30 Minute Radio Lesson - WAVG Radio 1450 AM
Clarksville church of Christ
October 29, 2000
Speaker: Richie Thetford
"Acts, Chapters 2 and 8"
Good morning and welcome to another presentation of "What Is Truth?" I'm Richie Thetford, evangelist for the Clarksville church of Christ, located at 407 W. Hwy 131 in Clarksville. I want to thank each and every one you for taking the time to listen this morning as we examine another truth of God's word.
I want to call your attention to the importance of the Book of Acts in the Holy Record. It is the book in which we find the work of the apostles or ambassadors of Christ, as they bind on earth that it may be bound in heaven. It is here that we find them putting into action all the fundamentals of the Christian religion and telling men for the first time what is expected of them by the high God of Heaven if they are to be saved. In the book of Acts we find great emphasis on what MAN MUST DO to take advantage of all that God has done. With these thoughts in mind, let us devote the time for the lesson to a study of the second and eighth chapter of Acts of the Apostles.
The second chapter of Acts is one of the most important chapters in the entire Bible. More prophecy is fulfilled in Acts the second chapter than in any other chapter of the Divine record. Four great events are recorded and four great fundamentals of the religion of Christ are dealt with. I suggest that they are as follows:
1. The establishment of the Church for which Christ died.
2. The descent of the Holy Spirit, and the gospel that came with it.
3. The beginning of the reign of Christ on David's spiritual throne, the only throne he will occupy.
4. The first complete divine answer to the question, "What must I do to be saved?"
THE BEGINNING OF THE CHURCH
Now, let us deal with the first: The establishment of the New Testament Church. As we study the following scriptures we will see that Joel the second chapter is fulfilled in Acts two. We will see that Daniel 2:44 is fulfilled in Acts 2. We will see that Isaiah 2:3 and Mark 9:1 are fulfilled, along with Matthew 16:17, 18. And that all of these scriptures deal with the beginning of the church or kingdom of Jesus Christ. Notice that we say the church or kingdom, for they are one and the same thing, and when the church was established, the kingdom had its beginning. It would be impossible for the kingdom to be yet future in the light of Mark 9:1. It was to come in the lifetime of those standing there, and was to come with power, and when the kingdom came, the power came, and the church and the kingdom was established. To prove these things, let us turn to the scriptures.
Isaiah 2:1-3, tells us where: In Jerusalem. (The religion of Jesus is a taught religion.) "The word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow into it. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem."
Daniel 2:44, tells us when: In the days of these kings. "And in the days of these Kings shall the God of heaven set up a
kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the Kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and
consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever."
Joel 2:16-17, tells us how: Pours out his spirit; when--in the last days."But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams."
Mark 9:1, tells us how: The kingdom was to come with power; and when---In the life time of those that stood by. "And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That there be some of them that stand here, which shall not taste of death, till they have seen the kingdom of God come with power."
Matthew 16: 17, The Church or Kingdom was not established in the lifetime of the Savior. "And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but your Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, that thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."
THE HOLY SPIRIT
Now, let us deal with the second event: The descent of the Holy Spirit. Notice that the Holy Spirit came in cloven tongues like as of fire, --not fire, but with tongues like as of fire. When the Holy Spirit descended the apostles began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance. Special emphasis needs to be put on the fact that these tongues were definite languages (See Acts 2, verse 6). These languages were unknown to the apostles, and the multitude knew this, for they exclaimed that all of the apostles were Galileans and could not know all the tongues or languages of those assembled (See verse 7). This speaking was not a meaningless babble but an intelligent rendition of every language of the multitude from all the countries listed in the second chapter, verses 7 to 10.
Let Luke give us the inspired account and notice these principles as we read Acts 2:1-11: "Now when the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. And there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven. And when this sound occurred, the multitude came together, and were confused, because everyone heard them speak in his own language. Then they were all amazed and marveled, saying to one another, "Look, are not all these who speak Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each in our own language in which we were born? Parthians and Medes and Elamites, those dwelling in Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya adjoining Cyrene, visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs--we hear them speaking in our own tongues the wonderful works of God."
Again I remind you that the Kingdom was to come when the Holy Spirit came, and the gospel was to be preached with all its power when the Spirit was sent down from heaven. This is what Peter, in 1 Peter 1:12, declares when he states that the gospel was sent down by the Holy Spirit. "Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Spirit sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into." Acts 1:6-9 says: "Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, "Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?" And He said to them, "It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority. But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth." Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight."
CHRIST ON DAVID'S THRONE
The third great lesson: In Acts the second chapter we find the beginning of the REIGN OF CHRIST ON DAVID'S THRONE. Peter declares this to be an accomplished fact. He quotes from David to show that Christ was to be raised up to sit on his throne, and says that Christ is at the right hand of God exalted. An Unbiased reading of the following verses will convince any man with an open mind and an open Bible that Peter avows the seating of Christ on the throne of David, to be king over his kingdom, is now accomplished. The throne of David is spiritual, and in heaven, and Christ is now king over the church, spiritual Israel. Let us prayerfully read and study the following verses. Acts 2:29-36 says: "Men and brethren, let me speak freely to you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. Therefore, being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that of the fruit of his body, according to the flesh, He would raise up the Christ to sit on his throne, he, foreseeing this, spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ, that His soul was not left in Hades, nor did His flesh see corruption. This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses. 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 heavens, but he says himself: 'The LORD said to my Lord, "Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool." Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ."
WHAT SHALL WE DO?
Let us now call your attention to the fourth point in the things that we can learn from the second chapter of Acts of the Apostles. We find that it teaches what all men must do to be saved. We find that baptism looks forward to the remission of sins, and this caused Paul to say that Ananias told him to arise and be baptized and wash away his sins (Acts 22: 16.)
To show that several translations render the preposition "unto"instead of "for" consider the following:
King James Version: "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."
American Revised Version: "And Peter said unto them, Repent ye, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ unto the remission of your sins; and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit."
Moffatt's Revised Edition: "Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized very one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost."
English Revised Version: "And Peter said unto them, Repent ye, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ unto the remission of your sins; and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost."
Twentieth Century New Testament: "You must repent," Peter answered, "and must every one of you be baptized in Jesus Christ's name for the forgiveness of your sins; and then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit."
Thus we see that when a man believes the gospel, repents of his sins, and is baptized into the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, he is baptized UNTO the remission of his sins, or unto the washing away of his sins. He is not baptized because his sins are already forgiven or because he is already saved, but that he might be saved or washed in the blood of the Lamb. No man, therefore, can be a child of God until his sins are washed away in New Testament baptism.
"THE EIGHTH CHAPTER OF ACTS"
Now let us continue this morning's lesson with a study of Acts, chapter 8. I wish that my time were so arranged that we could study the entire book, not only chapter by chapter, but verse by verse. Unfortunately, this is not possible and the only practical course open to us is to study the chapters that deal with preaching and conversion in New Testament times. If the preachers of today would tell men and women exactly what the apostles told them to do to be saved, there would be but one church and one body, and all would be united in Christ Jesus. The steps required to make Christians then will make Christians now if the same answer is given to the question,"What must we do?"
That is why The Acts of the Apostles is important. It is here that we see the apostles who were powered to bind on earth that it might be bound in heaven, going about their great task. It is here that the gospel is preached in its fullness, and men cry out and ask for the conditions of pardon. It is in the great book of Acts that the New Testament Church is established on the first Pentecost after the resurrection of Christ from the dead. In Acts we find the problems of the early Church settled by inspired men in God's way. All of these reasons and many more make a study of Acts not only important but necessary to the man who wants to know the will of God.
I suggested at the beginning of our lesson this morning, that the second chapter of Acts carried four great lessons:
1.The beginning of the New Testament Church.
2.The work of the Holy Spirit.
3.The beginning of the reign of Christ on David's throne.
4. The answer to the question, "What must I do to be saved?"
This morning as we continue our study and now deal with the eighth chapter, we will find that three of these lessons are continued.
1.Philip is preaching the Kingdom of Heaven.
2.The Holy Spirit is at work converting men.
3. Men and women believe and are baptized and thus are saved.
Let me read the first four verses of the eighth chapter for the setting. "Now Saul was consenting to his death. At that time a great persecution arose against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles. And devout men carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation over him. As for Saul, he made havoc of the church, entering every house, and dragging off men and women, committing them to prison. Therefore those who were scattered went everywhere preaching the word." Notice that the preaching of the Word is the work of these early Christians and they were ready to sacrifice that the Word might reach fallen mankind. The work of Philip, the preacher in the three cases of conversion recorded in this eighth chapter, begins with these words: "Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them. And the people with one accord gave heed unto those things which Philip spake,hearing and seeing the miracles which he did." Now let us notice the order of New Testament preaching:
1. Philip preached Christ.
2. They gave heed to the words he spake because they saw and heard the miracles that he did.
This was the order of all New Testament day preaching. The gospel was God's power to save, Romans 1:16. The miracles that accompanied the preaching of the gospel were to make men believe that high heaven had given its indorsement of the speaker.
If many denominational preachers are correct, they were saved when they believed, but the Bible does not so teach. Let us continue our study. Acts 8:9-12 says: "But there was a certain man called Simon, who previously practiced sorcery in the city and astonished the people of Samaria, claiming that he was someone great, to whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, "This man is the great power of God." And they heeded him because he had astonished them with his sorceries for a long time. But when they believed Philip as he preached the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were baptized."
Notice now that the people believed the word that Philip spake and were baptized, both men and women. We found earlier in the study of the second chapter that the men on the Day of Pentecost were commanded to repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of their sins. We find here that both men and women believed and were baptized. Christ gave the great commission as recorded in Mark 16: 15-16, in these words: "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature, he that believes and is baptized shall be saved." It is not surprising then that the preaching of Philip caused men and women to believe and to be baptized, for this is what Christ commissioned him to preach. This is what all men and all women must do to be children of God. Christ declared it, and the apostles preached it.
We notice now that Simon does exactly the same thing in verse 13: "Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done." Now, let us ask the question, "Was Simon a saved man?" Well, put it to the test: Christ said, Belief plus baptism = Salvation, Mark 16:16. Simon believed, was baptized and therefore was saved.
Men who deny that a child of God can fall from grace, deny this, but if Christ spoke the truth, Simon met the requirements and was a helpmate of Philip in his work in Samaria. After the apostles came down from Jerusalem, Simon, who had been laboring as a child of God, was tempted, and tried to buy the power of the Holy Spirit with money. Listen now what is said concerning this matter. "And when Simon saw that through the laying on of the apostles' hands the Holy Spirit was given, he offered them money, saying, "Give me this power also, that anyone on whom I lay hands may receive the Holy Spirit." But Peter said to him, "Your money perish with you, because you thought that the gift of God could be purchased with money! You have neither part nor portion in this matter, for your heart is not right in the sight of God. Repent therefore of this your wickedness, and pray God if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you. For I see that you are poisoned by bitterness and bound by iniquity."
The second law of pardon is here found, namely, repentance and prayer. We have already found that the sinner must take the following steps to be saved: He must believe (Mark 16:16). He must repent (Acts 2: 38). He must be baptized (Mark 16: 16, Acts 2: 38). John had this to say, in 1 John 2:1, "My little children, these things write I to you that you sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous." Thus, when man sins, the law that Peter lays down here is the rule to follow: He must repent (Acts 8:22). He must pray (Acts 8:22). Christ will intercede (1 John 2:1).
The little child who disobeys his parent returns and says, "Father I am sorry; forgive me." The father gladly forgives the child. God stands ready to forgive, also. Therefore, the sinner must do one thing, and the erring or disobedient child must do another to be forgiven and be reconciled to God.
THE ETHIOPIAN EUNUCH
The last case of conversion found in the eighth chapter, is one of the most famous in all the Bible: The conversion of the. Ethiopian eunuch. We will take up the story in the thirtieth verse. "So Philip ran to him, and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah, and said, "Do you understand what you are reading?" And he said, "How can I, unless someone guides me?" And he asked Philip to come up and sit with him. The place in the Scripture which he read was this: "He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; And as a lamb before its shearer is silent, So He opened not His mouth. In His humiliation His justice was taken away, And who will declare His generation? For His life is taken from the earth." So the eunuch answered Philip and said, "I ask you, of whom does the prophet say this, of himself or of some other man?" Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning at this Scripture, preached Jesus to him."
Observe that we have this simple statement, "And preached unto him Jesus." That is all that Philip preached. Now listen to what the Bible says, "Now as they went down the road, they came to some water. And the eunuch said, "See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?" There is only one answer to this principle. When men preach Christ, they preach baptism into Christ (Galatians 3:27). No man preaches Christ as Philip and the apostles preached Him unless they preach that by baptism we are baptized into Christ and thus put on Christ. "Then Philip said, "If you believe with all your heart, you may." And he answered and said, "I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God." That is the good confession. Now let me read Romans 10: 9-10, "that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation."
Now, notice scriptural baptism exactly as it should be practiced today. This is the ONLY way that the Bible approves, Acts 8: 38-40 clearly says: "So he commanded the chariot to stand still. And both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and he baptized him. Now when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught Philip away, so that the eunuch saw him no more; and he went on his way rejoicing."
Friends, no man needs to comment on this plain example of conversion. It is easy and clear for all. Trace the steps of the eunuch, and we find that he Believed the gospel, Confessed his Savior, and was buried with his Lord in baptism. Thus we find the following steps unto salvation recorded in Acts 2 and Acts 8:
The Pentecostians - Repented - were Baptized - were Saved
The Samaritans - Believed - were Baptized - were Saved
Simon - Believed - was Baptized - was Saved
The eunuch - Believed - Confessed - was Baptized - was Saved
Can any man say more? Will you resolve now to obey the gospel? Believe with all your heart that Christ is the Son of God. Repent of your every sin. Confess his name. Go down with Him into the waters of baptism, to be born of the water and of the Spirit.
This is Richie Thetford, evangelist for the Clarksville church of Christ thanking each of you for listening to this morning's broadcast and invite you to listen again next Sunday morning at 8:30 A.M. for another presentation of "What Is Truth?"