The surgery required to repair a hardened heart starts with sitting down and reading the Book of God. We need to bury our heads in the Bible relying on it for our oxygen and to not come up for the stale outside air until we know enough about it to identify the requirements. Once done we need to “get vaccinated” against the virus of false religious teaching from the god of this world and start serving the one true God, the Lord God Almighty, God of Heaven and Earth, and His Holy Son Jesus the Christ: the Chosen One.
To begin our recovery we must get over to the Lord’s side. And prayer or simply calling aloud will not get that done. If we want to serve God and receive his blessings, we have to realize that we have been taking the wrong prescription to get rid of the things that ail us spiritually. Only then can we start to get up and onto the path of godliness. The right medicine – the starting point is in believing that Jesus is the Son of God and recognizing that we have no standing before God and Christ at all; and that we are convicts: sinners in the jailhouse left with no hope. Once we accept that then we must turn away from what we are doing and from godlessness, and turn to Jesus (and that means to accept who he is and what he teaches), to be immersed signifying our faith in God and Christ. We must convert from the old to the new.
To get out of jail we have to be pardoned. To do that we need a heart transplant. By reading and studying his word we must come to recognize that we have been on the wrong side. We must shed the load of worldliness and sin and start to turn ourselves into what is acceptable and pleasing to God by following God and his Son’s Word and his apostle’s teaching and instruction.
We have previously stated what follows – but a little repetition never hurt anyone; and certainly none of us is in any danger of learning too much.
There are nine detailed records of conversions found within the NT book of the Acts of the Apostles. I believe that they account for every human religious condition. There are conversions of religious folks and newcomers, people contrary to the Word of God and those who sought out the truth, the preacher or both. There are conversions where people were first taught falsely and of those who came to respect and worship God through their own diligent efforts. But this stands sure: all of them were required to accept the conditions and to meet the standards that had been established by God and Christ. There are stories of Jews, non-Jews, Europeans, Africans and Persians. Of course there are more records of conversions in the NT, but these nine each contain the same major details. These will not teach anyone everything needed in God’s Word to end up on the right path, but they will teach all how to make provisions and accomplish the things that must be done in order to get started on The Way. And it is not complicated.
Many of our acquaintances may have no idea about any of this. They may have been taught everything but the truth. They could be worshiping idols or dead air. They may stand at eternity’s door separated either from heaven or hell by nothing more than mere circumstance and the arbitrary hand of God. And so we need to get busy and this is certainly a good place to start.
Those nine detailed conversions are 1) from Acts 2 – the conversions of listeners in the multitude on the first Pentecost following the death and resurrection of Christ, 2) from Acts chapter 8: 5 – 25, the conversions of the Samaritans and of Simon the magician, 3) also in Acts 8: 26 – 40, the conversion of the Ethiopian treasurer. 4) From Acts 9: 1 – 31 and chapter 22: 1 – 21, and Acts 26: 1 – 23, three accounts of the conversion of Paul, and 5) in Acts 10 and 11, two chapters on the conversion of the household of the centurion Cornelius. For 6) Acts 16: 11 – 15, where you will find the conversion of the Persian businesswoman Lydia, 7) also in Acts 16: 25 – 34, the conversion of the jailer of Philippi, 8) Acts 18: 8, the conversions of the Corinthians, which is a single sentence in length; and last, 9) Acts 18: 24 through 19: 7, the teaching of Apollos and the conversion of twelve men in Ephesus.
We can learn a lot from these records if we are willing to read and study. And it has been said that the closer a convert comes to following these steps, the closer he or she would be to starting to set things right before God and getting on the way to heaven. While the farther away a convert may be from accomplishing these details, the more trouble they would have finding that path. So, if you accept that – surely these things mentioned in those passages are necessary.
No matter what we may think, no matter what opinion we may have – we need to accept what God and Christ left us and we ought to try to make good choices. Otherwise we will end up hardened to God and his Word. We need to base all that we do and say on the Word of God. God said that it is the truth and nothing but the truth. And if we ourselves or anyone we share these things with walks off or refuse to hear, they are rejecting the God of Heaven and Earth, just like Egypt, the Gentiles, the Hebrews, Israel, and those Scribes and Pharisees had when Christ was here.
The Holy Spirit wrote:
For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
The truth of God has been given to us just like it was given to Israel of old. It is not carved in stone now, but it might as well be. Are we doing anything with it? The evidence of the truth of the Word of God has been put before us just like it was down in ancient Egypt in the record of those events made for our learning. We did not get to see the miracles, signs and wonders as that was all finished and done a long time ago. But the Apostles said Jesus’ words and all the rest of the scriptures is God breathed; and regardless of the lack of any noise, miracles, or ruffles and flourishes, we ought to pay attention to those things. The signs that appeared to those long ago are recounted as the Apostle John wrote, “that you may believe.” Well do you? And if so then what are you waiting for? Get up and be baptized just like Paul had been told and did (Acts 22: 16). Or get up and get busy just like those early disciples who went everywhere preaching the word (Acts 8: 4).
Are we missing what the text states? Are we waiting for someone else to get us started? Or are we waiting because somebody told us we must receive a baptism of fire in our hearts? If so we just might get burned. Are we trying to “just get along” or be friends with everybody, accepting all of the wrong things that both we and they do while seeking some middle ground in an effort to have them “like” us or become part of our “spiritual family?” Or are we just waiting to wake up one day to wipe the sleep out of our eyes and to get up with a little more “enthusatism?” If the answer to any of this is “yes” then nothing will ever set us on fire until the pits of Hell light us up. My mother uttered this little malapropism from time to time: “Wait is what broke the wagon.” Hmm?
God has showed us the Light and told us what we must all do. And not just “any-old-thing” will work and time is certainly not our friend. Joshua did not settle down for a nap in the shade of an oak tree and then tell God he was now ready and God could deliver Jericho up whenever he got finished cleaning it out.
They all did what they were told to do when told – no matter how impossible or preposterous that it may have sounded to an unbeliever’s ear. David did the same. So did Paul and the jailer at Philippi. Why would we think we might be any different or exempt?
Brothers and sisters please do not try to go your own way with God and follow those chariots out into the dry sea bed. We need to pay attention. God gave us his Son and his plan. What more could he do? All we have to do is to follow the simple instructions exactly as offered.