“Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both LORD and Christ — this Jesus whom you crucified.” Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brethren, what shall we do?”
Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself.” And with many other words he solemnly testified and kept on exhorting them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation!” So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls.Acts 2:36-41
I told you in the last Gems we are to:
- BE BAPTISED
It is clear we are to REPENT, BELIEVE and BE BAPTIZED. Below are verses which link more than one of the concepts together in the same verse. But notice that it is not consistently the same words which appear. Not only that it is clear that each of these THREE BIG words are linked to the notion of being saved or receiving salvation. Then there are numerous verses that link the ideas in a series of consecutive verses but I haven’t the time at the moment to give you all of those and they would be overload. Suffice to say these three ideas are linked. Despite the fact as one person protested that believe does not appear in the this segment of Acts. Or course the Gems reader is correct. The word believe is omitted in this section of Acts. But it is clear that Believing is a major part of salvation.
and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”Mark1:15
Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.Acts 2:38
“He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned.Mark 16:16
Paul said, “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in Him who was coming after him, that is, in Jesus.”Act 19:4
For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death.2 Cor 7:10
Now to look at the idea that we have to BELIEVE in order to receive salvation. There are many people, Christians and non Christians alike who have the idea that to BELIEVE is the cerebral notion that Jesus really lived and was who He said He was – prophet, teacher, healer, miracle worker and more. But many stop short of believing that He is Messiah, Saviour, God. It is the coupling of these last three which is foundational for Salvation. All other classifications of Jesus can be accepted but Jesus can still be rejected as being the only one through Whom Salvation comes, the only one who can restore your relationship with God. We will see the nature of this foundational thought more as we proceed through the Books of Acts. So I don’t intend to reveal it all now. Everything in its time. What I do want to do in this Gems is to look at what it means to BELIEVE Biblically.
Many think the idea is to be able to say, Yes I BELIEVE Jesus lived and taught some good things. That classes Him among the great teachers but it won’t restore your relationship with God and save you. Well I BELIEVE He died and rose and again. That’s good but so do the demons now. My first point is it is not a matter of the mind alone. Many can believe something is true, right and worthy of acceptance but DO nothing about it. It stays in the realm of being a good idea, something worth doing among many other things that cry for our attention. But DO nothing about it. To almost BELIEVE won’t make you right with God. You have to do something about it. Either Jesus is God or He is not. Either Jesus was the biggest con man in history or He is God in the flesh. It is either one of the other. To BELIEVE is more than an idea we agree to in our mind.
The Gimi people of Papua New Guinea understand what the idea of BELIEVING is all about despite being a tribe of subsistence people living in the jungles of PNG. The Gimi know very clearly the difference between believing in mind and believing biblically because it is embedded in their culture. Sam and Nancy McBride saw that as they lived among the Gimi to translate the Word of God for them. If you ask a Gimi person, “Do you believe that log is safe to cross the river on?” A Gimi can’t answer from his mind, “I think it can. If you measure its mass, density, tensile strength and take into account the length of the span needed to reach the other side, and also factor in my weight if I am going to cross on it. Yes I believe it can hold my weight and I believe I can trust it to support me.” No, a Gimi doesn’t do that. A Gimi man cannot say I believe it will support me. He has to try it first and then he can say the word “believe”. His BELIEVING is experiential and not cerebral. That is the idea of the word “BELIEVE” in the Bible.
To BELIEVE in the Bible is to practically, experientially trust that Jesus is the Messiah and the Saviour of your soul. To believe that He was and is not a liar and that everything He said and taught is God’s Truth. But there is still more to it. After making a mental agreement to these notions, biblically one must live in the truth of that which we BELIEVE in our minds. As my mentor Reg Ackland told me when I was starving for truth and devouring all the Navigator Foundations series, each new book in just one day, “Ian, you have to slow down in your desire for knowledge. It has to move from your head to your heart.” The belief that saves you is not knowledge about something. It is the knowledge or the awareness that Jesus is all that He said He is. He can be fully TRUSTED to have your best interests at heart. You can TRUST Him to do what He said He would do. The Word is relational (in Him) and experiential (must be practically outworked ) at the same time. You come into this new knowledge of the Truth and then taste and see that He is God. Test Him in “the matter before you” that you may know for CERTAIN that you can rely on Him. That can only come with working out your ability to TRUST Him / BELIEVE in Him day by day. Walk or outwork your belief in Him in such a way that enables you to grow. When God’s Word or Holy Spirit tells you (or impresses on you) to TRUST Him in a particular thing or issue then respond in such way that enables you to grow in your TRUST or ability to BELIEVE His Word to your heart. Learn to follow your heart to do that which you feel He is telling you to do. Learn to develop your TRUST or ability of BELIEVE Him by putting it to the test.
BELIEVING in Jesus from a Bible perspective is to learn to BELIEVE in Him and TRUST Him in an ongoing way. Not BELIEVING something in your mind one day and then slipping back from your ability to TRUST Him in the following days. But developing that confidence in Him which enables you to say, “though He slay me yet will I TRUST Him.” The ability to trust Jesus in life or death situations or in those situations which mean so much to us or are important to us. The ability to TRUST in moments like that requires our willingness to grow in TRUST with Him moment by moment. When we have seen Him to be faithful to His Word and His promises in the past it increases our ability to walk in full TRUST in the present. It is all to do with our wilingness to respond to what He has told us and TRUST that it will work out according to what He has said. (You can read further about this in Gems 102 – 104)
I had planned to share some of our story in relation to all of this but have been caught by Christmas events and now this morning the developing hostage crisis in Sydney. So I will not add the Ian Stories as I intended. Rather stand firm in your ability to BELIEVE and TRUST Him to work out your situation like He said He would. Don’t rely on your own understanding but TRUST Him to lead and guide you to do what He has told you to do. Then you will have your own stories with which to encourage and reassure yourself. As we tell our testimony of what God has done to people it encourages us afresh and anew. That will happened to you too. That is why God told the people of Israel to set up monument stones after He had done something for them. So that when they passed those monument stones at another time they could tell their children what God had done in the past. When you do that you and others grow because you remember that God is indeed faithful to that which He told you. I have a life time worth of stories. Start to record your own. Take the revelation and make it plain on tablets. (Hab 2:2)
In the next Gem I will look at BE BAPTISED and then sum it all up.
God predestined the pressing in your life and as you are pressed, you gradually conform to the image of your predestined purpose.T D Jakes
Don’t let the world squeeze you into its mould, yield to God and allow Him to shape you as He intends.Ian Vail
Trust is a thread that touches every area of our lives. Never forget or underestimate its worth.D. Ridgley
Each test of your ability to BELIEVE Him enables you to stand in greater confidence in His Word to your heart.Ian Vail
Great faith is the product of great fights… Great triumphs can only come out of great trials.Smith Wigglesworth