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by Vernon Dunning

When the Apostle Peter preached the first sermon after the return of Jesus to heaven, many were moved by the message and asked, "What shall we do?" They were told, "Repent and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit", Acts 2:37-38. Acts 2:41 tells us, "Then they that gladly received his word were baptized, and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls." These people were saved by the grace of God and added to the church of Christ. Eph. 2:8 reads, "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of ourselves, it is the gift of God." Acts 2:47 continues, "Praising God, and having favour with all people, and the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved."

This church was purchased by the blood of Christ. Matt. 16:18 tells us, "And I say also unto thee, that thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." Acts 20:28 continues, "Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which He hath purchased with His own blood."

Christ, as head of the church, has all authority over it. The apostle Paul tells us in Col. 1:18, "And He is the head of the body, the church: Who is the beginning, the first born from the dead; that in all things He might have the preeminence." Matt. 28:18 reads, "And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, all power is given unto me in heaven and in earth."

Those who heard, believed and obeyed the commands of Jesus were baptized. The promise of salvation is offered to us if we obey His commands. The apostle Peter tells us in Acts 2:39, "For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call." When we respond in the same way to the same message, we are saved from spiritual death and we are added to the same church of Christ.

When we repent, we put an end to our old sinful self. When we are baptized, we are buried in water just as Christ was buried in a tomb. When we come up out of the water, we are freed from the guilt of our past sins just as Jesus was resurrected without the sins He bore on the cross. John 3:5 relates, "Jesus answered, verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." This is spiritual rebirth.

After we obey the gospel, we must continue to live under the guidance of God so we can enjoy His fellowship. The apostle John writes in 1 John 1:5-7, "This then is the message which we have heard of Him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth; But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin."

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