Simple yet Profound Faith
Dr. John K. Mathew
Christianity experienced phenomenal growth following the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We learn in Acts 1:15 that about 120 Jewish believers in Christ gathered in Jerusalem. A bit later, after Peter’s powerful sermon, 3000 people became believers on the day of Pentecost. That historic sermon of Peter contained the fundamental beliefs of the Christian church. It reads, Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit…”. Those who accepted his message were baptized and about three thousand were added to their number that day. They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer (Acts 2:38-42). These seven pillars of faith are the fundamental building blocks of the Christian church. John the Baptist began his ministry with a call to repentance. “Repent for the kingdom of heaven is near” (Matt 3:2). Jesus began preaching with these identical words. Peter also took up this message on the day of Pentecost. Paul pointed out that now God commands all people every where to repent. Acceptance of this gospel means, both Jews and Greeks must turn to God in repentance and to have faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.
“Repentance, if it is genuine will lead to faith”, writes Paul E. Little. Faith is central to the whole Christian experience. Without faith it is impossible to please God, because any one who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him (Heb11:6). Faith in Christ which is normally included in repentance for sin is the spiritual prerequisite to new life and membership in the body of Christ. Next is baptism with repentance. It is for every one, “in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins”. These believers received the promised follow-up of the gift of the Holy Spirit. In the words of Paul E. Little, “from practice of the Apostle John, Jesus Himself , Philip and the Ethiopian, water baptism is implied as practice of those who believe in God”. Those who are baptized are to participate in the breaking of bread or Lord’s Supper. It is an event based on Jesus’ words, “Do this in remembrance of me”. Participation in the Lord’s Supper leads to fellowship . This helps to live as a close -knit community of mutual involvement, caring and studying the Word of God. These believers considered themselves to be saved and separated from this corrupt generation and spent time in prayer . Prayer was a common practice in the early church. A church can only be founded on these basic biblical teachings.
It is very simple and at same time profound.