How to Become a Christian

How to become a Christian: A Christian is a disciple or student of God in Christ. Jesus died to free us from religious rituals which consume our time and money and do not teach what Christ promises to teach through His Word. However, Jesus does not accept us as "students" until we request that He cleans our spirit or mind. He promised to do that when we are baptized in water as a request that He cleans our minds so that He, as Spirit, can meet us in our minds or thoughts as we learn of Him.

There is a God: He is God and we are not. Therefore, to have God's approval as a Christian one must become a student or disciple of the teachings of the Bible. Baptism gives us A holy spirit or A good conscience. That means "consiousness" which means a co-perception of the Word of God. He will not reveal Himself until we have been washed by Him as our bodies are washed in water.

Isaiah:

And in that day shall the deaf hear the words of the book, and the eyes of the blind shall see out of obscurity, and out of darkness. Isaiah 29:18

The meek also shall increase their joy in the Lord, and the poor among men shall rejoice in the Holy One of Israel. Isaiah 29:19

For the terrible one is brought to nought, and the scorner is consumed, and all that watch for iniquity are cut off: Isaiah 29:20

That make a man an offender for a word, and lay a snare for him that reproveth in the gate, and turn aside the just for a thing of nought. Isaiah 29:21 ,

Therefore, a Christian is like a person caught in a trap made by people who take our money and cause us to be more ignorant. Jesus springs the trap and lets us go free of cult control by others who just want power and money.

Like Paul, the task of the sent evangelist fulfilled the CORE commandment. If there are qualified people to continue to "plant and water" and "teach them to observe" what Jesus taught, then he has the ethical command to move on and preach the core to those who have no yet heard the "good news." He has an uncommon skill which is that of "seed planter."

If there are no qualified pastor-teachers then he, like Paul, might remain and teach daily for two years so that "all which dwell in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus Christ, both Jews and Greeks." Acts 19:10. Even in a semi-located position the goal was to reach beyond the "public school house" and out into the surrounding "county" or even "state."

The evangelist who preaches the "core" which is not the Word (logos) or what Jesus Christ personally taught would be defined by Paul in Second Corinthians as a false teacher -- a peddler of the word.

Also, like Paul, the legitimate evangelist does not have the responsibility to restructure the core gospel or to try to sell it with human wisdom and entertainment. The gospel has been delivered and tells us How to become a Christian:

He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. Mark 16:16

Aphrahat the Syrian wrote about A.D. 337:

"And again when our Lord gave the Sacrament of Baptism to His apostles, He said thus to them:-Whosoever believeth and is baptized shall live, and whosoever believeth not shall be condemned (Mark xvi. 16. Note that Aphrahat here cites the disputed conclusion of St. Mark's Gospel.)

The gift of God is supercharged into His physical and Spiritual world. For instance, the gift of carrots is bound up in a tiny seed. And His Spirit is bound up in His Word as Spiritual or mental seed.

Paul, in Romans 1:16, says that the gospel is God's power (dunamis) required to be saved. It is the fuel which runs The Faith or The Christian System. It is the locus -- the pole -- around which Christianity rotates.

And John said the same thing:

He came unto his own, and his own received him not. John 1:11

But as many as received him, to them gave he power (ecousia = authority, capacity, freedom)

to become the sons of God,

even to them that believe (entrust themselves to) on his name: John 1:12

To believe or entrust in the name of Jesus as fully God gives one the power to become the sons of God. However, one does not become a child until they have exercised that Power. We should not think of God as less logical than ourselves: He wants us to exercise the power.

In a very naive sense, the gospel is simply the news that a herald (evangelist) cries out as he rides by. For instance, "The Ice Cream Man Cometh!" is good news. However, the announcement has been made and the riding "evangelist" is not sent to buy the goodies. Nor is he the self-proclaimed person who "hands out" God's grace. However, the announcement opens up almost magical power for you to prepare yourselves by turning toward the Savior Who follows.

However, God always found two classes of people: one who honored Him even if they could give Him no name, and those who had "cornered the market" and sold worship as a product:

First, those who were in tune with natural and revealed religion expected God to visit His people beginning in the form of a child. They saw "service" in a cup of cold water. The star-gazers in the eastern pastures were watching for a special star as the first sign that "a little Child" had been born in a manger. Both the Jews and God-fearers who had right living and justice toward others in their hearts were looking for Him -- and still look.

The Gentiles found God specifically because they were not seeking Him in all of the pagan places and practices.

Second, contrary to common sense, the professional religionists who performed great worship rituals for the little people rejected God Incarnate because He prayed in private and warned against their superstitious belief that they had "God in a house" and if you wanted to worship you had better go there -- and go past the money changers on the way or God might not listen.

Because all who belong to God are the spiritual grandchildren of the first parents with an empty spirit (mind) needing a Redeemer to restore an intimate walk with Him (in the garden, not in the temple), all religious people long for that reconciliation even if they live in a remote jungle. No one can "preach" this longing into the human heart.

Under the Law of Moses, the people were kept physically safe only by keeping 613 elements of a law code. None of the rituals of washings, music, sacrifices or festivals could "wash" the spirit and make it able to again -- as individuals -- come boldly before the throne of Grace without a priest or Levite to stand between them and God.

Now, you will respond if you know that God has come in the flesh as the long-awaited Messiah as full Deity (Colossians) 2:9 made visible before your eyes. His name is not Father, or Son or Spirit: His name is Jesus or Jehovah-Saves right there in the open lands, far, far removed from the temple.

Next, Jesus sent out evangelists; if they tell you that God has come in the flesh as the good news of the gospel, and tell you how to "tear down" the old bondage to religious rituals and how to enliven the spirit within, then you have the power to leap-frog thousands of years of body-rituals and return, in a spiritual sense, to the Garden of Eden.

How The Gospel is The Secret to The Gift of God telling us How to become a Christian:

By analogy, the gospel of farming is that God has created a long list of animal and vegetable products which carry the supernatural power to keep life going for you -- even ice cream if you know the secret of turning green grass into God's Gift. However, you might starve to death unless someone comes by and "preaches" that gospel. The "gospel" of gardening is the good news about God's free gift, but you must apply that God-given power or you have not received it or given heed to the good news.

At the same time, not a bit of your sweat and blood can make a tiny seed turn into a sweet watermellon.

However, resisting God's free power is a really nasty insult. It can cause you to be lost. Christ has told you how to let the old body die like a seed and sprout into Jack's beanstalk reaching right into heaven. And you have refused to accept the remission of sins which stand between you and God and makes you subject to the burden of human "mediators."

Notice that the gift of God is defined within an environment where humans can use supernatural power to do the impossible:

And also that every man should eat and drink, and

enjoy the good of all his labour,

it is the gift of God. Ecclesiastes 3:13

Now, we know that labor which comes from our mind cannot make us spiritual however loud and boastful toward God. However, the gift of God -- His grace -- is that you can participate with Him in His plan for His Will.

I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever: nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it: and God doeth it, that men should fear before him. Ecclesiastes 3:14

You see, getting food is the gift of God and you cannot take from that gift and you cannot add to that gift. You can plant and water all you want, but you cannot contribute one bit to the miracle of life. Would you say, therefore, that to plant and water is "legalistic" and "I ain't gonna do it?"

But by now you understand that the gift of God, which no person can add to, must be tapped into and used according to the plan ordained by the Planner. It is not presumptious to follow that plan. In fact, if you do not "accept the will of God for your life" your "spiritual carrots" will never grow and you will die spiritually.

When this happens, the whole transaction is produced totally by God's Spiritual power. Paul understood that when your body is "washed in pure water" you are asking God or Spirit to "baptize" or enfold you into His body. Christ is baptizing you into His Body as you are baptized into water. In the same way, God's free gift of carrots is received by working in harmony with spiritual principles by "burying" the seed in the ground.

Solomon was wise and said:

Behold that which I have seen: it is good and comely for one to eat and to drink, and to enjoy the good of all his labour that he taketh under the sun all the days of his life, which God giveth him: for it is his portion. Ecclesiastes 5:18

Every man also to whom God hath given riches and wealth, and hath given him power to eat thereof, and to take his portion, and

to rejoice in his labour; this is the gift of God. Ecclesiastes 5:19

Because I did not help God create the universe and its laws, it is clear that everything which I receive is a free gift of God.

The concept is so fragile. The gap between legalism and becomming a dead stone in the hands of God is not easily grasped after it has been muddied by tromping feet. But, isn't it fundamental that God prepared a body for our spirit so that we can participate with Him in His Work. If our body does not move as He instructs us then perhaps He is not in our hearts at all and our spirits are without power.

Jesus and the "Gospel" did not change this Divine plan to give supernatural power to mortals even though they can do nothing on their own:

Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water. John 4:10

You see, Jesus didn't pour spiritual water down the throat of the woman. She had to ask for it and she had to drink of it and it wouldn't really be water but His Word. Is this demand of Jesus any less unreasonable than telling us to be baptized?

The water of life is the gift of God which is the Word of Christ which He put into human words which can give Spirit and Life (John 6:63).

Where Did the Gospel Begin?

The gospel begins in many, many prophecies which fill out the details of its full meaning. For instance, it was good news or gospel that John the Baptist would come making an initial offer from God to "catch fish" which were those few Jews waiting for their Messiah:

The Prophecy about John

A fundamental part of the good news or gospel is that God's people will be "sprung from the prison" of "anxiety created by religious ritual" under a religion like the nations which brought Israel nothing but warfare and captivity:

COMFORT ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God. Isaiah 40:1

Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the Lords hand double for all her sins. Isaiah 40:2

The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Isaiah 40:3

Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain: Isaiah 40:4

And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it. Isaiah 40:5

Fulfillment: This was Gospel

And when Mark wrote, he began:

THE beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God; Mark 1:1

As it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. Mark 1:2

The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight (immediate). Mark 1:3

And so John came, baptizing in the desert region and preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. Mark 1:4NIV

John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. Mark 1:4KJV

The very first message of the gospel of Jesus Christ was that John the Baptist was the "Elijah" figure who came to do battle with the "Jezebel" prophets of "Baal and Asherah" in Jerusalem. His first message to the Jews was that you must be baptized to look forward to the cross. In symbolism, the Asherah priests tried to force God to do His work by urgent calling, singing, dancing and even cutting themselves. However, when Elijah had the dead animal completely overwhelmed by water, he simply spoke to God and God consumed the "old dead bodies." After baptism, Paul demanded that we "reckon" our bodies dead and our spirit alive unto God.

The beginning of the gospel was to the faithful Jews. If they wanted to make the path to Jesus immediate in their lives they would just naturally obey the command to be baptized to remit their sins. They already demanded of a proselyte that he be washed with pure water, consider his old life dead and believe that he was a new-born child in the Jewish faith. The Jews, in a sense, had to become proselytes into the body of Christ.

Gospel Means Freedom From Ignorant Masters of the Ignorant

The fact is that everything is the gift of God; the application of the fact is that you must agree immediately with the gift or the way the gift is received. Without the acceptance, the gospel is the long "Hand" of God handing you food with no one to bear witness with Him by accepting it.

To say that "the gospel is the death, burial and resurrection of Christ" is Word-starved nonesense. Listen to some of the promises.

Thus saith God the Lord, he that created the heavens, and stretched them out; he that spread forth the earth, and that which cometh out of it; he that giveth breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein: Isaiah 42:5

I the Lord have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, aand will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles; Isaiah 42:6

To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house. Isaiah 42:7

I am the Lord; that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images. Isaiah 42:8

God would not send a clergy class to feed the flock. He would personally lead those who had been introduced to Him through the Word:

And I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known: I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them. Isaiah 42:16

They shall be turned back, they shall be greatly ashamed, that trust in graven images, that say to the molten images, Ye are our gods. Isaiah 42:17

When Jesus told the Jews that "not many miracles were done" among the Jews they knew that He was not their man. They wanted food and circuses, musical praise and pomp. But if He was going to continue to open their blind eyes in a spiritual sense they wanted none of it: their whole livlihood depended upon keeping blind and ignorant. Therefore, Isaiah made sure that we understand blindness as inablility to hear God. The only way to get the teaching job done was to cut out the middle man selling watered wine:

Hear, ye deaf; and look, ye blind, that ye may see. Isaiah 42:18

Who is blind, but my servant? or deaf, as my messenger that I sent? who is blind as he that is perfect, and blind as the Lords servant? Isaiah 42:19

Who in all the world is as blind as my own people,[e] who are designed to be my messengers of truth? Who is so blind as my "dedicated one," the "servant of the Lord"? Isaiah 42:19LIV

Seeing many things, but thou observest not; opening the ears, but he heareth not. Isaiah 42:20

The Lord is well pleased for his righteousness sake; he will magnify the law, and make it honourable. Isaiah 42:21

Woe to the man or " team" who dares to get between God and His students!

Son of man, thou dwellest in the midst of a rebellious house, which have eyes to see, and see not; they have ears to hear, and hear not: for they are a rebellious house. Ezekiel 12:2

Jesus healed the spiritually blind and the Pharisees understood the message:

And Jesus said, For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind. John 9:39

And some of the Pharisees which were with him heard these words, and said unto him, Are we blind also? John 9:40

Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth. John 9:41

In time Jesus entered a synagogue:

And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. (Isaiah) And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written, Luke 4:17

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor;

he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, Luke 4:18

To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. Luke 4:19

Therefore, how to become a Christian is the most important knowledge.

Jesus didn't have a little person sitting on His shoulders; He had the Spirit of that which applies to the mental disposition or spirit of mankind.

The Gospel Included the Mind of Christ which is The Spirit of God

The Gospel includes the fact that the Spirit of God would be upon Jesus to heal the spiritual blindness and deafness created by the rejection of God's Word:

AND there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: Isaiah 11:1

And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord; Isaiah 11:2

And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the Lord: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears: Isaiah 11:3

But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked. Isaiah 11:4

This says, in another way, that He would overwhelm sincere people with His Word or Spirit (John 6:63), but He would pour out the hot breath of His anger upon the wicked.

It is good news that He closes His ears and eyes to our sights and sounds. He teaches wisdom, understanding, counsel, might, knowledge, fear of the Lord and is of quick understanding (spiritual in nature).

The Gospel is that God Takes Over as Teacher-Intercessor

This new kind of Spirit was required because people had become blind and deaf (Isaiah 6; Isaiah 29) and could not hear the voice of God in His word. When Israel failed and fell almost totally into paganism it was because even righteous-living people were destroyed by their own clergy:

Yea, truth faileth; and he that departeth from evil maketh himself a prey. And the Lord saw it, and it displeased him that there was no judgment. Isaiah 59:15

And he saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor: therefore his arm brought salvation unto him; and his righteousness, it sustained him. Isaiah 59:16 (Jesus is the Right Hand of God)

For he put on righteousness as a breastplate, and a helmet of salvation upon his head; and he put on the garments of vengeance for clothing, and was clad with zeal as a cloak. Isaiah 59:17

This Right Arm and Hand of God was God Himself clad in human flesh to deliver supernatural power through His Spirit Word:

And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and

unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the Lord. Isaiah 59:20

As for me, this is my covenant with them, saith the Lord; My spirit that is upon thee, and my words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seeds seed, saith the Lord, from henceforth and for ever. Isaiah 59:21

How to become a Christian is important because God Himself will speak to us through His Word.

Jesus refuted the notion that His mission was physical:

In Matthew 13 Jesus noted that the truth had been hidden to those who rejected the normal light He furnished in creation and His dealings through nature and providence. Therefore, He began to destroy the Jewish notion that Messiah would be a king of victory, bread, celebration and dominion by His chief agents. In fact, He was murdered for His rejection of their notion that God's gift of food and money meant that they were His agents to collect it from the poor.

Jesus told them about the miracles under the Old Covenant whose God was the same as the One coming to them in the guise of an unimpressive Nazarene:

And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Eliseus the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, saving Naaman the Syrian. Luke 4:27

Remember that Naaman could not understand why his waters were not better than obedience to the command to be washed or baptized. He wanted to do some mighty deed to cause God to heal him. However, when he was convinced to dip himself in accepting the counsel of God for his life, he was cleansed. Perhaps the Jews believed that everyone would be cleansed automatically when the new Messiah came. Jesus firmly said: "No."

Of course, the "cheap grace" advocates decided that if God was going to make them plant and till their own garden to get God's free gift they would just kill Him and silence His voice which rejected their patterns. The spirit of fire was truly poured out at the same time the Spirit Word was poured out because Jesus did not come to them:

And all they in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath, Luke 4:28

And rose up, and thrust him out of the city, and led him unto the brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that they might cast him down headlong. Luke 4:29

But he, passing through the midst of them, went his way. Luke 4:30

Oh, how the wrath of men rise up to throw you off the cliff when you speak of an Incarnate God who gives His Gift only to those who "accept the will of God for their lives." And, Oh, how we want bread and miracles and circuses and a "plan" which doesn't demand anything but a tip of the hat to Jesus' full gospel plan.

We earn death but spiritual life as a gift can come only from God:

For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Romans 6:23

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Ephesians 2:8

When God extended grace to the Jews if they would simply believe the good news and honor Him by honoring His command, and the salvation they received would be the pure gift of God.

The next part of the Gospel of Jesus Christ was that He personally submitted to water baptism to '"fulfill all righteousness." That simply means that he "fully preached baptism" by His own example even though He was not sinful.

Luke restated the preamble of the Gospel:

This is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. Luke 7:27

For I say unto you, Among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist: but he that is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he. Luke 7:28

And all the people that heard him, and the publicans, justified God, being baptized with the baptism of John. Luke 7:29

But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the counsel of God against themselves, being not baptized of him. Luke 7:30

Listening by faith results in obedience to that faith; listening by the doctors of the law meant that they first had to reinterpret John's message. When it didn't fit their distorted view, they just repudiated God.

The Generation to Which the Gospel was Preached

The message was again confirmed that the gospel is not for those who refuse to associate with Jesus in His great work. This left the musical celebraters and applauders of the expected drunken street preachers or performers with some very bad news. The contrast is drawn between those who accepted the will of God for their lives and those who wanted to continue the party which doomed their forefathers:

And the Lord said, Whereunto then shall I liken the men of this generation? and to what are they like? Luke 7:31

They are like unto children sitting in the marketplace, and calling one to another, and saying, We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned to you, and ye have not wept. Luke 7:32

You know the type. We will just sit here in the marketplace and when Jesus comes in we will make Him into a dancing god like Dionysus. If we pipe and He laments and dances then we have found our god we have really been looking for. He will be the god of bread, miracles and circuses. Then we can just sit here where the strollers and shoppers and seekers come in and out and we won't have to "go into all of the gardens to plant, water, weed and harvest."

They believed in the free gift of God but they didn't believe in planting, watering, weeding and harvesting. They believed that the new "god" would be the god of power and wealth but they wanted to continue to steal it from the poor in the temple of prayer. Why "sign up" with baptism to a God who wasn't going to give them the gift of God without strings? They had things pretty well under control already. Therefore they rejected God's counsel, refused to be baptized and the free gift was thrown away.

The good news John the Baptist preached, and Jesus obeyed to fully preach baptism, included the command to be baptized.

This baptism looked forward to the prophesied work of Christ. This meant that our old body be planted with Christ.

After His resurrection, baptism for the very same purpose was to look backward to the accomplished Work of Jesus Christ as the visual proof that the prophecy had been fulfilled and that indeed Good did visit mankind.

How to become a Christian: We must become like Little Children

If you could literally die and be born again you would be like a new baby. In baptism, one can, on the basis of faith, be born again:

And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, Matthew 18:2

And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye

be converted, and
become as little children,
ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 18:3

Converted is: Strepho (g4762) stref'-o; strengthened from the base of 5157; to twist, i.e. turn quite around or reverse (lit. or fig.): - convert, turn (again, back again, self, self about).

Become is: Ginomai (g1096) ghin'-om-ahee; a prol. and mid. form of a prim. verb; to cause to be generate), i.e. (reflex.) to become (come into being),

Enter is: Eiserchomai (g1529) ice-er'-khom-ahee; from 1519 and 2064; to enter (lit. or fig.): - * arise, come (in, into), enter in (-to), go in (through).

Jesus repeated this "gospel" sermon to Nicodemus about how to become a Christian:

Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. John 3:3

Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mothers womb, and be born? John 3:4

Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be
born of water and
of the Spirit,
he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. John 3:5

Born is: Gennao (g1080) ghen-nah'-o; from a var. of 1085; to procreate (prop. of the father, but by extens. of the mother); fig. to regenerate: - bear, beget, be born, bring forth, conceive, be delivered of, gender, make, spring.

Enter is: Eiserchomai (g1529) ice-er'-khom-ahee; from 1519 and 2064; to enter (lit. or fig.): - * arise, come (in, into), enter in (-to), go in (through).

In the Great Commandment of Jesus He said:

He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved;
but he that believeth not shall be damned. 16:16

These people would not be damned because they had not been under the water: they would be lost because they "refused the counsel of God for their lives" and because they refused to become like a little, submissive child. They would be lost because they refused to be born all over again and be baptized for the dead.

Jesus explained to Nicodemus that He might be a Jew but he still had to become a "proselyte" to Christianity just like a Gentile:

"At the latter ceremony two disciples of the wise stood by to tell him more of the light and heavy commandments. When he came up after the immersion, those assembled addressed him saying: 'Unto whom has thou given thyself? blessed art thou, thou hast given thyself to God; the world was created for the sake of Israel, and only Israelites are called the children of God... After his baptism he was considered (reckoned to be dead and now alive) to be a new man, 'a little child newly born'; a new name was given him." (Int Std Bible Ency, Proselyte).

"The effect of this baptism was held to be complete regeneration; he was born anew. He was called a little child just born, the child of one day. All his sins were remitted because God cannot punish sins committed before he was born." (Barclay, William, Romans, p. 84)

Jesus Promised to be the Head or Father of His Kingdom

And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another (a fuller in a different form) Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; John 14:16

Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him (the Incarnate Word); for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. John 14:17

I will not leave you comfortless (Fatherless): I will come to you. John 14:18

God (full Deity) had laid aside His Majesty and Authority like a garment upon His "throne" which is symbolic of His Rulership of the universe. He took on the form of a servant and would return to His Throne of full rulership and then return as Holy Spirit and prove it on the Day of Pentecost to the Apostles in the upper room. Thereafter, where two or three are gathered in His Name He promised to be among them. This fact should define how we will worship Him. It will not be with the lostness of ceremonial legalism but we will sit quietly at His feet to learn of Him.

The Gospel which looked backward to the proof that Jesus was Who He said that He was -- God -- would be offered on the day of Pentecost. Peter would preach the Gospel.

Jesus Included Baptism in the Gospel

When the "gospel" was preached people wanted to be baptized. Where do you suppose they got the idea if it was not within "preaching Jesus?"

And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. Mark 16:15

Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. Mark 16:16

Just as in the forward-looking baptism, those who rejected the counsel of God for their lives were lost. The process continues: those who don't believe reject the counsel of God and therefore refuse to be baptized as part of the free gift of God.

The Gospel is clearly not good news in any sense until it fulfils its end: salvation as a result of believing the evidence and accepting it into your life.

How to become a Christian involves faith. This word included obedience or it isn't faith.

Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. James 2:18

Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe (same as Mk 16:16), and tremble. James 2:19

Jesus said, in effect, show me your faith by your obedience because faith without it is worthless. Take a look at how Paul treats faith and baptism:

For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. Galatians 3:26

For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. Galatians 3:27

In other words, faith is operative only if the people "do not reject the counsel of God for their lives" by rejecting the baptism part which Jesus connected to faith.

Second, I am sure that a lot of people sincerely believed in Jesus as an established fact. However, their belief did not include the courage to admit publically that they were to become Christians. Baptism is the ultimate public confession which completes faith:

And all the people that heard him, and the publicans, justified (showed regard for) God, being baptized with the baptism of John. Luke 7:29

But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the counsel of God for themselves, being not baptized of him. Luke 7:30

For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:20

The Pharisees were the exclusively religious Jews. They were separated as clergy from the rest of the people.

Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess (covenant with) him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue: John 12:42

For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God. John 12:43

Is it barely possible that people are out there quite militantly telling people that they should not be baptized. Are there a lot of people who would like to confess Jesus as the purchaser of their free gift by obeying just what He told them to do?

The Gospel on Pentecost

When Peter and the other Apostles who had been eyewitnesses of the resurrected Jesus and received power as He breathed the Spirit upon them (taught them in Acts through the Holy Spirit) the watching, celebrating crowd just thought that they were a bunch of drunken street preachers who always sold songs, sermons, poems, dances and musical performance at these gatherings. Peter replied:

But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; Acts 2:16

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: Acts 2:17

The signs Joel prophesied of were like a baptism of Spirit (truth) but also of fire which would be poured out upon the unbelievers within their lifetime. However, those who appealed to God as Lord Jesus Christ would be saved:

And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name (singular) of the Lord shall be saved. Acts 2:21

Peter showed that baptism is just the time and place where we call upon the name of the Lord and ask that He remit our sins so that we can have a clean conscience:

The like figure whereunto even baptism does also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the request for a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ: 1 Peter 3:21

In a similar sense, when we follow God's rules for getting food we simply apply His supernatural principles of planting and watering and then call upon Him to give the increase.

So far, the gospel was just the facts that they had killed their Messiah Who was God Incarnate Who had fully demonstrated His full Deity. He was the free Gift of God but they refused to unit themselves with His supernatural truth:

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: Acts 2:22

Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: Acts 2:23

Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it. Acts 2:24

The literal David as a visible king (to replace God) was never going to return to allow them to continue their body worship in the temple, in the streets or in the legalistic festivals:

For David speaketh concerning him, I forsaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved: Acts 2:25

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. Acts 2:29

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; Acts 2:30

He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption. Acts 2:31

This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. Acts 2:32

All authority of the Godhead is under the name of Jesus or Jehovah-Saves. He "sat down" at the right hand of the Majesty He laid aside (as God):

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. Acts 2:33

For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, Acts 2:34

Until I make thy foes thy footstool. Acts 2:35

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 2:36

The gospel meant the rejection of a secular nation ruled by David when Israel rejected God so that they could be a secular state and worship like the nations. They had to abandon an earthly leader and live in relationship with God the Spirit as the Mind of Christ (1 Cor 2). This meant the temple worship would be gone and their worship would be in spirit (in the mind) and in truth.

When Jesus told Peter to preach the Gospel it consisted of two parts: preach the gospel and obey or accept the gospel through baptism. The free gift of food as God's miracle must be accepted by "turning on" God's principles of growing food. The free gift of God through the gospel must be energized by "planting and watering" of the dying "seed."

How would they know about baptism if baptism was not part of the good news? Peter fully comprehended the commandment attached to the Gospel. Therefore, when the people on the Day of Pentecost needed God's grace Peter told them how to obey the gospel:

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? Acts 2:37

What was the second part or the secret to receiving the power of the Gospel: Jesus said: "He that believes the Gospel and is baptized shall be saved." The good news to them was that they could be saved. Not being disobedient to the explicit command of Christ,

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 2:38

For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. Acts 2:39

How to become a Christian is for all people: Not just a Jewish Gospel

This was not a "Jewish" gospel but it was an "into all the world" even to the nations or Gentiles.

And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. Matthew 1:21

Next, Paul insists that we can do something to receive the free gift of God just as we plant and water to get God's free food:

And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation. Acts 2:40

Save is from the Greek:

Sozo (g4982) sode'-zo; to save, i.e. deliver or protect (lit. or fig.): - heal, preserve, save (self), do well, be (make) whole

How can we participate in God's free gift? Remember that Peter is doing what Jesus commanded him to do:

He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. Mark 16:16

The people did what Peter told them to do when he preached the gospel:

Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. Acts 2:41

And they continued stedfastly in the apostles doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. Acts 2:42

The signs which followed were performed by the Apostles and not by each baptized and saved person:

And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles. Acts 2:43

So, you see, we cannot add one iota to God's free gift of food, but we can get free food by planting and watering in accordance with God's revealed plan for getting free food.

In the same way, we cannot die for our own sins but we can save ourselves simply by "accepting the will of God for our lives." That is, we follow the rules laid down by the Incarnate God of the universe.

Those who do not believe what Jesus clearly said and commanded do so "reject the counsel of God for their lives" and Jesus said that they would be damned which is just the opposite of being saved.

Rejecting the Gospel

And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. Mark 16:15

He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but

he that believeth not shall be damned. Mark 16:16

Jesus does not Judge or Condemn us

Jesus came to preach His gospel and those who rejected His commandements rejected Him and therefore rejected God Himself:

I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness. John 12:46

And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. John 12:47

He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day. John 12:48

For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak. John 12:49

And I know that his commandment is life everlasting: whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak. John 12:50

The common people believed the commandments about John's baptism but the experts tried to slither away from Him:

And all the people that heard him, and the publicans, justified God, being baptized with the baptism of John. Luke 7:29

But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the counsel of God for themselves, being not baptized of him. Luke 7:30

Christ didn't judge them because they were lost already without Him:

He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day. John 12:48

Failure to be baptized in Christian baptism is not required to condemn people: they are already lost without Jesus and when they do not believe they are judged by the Word or Counsel of God and not by the lack of getting wet.

Christian baptism is commanded by the same counsel of the same God. Therefore, those who refuse to obey the only command Jesus issued by which we might be saved are not repudiated by Jesus: the Words of Jesus which He called the one and which was Spirit and Life (John 6:63) will still be there staring those who refuse to obey the gospel in the face.

Paul's Association of John's Baptism and Christ's Baptism

Sandwiched between passages clearly showing that believers were faithful when they were baptized, Paul and his company came to Antioch of Pisidia where Paul exhorted the Jews and proselytes or God-fearers. He began, like Peter and Stephen by putting the gospel into the context of God's total plan for humanity. Like Stephen, Paul mentioned the bad news that Israel demanded a king whom God permitted to carry out the sentence of the captivity of Israel. However, a new seed of David would arise to build God a "house" or family and not an earthly temple:

Of this man's seed hath God, according to his promise, raised unto Israel a Saviour, Jesus: Acts 13:23

When John had first preached before his coming the baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel. Acts 13:24

Remember that Mark called this:

THE beginning of [the most important part for humans] the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God; Mark 1:1

Look again to see that by rejecting baptism, they rejected the command of God:

But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the counsel of God against themselves, being not baptized of him. Luke 7:30

John's baptism looked forward. However,

And as John fulfilled his course, he said, Whom think ye that I am? I am not he. But, behold, there cometh one after me, whose shoes of his feet I am not worthy to loose. Acts 13:25

John's priestly course was to prepare the way or to find those sincere seekers who would believe the truth when they heard the truth. Like the sincere Gentiles, these Jews were "by nature" in tune with righteousness and justice.

Now, Paul takes up the same message in Antioch of Pisidia within the context of John's baptism which many Jews did not believe was important:

Men and brethren, children of

1. the stock of Abraham,

2. and whosoever among you feareth God,

to you is the word of this salvation sent. Acts 13:26

Notice that Paul addresses the seed of Abraham but not all of his seed were spiritual Israelites. Some Jews among his audience would be spiritually in tune with the naturally-revealed and generationally-taught principles of God.

To understand this better, let's take a detour to Galatians:

To the Galatians, Paul connected what the Spirit promised to Abraham with baptism which, after John's baptism and the resurrection of Christ, was available to both Jew and Gentile:

For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. Galatians 3:26

For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. Galatians 3:27

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. Galatians 3:28

And if ye be Christs, then are ye Abrahams seed, and heirs according to the promise. Galatians 3:29

What was the word of salvation sent out after the baptism of John had run its course? Jesus sent them out to preach and baptize both Jew and Gentile:

And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. Mark 16:15

Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. Mark 16:16

Rather than obeying Jesus, they murdered Him:

For they that dwell at Jerusalem, and their rulers, because they knew him not, nor yet the voices of the prophets which are read every sabbath day, they have fulfilled them in condemning him. Acts 13:27

They killed Jesus but He was resurrected and witnessed by the Apostles:

And he was seen many days of them which came up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are his witnesses unto the people. Acts 13:31

Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: Acts 13:38

And by him all that believe (fully trust) are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses. Acts 13:39

Those who believed John's forward-looking baptism were baptized. Those who were not baptized justified not God and were lost.

The Jews left the Synagogue but the Gentiles wanted to hear more about the gospel.

Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles. Acts 13:46

For so hath the Lord commanded us, saying, I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth. Acts 13:47

And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed. Acts 13:48

When these Gentiles believed to receive eternal life, believed is the Greek:

Pisteuo (g4100) pist-yoo'-o; from 4102; to have faith (in, upon, or with respect to, a person or thing), i.e. credit; by impl. to entrust (espec. one's spiritual well-being to Christ): - believe (-r), commit (to trust), put in trust with.

To understand what believing really meant, look at the example of Lydia who was considered to be a believer or faithful after her baptism

The Gospel in Philippi - Lydia the Gentile

The "gospel" means remission of sins by grace: it is the gift of God. Remember, however, that food, clothing and even wealth is the free gift of God because we cannot make the creative process work. Can a person cause a wheat seed to germinate and produce life? Of course not, it is the gift of God. Can any person remove sins from their soul which they cannot even see? Of course not. It is the gift of God.

And from thence to Philippi, which is the chief city of that part of Macedonia, and a colony: and we were in that city abiding certain days. Acts 16:12

And on the sabbath we went out of the city by a river side, where prayer was wont to be made; and we sat down, and spake unto the women which resorted thither. Acts 16:13

And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God,

heard us:
whose heart the Lord opened (figurative: to expound),
that she attended
unto the things which were spoken of Paul. Acts 16:14

Preaching the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus does not call for any action whatsoever: it is just the statement of facts.

God opened Lydia's heart by having Paul preach the gospel to her.

However, Lydia applied herself to or adhered to what Paul told her to do.

What did Lydia do? "And when she was baptized"

Her applying herself to the teaching shows that Paul preached baptism.

What was Lydia's first question? "If you have judged me faithful."

How had she been faithful? She was trustworthy because of her obedience to what Paul told her to do!

Conclusion: When Paul preached the gospel he was obedient to Jesus in Mark 16:16 and commanded her to be baptized. She was faithful because she attended to what Paul told her to do and she "did not reject the counsel of God for her life."

To attend to Paul's preaching means more than just listening: it means to become an adherent to his gospel teaching. Attend is:

Prosecho (g4337) pros-ekh'-o; from 4314 and 2192; (fig.) to hold the mind (3563 impl.) towards, i.e. pay attention to, be cautious about, apply oneself to, adhere to: - (give) attend (-ance, - ance at, -ance to, unto), beware, be given to, give (take) heed (to, unto) have regard.

And said unto them, Ye men of Israel,
take heed to yourselves
what ye intend to do as touching these men. Acts 5:35

Lydia took heed to what Paul told her to do and she was baptized.

And when she was baptized, and her household, she besought us, saying, If ye have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house, and abide there. And she constrained us. Acts 16:15

Only then could Paul judge Lydia as faithful to the command of the Great Commission by being baptized.

The Philippian Jailer

Because Paul was an apostle with supernatural power, he cast out the power of soothsaying (madness or insanity as in Corinth) from a girl used as a tool of pagan religion. This cut into the profits and the mercinaries charged Paul with preaching more than simple facts:

And teach customs, which are not lawful for us to receive, neither to observe, being Romans. Acts 16:21

Paul was cast into prison but was released by an earthquake. The jailer had already heard Paul singing hymns and understood what he had been preaching and why he was in prison.

And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them. Acts16:25

There is no hint that the jailer's family or children were present. His household which he guarded and fed consisted of adult prisoners.

The jailer would have to suffer death if Paul go away. The jailor wanted to know what he could do to be saved from the situation.

And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. Acts 16:31

The process does not end here. Paul preached the gospel to him and he is told that he must be baptized.

And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house. Acts 16:32

And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway. Acts 16:33

Common to other examples, he is not a believer until after he has been baptized:

And when he had brought them into his house, he set meat before them, and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house. Acts 16:34

This is the prcess at Jerusalem:

Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. Acts 2:41

And all that believed were together, and had all things common; Acts 2:44

They are not called believers until they have been baptized.

Like Lydia in Philippi, the jailer repented by washing the stripes and along with the prisoners was baptized. He understood baptism only because Paul preached the gospel to him and according to Jesus, the gospel has an end point: the baptism of the believer.

The Jailer could rejoice because his actions made him a believer in God. He had not rejected God's counsel for his life through Paul's preaching.

The Gospel in Thessalonica

NOW when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where was a synagogue of the Jews: Acts 17:1

And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures, Acts 17:2

Opening and alleging, that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead; and that this Jesus, whom I preach unto you, is Christ. Acts 17:3

And some of them believed, and consorted with Paul and Silas; and of the devout Greeks a great multitude, and of the chief women not a few. Acts 17:4

But the Jews which believed not, moved with envy, took unto them certain lewd fellows of the baser sort, and gathered a company, and set all the city on an uproar, and assaulted the house of Jason, and sought to bring them out to the people. Acts 17:5

I was not enough just to "preach Christ and Him crucified." Why was He crucified? Who was this Messiah? What difference did it matter. Not even the worst unbelievers could doubt that "Jesus was crucified."

Things got dangerous and Paul left. There were already "brethren" in Thessalonica and is resonable that new believers were baptized.

Next Paul and Silas went to Berea and into the synagogue of the Jews. (17:10).

These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. Acts 17:11

The Jews from Thessalonica followed Paul whom they considered dangerous people. Paul then went to Athens and was disturbed by the idolatry. The philosophers understood that "preaching the gospel" also meant that Jesus was the visitation of the One True God.

Then certain philosophers of the Epicureans, and of the Stoicks, encountered him. And some said, What will this babbler say? other some, He seemeth to be a setter forth of strange gods: because he preached unto them Jesus, and the resurrection. Acts 17:18

For thou bringest certain strange things to our ears: we would know therefore what these things mean. Acts 17:20

We know what it means to preach Jesus when we hear what Paul preached:

God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; Acts 17:24

Neither is worshipped with mens hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; Acts 17:25

And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; Acts 17:26

That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us: Acts 17:27

For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring. Acts 17:28

Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and mans device (eånthumeÑsis). This is man's being inspirited. Acts 17:29

And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: Acts 17:30

Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead. Acts 17:31

And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked: and others said, We will hear thee again of this matter. Acts 17:32

But some believed the gospel.

What is the Gospel in First Timothy?

It is good news that Jesus paid the price but the good news has an end or a purpose:

Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned: 1 Timothy 1:5

From which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling; 1 Timothy 1:6

Desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm. 1 Timothy 1:7

But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully; 1 Timothy 1:8

Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, 1 Timothy 1:9

For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons,

and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine; 1 Timothy 1:10

According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust. 1 Timothy 1:11

[According to the glorious Gospel] The sound doctrine mentioned above - a dispensation which exhibits the glory of all his attributes; and, by saving man in such a way as is consistent with the glory of all the Divine perfections, while it brings peace and good will among men, brings glory to God in the highest. Sin has dishonored God, and robbed him of his glory; the Gospel provides for the total destruction of sin, even in this world, and thus brings back to God his glory. Adam Clarke

The gospel includes "sound doctrine" and therefore the gospel demands teaching against everything which does not fit the good news.

And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry; 1 Timothy 1:12

Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief 1 Timothy 1:13

And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. 1 Timothy 1:14

This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. 1 Timothy 1:15

Perfect people need not apply because:

Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth. John 9:41

To make the "gospel" into the bare facts that Christ came to save sinners leaves the gospel without an end, authority or purpose.

The Gospel in Corinth

Those who accept that Jesus was the expected Messiah (even among the nations) have lived in relationship with the True God by living right and treating others with justice. The missing ingredient is the announcement which Paul made as he left the obedience of the gospel to them.

Paul made it clear that the effective gospel involved facts believed and commands obeyed:

MOREOVER, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; 1 Corinthians 15:1

By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. 1 Corinthians 15:2

They would believe in vain if their belief produced no fruit as the free gift of God. This agrees with James' statement that "faith without works" is dead. "Works" here are not deeds of merit, but are doing whatever their faith called upon them to do:

For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 1 Corinthians 15: 3

And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: 1 Corinthians 15: 4

And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: 1 Corinthians 15: 5

After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. 1 Corinthians 15: 6

After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles. 1 Corinthians 15: 7

And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time. 1 Corinthians 15: 8

What had Paul preached to the Corinthians?

AFTER these things Paul departed from Athens, and came to Corinth; Acts 18:1

And found a certain Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, lately come from Italy, with his wife Priscilla, (because that Claudius had commanded all Jews to depart from Rome:) and came unto them. Acts 18:2

And because he was of the same craft, he abode with them, and wrought: for by their occupation they were tentmakers. Acts 18:3

The good news was that when the people worked, Paul worked; when they had free time, he taught them about Christ. Paul would spend a year and six months in Achaea and prepared the way before he presented the "gospel." As a result of this "gospel" message, some who had understood from the Old Testament believed and were baptized.

And he reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks. Acts 18:4

And when Silas and Timotheus were come from Macedonia, Paul was pressed in the spirit, and testified to the Jews that Jesus was Christ. Acts 18:5

And when they opposed themselves (lined up against), and blasphemed (spke evil of), he shook his raiment, and said unto them, Your blood be upon your own heads; I am clean; from henceforth I will go unto the Gentiles. Acts 18:6

And Crispus, the chief ruler of the synagogue,

believed on the Lord with all his house;
and many of the Corinthians
hearing believed, and were baptized. Acts 18:8

These people had not believed in vain: they acted upon what their faith led them to believe and they were baptizeed.

The preaching of the good news that Jesus is the visible presence of God always calls for being baptized to "accept the will of Christ for themselves."

The Gospel to the Romans

Can allowing ourselves to be planted alongside Jesus obligate God to forgive our sins and give us life? Of course not, it is the gift of God and gifts are not forced. However, Paul said that the germination into new life is based upon a planting:

Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Romans 6:3

Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. Romans 6:4

For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: Romans 6:5

Now, there simply is no likeness which fits this but water baptism. A "spiritual" death, burial and resurrection is not a likeness because it cannot be seen. This new life is not just in God's mind but we walk in a likeness of the walk of Jesus: it is the free gift of God but don't expect carrots as God's free gift without following His will for growing carrots. But isn't God prevented from adding conditions if it is the gift of God? No. You cannot restrict God and demand grace on your own terms. Lostness isn't because we didn't get wet in water: lostness is because we "refuse the counsel of God for our lives." And if we refuse God's counsel for growing food or gaining wealth we will die hungry and poor.

The Gospel Means that Christ Contually Cleanses us from Sin

Remember that right after Simon was baptized he tried to buy God's power with money. Wow! That is serious. However, Peter told him:

Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee. Ac.8:22

The good news is that one does not have to go before one or a hundred people as the confessor: we have immediate access to the throne of God. Nor do we have to buy a crippled lamb at a high exchange rate and offer it for our sins and have the priest eat the best parts.

The blood of Christ cleanses in a perfect present sense:

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. 1Jn.1:7

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1Jn.1:9

What is the Gospel?

Euaggelizo (g2097) yoo-ang-ghel-id'-zo; from 2095 and 32; to announce good news ("evangelize") espec. the gospel: - declare, bring (declare, show) glad (good) tidings, preach (the gospel).

Everytime Paul preached, he preached some good news even if it had to discipline because "he whom God loveth he chastizes."

Some Other Good News of the Gospel

The good news or gospel still demanded that the free offer be accepted as part of the covenant. The water didn't do the actual work in the Mind of Christ (now fully God, Col 2:9) but to reject the offer of a free drink meant that you "rejected the counsel of Christ for your lives" and you would not receive the grace which was the "power to become" what Christ wanted you to become.

The "good news" or gospel did not end with the free gift of God received by "accepting Christ's counsel for our lives." This made us a citizen in a Spiritual kingdom. The good news is that citizenship frees us from "body worship" or any effort of men's hands to serve the Spirit King.

One makes disciples of Christ by baptizing AND further teaching. The disciples were identified as Christians.

The organized religions laded burdens on people by taking their time and money. Furthermore, they engaged in charismatic or musical rituals which caused great emotional and even physical harm. Jesus said that we could come to Him and He would give us rest. The Greek word PAUO is spiecificially aimed in silencing the musical performers and public speakers. All of these "trades" were like sorcerers and were therefore called parasites.

He said of the twos and threes "come learn of me." The greatest gift of GOSPEL is that God frees us from parasite religionists and sets us free.

Grace is gospel but Paul said that if we don't love the truth God will send us a lie to damn us.

God's gifts are all free but if we don't weed, plant, water, weed and harvest we will starve.

It is gospel or Good news that Jesus' primary purpose was that salvation removed the burden clergy had laid on the "pack animals" which is defined as "spiritual anxiety from religious rituals."

It is gospel or good news that religionists have had their temple destroyed for the third time and their job is "into all the world."

It is gospel or good news that Christ so put His Spirit and Life into His Words that an evangelist can plant it in the heart of a jungle-dweller and it will spring up into eternal life.

The gospel is that every believer is a priest of God and does not neet -- cannot tolerate -- a Levitical Ministery which was formed as "flaming cherubim" to keep the people away from the Tabernacle after they were lost -- and most beyond redemption -- and you don't know if you don't read the rest of the story -- that it was because Israel rejected God's Covenant of Grace because of their musical worship of Apis and were given The Book of the Law to regulate lawless people.

This gospel means that you are free from the Jewish Clergy and the Levite musical performers (Unlawful re Ezekiel, Josephus and Edersheim) who were worshipping the same Dionysus -- the new wineskin god.

The good news is that you don't have to (and cannot) worship in temples made with human hands because God has never and will never be in the physical house. Not even in Jerusalem: the music played, the house went black so that the priests couldn't "perform" but the people prayed from outside the gates and God heard from Heaven.

It is good news that you don't even have to "pray toward the temple" but Jesus put prayer in the closet and giving by one hand so that the other hand can't grab it in a tithe which gets its authority from law.

It is good news that you don't have to go on judgmentally "affirming" every religious group which is the obverse side of "everyone but me is lost." The Jews got into trouble when the commingled with Baalism.

It is good news that you don't have to follow the Lemming-Leaders trying to find the "now but not yet kingdom" because the kingdom is within you.

The gospel is that Jesus freed us from a pagan family of persons and promised that He would return as Another Comforter (spiritual and not physical) Read John 14:16-17 always quoted by books on the Holy Spirit but now get honest and read verse 18.

The gospel is that as Spirit He is not just going to appear "at worship services tonight, right here in this here building" but that Spirit is free of charge (Isaiah 55:1) in His Spirt Words and Life Words (John 6:63).

It is gospel or good news that we can assemble in our little community churches, remember Christ by dining with Him, can sit at His feet and learn, can calmly sing the Biblical message, can participate as a royal priesthood, can look out for the needy and go away without having more anxiety loaded on us like "pack animals."

God's grace demands that I reject both the right-wing (just mean) and the left-wing (just mean but call it love). I try to fly in the middle where you don't have to Navigate the Winds of Change from either side as Clement would say, "Drunk on pure ignorance."

Well, to those who insist that "Gospel is Grace" or Gospel denies you the right to preach the whole set of "good news" I will add to this list from time to time. However, if you insult the God Who gives everything by "rejecting the counsel of God for your lives" or refuse to plant, water and harvest the news is not good:

And also that every man should eat and drink, and enjoy the good of all his labour, it is the gift of God. Ecclesiastes 3:13

The elements of the Gospel are without number and to try to put them into a little pat pattern which rejects the total will of Christ is not the gospel of Christ but another gospel.

Dostoyevsky, Fyodor 1929 In The Brothers Karamazov, illustrates how God's grace is not made in the image of men who want free bread, free miracles or free mysteries of the singing, dancing and drama of carnal people. He showed that:

Christ Rejected the Ministry of Bread Offered by the Inquisition

Christ Rejected the Ministry of Miracles by the Inquisition

Christ Rejected the Ministry of Mysteries by the Inquisition

We can be modern Grand Inquisitors if we cannot permit the Incarnate God of the universe to teach us how to use His resources without throwing a fit and dismissing Jesus or His disciples when they say that the ministry of God is a spiritual ministry and He will not be found wearing the clothes of the proud and popular who refuse to die, be planted and become a new creature as the gift of God.

How to become a Christian is the most important question you have to answer before you die.

 

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