Two kids are sitting in a high school auditorium, listening to the principal give the welcoming speech for the year. The principal says, “The two greatest dangers that students face are ignorance and apathy.”
One of the students turns to his friend and asks, “What are ‘ignorance and apathy?'”
The other student, bored, restless and wanting the speech to end says, “I don’t know and I don’t care.”
“I don’t know” and “I don’t care” unfortunately represent some people’s view towards Christianity. And I’m not just talking about atheists: there are even those who go to church regularly, have love for their neighbors, and live morally upstanding lives – (all these things are of course expected from each of us) – but yet they are still missing something. What, might you ask?
See, I believe there is a great plague in the world today: It is “hand-me-down religiosity” or as I am calling it, “inbred ignorance”. What I am talking about here is a lack of independence when it comes to our faith. There are too many of us who aren’t reading our bibles and truly seeking God’s will for our lives. We think that “what’s good enough for Grandma and Grandpa is good enough for me”…
Unfortunately, “Grandma and Grandpa” don’t always have it right. All too often we borrow someone else’s beliefs without actually looking for the true answers ourselves. Beliefs get passed on from generation to generation, and tradition becomes “truth”. But friends, we MUST find out for ourselves what it is God wants from us, lest He spit us out of His mouth.
We can’t rely on someone else’s beliefs to carry us through life, and God’s not going to give us a sign. God expects us to use our own minds!
– Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. (Colossians 2:8 KJV) -
A doctrine that I am convinced that many err on, is that of salvation. Ask, and you will get a hundred different answers to the age-old question “What must I do to be saved?”. Some will say you need only to believe, another “say this prayer”, while yet another insists infant baptism washes away sins. Friends, we cannot afford to get this wrong! If we don’t even know how and by what we are saved, how can we be sure we are saved?
– Teach me good judgment and knowledge: for I have believed thy commandments. (Psalms 119:66 KJV) –
Maybe up until this point you have borrowed your religion from your parents, your minister, or another respected person. You are not alone – this is a mistake that has been made by millions. We’ve all been guilty of this! But I am telling you right now, it is not too late to learn the truth! As a wise friend once told me “It’s not always in the learning, but in the re-learning”. Stick around, and let’s re-learn some things together. God’s word will be our guide….
– The heart of the prudent getteth knowledge; and the ear of the wise seeketh knowledge. (Proverbs 18:15 KJV) – —————————————————————————–
“What must I do to be saved?”
The first steps – Hearing/ Believing –
Friends, it is undeniable that salvation is rooted in faith. Now that is not to say that faith is our only means of salvation, but it is definitely a crucial element. To be saved, we must first….
— Hear, understand and believe the word of God.
– Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts. (Isaiah 28:9 KJV) –
(Reason for yourselves: is a child capable of this? If the answer is no then *just maybe* infant baptism is a false doctrine)
– He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. (Mark 16:16 KJV) – ——————————————————————————
“What must I do to be Saved?”
Step 2 – Confess (submit your life to God) and Repent (turn away from your sin)
Some false teachers out there say that faith alone will win us citizenship in heaven. They claim that God doesn’t really demand anything from us – “just only believe and you will be saved”! My friends – do not be deceived, but search for yourself whether or not God demands a change in our lives. If we keep thinking John 3:16 is the complete summation of the Bible and never read any further, I really fear for our souls.
– Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. (2 John 1:9 KJV) –
Confession and repentance go hand in hand. You simply can not have the one without the other. If you are submitting your life to God, then you will turn from your sin! On the other hand, what person is going to turn away from sin without first submitting their life to God?
– He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy . Proverbs 28:13 –
(Note that it says confess AND forsake – a confession is never legitimate to our Lord without repentance) ——————————————————————————
“What must I do to be saved?”
Step 3 – Be baptized (greek; baptizo = immersion)
While I assume nearly everyone teaches that you must believe to be saved, and also many will encourage a change of lifestyle, baptism has become one of the most controversial topics in the religious world. Unfortunately it is a widely accepted belief that baptism is just an optional step that a Christian can take: an outward sign of their already established walk with Christ. I beg to differ with that view, and rather am firmly convicted that baptism is an essential step one takes before they will be accepted into God’s kingdom. Here are a few reasons why. I would encourage you to read each one of these passages and discern whether or not baptism is essential to our salvation.
— Jesus (our ultimate example) was baptized (Luke 12:50 KJV)
— Those in the first century A.D. that “gladly received His word” were baptized, and added into the church! (Acts 2:40-41 KJV)
— In Jesus’ day, “all who heard him justified God and were baptized” but the Pharisees and lawyers who rejected baptism were a disgrace. (Luke 7:29-31 KJV)
— *If* we have been baptized into Christ, we have put on Christ. (Galatians 3:27 KJV)
— All who have been baptized are baptized into Christ’s death. If we are not baptized, we can not be partakers of the gift of the cross! (Romans 6:3-7 KJV)
— Baptism is “answering with a clear conscience to God” and “baptism saves us!” (1 Peter 3:20-21 KJV)
— Jesus said “we will be baptized with His baptism”…if we are His, we will follow in His footsteps. (Matthew 20:23 KJV)
— Jesus said we cannot see the kingdom of God unless we are baptized. (John 3:3)
— We must believe *and* be baptized to be saved. (Mark 16:16)
— Baptism “washes away sins”. (Acts 22:16)
— Baptism is “for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38) ——————————————————————————
My dear friends who are reading this – have you truly been saved?
Sometimes in life we must forget what we have been told. You and I must put away our preconceived notions and let go of all the traditions of man! If we do this, we may not be the most popular or have the most friends, but we will have something many don’t have. We will have God’s word! We will have it in fullness. And God’s word has the answers, if we are willing to look.
It teaches that we must hear and believe the word of God. We must confess Christ daily by submitting our lives to Him. We must turn from our sins through repentance. We must be baptized (immersed in water) for the remission of our sins. After we have submitted ourselves to God’s plan of salvation (forsaking man’s way) – it is at that point we have become adopted as a child of God. We know from scripture that there are those claiming Christ that are not truly saved. May we not be counted among them!
– Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. (Matthew 7:21 KJV) – – This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. (Matthew 15:8-9 KJV) –
Remember the student in the gymnasium. Don’t let his academic path be the same as your religious design.
Where we are ignorant – let us search for wisdom.
Where we are apathetic – let us search for purpose.
It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out a matter.(Proverbs 25:2 KJV)