|SPEAK AS THE ORACLES RADIO Program #130
Adapted from Ira Y. Rice
XXV. GOD’S NEW TESTAMENT PLAN OF SALVATION.
Having thus cleared away practically all possible misconceptions concerning BAPTISM, we next went on to
emphasize that however necessary baptism is — and the New Testament requires it for salvation — yet, PRIOR
TO baptism, at least FOUR OTHER THINGS must FIRST be done before one CAN be “baptized into Christ.”
These four things — plus baptism — we referred to as “God’s New Testament PLAN of Salvation.”
FIRSTLY, we pointed out, one must HEAR the gospel of Jesus Christ. WITHOUT the GOSPEL OF CHRIST there
could be NO SALVATION (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). Jesus commanded the gospel to be PREACHED for this purpose
(Mark 16:15-16; 1 Corinthians 1:21; Acts 11:13-14). The PREACHING must be HEARD (Romans 10:13-15; Acts 3:
SECONDLY, one must BELIEVE (i.e., have FAITH) in JESUS CHRIST. Without FAITH (BELIEF) we CANNOT
please God (Hebrews 11:6). Faith is the substance (i.e., assurance) of things hoped for, the evidence of things not
seen (Hebrews 11:1). Faith or belief comes by HEARING THE WORD OF GOD (Romans 10:14,17). Belief (faith) is
essential to salvation (Mark 16:16; Ephesians 2:8). Christians are supposed to walk by faith (2 Corinthians 5:7). If
we doubt (i.e., do not have faith) we sin (Romans 14:23).
THIRDLY, we must REPENT of our sins. Repentance is for “remission of sins” (Acts 2:38) Repentance is essential
to CONVERSION that SINS BE BLOTTED OUT (Acts 3:19). Except we REPENT, we PERISH (Luke 13:3).
FOURTHLY, comes CONFESSION of our FAITH in JESUS CHRIST. Confession is for salvation (Romans 10:8-10).
Unbaptized believers confess their faith in Christ BEFORE BAPTISM (Acts 8:35-38). We must confess Jesus Christ
BEFORE MEN, if He is to confess us also before His Father (God) in heaven (Matthew 10:32). Otherwise, He will
DENY us before God (Matthew 10:33; Mark 8:38).
FIFTHLY — and only after having already completed the FIRST FOUR requirements in God’s plan — we must be
BAPTIZED INTO JESUS CHRIST. Since SALVATION is IN CHRIST (2 Timothy 2:10), and we are BAPTIZED
INTO CHRIST where salvation IS (Romans 6:3; Galatians 3:27), it logically follows therefore that we are
BAPTIZED INTO SALVATION! This conclusion harmonizes with all Bible passages applicable to this point,
Baptism is to be SAVED (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:40-41; 1 Peter 3:21). Baptism is for the REMISSION OF SINS (Acts 2:
38). Baptism is to RECEIVE THE HOLY SPIRIT (Acts 2:38). Baptism is to WASH AWAY SINS (Acts 22:16).
REJOICING is AFTER (not before) baptism (Acts 8:38-39; 16:34). Those NOT BAPTIZED CANNOT ENTER THE
KINGDOM OF GOD (John 3:5). Hence CANNOT BE SAVED.
Most modern, so-called “Christian” denominations preach PART of the foregoing New Testament plan as
“ESSENTIAL” for salvation, PART as “NON-ESSENTIAL.” The New Testament makes no such distinction. Jesus
taught it ALL. Let us therefore PREACH — and DO — it all — and for the REASONS given in GOD’S WORD. For,
as Jesus told the devil when the devil tempted Him in the wilderness, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by
EVERY WORD THAT PROCEEDETH OUT OF THE MOUTH OF GOD” (Matthew 4:4; Luke 4:4).
XXVI. THE CHURCH YOU READ ABOUT IN THE NEW TESTAMENT.
All right, now let us say we have HEARD the gospel of Jesus Christ, have BELIEVED in Him with all our hearts,
have REPENTED of our sins, CONFESSED our faith in Christ before men and been BAPTIZED into Him.
Is that ALL THERE IS to Christianity? Or does God have SOME THING MORE for the baptized believer — the
Christian —following his baptism?
As a matter of fact, obedience to God’s plan for salvation is NOT THE END but rather the BEGINNING of things
for the Christian.
Prior to his baptism, no person in the Bible is called a Christian. However, AFTER having been BURIED with
Jesus BY BAPTISM INTO DEATH, we are raised like Christ was raised to “walk in NEWNESS OF LIFE.” The old
man thus is put off in baptism, and a new birth, resulting in a new creature, takes place (John 3:3-5; 2 Corinthians
This new life is lived in the “church” you read about in the New Testament. On the day that God’s New Testament
plan of salvation went into effect, those people who obeyed it, you recall, were “added.” Acts 2:41 says that “they
that GLADLY received his word WERE BAPTIZED; and the same day there were ADDED unto them ABOUT
THREE THOUSAND souls.” To WHAT were they ADDED? To the apostles? Yes, but is that all? No. Verse 47
continues, “And the Lord ADDED to the CHURCH daily such as should be SAVED.” So the SAVED were added
not to the apostles only, but THE CHURCH as well.
In our study of the CHURCH, we learned it comes from the Greek term “EKKLESIA,” meaning, “a called out body.”
Generically the term is applied to those “called out” of Egypt. However, those Israelites were not the “CHURCH”
authorized for CHRISTIANS, for 15 centuries AFTER their flight from Egypt, shortly after John the Baptist was
beheaded (Matthew 14), the church authorized by the NEW TESTAMENT was foretold as YET FUTURE by Jesus
In Matthew 16:18, He said, “I WILL BUILD my EKKLESIA [church].”
No reference is made of this church as in existence until Acts 2, discussed foregoing.
Since the church — the EKKLESIA — is “called out,” how are those in it “called”? 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14 says,
“he CALLED you BY OUR GOSPEL.”
Not everyone “CALLED” is “called OUT.” Jesus said, “For many are CALLED, but few are CHOSEN.” However,
those who ARE “chosen” are CALLED by the gospel. (Read 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14 one more time).
Thus those who respond to the preaching of the gospel of Christ are CALLED (1 Corinthians 1:24). And this
CALLING is according to God’s PURPOSE (Romans 8:28; 2 Timothy 1:9).
Since the New Testament is GOD’S OWN DECLARATION of His PURPOSE, it follows that this calling is
according to the TEACHING of God’s NEW TESTAMENT! And since the New Testament CALLS on people to
hear the gospel, believe in Jesus Christ, repent of their sins, confess Christ before men and be baptized into
Christ, it follows that those who do so from their hearts are thus CALLED of God.
And since He saves such people, takes them out of “the world” and puts them into His “church,” they thus are not
only CALLED, but CALLED OUT. Hence, the “called out body” — the EKKLESIA — the CHURCH that Jesus said,
“I will build,” is the body of BELIEVERS in Jesus Christ, who have REPENTED of their sins, CONFESSED His
name and been BAPTIZED INTO HIM!
To be “in Christ” (where salvation is) is to be in His CHURCH.
Ephesians 4:5 teaches there is ONE baptism. Therefore the same baptism that puts one INTO CHRIST (Romans 6:
3; Galatians 3:17) puts one INTO HIS CHURCH. For 1 Corinthians 12:13 teaches we are “baptized into ONE
BODY.” Verse 20 says “BUT one body.” And Ephesians 1:22-23, Colossians 1:18, 24 say that “BODY” is the
CHURCH! Therefore not only are we baptized into CHRIST, but simultaneously, we are baptized into Christ’s
Modern denominational SO-CALLED “churches” say it makes no difference WHAT church you are a member of;
that the church does not save you anyway! We must agree that there is no salvation in any of these
DENOMINATIONAL churches, for every single one of them is MAN-MADE, and has no higher authority even to
EXIST than the HUMAN BEINGS who STARTED them.
But this cannot be said of the church JESUS built, for He SHED HIS BLOOD for it (Acts 20:28), is the HEAD of it,
the SAVIOUR of it, LOVES it, GAVE HIMSELF for it, SANCTIFIED it and CLEANSED it with the washing of water
by the Word, that He might PRESENT it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such
thing; but that it should be HOLY and without blemish (Ephesians 5:23-27).
Moreover He ADDS the SAVED to it (Acts 2:47). In other words, that is what the church IS, i.e., THE SAVED!
We therefore are calling upon all who have mistakenly joined DENOMINATIONS wherein they themselves admit
there is NO SALVATION to come OUT OF THEM, obey the New Testament plan of salvation and be added to
the ONE TRUE CHURCH where SALVATION IS!
It is impossible to be BOTH in DENOMINATION ALISM and SAVED in the ONE TRUE CHURCH at the same time!
DENOMINATIONAL churches teach DIFFERENT DOCTRINES from the DOCTRINE OF CHRIST. They who do
this “have not God” (2 John 9). Such are neither to be RECEIVED (i.e., fellowshipped) nor approved and
encouraged (verse 10). “For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds” (verse 11).
Once we established that Jesus has ONLY ONE CHURCH, we asked, “WHICH ONE is it? It is the one (and there is
only ONE in the world which fits the following description), which is called, in the AGGREGATE, the “general
assembly” (Hebrews 12:23), “the body” (Ephesians 1:23), the “church” (Matthew 16:18), “church of God” (Acts 20:
28), “church of the living God” (1 Timothy 3:15), “church of the firstborn” (Hebrews 12:23), the “whole family in
heaven and earth” (Ephesians 3:15), the “kingdom” (Colossians 1:13) and many other such things.
It is the one which in the LOCAL or CONGREGATIONAL sense is called “assembly” (James 2:2), “church”
(Romans 16:1), “churches” (i.e., congregations) (Acts 9:31), “churches of God” (1 Corinthians 11:16; 2
Thessalonians 1:4), “churches of Christ” (Romans 16:16), “churches of the saints” (1 Corinthians 14:33), “flock” and
other New Testament designations.
It is the one whose INDIVIDUAL MEMBERS, whether locally or world-wide, are called “brethren” (Acts 6:3), “the
called” (Romans 1:16), “the elect” (Romans 8:33), “believers” (Acts 5:14; 1 Timothy 4:12), “children of God”
(Romans 8:16), “partakers” (Hebrews 3:14), “disciples” (Acts 6:1), “Christians” (Acts 11:26) — and scores of other
New Testament terms.
The church we read about in the New Testament is LARGER than any denomination in its world-wide sense, yet
is SMALLER than any denomination in its local or congregational sense. Thus the church that Jesus built does
not fit DENOMINATIONALISM in any sense. DENOMINATIONS ARE NOT THE CHURCH IN THE NEW
TESTAMENT. There is NO CONNECTION or RELATIONSHIP between THEM and IT. God adds ALL of the
SAVED to HIS CHURCH! He adds NONE of the SAVED to ANY DENOMINATION!
How does one become a member of the ONE TRUE CHURCH — the one you read about in the New Testament?
By HEARING the gospel, BELIEVING in Jesus Christ, REPENTING of past sins, CONFESSING Christ before men
and being BAPTIZED INTO CHRIST. Having thus OBEYED Christ, he thus becomes the author of one’s
SALVATION (Hebrews 5:8-9). Having SAVED him Christ thus ADDS him to HIS CHURCH (Acts 2:47). This is how
one becomes a member of the CHURCH YOU READ ABOUT IN YOUR NEW TESTAMENT.
It is NOT the way to become a member of any DENOMINATION under heaven!
XXVII. THE WORK AND WORSHIP OF THE CHURCH.
Having now IDENTIFIED the church you read about in the New Testament, we next moved on to study its WORK
and WORSHIP as revealed therein.
A careful study of the New Testament, we pointed out, reduces all church work to three categories: 1)
EVANGELIZATION, 2) EDIF ICATION and 3) GLORIFICATION.
From 1 Timothy 3:15 we learned that the CHURCH is the “PILLAR AND GROUND (sup port)” of THE TRUTH. By
the CHURCH, therefore, the WORLD is supposed to be EVANGELIZED. God’s wisdom is made KNOWN “by the
church” (Ephesians 3:8-10). The EXTENT of this evangelism is shown by the GREAT COMMISSION, already
studied: “EVERY CREATURE,” “ALL NATIONS,” “ALL THE WORLD” (Matthew 28:19; Mark 16:15; Luke 24:47) —
“EVEN UNTO THE END OF THE WORLD” (Matthew 28:20).
Once people were TAUGHT and BAPTIZED (Matthew 28:20), they were to be FURTHER TAUGHT (i.e., edified)
“to OBSERVE ALL THINGS” which Jesus had commanded. Paul in structed the church at Rome to follow after
things wherewith one may “EDIFY” another (Romans 14:19). “ALL THINGS” were to be done unto EDIFYING (1
Corinthians 14:26; 2 Corinthians 12:19).
God’s PURPOSE for this was Christian unity, perfection and growth (Ephesians 4:11-13).
As church members thus were edified, their reaction, in turn, was supposed to be GOD’S GLORIFICATION. This
to be accomplished by FRUIT-BEARING (John 15:8). Some of the “FRUIT”: LOVE, JOY, PEACE, LONG-
SUFFERING, GENTLENESS, GOODNESS, FAITH, MEEKNESS, TEMPERANCE (Galatians 5:22-23), GOOD
WORKS (Matthew 5:16; Galatians 6:10).
The early church also glorified God through WORSHIP. After the first converts were ADDED to the church (Acts 2:
41, 47), they continued steadfastly in the “APOSTLES’ DOCTRINE AND FELLOWSHIP, and in BREAKING OF
BREAD, and in PRAYERS” (verse 42).
Also they PRAISED God (verse 47). Jesus said that those who BEAR NO FRUIT are HEWN DOWN and CAST INTO
THE FIRE (Matthew 7:19).
In continuing steadfastly in the “APOSTLES’ DOCTRINE,” we showed this could be done by continuing to HEAR
the apostles’ teaching, just as they had been doing (Acts 2:37,41), and by letting this teaching GOVERN and
MOLD their LIVES (James 1:22-25).
The “FELLOWSHIP” (i.e., sharing, joint-participation) not only involved their HEARING THE WORD, BEING
BAPTIZED and ADDED TO THE CHURCH (Acts 2:41, 47), but also their CONTINUED SHARING in RELIGIOUS
EXPERIENCES (verses 43-46), in SUPPORT OF THE GOSPEL (1 Corinthians 9:7-14), in HELPING ONE
ANOTHER (Acts 2:45; 4:34-35) and in DOING GOOD TO OTHERS (1 Corinthians 16:1-2; Galatians 6:10).
The religious “BREAKING OF BREAD” (the Lord’s Supper or communion), instituted by Christ as a MEMORIAL
before His death (Matthew 26:26-29), was not to be observed until IN HIS KINGDOM (verse 29). His KINGDOM or
CHURCH was established on Pentecost, a.d. 33, as we learned earlier in our study. Thus the first mention of this
“breaking of bread,” first introduced in Matthew 26, is on Pentecost (Acts 2:42). Pentecost was on the “FIRST DAY
OF THE WEEK.” And it was on the FIRST DAY OF THE WEEK,” Acts 20:7 tells us, that the disciples came
together “to BREAK BREAD.”
PRAYERS, meanwhile, were to be modeled on the SAMPLE PRAYER given by Jesus in Matthew 6:9-13.
Christians were to pray CONTINUALLY (1 Thessalonians 5:17), including THANKSGIVINGS (Colossians 3:17),
REQUESTS (Acts 7:59) and INTERCESSIONS (Acts 7:60; 12:5). PRAISING GOD (Acts 2:47) was by TESTIFYING
(Acts 3:12-16; 8:25; 11:18, etc.), by PRAYING (Ephesians 3:14-21) and by SINGING (Acts 16:25; Romans 15:9; 1
Corinthians 14:15, etc.)
Although the particular PLACE of worship was immaterial (John 4:21), Christians nevertheless were to
ASSEMBLE THEMSELVES TOGETHER (Matthew 18:20; Hebrews 10:25). They were to worship God in SPIRIT
and in TRUTH (John 4:20-24).
Since not all worship is acceptable unto God (Matthew 15:9) they were warned against worshipping according to
the “doctrines and commandments of men.”
To worship “in spirit” (i.e., sincerely) was not enough. Worship ALSO had to be “IN TRUTH” (John 4:24). And what
is “truth?” GOD’S WORD! (John 17:17). So, to be ACCEPTABLE UNTO GOD worship had to be ACCORDING TO
GOD’S WORD! And any type of worship not taught in God’s Word (i.e., the NEW TESTAMENT, since it is now of
force) is not acceptable unto Him.
On this basis, is it all right to have the “apostles’ doctrine?” “fellowship?” “breaking of bread?” “prayers?” “singing?”
Yes. Why? Because GOD’S WORD — the NEW TESTAMENT — TEACHES Christians to WORSHIP GOD THUS.
Well, is it all right, IN ADDITION to these things taught by God, to ADD candles, incense, graven images,
instrumental music, prayer wheels, idols, the ringing of bells and such like to our worship? No. Why? Because
NONE OF THESE THINGS are in God’s Word, hence they are not “IN TRUTH.” Thus they are after the “doctrines
and commandments OF MEN.”
As has already been shown, such worship is VAIN (Matthew 15:9). And both THEY, as well as the MAN-MADE
“CHURCHES” who DO and TEACH such, NOT having been authorized (“planted”) by God shall be “ROOTED UP”
Like the Pharisees of Jesus’ day, “they be BLIND LEADERS OF THE BLIND. And if the BLIND LEAD THE BLIND,
BOTH shall FALL INTO THE DITCH.” Jesus said of such: “LET THEM ALONE!” (verse 14).
[TO BE CONTINUED]