Three Important Questions
With thanks to Brother Frank Pack
By Paul Robison

“So it was that for a whole year they assembled with the church and taught a great many people.  And the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch” (Acts 11:26).  According to the World Bible School website, their courses are being studied in over 200 countries.  Each year, they are having one million to enroll, and this leads to about 18,000 conversions.  Just like the people in Antioch in the first century, so people all over the world are becoming Christians in the twenty-first century! 
God wants all people to be saved.  1 Timothy 2:3-4 declares: “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”  When people hear the Gospel, they can be delivered from Satan's kingdom of darkness and conveyed into Jesus' kingdom of light (Colossians 1:13-14)!  Some in our audience are members of various civic clubs and interest groups.  In most of these clubs and groups, there are requirements for membership. 
Similarly, when one wants to become a Christian, there are requirements which must be met, and these will be discussed a little later.
 
It's interesting that the word “Christian” is not found very often in the New Testament, but there are many others terms used to clarify what being a Christian means.  Look now at Mark 3:6: “Then the Pharisees went out and immediately plotted with the Herodians against Him, how they might destroy Him.”  Notice the term “Herodian”.  What does this term mean?  Well, these Jews were supporters of King Herod.  Was that a popular position among the Jews?  No, not really.  You see, King Herod the Great was not a full-blooded Jew, he was an ally of the Romans, and he wasn't the most outstanding model of godliness (he's the one who had the innocent babies killed).  So to be a supporter of King Herod among the Jews was to be in the minority.  Christians in the first century were also in the minority since most religious people worshiped pagan gods and goddesses.  Now let's look at Acts 26 where Paul has told about his conversion and mission to a Roman official and to a Jewish king.  The king, who was familiar with Christianity, tells Paul in verse 28: “You almost persuade me to be a Christian.”  The king says that Paul is trying to persuade him to become a Christian.  A person becomes a Christian by being persuaded to become one.  God does not force anybody into Christ's kingdom.  Jesus stands at the door of one's heart and knocks; He never barges in against one's will.  Persuasion means that one must have the mental capacity to consider assertions about the Gospel and to make a decision about Jesus' authority.  Now look at 1 Peter 4:14-16: “If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.  On their part, He is blasphemed, but on your part, He is glorified.  But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a busybody in other people's matters.  Yet if anyone suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in the matter.”  This passage shows that Christians will be sufferers in a wicked world, but they should not feel ashamed when this happens. 
The passage in Acts 11:26 said that the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch.  So, here we see that Christians are Jesus' disciples. 
Disciples are life-long learners and followers of a teacher.  The three passages where the term “Christian” is used show us that they are people who have been persuaded to learn and to follow Jesus.  In fact, they are so devoted to His teachings and His ways that they often experience persecution from those who are wicked.  Now let's look at some other passages that describe Christians.  Romans 1:7 states: “To all who are in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints.”  Saints refer to the ordinary Christians in the church at Rome; it does not refer to miracle workers who were approved as saints by some church council.  Saints are simply Christians who display a holy lifestyle by imitating Christ and being pure, righteous, and obedient.  1 Corinthians 12:12-13 affirms: “For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ.  For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body―whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free―and have all been made to drink into one Spirit.”  This passage shows that Christians are like different members that make up a body.  1 John 3:1 declares: “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!  Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.”  Here we clearly see that Christians are called children of God, and they don't act like pagans.  So, Christians are also described as holy ones, members of a body, and God's children.  Someone has observed: “To be a Christian is to endeavor to be like our leader, our Lord.  Because this is such a central term, it identifies the meaning for all these other terms so far as the world is concerned” (Pack).
 
“Christ is the Savior of the world.  [Remember how the angel told Joseph that the name of the child would be Jesus, “for He will save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21).  People] who are not His followers are in sin, and cannot save themselves.  Romans 8:5ff gives this interesting contrast: “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.  For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.  Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be.  So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.”  [Those who are not Christians can only live on the carnal level, and that level only leads to decay and conflict.  The carnal mind acts against God, disobeys His will, and cannot please Him.  Sinners live conflicted lives and remain under God's wrath.]  Unbelievers have fallen short of God's glory, of what God intends for them to be.  They do not really know God, whatever else they may know.  They cannot fully and completely live because the source of true life is in Him who says, ['I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly' (John 10:10).] … People need to have [abundant] life now and the hope of eternal life hereafter. 
They need also to have their sins forgiven.  They need to live in the new dimension that the Lord alone can give them” (Pack).  Notice how the New Testament gives further descriptions of those who are not Christians. 
In the parable of prodigal son in Luke 15, the father tells the elder brother in verse 32: “It was right that we should make merry and be glad, for your brother was dead and is alive again, and was lost and is found.”  Sinners are described as those who are dead to the abundant life which Jesus offers, and they are called lost, like sheep who have strayed from the safety of the fold.  Paul describes sinners as dead, subjects of Satan, and children of wrath in Ephesians 2:1-4: “And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked [or lived] according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.”  In 2 Corinthians 4:3-4, Paul describes sinners as perishing, blinded, and unbelieving: “But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.”  In Romans 2:8-9, Paul describes sinners as selfish, disobedient, evil doers: “... but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness―indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, on every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek.”  This passage also clearly shows that those who sow to selfishness, disobedience, and unrighteousness will reap God's indignation, wrath, tribulation, and anguish.  In 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9, Paul calls sinners those who do not know God and do not obey Jesus' Gospel: “... when the Lord is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.”  Now notice carefully what the sinner will reap: “These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power.”  Sinners will reap hell.  “Then He will also say to those on the left hand: 'Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels'” (Jesus' sad words in Matthew 25:41).  Let's review.  If you are not a Christian, you are unsaved and need Jesus to rescue you.  You are not experiencing the abundant life that God wants you live but are living at a lower level, the carnal level, that is not pleasing to God.  You are a sinner who is described as dead, lost, a subject of Satan, disobedient, a child of wrath, perishing, blinded, unbelieving, selfish, disobedient, an evil doer, not knowing God, cursed, doomed, and banished from heaven!  Friends in our audience who are not Christians, this message is not given put you down. 
No, we who are Christians once lived exactly as you.  Another Christian was kind enough to share God's Word with us, just as it was shared with you right now.  The inspired Scriptures showed us that we were sinners too and that Jesus is the only Person who could give us a way to escape our selfishness, our low level, our blindness, and our doom.  “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).  “For the grace of God that bring salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed, and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works” (Titus 2:11-14).  
Jesus has changed our lives for the better.  We want you also to enjoy the abundant life here and the hope of eternal life in the hereafter.  You do not need to remain a sinner; you can become a saint this very hour!
“Upon the basis of what we have just said, it should not seem strange to us that the Bible requires a person to hear God's word …. Faith rests upon the Word of the living God and that message must be heard.  Its content must be given first place in our attention and thought” (Pack).  The apostle Paul tells us in Romans 10:17: “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”   Hebrews 11:6 requires that a person have a deep conviction about God's existence and reality: or “But without faith it is impossible to please Him [or God], for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”   Just as Jesus believed in God's existence and referred to Him as our heavenly Father about 65 times, Christians too believe that God is alive, is in control, will continue to work, and will reward the faithful one day with a new existence in a new dimension. 
Another requirement for salvation is to believe that God sent His Son into this world in order to rescue mankind from Satan and his low level of living.  John 3:36 states very clearly: “He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”   Someone made this observation: “Science says that if there is any such thing as infallible proof, it is the repetition of the same experiment. 
Experiment 1: Jesus rose from the dead, and Mary Magdalene encountered Him. 
Experiment 2: Other women encountered the risen Jesus. 
Experiment 3: A few disciples encountered Jesus on a road. 
Experiment 4: All the apostles encounter Jesus behind closed doors. 
Experiment 5: Christ was seen by 500 people. 
Each appearance of the risen Jesus is the repetition of the same experiment.  All these people encountered the same happening: Jesus, who had died, was now alive.  Jesus alive is what changed the history of the world”” (Martin/Rische in Larson/Elshof)!  After seeing Jesus' love at the cross and His forgiveness of those who abandoned Him, we wanted to change our lives and live for Him.  The changing of our lives from following Satan to following Jesus is called repentance.  We wanted get out of the sinning business and start living in the serving business. 
Jesus Himself stated in Luke 13:3: “I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.”  Peter told the Jews during the first Gospel sermon in Acts 2:38: “Repent, and let everyone of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of your sins; and you will received the gift of the Holy Spirit.”   Make a distinct break with sin or stop living wickedly, and be immersed in Jesus' name to have all your past sins forgiven and to enjoy God's gift of His indwelling Holy Spirit, who can now help you to live righteously!  Another requirement towards salvation is that we confess our belief in Jesus before others.  Matthew 10:32 declares: “Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him will I also confess before My Father who is in heaven.”  That confession that Jesus is God's Son and we want to live by His teachings is made by everyone who desires to be a Christian.  Paul reminded the preacher named Timothy about this event in 1 Timothy 6:12: “Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.” 
And the next requirement towards salvation is immersion into Jesus. 
Galatians 3:26-27 states: “For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.”  How do we put on Christ?  By being baptized into His name.  The passage seen earlier in 1 Corinthians 12:13 affirms: “For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body―whether Jew or Greek, whether slaves or free―and have all been made to drink into one Spirit.”  Colossians 1:18 calls the one body the church.  The church is composed of those who are saved: “And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved”  (Acts 2:47).  Does baptism play a part in our salvation?  Some people would respond: “No!”  That's an opinion, but what does the inspired apostle Peter say in 1 Peter 3:21? “There is also an antitype which now saves us―baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God.”
This passage shows us that baptism is an important requirement for our salvation.  In fact, baptism is compared to a burial in Romans 6:3-4. 
We enter the water sinners, and after our burial with Jesus in a watery grave, we then rise from those waters, just as the risen Jesus did from the tomb, to live as a saint—to be holy and live soberly, righteously, godly, diligently, faithfully, and expectantly as we look for Jesus' return!
 
This sermon has provided answers from the New Testament to three important questions.  First of all, what are Christians?  We've learned that Christians are people who have been persuaded to follow Jesus.  In fact, they are so devoted to His teachings and His ways that they often experience persecution.  They are also called saints, members of Christ's body known as the church, and children of God.  The next important question is: “Why should I become a Christian?”  If you are not a Christian, you are a sinner who is lost and perishing, under God's wrath, and doomed to eternal separation from God.  That's bad news, but the situation can be changed by meeting the New Testament's requirements to become a Christian.  The third important question brings good news: “How do I become a Christian?”  The requirements are these:
- hear God's Word,
- have faith in God's existence, in Jesus' life, and in God's indwelling
  Spirit,
- believe that Jesus can rescue you from sin and Satan's camp,
- determine to get out of the sinning business,
- confess before others that Jesus is God's Son and you want to live by His
  teachings,
- and be immersed in His name to have your past sins forgiven, to have
  the Holy Spirit, and to be added to Jesus' church. 
As a Christian, you will no longer live under God's wrath but you can look with great expectation to Jesus' second coming, where joy eternal in a new dimension will be your reward.  God wants YOU to be saved, to have abundant life here, and eternal life in the hereafter.  Join the thousands worldwide who become Christians annually.  If you are persuaded to become a Christian, make the good confession before this audience now!
 
 
 


Three Important Questions
With thanks to Brother Frank Pack
 
“So it was that for a whole year they assembled with the church and taught a great many people.  And the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch” (Acts 11:26).   According to the World Bible School website, their courses are being studied in over 200 countries.  Each year, they are having one million to enroll, and this leads to about 18,000 conversions.  Just like the people in Antioch in the first century, so people all over the world are becoming Christians in the twenty-first century!  God wants all people to be saved.  1 Timothy 2:3-4 declares: “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”   When people hear the Gospel, they can be delivered from Satan's kingdom of darkness and conveyed into Jesus' kingdom of light (Colossians 1:13-14)!  Some in our audience are members of various civic clubs and interest groups.  In most of these clubs and groups, there are requirements for membership.  Similarly, when one wants to become a Christian, there are requirements which must be met, and these will be discussed a little later.
 
It's interesting that the word “Christian” is not found very often in the New Testament, but there are many others terms used to clarify what being a Christian means.  Look now at Mark 3:6: “Then the Pharisees went out and immediately plotted with the Herodians against Him, how they might destroy Him.”  Notice the term “Herodian”.  What does this term mean?  Well, these Jews were supporters of King Herod.  Was that a popular position among the Jews?  No, not really.  You see, King Herod the Great was not a full-blooded Jew, he was an ally of the Romans, and he wasn't the most outstanding model of godliness (he's the one who had the innocent babies killed).  So to be a supporter of King Herod among the Jews was to be in the minority.  Christians in the first century were also in the minority since most religious people worshiped pagan gods and goddesses.  Now let's look at Acts 26 where Paul has told about his conversion and mission to a Roman official named and to a Jewish king.  The king, who was familiar with Christianity, tells Paul in verse 28: “You almost persuade me to be a Christian.”   The king says that Paul is trying to persuade him to become a Christian.  A person becomes a Christian by being persuaded to become one.  God does not force anybody into Christ's kingdom.  Jesus stands at the door of one's heart and knocks; He never barges in against one's will.  Persuasion means that one must have the mental capacity to consider assertions about the Gospel and to make a decision about Jesus' authority.  Now look at 1 Peter 4:14-16: “If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.  On their part, He is blasphemed, but on your part, He is glorified.  But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a busybody in other people's matters.  Yet if anyone suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in the matter.”   This passage shows that Christians will be sufferers in a wicked world, but they should not feel ashamed when this happens.  The passage in Acts 11:26 said that the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch.  So, here we see that Christians are Jesus' disciples.  Disciples are life-long learners and followers of a teacher.  The three passages where the term “Christian” is used show us that they are people who have been persuaded to learn and to follow Jesus.  In fact, they are so devoted to His teachings and His ways that they often experience persecution from those who are wicked.  Now let's look at some other passages that describe Christians.  Romans 1:7 states: “To all who are in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints.”  Saints refer to the ordinary Christians in the church at Rome; it does not refer to miracle workers who were approved as saints by some church council.  Saints are simply Christians who display a holy lifestyle by imitating Christ and being pure, righteous, and obedient.  1 Corinthians 12:12-13 affirms: “For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ.  For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body―whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free―and have all been made to drink into one Spirit.”  This passage shows that Christians are like different members that make up a body.  1 John 3:1 declares: “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!  Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.”   Here we clearly see that Christians are called children of God, and they don't act like pagans.  So, Christians are also described as holy ones, members of a body, and God's children.  Someone has observed: “To be a Christian is to endeavor to be like our leader, our Lord.  Because this is such a central term, it identifies the meaning for all these other terms so far as the world is concerned” (Pack).
 
“Christ is the Savior of the world.  [Remember how the angel told Joseph that the name of the child would be Jesus, “for He will save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21).  People] who are not His followers are in sin, and cannot save themselves.  Romans 8:5ff gives this interesting contrast: “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.  For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.  Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be.  So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.”  [Those who are not Christians can only live on the carnal level, and that level only leads to decay and conflict.  The carnal mind acts against God, disobeys His will, and cannot please Him.  Sinners live conflicted lives and remain under God's wrath.]  Unbelievers have fallen short of God's glory, of what God intends for them to be.  They do not really know God, whatever else they may know.  They cannot fully and completely live because the source of true life is in Him who says, ['I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly' (John 10:10).] … People need to have [abundant] life now and the hope of eternal life hereafter.  They need also to have their sins forgiven.  They need to live in the new dimension that the Lord alone can give them” (Pack).  Notice how the New Testament gives further descriptions of those who are not Christians.  In the parable of prodigal son in Luke 15, the father tells the elder brother in verse 32: “It was right that we should make merry and be glad, for your brother was dead and is alive again, and was lost and is found.”  Sinners are described as those who are dead to the abundant life which Jesus offers, and they are called lost, like sheep who have strayed from the safety of the fold.  Paul describes sinners as dead, subjects of Satan, and children of wrath in Ephesians 2:1-4: “And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked [or lived] according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.”  In 2 Corinthians 4:3-4, Paul describes sinners as perishing, blinded, and unbelieving: “But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.”  In Romans 2:8-9, Paul describes sinners as selfish, disobedient, evil doers: “... but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness―indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, on every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek.”  This passage also clearly shows that those who sow to selfishness, disobedience, and unrighteousness will reap God's indignation, wrath, tribulation, and anguish.  In 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9, Paul calls sinners those who do not know God and do not obey Jesus' Gospel: “... when the Lord is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.”  Now notice carefully what the sinner will reap: “These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power.”  Sinners will reap hell.  “Then He will also say to those on the left hand: 'Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels'” (Jesus' sad words in Matthew 25:41).  Let's review.  If you are not a Christian, you are unsaved and need Jesus to rescue you.  You are not experiencing the abundant life that God wants you live but are living at a lower level, the carnal level, that is not pleasing to God.  You are a sinner who is described as dead, lost, a subject of Satan, disobedient, a child of wrath, perishing, blinded, unbelieving, selfish, disobedient, an evil doer, not knowing God, cursed, doomed, and banished from heaven!  Friends in our audience who are not Christians, this message is not given put you down.  No, we who are Christians once lived exactly as you.  Another Christian was kind enough to share God's Word with us just as it was shared with you right now.  The inspired Scriptures showed us that we were sinners too and that Jesus is the only Person who could give us a way to escape our selfishness, our low level, our blindness, and our doom.  “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).  “For the grace of God that bring salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed, and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works” (Titus 2:11-14).  Jesus has changed our lives for the better.  We want you also to enjoy the abundant life here and the hope of eternal life in the hereafter.  You do not need to remain a sinner; you can become a saint this very hour!
 
“Upon the basis of what we have just said, it should not seem strange to us that the Bible requires a person to hear God's word … .  Faith rests upon the Word of the living God and that message must be heard.  Its content must be given first place in our attention and thought” (Pack).  The apostle Paul tells us in Romans 10:17: “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”   Hebrews 11:6 requires that a person have a deep conviction about God's existence and reality: “But without faith it is impossible to please Him [or God], for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”   Just as Jesus believed in God's existence and referred to Him as our heavenly Father about 65 times, Christians too believe that God is alive, is in control, will continue to work, and will reward the faithful one day with a new existence in a new dimension.  Another requirement for salvation is to believe that God sent His Son into this world in order to rescue mankind from Satan and his low level of living.  John 3:36 states very clearly: “He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”   Someone made this observation: “Science says that if there is any such thing as infallible proof, it is the repetition of the same experiment.  Experiment 1: Jesus rose from the dead, and Mary Magdalene encountered Him.  Experiment 2: Other women encountered the risen Jesus.  Experiment 3: A few disciples encountered Jesus on a road.  Experiment 4: All the apostles encounter Jesus behind closed doors.  Experiment 5: Christ was seen by 500 people.  Each appearance of the risen Jesus is the repetition of the same experiment.  All these people encountered the same happening: Jesus, who had died, was now alive.  Jesus alive is what changed the history of the world”” (Martin/Rische in Larson/Elshof)!  After seeing Jesus' love at the cross and His forgiveness of those who abandoned Him, we wanted to change our lives and live for Him.  The changing of our lives from following Satan to following Jesus is called repentance.  We wanted get out of the sinning business and start living in the serving business.  Jesus Himself stated in Luke 13:3: “I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.”  Peter told the Jews during the first Gospel sermon: “Repent, and let everyone of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of your sins; and you will received the gift of the Holy Spirit.”   Make a distinct break with sin or stop living wickedly, and be immersed in Jesus' name to have all your past sins forgiven and to enjoy God's gift of His indwelling Holy Spirit, who can now help you to live righteously!  Another requirement towards salvation is that we confess our belief in Jesus before others.  Romans 10:10 declares: “For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”  That confession that Jesus is God's Son and we want to live by His teachings is made by everyone who desires to be a Christian.  Paul reminded the preacher named Timothy about this event in 1 Timothy 6:12: “Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.”  And the next requirement towards salvation is immersion into Jesus.  Galatians 3:26-27 states: “For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.”  How do we put on Christ?  By being baptized into His name.  The passage seen earlier in 1 Corinthians 12:13 affirms: “For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body―whether Jew or Greek, whether slaves or free―and have all been made to drink into one Spirit.”  Colossians 1:18 calls the one body the church.  The church is composed of those who are saved: “And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved”  (Acts 2:47).  Does baptism play a part in our salvation?  Some people would respond: “No!”  That's an opinion, but what does the inspired apostle Peter say in 1 Peter 3:21: “There is also an antitype which now saves us―baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God.”  This passage shows us that baptism is an important requirement for our salvation.  In fact, baptism is compared to a burial in Romans 6:3-4.  We enter the water sinners, and after our burial with Jesus in a watery grave, we then rise from those waters, just as the risen Jesus did from the tomb, to live as a saint—to be holy and live soberly, righteously, godly, diligently, faithfully, and expectantly as we look for Jesus' return.
 
This sermon has provided answers from the New Testament to three important questions.  First of all, what are Christians?  We've learned that Christians are people who have been persuaded to follow Jesus.  In fact, they are so devoted to His teachings and His ways that they often experience persecution.  They are also called saints, members of Christ's body known as the church, and children of God.  The next important question is: “Why should I become a Christian?”  If you are not a Christian, you are a sinner who is lost and perishing, under God's wrath, and doomed to eternal separation from God.  That's bad news, but the situation can be changed by meeting the New Testament's requirements to become a Christian.  The third important question brings good news: “How do I become a Christian?”  The requirements are these: hear God's Word, have faith in God's existence, in Jesus' life, and in God's indwelling Spirit, believe that Jesus can rescue you from sin and Satan's camp, determine to get out of the sinning business, confess before others that Jesus is God's Son and you want to live by His teachings, and be immersed in His name to have your past sins forgiven, to have the Holy Spirit, and to be added to Jesus' church.  As a Christian, you will no longer live under God's wrath but you can look with great expectation to Jesus' second coming, where joy eternal in a new dimension will be your reward.  God wants YOU to be saved, to have abundant life here, and eternal life in the hereafter.  Join the thousands worldwide who become Christians annually.  If you are persuaded to become a Christian, make the good confession before this audience now as we sing.