Christ’s church has existed for almost 2000 years, and today it is made up of the same people as it was then: those who are saved. You see, if someone is saved from the punishment of sins, he or she is a part of Christ’s church. Anyone who is not saved is not a part of that church you read about in the Bible. Join us as we consider this important topic.
ROBERT >> Today I want to talk to you some more about the church you read about in the Bible. Already we have learned that Christ built that church. We learned how, when, and where that church had its beginning: In the city of Jerusalem on the first Pentecost after the resurrection of Jesus Christ with the pouring out of the Holy Spirit and the preaching of the gospel. That church, not just any church, not a new or different church, but the church of Christ you read about in the Bible.
SINGING>> Speaking the truth, speaking the truth, speaking the truth, speaking the truth in love.
ROBERT >> Today as we continue to talk about the church, I want us to see that that church, the church you read about in your Bible, consisted of the saved. That’s what the church is, the saved.
In Acts 20:28 we read about the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. You see, the church are those who have been purchased or redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ.
We were redeemed not with silver and gold, but with the precious blood of Christ according to 1 Peter 1:18-19.
If you’ve been redeemed, if you have been purchased by the blood of Jesus Christ, that is, your sins have been paid for at Calvary, and thus you’re one of those who are saved, then you’re a part of God’s church, the church you read about in your Bible.
In Ephesians 5:23 the Bible speaks of Christ as savior of the body. He was talking about his church. Jesus Christ redeemed us by his blood. He is the savior of the body. And anyone who’s not been redeemed by the blood of Christ or who does not have Jesus Christ as their savior is not of that church, not that church you read about in the Bible. You see, that church consisted of the saved.
Let’s look at it in Acts chapter 2. And I want you to notice the very last verse of this chapter. You might remember our lesson last week where we read here in Acts 2 about how the church had its beginning. And you might notice here that as this church began, that people continued each day to be saved as the gospel went forth. And I want you to notice here in this very last verse what it says, how that this church was praising God, and having favor with all the people; and the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved. Underscore those last words, the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.
Yes, the church consisted of the saved. And I want you to notice a few things about this. The Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved. It was the Lord that did the adding. And the Lord added to that church. To be added to that church, you must be added to it by the Lord. No one else can add you to that church. It doesn’t matter, you may have been voted into a church or you may have your name on some church directory. The church where you go, it may say that it is the church you read about in the Bible; but anyone not added by the Lord is not added to that church.
Let’s notice something else about this verse. The Lord added to the church, it says. The Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved. It was the Lord that added. It was the Lord that added to that church. He does not add to any other church but that church. You see, there’s only one church of the saved, that church you read about in the Bible, that church we’re reading about here in Acts chapter 2, that body of which Jesus is the savior, Ephesians 5:23.
You know, Ephesians 4:4 says there is one body.
And Ephesians 1:22-23 tells us that Christ was made to be head over all things to the church which is his body. You see, Christ is head of the church, which is his body. There’s one body, and he’s the savior of that body. Any other church is not that church. But then notice also the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved. Every day the Lord was adding to the church. We noticed last week that the church began with three thousand souls.
Look at it in Acts 2:41. “Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them.”
There’s the beginning of the church with three thousand people. And in the days that followed, the Lord continued to add to that church. And he still adds to that church. Any church to which he’s not adding is not that church. But also I want you to notice this: The Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.
Yes, the saved were added to that church. One cannot be added to that church without being saved; and one cannot be saved without being added to that church. And therefore, in order to be added to that church, you must be saved. Anyone who’s not saved is not added by the Lord to that church. The Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved. So let’s look very closely at how these very first ones were saved and how they were added by the Lord to that church.
Go back with me in Acts chapter 2 to verse 22, and let’s see how it all started. Here it says, “Men of Israel, hear these words. Salvation begins with the hearing of the words of God.”
“Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” according to Romans 10:17.
“The gospel of Christ is the power of God to salvation” according to Romans 1:16.
Yes, it’s the word of God that is able to save our souls according to James 1:21.
And so we must hear the words. And these were the words about Jesus Christ, the words of the gospel.
He went on to say in verse 22, “Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know, Him being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified and put to death; whom God raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it.”
Do you see in these verses how that Jesus Christ was the one that God appointed, he was the one that God chose to be the savior of the world?
He performed great miracles to prove the claims that he made about himself while he was on this earth. They had seen these things. And yet they put him to death. They encouraged the Romans to crucify him. They said in the streets of Jerusalem, Crucify him! Crucify him! Let his blood be upon us and upon our children. And thus he was crucified. Unknowingly, in that very death, in the shedding of the blood of that perfect, innocent one, their sins were paid for.
This is the good news, that Christ died for our sins, and that he was buried, and that on the third day he was raised, according to 1 Corinthians 15:1-4. And that’s what Peter proclaims here, that God raised him up, that Jesus did not stay in the tomb.
This was definite proof that Jesus is the Christ, the son of God, the Lord of heaven and earth, just as he claimed. And Peter and the other apostles, they were witnesses of all of these things.
Look what he says in verse 32. “This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses; and therefore being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He poured out this which you now see and hear. For David did not ascend into the heaven; but he says himself, The Lord said to my Lord, sit at My right hand till I make your enemies your footstool; and therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus whom you crucified both Lord and Christ.”
You see, Peter said, We saw it, we know it happened. And we understand from the scriptures that after he was raised, he eventually ascended to God’s right hand, that he’s Lord of lords, that he is king of kings, that he now rules and reigns in heaven on his throne. Yes, that Jesus Christ Jesus is both Lord and Christ.
And when Peter came to this point in his sermon, look what the Bible says in verse 37. “Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart.”
These words of the gospel pricked the hearts of those who were listening that day. The word of God is living and active, it’s powerful, it’s sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the dividing of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, to the thoughts and intents of the heart. Yes, this gospel convicted these people of their sins, of their guilt of having Jesus Christ put to death. And they recognized how they needed forgiveness.
And so the Bible says in verse 37, “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?”
You know, all of us ought to be convicted of our sins and realize that it’s our sins that put Jesus Christ to death. And just as he died for those who cried for his blood in the streets of Jerusalem long ago, so he died for our sins, too.
“Every one of us have sinned, and we all fall short of the glory” according to Romans 3:23.
All of us ought to have that godly sorrow in our heart that Christ died for our sins. And every one of us ought to cry out like those on that day, What shall we do?
You see, they trusted Jesus as their savior, and they wanted to know what to do. And so they asked the inspired apostles. It says in verse 37 that Peter and the rest of the apostles. They said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?
What do you say? You who have now the power of the Holy Spirit poured out upon you, you who have the words of God, what do you say?
I’m afraid that there are many in the world today that they hear about Jesus, and they want to know what to do to be saved, and they listen to preachers and they read commentaries and tracts, and they hear the things that are said and written by men; but let’s be sure that we always check it out by what the apostles and the prophets of the New Testament said. Let’s go to the book and see what it says. And let’s notice what Peter and the rest of the apostles told these who were be asking what to do to be saved.
Let’s notice in verse 38 what they were told. “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. For the promise is to you, and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.”
They asked what to do, and Peter told them to repent and to be baptized. Notice, they asked what to do to be saved, not what should I feel or what should I believe, but what do I need to do so I can be saved? And they were told what to do to be saved; not to ask Jesus into their heart or to say some sinner’s prayer, but rather to repent and to be baptized. Now, to repent just means to turn or to change. If you’re going down a one-way street, you realize you’re going the wrong way, what do you do?
You immediately turn around and go the other way. Realizing what they had done, they needed to repent, they needed to turn away from their sin to live for the Lord. It’s that decision that all of us must make if we want to be forgiven of our sins.
“Repent and turn again, or be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, and times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord,” Acts 3:19.
2 Corinthians 7:10 reminds us that godly sorrow produces repentance that leads to salvation.
It was the godly sorrow in the hearts of these who realized they had put to death their savior that moved them to make a decision to turn away from their sin, to live for God. And so we must all repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.
It is upon a confession of faith that Jesus Christ is the Son of God we’re to be baptized, we’re to be immersed. That’s what the word means. He’s talking about here a water baptism, to be baptized so our sins might be forgiven. This is what Jesus meant in Mark the 16th chapter after his resurrection when he sent his apostles to go preach the gospel.
He said in Mark 16:16, “He that believes and is baptized will be saved; he that disbelieves will be condemned”
. Jesus also spoke of this in John 3:5. He spoke of it as a new birth. Unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.
You see, there must be a spiritual rebirth that takes place in the waters of baptism.
In Acts 22:16 we read about what Ananias told Saul of Tarsus. You might remember how that Saul was a persecutor of the church; but having been convinced that Jesus was in fact the Christ, he repented. And he was for three days fasting and praying until the preacher told him to arise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord. You see, though he trusted in the Lord and believed on him and had surely become penitent in his heart, he still needed to be baptized; because it was in that act of faith that his sins would be cleansed, as the Bible says in Revelation 1:5-6, washing in the blood of Christ.
It’s in that very act of faith that we call upon the Lord to take our sins away.
But let’s also notice 1 Peter 3:21, where the Bible tells us that “baptism saves us; not the washing of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience towards God by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.”
No, the power’s not in the water; it’s in the blood of Jesus, it’s in his resurrection from the grave. It’s because of what Jesus did that we can be forgiven; but we’re forgiven when we give ourselves to the Lord in baptism. Having believed on him, having truly repented of our sins, it’s there that our conscience is cleansed. And folks, this is a promise for all, according to verse 39 in Acts chapter 2, those that are far and those that are near, as many as the Lord our God shall call unto him. It was after Peter told them what to do that he encouraged them to do it.
It says in verse 40 of Acts chapter 2, “And with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, Be saved from this perverse generation.”
They could not save themselves without Christ; but if they were going to be saved by him, they had to trust him enough to do what they were told to do. And so having been encouraged by Peter, they did it by being obedient to the gospel in baptism.
Read with me verse 41. “And then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them.”
You see, those who were baptized for the remission of sins were added to that church. Three thousand souls received the word, they believed it, and they acted upon it. They were obedient to the gospel.
Paul explains it in Romans chapter 6 when he talks about our baptism into Christ, how that we’re baptized into his death, how we’re buried with him by baptism into death, how we’re raised with him to walk in newness of life. Obedience from the heart to that form of doctrine, Romans 6:17-18, sets us free from sin so that we can become slaves of righteousness. That form of doctrine, the gospel, the death, the burial, and the resurrection of Christ. Being baptized into his death, buried with him, and raised with him, we’re set free.
Those who were baptized for the remission of their sins were added to that church that day. And ever since that time, those who were baptized were added to that church.
Paul said we’re all baptized into that church. In 1 Corinthians 12:13, “we’re all baptized by one Spirit into one body, and all made to drink of one spiritual drink.”
Yes, even now when people hear the gospel of Jesus Christ, that same gospel preached by Peter here in Acts chapter 2, his death, his burial, his resurrection, when we hear that same gospel today and we respond in the same way that they did that day, believing that Jesus is the Christ, our savior, our deliverer, the Lord of heaven and earth, when we believe him and when we trust what he did for us at Calvary, having paid the price for our sins, we make that decision to repent, to turn away from sin, to live for God, and then upon a confession of our faith in Jesus, be baptized for the remission of those sins, be immersed in water, be obedient to the gospel, dying with Christ, being buried with Christ to be raised to live with him, when we hear that gospel, when we respond in that same way, we are added by the Lord to that same church. Not just any church, not a new or different kind of church, but the church of Christ you read about in the Bible. Be that church, the church of the saved, because any other church, it’s not that church. May we at The Truth In Love this morning encourage you that if you have never heard that message, to believe it, to turn away from your sins, and confessing Jesus today, be baptized into him so you can begin that new life, so you can be a part of God’s church. And know that God has provided for you through Jesus Christ a way home to heaven someday. Perhaps there are some who are listening today, they’ve been baptized, and maybe you have believed, maybe you’re a part of some church; but you never really realized how it is to become a Christian and to be saved, how that you must not only trust in Jesus for your sins, but trusting him to really turn from those sins, make that decision to live for him and give yourself to him so you might be saved.
If you’ve never done that, I hope that you’ll let us know how we can help you to do that today, to become a Christian, nothing more and nothing less, to be a part of Christ’s church and none other, to follow him and nobody else.
SINGING>> On Zion’s glorious summit stood a numerous host redeemed by blood.
They hymned their king in strains divine.
I heard the song and strove to join.
I heard the song and strove to join.
While everlasting ages roll, eternal love shall feast their soul.
And scenes of bliss forever new rise in succession to their view,
rise in succession to their view.
Holy, holy, holy Lord.
God of hosts on high adored.
Who like me thy praise should sing, oh almighty king.
Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of hosts on high adored.
Holy, holy, holy.
SINGING>> Rock of ages, cleft for me,
let me hide myself in thee.
Let the water and the blood from thy riven side which flowed be of sin the double cure;
cleanse me from its guilt and power.
Nothing in my hands I bring; simply to thy cross I cling.
Naked, come to thee for rest;
helpless, look to thee for grace.
Vile I to the fountain fly;
wash me, Savior, I die.
ROBERT >> I want to thank you for watching our program today. If you have any questions, comments, or requests, if you would like a personal home Bible study or special prayers, if you would like more information about the lesson today, or if you’d like to order today’s lesson or any other lesson on CD, DVD, or in manuscript form, let me encourage you to write The Truth In Love at P.O. Box 865, Hurst, Texas 76053.
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SINGING>> Sing to me of heaven, sing that song of peace.
From the toils that bind me it will bring release.
Burdens will be lifted that are pressing so.
Showers of great blessing o’er my heart will flow.
Sing to me of heaven, let me fondly dream of its golden glory, of its pearly gleam.
Sing to me when shadows of the evening fall.
Sing to me of heaven, sing the sweetest song of all.
Sing to me of heaven tenderly and low,
till the shadows o’er me rise and swiftly go.
When my heart is weary, when the day is long,
sing to me of heaven, sing that old sweet song.
Sing to me of heaven,
let me fondly dream of its golden glory,
of its pearly gleam.
Sing to me when shadows of the evening fall,
sing to me of heaven sing the sweetest song of all.