The holy Scriptures are brought to the reality of an endless activity which brought joy and spiritual well-being to the children of God in the early days of Christianity.
“The preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness, but unto us which are saved, it is the power of God”—I Corinthians 1:18. The preaching of the gospel in word and life was a daily part of every Christian’s activity. This led the follower of the Lord Jesus to look upon his unsaved neighbor or relative as one to whom he owed a debt of love. In this, one away from Christ, he could see the greatest of all needs, the salvation of the soul from sin.
To those who read this writing: First, if you are in sin today, someone wants to see you saved. Secondly, if you are already a Christian in the Bible sense of the word, you are the one who should want to see the unsaved, saved from sin.
The ministry of making the gospel known to the world was paramount in the minds of the early Christians. Remember, even in the hour of great persecution, they went forth preaching the word—Acts 8:1-4. They were urged to live righteously as well—Philippians 1:27. If you are a Christian, you will always owe a debt of love to those about you. To your brethren in Christ, and to the sinner without the ark of safety your obligation to the latter is to live and speak in the way that will lead his soul to Christ.
~ Wm. J. Hensley
Without a doubt, those who read this article will acknowledge that the Gospel of Christ has great power–power to bring salvation. Paul said, “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation”—Romans 1:16.
However, of the many who realize that power to save, but few will think of the power of unity as a part of man’s salvation. It is this look at the gospel power that is found to be of great interest. Before Jesus died outside of Jerusalem those who believed in God were divided not alone among the sects of the Jews but even among the Gentiles who were (not in agreement with the Jews,) there were those who acknowledged God. In the prayer of Jesus in John 17th chapter, we see the theme of unity. Certainly, Christ prayed for the unity of both Jew and Gentile, as well as for the oneness: that comes in the life that turns from sin. Of course, all of this unity is found in Christ. See Galatians 3:28. “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.”
Not alone were men actually made free from sin by obedience to the gospel teaching, but they were brought into a state of unity with one another. This is clearly understood when we see the unity first at Jerusalem at Pentecost, and; also as the city was filled with the doctrine of Christ. In Acts 2:42 it is stated that there was unity of action among the baptized believers: “And they continued steadfastly in the apostles doctrine and in fellowship, and breaking of bread and in prayers.” Then in Acts 4:32 it is revealed that “the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and one soul.” This same teaching brought men and women, Jew and Greek, bond and free into Christ and thus into one body. The power of the gospel made this unity possible. No other power could do this.
The interesting factor in this consideration is to be found in the very simplistic teaching used to bring this about. All human complex endeavors would have failed to save man from sin, and from disunion as well. In our present age, we need more emphasis placed upon this simple proclamation of the inspired word of God. By preaching this gospel, we will lead many to Christ. By a constant announcing of the gospel, unity of believers can also be realized. We do not omit the Christian life as an example of the applied gospel, but we add this to the words to be spoken publicly and privately. Upon this basis alone can true salvation be realized as well as the unity of all believers.
~ Wm. J. Hensley
Here is a question as old as the New Testament itself. However, regardless of age, this question and it’s answer should not be taken lightly.
What must I do to be saved? The answer is: Obey the gospel of Christ. This answer is general in it’s character; and to fully understand its meaning it is needful to look at the individual points included in obedience to the gospel of Christ. Let us look at a few examples of obedience in the New Testament.
The Keeper of the Jail:
In Acts chapter 16 when this question was asked, Paul and Silas answered clearly. “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.” Here is a general statement much like “obey the gospel of Christ.” By reading the complete account in this chapter, it is plain to see that there are vital, individual parts required in the plan of obedience. Verse 32 includes preaching the Word. Verse 33 includes the action of baptism. Both are included in the command to “believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.”
The Ethiopian Eunuch:
Acts chapter 8. Philip preached “Jesus” to the man in the chariot—Verse 35. Again the statement is general in its nature. The essential parts included in the Ethiopian’s obedience are mentioned in this record of his conversion. He announced his belief by his confession of faith, and he was baptized. Here is a good example of what is included when one does believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.
Obeying from the heart a form of doctrine:
Romans chapter 6. Here again is a general statement. By reading the text it is plain, that individual acts of obedience are required in the “form of doctrine.” Jesus called for the new birth in his talk with Nicodemus—John 3:5. This general statement included both the “water” and the“Spirit” as parts needed for the new birth. In our present day we are required to obey the gospel of Christ. This is a statement that is general in character. The individual, vital parts of obedience are clearly taught to man today, as in the first century.
Dear Readers, let us not be content with just looking at the general headings, or general terms of the gospel. To obtain salvation all men and women must accept the individual, vital parts of obedience in order to be saved. Hearing, believing, confession of faith, and being baptized are vital parts of obedience. When the sinner meets these requirements the gospel is obeyed, a form of doctrine is realized, and the answer to the title of this article is given.
~ Wm. J. Hensley