Help For Those Who Want To Know More About Jesus Christ
ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS: STUDY 6
QUESTIONS PAGE 24
Explain: “When is the appointed DAY when Jesus will judge the world?”
Jesus will judge the world on His return (Matthew 25:31-46). We call this “The Second Coming” of Jesus. Jesus will come unexpectedly, like a thief in the night (Matthew 24:42-44). No one knows exactly when that day will be, so we should always be ready. If we knew when Jesus was coming we would only be ready at the last minute!
Explain: “Why is a person either for or against Jesus? Why can’t they abstain from coming to a decision?”
If you do not accept a gift that is offered to you then you are refusing it. There is no middle position! Until we accept the gift of salvation, through the death of Christ, we are under condemnation (blame for our sin). We either come to Jesus as our Saviour or we refuse to come to Him as our Saviour. There is no middle position.
Explain: “What’s the meaning of Acts 2:3”
The Holy Spirit is symbolised (in the Bible) by fire and wind. It is not surprising, then, to see the symbol of wind and fire in Acts chapter 2 when the Holy Spirit (who is invisible) came on the Apostles. The fire appeared like flaming tongues. This, too, is not surprising, as they were instantly given the ability to speak in different languages. People from all over the world were present to hear them speak about Jesus’ dying love and resurrection. They heard the Apostles speak to them in their own “tongue” (i.e. language).
God wants the whole world to know about Jesus, and that is one of the reasons why the Holy Spirit is given to the church. The Holy Spirit gives Christians the courage to speak about Jesus to others and, on this occasion only (Acts 2), the ability to speak different languages to show that God really does want all nations to know about Jesus.
Explain: “‘God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones’ (Luke 3:8). What does this mean?”
The Jews were descended from Abraham and so they were called “the children of Abraham”. They were very privileged people because God had revealed Himself to them through the prophets. No other nation received revelations from God. This was not because they were better than others, they were just as bad and needed to repent.
Because God had specially chosen the Jews they did not think it was necessary to repent. “We are God’s special people. We are acceptable to God as we are”, they thought. However, it would be easy for God to chose another nation instead of them, or even create Jews from the stones if He wanted to, as nothing is too hard for God. As the special people of God they must not think they are immune from condemnation. They must therefore repent. This is the meaning of Jesus’ words and it should teach us not to rely on our privileges. However important, well educated or rich we are, we still need to repent!
Explain: “If baptism is not a condition for salvation, why is the gift of the Holy Spirit promised to those who are baptised (Acts 2:38)? What is this gift?”
You must understand that baptism shows both obedience and faith. Baptism itself is not important but the faith it demonstrates is important. It is impossible to be saved without faith in Christ’s saving death (John 3:16). Anyone can be immersed in water but Christian baptism (immersion in water) is in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19). When a Christian is baptised he is declaring his faith in God as his Father, in Jesus as his Saviour and in the Holy Spirit as his Helper. It is in response to the faith that brings salvation (expressed in baptism) that the gift of the Holy Spirit is given. The Holy Spirit is a person. He is God’s gift to every true believer.
Explain: “Why must Christians be baptised if repentance and faith are the only conditions for salvation?”
Baptism is just one of many commands that Christians should obey. For instance Christians should be loving, humble, obedient to parents etc. But none of these things can put us right with God. Salvation (as we saw earlier) is not by good deeds (or anything we do) but received by faith as a gift. Baptism (which is an act of obedience) cannot, therefore, contribute to our salvation any more than good deeds can. True repentance is shown in obedience to God’s commands. If we really repent we shall want to obey God by being baptised. Baptism, therefore, demonstrates not only our faith but our repentance. But baptism itself is not a condition of salvation!
Explain: “You say that baptism cannot wash away sin but Acts 22:16 says it can?”
The footnote on page 24 stresses the fact that baptism’s symbolic meaning is alluded to in Acts 22:16. This has to be the case in the light of all that is said about salvation by faith alone and not by anything we do whether it be good works or ceremonies. What the Apostle Paul had to say about the Jewish ceremony of circumcision equally applies to the Christian ceremony of baptism (Galatians 6:15). Forgiveness is totally FREE! It cannot be bought because we cannot be perfect. And it cannot be bought cheaply by some small ceremony that costs us little.
Questions and Answers Study 7