A couple of years ago, a lady from our church wrote an excellent Bible study dealing with this topic. I have obtained her permission to post it here. I believe this is the most important question we can ever ask ourselves, for the answer will affect our eternal destiny. Many churches today preach and teach a plan of salvation that does not line up to what the apostles originally preached and taught in the book of Acts. It is my prayer that each person who reads here will carefully consider what is written, and that you will as the Bible says, “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling”. (Philippians 2:12)
How to be Scripturally Born Again
(By Believing & Obeying the Gospel)
Before we can obey the Gospel we must know what it is. According to
I Corinthians 15: 1-4 the Gospel is the Death, Burialand Resurrectionof Jesus Christ. In the Bible believing the Gospel (that Jesus died, was buried, and rose again), led one to obey the Gospel by Repenting – (Death), being Baptized – (Burial) in the name of Jesus and receiving the Holy Ghost – (Resurrection).
Believing and obeying the Gospel are inseparable as exemplified in Scripture. In the book of Acts we can see how people were saved by believing and obeying the Gospel, as commanded by Jesus in the following scriptures:
v Matthew 28:19-20 “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the nameof the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.”
v Mark 16: 15-18 “Go ye unto all the world, and preachthe Gospel to every creature. He thatbelievethand isbaptizedshall be saved.”
v Luke 24: 45-49 “Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentanceand remission ofsins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem and ye are my witnesses of these things. And behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.”
(The Promise of the Father is the Holy Ghost see Acts 1: 4-5)
v John 3: 5 – 7 “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of waterand of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God…Ye must be Born Again”.
The above commandments were obeyed by the Lord’s disciples (Apostles) and recorded within the book of Acts for our observation. The book of Acts is the blue print of the original New Testament Church purchased by the blood of Jesus Christ. You can see verbatim preaching of the Gospel by the Apostles to a lost world for the very first time in the book of Acts….take a look for yourself.
The Gospelwas preached by the Apostle Peter on the day of Pentecost
(Act 2:22-24). Those whobelieved the Gospel of Jesus Christ asked a simple question, “What must we do?” Peter replied, “Repent (Death) and be Baptized (Burial) 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 (Resurrection)”(Acts 2:37-38).
v In his reply, Peter was telling believers how to obey the Gospel and be Born Again, according to the commandments given by Jesus in Matthew, Mark, Luke & John.
When someone believed and obeyed the Gospel, the Apostles did not elaborate on that conversion in the book of Acts, but simply stated, “they believed” (see Acts 4:4, 5:14, 9:42, 11:1-18…etc). To the Apostles believing in Jesus meant someone had obeyed the Gospel and been Born Again of water – baptized and of Spirit – Holy Ghost.
When any part of a believer’s experience did not contain a birth of water and/or a birth of Spirit, then the Apostles would expound on what they did to correct that situation. Such was the case in the city of Samaria when the whole city believed the Gospel and was baptizedyet they had not received the Holy Ghost. Therefore, Peter and John came all the way from Jerusalem to pray for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost. (Acts 8)
The city of Samaria’s conversion shows us that the infilling of the Holy Ghost does not necessarily take place the moment someone believes the Gospel because; the whole city believed and was baptizedyet did not receive the Holy Ghost. Therefore, we can deduct from this passage of Scripture that receiving the Holy Ghost is not always automatic when one believes, but rather a separate, distinct and necessary experience in the life of a believer.
Ask yourself this question, how did the Apostles know their new converts had not received the Holy Ghost? There had to be observable evidence that was missing for the Apostles to know that something was wrong (Acts 8:18). To see what evidence the Apostle Peter used to determine that the Gentiles had received the Holy Ghost read Acts chapters 10 & 11.
Another example of believers missing something in their conversion can be seen in Acts chapter 19. The Apostle Paul found some disciples of John the Baptist, and asked them, “Have you received the Holy Ghost since you have believed?” They said, “No”, so Paul tells them to “believe in Jesus”. They respond by being baptizedin thenameof the Lord and receiving the Holy Ghost. This is a very clear example of how believers were Born Again of water and Spirit when they believed and obeyed the Gospel. Do we need to believe and obey the Gospel today? See Romans 1:16, and II Thessalonians 1:8, for the answer.
On the day of Pentecost three thousand people believed and obeyed the Gospel and were added to the Church (Act 2). The city of Samaria believed and obeyed the Gospel, by being baptizedand receiving the Holy Ghost (Acts 8). When God made a believer out of Saul -Apostle Paul, he was baptized and received the Holy Ghost (Acts 9). Cornelius and his household believed and obeyed the Gospel, when they were filled with the Holy Ghost, then baptizedin the nameof the Lord (Acts 10). When John the Baptist’s disciples believed the Gospel and obeyed it, they were baptizedagain, but this timein thename of the Lord Jesus; and received the Holy Ghost (Acts 19).
Can you see the Born Again experience consisting of water and of Spirit in the above examples? Jesus said, “Ye must be Born Again” (John 3:5-7) and left us wonderful examples of how in His Word!
God delivered me (Theresa Halstead) from drugs and alcohol the moment I believed and repented. I felt brand new inside and was falsely taught that I had been born again. However, when I saw the Born Again experience in the Bible by obeying the Gospel, I was baptizedin JesusnameNovember 1983, and on February 6, 1984, I received the Holy Ghostjust like Cornelius did in the book of Acts! (Chapter 10, see also Acts 2:39, Acts 15:7-9, Ephesians 1:13, John 7:38-39)
You too can be Scripturally Born Again today by believing and obeying the Gospel. This New Testament Born Again experience works the same way two thousand years later if you can act in faith to God’s Word. The gates of hell did not prevail against the church that Jesus built and purchased with His Blood (Matthew 16:15-18).
The Bible is simply… sound doctrine (II Timothy 4: 2-3). The Word of the Lord endureth for ever and this is the Word which by the Gospel is preached unto you (I Peter 1:22 – 25). We (Christians) are built upon the foundation of the Apostles…(Ephesians 2:20).
Scripturally Born Again by believing and obeying the Gospel is etched in perfect detail, rooted and grounded in Scripture, available to all, forever settled in heaven and recorded for us in God’s Eternal Word – the Bible (Matthew 24:35).
We are committed to restoring faith in the Bible and welcome the opportunity to share with you the Word of God and answer any pertinent questions you may have. Please contact Cornerstone Pentecostal Church at www.cornerstonepentecostal.org.