"Let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ." Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, "Men and brethren, what shall we do?"
Then Peter said to them, "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission ( forgiveness ) of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." Acts 2:36-38
That is the most important question that can be asked by anyone, "What must we do to be saved?" When Jesus began His ministry He was baptized in water and then He was baptized in the Holy Spirit giving us an example to follow in regard to eternal life and empowerment. The first word spoken in His message to the lost was: repent! Repentance is one of the keys to salvation because unless one turns away from sin, he cannot be forgiven.
Jesus came to this earth to save people, not only from their own sins, but from the inherited sin of Adam. Because of Adam's disobedience in the Garden of Eden sin was passed down through the bloodlines of mankind all the way down to us today. Only blood will wash away sin; in the Old Testament animal sacrifices provided the blood to atone ( to make amends ) for the people's sin. Once a year the High Priest would offer blood to the Lord in order for the people's sins to be forgiven. The High Priest is a prophetic type of Jesus who was to come and do away with the sacrifice and deal with sin forever.
For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man's obedience many will be made righteous. Romans 5:19
The gospel of Jesus Christ is the message of salvation for mankind to receive the mercy and grace of God and to wash away their sins by the blood of Jesus. A type of passover lamb sacrificed in Egypt to protect the children of Israel from the wrath of God, Jesus now becomes our deliverer and savior by shedding His blood for us on the cross. God's wrath on sin and rebellion can only be satisfied by His Son's blood.
Today many of the major components have been taken out of the gospel making it powerless to save one's soul, filling the churches with unconverted people thinking they are headed for heaven when in actuality they are headed for hell! A diabolical scheme of the devil to deceive the masses into thinking that just praying a simple little prayer will deliver them from eternal damnation. The "Sinners Prayer" has become the benchmark of today's modern consumer driven evangelism, the focus being on membership and not discipleship and its not even in the Bible.
The gospel of Christ must remain in tact to effectually do its saving work in the hearts of mankind. Jesus never led anyone in a prayer of salvation inviting Him to be their personal savior, neither did the other apostles. Men were called to repent of their sins and lay down their life and take up their cross and follow Jesus, not pray a worthless oath and join the church. The gospel ( Good News ) was preached from the law of God in the Old Testament convicting sinners that in order to escape God's judgment of eternal punishment they would have to repent of breaking His commandments.
God has a plan for man and His love is unfathomable even to the point of offering His own Son for our sins, but one thing you must understand is that when a person is lost, without Christ in his unconverted state, God's plan for him is to send him to a place of retribution and eternal punishment for breaking His laws and rejecting His sacrifice. If we could see the condition of our lost unconverted rebellious heart like God sees it we would fall on our face and cry out for mercy to escape His wrath.
For the wrath ( anger ) of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress ( to keep from being known ) the truth in unrighteousness. Romans 1:18
THE RICH YOUNG RULER
Jesus was the first to proclaim His own gospel of salvation to mankind after His baptism administered by John the Baptist. A young man came to Him one day asking Him what good thing he could do to inherit eternal life and called Him Good Teacher to justify his own good works. Jesus told him that no one is good and to keep the commandments. The boy replied, "Which ones?" and Jesus said, "You shall not murder,' 'You shall not commit adultery.' 'You shall not steal.' 'You shall not bear false witness.' 'Honor your mother and father,' and 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'" The young lad told Him that all these things he had kept from his youth making him a liar because no one has kept the commandments but Jesus.
Jesus preached the law of God, dealt with the boy's goodness and gave him the answer to his question, "What do I still lack?" Jesus said, "If you wish to become perfect, ( complete ) go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me." Jesus, not knowing our modern technique of leading the poor seeker in a prayer of salvation proceeded to run the boy off because he wasn't willing to repent, sell his stuff, love his neighbor or follow Jesus by making Him Lord. How can anyone fill stadiums by preaching such a hard gospel, it's no wonder He only had 120 disciples!
The rich young ruler went away saddened by his experience with his meeting with Jesus because he had great wealth and great expectations of his goodness allowing him access to the kingdom of God. Jesus didn't try and coax him or tell him He would work with him or even invite him to tag along and see if he liked discipleship, no, He let him go his way knowing that if he didn't repent he would end up in hell. Doesn't sound like our mushy little invitation to bow your head and close your eyes and mutter some worthless oath that in most cases many don't even know what the gospel demands.
In order to receive salvation one must repent, ( turn away from a rebellious lifestyle ) make Jesus Lord by giving up your life into His control, follow Him wherever He leads, and start a relationship with God, by loving Him with all of your heart. The rich young ruler was not willing to let go of his money or his selfish life and the gospel was to narrow for him to enter and receive eternal life.
'If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost." Luke 9:23-25
THE RICH MAN AND LAZARUS
The Bible doesn't state that this story is about the rich young ruler's fate after he has grown into an old rich ruler, but it does have similarities to his former encounter with Christ. One of the things that Jesus dealt with the rich young ruler about was the fact of loving his neighbor, the second greatest commandment. In this account, a rich man has a poor beggar named Lazarus, laid at his gate with dogs licking his sores, a pitiful site indeed to behold.
The Bible says that the rich man lived in luxury every day and obviously had to step over poor Lazarus every time he stepped out his front door. I'm sure he complained like we all do about something like this in our neighborhood, after all, isn't there a place for people like that? The rich man was probably a good moral upstanding man in the community and wanted to keep the riff-raff out of his neighborhood, but God had a purpose for poor Lazarus laying there, he was to bring conviction to the rich ruler. God was still trying to reach this man's heart and give him a chance to repent of his selfishness, but in vain, it was too late.
Lazarus died and was carried by the angels to the Bosom of Abraham or Paradise and the rich man died and was immediately tormented in hell. Then he cried out, but it was too late, he said, "Father Abraham, have mercy on me for I am being tormented in this flame." Abraham then proceeded to tell him that he had received good things in his life and reminded him that poor Lazarus received bad things right outside his door and he never even tried to help him. Then in desperation he cried out to warn his five brothers who were also lost, but Abraham said, they had the Law of Moses and the prophets, let them hear them.
When someone dies without Jesus they awaken to the screams of millions of lost souls who died in their sins immersed in eternal fire in pitch darkness full of fear and gnashing their teeth because of the pain and suffering that will never end. In America I believe we will encounter a more serious judgment because we have lived in luxury while we have rejected the cries of the poor of this world. Although good works won't save you, the breaking of God's commands to love Him with all of your heart and to love your neighbor ( everyone ) as yourself will certainly send you to hell.
WHAT MUST WE DO TO BE SAVED?
If you were convicted in your heart by this message, or you believe that you are lost without Christ and feel that you have broken His laws and rebelled against His Holy Spirit then this is what the Bible says to do:
Confess your sins to God and cry out for mercy! They were committed one at a time and should be confessed one at a time.
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us. I John 1:9,10
Sorrow for sin.Being sorrowful and remorseful for breaking God's laws and commands and being sorry for your actions against a Holy God must be present in order to receive His great mercy and forgiveness. In other words you must mean what you say.
For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death. II Corinthians 7:10
Repentance from sin.Renouncing sin and turning away from an ungodly lifestyle and a worldly selfish mindset in order to become a new creation in Christ.
Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord. Acts 3:19
Receiving forgiveness by faith in His death, burial and Resurrection.By believing that Jesus Christ died for you to cleanse you with His blood from all sin and unrighteousness by death on the cross, by faith receive His forgiveness and confess Him as the Lord of your life.
If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus ( making Him Lord of your life ) and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. Romans 10:9,10 Note: ( The sinners prayer originated from this verse, but in actuality was taken from Deuteronomy 30:11-20 which has a much more serious confession and commitment. )
Consecration. The devoting of one's life to follow Jesus wherever He leads and to obey His commands to love God with all of your heart and to love one's neighbor as one's self. This is eternal life.
And behold, a certain lawyer stood up and tested Him, saying, "Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?" He said to him, "What is written in the law? What is your reading of it?" So he answered and said, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, with all your mind,' and your neighbor as yourself." Jesus answered him and said, "You have answered rightly; do this and you will live." FOREVER! Luke 10:25-28
As you can see it takes more that just a prayer and just being good, or going to church, or being involved in some religious activity or ritual, it is the most important choice you will ever make and your eternal soul depends on you making the right decision! Jesus warned, do not be deceived and He also said there would be many to try and deceive you. Remember the very words of Christ: "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. John 14:6
If you need more information on eternal life, or need someone to talk to, then please contact us and we will do all we can to help you find the Savior. May God richly bless you!