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I couldn’t miss the parallel in the following beautiful promise in The Desire of Ages to 1 John 1:9: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

“Our confession of His faithfulness is Heaven’s chosen agency for revealing Christ to the world. We are to acknowledge His grace as made known through the holy men of old; but that which will be most effectual is the testimony of our own experience.” {The Desire of Ages, page 347, paragraph 3}

I confess that God has forgiven my sins that put Jesus on the cross. I confess that it has been just over ten years that I have been rebaptized, but that baptism is a way of life abiding in Jesus Christ so He reveals His perfect character in me in spite of my weaknesses. Baptism is not merely an event! I am not in bondage because Jesus is my continuous Healer and Deliverer!!! I confess that through full surrender to Christ by beholding His infinite loveliness of character, I am a new creature in Christ Jesus. I am a walking miracle—and you can be, too! I am at Camp Sagola with the intense purpose of seeing the souls of God’s children thoroughly converted. “God is faithful” (1 John 1:9).
The Desire of Ages / Re: The Desire of Ages--35--Peace Be Still
« Last post by Pastor Sean Brizendine on July 15, 2018, 07:12:36 AM »
I love spending hours with Jesus morning by morning, so He fills my heart with love and removes my fears!!

“When Jesus was awakened to meet the storm, He was in perfect peace. There was no trace of fear in word or look, for no fear was in His heart. But He rested not in the possession of almighty power. It was not as the ‘Master of earth and sea and sky’ that He reposed in quiet. That power He had laid down, and He says, ‘I can of Mine own self do nothing.’ John 5:30. He trusted in the Father’s might. It was in faith—faith in God’s love and care—that Jesus rested, and the power of that word which stilled the storm was the power of God.” – {The Desire of Ages, page 336, paragraph 1}
“As Jesus rested by faith in the Father’s care, so we are to rest in the care of our Saviour. If the disciples had trusted in Him, they would have been kept in peace. Their fear in the time of danger revealed their unbelief. In their efforts to save themselves, they forgot Jesus; and it was only when, in despair of self-dependence, they turned to Him that He could give them help.” – {The Desire of Ages, page 336, paragraph 2}
The Desire of Ages / Re: The Desire of Ages--34--The Invitation
« Last post by Pastor Sean Brizendine on July 14, 2018, 03:01:21 AM »
“If we were left to follow our own inclinations, to go just where our will would lead us, we should fall into Satan's ranks and become possessors of his attributes. Therefore God confines us to His will, which is high, and noble, and elevating. He desires that we shall patiently and wisely take up the duties of service.” {The Desire of Ages, page 329, paragraph 3}

Amazing! Our own inclinations are not safe to follow—we need a living connection with Christ in whose heart is God’s law! I choose by the faith of Jesus to walk in His will today motivated by His infinite loveliness of character!
Thursday ↥         July 19

The Second Arrest

If the apostles could be used to bring God’s judgment on sin, as in Ananias and Sapphira’s case, they could also be used to bring God’s grace on sinners. Their powerful healing ministry (Acts 5:12-16) was tangible evidence that God’s Spirit was working through them. That even Peter’s shadow, it was believed, could heal people is striking. The closest parallel in the Gospels is that of a woman who was healed by touching Jesus’ garment (Luke 8:43, 44). Luke, however, does not say that Peter’s shadow actually had healing power but that the people thought so. Yet, even if popular superstition was involved, God would still dispense His grace.

Notwithstanding, the more the apostles were filled with the Spirit, and signs and wonders multiplied, the more the religious leaders were filled with jealousy. This led them to arrest the apostles a second time (Acts 5:17, 18). It was only after their miraculous escape (Acts 5:19-24) and another bold speech by Peter, stressing that they should “obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29), that some of the authorities began to consider the possibility that supernatural influences could be at work.

Read Acts 5:34-39. How did Gamaliel try to dissuade the Sanhedrin from killing the apostles?

The Sanhedrin was controlled by the Sadducees, with the Pharisees forming an influential minority. Gamaliel was a Pharisee and a doctor of the law. He was so highly regarded among the Jews that he became known as “Rabban” (“our teacher”), rather than simply “Rabbi” (“my teacher”). Paul was one of his disciples (Acts 22:3).

Gamaliel recalled two other rebel movements in Israel’s recent history that had also attracted followers and caused turmoil. The leaders, however, were killed and their followers were completely dispersed. The lesson he drew was that if the Christian movement was of human origin, it would soon disappear. On the other hand, if it was a divine movement, as claimed by the apostles, how could they hope to withstand it? Gamaliel’s advice prevailed. The apostles were flogged and once again commanded not to speak in Jesus’ name.

What does this story tell us about how needful and helpful good counsel can often be? How can we learn to be more open to getting counsel even when it may consist of what we don’t necessarily want to hear?

Friday ↥         July 20

Further Study: “We are stewards, entrusted by our absent Lord with the care of His household and His interests, which He came to this world to serve. He has returned to heaven, leaving us in charge, and He expects us to watch and wait for His appearing. Let us be faithful to our trust, lest coming suddenly He find us sleeping.”—Ellen G. White, Testimonies for the Church, vol. 8, p. 37.

“The people need to be impressed with the sacredness of their vows and pledges to the cause of God. Such pledges are not generally held to be as obligatory as a promissory note from man to man. But is a promise less sacred and binding because it is made to God? Because it lacks some technical terms, and cannot be enforced by law, will the Christian disregard the obligation to which he has given his word? No legal note or bond is more obligatory than a pledge made to the cause of God.”—Ellen G. White Comments, The SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 6, p. 1056.

Discussion Questions:

    Among many other things, Jesus left two immediate legacies to the disciples: the expectation of His soon return and a worldwide mission. How should these two factors impact our sense of mission and the call to preach the gospel to the world?

    Someone once said: “We should be ready as if Jesus would come today but continue working [in the mission of the church] as if He would take another hundred years to come.” What wisdom is found in this sentiment, and how can we apply it to our calling in life?

    Why must the life, death, resurrection, and return of Jesus be central to all that we preach? Or look at it like this: What good is anything we preach without these events?

    What should the story of Ananias and Sapphira teach about just how difficult it is for us to know the hearts of others, either for good or for evil?

    Who are some modern-day Gamaliels whom you know? Or, perhaps, are you in a position to play that role for others? Either way, in class talk about times and share examples about how the giving or the receiving of wise counsel did some good. What lessons can we learn from these accounts?

Tuesday ↥         July 17

The Rise of Opposition

It was not long until the church’s success aroused opposition from some Jerusalem leaders. The Jerusalem temple was run by the high priest and his associates, most of whom were Sadducees. The high priest was also the president of the Sanhedrin council, which in those days was comprised mostly of Sadducees and Pharisees. Because the Sadducees did not believe in resurrection, they were greatly disturbed that Peter and John were teaching that Jesus had been raised from the dead. Arrested by the temple guards, the apostles were put in custody until the following day, when they were brought before the council (Acts 4:1-7).

Read Acts 4:1-18. When asked about by what authority they had been acting, how did Peter reply? What was an underlying message in what Peter said that the leaders would have found so threatening?

The challenge about authority posed by the Jewish leaders suggests a concern for power. Peter, however, declared not only that the miracle had been performed in the name of Jesus but also that salvation comes from Him only. The apostles were before the highest Jewish body; yet, they were in the service of a much higher authority. These men were simple, unschooled Galilean fishermen; thus, their courage and eloquence struck those who were there. Although the leaders did not realize it, the point was that the apostles were filled with the Holy Spirit, exactly as Jesus had foretold (Matt. 10:16-20).

Without being able to deny the miracle—the healed man was also present so that all could see him—the Sanhedrin commanded the apostles to stop preaching. They feared the message as much as the increasing popularity of the movement. Failing to evaluate the evidence properly, they allowed prejudice and desire for self-protection to dictate their actions.

Peter’s final words are among the most precious gems of the book of Acts: “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:19, 20, NKJV).

Think about the desire for power and how potentially dangerous it can be, at any level and in any context. As Christians called to be servants, why must we be careful about the lure of power?

Wednesday ↥         July 18

Ananias and Sapphira

The pooling of goods in the early church was not compulsory; that is, it was not a formal condition of membership. Yet, there certainly were several examples of voluntary generosity that inspired the whole community. One such example was Barnabas (Acts 4:36, 37), who will play an important role later in the book.

However, there were also negative examples that threatened the unity of the church from within, right at a time when attacks from without had just begun.

Read Acts 5:1-11. What are the lessons of this story?

Though Luke has not given us all the details, there is no question that the fundamental problem of Ananias and Sapphira was not the attempt to keep the money but the practice of deceit within the community. Their sin was not the result of an impulsive act but of a carefully laid plan, a deliberate attempt “to test the Spirit of the Lord” (Acts 5:9, ESV). They were not under the obligation to sell their property and give the money to the church. Thus, when they committed themselves to doing so, perhaps they were acting in their own interest only, maybe even trying to gain influence among the brethren with what appeared to be a commendable act of charity.

This possibility may help to explain why God punished them so severely. Even if the church’s communal life resulted from the conviction that Jesus was just about to come, an act like that of Ananias and Sapphira at such an early stage could disparage the importance of loyalty to God and become a bad influence among the believers. The fact that there is no mention of Ananias’s being given the chance to repent, as in the case of Sapphira (Acts 5:8 ), may be due only to the shortness of the account.

The bottom line is that, from the beginning to the end, they had acted sinfully, and sin is a serious matter in God’s eyes (Ezek. 18:20, Rom. 6:23), even if He does not always punish it immediately. In fact, that punishment is often deferred should constantly remind us of how gracious God is (2 Pet. 3:9).

Why must we be careful about pushing the limits of grace, as these two early members of the church did?
Lesson 3 July 14-20

Life in the Early Church

Sabbath Afternoon

Read for This Week’s Study: Acts 2:42-46; Acts 4:34, 35; Acts 3:1-26; Acts 4:1-18; Acts 5:1-11; Acts 5:34-39.

Memory Text: “Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people” (Acts 2:46, 47, NIV).

The early church’s sense of urgency could not have been stronger. The way that Jesus had answered the question concerning the establishment of the Messianic kingdom, leaving the issue of time open (Acts 1:6-8), could be understood to mean that everything depended on the coming of the Spirit and the completion of the apostolic mission. So, when Pentecost came, early believers thought that everything was fulfilled: they had received the Spirit and shared the gospel with the whole world. Not that the apostles had left Jerusalem and had gone out to the world, but the world had come to them (Acts 2:5-11).

What happened next was the church’s detachment from material goods. Sensing that the time was short, they sold all they had and devoted themselves to learning and to fellowship while continuing to witness about Jesus, but only in Jerusalem. The communal life they developed, though effective in helping the poor, soon became a problem, and God had to intervene to keep the church united. This was also the time when they began to find themselves facing opposition. Yet amid it all, their faith remained unshakeable.

Study this week’s lesson to prepare for Sabbath, July 21.

Sunday ↥         July 15

Teaching and Fellowship

After Pentecost, Luke shifts the narrative to a general description of the inner life of the church in Jerusalem. “And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers” (Acts 2:42, NKJV). The four items noted appear to be basically teaching and fellowship. According to verse 46, the teaching was carried out in the temple, while the fellowship was in private homes.

The temple court was surrounded by roofed porches that were frequently used for rabbinic instruction. That the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching shows that the gift of the Spirit did not lead them to a contemplative religion but to an intense learning process under the apostles, whose authoritative teaching was authenticated by wonders and signs (Acts 2:43).

Spiritual fellowship was another distinctive mark of early Christian piety. The believers were constantly together, not only in the temple but also in their homes, where they shared meals, celebrated the Lord’s Supper, and prayed (Acts 2:42, 46). By having such daily celebrations, the early Christians expressed their hope in Jesus’ soon return, when His fellowship with them would be restored in the Messianic kingdom (Matt. 26:29).

Private homes played a key role in the early church’s life. The believers still attended the temple’s daily ceremonies (Acts 3:1), and on Sabbaths they presumably were in the synagogues with their fellow Jews (James 2:2), but the distinctive elements of Christian devotion were performed in homes.

Read Acts 2:44, 45; 4:34, 35. What was an important aspect of early Christian fellowship?

Believing that the end was near, they decided that their material possessions, “private property” (to use a more up-to-date term), were not that important anymore. A common use of their material resources, therefore, seemed appropriate. There was no reason to worry about tomorrow, as the Messiah Himself would provide for their needs in the Messianic kingdom (Luke 22:29, 30). This sharing allowed them to experience a deeper sense of unity, besides becoming an extraordinary example of Christian generosity.

How generous are you with what you have been given from the Lord?

Monday ↥         July 16

The Healing of a Lame Man

In Acts 3:1, Peter and John went to the temple for the three o’clock prayer service. This indicates the essentially Jewish character of the church’s faith at this early period. That is, the apostles did not go to the temple only to instruct or make new converts but because Peter and John were still Jews and, as such, were still committed to Jewish religious traditions (Acts 20:16, 21:17-26), at least up to this point. There they performed an astounding miracle (Acts 3:1-10), which gave Peter the opportunity to preach another sermon.

Read Acts 3:12-26. What are some of Peter’s main emphases in his sermon?

Five main points characterized early Christian preaching: Jesus was the suffering Messiah (Acts 3:18); God resurrected Him (Acts 3:15); Jesus was exalted in heaven (Acts 3:13); He will come again (Acts 3:20); and repentance is necessary for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 3:19).

In many ways, this is the same message we are taking to the world, even if the context has changed. The apostles were still in a Jewish setting, when instead of changing religions the people basically just had to “migrate” from the old covenant to the new one. As part of God’s people, they had to accept the Messiah and experience the new birth that follows a true acceptance of Jesus.

Now, though the situation is different, the message is still essentially the same: Christ died for our sins, was resurrected, and He will return again. This means, then, that we can find salvation in Him. Even in the context of the three angels’ messages of Revelation 14, Jesus Christ crucified, Jesus Christ risen, and Jesus Christ returning must be the center of how we proclaim those messages.

“Of all professing Christians, Seventh-day Adventists should be foremost in uplifting Christ before the world. The proclamation of the third angel’s message calls for the presentation of the Sabbath truth. This truth, with others included in the message, is to be proclaimed; but the great center of attraction, Christ Jesus, must not be left out. It is at the cross of Christ that mercy and truth meet together, and righteousness and peace kiss each other. The sinner must be led to look to Calvary; with the simple faith of a little child he must trust in the merits of the Saviour, accepting His righteousness, believing in His mercy.”—Ellen G. White, Gospel Workers, pp. 156, 157.

Friday         July 13

Further Thought: The outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost revealed a crucial truth about what happened in heaven and about how God the Father accepted Christ’s sacrifice for the sins of the world. The outpouring of the Spirit showed, too, that Christ’s work in heaven in our behalf, based on His sacrifice on earth, was now inaugurated. These astonishing events are more manifestations of the wonderful truth that heaven and earth are connected in ways that we just can’t fathom now.

“Christ’s ascension to heaven was the signal that His followers were to receive the promised blessing. . . . When Christ passed within the heavenly gates, He was enthroned amidst the adoration of the angels. As soon as this ceremony was completed, the Holy Spirit descended upon the disciples in rich currents, and Christ was indeed glorified, even with the glory which He had with the Father from all eternity. The Pentecostal outpouring was Heaven’s communication that the Redeemer’s inauguration was accomplished. According to His promise He had sent the Holy Spirit from heaven to His followers as a token that He had, as priest and king, received all authority in heaven and on earth, and was the Anointed One over His people.”—Ellen G. White, The Acts of the Apostles, pp. 38, 39.


Discussion Questions:

    What of Pentecost can the church expect to experience in its life today? What is repeatable, and what is not?

The power of the Holy Spirit will be much greater in our day when the Latter Rain falls in it fullness upon all who already are filled with the Spirit. We can expect a revelation of Christ to be beyond what we now understand. It is the office of the Holy Spirit to reveal truth. The most important truth is a revelation of the character of our God. Those who will live through a time of trouble such as never was will not fall as did the disciples after Pentecost. They will know Christ so well, they would rather die than sin. Jesus will not go through the same process, He already King of Kings. He is today preparing a people to reveal His character as never before. He is preparing a people to stand without a Mediator.

What can we do to help Him so that there will be an end to suffering and death?

    Dwell more on the fact that Peter made the resurrection of Jesus such an important part of his Pentecost message. What made the resurrection even more astonishing is that whatever Jewish Messianic expectations had existed at the time, no one was expecting a Messiah to be resurrected from the dead. That was not on anyone’s spiritual radar; it was not what those awaiting the coming of the Messiah had anticipated. What lessons can we learn from this about how we need to know what the Bible teaches, as opposed to whatever the latest popular teachings are?

Amen! We need to know Jesus personally and we need to be studying for ourselves. Jesus send teachers, but they point all to Him who gave all that we might live, and the Bible.

    Acts 2:38 talked about the need of baptism. Does this mean that anyone who believed in Jesus but died before being baptized must, of necessity, be lost? Justify your answer.

Baptism does not prepare one for heaven. As the lesson pointed out, it is a symbol, a public statement, made by those who have already surrendered their hearts (the whoke heart) to Christ. Did not Jesus tell the thief on the cross he would be in heaven? Was he baptized after he was converted? No, he was not.
The Desire of Ages / Re: The Desire of Ages--32--The Centurion
« Last post by Richard Myers on July 12, 2018, 01:52:27 PM »
Amen Pastor Sean! What a joy to know our Savior intimately!  He loves even me!!  He died for us while we were yet sinners!! There is a time coming very soon when all will have made their decision one way or the other. Today to a large degree determines where we shall end up. If we are yielding, then we shall see Jesus. If we are rejecting His call, then unless we do something differently soon, we shall lose out on being with Jesus for eternity. What a shame since He already paid for our redemption.

     The Jews had been instructed from childhood concerning the work of the Messiah. The inspired utterances of patriarchs and prophets and the symbolic teaching of the sacrificial service had been theirs. But they had disregarded the light; and now they saw in Jesus nothing to be desired. But the centurion, born in heathenism, educated in the idolatry of imperial Rome, trained as a soldier, seemingly cut off from spiritual life by his education and surroundings, and still further shut out by the bigotry of the Jews, and by the contempt of his own countrymen for the people of Israel,--this man perceived the truth to which the children of Abraham were blinded. He did not wait to see whether the Jews themselves would receive the One who claimed to be their Messiah. As the "light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world" (John 1:9) had shone upon him, he had, though afar off, discerned the glory of the Son of God.
     To Jesus this was an earnest of the work which the gospel was to accomplish among the Gentiles. With joy He looked forward to the gathering of souls from all nations to His kingdom. With deep sadness He pictured to the Jews the result of their rejection of His grace: "I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven. But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth." Alas, how many are still preparing for the same fatal disappointment! While souls in heathen darkness accept His grace, how many there are in Christian lands upon whom the light shines only to be disregarded. 
The Desire of Ages / Re: The Desire of Ages--32--The Centurion
« Last post by Pastor Sean Brizendine on July 12, 2018, 05:58:54 AM »
Some people alive on earth right now are waiting to be translated to heaven when Jesus comes. They need not wait for the faith of that experience, as according to Scripture, Jesus already did that for us, and offers us translation faith (saving faith, the faith of Jesus, the faith that led the centurion to trust that just by God's word, as he yielded his heart to the loveliness of Jesus, that his servant would be healed, even kindling in his heart faith to believe on Christ as a personal Savior). We have infinitely many reasons to be praising God right now, and no matter what our flesh says (the devil's version of your identity), you can trust what your Savior says (as the divine nature He gives you in full surrender, evinced by all of the fruits of the Spirit without one missing, are a sure sign that you are a NEW CREATURE in Christ Jesus!!). Are you willing to stop listening to S109.1 (or whatever your station is in your mind, the "S" standing for "Self")? We have so many "stations" of unbelief, but the only saving faith radio station is the one that is the mind of Christ, the mind that is ever fully surrendered to hear and follow where the loving Savior leads. His voice can awaken you from listening to your station of death (self) and start listening 24/7 to Jesus Christ (and reception is always strong, not intermittent!) You might say, "But my station is weak." Then stop trying to make up a faith station and call it "the faith of Jesus," when only HIS FAITH--HIS CHARACTER and HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS are sufficient for you!!!! We need to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, and we will as we spend a thoughtful hour with Him, fall so completely in love with Him all over again that we cannot contain our joy and must find someone to share with of the infinite loveliness of Jesus!!!

"Satan cannot hold the dead in his grasp when the Son of God bids them live. He cannot hold in spiritual death one soul who in faith receives Christ's word of power. God is saying to all who are dead in sin, 'Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead.' Ephesians 5:14. That word is eternal life. As the word of God which bade the first man live, still gives us life; as Christ's word, 'Young man, I say unto thee, Arise,' gave life to the youth of Nain, so that word, 'Arise from the dead,' is life to the soul that receives it. God 'hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son.' Colossians 1:13. It is all offered us in His word. If we receive the word, we have the deliverance." {The Desire of Ages, page 320, paragraph 2}

Praise God for such a faith as Jesus gives us--it is not in Israel, it is not in you or me by nature, it is in Christ--and Christ will live in the weakest soul who yields unreservedly to Him full time!!! Hallelujah!!!! I cannot contain this joy!!!! Please share with someone what Jesus has done for you!!!! Ten years ago today I was re baptized in Southern California during my first summer of going door-to-door in a magabook Youth Rush Summer 2008 Program. Yoane Sanchez, a young canvassing leader, exuded the loveliness of Jesus in such a powerful way that I was so deeply encouraged to go deeper with God, and as a result God has wrought such a transformation in my life!! I look back with joy but even GREATER ANTICIPATION for what God will continue to do. Does the faith of Jesus have its way in you? It can and it will as you behold Him and let His mind be in you!!! A new heart is the inevitable result of union and communion with Christ, a heart that overflows with love and earnestly desires to save one more soul for the sake of Jesus!!!   
Thursday         July 12

The Firstfruits

Peter’s hearers were cut to the heart by his words. Some of them might have been among those who asked for Jesus’ crucifixion a few weeks before (Luke 23:13-25). But now, persuaded that Jesus of Nazareth was indeed God’s appointed Messiah, they cried out in sorrow: “What shall we do?” (Acts 2:37).

Read Acts 2:38.

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. 

What are the two basic requirements for forgiveness?

The same as the requirements for salvation. True repentance not to be repented of. We must love Jesus with the whole heart. It is by grace we are saved. When we behold the loveliness of Jesus and what He suffered for us while we were yet sinners, it brings forth a new creature in Christ Jesus. We are healed by beholding His stripes. It would be well to spend a thoughtful hour each day beholding the life of Christ, especially the closing scenes where He willingly suffered because of our sins.

Repentance means a radical change of direction in life, a turning away from sin (Acts 3:19, 26:20), rather than simply a feeling of sadness or remorse. Together with faith, true repentance is a gift of God, but like all gifts, it can be rejected (Acts 5:31-33, 26:19-21, Rom. 2:4).

Since the time of John the Baptist, repentance was associated with baptism (Mark 1:4). That is, baptism became an expression of repentance, a rite symbolizing the washing away of sins and the moral regeneration produced by the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38, 22:16; compare with Titus 3:5-7).

Amen! Baptism did not bring about repentance, it was a sign that the heart had been cleansed from sin, that the Lord Jesus was in possession of it. A radical transformation of character takes place when we make a full heart surrender to Jesus.

Read Acts 2:38, 39.

 2:38   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. 
 2:39   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. 

What special promise is given to those who repent and are baptized?

The people at Pentecost were offered not only forgiveness of sins but also the fullness of the Spirit for personal growth, for service in the church, and especially for mission. This was perhaps the greatest of all blessings, for the main reason the church exists is to share the good news of the gospel (1 Pet. 2:9). So, from this point forward, they would have assurance of salvation and the power of the Holy Spirit, which would enable them for the mission to which the church had been called.

Yes, but it was on conditions. What are the conditions?

Why is the realization that we have “the remission of your sins” so important for anyone who wants to proclaim the gospel? After all, what hope can you offer to others in Jesus if you don’t have it yourself?

Amen!  We can take the message of salvation to the world if we know it, but if we do not live it, then what will be the result? Did not the nations of the world see an example of this in the past? Did not Israel have the truth, but did not live it? Did not the Roman Church have the Bible, but did not live it? And since then, has not the church had  Bible truth, but does not live it? What does the world say about those who preach love and obedience, but do not do as they say? Are we doing the same? Or are we truly repentant because we have seen the "goodness of God that leadeth thee to repentance"?  Do we have "godly sorrow" that worketh repentance unto salvation? If we do not, what can we do that we might be truly repentant? What does the Bible say about how to increase our faith that we might be truly repentant?
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