A Purity of Devotion to Christ
I think it is time to introduce another study that is especially designed for DepartingUPC. What I want you to see in this study is the simplicity of salvation and how that Satan tries to blind people to this very fact.
This is Bible Study DU014 - A Purity of Devotion to Christ.
The apostles all preached the same message of salvation. It can be summed up in this statement: "And it shall be that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." To call upon the name of the Lord means to recognize the work of the cross and to appeal to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. It is as simple as that.
There is nothing to add to that. There is nothing to take away from that. Water baptism is given so that we can publicly testify that Jesus Christ has indeed saved us and that He is our very Lord and Savior. (Water baptism is a rite of covenant just as communion is a rite of covenant.)
Let's follow this through with a couple of examples from Acts. First the story of Philip and the eunuch. The Lord was already preparing the eunuch's heart for his entrance into the kingdom of God. When Philip finds the eunuch he is reading from Isaiah 53. He asks Philip for help. Philip joins himself to the chariot. He begins at the very place where the eunuch is reading, and he preaches Jesus to him.
Here is the clincher. The eunuch said, "Look! Water! What prevents me from being baptized?" Philip said, "If you believe with all your heart, you may." The eunuch responded, "I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God."
After the eunuch was baptized, he went on his way rejoicing. But did you catch it? The eunuch's salvation was based on one issue alone. He believed in Jesus Christ. He believed with his heart that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. Paul said that our salvation is based entirely upon the issue of believing and confessing. Water baptism then became the open testimony of his faith in Jesus.
Listen carefully to what Paul said: "But what does it say? 'The word is near you, in your heart and in your mouth', -- that is, that is the word of faith which we are preaching, that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, YOU WILL BE SAVED." (Caps for emphasis only. Cf. Rom 10:4-13 NASB)
Paul said 'this is what we [the apostles] preach.' Paul also said to the Galatian churches that if a man preaches any other message, he is to be cursed. (Devoted to destruction. Cf. Gal 1:6-9)
Stop and think about it --- What does the UPC preach as salvation? Not only do they not preach what the apostles preached, but they actually discourage their members from reading the epistles. I'll let you bring this to its proper conclusion. It is possible that the UPC preachers who are (intentionally) preaching a false gospel, could be placing themselves under a curse? How often have you heard UPC ministers rant from the pulpit about preaching another gospel? Who is the guilty party?
Now let's go to a second example. Paul and Silas are thrown into prison. When it appears that all the prisoners will go free because of an earthquake, Paul actually stops the jailer from killing himself; "Do not harm yourself, for we are all here."
When the jailer falls down before Paul and Silas, he cries out, "Sirs, WHAT MUST I DO TO BE SAVED?" (Caps for emphasis only.) Again we hear the same response, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household." It was only after Paul instructed them more fully in the way of the Lord that they were baptized.
At what point were they saved? The fixed point of salvation never changes. And it is this fixed point of 'believing in Jesus Christ' that the enemy keeps striking at. The more Satan adds rules and conditions the more the simplicity of the gospel erodes away.
Now I must take this a step further. When a person is first saved, they begin their walk with a great sense of joy and of freedom. It is so wonderful to be saved. But after awhile something begins to happen to our joy and freedom, and we often are unable to recognize what is happening. I use to say to my wife when I was a young minister, "Honey, I feel like I'm caught in a net and I don't know what it is."
What was the net? It was the net of false doctrine. Paul explains it in his second letter to the Corinthians. Again listen carefully -- "But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ." (Cf. 2Co 11)
The apostle does not stop there. He warns about the preaching of another Jesus. Listen again: "For if one comes and preaches another Jesus WHOM WE HAVE NOT PREACHED, or you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or ANOTHER GOSPEL which you have not accepted, you bear this beautifully." (It would help to read the entire chapter.)
What I really want you to see is the statement, 'the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.' The entire Christian walk wraps itself around this statement. All of our consecrations must wrap themselves around this one statement. All of our fears and confusions in life will disappear if we will wrap ourselves up in this statement.
Perhaps this will help you understand why there are so many hurting people in the ranks of Pentecostalism.
Perhaps this will help you understand why it is so important to study the Scriptures for yourself. David said, "The unfolding of Your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple." (Ps 119:130)
"Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission."
This study was originally shared on December 29, 2006. It was written by Pastor Buddy Martin, a former United Pentecostal Church minister, who founded Christian Challenge International. Writings are the copyright of Buddy Martin and reprinted on this site by permission.
Page added December 29, 2006
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