Lost Believers

Man at Sunset

Some passages in the Bible are lifted out of context, isolated, oversimplified, and misinterpreted in order to make a point that is not at all what the passage is teaching. At times this may be done by sincere individuals, but that does not change the fact that they are not accurately representing what the Scriptures teach.

The following passage is a common example of one that is used to make a point that does not accurately represent what the Bible teaches:

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

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God’s Provisions in the Plan of Salvation

Wedding Feast

The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son. And he sent out his slaves to call those who had been invited to the wedding feast, and they were unwilling to come. Again he sent out other slaves saying, ‘Tell those who have been invited, “Behold, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and my fattened livestock are all butchered and everything is ready; come to the wedding feast”’” (Matthew 22:1-4).

Salvation is impossible without the Lord. Peter said, “There is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). Jesus said that He is “the way” and that “no one comes to the Father but through [Him]” (John 14:6). As He explained in the parable above, He has made everything ready for us to be part of His kingdom and enjoy salvation (Matthew 22:4).

What has God done to make salvation ready for us? From before “the foundation of the world,” God “chose” to save us (Ephesians 1:4). This “eternal purpose [has been] carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Ephesians 3:11). Jesus said, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16). By sending Jesus to the earth, we can be “reconciled to God through [His] death” and “be saved by His life” (Romans 5:10). We cannot earn salvation (cf. Luke 17:10). The reason is because “all have sinned” (Romans 3:23) and “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). Therefore, it was necessary for God to provide a plan by which we could be saved.

In His word, we can read about the plan the Lord has given for us to follow in order to be saved – hear, believe, repent, confess, be baptized, and be faithful. In each of these steps, God has provided what is necessary for us to do what He requires of us. In this article, we are going to discuss these provisions that He has given in relation to the plan of salvation.
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Three Thousand Souls

Crowd

The Lord’s church was established on the day of Pentecost following the death, resurrection, and ascension of Christ (Acts 2). The Scriptures indicate that three thousand individuals responded to the preaching of the apostles on that day by obeying the gospel (Acts 2:41). As a result, God added them to the church (Acts 2:47).

There were many others in Jerusalem on this day than just the three thousand who obeyed the gospel – including many who would have heard but did not respond to the preaching done by Peter and the other apostles. What can we know about these “three thousand souls” (Acts 2:41) that contributed to their reception of the gospel? Let us consider six things we know about these individuals from the text:
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What Must I Do To Be Saved?

Question Mark Sign

This is the most important question one may ask. We know that all who are of accountable age “have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Many disregard sin as being an inconsequential matter. Others mock the very concept of sin. Yet the Scriptures paint a grave reality. Sin makes “a separation between you and your God” (Isaiah 59:2). Paul plainly affirmed, “The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23).
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Who Calls You a Christian?

Thinking young man

If you were on trial for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you? That question, or a variation of it, has been asked many times in order to remind us all of the importance of letting our lights shine (Matthew 5:16), being ready to give an answer (1 Peter 3:15), and defending the truth (Philippians 1:16-17). We need to live in such a way that others can see Christ living in us (Galatians 2:20).

However, while the question raised in the first paragraph is good, there is another point that is just as important for us to consider. Just because the world sees you as a Christian, that does not necessarily mean that God sees you that way, too. To illustrate this point, notice what Paul said about the adulteress in his letter to the Romans:
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Are We Truly Disciples of Christ?

John 8:31

Many people claim to be disciples of Christ, but are they truly His disciples? Are we? This is a legitimate and important question. Notice what Jesus said:

So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, ‘If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free’” (John 8:31-32).

When Jesus said, “then you are truly disciples of Mine,” He implied that some are not truly His disciples. So the question under consideration is vitally important: Are we truly disciples of Christ? We must be sure we can correctly answer this question for ourselves. We must also be prepared to try and help others to be able to correctly answer this question for themselves. The context of the above passage shows us what it means to be disciples of Christ.
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The Fall of Sidney Rigdon

Sidney Rigdon (1793-1876) was once a gospel preacher early in the Restoration Movement. Yet he is better known for his role in the history of the Mormon church. This man, who at one time was striving to preach the gospel according to the New Testament pattern, departed from the truth and became a prominent figure among the Mormons. How could such a thing happen?

Amos S. Hayden, author of Early History of the Disciples in the Western Reserve, provides some insight into the fall of Sidney Rigdon.
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