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Converting Lost Souls (Part A)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston
The Truth Network Radio
June 13, 2022 6:00 am

Converting Lost Souls (Part A)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston

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June 13, 2022 6:00 am

Pastor Rick teaches from the book of the Acts

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If saved, if you are saved, then say you're saved.

Don't hide it. Announce that you have surrendered to Christ. And the water baptism is your first opportunity to make a public statement. I now side with Jesus. I have changed teams.

I am with him now. I am no longer with the other group whom I still love and care for and hope to preach to them also. This is Cross Reference Radio with our pastor and teacher Rick Gaston. Rick is the pastor of Calvary Chapel Mechanicsville. Pastor Rick is currently teaching through the Book of Acts.

Please stay with us after today's message to hear more information about Cross Reference Radio, specifically how you can get a free copy of this teaching. But for now, let's join Pastor Rick in the Book of Acts chapter 2 as he begins his message, Converting Lost Souls. Beginning at verse 37, Now when they heard this, they were cut to heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said to them, Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins. And you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, for the promise is to you and to your children and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call. And with many other words, he testified and exhorted them, saying, Be saved from this perverse generation. Then those who gladly received his word were baptized, and that day about 3,000 souls were added to them.

We have to fragment this second chapter of Acts because there's so many spots or sections that you just, I don't think, should rush through. Now I've entitled this message Converting Lost Souls, but thinking about it as I was walking up, I probably should have entitled it Conviction is not enough. If you look with me again at Acts chapter 2 in the verse 36 this time, where we left off last session, we read, Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ. That's Peter preaching for conviction, and he achieved that. He preached to convict them, which means to convince them or includes convincing them that this Jesus, this Joshua of Nazareth, was indeed their Messiah.

And many in the audience and the crowds believe this. But it is as though Peter hit the target and didn't know what to do next. Let's look at verse 37.

I can maybe bring that out. Now when they heard this, that's that convicting word he just preached, they were cut to heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, men and brethren, what shall we do? So Peter again hits the target, but it seems as though he would have kept or continued preaching had not the Holy Spirit politely and effectively intervened in what was happening and guided the crowd to call out. Okay, we're convicted.

What do we do? Well, maybe you get to share the gospel with someone and you convict them, but maybe you're not mindful enough. That's not enough. We've got to get to the conversion. They've got to repent and accept Christ as their Savior, or they will not benefit from mere conviction.

So this is a great lesson. Now Peter's going to learn this next chance he gets in chapter 3. He's going to go for the conversion and not just leave it at the conviction. Jesus said, I will not leave you orphans. I will send the Helper, the Holy Spirit.

And we're seeing this right now. Peter's not left to himself. The Holy Spirit gets involved. And so conviction again to drive it home.

Not enough to finish what we are doing. Conviction and confession of faith surrendered to Christ. A verbal, a deliberate confession of one's sins and reception of Jesus as Lord. And so the goal of that first sermon was to notify these Jewish religious people that their Messiah had come and died for them, just as the scripture had told them would happen to convict them of their sin for rejecting Messiah, their Savior.

In this way, they would avoid judgment. So again, looking at verse 36, Peter again, he lets them have it. He says, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ, right out in front of them.

Nothing vague or foggy about that. Jesus forgives. Many people preach. But they leave out so much more of the message that has to go with that. Churches today, so many of them. There is this premeditated effort to avoid convicting people of their sin.

They want to tell people that Jesus forgives, that he's kind, that the heaven is glorious. But they leave out the conviction. And I think this is a great mistake. He does forgive. He is kind. But those who do not face their sin will not benefit from this kindness. It has to be repent.

That is part of our message. And as we look at the Bible, we have to say to ourselves, do we think that we have better methods than the apostles of Jesus Christ? Do we think that we can do it, we're more clever in our approach to reaching lost souls than the apostles? Jesus said in John chapter 16, and when he, well, let me go back. And when he has come, speaking of the Holy Spirit, he will convict the world of sin and of righteousness and judgment.

Well, how does he do that? Through the preaching that Peter was doing. And then the Holy Spirit, they were cut to their hearts, it tells us here in verse 37. True churches, they preach to strengthen believers, but that's not enough. It's not enough to make believers stronger in their faith. There also must be the conviction of unbelievers, so that when an unbeliever comes to the house of God, they get the message from God, the word from God, which is always, for the unbeliever, going to be repent.

If we can't get past that, we can't move forward. So true churches preach these things. But you won't hear this at church growth seminars. You just won't get it. I get mail all the time about, you know, how to grow your church.

It's nothing about conviction. This is something about paying them money to come tell you to do what evidently the Holy Spirit can't do where you are. I'd be very concerned if I were a pastor and I needed somebody to tell me how to be obedient when I have the Bible, when I am assigned to do this very thing.

Now, you may say that sounds obnoxious. I think it sounds very faithful. I think it sounds very much the thing you want to hear from somebody who is called to preach. And so we see them strive to make church services pleasant for the impenitent, comfortable for sinners by suppressing truth and sin.

I know I say these things all the time, but they need to be repeated. We know that there are many churches that are committed to entertaining those who come in looking for God. As long as they don't disturb me, I will come back. But if they make me uncomfortable, then I will find another church that will not make me come back. I hope that's not something that anyone here online or in the church itself is thinking or I hope you're not living that way.

We cannot hold the truth. Sermons that are laced with big doses of humor and statistics and stories atop a story and pop psychology, that's not preaching the Bible. You know, I like a good laugh just as much as the next person. I like to be humorous also. But when I started noticing that more people were coming out remembering the humor and not the scripture, I felt that was the Lord saying, you need to tone down that funny business. He says, Rick, I know you're really funny.

Even I laugh at some of your stuff. But if you can't hurt them sometimes, you can't hit them when I need to be hit. Not in a vicious way. Well, let's go to the scripture.

Let's see it in action. Jonah, his unmitigated message of doom, saved an entire city. He didn't go in with the pop psychology and the story.

Let me tell you about the time I was... This is Jonah chapter 1. God, this is his initial instruction to Jonah. Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it, for their wickedness has come up before me. And then after we get past the big fish story, we get to Jonah going then, being called to go back to Nineveh.

And Jonah began to enter the city on the first day's walk. Now this was a prophet that was irritated. He was irritated with God, and he was irritated with everybody who wasn't a Jew following God. And he didn't want to do this, but he was being now... Well, God persuaded him, of course.

Yeah, something fishy about this prophet. Anyway, then he cried out and said, yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown. And then we read this, so the people of Nineveh believed God. That was the Holy Spirit at work. They knew they were wicked, they just needed somebody to come along and point it out to them.

Somebody outside the fence. Then we read in Jonah chapter 3 verse 10, then God saw their works and that they turned from their evil way. This is repentance in action. And God relented from the disaster that he had said he would bring upon them, and he did not do it.

That is the gospel. If you repent, the judgment that abides on every single human being that has ever been conceived, judgment abides on them because they are born sinners. They need a savior. You say, what about the unborn?

Those who never are or don't get to live. Well, they're still born sinners. They still need a savior.

And I believe they are in heaven. It continues here in verse 37, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles. Now they saw the apostles as a united group.

They're speaking to Peter, the speaker, but they're addressing all of them. Men and brethren, what shall we do? We've heard the message. The crowd is now saying to Peter, we hear your preaching.

Now what? This is the work of the Holy Spirit. This is him convicting them of sin. They did not deny their own scripture. They were being honest with themselves. They recognized that only Christ could fulfill the things that were written.

And that is even more so today. If someone were to come up, a Jewish rabbi, and say, I am the Messiah, the first question you would have to ask him is, where were you born? And if he doesn't say Bethlehem, then he's out. And if he says Bethlehem, then you have to say, well, what tribe are you from? Well, he's not going to be able to answer that today.

Those records are gone. Messiah cannot come today. He's already come. It's clear to so many of us. As I mentioned, these men that cry out are going to be saved because they were honest with themselves, unlike the Jesus haters who were confronted and convicted and have no defense against what is being told them, and yet they continue to resist.

And so Peter was interrupted by their cry for help. And as I mentioned, he will not make this mistake. When he gets to chapter 13, he will go from the conviction right into repent.

This is what you do next. So there you are preaching to someone, and you're telling them about Christ, and you can see that they're believing this. Then you have to say, are you ready to receive Christ as your Lord and Savior? Are you ready to confess that you are dirty before God? You are filthy dirty before God, and ask Him to forgive you because you recognize that you are a sinner and that you will begin to work towards obeying Christ and ordering your life behind His Lordship. That is repentance.

There's nothing complicated about that. Without further hesitation, though, Peter hears their cry. He goes right into what he is supposed to do. He just didn't know when to stop the sermon. He's had that problem. Every pastor has had that problem. Verse 38, then Peter said to them, Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Peter said to them, Repent. John the baptizer, that was his message, one to bring the people back in line with their own scriptures.

It was to reform them. Our baptism, water baptism we're speaking about, signifies a rebirth. It goes beyond what John was preaching. Jesus, when he entered his public ministry, the first words recorded out of his mouth were, Repent. That was the beginning of his public ministry. It is the message that we find the New Testament church, those first Christians, were preaching because Christianity is incomplete without that, without repentance of the sinner, and it is our invitation to lost souls to own their sin.

You've got to own it. If you want to keep pretending and faking it, God does not save, make believers, only believers, and it's up to the individual. And baptism, it is meaningless without faith, unto repentance, otherwise if you can just baptize anybody without repentance, you're just making somebody wet.

They could have done that at home. I don't know of an auxiliary message. I don't know of a different, a substitute message. Without repentance, there is no salvation. You know that, but do you preach that to unbelievers when you share to them, you know you can say, well Jesus is the reason for the season, well he's the reason for every single day.

He's the upholder of all things, and without him it all goes away in a very nasty way too. He is the reason for everything that is good and right, but to no benefit if there's not repentance. This is the dark alternative to repentance is doom, and that's it.

You don't have to make it, let me tell you in the Greek, doom, doomed, doomed. Jesus said it this way, I tell you, unless you repent, you will also perish. You think this is not a message on repentance incidentally. This is a message about completing the preaching, taking it to where it belongs, arriving at the destination, finishing the work. If saved, if you are saved, then say you're saved.

Don't hide it. Announce that you have surrendered to Christ, and the water baptism is your first opportunity to make a public statement. I now side with Jesus. I have changed teams.

I am with him now. I am no longer with the other group whom I still love and care for, and hope to preach to them also. Romans chapter 1 verse 16. Repeat it with me.

Let's recite it together. For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes. It's the gospel.

Paul was not ashamed of it, took beatings for it. It is the good news of Christ. It is the power of God to salvation. It takes us somewhere, and that is to heaven.

And this is for everyone who believes. I chuckled a little bit about you knowing this verse by heart. It's funny when someone will say, I was just reading in Leviticus 25 verse 3, like you know the verse. You know, that's cute. Anyhow, I fake it.

I do. Yeah, I know the verse. Let every one of you be baptized. All believers are commanded to be baptized. It's not a suggestion.

It's not an option. It is a commandment. I got a little hot on that, right? If you haven't been baptized, I don't take it back. Peter is obeying orders at this point that he received from Jesus Christ along with the other apostles, Matthew 28 verse 19. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, immersing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.

And here he is getting right to it. Now we do not encourage the youth to become baptized for some reasons. We will do it.

We won't be the bad guy. But what happens with the youth is, you know, one may be sincere or not. It takes time to tell, to be in the faith under pressure.

But then it could cause, you know, this peer pressure kind of thing. Well, if you're getting baptized, I'm getting baptized. And that's not the right, of course, motive for baptism. So we're sensitive to that. We're not draconian about it.

You know, how dare you ask us, flog him. But we just want to say, listen, if you reach the age where you know Jesus is your Savior, you must be baptized. It doesn't save you. And there are different, you know, someone on their deathbed. You can baptize them, you know, just a little water. It's not the ritual that we're after.

It's the statement. Baptism publicly serves everyone noticed that you belong to Jesus. And it is no wonder that He commands it be done, if that is what it does. Acts chapter 8, I'll get to the part about, you know, it being that it will not save your soul.

We'll come to that. Acts chapter 8, there's another one, Philip. Philip didn't know how to close it either. He's just running along and he catches up to the chariot. He's just preaching his heart out. And the Ethiopian is just convicted. And it's the Ethiopian that says, hey, here's water. How about you baptize me here? Well, Philip could have said, if you really believe we're coming up on this water here, how about I baptize you?

So we're learning these things that even the first Christians, it developed, coming out of Judaism into Christianity. Because again, our water baptism is not identical to the baptism that John the Baptist baptized with. Acts chapter 8 verse 36, Now as they went down the road, they came to some water. And the eunuch said, see, here is water.

What hinders me from being baptized? Then Philip said, if you believe with all your heart, you may. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

Man, I just got to love that. I mean, it's just, you know, this whole moment with Peter and this Ethiopian, you know, if you believe. Philip says, listen, you don't just do this. There's something that must go with the water baptism and that is faith, belief that Jesus is the Christ, the one I've just been preaching to you in the chariot from the book of Isaiah. And of course they went down into the water, meaning it was deep, and they baptized, he baptized him there. In the name of Jesus, says Peter, let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus. Acts 4, 12, there's no other name for salvation. He is preaching to a multitude, calling the Jewish converts who said that, you know, what's the next step because we do believe what you're saying. He says, in the name of Jesus Christ, who is the Messiah of the Old Testament.

There was no Old New Testament yet when this was taking place, just the Old Testament. Now, 2 Chronicles 7, 14, some of you won't like this, but that passage of scripture, it's not for every nation under the sun. It's not for any nation under the sun. It's for one nation, and I'll read it, because we like to take this and apply it to America, and it's not a good fit.

There are parts of it that are noble, but it's not what was intended. If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and heal their land. Well, this part about if they were turned from their wicked ways, it can't apply to the church because the church has already done that.

He's speaking about the nation of Israel. And her apostasy and God's devotion to resolving this problem of doom by saying, just turn to me. Well, we're watching the Jews here in Jerusalem at this time turn to the Lord. They're seeking his face. They're going to pray to him.

They're coming to him. But it's not the nation, and the land will not be healed. And that will come, though. It's a prophecy that remains to be completely fulfilled. Continuing on, for the remission of sins. Well, we get baptized because our sins have been remitted, canceled out, not to remit them. We are baptized because they have been, not to remit the sin. And it's the big difference because if you believe you get baptized so that your sins can be removed and you believe the finished work of Christ is not enough, that dying on the cross was not enough, you've got to get wet. Water does not wash away sin, the blood of Jesus Christ, and that alone washes away sin. And it is unfortunate that the translators, in using this word for the remission of sins, have opted to go with that word in the English Bibles because it's not what the Bible teaches. The Bible teaches contrary to that. The Greek word for four sins, four in the phrase, for the remission of sins, can also be translated on the account of.

Now, it's not a fault of the original Greek, it's not a fault of the Peter, it's just the translators have opted for a different word. One of my favorite pastor Bible teachers of long ago said, you know, theologians like sheep all go astray sometime, and they just, I think this is one of the instances. Some translations will go with unto remission of sins to make it clear. Here's why I said the Bible doesn't teach that. If baptism were necessary for salvation, then nobody in the Old Testament is saved. And we know they're in heaven because the Bible tells us these things.

You know, just Moses and Elijah on the Mount of Transfiguration. Jesus saying, what are you going to feel pretty bad when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom and you left out? So we understand that Old Testament saints were saved apart from water baptism. Water baptism is not a condition of salvation, it is an admission that Jesus finished the work for my salvation. Messiah's death has canceled my debt, sin is remitted.

And they understood it that way. Peter said, when they said, what do we do? Repent.

And right after that repentance, because we've been commanded, your first act as a Christian is to be baptized. We'd also like to encourage you to subscribe to the Cross Reference Radio podcast. Subscribing ensures that you stay current with all the latest teachings from Pastor Rick. You can subscribe at or simply search for Cross Reference Radio in your favorite podcast app. Tune in next time as Pastor Rick continues teaching through the book of Acts right here on Cross Reference Radio.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-05 20:05:16 / 2023-04-05 20:15:10 / 10

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