How did they become Christians?

 In the 1st century of Christianity, how did they become Christians?

There is only one scriptural path to eternal life.

– HEAR the Gospel of Christ
– BELIEVE the Gospel of Christ
– REPENT from your sins and turn to Christ
– CONFESS that Jesus Christ is the Son of God
– OBEY Christ and be baptized for the forgivness of your sins

1.      They Heard the Gospel preached.

“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?”—Acts 2:37

“How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?” —Romans 10:14

“He that refuseth instruction despiseth his own soul: but he that heareth reproof getteth understanding.” —Proverbs 15;32

“Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.” —Apostle Paul to Timothy,  1 Timothy 4:16

“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” —Romans 10:17

“And why call ye me, ‘Lord, Lord’, and do not the things which I say?  Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will shew you to whom he is like:  He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock.”  —Luke 6:46-48

2.      They Believed the Gospel.

“But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.” —Acts 8:12

And [Jesus] 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

Then said Jesus unto the twelve, “Will ye also go away?”  Then Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.   And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.”  —John 6:67-69

“I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.” —John 8:24

3.      They Turned (Repented) from their sins.

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.”  —Acts 2:38

“… Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.”  —Mark 1:15

“Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.”  —Luke 15:10

God looketh upon men, and if any say, “I have sinned, and perverted that which was right, and it profited me not.”  He will deliver his soul from going into the pit, and his life shall see the light.  —Job 33:27-28

There were present at that season some that told him of the Galilaeans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices.  And Jesus answering said unto them,
“Suppose ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they suffered such things?  I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.  Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem?  I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.”
  —Luke 13:1-5

The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.  —2 Peter 3:9

4.      They Confessed Jesus Christ as the Son of God.

“. . . the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?  And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest.  And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” — Acts 8:29-40

“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.  For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” —Romans 10:9-10

“And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world. Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.” —1 John 4:14-15

“Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue:  For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.”  —John 12:42-43

5.      They Obeyed the Gospel command to be baptized.

“Then they that gladly received [Peter’s] word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.”Acts 2:41

. . . God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.  The like figure whereunto even baptism does also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ. —1 Peter 3:20-21

“And the keeper of the prison…brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?  And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house.  And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway.”
—Acts 16:23-40

And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.  Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:   Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” —Matthew 28:18-20

“Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.  But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?”  —James 2:19-20

“And one Ananias, a devout man according to the law, having a good report of all the Jews which dwelt there, came unto me, and stood, and said unto me, Brother Saul, receive thy sight . . . and now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.   —Acts 22:13-16   And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized.”Acts 9:18

“For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.”  —Romans 2;13

“Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made the same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.”   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?”

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.”   —Acts 2:36-38

Conclusion

How should you become a Christian? 

The same way they did in the Scriptures. Take the time to hear the Gospel preached.  If you’re honest, you can’t but believe what you will hear.  Act on what you hear—repent.  Turn from the ways you know are wrong.  Confess that Jesus Christ is Lord of all, the Son of God.  And obey Christ’s command to be baptized for the remission of all your sins. 

“For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour, who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.”  —1 Timothy 2:2-4

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“How to tell a sheep from a goat.” (Tom Collier)

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Who has the authority to baptize? (Tom Collier)


There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism.”

The Apostle states with profound clarity that there is only one baptism.  Yet there are scores of so-called baptisms practiced in the denominational world today . . . and apparently in the Church of Christ as well.  How can “one” become so complicated, even in the Lord’s kingdom?

Recently a well-respected Church of Christ apologist wrote an article on baptism titled, ““Who can baptize another person?”.  He premised his argument with repeated guarantees that everything he presented would be Biblically based.[1]  Nothing would be used other than the Word of God to prove his points.

He balked on that.

In the article, he argues that it is not required that a Christian man perform the baptism—despite the fact that every baptism in the Bible is performed by a believing male Christian.  This becomes more contradictary by the fact that he acknowledges Christianity is understood and established not only through commandments, but just as much as by scriptural examples.

While giving assurance that he would use only Scripture as the foundation for his argument, he abandons the ancient text and proceeds to contend that anyone can perform a baptism legitimately.  He specifically cites women and non-Christians as those permitted to baptize others.  So whom does that leave out?  No one. According to this apologist’s reasoning, everyone can baptize.

To justify this, he uses  not Scripture, but the typical extreme examples of a soul desiring to be baptized but no minister or any Christian man is immediately available.  Let us contrast the apologist’s reasoning to the Scripture when there was a dire need to perform the Lord’s work but the person with the authority was not there, and let us see the judgment rendered by God in this case.

In 1 Samuel 13, Saul faced a massive Philistine offensive—tens of thousands of chariots, horseman, and soldiers “as numerous as the sand on the seashore.”  This had Saul and the people “trembling”.  Samuel was due to arrive in seven days and would perform the sacrifice but had not yet arrived.  Thus Saul did not wait for Samuel, but panicked and “forced himself” to do it.  When Samuel did arrive as appointed, Saul told him what he had done. Samuel’s reply was blunt.  “Thou hast done foolishly: thou hast not kept the commandment of the Lord thy God, which he commanded thee.”  And Saul’s kingship headed downhill from there.

And neither do we keep the commandment of the Lord when we forsake the multiple Scriptural examples of Christian men, exclusively, baptizing thousands.

By what authority, on what grounds, or with what Scripture do we proceed to assume that anyone else but a Christian man can baptize?  Neither the apologist, nor has any other minister provided any scriptural evidence that anyone but a Christian man has the authority to baptize.  The sole reason for their lack of evidence is because that authority, those grounds, that Scripture does not exist—not in God’s word.

The Apostle speaking in the book of Hebrews in the eighth chapter quotes Exodus 25:40 where God is speaking to Moses, saying, “See that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount.”  What pattern of God is the apologist following allowing women and non-Christians to perform baptisms?  By what authority does he tell the entire brotherhood that they have the license to do this?

His appeals to the reader with dire straits examples are faithless because they silently neglect the role that God has in the matter of baptism.  If one plants, and another waters, and it is God that “giveth the increase”, then why does the apologist present his scenarios as if there is no God and we have no other choice but to “force” ourselves to do what we know is not in Scripture, and take “the increase” by our own hand?

David’s inspired words in Psalms 14:1-2 addresses this precisely:  “The fool hath said in his heart, ‘There is no God.’ . . . The Lord looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God.”

When did God stop looking down from Heaven upon the children of men to help those that want salvation?  Christ said the Heavenly Father is seeking such to worship Him today.  (John 4:23)

The “one baptism” is simple, easily understood, and above all—Scriptural.  Every example of baptism in the Scriptures was performed by a Christian man, and was a complete submersion in water in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit for the remission of sins.  Deviation from that example is a deviation from Christ.  As Paul wrote, “I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.”

In every century of Christianity’s existence, the one baptism was assaulted by numerous councils debating over false teachings and doctrines of men—even in the Lord’s Church.  And this fight shall continue until the day of Christ’s return.  But for now, we must be the generation of defenders of the “one baptism”—and keep it according to the pattern shown to us in God’s word.

1.  Butt, Kyle (2011), “Who can baptize another person?”, Apologetics Press, https://www.apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=11&article=766

 

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