Tom: This is our Understanding the Scriptures segment. We’re going through the Book of Acts. It’s really our privilege, as Dave mentioned in the last segment. Our heart here is to encourage people to get into the Word of God. And we’re really blessed that we can go through the Scriptures and encourage people to do the same, and to check us out—to search the Scriptures to make sure our interpretation, what we understand about it, is true to the Word of God. Everybody is personally accountable for that, aren’t they, Dave? They can’t just say, “Hey, Dave Hunt said this, or that.”
Dave: Right. If I have to rely upon what somebody else says the Bible says, then I’m not really in touch with God. The Bible isn’t doing me any good. I might just as well read some book that this man has written telling me about the Bible. I have the personal responsibility before God to know what the Bible says, and to obey it.
So going back, we have mentioned it many times, but Jesus quoted Deuteronomy 8 in his temptation wilderness. He said, “Man shall not live by bread alone.” He didn’t say “A Rabbi,” but man.
Psalm 1: “Blessed is the man.” It doesn’t say “Rabbi,” or “pastor,” or “preacher.”
“And in his law, the law of God, he meditates day and night.”
Or Psalm:119:9: “Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed thereto according to thy Word.” So a young man can understand it, and it doesn’t say he has to check it out with a Rabbi.
And then, 2 Timothy:3:15, Paul says to Timothy: “From a child you have known the Holy Scriptures.” Well, it was taught to him by his mother and grandmother. That was homeschooling way back then in the Word of God.
So, the Bible—everything you can read in Scripture itself would indicate… Well, Paul, 1 Corinthians 14, he says: “If any man among you thinks himself to be a prophet or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write are the commandments of the Lord.”
The Catholics would say, “It was the church that gave you the Bible.” No, in fact, is wasn’t. We’ve talked about that in the past. If anybody wants to ask some questions, we’d be happy to give it to you. The Third Council of Carthidge, 396 AD, was the first Council that gave a definitive statement of the books of the New Testament, and they have the 27 that we have, and they didn’t have any of Apocryphal books that are in the Catholic Bible, okay? But Christians weren’t around until then ringing their hands and saying, “Oh, what’s in the Bible? I mean, what are the right scriptures? We’re waiting for somebody to tell us.” The Bible is inspired of the Holy Spirit, and if you are indwelt by the Holy Spirit, then you have the basis and the responsibility to know what this is saying, that it really is from God.
Tom: Well, Dave, you just quoted 2 Timothy:3:15—what did Timothy have? He didn’t have the Bible that the Catholic Church gave him, okay? This was the Old Testament way before the Catholic Church was ever formed.
Dave: And the gospel was preached from the Old Testament.
Tom: Exactly. So we’re in Acts:10:44: “While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word.”
Dave: Now, Tom, let me interrupt. In case people can’t remember from last week or they’re just tuning in, while he “spake these words” he’s giving them the gospel. And he said exactly what we were just talking about: “Unto him give all the prophets witness, that you believe in His name and you are forgiven your sins.” Okay? So he’s referring to the Old Testament prophets. And so as he spake those words, he’s preaching Christ from the Old Testament.
Tom: And he’s preaching to the Gentiles, which created some concerns among the Jews. “And they of the circumcision [that is, the Jews] which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God.” Wow. This was something to behold for these guys, because for years, Dave, even though the Great Commission had been given, yet there was still that hang-up among the Jews that, you know, the Gentiles were still unclean.
Dave: Well, you had many statements in the Old Testament. The Psalms, for example, said, “We Jews worship the true God, but the gods of the nations, the non-Jews, are idols. They can’t see, they can’t hear,” and so forth and so on. So definitely it said many times that the Jews were God’s chosen people.
On the other hand, all through the Old Testament—for example, if you went to Genesis:12:3 when God calls Abraham, and He says, “I’m going to give you and your seed this land,” and so forth. But He says, “In thee and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed.” And David in Psalm 22, he talks about the sacrifice of Christ. This is where we have the prophesy of the crucifixion. He says, “All the nations will remember.” This is a message for everyone.
And when Jesus said to His disciples, “Go into all the world. Preach the gospel to every creature,” they didn’t understand that. Otherwise they would have known right then the gospel is for the Jews, and we’ve seen in Acts 10 God had to let a sheet down from heaven with all kinds of animals, many unclean animals, that he was not supposed to partake of, and say, “Rise, Peter, kill and eat.” He had to do something miraculous.
Tom: And He had to do it three times to get the message to Peter.
Dave: And then He had to send an angel to talk to Cornelius, and then Cornelius’ servants went to get Peter. He tells them right where Peter is, gives them his name and address. But that wouldn’t be enough. And now—wow!—suddenly they are speaking with tongues as the disciples did on the day of Pentecost, when they were filled with the Holy Spirit. The Spirit of God was poured out upon them. Jesus said, “The Holy Ghost will come upon you not many days hence.” He says that in Acts:1:10.
So there had to be a sign—wow! I don’t think anything else would have convinced them. And, as you said, when they get back to Jerusalem, they arrested the apostles, jump on them, and prophets, and, you know, elders: “You went into a house full of Gentiles, and you ate and drank with them and you gave the gospel to them!”
Peter says—he will say—“Guys, let me tell you what happened. It was very clear. They spoke with tongues like we did on the day of Pentecost, and you couldn’t deny it. They were born again by the Spirit of God through faith in Christ, as Jesus told Nicodemus.”
Now, the next two verses, Tom, are, I think, particularly interesting, because we have churches, denominations, and church leaders—and you grew up in one. You got baptized as a baby. What did that do for you? What did they tell you?
Tom: According to the Church, that was my entrance into the Kingdom. That was the only way I could possibly be saved…
Dave: Catholic Church.
Tom: …and in process. Not then through baptism, but that was part of the process of salvation.
And then we’ve got other people who believe that baptism is essential because of one verse, Mark 16, that says, “He that believeth and is baptized is saved.”
And we don’t have time to go into that, but it’s quite clear—well, when we get to Acts 16, we find people that were saved and then baptized. But here we have very clearly these people have received the Holy Spirit! They’ve been born again! And then he says…
Tom: So they believed the gospel. They heard it from Peter, and then they were filled with the Holy Spirit. What more could you ask for in terms of proof of salvation?
Dave: Right. And then Peter says, v. 47: “Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?” Okay. So they were saved, indwelt, and filled with the Holy Spirit…
Tom: Regenerated by the Holy Spirit.
Dave: Right. And then they get baptized, so obviously it didn’t take baptism to save them. So the next verse ends the chapter: “And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days.”
So it’s pretty hard to get around these scriptures, Tom. We have Cornelius’ household—in fact, we have to say this, because some people say, “Well, this is household baptism, and that’s where they get infant baptism from. There must have been infants in the house.”
No, no infants in the house, because it says, “They that heard the word, when they heard the word…” so infants don’t hear the gospel and understand the gospel. These were people who believed. There were no infants in this household, and you can’t get infant baptism from this chapter, and you certainly can’t get baptismal regeneration, because these people were regenerated and then they were baptized.