The Day of Pentecost
On the Day of Pentecost, after Christ went to Heaven, Peter preached the first sermon. He preached about Jesus Christ. He told the people that Christ had died for their sins. After Peter finished preaching, the people said, "Men and brethren, what shall we do?" (Acts 2:37). These people had heard about Jesus Christ. They believed what they had heard. They were convinced that they were sinners. Peter told them to "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" (Acts 2:38). Here was Peter's simple answer to the people's question of "What shall we do?" They already believed what Peter said about Christ. Peter then told them to repent and be baptized. If they would do this, they would receive forgiveness of their sins. We must repent of our sins and be baptized. Then our sins are forgiven.
The Ethiopian Eunuch
In Acts 8:26-40 we are told of the conversion of the Ethiopian Eunuch. Philip preached "Jesus" to the eunuch (Acts 8:35). As they were riding along, they came to some water. The eunuch said, "See, here is water! What hinders me from being baptized?" (Acts 8:36). Philip told him if he believed with all his heart, he could be baptized. The eunuch answered, "I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God" (Acts 8:37). Both Philip and the eunuch then went down into the water. Philip baptized the eunuch. Here we see that the eunuch heard Jesus preached to him. He believed that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. He confessed his faith in Christ. Then he was baptized.
Saul of Tarsus
The conversion of Saul of Tarsus (later the Apostle Paul) is told in Acts, chapters 9, 22, and 26. Saul was on his way to Damascus to persecute the Christians. On the way, he was struck blind. Christ appeared to him. He told Saul, "Arise and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do " (Acts 9:6). He did as he was told. In Damascus, Ananias, a Christian, came to Saul. He told Saul what to do. "And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord" (Acts 22:16). What was Saul told to do? He was told to arise and be baptized. Why? To wash away his sins. Saul was not forgiven of his sins until he was baptized.
Acts, chapters 10 and 11, tell of the conversion of Cornelius. Cornelius was the first person to become a Christian who was not a Jew. He was a Roman soldier. The Bible says he was a "devout man, and one who feared God with all his household who gave alms generously to the people, and prayed to God always" (Acts 10:2). Could such good things be said about you? Cornelius was a very good man. Yet, he was LOST! His sins had not been forgiven! The Lord told Cornelius to send to Joppa for Peter. Peter would "tell you words by which you and all your household will be saved" (Acts 11:14). Peter preached Christ to them. He then "commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord" (Acts 10:48). Here was a man (Cornelius) who was religious. He was a good man. Yet he was a LOST SINNER! His sins had not been forgiven. He had to call for Peter to learn what to do be saved. Peter told him and his household to be baptized. When they were baptized, they were forgiven of their sins.
We started by asking, "What must I do to be saved?" We then turned to the Bible to find the answer to this question. In our study, we found that the people HEARD about Jesus Christ. They heard that He died to forgive them of their sins. The people BELIEVED this. They believed that Jesus is the Son of God. They understood they were lost in their sins. They were then told to REPENT of their sins. They CONFESSED that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. After confessing, they were BAPTIZED. When they were baptized, their sins were forgiven. They were not forgiven of their sins before baptism. They were forgiven only when they were baptized. Do you believe in Jesus Christ? Have you repented of your sins? Have you confessed that Jesus Christ is the Son of God? Have you been baptized in order to have your sins forgiven? If you have not, then you are still in your sins. You are lost. Obey the Gospel today just as lost sinners did in the Bible. You will be then be saved.