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AND BE SAVED
BELIEVE AND BE SAVED
to Me and be saved, all the ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no
other" Isaiah 45:22 (Parallel
The lights flickered while I was typing the text above, so to avoid losing it by a power failure (something that happens all too often where I live) I immediately clicked the "save" button. That put the information into the non-volitile memory of the hard drive where it is relatively safe from such interruptions. All sorts of unpleasant things can happen to hard drives rendering them inoperative, so that is why I say "relatively safe." But even if the drive crashes or information is inadvertently or intentionally erased, computer experts can usually recover it. The reason is that data bits are written on the drive disk magnetically and only by writing over them many times can they actually be eradicated.
Would it not be wonderful if we had a "save" button where our souls are concerned? One of the TV commercials is presently touting an "easy" button whereby business problems can be solved instantly, but we all know that such solutions do not exist in the real world--even though many preachers today are trying to convince people that a combination of the two buttons is available! "Just accept Jesus and He will save you" is the overly simplistic message they use in seducing people to follow and enrich them:
"For the time is coming when [people] will not tolerate (endure) sound and wholesome instruction, but, having ears itching [for something pleasing and gratifying], they will gather to themselves one teacher after another to a considerable number, chosen to satisfy their own liking and to foster the errors they hold" 2 Tim. 4:3 (Parallel Bible, KJV/Amplified).
And that time the Apostle Paul spoke of is upon us. The Gospel message--the message of salvation--is definitely a simple one. But the simplicity is intended to show that genuine responses are supernatural and not due to the eloquence or persuasive powers of those delivering it. Would you not "sit up and take notice" if someone you knew to be totally rational suddenly took their life savings and invested every penny of it in a product based solely upon a short and simple advertisement they heard? The initial reaction of most would probably be that the individual had lost his/her mind. But if that seemingly impulsive action resulted in success and financial independence, those opinions would likely be reversed very quickly!
A similar thing takes place when someone makes a profession of faith in Christ. Unregenerate family members, friends, and acquaintances will immediately take a dim view of their "getting religion." Then the silent inspection begins as they wait for the person's actions to confirm their assessment that the whole thing was just a phony emotional response. And sad to say, in most cases they will not have to wait very long before the person's life will be "back to normal." Of course they may continue to attend Church every time the doors are opened and put on a good act, but those who know them best recognize that nothing about them has actually changed. But, praise the Lord there are notable exceptions! Every now and then a person will respond to the Gospel and "get rich," so to speak. Their lives will be so dramatically changed that no one close to them can deny it. And the impact of that radical change will be heightened in the minds of those who witness it when they consider the simplicity of the message that prompted it.
The Gospel, or "good news" as taught by the Apostle Paul is outlined in red below:
"And now let me remind you [since it seems to have escaped you], brethren, of the Gospel (the glad tidings of salvation) which I proclaimed to you, which you welcomed and accepted and upon which your faith rests,  And by which you are saved, if you hold fast and keep firmly what I preached to you, unless you believed at first without effect and all for nothing.  For I passed on to you first of all what I also had received, that Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One) died for our sins in accordance with [what] the Scriptures [foretold],  That He was buried, that He arose on the third day as the Scriptures foretold,  And [also] that He appeared to Cephas (Peter), then to the Twelve" 1 Cor. 15:1-5 (Parallel Bible, KJV/Amplified, emphasis mine).
And all who hear that supernatural message are supposed to be exhorted by the messenger (preacher, tract, etc.) to repent of their sins and "believe"--that they might receive Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. And there is not a single evangelistic sermon recorded in the New Testament from Pentecost onward which could not be delivered in fifteen minutes or less! For instance, the very first sermon preached by the Apostle Peter at Pentecost is as follows:
"But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words:  For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day.  But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel;  And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God,I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:  And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy:  And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke:  The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come:  And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.  Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know:  Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:  Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.  For David speaketh concerning him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved:  Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope:  Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.  Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance.  Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day.  Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne;  He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption.  This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses.  Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear.  For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand,  Until I make thy foes thy footstool.  Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ" Acts 2:14-36 (KJV)
And when Peter finished delivering this brief message to the many thousands gathered at Jerusalem for Pentecost, the following verses tell us how they reacted to it:
"Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?  Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized 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" Acts 2:37-38 (KJV, emphasis mine).
Verse 41 then tells us "about three thousand souls" were born again!
"Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls."
Wow!! That tremendous response calls for some additional scrutiny. First of all, we need to understand that the audience was 100% Jewish--some of whom were among those who had shouted "Crucify him!" just over 50 days earlier when Pontius Pilate thought to set Jesus Christ free. But the vast majority were visitors from many different countries (verses 9, 10, and 11 of Acts chapter 2) who had traveled to Jerusalem in obedience to God's command about observing the feast of Pentecost. What little this latter (and much larger) group knew about the Lord and His crucifixion was only that which they had heard from others by word of mouth. And by any standard of measurement, they were "a tough crowd"--a hostile or unappreciative audience. All had been steeped in 1500 years of religious tradition and where that particular message was concerned, a more hardened, bigoted and opinionated group would be impossible to find! Yet close to three thousand of them "were pricked in their hearts" and believed!
But when we consider the circumstances--particularly Peter's brevity and all that he did not say or do--how was that possible? There were no threats of eternal damnation in hell if they did not believe, no emotional theatrics and psychological ploys carefully crafted to put pressure on them! The Gospel message was just presented and it got the job done without the need of any human device! The Holy Spirit took the Word of God and shook nearly three thousand men to the very core of their being--just like He did to me over fifty years ago. The supernatural light of TRUTH broke through the utter darkness of spiritual death and belief was the result. Only after Peter was asked by those who "were pricked in their hearts" about what their response should be, did he continue with "many more words" and exhortations for them to be saved from that wicked and perverse generation (vs.40).
Then in Acts chapter ten we find another brief sermon delivered by Peter. It was when God accorded him the blessed privilege of opening the door of salvation to the Gentiles (the household of Cornelius). And just as it was on the Day of Pentecost, the response of those hearing the message was immediate:
"Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:  But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.  The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (he is Lord of all:)  That word, I say, ye know, which was published throughout all Judaea, and began from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached;  How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.  And we are witnesses of all things which he did both in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom they slew and hanged on a tree:  Him God raised up the third day, and shewed him openly;  Not to all the people, but unto witnesses chosen before of God, even to us, who did eat and drink with him after he rose from the dead.  And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead.  To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins" Acts 10:34-43 (KJV)
Verse 44 then goes on to say that while Peter was still speaking, the Holy Spirit "fell" on all who were listening! Once again, we see that the truth of the Gospel brought forth spiritual fruit immediately. And we must bear in mind that this group of Gentiles was in no way as knowledgeable about the things of God as were the Jews at Pentecost. So my question to you is this: does it appear even slightly plausible that those people were pursuaded by the message, or is it not obvious that their belief was supernaturally inspired?
By contrast, let us consider a sermon in Acts chapter 26 where there was a much different result. There we find the Apostle Paul defending himself before King Agrippa and in that defense he used the Gospel message as a central part of his argument. From the narrative we learn that Festus, the procurator of Judaea, was present--along with an unnumbered (and apparently hostile) crowd of spectators (Acts 25:24). And while Paul was still speaking, Festus cried out in a loud voice accusing him of being insane! Then at the conclusion, King Agrippa made the following statement:
"Then Agrippa said to Paul, You think it a small task to make a Christian of me [just offhand to induce me with little ado and persuasion, at very short notice]" Acts 26:28 (Parallel Bible, KJV/Amplified).
It certainly appears the same brevity of presentation that produced so much fruit earlier did not do so here! Why do you suppose there was a difference? May I suggest that the Lord gave us the answer in the following statement:
"No one is able to come to Me unless the Father Who sent Me attracts and draws him and gives him the desire to come to Me, and [then] I will raise him up [from the dead] at the last day" John 6:44 (Parallel Bible, KJV/Amplified).
"Salvation is of the Lord" (Jonah 2:9), and no amount of pursuasive arguments by men with good intentions can produce genuine belief if the Holy Spirit is not cooperating. But the use of psychological techniques to skillfully manipulate human emotion will certainly promote false professions of faith! High pressure salesmanship from the pulpit is turning churches into spiritual cemeteries today as preachers strive to outdo one another in collecting bodies. And in ever increasing numbers the wheat among the tares in those churches are "waking up and smelling the coffee" (as the newspaper columnist Ann Landers used to say). Their hearts are broken at the prospect of leaving behind friends and family, but they are doing so as the Holy Spirit urges them to separate from unbelief:
"Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers [do not make mismated alliances with them or come under a different yoke with them, inconsistent with your faith]. For what partnership have right living and right standing with God with iniquity and lawlessness? Or how can light have fellowship with darkness?  What harmony can there be between Christ and Belial [the devil]? Or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever?  What agreement [can there be between] a temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God; even as God said, I will dwell in and with and among them and will walk in and with and among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.  So, come out from among [unbelievers], and separate (sever) yourselves from them, says the Lord, and touch not [any] unclean thing; then I will receive you kindly and treat you with favor,  And I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty" 2 Cor. 6:14-18 (Parallel Bible, KJV/Amplified, emphasis mine).
Do you find yourself in that situation where your church is concerned? If so, bail out and seek other believers who will be willing to meet with you for Bible study, prayer, praise and worship. As few as two or three gathered together for that purpose meets the New Testament definition of a church and the Lord has promised to be "in the midst" (Matt.18:20). Many continue to make the mistake of hanging on, thinking they will be able to bring about a change for the better. But I do not know of a single instance where that has ever worked. And all of us need to realize that the Lord is building His Church (Matt.16:18)--not a bunch of zealous preachers competing with one another to see who can have the "biggest" and most prosperous ministry.
If you have been born again and received Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, but have been very lukewarm in your spiritual walk with Him, you need to immediately ask Him for forgiveness and for renewal. He will instantly forgive you, and fill your heart with the joy of the Holy Spirit. Then, you need to begin a daily walk of prayer and personal Bible Study.
If you have never placed your trust in Jesus Christ as your Savior, but have come to sense His reality and the approaching End of the Age, and want to receive His FREE Gift of Eternal Life, you can do so now, in the privacy of your home. Once you truly believe in Him as Lord and Savior, you are spiritually Born Again, and are as assured of Heaven as if you were already there. Then, you can rest assured that the Kingdom of Antichrist will not touch you spiritually. If you would like to become Born Again, turn to our Salvation Page now.
We hope you have been blessed by this ministry, which seeks to educate and warn people, so that they can see the coming New World Order—Kingdom of Antichrist—in their daily news.
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God bless you.