A Biblical Example of Entrance into the Lord's Church
By Kelvin Pugh
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The Apostle Paul traveled great distances to preach and teach the gospel of Jesus Christ. Did Paul teach different means of entrance into the Lord's church? Looking at the many religions today, one would think he did. The beliefs and teachings which are contrary to the New Testament were not taught by Paul nor by any of the other apostles, but have been adulterated from the truth of God's Word. "For this cause have I sent unto you Timotheus, who is my beloved son, and faithful in the Lord, who shall bring you into remembrance of my ways which be in Christ, as I teach every where in every church" (1 Corinthians 4:17). Paul taught the same doctrine every where and in every church. Timothy also taught the same things Paul taught. Both were teaching the ways of Christ. If this is the case, whatever Paul taught concerning salvation in one place, he taught in another. Today, there are so many varied opinions concerning salvation. How can one know what is right? We must go to the source of truth, the word of God (John 17:17).
Paul preached the gospel in the city of Ephesus (Acts 19:1-6). He later devotes an entire epistle to the saints at Ephesus. What did these people do to become members of the church? It is our intent in this short study to see what moved these people from an unsaved state to a saved state.
Paul, while passing through the upper coast came to Ephesus. The Bible explains he found certain disciples there, and he preached Christ to them (Acts 19:1-5). In his letter to the Ephesian church he said, "In whom ye trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation..." (Ephesians 1:13). It must be concluded that the preaching and teaching of the gospel is an essential step toward salvation.
Continuing with the same verse, Paul recorded "...in whom also after that ye believed..." (Ephesians 1:13). After hearing the preached message, the people of Ephesus believed on Jesus. "John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is on Christ Jesus (Acts 19:4). Belief on Christ is an essential element toward salvation.
Paul, as he was preparing to sail away from Ephesus, called the elders of the church from Ephesus to meet with him at Miletus. He said to them, "Testifying both to the Jews and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ" (Acts 20:21). Paul taught repentance while in Ephesus.
After encountering the situation with the sons of Sceva, the Bible states, "...and fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified. And many that believed came, and confessed, and showed their deeds" (Acts 19:17-18). What did the Ephesians confess? The Romans were told, "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead thou shalt be saved" (Romans 10:9).
After hearing the preaching of Paul, the people at Ephesus were baptized. "When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus" (Acts 19:5). The Bible clearly teaches baptism saves and places one in Christ (1 Peter 3:21; Acts 2:38; Galatians 3:26-27).
Paul then states the Ephesians were saved by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8). All of these actions saved the Ephesians and saved any one else to whom Paul preached. Today, the same is required to be saved and to be added to the church by the Lord Jesus (Acts 2:47). Have you surrendered to the will of the Lord and obeyed the gospel as the Ephesians did?
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