“ASK JESUS INTO YOUR HEART”??

-by Andrew Strom.

One of the most basic things that has amazed me for many years is the preaching of “Giving your heart to the Lord” or “Asking Jesus into your life” to become a Christian. Do we not realize that such a practice is found NOWHERE in the entire Bible?

Is there ANY example of someone “asking Jesus into their heart” (or similar) to become a Christian in the book of Acts? NO – NOT EVEN ONE. The book of Acts is full of literally thousands of people becoming born-again Christians. And we are often told exactly what these people did. But there is no record of any of them doing anything like “asking Jesus into their heart” to be saved.
Now SURELY, if the church has even remotely got it’s act together, it would have this one thing right. Surely this has got to be one of the most crucial and basic points in the whole New Testament:- How exactly are people supposed to become Christians? What were they told to do in the New Testament? A very simple and straight-forward question, you would think. And so vitally important.

But incredibly, it seems that very few of us have even bothered to ask this question or to take on board the glaringly obvious answer. Here we have one of the most vital, fundamental points that it is possible to have in Christianity:- “What shall we DO TO BE SAVED?” And generally speaking, our answer today is utterly different from that of the apostles. Incredible really, isn’t it? It’s right there in black-and-white, time after time! But TRADITION has blinded our eyes to the Truth. And I’m sure that even many of you reading this will be shocked at how obvious the truth of this matter is.

Let’s start with the day of Pentecost (-a great place to begin!) As we all know, the Holy Spirit fell on the 120, and they all began to speak in tongues. This is officially known by theologians as the birth of the Church – the beginning of Christianity as we know it. And after Peter preached his convicting sermon to the gathered crowd that day, another 3000 people were added to the church. And we are told exactly what occurred:- “… They were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, ‘Brethren, WHAT SHALL WE DO?’ And Peter said to them, ‘REPENT, and be BAPTIZED every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the FORGIVENESS OF YOUR SINS; and you shall receive the gift of the HOLY SPIRIT’” (Acts 2:37-38 RSV). Notice how different Peter’s reply is to what we tell people today. We might have said something like, “Just say this little prayer after me” but Peter said nothing like that at all.

There were three elements to what Peter told them:- REPENTANCE, WATER-BAPTISM and receiving the HOLY SPIRIT. We see this pattern repeated again and again, right through the book of Acts (-in fact, throughout the New Testament writings) in the most glaringly obvious way. And yet still we hear, “Just ask Jesus into your heart” preached throughout Christendom today.

The next significant people-group to be reached by the early Christians were the Samaritans. In Acts chapter 8 we read how Philip the evangelist saw massive Revival in Samaria:- “But when they believed Philip as he preached good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were BAPTIZED, both men and women… Peter and John, who came down and prayed for them that they might RECEIVE THE HOLY SPIRIT” (Acts 8:12-17). Note the identical pattern to the salvations on the day of Pentecost.

I hope you realize that we have been talking about THOUSANDS of conversions here. And NOT ONE of them involved “Giving their heart to the Lord” or “Inviting Jesus to be their personal savior”. If you look up these Scriptures in Acts, you will see that every time it was “Repentance, Baptism and Recieiving the Holy Spirit”. -Over and over again.

The next significant people-group to be reached by the early church were the ‘Godly’ gentiles (-Acts chapters 10 and 11). Peter was led to preach to Cornelius and his household. And God suddenly moved even while he was still preaching!:- “While Peter was still saying this, the HOLY SPIRIT FELL on all who heard the word… they heard them SPEAKING IN TONGUES and extolling God. Then Peter declared, ‘Can anyone forbid water for BAPTIZING these people who have RECEIVED THE HOLY SPIRIT just as we have?’ And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ” (Acts 10:44-48). Peter later described the scene again: “As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit FELL ON THEM just as on us at the beginning” (Acts 11:15). He also referred to it as them being “Baptized in the Holy Spirit” (Acts 11:16). I hope you can see from these passages that the Holy Spirit ‘FALLING’ upon people is the same experience as people ‘RECEIVING’ or being ‘BAPTIZED’ in the Holy Spirit.

Thus we see the same pattern as before, in the salvation experience of Cornelius’ household – (1) Repentant hearts, (2) Receiving the Holy Spirit and (3) Baptism.

Another good example involves some disciples of John the Baptist whom Paul met at Ephesus:- “And Paul said, ‘John baptized with the baptism of REPENTANCE, telling the people to believe in the one who was to come after him, that is, Jesus.’ On hearing this, they were BAPTIZED in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul laid his hands upon them, the HOLY SPIRIT came on them; and they SPOKE WITH TONGUES and prophesied” (Acts 19:1-6). I guess I hardly need to point out the pattern by now?

Notice too that there were no “instructional classes” to prepare people for baptism. All the way through the book of Acts, people were baptized STRAIGHT AWAY, as soon as they were believing and repentant. With the Phillipian jailer, he and his entire household were baptized immediately – IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT (-Acts 16:32-33). With the Ethiopian eunuch, he was baptized by Philip straight away, in some water that they saw while travelling in his chariot (Acts 8:35-38). And the apostle Paul himself was baptized immediately by the disciple Ananias, who said something very interesting to Paul beforehand:- “Rise and be BAPTIZED, and WASH AWAY YOUR SINS, calling on His name” (Acts 22:16). This verse would be treated almost like “heresy” by many in today’s church. How shocking to imply that baptism might have something to do with forgiveness and cleansing from our past sins! However, there are many verses like it scattered throughout the New Testament. Also note that Paul was told this DAYS AFTER he had had his blinding ‘Damascus Road’ experience. Today’s Christians might assume that Paul was “born again” during this blinding encounter with God. Not so. Not until Paul was to be BAPTIZED was he to have his sins “washed away”. This is clearly what the Scriptures say. Arguments, anyone?

Many Christians are taught today that Baptism is basic- ally a ’symbolic’ act. In my youth I was raised mainly in Baptist churches, and they always taught that baptism is an “outward SYMBOL of an inner change”. Thus baptism is stripped of much of it’s significance and power in Christian thinking. For a “symbol” is never as important as the real thing, is it? I have studied baptism extensively in the New Testament. It is NEVER spoken of as a mere ‘SYMBOL’. Rather, it is spoken of as being a ‘circumcision of the heart’, a “cutting off”, a “burial” into the DEATH of Christ. And it is also spoken of as being “for the forgiveness of sins” and to “wash one’s sins away”. I am convinced that in the spirit realm (from God’s point of view), baptism is seen as a LITERAL “burial into death” (-see Romans 6) which has a profound effect on our hearts and lives. But still we preach, “Ask Jesus into your heart”, and deny many people one of the most vital keys to living a Christian life. I am also convinced that baptism MUST be by ‘FULL IMMERSION’. Sprinkling little infants is not enough. This must be baptism for BELIEVERS. And the original Greek word ‘baptizo’ actually means “TO DIP OR IMMERSE”. So people must be ‘buried’ under the water in baptism, not just sprinkled. (-I’m sure most of you already agree with this).

Likewise I am convinced that Baptism in the Holy Spirit (accompanied by ’speaking in tongues’) is ESSENTIAL. It is NOT just an option. As we have seen in the book of Acts, the way that people became Christians in the New Testament was to (1) Repent, (2) Be Baptized in water and (3) Be Baptized in the Holy Spirit (accompanied by ‘tongues’ as far as we can tell). What right do we have to change the fundamental teachings and practices of the Bible, just so we can make things more “convenient” for new converts? Unless we are getting people saved the Bible way, how can we claim to be getting them saved at all?

We are forever talking about being “born again” in the church today. But are we truly getting people ‘born again’ like they did in Acts? Bearing in mind the pattern that we have seen in the New Testament, what exactly do you think Jesus was talking about when He declared that, “Unless a man is born of WATER and of THE SPIRIT he cannot enter into the kingdom of God”? (Jn 3:5). Born of WATER, born of the SPIRIT. Hmmmmmm. That’s a tough one!

Baptism in water and the Spirit are never regarded as mere ‘options’ in the Scriptures. In fact they are clearly ESSENTIAL experiences to begin to walk in Christ’s kingdom. There are many Scriptures on this that are often bypassed today or regarded as “inexplicable” because they do not fit in with current tradition. Please take the time to look up the following:- Mark 16:16-18, 1 Peter 3:20-21, Titus 3:5-6, 1 Cor 10:1-2, Gal 3:27, Col 2:11-12, 1 Cor 12:13, Heb 6:1-2, Rom 6:2-11, Rom 8:9, Mt 28:19, etc.

I really mean it. Please do take the time to look at the above Scriptures if you have any interest in this issue at all. Many people write to me with their opinions, saying, “I cannot believe you are teaching this.” -And yet they have never bothered to actually look up the Scriptures on the subject! PLEASE read Acts and look up the above Scriptures before sending me your views.

It is my belief that there are a number of important teachings and practices from the early church that will be restored during the coming Revival. (-God often does this in Revivals). I am convinced that the above teaching will be one of them. (-I have believed this for many years).

I realize that I have probably shocked and provoked a number of you with this article. Please believe me, I myself was very shocked when I first came face-to-face with these truths some years ago. They really are very apparent when you study them, but I was blind to them for many years. I was amongst those who gave out tracts like ‘The Four Spiritual Laws’ and led people in the “sinner’s prayer”. Like many, I would back this up by mis-applying Rev 3:20 – “Behold I stand at the door and knock. If any man hear my voice and open the door I will come in to him, and sup with him and he with me.” It was only later that I realized that, as Leonard Ravenhill points out, this Scripture is clearly aimed at the CHURCH, not at unconverted sinners. It is Jesus standing outside the ‘Laodicean’ church, trying to get in! Please go and read the whole passage – Rev 3:14-21. You will see what I mean. It is very clear.

I am not ashamed that I used to preach these things. It was all I knew at the time. But I was certainly shocked to discover how much of the basic gospel I was leaving out. Like me, there are a number of you who will have to “search the Scriptures to see if these things be so” just as the Bereans did. Believe me, I fought these truths for months before I simply ran out of corners to back into. I knew the implications of this were huge and I just did not want to face it. But there they are in black and white. And this is not a trivial matter. These are key gospel truths that we are talking about here.

After writing the first version of this article, many people wrote to me pointing out that the THIEF ON THE CROSS was not baptized or Spirit-filled, yet he was clearly saved. Please believe me, I had all these same objections when I first came across this teaching. But God annihilated all my excuses one by one. So let me deal with this “THIEF ON THE CROSS” thing right here.

The most obvious question is:- When did this event occur – was it under the OLD Covenant or the NEW Covenant? When Jesus proffered salvation to the thief, was the Old Covenant still in place, or had the New begun? For clearly, it only became possible to become an actual CHRISTIAN (-born again – a member of Christ’s body) AFTER the New Covenant had started. And for the New Covenant to begin, Jesus, the sacrificial Lamb had to die and also be RAISED FROM THE DEAD. The New Covenant could not begin until this occurred. Surely we all know this? Jesus had to die and be raised from the dead, and then ascend into heaven, sending His Holy Spirit, before the Church could truly begin or people could start becoming born-again Christians. That is why people in the Old Testament, or even in Jesus’ own day were not “born again” the way we are today. They simply couldn’t be. Remember, Jesus said that John the Baptist was the greatest born among men, but even the least in the kingdom was greater than he. John the Baptist couldn’t become a “born-again Christian” because the New Covenant had not yet begun. I bet he would have loved the opportunity! Jesus died in agony and was raised again, to purchase for us this wonderful new life in Him. Surely we all know this? GLORY TO GOD!!

Now back to the thief. Did he have his conversation with Jesus and die under the New Covenant or the Old? The answer, obviously, is:- The OLD Covenant. He was presumably a Jew – one of God’s chosen people (though a sinner), who received a wonderful pardon from Jesus when he repented and turned to Him. But those were very different conditions to those that we live under today. We now have a NEW Covenant – a NEW “agreement” with God, very different from the Old. We have a new and living way in which to walk. How do we enter into it? By being born again – of water and the Spirit. And this has only been possible since Pentecost – the day the church began. I am not saying that “death-bed repentance” is not possible today. I’m sure that God has reached down in His mercy many times to people who have turned to Him when they were close to death. But these are special cases. They are not the “norm” for New Testament Christianity. Repentance, Baptism and receiving the Holy Spirit are ESSENTIAL to enter into the New Covenant, I believe.

As I said, many people offer me their own views and opinions on all this without truly studying the basic Scriptures on the matter. It is important to remember that fundamental doctrines are not about mere opinion. They are about what the SCRIPTURES SAY. I tell you, I have put MONTHS of study and prayer into this whole subject. I could tell that it really was THAT important. I honestly considered EVERYTHING – every angle I could find. Please treat this with the seriousness that it is due. This is a very crucial area. I believe these are SALVATION issues that are being discussed here. And the case is enormously strong. Just read the Scriptures. (-It should take less than an hour to read through the Scriptures highlighted above). I urge any of you who are the least bit interested in this to PLEASE read those Scriptures.

I am well aware that ‘doctrine’ tends to be divisive by it’s very nature. And I know that I am taking a big risk talking so openly about such a controversial teaching. I try and keep right away from doctrinal debates in general. It is only the most fundamental and important issues that I bother making a fuss about. You will notice that even though I run a ‘Prophetic’ site, there are no debates about the ‘Pre-trib’/ Post-trib positions or the exact meaning of Daniel’s 70 weeks, etc. I just find such debates pointless and utterly dull, to be honest. I heard the arguments many moons ago, and just cannot stomach any more. I have no desire for nit-picking arguments. But the BIG issues, like New Testament salvation and God’s plan for His church – these things I really do care about. For I believe the devil is robbing us blind in some of these crucial areas. And God wants to restore these truths to the church.

Just imagine for a moment that I am right, and baptism and receiving the Holy Spirit are a lot more important than we have been led to believe. Just think how many thousands of believers around the world today have received the Holy Spirit (including ‘tongues’) but have simply not bothered getting baptized. After all, it’s only “symbolic”, right? Or perhaps they say, “I got sprinkled as a baby.” I myself know many people in this exact position. I think it’s terrible, and I believe God does too. Not to mention all the believers who still have not been baptized in the Holy Spirit. Don’t you think God’s heart aches over all this? Why do people ignore His commands? Our church traditions and habitual patterns have a lot to answer for in this area. This has got to change, my friends. And I believe it will only change when the underlying doctrines are challenged. But if I am right, the devil will fight this all the way. He likes anything that leaves believers impoverished or still chained up in any way. This really is crucial doctrine, otherwise I simply would not bother with it. I have really stuck my neck on the line and risked my reputation over this. And I do not do so lightly.

I have been accused of being “legalistic” and ‘majoring on minor points’ by a couple of readers. I really cannot see this. As I have said, some doctrine is “straining at gnats” and some is really crucial. I believe this issue falls into the second category. Others accused me of being “too literal”! (I had to laugh over this). Now this is basic Bible doctrine we are talking about here, isn’t it? Too literal? What on earth else should we be?

Other readers accused me of believing in “baptismal regeneration”. This is not the case. I believe that (1) Repentance, (2) Water-Baptism and (3) Receiving the Holy Spirit, are ALL ESSENTIAL. I do not believe in “baptismal” regeneration. These elements are all equally important and we need to have all three to be able to call ourselves ‘New Testament Christians’, as far as I can see.

Other readers have brought up the verse in Romans that says “If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead you will be saved” (Rom 10:9). Actually, a number of theologians believe that this statement was used as a kind of “baptismal confession” in the early church. I remember a fellowship I was involved with years ago that used it in exactly this way. To me, this verse “proves” little doctrinally, either way. It needs to be put into context with the WHOLE New Testament to gain the proper perspective on it. I certainly don’t see it as proof for ‘asking Jesus into our heart’.

One of the most serious allegations I have faced is that I am preaching a kind of “justification by works” by saying that baptism and receiving the Holy Spirit are so essential. And that I am “adding to the gospel” and taking away people’s freedom like the Galatians!! Serious charges, indeed. But let’s look at this carefully. Is baptism a “work” that I can do to myself? Is receiving the Holy Spirit a “work”? I don’t think so! These are initial experiences that are ‘DONE TO US’ or given to us – they’re not things that we can “DO” ourselves, as such. Can I baptize myself? No! And isn’t it a brief one-off act of simple faith and obedience anyway? To me, baptism is no more a “work” than, say, the act of “praying a sinner’s prayer”. The act of opening one’s mouth, moving one’s jaws and praying is not seen as a work. And neither should baptism be. They only take an instant, after all. The real question is:- Is baptism a truly spiritual act, or is it merely a symbolic ritual? That is the real question. This also brings up the whole issue of ‘convenience’. For we love neat little packages that are comfortable and easy in this age, don’t we? (-”Just asking Jesus in”). And baptism is so wet and messy, we think. But at the end of the day, what it boils down to is this:- We have to make a decision between doing things the Bible way and doing things the modern ‘convenient’ way. It is that simple.

Now, onto something else that numerous people raised:- Where does FAITH come into all this? Aren’t we supposed to be saved by FAITH? Absolutely! And faith is at a premium right through this whole thing. What happens when someone hears the gospel and BELIEVES it? (-A crucially important moment). Are they automatically a ‘Christian’ now? Just through believing what they have heard? Or do they have to act on that belief in some way to become a Christian? Were the Jews who were ‘cut to the heart’ when Peter preached at Pentecost automatically Christians right then at that moment, or did they have to DO something in FAITH to become Christians? Clearly, they needed to DO something, because Peter told them, “Repent and be baptized, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” And it is clear that each one of these elements involves the exercise of faith in Jesus.

However, I believe that when the Bible speaks of the “faith that saves us”, and being “JUSTIFIED BY FAITH”, it is speaking of the LIFE OF FAITH that we undertake after we have become a Christian. It is ‘WALKING IN FAITH’ day by day, moment by moment, after having become a Christian that justifies us before God. It is the covering of the blood of Jesus that hides our sin and makes us clean in God’s sight. If we are walking in faith, covered by the blood, we are saved, and we must continue to walk in it. And it is clear in the Scriptures that it is only by the POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT that we can walk in this kind of saving faith. This faith is a gift from God -”Not of ourselves, lest anyone should boast…” Like the love of God, this faith is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit, who is given to us. So how can we obtain it without RECEIVING THE HOLY SPIRIT? (-Which brings us back to Repentance, Baptism and Receiving the Holy Spirit as our ESSENTIAL starting point in the faith).

Actually, a couple of readers mentioned something quite interesting about baptism in the book of Acts. For it is noticeable in Acts that everyone was baptized “IN THE NAME OF THE LORD JESUS” or in the ‘NAME OF JESUS CHRIST’. Now most churches today baptize in the name of the ‘Father, Son and Holy Spirit’, and I guess this is a small point, but I believe that if they felt it was important in Acts to speak the name of Jesus Christ over people as they were baptized, then I should do it too. I am not legalistic about the need for this, but personally these days I baptize people “in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, in the NAME OF JESUS CHRIST”. (-To make sure all the bases are covered).

To sum up, it is my belief that God has been slowly restoring truth to the church over the centuries since the Dark Ages when so much had been lost. Luther’s Reformation saw the restoration of ‘Justification by Faith’, the Anabaptists re-introduced baptism by immersion, Wesley re-introduced the importance of the ‘new birth’, and this century the Pentecostals re-discovered the infilling of the Holy Spirit and spiritual gifts. (There have been many other things over time also, but this is just a simple overview). It is my belief that we are now at the stage where God wishes to restore the church to her true original glory, with all the basic doctrines and practices, “church life” and the full original gospel, the ‘five-fold’ ministries, etc. -Everything. That is what is about to occur in the coming Revival, I believe. And that is another reason why I believe basic New Testament doctrines are so important.

In past centuries, as now, the believers of that time walked in the light that they had, and God will judge them according to the light that was available to them. But now it is time to see the church truly restored to fullness in many areas. And it is going to be UNCOMFORTABLE, and it will surely leave much “SHAKEN” in it’s wake. A new Reformation is coming, and it is important that it leaves nothing undone that needs doing. Otherwise our children are going to have to have a further Reformation to correct all that we left undone. Let’s make it as complete as possible this time, shall we? For Christ cannot return until a glorious Bride is made ready for Him, without “spot or wrinkle or any such thing”. Surely we live in the days of the ‘restoration of all things’ about which the Scriptures speak.

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REPLIES FROM READERS

BRIEF INTRODUCTION BY ANDREW STROM:
The great thing about the below comments is that most of these people actually LOOKED UP the Scriptures on this subject! People will be amazed when they do this. In fact, if people read the entire Book of Acts, taking careful note of EVERY conversion and what happened, then they will be amazed the same way. Another thing you can do when studying this kind of issue is get a Concordance and look up EVERY Scripture on ‘Baptism’ and so-on. I encourage everybody to do this kind of thing. None of this is about our own “opinions”. It is about what the SCRIPTURES CLEARLY SAY on the subject. Four interesting replies are below:
_________________________________

Rachel H. writes:

I want to thank you so much for your article on Lie # 1 – “Ask Jesus Into Our Heart”. I was raised in a Baptist church also, so this is all new to me. I was skeptical at first, but I looked up every single verse in that article, and I have to say, WOW! I never knew that baptism played such an important role in becoming a Christian! I was baptized at a young age, but that was only because I had said that famous short prayer to accept Jesus into my heart, and attended the baptismal preparation classes!

I know that now, 13 years later, its time to be truly baptized. You covered every area, most of which I have never even known about, thank you so much!

I would also like to share something that God had revealed to me a couple of months ago about churches and the body of Christ. It started after I read a book about a revival that had taken place in Africa in the 50’s. The key factor to their revival was REPENTANCE. When the people realized that Jesus had died for their sins, and they truly believed, they began repenting, confessing sins out loud, in front of large groups of people!

They weren’t doing it for show, many times they were crying and moaning, sickened at their own sins but desperate to get it out. There was such a spirit of conviction there, that some of the people, as poor as they were, began repaying money that they had stolen years before that, or giving back eggs and animals that they had wrongfully taken. They were asking for forgiveness from other people left and right for things they had thought or said in anger and hate. Some of the people tried to keep their sins in, and they actually got physically sick until that sin was confessed. Some of the sins were more serious, but sin is sin to God, right?

What God revealed to me about churches is that everyone has some hidden sin that they don’t want anyone to know about. Even the pastors and elders are hiding sin that they don’t want to share, because, of course, they don’t want to be looked down upon! God showed me that people need to confess their sins, they need to be truly repentant of them for there to be any kind of revival.
_____________________________________

Pastor David K. writes:

Bro Andrew Strom, thank you for your response on the first of nine – “ASK JESUS into our Heart”.

You have opened my eyes on this one. I have read your article line by line and verse by verse. You have turned my heart. I will watch with the same interest for the other eight. I see your postion and on this point concede, I have been trained more by tradition than by the Word.
-Sincerely, Pastor David K.
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Ian writes:

Having just returned from India I must make the following observations re- salvation.

To be a Christian in the churches that I ministered in means a turning away from the old gods and destroying of all idols. They regard people as seekers of truth at this stage, but its not until they are Baptised in Water which is usually followed by an infilling of the Holy Spirit that they are regarded as Christian. I want to tell you that there is a tremendous cost to being publicly baptised. Often it is accompanied by a separation of familiy members who refuse to accept that they have become Christians. The truth is that if a Hindu comes to Church He is not percecuted but the moment a decision is made to be baptised “all Hell” breaks loose. Because what is happening is more than symbolic, it is an act of covenant. A demonstration of alliegance to a Kingdom.
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Brian J. writes:

Rev. David Pawson from England has written a book and done a video, both entitled “The Normal Christian Birth”

Both are in line with your position. David speaks of repentance towards God, faith in Jesus, baptism in water and the infilling of the Holy Spirit as the steps involved in the “Normal Christian Birth”, based on the accounts in the Book of Acts.

Anchor Recordings summarise it as follows: “So often, spiritual disease can be traced back to an inadequate initiation into the Kingdom. A better birth means greater growth in a healthy Christian life. David Pawson discusses some crucial and controversial biblical texts, challenging many traditional interpretations. He questions the adequacy of the typical “’sinners prayer” approach and gives practical tips on helping potential disciples to repent, believe, be baptised and recieve the Holy Spirit. 326 pages”

Perhaps those who argue against might like to read the book or get hold of the video themselves. In the UK both are available from- http://www.anchor-recordings.com/
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Posted in Articles by Andrew on March 8th, 2011 at 1:32 am.

11 comments

11 Replies

  1. Peter Wilson Feb 1st 2012

    Again, Andrew, you have hit the nail on the head. I was brought up a Catholic and was always taught thet they were the “one true Church”.
    I believed this also and, though I had a very close relationship to Jesus in my primary school years, I discovered sin at a whole new level, when I went to High school.
    When I was 21, even though I used to get drunk, use and sell drugs, commit fornication and adultery, I still thought I was ok, and still used to pray.
    I was out in the back yard of my parents house, in Adelaide, and I asked God to “let His light shine through me to other people, so that I could help them.”
    I walked from the backyard into the kitchen and something washed over me, it was a physical feeling!
    I immediately began speaking in tongues, but as I had never heard of tongues, I thought I had made it up!
    It felt good to speak in this new language that “I had made up”, and used to sit around my backyard, speaking in tongues to my dog.
    She looked mildly interested…….
    After this, I had three dreams, one, I was taken back to the beginning of time and stood before God, His word was slowly moving up a screen, and he spoke to me in a voice that sounded like thousands of voices, or one very loud voice.
    I assume this was the beginning of time, as there were no stars or moon, but I could see the earth was black and void.
    Though in my dream, I wondered if it was judgement day.
    There was some-one dressed in a white monks habit, with his head down and his hands crossed inside his sleeves, standing beside the screen.
    I awoke, sweating and shaking.
    The second dream I went to hell and when I called on the name of Jesus, the power that was pulling me in stopped and i could find my way out.
    Again I awoke, shaking and sweating.
    The third dream was about baptism, I was on a boat, exactly like Noahs Ark, it was night time and I was about 2-300 metres off the beach. I looked across and saw some lights on a headland, I looked back the other way, and there was an enemy gunship firing onshore.
    There were others on the boat, so I told them to jump of and swim to shore, as I was going to ram the enemy boat and sink it.
    I turned the boat around and heade toward the enemy boat.
    They didn’t see me til I was very close, they began to turn their guns toward me, but it was too late.
    I rammed into them amd then jumped off, but the boats sank that quickly, that I got sucked under with them.
    I started to swim to the surface, thinking”I’ll make it, I always do.”
    Then I stopped swimming and thought to myself, “Well, I’m dead now, I might as well wake up!”
    I awoke again, shaking and in a terrible sweat, I had no idea what these dreams meant.
    (This is a shortened version, I remember them as if I had them last night, but it was over 36 years ago!)
    After this, I was in the back laundry of my parents house and the Holy Spirit was talking to me, it felt absolutely natural, not weird at all.
    He told me to get baptised by full immersion, but I said “Where do I go, a Protestant Church, a Lutheran Church, and besides, I am supposed to be in the “One true Church!”"
    He told me to go and talk to a guy called Greg Frost, this was strange to me, as he was a guy that I used to get drugs from.
    I didn’t know that he got busted, bringing Buddha sticks back in from Bali, inside his surfboard, (he is a surfboard maker,)
    I also didn’t know that he went to jail and became a Born Again Christian.
    I thought about it and my idea of a “Christian”, was short back and sides and a suit!
    I was much too cool for that!
    So I told the Lord “If I don’t settle down in the world before I hit 35, I will follow you then, even if I have to become a priest, or a monk, or a nun. ( Iwas being very cheeky to the Lord)”
    So, I went back to my sin, even though it took me some time to overcome the aversion I had to sin then.
    When I was 35, I was living in sin, selling and using drugs, tred to murder a love rival three times and eventually, after the last time, God spoke to me audibly and said, “NOW, GO AND GET BAPTISED”, which scared the pants off me, so to speak, and immediately found a Church to get baptised in.
    I didn’t expect anything to happen, or nor was I looking to join any Church, I just knew that God required this of me.
    When I came out of the water, I felt clean, and I had already had a shower before I went there, but htis was different.
    The room was full of strangers, yet I felt like I’d come home, it was really weird!
    After this, I couldn’t even stay in a room if some-one was swearing, it was like some-one was hitting me across the side of the head!
    I stopped drinking, smoking, using drugs etc, not because any-one told me to, I just had no desire for it anymore.
    There is much more to this story, but it is already too long, suffice to say, that I recieved the Holy Spirit, spoke in tongues, was told by the Holy Spirit to get Baptised and had the very same experience of those in the early Church.
    I told no-one of my experiences, lest they thought I was nuts, but this I know for sure, repentance, baptism by water and the Spirit, is required of us by God, it isn’t optional.
    I was never taught it by man, nor was I following some belief system, this was real.
    Over those years, the enemy tried to kill me over forty times, through car and bike accidents, drug overdoses, knife fights, electrocutions, bitten by two snakes, one a Taipan, etc
    I am so glad that He loved me enough to stay faithful to the little child that loved Him so, (I used to cry myself to sleep at night when I thought of Jesus dying on the cross for me and the thought that my parents were going to hell. I was about 11-12 yrs. old at the time)
    I love my God, so very much, and my precious Saviour, Jesus.
    Thank you Father, for your grace and your mercy, and most of all for the gift that must have broken Your heart to give, Your dear Son.

  2. Dear Andrew,

    I fully agree that the key to the kingdom is repentence. Without repentence there is no salvation for any of us, and I too understand that we are to be baptised by full emersion in the name of Jesus Christ and not God, Christ, or the Father, Son and Holy Ghost.

    As far as speaking in tongues goes though, on my site http://www.sandrajeffery.com I have explained tongues from the Biblical perspective of the time period, and it is not what people think it is because they don’t understand that Paul is correcting the church in Corinth. If interested in what I came across in my studies, please click on the blog on the right of the page that pertains to speaking in tongues.

    Thank you for your comments on repentance and being baptised and how the church has strayed away from this requirement for salvation that is asked of us in the scripture. This is a very important message!

  3. Michelle R Jul 26th 2012

    I have to agree with everything you say. I “accepted Jesus” and yet continued to live a life of sin. I continued seeking and was finally baptized. After that, I started to experience true repentance. And some time later, while worshiping the Lord, I was baptized in the Holy Spirit. Even though I was taught I was saved way back when I accepted Jesus into my heart, I KNEW I was saved only after I was baptized in the Holy Spirit. To this day, I consider myself saved as of 05/2007 and not the 5 or more years before that that I “accepted Jesus into my heart”. Is it a coincidence that I remember my REAL salvation date and not the man made one? I think not.

  4. stanley wilson Aug 14th 2012

    The devil will beat you to the truth and tell you a lie

  5. Charles B Oct 16th 2012

    Thank you Andrew for this message. This is something that I have believed for years, but could never find anyone to agree with me. Your right, the church has become lazy and convenient just to build a large crowd. I too believe that a great percentage of the church is unsaved. This message needs to be broadcast everywhere. It is the truth that no one wants to hear, because they would have to admit they have been wrong. Pride stand in the way!. Keep up the good work.

  6. Andrew – good on you. I and our church that belongs to Christ has been preaching and teaching exactly what you’re arguing for over decades and decades, but no one wants to listen. Hundreds of years of their church tradition is at stake. The cost is too great it seems to admit you’ve been wrong. Re the thief on the cross, isn’t it interesting that no where in the Book of Acts, when baptism was commanded for salvation, did anyone ever object with: “What about the thief on the cross???”
    In the book of Romans we have sin and repentance emphasised in the first 3 chapters, faith stressed in chapter 4 and 5, then baptism in chapter 6, and the Holy spirit in chapter 8. But everyone seems to forget or distort the teaching of baptism in chapter 6.
    It’s tragic! Jesus said “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved.” Mark 16:16. But the world says, “Whoever believes is saved, and then should be baptised, but baptism isn’t really all that important!!!”
    May God use your work to his glory, Andrew
    David

  7. Woops – correction. I previously replied in part: “In the book of Romans we have sin and repentance emphasised in the first 3 chapters, faith stressed in chapter 4 and 5, then baptism in chapter 6, and the Holy spirit in chapter 8. But everyone seems to forget or distort the teaching of baptism in chapter 6.”
    That should read “faith stresed in chapters 3:19 through 5, and again chapters 9 and 10.”
    David

  8. brenda1947 Oct 17th 2012

    I’m 65 years old and I’ve lived all my life in the one truth of God’s Word for salvation according to Acts 2; repentance, water baptism in Jesus’ Name for the remission of my sins and received the gift of the Holy Ghost with many, many infillings (baptisms) .. I stand on the truth of God’s Holy Word these many years and have watched the compromise as many wolves in sheep’s clothing have been allowed to infiltrate with other doctrines of devils; polluting the house of the living God!!. “Buy the truth and sell it not” Truth makes free! Truth demands freedom! No the true remnant church will arise and declare the glory of the Kingdom! Many are called, but few are chosen .. there is a way that seems right to man but the end result is death .. Only 8 were saved in the floods in Noah’s day, Lot and his family only escaped the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, out of all the nations of the world, God chose 1 nation to show Himself strong, the road leading to destruction is broad and many people choose that way, the way that leads to eternal life is straight and narrow and few find that way .. it’s a remnant Saint .. God is working through the Remnant Church ..it’s a tight race .. if it were possible the very elect will be deceived .. truth only prevails! It fortifies us, stands us up, put grit in our backbones .. makes us strong .. the people who know their God are strong and do exploits .. it’s a relationship thing .. talk along won’t get it .. it’s about the walk .. we have to examine ourselves, stay in repentance, prayer and worship .. draw closer .. walk in the Spirit .. come out from among those who’re not travelling the same road as you .. pray for them and keep looking up .. our redemption is drawing near .. Jesus could come in the rapture any day .. I long to be caught up to meet Him in the air! ~~ Brenda ~~

  9. But Andrew, while I agree with everything you’ve said regarding the essentiality of baptism for salvation, I cannot agree with you regarding tongue-speaking as an essential accompaniment for every convert. Even in the book of Acts it is clear that most conversions were not accompanied by tongue-speaking! In fact, there is mention of tongue-speaking only of the apostles (and possibly others gathered with them) at Pentecost in Acts 2 (but no tongue-speaking is mentioned with the 3000 who were baptized!), of the conversion of Cornelius in Acts 10, though the tongue-speaking here precedes baptism and salvation, and of the Ephesian disciples in Acts 19, after baptism. There is no pattern for tongue-speaking at conversion as there is for baptism. I would urge you to study the Scriptures closely on this point as you recommend for others regarding baptism.
    David

  10. Andrew i agree, the “sinners prayer” and “accepting Christ into your heart by faith ” have no Bible backing.
    Andrew, I submit that Peter added the line after your quote from Acts “For THE PROMISE (my emphasis) .is to you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the LORD our God shall call.”
    The solution/answer to any problem is quite often to ask the right questions?
    Just what is the Promise Peter refers to here? Is it just a warm fuzzy feeling in our heart, is it only as some asset only the “power to witness” is it (only) the gift of tongues? is it (only) the baptism in the Holy Ghost?
    Jesus tells us in Acts 1.4.5 it was “the promise of The Father” which said He “you have heard of me” (there are indeed many, but one great one encompasses them all:- Speaking to those Spirit filled. “:And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace”
    I believe it is the one/selfsame promise God gave Adam and Eve at their expulsion from the Garden:- He Jesus shall crush the serpents heel…..salvation
    ie Salvation! yes the birth of the Church, who’s duty it is to tell Gods creatures how to be saved, and become His children (Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.) Peter answered the query “What shall we do?”
    Peter:- The promise was “To You” (that generation) “your children” (next generation). “those that are afar off” (generations after that, all over the earth) ….”even as many …..”
    Again the question:- “Is God still calling people today? Yes or no? Same God, Same Jesus, Same Bible, Same calling, Same answer! Same supernatural experience. You shall be baptized in the Holy Ghost not many days hence.

    I believe that end revival has started. we have the recipe. and that it will continue to gather “steam” as the Lord wills.
    For encouragement of all please visit:-
    http://revivalcentres.org/malawi-adventure/

    “It may be surprising for some of us back in Australia to know that there are over 350 Revival Centre assemblies spread throughout the southern and central regions of Malawi.”
    GB
    Pr Michael

  11. Andrew
    Some may misunderstand the seriousness of your point being made correctly. Words are very important, because simple words can be very misleading, much like todays ‘Polls’, that given any thought regarding, it becomes obvious in the secular world bias leads to (looking) for specific responces… and (perhaps) wording the poll the right way might help.

    A teacher (must) begin at the NEEDS of the student, not at the level attained by the instructor. When we make up words not found in the bible, we mislead a student. Let me show how easily this is, look for scripture that tells of the “Lion laying down with the lamb’. We (most) know this scripture saying, however it is not found within the bible.

    Consider the everyday word found in the bible, yet of this English word ‘Jewish/Jew’, it was not found in manuscript or bible before the 18th century. What difference does this make, indeed what?

    Telling a babe to ‘give or surrender your heart to the Lord’, tells them what, apparently it depends upon the babe. Does it mean, your all done, now go and do no more?

    No, you are absolutely correct Andrew, how is the babe to test every spirit and word against Gods Word, if that word may deceive, or is not even in the bible? It remains “the truth will set you free”, not someones imagination.