Obeying the Gospel is essential if we desire to spend eternity with our Great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. The Apostle Peter wrote:
Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name. For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? And “If the righteous is scarcely saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?” (1 Peter 4:16-18 ESV).
Clearly, Peter is saying we all need to obey the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus that the Apostle Paul describes:
Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures (1 Corinthians 15:1-4).
Thus far in this study we have learned what the Gospel is, and that we must obey it to spend eternity with Christ. So how do we do this?
The good news is that Jesus physically, literally died, was buried and rose from the dead, but we only have to do this figuratively, or symbolically. This gospel is so simple to obey when you understand what happened the day of Pentecost, when the Church was born. The Apostle Peter, in Acts Chapter 2 preached the first sermon, including the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus, to the crowd (Acts 2: 22-36) that had gathered after the Holy Ghost was poured out on humanity (Acts 2:1-4). When he finished preaching this sermon the crowd's response was:
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 (Acts 2:37)?
And Peter responded:
Repent, be baptized everyone of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost (Acts 2:38).
Death is repentance! You die to self, to your sinful nature and turn one hundred and eighty degrees towards Jesus and the new life He has for you. Jesus said believers will repent:
The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel (Mark 1:15).
Burial is baptism! "Baptizo" in the Greek means fully immersed under water. It does not mean sprinkled on or showered with water. As Peter said, it must be done in the name of Jesus Christ - not the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Not a single soul in the Bible was baptized in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Jesus said before He ascended to heaven:
He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned (Mark 16:16).
Resurrection is being filled with the Holy Ghost. Jesus said:
He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water (John 7:38).
And the Apostle John, explains in the next verse that Jesus was referring to the Holy Ghost as the Holy Ghost was not yet given,
(But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.) (John 7:39)
and did not happen until the outpouring of the Holy Ghost in Acts 2:1-4.
Just like happened on the day of Pentecost, you will know that you have been filled with the Holy Ghost as you will speak in another tongue, another language as the Spirit gives utterance. Jesus also said before He ascended to heaven:
And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues (Mark 16:17).
You will never have to doubt that you have been filled with the Holy Ghost because you will have spoken in another language, and that this is the same Spirit that is in Christ:
But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you (Romans 8:11).
Jesus also said, before he ascended to heaven, that the being filled with the Holy Ghost is being baptized in the Holy Ghost (or the Holy Spirit):
And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence (Acts 1:4-5).
Also, by obeying the gospel, you will be born again, born of water and Spirit as Jesus tells us:
Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born?” Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God (John 3:3-5 ESV).
We have already read about the Holy Spirit being poured out on humanity the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-4). Then after Peter preached his full message about obeying the gospel, the Apostle Luke wrote:
Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls (Acts 2:41).
The Acts 2:38 message that Peter preached about obeying the gospel, on the day of Pentecost, was the beginning of what Jesus had commanded:
And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature (Mark 16:15)
After the persecution of the church (Acts 8:1-4), Jesus' followers "were scattered abroad throughout the regions" (Acts 8:1). Philip went to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them (Acts 8:5) with these expected results:
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. (Acts 8:12)
When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Phillip was preaching the Gospel, they sent Peter and John to lay hands on the believers so they might receive the Holy Ghost:
Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost (Acts 8:17).
Obeying the gospel of Jesus Christ was preached by all of the Lord's disciples.
The Apostle Peter was instructed by the Lord to go to Caesarea to preach the gospel to Cornelius. While Peter was preaching, the Holy Ghost fell on the household and then Peter commanded them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ:
While Peter was still saying these things, the Holy Spirit fell on all who heard the word. And the believers from among the circumcised who had come with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit was poured out even on the Gentiles. For they were hearing them speaking in tongues and extolling God. Then Peter declared, “Can anyone withhold water for baptizing these people, who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?” And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to remain for some days (Acts 10:44-48).
Obeying the gospel is exactly what Cornelius and his household did!
On Paul's third missionary journey he found some disciples of John the Baptist in Ephesus that had not heard about the Holy Spirit. This is the conversation and action taken by John's disciples that clearly demonstrate "obeying the gospel":
And it happened that while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul passed through the inland country and came to Ephesus. There he found some disciples. And he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” And they said, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” And he said, “Into what then were you baptized?” They said, “Into John's baptism.” And Paul said, “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in the one who was to come after him, that is, Jesus.” On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking in tongues and prophesying. There were about twelve men in all (Acts 19:1-7).
Obeying the gospel, the death, the burial and the resurrection of Jesus Christ through obedience to Acts 2:38 is necessary for every living soul if they want to spend eternity with Jesus Christ. The Apostle Paul made that crystal clear when he wrote:
And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Thessalonians 1:7-8).