An Amazing, Incredible Sermon

In the beginning” (Genesis 1.1), “a certain man went from Jerusalem to Jericho and fell among thieves” (Luke 10.30), “and he spake by a parable” (Luke 8.4), “and the Queen of Sheba heard” (1 Kings 10.1), “and she painted her eyes” (2 Kings 9.30), “and the mule went under the thick boughs of a great oak” (2 Samuel 18.9) “for three days and three nights” (Jonah 1.17). “The ravens brought him bread” (1 Kings 17.6), “and his strength went from him” (Judges 16.19) “because it had no moisture” (Luke 8.6) “and rain was upon the earth forty days and forty nights” (Genesis 7.12), “and he came thither unto a cave, and lodged there” (1 Kings 19.9). “A Pharisee sketch him to dine with him” (Luke 11.37) “and he sent him into the fields to feed swine” (Luke 15.15). “Both the Pharisees and the scribes murmured” (Luke 15.1), “and he said, ‘Open the window eastward’” (2 Kings 13.17) “and he lifted up his face to the window” (2 Kings 9.32) “and Sarah laughed within herself” (Genesis 18.12). “And he said, ‘Throw her down’” (2 Kings 9.33). “Then came Peter and said to him, ‘Lord, how oft?’” (Matthew 18.21). “Jesus saith…until seventy times seven” (Matthew 18.22). “And they took up that which remained of the broken pieces, twelve baskets full” (Matthew 14.20). “In the resurrection, therefore, whose wife shall she be?” (Matthew 22.28). “Amen!” (Revelation 22.11).

Three observations from the reading above:

  1. You found it humorous.
  2. You were probably familiar with some of the statements from the story.
  3. You recognize that there are no errors with this story.

Let it be noted that every word came from the Bible (ASV). What do the above passages teach? I believe you would agree with me that they teach absolutely nothing! But why not? This serves as an illustration of what it means to take statements out of context. It is often done when teaching about salvation from the scriptures. A bunch of unrelated texts are cited without regard to their context.

Does the Bible speak of faith? Certainly! Does it mention prayer? Yes! Dos it teach honesty and sincerity? Most definitely! Does it command repentance, confession, baptism, trust, hope, the Holy Spirit, belief? All of these are taught, yet we must not ignore the context in which each is used. We must never “mix and match” passages in such a way that we teach error in regard to salvation.

There is a purpose and significance to the apostle Paul’s words in Romans 6.17-18 about a “form of doctrine.” Is there a consistent “form of doctrine” to be preached in regard to how the sinner is to “call upon the name of the Lord,” and that he or she must obey “from the heart?” If so, would not that “form” be found in the examples of those to whom the gospel was proclaimed in the book of Acts? What “form of doctrine" do we find proclaimed there? The book of Acts reveals that there is indeed a “form” (pattern).

Seed produces after its kind (Luke 8.11). God’s word is a spiritual seed. If his word (seed) is proclaimed today, it will produce the same fruit today. The apostle Paul stated that the things he taught in once church were taught in every church, and that those things were what the Lord commanded to be taught (cf. 1 Corinthians 4.17). This same apostle warned the churches of Galatia of a perverted gospel: "I marvel that ye are so quickly removing from him that called you in the grace of Christ unto a different gospel; which is not another gospel: only there are some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, should preach unto you any gospel other than that which we preached unto you, let him be anathema. As we have said before, so say I now again, if any man preacheth unto you any gospel other than that which ye received, let him be anathema” (Galatians 1.6-9).

Jesus, upon becoming the author of our salvation (Hebrews 5.8-9), gave identical commands to both Jew and Gentile. When people heard these commands for the first time (as preached by Peter in Acts 2), they believes his words and asked in Acts 2.37, “What shall we do?” What answer did Peter give? What seed did he sow? Peter’s answer constitutes the "form of doctrine” which must be delivered and obeyed.

Their response begins in Acts 2.41, where we find that approximately 3,000 obeyed the “form of doctrine" delivered by Peter. What did they do? At what point was their "calling upon the name of the Lord” completed? As others would follow their example, we read in v. 47 that "the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.

This pattern is repeated in the conversion of all others who are recorded for us in the book of Acts. This pattern is found in the chorus of the hymn Only Trust Him:

“Come believing and repenting, and confess him now…
Be immersed into his kingdom, come accept him now.