Cornelius becomes a Christian by Leon Brashear

In Acts chapter ten we find the account of Cornelius, a Roman soldier who became a Christian.  Acts 10:2 describes him as “a devout man (one with deep religious feelings toward God) and one who feared God (he had reverence toward God) with all his household, who gave alms (he helped those in need) generously to the people, and prayed to God always.”  He was a good man who feared God, prayed to God and helped the needy.  However, please note that he was not a Christian at this time.  He needed to “hear words” (receive teaching) which would tell him and his household what they must do in order to be saved (Acts 11:14).  This teaches us that just being a good person will not save us.  We must do those things that God has commanded us to do.
It is interesting to note the following points from this chapter: (1) In a vision he received a message from an  angel of God (10: 3-7); (2) Peter “fell into a trance” while on the housetop and in this trance received a message from God  (10:10 ff); (3) The Holy Spirit told Peter that men were seeking him and that he was to go with them (10:19-20); The Holy Spirit fell upon those who heard the word that Peter was teaching (10:41-46).  Even though all of these things happened, Cornelius was still not saved!
In verses 47-48 we find:  “Can anyone forbid water, that these should not be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have? And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then they asked him to stay a few days.  Cornelius, and the other lost souls with him who wanted to be saved, still had to be baptized.  Please note that these things mentioned earlier did eventually lead to his salvation, but Cornelius had to do something in order to be saved.  That is, he had to be baptized into Christ for the remission of sins.
Many today claim that we are saved by a “mysterious operation” from God.  However, you do not find that taught in the New Testament. The baptismal measure of the Holy Spirit that Cornelius and the others experienced did not save them.  It was given to show the Jews that the Gentiles were acceptable to God on the same terms as the Jews. After the Holy Spirit fell, they were then commanded to be baptized (10:47-48). Jesus commanded baptism in the Great Commission when he said, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mk. 16:15-16).  On the Pentecost of Acts 2, the day the church began, we find Peter commanding them to “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38).  Ananias said to Saul of Tarsus, “And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord” (Acts 22:16).  Note what Paul wrote in 2 Tim. 2:10, “Therefore I endure all things for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.” (Emphasis mine L.B.)  Then in Gal. 3:27 Paul wrote, “For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” (Emphasis mine L.B.)What is the conclusion about Cornelius and how he was saved?  He obeyed to commands of God and was baptized into Christ for the remission of sins.  Men are saved in the same way today; by obedience to the commands of the gospel. Have you obeyed as he did? Believers want to be baptized

Leon Brashear

The Old Testament by Leon Brashear

The Old Testament is divided into 5 parts:  Law, History, Poetry, Major Prophets and Minor Prophets (see the article “The Bible”).  The Old Testament is the Old Covenant; a covenant that God made with His people who lived hundreds of years ago.  Sadly there is much misunderstanding about our relationship to the Old Testament today.  Many people believed we are still under the Old Law.  However, a study of the New Testament shows this is not correct.  There are several passages which tell us plainly that the Old Testament is no longer the law we live under.  Christ came to fulfill the law and to take it out of the way. In Mt. 5:18 Jesus said, “For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.” Then in Luke 24:44 we read, “And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me.” On the cross Jesus said: “It is finished” (Jn. 19:30).  When Jesus died on the cross He fulfilled the Old Testament and took it out of the way.  It is no longer binding on us today.  In Col. 2:14 Paul wrote: “Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross.”  Christ then instituted a new law; the New Testament.  We cannot be under both the Old Testament and the New Testament at the same time.  Some would then want to know of what benefit is the Old Testament today?

In Romans 15:4 Paul writes, “For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope” (NKJV).  The KJV renders the verse, “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.”  Paul had just quoted a passage from the Old Testament and adds that those things were recorded not only for those who lived under the Old Law, but there are great lessons there for those of us living in the Christian Age and under the New Testament.  The things written aforetime were the Old Testament Scriptures.  These Scriptures were preserved for our learning; from them we get needed exhortation; admonition.  Robert R. Taylors in his commentary on Romans writes on this passage: “Through patience (steadfastness) and comfort (sympathy, aid, help) of the Scriptures we possess the holiness of hope.”  We are under Christ’s Law revealed in the New Testament and not the Old Testament or the Old Law.  However we receive a great deal of help from the Old Testament Scriptures.

The following are some purposes of the Old Testament (Thoughts gleaned from Roy H. Lanier, Sr., Three Years of the Gospel Preacher, Vol. 1)):

1. God. We learn about God as creator, ruler, and preserver of all.  We learn a lot about God’s character from the Old Testament

2. The Universe.  The Old Testament gives us the only reasonable and believable explanation of the existence of the universe.

3. Man.  The Bible tells us that God created man in his own image and also tells us where we came from why we are here and where man is going.  We also learn much about our relationship to God and to other human beings.

4. Sin.  The Old Testament tells us the origin of Sin and shows how sin came into the world.  We also learn that sin can be forgiven.

5. Christ, the Messiah.  The Old Testament contains many promises of the coming Messiah. Reading the New Testament we can clearly see that Jesus of Nazareth is the Messiah predicted by the Old Testament.

We are under the New Law, the gospel, found in the New Testament.  However in our study we do not want to neglect the Old Testament for there is a wealth of information there to help us in living the Christian life.


How The Bible Is Organized by Leon Brashear

The Bible may be divided into two basic parts which are the Old Testament and the New Testament.  It is a unique collection of 66 books, 39 in the Old Testament and 27 in the New Testament.  In the accurate translations of the Bible you will not find any contradictions or false teaching.  Although written by some 40 men over a period of some 1500 years we still find unity within the Scriptures.  Nothing in the Old Testament contradicts anything in the New Testament and visa versa.  The books of the Bible do not appear in the order they were written but they are arranged in a logical sequence. The Bible is meant to be read and understood.  We need to have a basic understanding of how the Bible is organized in order to understand the divine message.

The Old Testament

1. The Law of Moses (Genesis through Deuteronomy)-5 books

2. History of Israel (Joshua through Esther)-12 books

3. The books of Poetry (Job through the Song of Solomon)-5 books

4. The Major Prophets (Isaiah through Daniel)-5 books

5. The Minor Prophets (Hosea through Malachi) -12 books

The New Testament

1. Gospels or Life of Christ (Matthew through John)- 4 books

2. Beginning of and history of the church (Acts)- 1 book

3. Special Letters – so called because they are written to specific churches or

individuals (Romans through Hebrews) – 14 books

4. General Letters – not written to a specific congregation or person but just as

important as the special letters (James through Jude) – 7 books

5. Prophecy (Revelation) –  1 book

The gospels when read and understood produce faith in Christ.  The book of Acts tells us how to become a Christian, that is, how to be saved.  The letters tell us how to live the Christian life; how to remain faithful in Christ.  Revelation tells us about the final victory of God’s people.

God wants us to read, understand and obey His Word.  Jesus emphasizes the importance of understanding His word in the Parable of the Two Builders (Mt. 7:24-29).  In John 8:32 Jesus assures us that we can know the Truth.  As Alan E. Highers wrote in the July 1999 Spiritual Sword, “Many people seem to read, however, without understanding what they read. Did God give a book that cannot be understood?  Some seem to think this is the case, and they conclude the Bible means whatever each individual wants it to mean.” He continues, “But the Bible itself clearly teaches that honest and earnest students of the word can know and understand what God has revealed.” (Emphasis his)

Please read and study the following verses (2 Tim. 2:15; Jn. 8:32; Eph. 5:17; Acts 17:11; Rev. 20:12-15).

Leon Brashear