Series: Fundamental Lessons on the Church. Lesson Three,
MEMBERSHIP REQUIREMENTS ACCORDING TO THE FIRST CENTURY REVELATION
By Bob W. Lovelace
Dear reader, we trust that you have taken time to read the first two lessons in this series, "Fundamental Lessons on the Church." All of the lessons go together and each lesson studied in sequence, beginning with the establishment of the church (Lesson One), just makes the following that much more meaningful and easily understood. For example, what is said concerning membership requirements in this lesson can be tied right back to the very beginning of the church as recorded in Acts chapter two. There is probably nothing more frustrating than to read about the conversion of the Ethiopian eunuch, and be contrasting it with the various methods men employ for so-called conversion today. This account of conversion to Christ, along with others recorded in the book of Acts, states the process of conversion just as it was practiced in the first century. There really is no other way to be converted than that revealed in the New Testament. Here is the account of the eunuch's conversion:
"And the angel of the Lord spake unto Philip, saying, Arise,
and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down
Following the "order" as set forth in the scriptures:
The eunuch first "heard" the Gospel preached,
In Lesson Two we gave considerable emphasis to the
fact that the Gospel was to be preached to all men (Mark -16). Moreover, we learned that it is the
Gospel, Paul says, that is the power of God unto salvation (Rom. ). Here is but one example of
that precious Gospel being preached and producing the only thing that the word
of Christ can produce, a christian.
There are many fine qualities that the man, the eunuch from
Philip, an evangelist, began in the book of Isaiah and "preached Christ" to him. Philip did more than just explain the passage he asked about. Luke described Philip's teaching him as having "preached Christ" to him. Preachers in the first century church preached Christ in order that individuals might hear what was necessary for them to do to be saved (Acts 2:37-38, 41). And this is what Philip did for the eunuch. The process of conversion is consistent throughout the New Testament beginning with the day of Pentecost in Acts 2 onwards. Before His ascension Jesus commissioned the apostles saying, "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.  He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned" (Mark -16). On Pentecost (in Acts 2) Peter preached in fulfillment of that commission, "Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins…" (Acts 2:38). Those who gladly received his word were baptized and there were added that day about three thousand souls (Acts ). Dear reader, the first step to conversion is to learn what you need to do. And, as illustrated here with the eunuch's conversion that necessitated one "hearing" the Gospel. Let's proceed with the conversion process.
Hearing God's word produced "belief" in the eunuch,
God did not make the process of conversion in order be saved difficult for man to understand. The Gospel is the power of God unto salvation for all men everywhere. Thus God made it simple and easily understood by all. We have already established in these lessons that the word, the Gospel or New Testament, is indeed the word of God. The apostle Peter said of this word, "But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you" (1 Peter ). Why did the apostles and preachers such as Philip preach that word? Peter explanation points to the new birth, "Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever" (1 Peter ). What Jesus explained with the words "shall be saved," Peter explained with the words "being born again." Moreover, Jesus taught that it is the "seed" that is planted in the heart (mind) of man that begets unto spiritual life. Hear Jesus, "Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.  Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved.  They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away.  And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection.  But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience" (Luke 8:11-15).
One important aspect of conversion concerns knowing how faith in Christ comes. The eunuch willingly confessed his belief in the deity of Jesus as God's Son. But how did he learn this? By hearing the word preached. What he heard preached was "Christ." The word "Messiah" translated means "Christ" - John 1:41. Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. The New Testament teaches us that faith comes by hearing God's word (Romans ). The gospel is the power of God unto salvation (Rom. ). Thus the word is the "seed" that is planted that produces faith in Jesus as the Christ, the Son of God. Simple enough thus far!
The eunuch's faith led to his obedience,
and read the account of his conversion again in Acts 8:26-40. Read it with the
understanding that this was given so one might know "today" what they
should do to be saved. The eunuch heard,
believed, and was baptized. Let's compare this with the conversion of those at
The definition of "baptized" (Acts , 38)
We have already emphasized that Philip preached Christ to the eunuch. In doing so he taught about baptism being necessary for salvation. This is shown by necessary inference from the student's own question which was posed as a result of having been taught. The word "baptized" in our texts is defined as the word "BAPTISMA, baptism, consisting of the process of immersion, submersion and emergence…" ("An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words," by W. E. Vine). The idea presented in baptism is that of immersion or burial in water. The element is water. In fact, water is the only physical element involved in one's conversion to Christ. When one is scripturally baptized there is enough water to immerse them completely. We read in the eunuch's conversion that "… they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him" and then they came up out of the water (Acts ).
Dear reader, scriptural baptism is not "sprinkling," nor is it "pouring" a little water over the head. The words for sprinkling (Rhantizo) and pouring (Cheo) are not the same word as the word for baptism that is used in the scriptures when one is baptized into Christ. They are different words with different meanings all together! Compare John's baptizing in John , "And John also was baptizing in Aenon near to Salim, because there was much water there: and they came, and were baptized." Once when I was teaching concerning baptism a person present spoke up and said, "Oh, I asked my Pastor about that and he said that the eunuch just did such because there wasn't much water where he was going." People will say ridiculous things, at times, to try and explain away the purpose of baptism.
Accounts of conversion in the book of Acts,
The New Testament consistently teaches that baptism comes before salvation and is necessary in order that one might receive the forgiveness of their sins. We have seen in Lesson One that the book of Acts records the beginning or establishment of the church. This inspired book also contains various accounts of conversion to Christ in the first century. By applying what it says about these conversions one reaps the benefit of using the book for its intended purpose, saving lost souls. Here is a list of the conversion in this great and useful book.
1. The beginning on the day of Pentecost: Acts 2:36-42,
let all the house of
 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?  Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.  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.  And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation.
 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.  And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers."
As we list each we will take care to note the essential parts of conversion that you might become more familiar with each. We notice that those who were baptized (Acts ) first HEARD the gospel preached. The simple truth stated in Romans 10:17 that FAITH comes by hearing God's words is amply illustrated in their conversion. They heard the word and the hearing produced FAITH or BELIEF. The evidence of their belief is seen in their having been pricked in their hearts, and thus asking "what shall we do?" We know that they REPENTED just as Peter commanded in his answer, "Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins." The steps of obedience were not completed until they obeyed the command to be BAPTIZED for the remission of their sins (Acts ).
What is repentance?
What is repentance? Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words gives this definition: "I. Metanoeo, lit. to perceive afterwards (meta, after, implying change, noeo, to perceive; nous, the mind, the seat of moral reflection), … hence signifies to change one's mind or purpose, always, in the N.T., involving a change for the better, an amendment" and states that this is used "of repentance from sin."
Dear reader, I have found that especially in our day and age that people confuse simply "feeling sorry" with true repentance. One who gets caught breaking the law might be "sorry," but realistically their sorrow is nothing more than the fact that they got caught! And given the opportunity to get by with it they'd go right out and do it again. I think I can safely say that you have probably met just such a person in your lifetime. The world is full of this kind of sorrow. Moreover, those who think this way often say, "I'm sorry!" Moreover, there is indeed a regret or sorrow that comes with the realization of wrong conduct that often leads in a direction away from rather than back to God (Matt. 27:3-5).
For this reason Paul speaks of the right kind of sorrow. Hear Paul, "For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death" (2 Cor. ). The NASB is translated, "For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation… ." When one experiences the sorrow that God's word produces, then that sorrow leads to their repentance which leads to obedience, thus salvation! The sorrow of the world leads to death. Thus there is indeed a benefit in understanding the right kind of sorrow and how it connects with and leads to one's repentance (2 Cor. ). A very simple definition of repentance that I often heard as I grew up is that repentance is a change of mind that leads to a change in conduct. When one repents then they turn from sin and to God with a desire to do His will. Dear reader, we truly hope that this is what learning about Christ will do for you.
2. The Conversion of the Samaritans, Acts 8:4-12
"Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word.  Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them.  And the people with one accord gave heed unto those things which Philip spake, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did.  For unclean spirits, crying with loud voice, came out of many that were possessed with them: and many taken with palsies, and that were lame, were healed.  And there was great joy in that city.  But there was a certain man, called Simon, which beforetime in the same city used sorcery, and bewitched the people of Samaria, giving out that himself was some great one:  To whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, This man is the great power of God.  And to him they had regard, because that of long time he had bewitched them with sorceries.  But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women."
Here again concerning the fundamentals of conversion we learn that those who were baptized HEARD Philip's preaching. And just as with those on the day of Pentecost their hearing produced BELIEF in the deity of Christ, the Son of God. And they obeyed by being BAPTIZED for the remission of their sins.
3. The Eunuch's conversion, Acts 8:26-39
"And the angel of the Lord spake unto Philip, saying, Arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert.  And he arose and went: and, behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem for to worship,  Was returning, and sitting in his chariot read Esaias the prophet.  Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot.  And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest?  And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him.  The place of the scripture which he read was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth:  In his humiliation his judgment was taken away: and who shall declare his generation? for his life is taken from the earth.  And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man?  Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus.  And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?  And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.  And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.  And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing."
The steps of conversion seen here are: 1. Hearing the gospel, 2. Believing in Christ, 3. Confessing with the mouth faith in Christ as God's Son and 4. Being buried in baptism for the remission of sins.
What is the step of confessing?
The confession that we read here in Acts 8:37 is not a confession of sin. One confesses belief in the deity of Jesus Christ. Hear Paul once again, "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.  For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.  For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.  For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.  For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved (Romans 10:9-13)."
Notice that the Eunuch did not say a prayer in order to be saved. Nowhere in the New Testament is one told to just believe and say "the Sinner's Prayer" that you hear about today. Rather than that we are taught in the scriptures to believe on Christ and confess with the mouth that he is the Son of God.
4. The conversion of Saul, Acts 22:1-16
"Men, brethren, and fathers, hear ye my defence which I make now unto you.  (And when they heard that he spake in the Hebrew tongue to them, they kept the more silence: and he saith,)  I am verily a man which am a Jew, born in Tarsus, a city in Cilicia, yet brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, and taught according to the perfect manner of the law of the fathers, and was zealous toward God, as ye all are this day.  And I persecuted this way unto the death, binding and delivering into prisons both men and women.  As also the high priest doth bear me witness, and all the estate of the elders: from whom also I received letters unto the brethren, and went to Damascus, to bring them which were there bound unto Jerusalem, for to be punished.  And it came to pass, that, as I made my journey, and was come nigh unto Damascus about noon, suddenly there shone from heaven a great light round about me.  And I fell unto the ground, and heard a voice saying unto me, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?  And I answered, Who art thou, Lord? And he said unto me, I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom thou persecutest.  And they that were with me saw indeed the light, and were afraid; but they heard not the voice of him that spake to me.  And I said, What shall I do, Lord? And the Lord said unto me, Arise, and go into Damascus; and there it shall be told thee of all things which are appointed for thee to do.  And when I could not see for the glory of that light, being led by the hand of them that were with me, I came into Damascus.  And one Ananias, a devout man according to the law, having a good report of all the Jews which dwelt there,  Came unto me, and stood, and said unto me, Brother Saul, receive thy sight. And the same hour I looked up upon him.  And he said, The God of our fathers hath chosen thee, that thou shouldest know his will, and see that Just One, and shouldest hear the voice of his mouth.  For thou shalt be his witness unto all men of what thou hast seen and heard.  And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord."
Here the apostle Paul tells about his own conversion at the time when he was Saul of Tarsus who was persecuting the church Christ built. The steps emphasized here are that Saul HEARD and was BAPTIZED in order that his sins might be washed away. Baptism is the point at which the cleansing from sin takes place with God. Of course he believed in Jesus of Nazareth as Lord (Acts 22:7-8). Notice that Paul was told to arise and be baptized "calling on the name of the Lord." His baptism was in order that his sins might be washed away (Acts 22:16). Paul did that and Paul also wrote Romans 10:13 mentioned above, "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." Thus, calling upon the name of Lord involves baptism in order that one's sins might be washed away. Moreover, what Paul did was exactly what he himself wrote that he and others had done in order to be saved. Hear Paul, "Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?  Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life" (Romans 6:3-4). What Paul was told that he himself must do he in turn told others to do to be saved (Acts 18:8).
5. The conversions of Cornelius and his household, Acts 10:25-48
"And as Peter was coming in, Cornelius met him, and fell down at his feet, and worshipped him.  But Peter took him up, saying, Stand up; I myself also am a man.  And as he talked with him, he went in, and found many that were come together.  And he said unto them, Ye know how that it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation; but God hath shewed me that I should not call any man common or unclean.  Therefore came I unto you without gainsaying, as soon as I was sent for: I ask therefore for what intent ye have sent for me?  And Cornelius said, Four days ago I was fasting until this hour; and at the ninth hour I prayed in my house, and, behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing,  And said, Cornelius, thy prayer is heard, and thine alms are had in remembrance in the sight of God.  Send therefore to Joppa, and call hither Simon, whose surname is Peter; he is lodged in the house of one Simon a tanner by the sea side: who, when he cometh, shall speak unto thee.  Immediately therefore I sent to thee; and thou hast well done that thou art come. Now therefore are we all here present before God, to hear all things that are commanded thee of God.
 Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:  But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.  The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (he is Lord of all:)  That word, I say, ye know, which was published throughout all Judaea, and began from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached;  How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.  And we are witnesses of all things which he did both in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom they slew and hanged on a tree:  Him God raised up the third day, and shewed him openly;  Not to all the people, but unto witnesses chosen before of God, even to us, who did eat and drink with him after he rose from the dead.  And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead.  To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.
 While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word.  And they of the circumcision 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. Then answered Peter,  Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?  And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days.
Thus far in our comparison of the cases of conversion in Acts we have found the following steps of conversion: 1. Hearing the gospel, 2. Believing on Christ, 3. Repenting, i.e. turning from sin and desiring to do that which pleases God, 4. Confessing faith in Christ and 5. Being buried in baptism for the remission of sins. Once again, comparing the conversion of Cornelius and his household we find that they HEARD and were BAPTIZED for the remission of their sins.
There were no infants baptized in Cornelius' household,
Some have erringly taught "infant" baptism from these scriptures. This is clearly wrong for there were no infants in this household. Why? One obvious reason is seen in Cornelius' statement to Peter upon his arrival at his house. He said to Peter,
"Immediately therefore I sent to thee; and thou hast well done that thou art come. Now therefore are we all here present before God, to hear all things that are commanded thee of God" (Acts 10:33). Cornelius said that those of his household had gathered to HEAR the things God commands man to do to be saved. Dear reader, infants can't HEAR commands and understand them! Nor can infants obey commands.
Friend, notice that this household was saved by words, i.e. by hearing the preaching of the Gospel. Beginning in Acts 10:6 Cornelius is told to send for Peter and "He will tell you what you must do." The men sent by Cornelius to summon Peter explained they had come to get Peter because Cornelius was "to hear words from him" as to what he must do (Acts 10:22). Cornelius explained that he had been told by the angel, "When he (Peter, b.w.l.) comes, he will speak to you." And so he added, "we are all present before God, to hear all the things commanded you by God" (Acts 10:33). The command that was necessary for them obey is recorded in Acts 10:48, "And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord." Later as Peter explains what happened to his own brethren in Christ at Jerusalem Peter says, "And he shewed us how he had seen an angel in his house, which stood and said unto him, Send men to Joppa, and call for Simon, whose surname is Peter;  Who shall tell thee words, whereby thou and all thy house shall be saved" (Acts 11:13-14). They, Cornelius' household, were saved by the words Peter spoke to them! Later Peter would recount this again and say, "Men and brethren you know that a good while ago God chose among us, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel and believe" (Acts 15:7).
Why were there absolutely no infants in this account of conversion? Because infants cannot HEAR, BELIEVE and OBEY IN BAPTISM. That's plain enough for anyone who sincerely wants to know what "he" must do to be saved. People must learn if they were sprinkled that they were not baptized according to the teaching of the New Testament. The same must be said for "infant" baptismal ceremonies as well. Society's demands along with the demands of false religious instruction have clearly left the wrong idea in people's minds about what true baptism is in the New Testament.
6. Lydia and her household, Acts 16:13-15
"And on the sabbath we went out of the city by a river side, where prayer was wont to be made; and we sat down, and spake unto the women which resorted thither.
 And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard us: whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul.  And when she was baptized, and her household, she besought us, saying, If ye have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house, and abide there. And she constrained us."
Luke includes himself (Luke wrote the book of Acts, see Acts 1:1) among those doing the teaching here. He said "we sat down, and spake unto the women." Lydia HEARD them, and their teaching opened her heart. The word "opened" means to open up completely and compares with other scriptures where the apostles reasoned from the scriptures, explaining and demonstrating that Jesus was the Christ thus persuading some to obey (Cp. Acts 17:2-4). Lydia responded to the things taught and was BAPTIZED. She was not a disciple of Christ until she was baptized into Christ (Gal. 3:26-27). Her statement after being baptized was, "If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay." The word judged simply means to "properly distinguish." It was then, based upon her baptism, that they recognized Lydia as being one of them, a Christian.
7. The Philippian jailor and his household, Acts 16:25-34
"And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them.  And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one's bands were loosed.  And the keeper of the prison awaking out of his sleep, and seeing the prison doors open, he drew out his sword, and would have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners had been fled.  But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, Do thyself no harm: for we are all here.  Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas,  And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?  And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.  And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house.  And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway.  And when he had brought them into his house, he set meat before them, and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house."
Having realized the events were from God, the jailor asked, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" (Acts 16:29) It appears that he had some knowledge of Paul's and Silas' preaching in the city of Philippi. His question is much like the one from those on the day of Pentecost who being pricked in their hearts asked, "Men and brethren, what shall we do?" (Acts 2:37) And there is a similarity as well with the eunuch's response upon having Christ preached to him when he said to Philip, "See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?" (Acts 8:36) Likewise these compare with Saul's question to the Lord on the road to Damascus, "Lord, what do You want me to do?" (Acts 9:6). This is the right response, i.e. desiring to know what the Lord wants you to do. Sadly, by contrast people's thinking on salvation is often that of "I'll do what pleases me". Friend, the matter of salvation must be left to what God wants you to do. That is the right response and it was the Jailor's response in asking, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?".
We have seen in the conversion of Cornelius that infant baptism is not taught in the New Testament. Just as with Cornelius' household, all in the Jailor's house were capable of hearing and believing of their own free will. In reply to his question, "What must I do?" Paul said, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household." Thus the same answer applied to "all" in his house. The instruction did not stop with what was said in verse 32. It says, "Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house" (verse 33). To stop with verse 32 is incomplete. All were fully taught what they must do to be saved. Since all could be spoken to then all could hear, believe, and they did obey. Their obedience in baptism is seen in verse 33, "And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway." Thus they HEARD, BELIEVED and were BAPTIZED for the remission of their sins.
Dear reader, and important application may be made from their doing this "straightway." They did not procrastinate or putt off their obedience and for good reason. When anyone desires the forgiveness of their sins, and understands that baptism is for the remission of sins, they will have a sense of urgency as these did and act straightway. We learn here what can take place within an hour. When one is fully taught what they "must" do to be saved they should not procrastinate or delay. The sad truth of the matter is that many people have heard the call of the Gospel unto salvation but let the opportunity slip by.
8. The conversion of some in Corinth, Acts 18:5-8
"And when Silas and Timotheus were come from Macedonia, Paul was pressed in the spirit, and testified to the Jews that Jesus was Christ.  And when they opposed themselves, and blasphemed, he shook his raiment, and said unto them, Your blood be upon your own heads; I am clean: from henceforth I will go unto the Gentiles.
 And he departed thence, and entered into a certain man's house, named Justus, one that worshipped God, whose house joined hard to the synagogue.  And Crispus, the chief ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his house; and many of the Corinthians hearing believed, and were baptized."
Luke tells us in the city of Corinth there were many who upon hearing believed, and were baptized. Notice the simple order once again: hear, believe and be baptized. This is what is contained in the commission Jesus gave to the apostles shortly before he ascended. Mark says, "And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.  He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned" (Mark 16:15-16). Matthew's account likewise shows this is how one became a disciple of Christ. Matthew records, "And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.  Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:  Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen" (Matthew 28:18-20).
The simple message of the Bible is hear, believe and obey. In conclusion the Steps to Becoming a Christian as set forth in the cases of conversion throughout the book of Acts are:
1. Hearing the Gospel,
2. Believing in the deity of Christ,
3. Repenting and turning to God with a desire to do His will,
4. Confessing with the mouth Christ Jesus as Lord,
5. Being baptized for the remission of sins.
Dear reader, this is what they were required to do in the first century in order to be saved. And this is what one must do today. Once you have been fully taught what you must do, then determine that is going to get done. Now, perhaps we can persuade you to study our next lesson in this series on Christ’s church, Lesson Four, Part One : “God's Divine Organization, the Local Church."