A serious one:
But his servants came up and reasoned with him.
"My father," they said,
"if the prophet had told you to do something extraordinary,
would you not have done it?
All the more now, since he said to you,
'Wash and be clean,' should you do as he said." - 2 Kings 5
Good one. When all else fails, obey.
In days to come Jacob will take root, Israel will bud and blossom and fill all the world with fruit. - Isaiah 27:6
(Acts 2), Peter preached a sermon that powerfully convicted his listeners. When they asked, "Men and brethren, what shall we do?" (Acts 2:37) Peter replied,
"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. " (Acts 2:38,
According to Peter, repentance and baptism are required for a man to be forgiven of his sins and to receive the Holy Spirit. But when we think about it, is this any different from what Philip required of the Ethiopian eunuch?:
"Now an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip, saying, 'Arise and go toward the south along the road which goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.' This is desert. So he arose and went. And behold, a man of Ethiopia, a eunuch of great authority under Candace the queen of the Ethiopians, who had charge of all her treasury, and had come to Jerusalem to worship, was returning. And sitting in his chariot, he was reading Isaiah the prophet . . .
"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. 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?' 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' . . .
"So he commanded the chariot to stand still. And both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and he baptized him." (Acts 8:26-28, 34-38)
Was it possible for the Ethiopian eunuch to believe "with all his heart" that Jesus had taken his sins upon Him and died in his place without being moved to profound repentance? Could anyone truly believe that Jesus suffered and died in his place and still wish to continue in sin? We aren't told all that Philip explained to the Ethiopian eunuch, but it is plain that he required no less than Peter.
How could he when he and the other disciples baptized three thousand people on the day of Pentecost alone (Acts 2:41)?
How IMPORTANT is baptism?
Baptism is an important decision - a turning point in a man's life. Why did the apostles baptize people so quickly? What was the rush? Why not take a little time to be sure? Wasn't there a possibility that some of the people they baptized were not ready?
The answer is simple. Peter and Philip knew that baptism was required for salvation for Jesus had said:
"Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved . . ." (Mark 16:15-16).
For them, it was not enough that a person nod his head when he heard the Gospel. Even an oral profession of faith would not do. When a man or woman accepted Jesus Christ, he or she had to go under the waters of baptism. If a person had not been baptized, he could not be saved.
Remember Jesus' words:
"He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned." (Mark 16:16)
Mr. Leinback---Yeah, Acts 2:38 is one of my favorite verses as well, as it explains what is meant by "the washing of regeneration" and the "renewing of the Holy Ghost" in one of my other favorites, Titus 3:5
"Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and the renewing of the Holy Ghost."
When we see people getting saved in the New Testament, there's always a washing (water baptism in Jesus' name) and in at least four accounts, we see Holy Ghost baptism immediately accompanying conversion.
New International Version (NIV)
15 Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John consented.
16 As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. 17 And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”
Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.
But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.
The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.
Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.
For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish. Psalm 1
By learning to follow his voice rather than the world's siren calls.
"But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice." "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand." John 10:2-4; 27-28
Amen! Discernment is key.
Too often we are sitting back, surrendering position and waiting for the trumpet call. We need to be bold, press forward and not hold back! Let us go back to Sola Scripture, let us go back to truly praying for the nation and go back to serving Christ.