When thinking about advancing the Gospel of Jesus Christ, I think about how Apostle Paul persisted in this work throughout Acts. I briefly touched on this in my previous post, but there were times where Paul frequently argued to Jews and Greeks to believe in the truth. Allow me to provide you some verses for example.
Acts 17:2-4 “And Paul went in, as was his custom, and on three sabbath days argued with them from the scriptures, 3 explaining and proving that it was necessary for the Messiah to suffer and to rise from the dead, and saying, “This is the Messiah, Jesus whom I am proclaiming to you.” 4 Some of them were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, as did a great many of the devout Greeks and not a few of the leading women.”
Acts 18:4 “Every Sabbath he would argue in the synagogue and would try to convince Jews and Greeks.”
Acts 19:8-10 “He entered the synagogue and for three months spoke out boldly, and argued persuasively about the kingdom of God. 9 When some stubbornly refused to believe and spoke evil of the Way before the congregation, he left them, taking the disciples with him, and argued daily in the lecture hall of Tyrannus. 10 This continued for two years, so that all the residents of Asia, both Jews and Greeks, heard the word of the Lord.”
I find this interesting in the fact that Paul wasn’t just telling the Gospel to people, but vigorously engaging them about it, and throughout that method he actually got a lot of people saved. When you think about it, it was also what Peter did in converting the first people to Christianity in Acts 2. He vigorously engaged the Jews in a powerful sermon to see the truth. Perhaps it is this that the church isn’t doing enough of today. We of course want to be polite in our conversations, but we too should vigorously and persuasively converse with people to see the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Like the people Peter and Paul were able to convince, we might be able to convince people to be saved too. As it instructs us in 1 Peter 3:15 “but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence;”
As you ponder that thought, I present to you further argument for the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ that must be obeyed for salvation in mark 16:16, of one needing to believe and be baptized in order to be saved. In an earlier post, I mentioned a people known as the early church fathers. These were people who were leaders in the cause of continuing the preaching of the faith after the Apostolic Era. Some of these people’s writings were only 100 to 200 years removed from the time of the beginnings of Christianity. So needless to say, they have some level of credibility in what they write as the truth of Christianity.
One such example is Justin Martyr. He is said to have been born in 100 AD, which is believed to be the year the last Apostle, Apostle John, died. So there’s a plausible possibility when he became educated enough to make his writings, he was still able to, or did, see much of the writings of the Apostles in their most original form. With all of this said, I present to you this excerpt from Justin Martyr’s First Apology in Chapter 61.
“And for this we have learned from the apostles this reason. Since at our birth we were born without our own knowledge or choice, by our parents coming together, and were brought up in bad habits and wicked training; in order that we may not remain the children of necessity and of ignorance, but may become the children of choice and knowledge, and may obtain in the water the remission of sins formerly committed, there is pronounced over him who chooses to be born again, and has repented of his sins, the name of God the Father and Lord of the universe; he who leads to the layer the person that is to be washed calling him by this name alone.”
Here we have Justin Martyr affirming the understanding we find in Scripture, that baptism is a necessary part of remission of sins, and thus a necessary part of salvation. This is a highly credible source that must be considered in this topic in which many claim all one has to do is pray to receive Christ in order to be saved. Of course, the most credible of sources on this topic are Jesus, Peter, and Paul, who all affirmed the same truth of baptism being a part of salvation, but sadly it’s not enough proof for some who profess to be saved without being baptized. But be that as it may, I will persist in argument as Paul did with the Jews and Greeks he was able to help save, and continue to share other credible early church father sources in the future; as I do my part in advancing the cause of the true Gospel of Jesus Christ that saves. I leave with you these final words that Jesus stated in Matthew 7:21-25.
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. 22 Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock.”