed to be the ONLY Son of God, thus of the essence of God, God Himself.

Second, Jesus claimed to be our Creator. The writers of the New Testament record:

John 1:3, 10 "All things came into being by Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. . . . He was in the world, and the world came into being through Him, and the world did not know Him."

Hebrews 1:1-2 "God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the ages."

Colosians 1:16-17 "For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authoritiesóall things have been created by Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together."

See Illustration

Third, Jesus claimed that He became man through Holy Spirit conception of the Virgin Mary. Isaiah in Isaiah 7:14 prophesied about Jesusí virgin birth: "Therefore Yehovah Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel." The Apostle Paul records, Romans 1:3 "Who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh"

Matthew, in the Gospel of Matthew 1:18-25, tells us that an angel of the Lord told Joseph, Maryís husband to be, that Maryís present pregnancy was by the Holy Spirit and that for this reason he was not to put her away. The full significance of Jesusí conception through the Holy Spirit in the Virgin Mary is also fully explained in Chapter 1 of Section 3 of this Textbook. Second, the angel told Joseph that this babyís name was to be Jesus because He will save His people from their sins. The significance of this being that Jesus means, Yehovah is Savior.54 Jesus is Yehovah and the Savior from our sins. God speaking through Isaiah in Isaiah 43:11 states, "I, even I, am Yehovah; and there is no Savior besides Me." Yehovah God of the Old Testament tells us plainly that He and He alone is Savior and that there is no Savior besides Him. The angel is telling us plainly that Jesus is Yehovah God of the Old Testament in the flesh who has come to save His people from their sins. Finally, Matthew tells us that all this took place as a fulfillment of Isaiahís prophecy in Isaiah 7:14 that a virgin would be with child and that the child would be God Himself in the flesh and that for this reason Jesus would be called Immanuel (lae WnM;[i)  because Immanuel means God with us.63

Some false religions try to say Jesus was not God but that God was saving us through Jesus. The angel however states plainly that He was to be named Jesus because He, Jesus, would save us from our sins. The angel makes plain that Jesus is the one who is doing the saving, thus affirming that Jesus is Yehovah in the flesh, the second person of the Trinity, saving us from sins.

Fourth, Jesus claimed that He died on the cross for our sins and that, fifth, He rose from the dead three days later as absolute proof to all these claims. The Apostle Paul wrote,

1 Corinthians 15:3-8 "For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep; then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles; and last of all, as it were to one untimely born, He appeared to me also."

Sixth, Jesus claimed that forty days later He ascended to heaven and will come again Physically Alive! to judge the living and the dead. Luke, the physician, wrote in the book of Acts,

Acts 1:9-11 "And after he had said these things, He was lifted up while they were looking on, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And as they were gazing intently into the sky while He was departing, behold, two men in white clothing stood beside them; and they also said, ĎMen of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven.í"

Peter stated, recorded by Luke in the book of Acts,

Acts 5:30-31 "The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom you had put to death by hanging Him on a cross. He is the one whom God exalted to His right hand as a Prince and a Savior, to grant repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins."

Finally Paul stated, recorded by Luke in the book of Acts,

Acts 17:31 "He [God] has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead."

Finally, Jesus claimed that He is the ONLY WAY to God. Jesus stated, recorded in the Gospel of John,

John 10:1, 9 "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter by the door into the fold of the sheep, but climbs up some other way, he is a thief and a robber. . . . I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture."

The Apostle John tells us in 1 John 4:1-3,

"Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; and this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world."

The denial of Jesusí deity is very popular among many Christian circles today based on pseudo-intellectualism; pseudo because there is no external or objective evidence scientifically, historically or archaeologically to support their denial.58, 84 It is evidence of the great apostasy, the falling away from the truth, that Paul wrote about in 2 Thessalonians 2:3 and is evidence that Jesus is coming very soon. What did Jesus say about his claim to be God the Son in the flesh? Jesus said the following to the Jews who could not accept his being Yehovah Elohim in the flesh,

John 8:23-24 "You are from below, I am from above; you are of this world, I am not of this world. I said therefore to you, that you shall die in your sins; for unless you believe that I-AM, you shall die in your sins."

I-AM meaning: Yehovah in the flesh. Therefore, the third Biblical foundational truth that cannot be altered or played with, if we are to be successful in Evangelism and in bringing men and women to saving faith in Jesus Christ, is what the Bible teaches us Jesus claimed about Himself: that He is fully God and fully Man.

The fourth Biblical foundational truth that cannot be altered or played with, if we are to be successful in Evangelism and in bringing men and women to saving faith in Jesus Christ, is that Godís forgiveness for our sins repented of is based on Jesusí death and shed blood on the cross ALONE, not on any works of ours. This is covered on pages 5-6 of WEL. The Apostle Paul wrote,

Romans 3:20, 28 "By the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin. . . . For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law."

Romans 5:8-9 "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His BLOOD, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him." (Eph 1:7, 1 Peter 1:18-19, 1 John 1:7, Rev 1:5)

Again, Section 3 explains the full significance of this Biblical truth of Christianity and why it cannot be otherwise.

The fifth and final Biblical foundation truth that cannot be altered or played with, if we are to be successful in Evangelism and in bringing men and women to saving faith in Jesus Christ, is that Godís forgiveness for our sins through Jesusí death and shed blood on the cross is received by faith and through FAITH ALONE. When I share the Gospel on the field I get many different statements about how we are saved. Some are the following: "Through Repenting of our sins," "Through water baptism," "Through receiving the Holy Spirit," or "Through speaking in tongues." It is true that in order to receive Jesusí salvation for our sins, we must first confess and repent of our sins. Jesus said,

Luke 24:46-47 "Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and rise again from the dead the third day; and that repentance for forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.í" (Matt 3:1-12)

Jesus made plain that we must repent of our sins to be forgiven, but just repenting of our sins does not gain Godís forgiveness for our sins. If we could be saved through just repenting of our sins, then all people of all religions would be saved. We must repent of our sins in order to receive Godís forgiveness for our sins, but just repenting of our sins alone will not gain Godís forgiveness for our sins. The only way we gain forgiveness for sinís repented of is when we accept by faith Godís forgiveness for those sins through Jesusí death and shed blood on the cross alone. Paul and John wrote,

Romans 5:8-9 "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His BLOOD, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him."

Ephesians 1:7 "In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace."

Revelation 1:5 "To Him who loves us, and released us from our sins by His blood."

Many times I am told on the field that we are saved through water baptism. They will cite Acts 2:38 and Mark 16:16,

Acts 2:38 "And Peter said to them, ĎRepent, and let each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.í"

Mark 16:16 "He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved."

When these passages are taken out of the Bible, it is hard for one to argue with them. By themselves this seems to be exactly what these passages are saying. What is the problem with interpreting these verses at face value? First, Acts 2:38 and Mark 16:16 are not the Bible, they are verses in the Bible. The Bible is Genesis through Revelation. These verses must be interpreted in the light of all that the Bible teaches on the subject. Second, Peterís own teachings and comments in the rest of the book of Acts do not support the emphasis these people are putting on Acts 2:38. All one has to do is read the rest of the book of Acts to see that Peter does not interpret his statement in Acts 2:38 the way these various religious groups are interpreting it.

In Acts Chapter 10 we read of the first Gentiles converted to Christianity. Peter was a Jew and nothing unclean had ever entered his mouth and he had never polluted himself by entering the house of a Gentile. However, Jesus did not just come to save the Jews as Peter and even at this time the rest of the Apostles had believed, but to save all mankind including the Gentiles. Because of Peterís incomplete understanding about Jesusí salvation for men the Lord gave Peter a vision of all the animals of the earth, including the unclean ones they were commanded in the Law of Moses not to eat. When Peter saw the vision, the Lord told him to kill and eat. Peter responded by saying to the Lord that nothing unclean had ever entered his mouth. Jesus said in response, Acts 10:15 "What God has cleansed, no longer consider unholy." This happened three times and then some Gentile men knocked on Peterís door that were sent from Caesarea by Cornelius, a centurion and Gentile of the Italian cohort. Cornelius sent them to Peter through the instruction of an angel of the Lord to have Peter come and deliver a message to them.

The Holy Spirit told Peter He had sent them to him and that He was to go with them without misgivings. When Peter greeted the men, he went with them. When he arrived at Corneliusís house, he said to him and to the others gathered to hear him,

Acts 10:34-35 "I most certainly understand now that God is not one to show partiality, but in every nation the man who fears Him and does what is right, is welcome to Him."

What do we see demonstrated here? We see that even though Jesus had died, risen from the dead and afterwards had spent forty days with the Apostles teaching them and then they witnessed His ascension, they still did not yet have a full understanding about what their salvation in Jesus was all about or how it was to be received and administered. Up until this vision, Peter believed that Jesusí salvation was only for the Jews, not the Gentiles. The book of Acts is a recording of the beginnings of the church, their growth and the Apostlesí learning experience of all that Jesusí salvation involved. In Acts 2, to the best of Peterís understanding, which was based on John the Baptistís baptism and instruction, he was explaining to them what they needed to do to be saved, but at this point Peter did not believe this included Gentiles. Now in Acts Chapter ten Peter learns through the Holy Spirit that Jesusí salvation includes the Gentiles also.

As Peter was sharing the Gospel with these Gentiles, in Acts 10:43 he made the following statement:

"ĎOf Him all the prophets bear witness that through His name everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins.í"

Groups which tell you that you are saved through water baptism will tell you that believing means to be baptized in water. However the sects of the Pentacostal believers who teach this will also tell you that the person is not truly saved until he receives the Holy Spirit and speaks in Tongues. They base this on Romans 8:9: "But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him." I have had this said to me many times on the field when sharing the Gospel with men.

After Peter made this statement in Acts 10:43, what happened next? Acts 10:44 tells us:

"While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who were listening to the message."

Wait a minute? These groups tell us that a person is saved when baptized in water and that only afterwards can they then have someone lay hands on them to receive the Holy Spirit. Had these Gentiles been baptized yet? No. What had happened? After Peter told them that in order to receive forgiveness for their sins they had to believe on the Gospel, they believed in their hearts the message of the Gospel. When God saw in their hearts their saving faith, He automatically gave them His Holy Spirit as a result. Therefore saving faith is not being baptized in water, but believing on the message of the Gospel which is Jesusí death and shed blood on the cross for our sins. Peter affirms this truth in Acts 11:15-17 and again in Acts 15:8-11,

Acts 11:15-17 "And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them, just as He did upon us at the beginning. And I remembered the word of the Lord, how He used to say, ĎJohn baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit.í If God therefore gave to them the same gift as He gave to us also after believing in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could stand in Godís way?"

Acts 15:7-11 "Brethren, you know that in the early days God made a choice among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the Gospel and believe. And God, who knows-the-heart, bore witness to them, giving them the Holy Spirit, just as He also did to us; and He made no distinction between us and them, cleansing their hearts by faith. . . . But we believe that we are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, in the same way as they also are."

In these passages Peter reaffirms repeatedly that not only where these Gentiles saved not because they were baptized in water, but because they believed his message of the Gospel, but also makes it plain that he and the rest of the disciples were saved in the same way. How? How were they saved? ". . . after believing in the Lord Jesus Christ. . . . cleansing their hearts by faith." When did Peter baptize them in Water? Note what Peter said in Acts 10:47-48,

"ĎSurely no one can refuse the water for these to be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we did, can he?í And he ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ."

It was only when Peter saw the evidence of the saving faith they had that he would then baptize them in water, but not as the means of their salvation, but because of the salvation they already had. How did they receive the Holy Spirit? After they were baptized in water? No. When they believed, God gave them the Holy Spirit automatically as a result, just as it was for Peter and the Apostles; but not as the means of their salvation, but because of the saving faith they already had. This is in total agreement with what Paul teaches in His Epistles. Paul wrote to the Ephesians,

Ephesians 1:13-14 "In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvationóhaving also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God's own possession, to the praise of His glory."

Here Paul explains to us the process of salvation:

  1. First, the Person must hear the Gospel.

  2. Second, the person must believe on the Gospel to be saved.

  3. Third, when a person believes on the Gospel with saving faith, as a result of the salvation they already have, God automatically gives them and seals them in the Holy Spirit.

Salvation does not come through water baptism or through receiving the Holy Spirit or through speaking in tongues. Salvation is received through faith and through faith alone. When do we receive water baptism, before or after salvation? After we have believed. How does one receive the Holy Spirit? Automatically as a result of believing on the Gospel. Paul tells us in 2 Timothy 2:19, "Nevertheless, the firm foundation of God stands, having this seal, ĎThe Lord knows those who are His.í" Only God knows those who have saving faith in His work of salvation for them through Jesus Christ. When God sees that we have saving faith in our hearts, Paul tells us that He then gives and seals us in His Holy Spirit automatically as a result, but not as the means of our salvation but as a result of the saving faith we already have. Paul tells us in Romans 10:9-10,

"That if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved; for with the heart man believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation."

Paul tells us here that salvation takes place when a person believes in his heart. This again is in complete harmony with what took place in Acts Chapter 10: Peter shared the Gospel and before they had given verbal confession, they believed the Gospel in their hearts with saving faith. God knowing this gave them immediately His Holy Spirit as a result. Why then is it necessary for us to confess Jesus as Lord? Because even though God knows when a person has saving faith in the Gospel in their hearts, the only way we know if a person has believed is by what they confess with their mouth. Salvation takes place in the heart before God, but the evidence of the salvation we already have before men is through our works: confessing with our mouth Jesus as Lord and obeying Jesus through water baptism, etcetera. These are our works, but not as the means of our salvation, but evidence and proof of the salvation we already have.

When did Peter, Philip and Paul baptize their converts in water? Before or after they were saved? After they were saved:

Peter: "ĎSurely no one can refuse the water for these to be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we did, can he?í And he ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ." (Acts 10:47-48)

Philip:"And as they went along the road they came to some water; and the eunuch said ĎLook! Water! What prevents me from being baptized?í And Philip said, ĎIf you believe with all your heart, you may.í And he answered and said, ĎI believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.í And he ordered the chariot to stop; and they both went down into the water, Philip as well as the eunuch; and he baptized him.í (Acts 8:36)

Paul: ĎSirs, what must I do to be saved?í And they said, ĎBelieve in the Lord Jesus, and you shall be saved, you and your household.í And they spoke the word of the Lord to him together with all who were in his house. And he took them that very hour of the night and washed their wounds and immediately he was baptized, he and all his household." (Acts 16:30-33)

In everyone of these cases saving faith came first and only when they gave evidence of saving faith would they then baptize them in water, but not as the means of their salvation, but as a result of the saving faith they already had. In these last two cases there was no physical manifestation of the fact that they had the Holy Spirit, no speaking in tongues, only confession of saving faith they already had. Only God knows those who are His, only God knows those who truly have His Holy Spirit. We can only go by what a man says and his works that follow, but salvation takes place through saving faith in the Gospel in the heart. Only God knows those who are His. God allowed the Gentiles to manifest speaking in tongues in Acts 10:46 to let Peter and the Apostles know beyond doubt that Jesusí salvation was for the Gentiles as well as the Jews. But whether they spoke in tongues or not, they were not saved when they spoke in tongues or when they received the Holy Spirit, but when they believed in their hearts the message of the Gospel.

The reader at this point needs to understand that there is a difference between receiving the Holy Spirit at the moment when we have saving faith in the Gospel and being baptized in the Holy Spirit for ministry outreach and release which is accompanied with speaking in tongues. This was clearly demonstrated in Acts 8:12-17 and Acts 19:1-7. In verse 12 of Chapter 8 it says the following:

"But when they believed Philip preaching the good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were being baptized, men and women alike."

Again here, we see that only after they believed would Philip then baptize them in water. Verses 14-17 then go on to tell us the following:

"Now when the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent them Peter and John, who came down and prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Spirit. For He had not yet fallen upon any of them; they had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they began laying their hands on them, and they were receiving the Holy Spirit." (See also the case of the Ephesians in Acts 19:1-7)

We have already established clearly that Peter and Paul teach us that we receive the Holy Spirit automatically when we believe whether we feel it or not or whether we speak in tongues or not, but receiving the Holy Spirit and being Baptized in the Holy Spirit are not the same thing. One is a dwelling within and the other is an anointing upon for service. I received Jesus Christ in November of 1969. I saw the work of the Holy Spirit in my life immediately, but it was not until 1972 that I received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit with speaking in tongues through two friends of mine laying there hands on me and praying for me to receive it.

The Lord had been dealing with me about my need to receive the Baptism of the Holy Spirit because of my work of Evangelism. When I became convinced Scripturally of its separate validity in my walk and service to the Lord, I allowed my friends Chuck & Elain Davidson, who already had it, to pray for me to receive it. This happened just before I went on a missionary trip. When they prayed for me I instantly began to speak in tongues. The increase of fruit that followed in my ministry work, people coming to Christ and being healed physically through prayer, proved to me its validity and how much I really did need it in my work of Evangelism to be as fully fruitful as God wanted me to be. This however is not the purpose of my discussion here. The purpose of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, its Scriptural validity and how it helps a believer in bringing men and women to saving faith in Jesus Christ are the discussion of my Advanced Textbook on Evangelism titled, Relationship With Jesus the Key to Effective Ministry . My only reason for making mention of it at this point is to let you the reader, who are baptized in the Holy Spirit, know that I believe in and teach this experience, but that receiving the Holy Spirit when we believe and being baptized in the Holy Spirit are usually two different events in a believerís life. Whether a Christian speaks in tongues or not when he believes, he is not saved when he speaks in tongues, but only when he believes on the Gospel. God then automatically gives that person His Holy Spirit as a result whether the person is aware of it or not or whether he speaks in tongues or not. I am also mentioning it here at this point to explain that while, like in the case of the Gentiles in Acts Chapter 10, both receiving and being baptized in the Holy Spirit can come about simultaneously at the moment of salvation. For most of us, like in the case of the Samaritan believers in Acts Chapter 8 and the Ephesians in Acts Chapter 19, it has been two separate events. The Samaritans believed. As a result of their saving faith God gave them His Holy Spirit. When Philip saw their saving faith, probably through mouth confession, he baptized them in water. Later, then, the Apostles visited the Samaritan believers and prayed for them to receive the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.

Both Paul and Peter clearly testify to us that Jesusí salvation for our sins through His death and shed blood on the Cross is not received through repenting of our sins or through water baptism or through receiving the Holy Spirit or through speaking in tongues; Jesusí salvation for our sins is received through faith and through faith alone! What then is Mark 16:16 and Acts 2:38? In the context of everything that Peter and Paul tell us about the process of salvation, they are general all inclusive statements about our salvation in Jesus. How do we know if a person has truly believed? By whether he obeys Jesus. John wrote in 1 John 2:3-4,

"By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. The one who says, ĎI have come to know Him,í and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him."

How do I know if a person is truly saved? It will be evidenced by His obedience to Jesusí commands of which one is water baptism; but not as the means to his salvation, but in evidence of the salvation he already has. This is what James is talking about in James 2:14-22 when he states that faith without works is dead. He states, James 2:18 "You have faith, and I have works: show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works."

What Mark 16:16 and Acts 2:38 are not is flat statements about what saves us that the rest of the New Testament must then be forced into submission to. When this is done, one must then say the New Testament contradicts itself, that Peter contradicts Himself in His own teachings throughout the rest of the book of Acts on Salvation, that Jesusí contradicts Himself in His statements about salvation in the rest of the teachings of the Gospels and that Paul contradicts what these passages teach on salvation.

This past year I had an e-mail correspondence with a minister who came from this persuasion. He tried to tell me that everything written after Acts was not to be used for the purpose of establishing salvation theology, that these other books were only written and addressing the church, not the issue of Salvation. This man in order to live with the contradictions he found in the rest of the Bible just simply cut out and threw away what did not support the way he was interpreting Acts 2:38 and Mark 16:16. In light of that, I studied through and addressed him only with the book of Acts and showed him how Peterís teachings in the book of Acts contradicted the way he was interpreting Peterís statement in Acts 2:38 and Mark 16:16. He would never give me any response to these clear contradictory passages. He would instead resort to name calling, attacking Paul and saying I was of those camps, but he would not give me any explanation of how he could explain in Acts 10 their receiving the Holy Spirit before water baptism and then Peters further statements in Acts 11:15-17 and 15:7-11. This has pretty much been my experience with other ministers of this persuasion also. The man I was corresponding with through e-mail would then go on and attack Paul and his salvation theology. However, I never addressed anything Paul had to say except to point out that Peterís teachings in Acts were in complete harmony with the teachings of Paul in His Epistles. What does Peter have to say about this? Peter stated in 2 Peter 3:15-16,

"And regard the patience of our Lord to be salvation; just as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, wrote to you, as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction."

First, Peter acknowledges Paulís writings as the Word of God and does not attack Paulís writings but defends them as not Paulís ideas but the word of God; second, the context of this statement of Peter is in regard to salvation; and third, he makes plain that people like this man, because they do not take what Paul has to say about salvation into consideration in their teachings on salvation, actually end up distorting what the Bible has to say about salvation. Paul, Peter and John wrote their Epistles Primarily to address wrong teachings about salvation. One cannot understand fully the process of their salvation without reading the Epistles. That is why this man and his associates error, because they do not take into consideration the teachings of the Epistles on salvation in formulating their salvation theology, they do not take the full counsel of God into consideration.

The Bible does not contradict itself and to properly interpret any passage, it must be taken into consideration with everything else the Bible has to say on the subject. All cults based on the Bible are the result of taking verses out of the context of the Bible as a whole and building a theology on it. This is true of Jehovah witnesses, Mormons, Christian Science, etcetera. When you do not take into consideration everything the Bible has to say on the subject of salvation, you end up doing what this man and his associates do, you come up with all kinds of false teachings to explain away obvious contradictions to the way you are interpreting a verse that was meant to be interpreted in the context of the Bible as a whole. Remember, the Bible does not contradict itself, only our interpretations do. It is our interpretations which need modifying, not the Word of God. The truth of the matter is that when you take everything else Peter has to say about salvation in the book of Acts, you find it is in complete harmony with everything Paul teaches in the Epistles. There is no contradiction. The contradiction only comes when Acts 2:38 is made to stand alone without taking into consideration everything else Acts and the rest of the Bible teaches on the subject of salvation. Paul wrote Timothy:

2 Timothy 2:15 "Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, handling accurately the Word of Truth."

1 Timothy 4:16 "Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in these things; for as you do this you will insure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you."

Salvation through Faith Alone is dealt with on pages 9-10 of the salvation tract What Is Eternal Life? and in much greater detail and exclusively in Chapter 8 of Section 3 of this Textbook. It is true that Jesus has died for the sins of the whole world, but his death is not applied to our sins until we receive this work of Jesus on our behalf by faith. Paul wrote in Romans 3:28 "For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from the works of the law." We receive this work of Jesusí salvation for us by faith by receiving Jesus Christ Himself into our hearts as Savior from our sins and as Lord of our lives.

What do we mean by faith? By Faith! we do not mean blind faith, meaning faith without proof or verification; we mean knowing that once we ask Jesus to come into our hearts as Savior from our sins and as Lord of our lives, that He does come in and save us, not as a feeling, but because He gave us absolute proof that He will do what He promised when He came back physically from the dead. What is Jesusí promise? That He will come into our hearts when we ask Him to. Again the significance of all this is fully explained in Section 3 and Chapter 1 of this Textbook.

The Apostle Paul in the book of Romans Chapter 4 tells us about Abraham that he was saved not as a result of being circumcised which represented the Law but because he believed Godís promises to him. Moses records in Genesis 15:6 "Then he believed in Yehovah; and He reckoned it to him as righteousness." Paul tells us that God made this declaration to Abraham not while circumcised, but while uncircumcised.

Romans 4:9-11 "Faith was reckoned to Abraham as righteousness. How then was it reckoned? While he was circumcised, or uncircumcised? Not while circumcised, but while uncircumcised; And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had while uncircumcised, that he might be the Father of all who believe without being circumcised, that righteousness might be reckoned to them."

The point of this being that he was saved by believing on Godís promises, not because of some religious act. Paulís point is that once we have repented of our sins we are saved by believing on Godís promises through Jesus also, not because of some religious act like water Baptism or because we speak in tongues. This is what Paul is talking about in Romans 10:9-10 when he says if we believe God the Father raised Jesus from the dead we shall be saved. When we believe on the resurrection of Jesus Christ, we are saying we believe Godís promise that He accepts Jesusí death and shed blood for our sins and that He has proved this to us by bringing Jesus back from the dead.

Paul further explains to us that Abraham following Yehovah in obedience through circumcision did not save him but was simply evidence of the faith and salvation Abraham already had. When a person has truly repented of his sins and turned to God for His forgiveness of those sins by faith through Jesusí death and shed blood on the cross, it will be evidenced in the future by his changed life and obedience to Christís commands; but not as the means to his salvation, but as a result of the saving faith he already has. This truth is covered clearly on page 17 of What Is Eternal Life? In the same way, water baptism does not save us either, but our following Jesus in obedience to Him through water baptism is simply evidence of the saving faith we already have.

When sharing the Gospel, how do we properly administer Salvation?

  1. First, we are to Preach the Gospel, preach Jesus, share the Gospel with men (Acts 8:5, 35, Rom 10:14-15, Rev 19:10).

  2. Second, the person must believe on the Gospel and then give evidence of his saving faith through confessing Jesus as Savior and Lord (Acts 8:13, 37, Rom 10:9-10, 13)

  3. Third, when they give us evidence of the saving faith they already have through confessing Jesus as Savior and Lord, then and only then do we baptize them in water in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit (Matt 28:19-20, Acts 8:12, 13, 38, 10:47-48).

  4. Finally, we are to then lay our hands on them and pray for them to receive the Baptism of the Holy Spirit for ministry outreach and release (Acts 1:8, 8:12-17, 19:6-7).

In review the five Biblical foundational Christian doctrines which cannot be altered or played with if we are to succeed in Evangelism and in bringing men and women to saving faith in Jesus Christ, are the following:

  1. One, that we must accept by faith, founded on the Physical Resurrection of Jesus Christ, that the Judeo-Christian Bible is ABSOLUTELY the Word of God in all that it affirms down to the letter, His ONLY Holy inspired written Word to Man ALONE.

  2. Second, that we must take Mosesí teachings in the bible about the creation of the cosmos, the earth and the creation and constitution of man in six twenty-four hour days and fall of man literally.

  3. Third, that what Jesus claimed about Himself is absolutely true: that He is fully God and fully Man.

  4. Fourth, that Godís forgiveness for our sins repented of is based on Jesusí death and shed blood on the cross ALONE, not on any works of ours.

  5. Finally, fifth, that Godís forgiveness for our sins through Jesusí death and shed blood on the cross is received by faith and THROUGH FAITH ALONE.

Chapter 1 of this Section titled, Evangelism Is Not A Spiritual Gift, is a foundation for Chapter 2 of this Section titled, The Three Ingredients of Christian Conversion. Chapter 2 talks about what is involved in Evangelism and why using a Salvation Tract like What Is Eternal Life? is most effective in this process.

Chapter 2 of Section 3 of this book titled, Knowing Jesus Is Eternal Life, is an expanded explanation of the content of the Salvation Tract titled: What Is Eternal Life? It is part of your training in how to share this Salvation Tract on the field.

Chapter 10 of this Section titled, A Field Presentation of What Is Eternal Life?, is a page by page explanation of how to present the tract What Is Eternal Life? and an explanation of the purpose of the content of each page in the tract and how it addresses all critical issues necessary for successful Evangelism in presenting the Gospel on the field.

Section 6 titled, Testimonies of Evangelism On The Field, gives eighteen different examples of the benefit of using What Is Eternal Life? on the field.

Study Questions
Bibliography & Notes
Chapter 10

Section 1 Chapters

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