In Acts 6 beginning with verse 8 we read about a man named Stephen who was a well known, highly Spiritual Christian. The Old Testament has come to an end and Christianity is replacing Judism and its reliance on the Mosaical Law and the leaders of the Jews are not taking it well at all. They spare no effort to stamp out the teachings of Christ even to the point of coming up with false witnesses against Stephen. Stephen delivers a stunningly accurate sermon concerning the stiff necked rebellion against God of they and their ancestors. As a result of Stephen's sermon he is taken by the mob and stoned to death.
57 Then they cried out with a loud voice, stopped their ears, and ran at him with one accord; 58 and they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul. (Acts 7:57-58)
Apparently Saul, an extremely knowledgeable, dedicated and high ranking Jew saw his calling in persecuting the church putting everyone he could find who followed Jesus into prison and worse. When he had done as much as he could in Jerusalem he went to the Jewish High Priest and asked for permission to go to other cities and do the same thing there.
Acts 9:1-6 records what happened to Saul on the way to Damascus...
1 Then Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest 2 and asked letters from him to the synagogues of Damascus, so that if he found any who were of the Way, whether men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.
3 As he journeyed he came near Damascus, and suddenly a light shone around him from heaven. 4 Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?”
5 And he said, “Who are You, Lord?”
Then the Lord said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you to kick against the goads.”
6 So he, trembling and astonished, said, “Lord, what do You want me to do?”
Then the Lord said to him, “Arise and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”
Notice Jesus told him to go into the city and there it will be told to him what he MUST do. Jesus had him right there, he could have told him what to do. Once God assigns a task to someone else He does not step in and do the task in someone else's place. Jesus, while being God on earth, John 1, had already assigned the salvation path to his apostles in Mark 16:15-16.
Imagine Saul's shock when he found out Jesus, the very Jesus he is against with every fiber of his body, the same Jesus he knew was dead beyond any shadow of doubt was alive! Jesus' crucifixion and death was common knowledge through all of Jerusalem and now Saul was at the living Jesus' mercy.
The "faith only" advocates would tell you Saul was saved on the road to Damascus. He believed right then with all his heart that Jesus was raised from the dead and even called him "Lord."
7 And the men who journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice but seeing no one. 8 Then Saul arose from the ground, and when his eyes were opened he saw no one. But they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. 9 And he was three days without sight, and neither ate nor drank.
If Saul was saved he was a very distraught saved person. Three days without sleep, food or drink. He was praying. his life was in shambles.
10 Now there was a certain disciple at Damascus named Ananias; and to him the Lord said in a vision, “Ananias.”
And he said, “Here I am, Lord.”
11 So the Lord said to him, “Arise and go to the street called Straight, and inquire at the house of Judas for one called Saul of Tarsus, for behold, he is praying.
And there Saul was told by Ananias what he MUST do...
16 And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.’ (Acts 22:16)
In Romans 10:13, Paul sums up the same process he covered in the first 8 chapters. In Acts 22:16, Paul himself says how he “called on the name of the Lord” and what it involved - baptism for the remission of sins in accordance with Mark 16:15-16, Acts 2:38, Romans 6:3-7 and others.
Saul goes on to become one of Christ's greatest workers at great cost to himself. He comes known as the beloved Paul who lives and breathes Jesus' teaching to the Gentiles first, the Jews themselves second.
22 Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they the seed of Abraham? So am I. 23 Are they ministers of Christ?—I speak as a fool—I am more: in labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequently, in deaths often. 24 From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; 26 in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; 27 in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness— 28 besides the other things, what comes upon me daily: my deep concern for all the churches. (II Corinthians 11:22-28)
Saul who as a young dedicated Jew took part in the murder of Stephen and other Christians finished his life as an old man renamed Paul who gave his life in service to his greatest former enemy. Paul joined Stephen in martyrdom at Rome.
Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing. (II Timothy 4:8)
Relying on some form of the Sinner’s Prayer for your salvation is not in keeping with the Bible’s “calling on the name of Lord.” Relying on the "Sinner's Prayer" is falling short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23
God's Plan of Salvation
1. The great love of God for man (John 3:16) 2. He gave His Son, Jesus Christ, as the Saviour (Luke 19:10) 3. Sent the Holy Spirit as a guide (John 16:13) 4. Gave the Gospel as "the power" unto salvation (Romans 1:16) 5. Provided atonement by the blood of Christ (Romans 5:9)
1. Hear the Gospel. (Romans 10:17, John 8:32) 2. Believe the Gospel (Hebrews 11:6, John 20:31) 3. Repent of past sins (Luke 13:3, Acts 17:30) 4. Confess faith in Jesus Christ (Romans 10:10, Matthew 10:32) 5. Be Baptized (Galatians 3:27, Mark 16:16, Acts 2:38) 6. Be faithful unto death (Revelation 2:10)
Marv Walker 706 816-7190
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