How to Respond to the Gospel Part 2

Pastor Mike will be speaking on How to Respond to the Gospel Part 2. He will be reading out of Acts 2:37-41.

And so there is no saving merit in baptism, but that in baptism I am simply expressing that because I have been forgiven, I want to show that, and that is the work of the Holy Spirit’s work in my life.

Hello, this is Pastor Mike Sanders from the Open Door Church, and we are grateful for the opportunity to be able to broadcast to you today all the way from Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. We want you to know that in Jesus there is hope, and we want you to have that hope.

That’s what this radio program is all about, proclaiming the name of Jesus Christ. Today we’re back in Acts chapter 2, verse 37, and we’re learning about how to respond to the gospel. It’s important for everyone to respond, so I hope that as you listen to this message you’ll take good notes and that you will respond appropriately.

The reason that they are in Jerusalem is because of the day of Pentecost, and they were coming to have a celebration and to rejoice in a festive atmosphere, and they already understood that. But what Peter is saying is, I want you to leave your religion, I want you to leave your Jewish faith, and I want you to leave what you know and have known, and I want you to abandon it and follow the Lord Jesus Christ.

And that’s a pretty powerful statement because in abandoning Judaism, the people were going to find themselves ostracized. They were going to be rejected by their own family in the Jewish religion. If you leave Judaism, you are considered to be dead.

They walked away from all that. That’s why when we read this and see that 3,000 people came to Christ, it is a profound picture of how dedicated these people were to Christ and authentic in their repentance.

Simply saying that I’m sorry God, I’ve offended you in some small way and then choosing to live however you want is not how the early believers understood repentance. When the Apostle Peter said repent, they understood that they were going to have to change their allegiance.

God calls us to be a people of repentance. I want you to go back to Revelation, just take your Bible over there. It’s important for you to join me if you can, whether you use your Bible on your device, whatever works for you, find with me, just I want you to get there to Revelation chapter 2.

Again, it’s always important when you read the Bible. We’re not proof-texting, but what we are doing is saying in context, what does this say? And in verse 5, Revelation chapter 2, God, Jesus Himself, is speaking to the church.

Peter was speaking to unbelievers. He told unbelievers to repent, but Jesus told church people to repent. Verse 5 of Revelation you’ll see, remember therefore from where you have fallen, repent and do the first works or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place unless you want church.

Look at verse 16 of chapter 2. In verse 16 of chapter 2, he starts out and says, Reply or else I will come to you quickly and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth. Then look at chapter 3 and verse 3, Revelation 3 verse 3, this is all to the church.

Remember therefore how you have received and heard. Hold fast and repent. Therefore if you will not watch I will come unto you as a thief and you will not know what hour I will come upon you. Here’s my message to you if you do not know Jesus Christ, you need to repent and if you do know Jesus Christ, you need to repent.

Now think about this. We look at repentance as a one-time decision, a moment in our life where we fully surrendered God and we made that choice that we were going to go a different direction and that is a wonderful moment in all of our lives that is important.

But did you know as a believer that repentance is not just a one-time decision, it is a daily decision in my life, and I am daily repenting of my sins. because I am in this flesh and I am dealing with the temptations of the world and I am dealing with the challenges of life therefore God is calling me to live a life of repentance.

We come this morning into the house of the Lord, not because we are perfect, not because we have it all together. We come into this house this morning because we need God’s grace and we need His help and we come with a repentant heart and we confess our sins unto God from our hearts to Him as we are praying, as we are singing, as we are rejoicing, as we are learning and growing, we are a repentant people.

There’s never a day we stop repenting. There’s never a moment that we could say, hey, I don’t have to repent anymore, but every day we rise up to the Lord, we lift our adoration to Him, but the second thing we do is confess our sins to Him.

because that’s how Jesus taught us to pray. He did. He told us that we are to seek His forgiveness, that the Lord would forgive us of our sins as we forgive those who have trespassed or sinned against us.

And that’s where it all begins. One cannot be a forgiving person unless one is not regularly receiving the forgiveness of God. You don’t just need a one-time bath and say, hey, I’m good or a one-time shower.

I’m good for the rest of my life. But so it is spiritually in my life. One might say, I don’t need to go to the church. I don’t need to pray to God daily. I don’t need to read the Bible daily. I don’t need any of that stuff.

If you want to live pure, holy, cleanse before the Lord. If you want to give off the sweet aroma of Christ in His loving kindness and His grace to others, then you will live a repentant life. You will hear the words of the apostle that we understand that as we mourn over our sins, that the comfort of the gospel daily in our life continues to energize our life.

Each of us is called to keep short accounts with God, repent of our daily sins, and bring them before the Lord. The Bible says if we confess our sins, He’s faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Many, many Christians are dealing with internal emotional struggles because they have unresolved sin in their hearts. Many marriages are struggling. Many relationships are struggling because there is unresolved sin.

and their hearts that have not been brought to the Lord, Jesus Christ. Do not buy into the lie of the devil. I did that when I was 12. I did that at Bible camp. I did that at Vacation Bible School. I’m done with that, Mike.

Let’s move on. Know every day, Lord, here I am. I’m a sinner saved by grace. I’m in daily need of your cleansing in my life. And today, I repent in my heart for that. Now, I want you to know something that is unique about this calling to be repentant, is that whether we’re an unbeliever or a believer, all of us should be led to repentance by the goodness of God.

The scriptures tell us, do you despise the riches of his goodness? His forbearance and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to what church? See? When you see how good God has been to you, you should not be swelled with pride.

When you see the blessings of God in your life as you gather with family and friends, as you see the beauty of God’s majestic creation all around us, the privilege to gather and assemble and to worship God, to fellowship with God’s people, to know that when you leave this world that you’re going to be with Christ forever and ever, the many blessings that you and I could go on and on and on about, it ought to lead our hearts to be repentant.

Because surely His goodness and mercy have followed us all the days of our life. Our response is not only repentance, but number two, you’ll notice that He calls us to be baptized. In verse 38, Peter said to them, Let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins.

I want you to jump down to verse 41 of Acts chapter 2. And verse 41, the Bible says, Then those who gladly received His word were baptized. Now baptism through the years as a pastor, we have seen some who’ve come along and said that there was no need for baptism, that they have had all kinds of things that people have said.

But again, I just keep calling us back to the Bible church. Our response to the gospel is not only that we repent, but that we are baptized. The Bible says and teaches us that baptism is an ordinance, which symbolizes the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

It is an outward representation of the death of the old man and the new man being baptized. raised to life, God willing and everything coming together, we have some baptism scheduled next Sunday.

And you’re going to watch when you come, you’re going to see me say, buried in the likeness of his death and raised in the likeness of his resurrection. It is a beautiful picture of not only our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and his death, burial, and resurrection, but it is a picture of the old Mike dying and the new Mike being raised to life in Jesus Christ.

That is what baptism is about. It is a beautiful ordinance. The Scripture says in Colossians 2.12, having been buried with him in baptism in which you were also raised with him through faith in the working of God who raised him from the dead.

Now one might ask pastor, why is baptism considered an ordinance? It is because it powerfully presents the gospel of Jesus Christ. What is an ordinance in the church? It is the symbolic presentation of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

We at the Open Door Church believe that there are two ordinances, and they are the Lord’s Supper and baptism. Are there many other good things we could do? Certainly. But to understand that the ordinance is a picture of the gospel of Christ, it is a presentation of the gospel of Christ, qualifies baptism in the Lord’s Supper.

Again, on baptism the scripture says in Romans 6, 4, therefore we are buried with Him by baptism unto death, that like as Christ was raised from the dead, by the glory of the Father, even also we shall walk in newness of life.

Now there’s a lot of debate and Christianity into what we refer to as the mode of baptism. And when I say that is how do we do that? How do we baptize? Some people sprinkle, some people pour a cup of water on the person and claim that they are baptized, but we at the Open Door Church, I’m not saying we’re super spiritual, and I’m not saying that we’re pious and that we got it all together because we do not have it all together, but our position is simply this, that A, we want to be baptized like Jesus was baptized, and Jesus was immersed under water.

Number two, if my theology is that I believe baptism is a presentation of the gospel, and the gospel is defined in 1 Corinthians 15, 1 as the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ, then if I sprinkle somebody, is that the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ?

If I just pour a cup of water on somebody, is that a picture of the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ? No, but when we take them and we bring them back and fully immerse them, and we say we’re buried in the likeness of Christ and raised in the likeness of Christ, that is a beautiful picture of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and that’s why we practice immersion.

There are many other good reasons why we do it. Glad to spend time with you on that, but time will not allow me this morning, I want you to understand who we are and why we practice baptism, by immersion.

Baptism is an act of obedience to God. For Peter not only commanded that God’s people would repent, but he commanded that they would be baptized. Now, do not misunderstand. The apostle was not teaching that we are saved by baptism.

Salvation takes place in the heart. We confess to him openly through baptism. And that’s how it was in the early church. Baptism is the outward sign of an inward change in a person who has placed their trust in Jesus Christ.

Now, I know this is going to be hard for you and some of you, especially you old timers, are going to get mad at Pastor Mike. And you say, how do I know if I’m an old timer? You’re an old timer if you’re 90 and up.

Is that good for you? Did I just give a little grace there? I gave a little grace. But anyway, here’s the thing. In the New Testament, people professed their faith in Christ through baptism, not by walking down an aisle.

Oh, Pastor Mike, that’s a sacred cow. You’re touching a rail that should never be touched. People say to me, Pastor Mike, why aren’t you every Sunday making people walk down the aisle? I didn’t say they could.

You’re invited every Sunday to come to the altar. You’re invited every moment. But listen, the altar is in our hearts ultimately. And there are many people that come to Christ. Every service we ask you to bow your head and to bow your heart before God and to respond to the gospel, to respond to Jesus Christ.

However, it was not until the 19th century that evangelists and churches would ask people to come down the aisle. Now I’m not against it. If you want to do that, do that. But in the New Testament, they professed their faith.

Why? Because baptism meant you were serious. Baptism meant that you meant business with God. Now, some of you may say, I don’t need to be baptized. Well, I would say you’re wrong. And I want you to know that when you choose to be baptized, you’re in good company.

Think about the people in the Bible that have gotten baptized. Number one, Jesus Christ. He chose to be baptized. Did you know the apostle Paul chose to be baptized? Did you know that the converts, over 3,000 people at Pentecost, that they chose to be baptized?

If you are a believer in Christ, you’re in good company. and you say, I truly have repented, pastor, and you have never been baptized, then you need to respond this morning to the gospel by committing in your heart and letting us know that you want to be baptized.

Every time I take folks through our new membership class, we help them understand what baptism is because it is an important step. I believe as moms and dads, we should teach and train our children, never force them to be baptized.

I remember a mother, who wanted all her children baptized at the same time, and one of them, a little guy, was crying and weeping back there in the back, and I said, look, I don’t think this is going to work out, and I don’t want them to hate the church, and I don’t want him to be upset at the church because we forced him down, and who knows how far I’m going to have to shove him down to get any effectiveness in this.

I’m just teasing church. Each child has to make their own decision. All of our children chose to come to Christ and be baptized at different ages. There is no exact age. It’s God’s work, his work of the Holy Spirit in their heart.

But if you’re a dad, a mom, a grandma, or a grandpa, you should teach your children. I’m shocked. I go up to the Christian school. I talk to some of the kids. And I say, has anybody ever taught you about baptism?

No. Well, isn’t your dad a pastor? Or isn’t your family member? They don’t teach it anymore. They don’t teach it. Baptism was what the apostle Peter commanded that the people do in response to the gospel.

It’s an important step in our spiritual growth. Here’s the thing. The only way you’ll ever grow in your faith is through obedience to God. Did you know that? You want your children? Do you want your grandchildren to grow spiritually?

It begins with faith. They obey God in baptism. That is the initiation of their spiritual maturity and spiritual formation as they are developing in their Christian life. Never be afraid. Never force it, but never be afraid to talk about it.

Never be afraid to bring that subject up. Oh, you’ve been saved. That’s what a lot of us work on. We wanna make sure our kids and grandkids are saved. And we should. But let’s not stop. Let’s not stop.

How do you feel about baptism? What do you understand about it? These are great questions you can ask to your children and grandchildren. Now, the third thing I want you to see is that they were to receive the Holy Spirit.

Now, I want you to see here again in verse 38. He says they are to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Now Peter said to the children, to them, you shall receive the gift of the Spirit.” I want you to see two things about the work of the Spirit.

First, the work of the Holy Spirit in our conversion, or our salvation. Verse 41, those who gladly received His Word were baptized, and that day 3,000 souls were added to them. Would you notice the order in verse 41, that first they received His Word?

The apostle Peter had proclaimed it, and they received it. That means they responded positively to it, they received the message of salvation, and then what happens after they received it? They were baptized.

Now why does Pastor Mike talk about that? Because again, peopleā€¦ get salvation messed up. Look, they go back to verse 38 and they say, let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins.

And what they think the Bible teaches, you must not only receive Christ, you must not only repent, but you have to be baptized to be saved. But that’s not what the church did. What Peter was literally saying to those believers that day when they said, what shall we do?

He was saying, repent and then let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. And I don’t wanna get wonky on you or drill too deep on you for the Greek language, but they could literally be translated because of the remission of sins.

Meaning that you have been forgiven because of your repentance and faith in Christ. Now you need to symbolically be baptized and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. And you say, how do you know that?

Because in verse 41, that’s the order we’re given. That they received it and then they were baptized. We call it a believer’s baptism. Today, Isaiah, my grandson was dedicated to the Lord. We didn’t baptize him because he’s not old enough to respond to the gospel yet.

Dedication, yes. We don’t baptize babies because they cannot respond yet. When they come to that age of accountability, you say, what is that age? It’s different for each child. There is no particular age, but when they come to that age, they can respond to the gospel, and then as they understand baptism, they can be baptized.

And so we call it believers’ baptism. Now some of you may say, well, Pastor, I was baptized as a baby. And I say, listen, that is an expression of what your parents believed, but it’s not an expression of what you believe.

Do you understand that? And so there is no saving merit in baptism, but that in baptism I am simply expressing that because I have been forgiven, I want to show that, and that is the work of the Holy Spirit’s work in my life, how the Spirit of God helped me to receive His Word.

Who was it that received His Word? It was the three thousand who came to the feast, the feast of the Pentecost. It was the three thousand who had been a part of that Christ-rejecting crowd reminding us that no matter who we are and no matter how far gone we have traveled in the path of selfishness and sinfulness the Holy Spirit can still reach us.

He calls us to eternal life. And the Bible says that they received His Word. What was it that they gladly received? It was a message of conviction. We see that in verse 22. Look at verse 22. Men of Israel hear these words.

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. Undeniable. It’s a message of conviction. We see that again in verse 36 of chapter 2.

Therefore, let all the houses of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ. We come down to verse 37. The Bible says they were cut to the heart. They were cut to the heart.

It was a message of conviction that they received. It was a message of the cross that they received. For Peter had preached unto them Jesus. Verse 36 says he was crucified, both Lord and Christ. We see again in verse 22 that he taught them that he was the Messiah.

And he was, verse 23, delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God and have taken by lawless hands, have crucified and put to death. This message that they received was a message of the resurrection.

Verse 24, God raised up having loosed the pains of death because it was not possible that he should be held by it. In verse 31, he foreseeing this spoke concerning the resurrection of Christ. Then we look at verse 32, this Jesus, God has raised up of which we are all witnesses.

They received that message, the death burial resurrection. resurrection of Christ. And I want to remind you that all real conversions are the work of the Holy Spirit. We have to be careful that we are not manipulating people to receive Christ.

When we go out there and share the gospel, when we get in spiritual conversations, it needs to be leading people to understand the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. We’re not trying to improve anybody’s life, although coming to Christ certainly will be an improvement, amen.

We’re not trying to make people behave better. What we are doing is bringing them to Christ. What is the answer to this world? It is Christ. It is Jesus Christ is the true answer to what this world needs.

I want you to see what Titus 3:5 says, not by works of righteousness which we have done. But according to his mercy, he has saved us through the washing, regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Spirit.

Now the last thing I want you to see is the work of the Holy Spirit in baptism in verse 41. Those who gladly received his word were baptized. This baptism was a public witness. It was identifying with Christ.

And the reason this is so profound is just what I said to you earlier. Think about the hostile atmosphere that these men and women were in when they chose to repent and believe. They were publicly in their baptism, breaking from Judaism.

They were severing ties. They were making a dramatic change. It was the Holy Spirit that gave them the courage to publicly profess the gospel of Christ and their loyalty and love to Jesus before each and everyone who was there on that day.

Now Christ on the day of Pentecost, did a powerful work through the Holy Spirit. But the greatest work that he did is not only in that they were saved and baptized, but they received the gift of the Spirit.

And it would be the Spirit of God who would dwell in the hearts of his people from that moment on. And that’s what I want you to understand is that our response to the gospel is that we repent, we are baptized, and then we receive the gift of the Spirit in each of us as we live for the Lord moment by moment.

The most important thing in life is where are you going to spend eternity. Are you going to? be in heaven with Jesus? Are you going to be in hell separated from Jesus? How you respond to the gospel determines that.

So I pray today that God would open your heart and quicken you to believe in Him and to trust Him as your Lord and Savior, to turn from your sin, to receive Christ as your Savior. May this be true in your life?

If you have responded to the gospel and given your life to Jesus Christ, received Him as your Savior and Lord, we encourage you to go to our website, HopeworthHaving .com, and click on that contact button.

Let us know how God is working in your life. We want to send you some material to help you in your new walk of faith and to help you live for Christ faithfully. I also want to mention that we have a newsletter that we put out every few months and we want you to be available to receive that.

So go to our website again and you can sign up for the newsletter. There are old newsletters already on there and you can read the different articles and see the different things that will be a blessing to you.

This is Pastor Mike Sanders reminding you that in Christ. There is hope worth having.

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