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Summary: Discusses the importance of baptism in conversion by comparing three conversion stories from Acts.

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DECISION DAY

A Destroyer, A Doubter, and a Few Disciples

Acts 8, 9, 16, 19, 22

INTRODUCTION:

ILL> The Obit

Brad and Mike were two old retired widowers who lived close to each other and would constantly check on the other. Their friendship was more practical rather than a real friendship and would remind you of the two guys in the movie Grumpy Old Men.

One day, as Mike is drinking his morning coffee, opens the newspaper and turns to the obituaries page.

He gets the shock of his life when he sees his own obituary in the column. He realizes that the query for info on him by the local newspaper several months earlier, was in preparation for this event. He correctly surmises that it is a mistaken entry from their database.

It still excites and rankles him, so he calls Brad up.

"Brad, are you up yet?" asks Mike.

Brad sleepily answers, "Yeah, but I’m only now starting my coffee."

"Brad. open the newspaper to page 31."

"Why, what’s in the paper?"

"Brad, get the paper and open it to page 31 NOW!"

"Ok, Ok, I’ve got the paper here, so what’s in page 31?"

"Brad, open the paper to page 31 already!"

"All right, don’t be such a pain so early in the morning already. So,

what’s on page 31 that’s so important?"

"Brad, look at the bottom of column 4."

"Why? What’s that story on?"

"Brad, read the story on the bottom of the column already!"

"OK, OK, I’ll start reading the column if you stop yelling in my ear!"

The paper rustles for a few seconds, then a long silent pause ensues. Finally, Brad comes on the line quietly and fearfully asks, "So Mike, where are you calling me from right now?"

A. Let me ask you─if something tragic happened and you passed away and were able to make one phone call to a loved one, where would you be calling from?

1. Today is Decision Day. Even though we try to encourage people every day to make decisions for Christ, we have set aside today to give the importance of making a decision even greater emphasis.

2. The Bible teaches that in order to become a Christian that a person needs to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ

a. Faith is also required

b. Repentance must be sought

c. On these most churches would not disagree

3. However, the Bible also teaches that a person committing his life to Jesus Christ must also be baptized so that his sins will be washed away

a. This is where there is a lot of controversy

QUOTE> Baptism (Christian Theology in Plain Language, p. 158)

“Over the centuries Christians have debated what baptism accomplishes, to whom it should be administered, and how much water should be used.”

b. We could debate that this morning, but it doesn’t make any difference what this church believes or teaches

c. The only thing that really matters is what does God say in His Holy Word?

d. As we examine that question this morning we want to take a look at three different events where people committed their life to Christ as recorded in the Bible

e. We are going to take a look at a Destroyer, a Doubter, and a few Disciples

I> A DESTROYER

A. The first person that we want to take a look at this morning is a man by the name of Saul who later changed his name to Paul

1. In Acts 7 we have the story of Stephen who became the first Christian martyr─that is, his life was taken because he professed his faith in Christ.

2. Stephen told the men surrounding him that day that they had put to death God’s Righteous One and they were murderers─that had the law but they chose not to obey it.

a. Acts 7:54

When they heard this, they were furious and gnashed their teeth at him.

b. Acts 7:57-58

At this they covered their ears and, yelling at the top of their voices, they all rushed at him, 58dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. Meanwhile, the witnesses laid their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul.

ILL> It’s hard to imagine that people could get so mad, unless you’ve been to a basketball game lately. There are times that I wouldn’t be surprised to see people jump out of the stands and chase the referee.

c. Acts 8:1

And Saul was there, giving approval to his death.

d. We don’t know if Saul threw any of the stones, but we do know that he was their cheerleader.

3. Not only is Saul a hater of the Church, but he decides to do all he can in order to destroy the Church.

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