By Daniel M. Davy
“And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.”
As I listen to some people from time to time, they give the impression that simply having good intentions toward God and saying that they love God is enough to make them a candidate for heaven. It is enough to make them ready to meet the Lord when he does return. They say, “Well, we go to church.” Somewhere along the line they are implying that simply going to church is going to be a prerequisite to heaven, but then we read the Word of God and Jesus said we ought to search the scriptures because it is in them we have eternal life (John 5:39). And as we begin to search the scriptures for ourselves, we realize that confessing the Lord with our mouths and believing in our hearts is simply not enough to cause us to go to heaven, to make us ready for Jesus. Simply calling on the Lord is not adequate.
In Luke 6:46 notice Jesus’ remarks: “And why call ye me Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” So now we know that being right with God is more than just saying it with our lips, for in this scripture Jesus is saying we’ve got to do some things. It’s not just a matter of saying, “I believe.” Sometimes it really amazes me because to get into any kind of organization, even the most simple community facility, takes a lot of effort. However, when talking about going to heaven, people say it’s easier to get into heaven than getting into the Olympics, or it’s easier than becoming a member of some club.
They relegate heaven to something that is so simple that getting into, it is the easiest thing to do, but when you start looking at scripture, you see getting into heaven is one of the hardest things to do. People sometimes have become deluded into feeling that it’s too simple to get into heaven. That’s why a lot of people don’t even want to go to heaven—it’s too simple. When you go into a store and see something priced at $1.50 and you see a comparable item priced at $11.50, you immediately draw the conclusion that the higher priced item is worth more, and typically that’s true. Some people have the idea that getting to heaven is so easy that it really is not worth going there. Whereas, when you really get down to business, you see that getting to heaven is not an easy thing. Most people want to do the easy thing, so that’s why they say, “You want to know about getting to heaven? Oh, that’s so easy that you don’t even have to do anything. Just raise your hand, believe in your heart and then you’re ready for heaven.” I mean, that’s simply ludicrous!
Some of these people are honest and some of them are just seeking a way out. They say, “Well, we don’t really know what is right. We can’t really ascertain what is right because there are so many different religions; there are so many different churches with various names that we really don’t know what to believe or what we ought to do to get to heaven.” Some are honest, but others are simply trying to get out of living for God. But if we consider two of Jesus’ statements in John 7:16-17 [emphasis added], then we’ll see Jesus isn’t going to leave us any room for doubt. 16Jesus answered them, and said, ‘My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me. 17If any man (or woman), will do his will (God’s will), he shall know of the doctrine…
So if anybody will want to know and do God’s will, they will know of the doctrine. So when you hear truth, Isaiah said you will hear a voice behind you saying this is the way, walk therein.” When we want to know truth, God is going to help us to know what truth is if we have a heart to do truth. In John 8:31-32 [emphasis added], Jesus said this to those Jews who were following him:
31Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; 32 And ye shall know the truth, (you’re going to know what truth is. You want to continue with God, you want to live for God — you’re going to know truth because it is only truth that is going to save you.) and the truth, (observe) shall make you free. That means if it’s a lie it’ll simply incarcerate you. It’ll simply keep you in bondage. So two things are required for you to know what is right and what Jesus requires.
First, you must want to know. John 7:17 says you have to want to know; you have to have the desire. If you want to know His will, you have to have a desire and not just look for a way out. You must have a sincere desire and a quest for the truth of God’s Word. Secondly, you must continue to search. If you will continue, the Bible says, then you will know truth. So in that day when Jesus Christ comes to judge the secrets of men’s hearts, no one is going to say, “Well, I didn’t know what truth was” because if you are open to truth, if your heart is receptive to truth, then you are going to know what truth is. God is going to make a way for you to know truth, so you can’t say, “Well, there were so many religions and so many faiths that I didn’t know.” No, the Lord is going to take away all of that confusion and if you want to know truth, He’s going to make you know truth. He’s going to cause you to know what truth is. It is quite imperative then for us to know what it takes for us to get to heaven.
Friend, to get to heaven is not as easy as most people make it out to be. Some say, “Raise your hand and confess the Lord with your mouth,” and believe that this makes you ready for heaven. No! That is as bogus as a three dollar bill. That will not get you to heaven no way! However, God is going to help us to know what it is going to take for us to be ready. If we will observe what the scripture says, then we will know that we have to obey the doctrine of the scripture in order to be saved. There’s no two ways about it. We have to obey the doctrine that is outlined for us in scripture and merely saying a few words and adding a few platitudes is simply not going to do it. It takes more than having faith. It must be faith that is put in action, because faith without works, faith by itself, is dead. You cannot tell the Lord, “Well I have faith and I believe I’m saved.” That is not going to work because the devil has faith and he can’t be saved. The devil knows truth and he is not going to be saved. So it takes more than just saying some things. It takes doing. It is faithfulness to the scriptures and to the teachings in the Word of God that will save us. And doctrine is important. Doctrine is simply the body of teachings and the body of instructions as had in the Word of God.
In Isaiah 28:9, there is a very pointed question, “Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine?” There is a prerequisite to understanding and a prerequisite to knowledge and the answer is_ , “them that are weaned from the milk.” That means sometimes people are involved in certain kinds of things and they have to wean themselves from those things in order to get doctrine and knowledge. You simply cannot have all that false doctrine and then get the new stuff Jesus said nobody that is already filled up with the old wine can receive the new wine. You need empty vessels to receive the new product. And so you have to be weaned; you have to get off of being a child. You have to wean yourself from those things and then say, “Lord I’m ready for You to give me instruction. I want to be saved and I realize just putting up my hand will not get me to heaven. Heaven is more expensive than that. Heaven costs You more than that.” To become a member of a club takes a lot of effort and money, and if you don’t pay your dues you get thrown out. If you have a license, after a while you have got to pay something to keep it. And so think about going to heaven, which is the most precious, the most wonderful place. Do you think just holding up your hand is going to put you in heaven? I mean, you need to get real! Let me mention quickly five simple observations in regards to doctrine as we examine its importance. We are told that they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine—five quick observations.
First, the right doctrine will save us, and by implication the wrong doctrine will cause us to lose out with God. In Roman 6:17, the apostle says, “But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin.” Before we got saved, we served sin. Before we got the Holy Ghost, we dwelt in sin. Before we were baptized in Jesus’ name, we did all kinds of things that were not conducive to going to heaven. If the Lord came when we were in that club, hell would have been our portion. You’re not going to go directly from the club into heaven, friend, I promise you that. You’re not going to go from smoking a joint into heaven; it’s not going to happen. “But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.” So it’s going to take doctrine to get you out of the club. It’s going to take doctrine for you to quit drinking. It’s going to take doctrine for you to live right.
He said, “But God be thanked, that you were the servants of sin.” You had your conversation among the homosexuals, and among the fornicators, and among the adulterers, and among the effeminate. God be thanked that He took you out of all that foolishness, took you out of that mess! “But God be thanked that you were the servants of sin, but you have obeyed.” So it takes obedience; it takes obeying the Word of God to be saved. “But God be thanked that you have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine.” So doctrine is what is going to save us. Without doctrine you’re going to be lost. People say, “Well, let’s not talk about doctrine. Let’s have fellowship.” The Bible says we should not have fellowship with the workers of darkness, but rather reprove them. You need doctrine to put a difference between right and wrong. You need doctrine to put a difference between clean and unclean. You need doctrine to put a difference between light and darkness. You need doctrine. So, no, let’s not get rid of the doctrine, friend. Let’s get more doctrine. Let’s get more teachings. Let’s get more instruction, because it is doctrine that is going to save us.
In 1 Timothy 4:16, the apostle writes to Timothy who was down in Ephesus. He says, “Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine…” Be aware of the doctrine; continue in the things that are in the doctrine. So observe now, “for in doing this thou shalt save both thyself, and them that hear thee.” It is implied then, that if you don’t do these things you’re going to be lost along with those who are with you. So doctrine is important. Take heed to yourself Take heed to the doctrine; follow the doctrine, because when you do that, you’re going to save yourself. Friend, doctrine is so imperative. Doctrine is so important that if we don’t major on it, if we don’t emphasize it, if we don’t hold doctrine up high, we’re going to lose out! Paul told Timothy to pay attention to doctrine, observe doctrine, adhere to doctrine, make sure to talk doctrine, make sure to teach doctrine, make sure to dream doctrine, make sure to have visions about doctrine. Continue there, be steadfast about the doctrine, because doctrine will save you.
In 2 John 1: 9 this truth is emphasized. He says, “Whosoever trangresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.” When you’ve got Jesus Christ you have everything that the Godhead is. When you have Jesus Christ, you have not only Jesus, but everything else. Various doctrine talks about the trinity, but all you need is Jesus. When you’ve got Jesus, you have everything and that’s why you need the doctrine that tells you that Jesus Christ is God Almighty. The doctrine will show you the mighty God in Christ. The doctrine will let you know that God is both Alpha and Omega. He is both the beginning and the ending. He was from the beginning; He’s going to be the ending. He is the God that was and is and is to come. He is the Almighty! When you start looking at doctrine, it’s going to keep your mind right. Your mind is going to be focused. You’re going to know what truth is.
I heard about one man who had somehow come in contact with some church people in Virginia. They told him about God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost. All of a sudden, the man was perplexed as to how he was going to worship this trinity in a way as to not displease any member of this trinity; he really didn’t want to get any of them mad. And so he got to praying and he wanted to pray, but he figured he better get a stopwatch. He needed a stopwatch so that he could give the same credence, the same amount of time to God the Father, the same amount of time to God the Son, and same amount of time to God the Holy Ghost. This is nothing more than just foolishness! When people are told this kind of nonsense, it perplexes their minds. So you have this poor guy trying to pray and pray according to some kind of order, to avoid getting anybody within that committee of the Godhead mad. Friend, all you need is Jesus! When you pray to Jesus you have everything that God is because He is the mighty God! That’s why you need doctrine to teach you that Jesus Christ is all you need.
Secondly, we must preach no other doctrine. Once you have the doctrine downright, you must preach nothing else, because nothing else is right and nothing else will get you to heaven. Consider 1 Timothy 1:3 that says, “As I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia, that thou mightiest charge some that they teach no other doctrine.” Because people sometimes want to see if they can find an easy way out, they will bring in some other kind of doctrine and say, “Well, it doesn’t take all of that to go to heaven.” Well, may I suggest to you that not only does it take all of that to go to heaven; it may take some more to get to heaven. Heaven is a holy place! Heaven is far from here! You can’t just roll up into heaven, friend. You need some power to get you up there. You need the Gatekeeper to get you up there. You need God to get you up there! And if we don’t please God, I know we’re not going to heaven. So the scripture says, “charge some that they teach no other doctrine.” So not every path leads to Jesus; not every path leads to heaven. Not everybody who believes and says, “Oh, I love you Lord!” is going to heaven. No friend! We have got to know that the Lord Jesus Christ has set down some teachings and some instructions that everybody on earth has to obey! There’s not one exception! Even if they went into the third heaven, once they get back down here they’ve got to obey this thing. If they say they shook hands with God and they sat in His throne, once they get here on earth, they have to start obeying the doctrine because if you don’t, you’re not going to make it.
What we’ve got to do is fill this entire place with this doctrine. Everywhere we go we need to fill this entire city, this entire region, this entire state with the doctrine that is able to save people. We’ve got to let people know because people have been misguided for so long. When you come to this city you see all kinds of false churches, all kind of teachings. You hear people teaching all types of foolishness. Sometimes it gets you perturbed, but you have got to be patient with people. You’ve got to be longsuffering with them to get them out of false teaching because they have grown up with it. People say their granddaddy used to be this or their granddaddy used to be that. All of it is false, friend! So we’ve got to fill this place with the right stuff
Look at Acts 5:28. This is about the early revival in Pentecost. The rulers in Israel were very upset with the apostles once they started to preach the doctrine of Jesus Christ, so the rulers called them to this meeting before all of the various officials and what we call the Sanhedrin council. The high priest said to Peter and John and these apostles, “Did not we straightly command you that ye should not teach in this name?” The only name you can teach in is Jesus’ name. Acts 4:12 tells us that it is the only “name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved.” That’s the only thing you can teach. Acts 5:28 continues, “And behold” the high priest says, “You have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine.” See, that’s what we need to do. We need to fill this entire city with the same doctrine. Everybody ought to know they need to get saved and how to get saved. We ought to fill it. Every street ought to be acquainted with the Word of God. Every hamlet ought to know about the apostle’s doctrine. Every place needs to hear the doctrine because it is the only thing that is going to cause people to go to heaven.
Please notice in Mark 7:7, what Jesus says. People ought to pay attention to this scripture. Jesus says, “Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrine the commandments of men.” Most of the churches that are in Tampa have commandments of men. I went to one particular church and I was talking to a leader there who was a priest. I was talking to him about what they believe and what they teach. He said their church, their persuasion, their faith, their religion has two things that govern what they teach. He said first, there is tradition and second, there is scripture. He went on to say that if there is a conflict between the tradition and the scripture, the tradition would trump the scripture. So that means men will elevate things that come out of men’s mind and will devalue the worth of scripture. Now I ask you, how many men do you think are smarter than God? How many people do you feel know more than the Lord?
What if a person went to the highest universities on earth? What if his pedigree came from Abraham? What if he was related to the Rockefellers? What if he had all kinds of degrees? Do you think he knows maybe just a little bit more than God? I don’t think so! So now how are you going to let your tradition go over and above what the Word of God says? I mean you’ve got to be a lunatic! And apparently we’ve got a lot of lunatics in religious circles. I told that priest, “Man you need to get out of that foolishness.” I mean, I told him point blank. I said, “Sir, you need to get out of that foolishness right there because I know you’re not going to be saved and keeping that office is not going to help.” On that day when the Lord comes to judge him according to the gospel that I’m preaching, he’s going to be lost. So a lot of people in religion are going to be lost. Jesus said, “in vain do they worship me.” He didn’t say they weren’t worshipping him, but He said, “in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrine the commandments of men.” You have got to understand. If you teach anything else outside of Scripture, you may be doing it and you may be doing it faithfully, and you may be doing it with good intentions, but it’s not going to help you.
There are people who have spent 50 years serving on the deacon board, 50 years singing in the choir, 50 years serving in all kinds of persuasions, but Jesus in the end is going to say it was in vain. Depart from me. People may say, “Well, how can the Lord be so hard?” Well, the reason why He is going to be so hard is because you need to have known what was right and as I told you, if you aim to know what is right, God will allow you to know it. Thirdly, we must earnestly contend for the doctrine. Look at the third verse in Jude. Jude is writing just after the temple has been destroyed in Jerusalem. “Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.” Why was it necessary? Because it is important. We cannot afford to lose what was originally delivered to the saints because that is the only thing that is going to save people. So he says, “I want to write to you about the salvation, but it was more urgent for me to urge you to earnestly contend.” The New Living Translation makes it a little more emphatic, “Dear friends, I had been eagerly planning to write to you about the salvation we all share. But now I find that I must write about something else, urging you to defend the faith that God has entrusted once for all time to his holy people.” If you notice there, he entrusted it for one time. You will find that the Lord is not going to be changing this thing. And so Jude says, “I’ve got to urge you to contend for the faith because it is important.”
The world in which we live now is one where people talk about tolerance. They believe and will tell us we’re all God’s people; we’re all going to heaven; we all believe in Jesus; God is so merciful. I heard one man say God will be bringing people into heaven, pulling them from where they are kicking and screaming. That is, they don’t really want to go to heaven, but He’s so merciful, that He’s going to take them to heaven anyways. Now what kind of fool would God be if he’s bringing people to heaven who does not really want to be there? Friend, I’ll tell you something: you’ve got to want to go to heaven to get there because it’s going to cost you a lot to get there! You’re not just going to roll up in there like that. It’s going to take something to get to heaven! You’re not just going to go there unwillingly; you’re going to have to want to go there. So Jude said, “I need to urge you to earnestly contend.” Contend means to strive or vie in a contest for rivalry against difficulties. It means to struggle, to assert, to struggle for a contest. So there is a contest between truth and untruth; there is a contest between that which is false and what it right. There is a contest between what God has given and what Satan has altered. There is a contest; there is a striving. Earnestly contend. That means as people of God who know truth, we can’t be passive about this thing. We can’t just sit around and hope that the devil is going to let people know truth. No! We have got to earnestly contend because this is the only thing that’s going to save people. We’re not going to hide this thing! This is not like a stealth faith or a stealth doctrine. No! We’ve got to publish this thing! We’ve got to let everybody know here is what it takes to get saved and here is what is necessary. Earnestly contend for the faith! Why? Because it is important.
Fourthly, it is a curse to preach any other doctrine. You can’t just preach what you want. You can’t just preach what some religion tells you. You’ve got to go into scripture, find out what is truth and preach that. Let’s look at Galatians 1:8-9 [emphasis added]:
8 But though we (this would include Paul, Silas and Timotheus) or an angel from heaven (this gospel is so important, so vital, so imperative that the apostle is attaching a challenge to heaven) preach any other gospel (or any other doctrine) unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. 9As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.
And of course the gospel that they received was the same as that which was preached at Pentecost. It was the same gospel that Paul preached to those believers at Ephesus. All of the New Testament scriptures are written with this gospel or doctrine in mind. And Paul is saying if you preach anything else, it is going to be a curse to you. So, those people who are preaching anything outside of what was preached on the day of Pentecost, you know what they are going to suffer at the end. You say, “But they’re well-meaning.” Well just because people are well-meaning doesn’t mean they are going to heaven. Just because they have good intentions doesn’t mean that they’re going to heaven, friend. You know we’ve got to wake up and really smell the roses here. We’ve got to wake up and start understanding what God is really all about. We can’t allow God to just be a minister of foolishness. God has sense! The Bible says He is the only wise God!
I look at some of the wedding invitations that people send out and even some of them are restrictive. They say they don’t want any kids at the wedding; this is an adult only wedding. Now if simply a person can set those conditions, how about God who has heaven and all of these things? Don’t you think He’s going to set some kind of restrictions? Don’t you think He’s going to have something in place that people are going to have to follow? Well, you need to know that. Don’t feel that God is going to do everything we want Him to do; don’t feel that He’s just going to make us happy. No, friend! He’s going to set down some conditions. He says, “If you’re coming to my heaven, here’s what you have to do. If you’re coming to my place that I prepared and have laid it down with gold, jasper, and all of these precious stones; if you’re going to come in here, here is what you have to do. I mean even if you don’t have sense, it should be logical to you that God is going to set down some conditions upon which people are going to go into the pearly gates. So don’t ever feel that just because God is merciful He’s going to take everybody into heaven. He will not! Jesus said this: straight is the way and narrow is the gate that leads to eternal life and He says only a few are going to find it. Then, on the other hand, he said broad is the road that leads to destruction, and he says many are going to find that (Matthew 7:13-14). Realize, then, that God has set down some limits for those who intend to go to heaven.
Fifthly, the Bible says in our text, in Acts 2:42, “And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.” We’re going to look at what is meant here. “They continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine.” At the initial outpouring of the Holy Ghost found in Acts 2:4, when the people’s hearts were really filled with the presence and the power of God, we’re told that they were filled with the Holy Ghost. Then Peter preached at Pentecost and when people asked in Acts 2:37, “Men and brethren what shall we do?” He replied, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Acts 2:38), Verse 39 tells us that “the promise is unto you, and unto your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.” That same day 3,000 eager souls were baptized in water in the name of Jesus Christ.
I mentioned this in one of our Bible study classes —baptism is so important because it is a principle that is found in the Word of God. I mentioned to the class that God even baptized the original earth with water because of the sin that was perpetrated on it by the devil. And what does baptism do? The Bible says that baptism answers a good conscience towards God. The Bible also lets us know that when we are baptized in water, that this is going to be when God will apply His blood and wash away sin. So the earth that was sinful, God baptized it with water. This is why every sinner has to be baptized with water because water is going to wash your sins away. The Lord performs a spiritual operation such that when you go down in the waters of baptism, He takes away the sin. And that is why everybody who is going to heaven, every last one must be baptized in water and they’ve got to be baptized in the name of Jesus because that is where the blood is; that is where the blood is applied. So the apostles’ doctrine, then, not only encourages repentance but also tells you you’ve got to be baptized in water. So everybody under heaven, it doesn’t matter where you were born, it doesn’t matter what your pedigree is, it doesn’t matter what you have, it doesn’t matter what your name is, or what kind of hair you have; it doesn’t matter how strong you are. Everybody under heaven has got to be baptized in Jesus’ name! No exceptions! You say you’ve been in church for 50 years. Okay, did you get baptized in Jesus’ name? No? Well, you’ve got to be baptized!
“And they continued steadfastly” in this doctrine. There was no changing. Let me share with you what the dictionary says about steadfast. The dictionary says ‘steadfast’ means firmly fixed in place, immovable, not subject to change, firm in belief and determination and adherence, loyal. So there are five things about the apostles’ doctrine.
First, it is firmly fixed in place. The Acts 2:38 message is fixed. That means you can’t change it. That means it’s like it’s engraved in stone; it’s like an iron bar. It doesn’t matter how tough you are, the Word of God is tougher than you. It doesn’t matter what knowledge you have, God’s Word is more knowledgeable. It doesn’t matter how intelligent you are, God is more intelligent. So He’s fixed it! It is firmly fixed in place and everybody on earth, everybody under the earth, and everybody in heaven has this one name. Everybody! The whole creation has one name. The Bible says that at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow and that every tongue shall confess… (Philippians 2:10-11). Every one of them has to go down and confess—”yes, Lord; I believe you are God; I believe you are Savior; I believe you are the King of kings; I believe you are the Lord of lords; I believe you are Alpha and Omega; I believe you are the beginning and the ending. “Everybody on earth, under the earth, in heaven, must confess; everybody must go down in water in the name of Jesus Christ. Everybody!
There is not one person going into heaven as a part of the bride who has not been baptized in Jesus’ name. Doesn’t matter how beautiful you look, doesn’t matter where you come from. Friend, if you don’t have on this name, you’re not going into heaven. When the church lifts from here, you’re still going to be here. So if you don’t have on this name, today is your opportunity to get on the name and say, “I want to go to heaven. Since this thing is fixed and firmly in place, I need to get with the program; I need to get myself aligned with the Word of God.” In Acts chapter 10, we find the conversion of the Gentiles. In verse 48, after those people had received the baptism of the Holy Ghost, here’s what Peter did, “…he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord.” Amen! Everybody on earth! It doesn’t matter if you’re Gentile, if you’re a part of the army, if you’ve come out of the navy, if you’re a part of the air force, even if you’re a part of some elite team. It doesn’t matter what training you got or how good you became, once you want to go to heaven, here’s water baptism in Jesus’ name. Everybody! Why? Because it is firmly fixed.
Secondly, it is immovable. Immovable! Have you ever met an immovable object? Maybe you say, “Well, I’m 300 pounds and I’m 6’8”. If you meet something that’s immovable, it doesn’t matter how much you weigh, how tall you are, or how hard you come at it. You’re going to leave all that energy that you’re running with right on that immovable object because it’s going to stop you right in your tracks. That’s what the Word of God is. It doesn’t matter how tough you are; once you run up against that Word, it is going to be pushing back with the same amount of force and, friend, it’s not going to change, it’s not going to move, it’s immovable! That’s what the gospel is, that’s what the doctrine is—it’s simply immovable! No devil can push it, no grave can harm it—it is immovable! Jesus testifies and says, upon this rock, I will build my church; He says not even the gates of hell will prevail against it (Matthew 16:18). Why? It is immovable. It can’t be moved, it can’t be shaken, and it’s not going away! That’s what the doctrine is, that’s what the apostles’ doctrine is—it’s immovable! Thirdly, it is not subject to change. You can’t amend this thing. The church fathers can’t amend it. The church fathers can’t add an addendum to it. It is not subject to change. Hebrews 13:8 says, “Jesus Christ the same…” He is the same, that’s why you can trust God. That’s why you know what truth is. Jesus is the same! He is the same God. If he tells you something today, Jesus is the same. Men are susceptible to change, but Jesus never changes. “Jesus Christ the same, yesterday, and today, and forever.” So, if the Lord says you got to go down in His name, it doesn’t matter what you say; it doesn’t matter what your granddaddy says; it doesn’t matter what your grandmother says! It is not subject to change!
The pope can’t change it, the archbishop can’t change it, the dogcatcher can’t change it; it is not subject to any change! If heaven came down, it can’t change; if angels came down, it can’t change! It is not subject to change! Once you read it in the Word of God, fix your hat on it; fix your life on it; it cannot change! Time can’t change it. Just because times have changed doesn’t make what was preached back then not applicable anymore. It is still applicable. It is still water baptism in Jesus’ name, it is still being filled with the Holy Ghost with the evidence of speaking in tongues, it is still repentance, and it is still holiness. Amen! It still takes all of that to go to heaven. It is not subject to change even if people don’t believe it; it is still right.
In Romans 3:3 Paul says, “For what if some did not believe?” Do you think that makes the faith of God without effect? No, friend. God doesn’t change. Even if we don’t believe it, it’s not going to change God. You think God’s going to be running around trying to agree with us and saying, “Well, I think I better change”? No! He’s not subject to change!
Fourthly, they were firm in belief and in determination. They believed that everybody had to have it. Let’s look at Paul, for instance. He went to Ephesus, he went to Corinth, he went to Philippi, and he went to Perga. He went to all of these places. Why? Because he knew what he believed was always going to be right. Look at Ephesians chapter 4, and consider verses 4 — 6: 4There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; 5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism, ‘One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.
There’s only one way to get into this church that we’re talking about—”One Lord, one faith, one baptism.” There is not a second way to get in the church. The only way to get in the church is through repentance from sin, water baptism in the name of Jesus Christ, and being filled with the Holy Ghost with the initial evidence of speaking in tongues, and then earnestly contending for the faith. Live for God. Live a righteous and holy life; that’s the only way you’re going to get to heaven. Anything else you hear is a lie. Anything else you’ve heard will come to an end. Anything else you’ve heard is in vain. Anything else that you have believed you need to abandon. One Lord, one faith—faith here means the body of belief, all of the doctrine, all of the teaching that has been like it is since day one and it won’t change. It can’t change because if God changed you wouldn’t know when He changed, where He changed, or what He changed into. So God is not about to change; God is the same.
Fifthly, they were loyal to truth. They never varied their teaching. Twenty-two years after Acts chapter 2, in the book of Acts chapter 19, you will find that the Apostle Paul came to Ephesus and found certain disciples. One of the first things he asked them was, “have you received the Holy Ghost since you believed?” They said, “well we have not even heard whether there be any Holy Ghost.” Then he asked, “well how were you baptized, what were you baptized unto?” They said, “John’s baptism.” Then Paul explained to them that they needed to be baptized in Jesus name. Verse five — “When they heard this they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.”
That means there’s some good folk who may come here from time to time, who have been baptized in Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. If you’ve been baptized in Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, may I suggest to you that you need to get on your Father’s name? You need to get off those titles and get on your Father’s name. You need to go down in your Father’s name, which is Jesus Christ. He’s the Father of us all, He baptizes us with his Spirit, and He is our Father. So if you’re a Baptist, if you’re Moravian, if you’ve been an Anglican, whatever persuasion you are or have been, get on the name of Jesus Christ. They were baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. There are people that say, “Well, I was baptized but I’m not sure what name was used over me.” Friend, it’s very important for you to get on your Father’s name! If you’re unsure of how you were baptized, you need to get in that water. When that preacher puts you down he will say, “I now baptize you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of your sins.” And if you have not received the Holy Ghost, he says “And you shall receive the Holy Ghost.” You need to go down in that name. If you’re not sure, now is the time to get sure! Heaven is too important for you to be ambivalent as to how you were baptized. If you’re not sure how you were baptized, if I were you, I would make sure now. You’re better off having more than you need to get to heaven than not having enough. You need to be sure that you have been baptized in Jesus’ name.
In Matthew 7:21, Jesus was concluding his message on the mount that we call the Beatitudes and said, “Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven.” That’s a really striking statement because a lot of times we feel everybody who has a church sign, everybody who says “I’ve got a Bible” must be going to heaven and that they’re people of God. Well, the Lord said, no, “not everyone who says unto me Lord, Lord shall enter into the kingdom of heaven.” Why? It’s hard to get into the kingdom of heaven. Verse 21. continues, “but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.” Verses 22-25 [emphasis added]:
22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? (So, just because people you see on TV are casting out devils, you think they’re going to heaven? Oh, no! Not if they don’t obey the doctrine) and in thy name done many wonderful works? (we give distribution to the poor, Lord. We’ve done all these wonderful works. Do you think that’s going to recommend you into heaven? No friend.) 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: (isn’t that going to be a big surprise to a lot of folks who are in church and they hear that God never knew them?) depart from me, ye that work iniquity. 24 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: “And the rain descended and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. When you build your salvation and your hope on the doctrine of Jesus Christ, you are building on the rock. It is solid; it is fixed; it is immovable; it can’t change. When you build your house, it will stand against all the wiles. In verses 26-27:
26And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto the foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: 27 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.
If you don’t build upon the doctrine of the Lord Jesus Christ and the apostles’ doctrine, it’s going to be a terrible time. If you build your house upon the rock, the solid rock of God’s Word, if you build your house on the apostles’ doctrine, if you build your house upon repentance, baptism in Jesus’s name, being filled with the Holy Ghost, if you build your house upon that, is solid. It’s going to withstand the rain, all of the floods, and all of the things that are coming upon this generation, and you’re going to hear, “Well done!” in that day.
The above article “The Importance of Doctrine Acts 2:42” is written by Daniel M. Davy. This article was excerpted from the 2nd chapter of Davy’s book Building the Real Church.
The material is copyrighted and should not be repainted under any other name or author. However, this material may freely be used for personal study or purposes.