The mark of a false prophet is that he will not build on the foundation laid by the apostles. We live in the same Church Age that began in Jerusalem on the Day of Pentecost, and a true prophet will preach the same gospel that the apostles preached then.
Now, the time has come to compare the modern preacher’s gospel of salvation to actual conversions recorded in the Bible and see if we can find any contradictions:
All a person has to do to be saved is repent and accept Christ as his own personal savior.
Peter (Acts 2:38):
“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.” (Peter, Acts 2:38)
A person’s sins are forgiven at the moment he accepts and trusts Christ, and baptism is not essential to salvation.
Peter (Acts 2:38)
“…and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins,”
Ananias (Acts 22:16)
“Arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.”
A person receives the Holy Spirit automatically at the moment he believes and accepts Christ.
Philip (Acts 8:14-17):
“Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John: 15 Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost: 16 (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.) 17 Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.”
Paul (Acts 19:2):
“He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed?”
A person need not speak in tongues when he receives the Holy Spirit.
Peter (Acts 2:16):
“This is that …”
Peter (Acts 2:33):
“Having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear.”
Peter (Acts 10:45):
“And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. 46 For they heard them speak with tongues”
Paul (Acts 19:6):
“And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.”
If baptism is administered, it is to be done with the titles Father, Son, and Holy Ghost called over the person being baptized.
Peter (Acts 2:38):
“Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins…”
Philip (Acts 8:16):
“(For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.)”
Peter (Acts 10:48):
“And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord.”
Paul (Acts 19:5):
“When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.”
Ananias (Acts 22:16):
“…arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.”
Modern independent and denominational preachers alike contradict the Bible on every point of salvation. They sound honest and caring when they talk about the love of God and how Jesus died for our sins. They may really be sincere, too. But when it gets right down to the real nitty gritty, they will tell you that your sins are forgiven differently than the apostles taught. They will tell you that you receive the Holy Spirit differently. Their gospel of salvation is not the same as that of the apostles.
Modern preachers look and sound just like ministers of righteousness, and much of what they teach is true, but according to the Bible, are they true preachers or false prophets? Do they really serve the Lord Jesus Christ? Can you trust your eternal destiny to their gospel? Is their gospel the same as the one Jesus said to take into all the world, beginning at Jerusalem?
More importantly, how does the gospel of your church or pastor compare with the Bible? Many of today’s preachers may preach faultless sermons lasting an hour or more, but when they get to the end of their sermon and tell the people how to be saved, they will not tell it like the apostles.
Acts 2:38 is where the proverbial line in the sand is drawn. Acts 2:38 is where the false prophet has to part company with the apostles.
When the first believers asked Peter what they had to do, he told them to repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins and they would receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. When a new believer asks the modern preacher what he has to do, he will say to come up front, fill out a card, and say the sinner’s prayer: “God, I accept your Son Jesus as my personal Savior. Thank you for forgiving my sins and saving me.” No tongues as the apostles taught. No baptism, no birth of water. Instant forgiveness and automatic receipt of the Spirit. There is not one example of anyone being saved by their gospel in the Bible. Not one. Nobody was baptized with their baptism, nobody received their brand of Holy Ghost, and nobody in the church in the Bible ever even said any sinners prayer.
Peter walked with Jesus for three and a half years. Peter preached, healed the sick, and cast out devils, but yet, just before Jesus was crucified, He said to Peter, “When thou art converted, strengthen the brethren.” When was Peter converted? In Jerusalem on the Day of Pentecost. Only then was he able to feed the flock. A preacher converted differently than Peter is not qualified to preach.
Think about Paul’s conversion. Wouldn’t you like to have the same salvation experience that Paul had? You’re not going to heaven without it. The book of Acts records Paul’s conversion in detail, and it was completely different from anything in today’s churches. Cornelius was a devout man who believed God, but he still had to hear and obey Peter to be saved. And so will you. The Ephesians of Acts 19 were disciples and believers, but that wasn’t enough. They weren’t truly saved, born again into the kingdom of God and added to the church, until they were re-baptized in the name of Jesus and filled with the Holy Ghost speaking in tongues. These are some of the examples of the pattern that God gave us. Why would we settle for anything else? Why would we follow a preacher who has changed and perverted the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ?
Most preachers will not preach salvation the way the apostles did in the book of Acts. They have added something to the Scriptures and taken something away. They have added the post-scriptural Trinity doctrine and the believe-only plan of salvation. They have taken away Jesus-name baptism and speaking in tongues as the evidence of receiving the Holy Ghost.
A counterfeit twenty-dollar bill can look “real.” It can have the right pictures and lettering on it. It can be so close that it will fool almost everyone. But, regardless of how right it appears to be, it is still a fake, and when it gets to the bank, it won’t be acceptable. No matter how closely it resembles the real thing, it will never be anything but a fraud–it is worthless. Jesus said, “In vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” (Mark 7:7). That’s a sobering thought. People are actually worshiping Jesus whose worship is in vain, their worship is worthless. I didn’t say that; Jesus said that.
How can we know a counterfeit? How can we know a false prophet? I John 4:6 states: “We (the apostles) are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.” Who has the truth? The apostles. Who has the spirit of error? Those who will not hear them, the preachers who won’t go back to the apostles to get the salvation preached in the church in the Bible, those who preach a gospel that’s been changed from what the apostles taught.
Now for the big question: are you in a church that preaches the same truth the apostles did? Have you been baptized in the name of Jesus for the remission of your sins? Have you received the Holy Ghost speaking in tongues? God wants to forgive your sins. He wants you to have the “real” Holy Spirit, the miraculous, powerful Holy Spirit that would make someone like Simon the sorcerer pull out his wallet.
Apostle John warned: if someone comes to you who doesn’t have his gospel, don’t receive them into your house and don’t wish them Godspeed, or you will be guilty of their evil deeds (2 John 1:10-11).
There are churches in the world today that teach New Testament salvation just like the apostles did in the church in the Bible. You can find them, but you’ll have to search them out. Be sure to ask questions, though. A lot of churches claim to preach the doctrine of the apostles, but few truly do.
When considering any religious organization or preacher, keep your radar out for whitewash, smoke screens, and contradictions. Get specific answers to specific questions and don’t settle for broad generalities. Is baptism essential to salvation or is it not? Is baptism for the remission of sins or is it not? Did the apostles baptize in the titles Father, Son, and Holy Ghost or in the name of Jesus? Did the converts in the early church speak in tongues when they received the Holy Ghost or did they not? Is God one person or three persons? What are the keys of the kingdom that Jesus gave to Peter and when did he use them? What does the Bible really tell us about these things?
Sometimes you can ask a Trinitarian preacher if he baptizes in the name of Jesus, and he will say that he does. But when you get into the water, he may only recite the titles. Further questioning would reveal that this preacher believes “in the name of ” means “in the authority of ” and, therefore, he doesn’t actually call the name over the person being baptized. Still others will baptize you either way or both ways. To these preachers, the method of baptism is not important since they think baptism is not essential to salvation anyway. Is that what the apostles taught or is that false doctrine? I submit that we cannot do anything in anyone’s authority without invoking their name.
We need to understand what preachers teach about water baptism, the gift of the Holy Ghost, the Godhead, and salvation. These are the areas that reveal false doctrine. These are heaven or hell issues, and the Bible does not contradict itself. If Peter says, “This is that,” then something else isn’t. If tongues is how they knew Cornelius received the gift of the Holy Ghost, that’s how we will know that we have received it. If the missing sign in Samaria was tongues, it will be the missing sign for us. If Paul had to question whether baptized believers had the Holy Ghost, we’ll have to ask the same question. If thousands were added to the church in Acts, they would all have been added the same way and that’s how we’ll be added. Baptism cannot be essential in one place and not another. Tongues cannot be the definitive evidence in one place and not another. Do not put your confidence in any preacher, but study to find out what the Bible really teaches.
Of course, if God has done miraculous things in your life, we don’t want to discount that at all. But if the Bible clearly says that you must be baptized in the name of Jesus to have your sins remitted and your present church teaches otherwise, don’t stop there. Move on toward God. God is working in everybody’s life, but that doesn’t mean everybody will be saved. If you are a Catholic, study Mary worship in the Bible. If the Bible promotes Mary worship, then fine. If it turns out that Mary worship and other Catholic practices are based on traditions of men that are contrary to Scripture, then chart your course accordingly, how you may best please God. Don’t stick with something just because you’re used to it or because it’s popular at the risk of spending eternity in the flames of hell.
The Bible declares that the Scriptures are not subject to any private interpretation. So rather than taking the things pointed out in this study as a personal insult, read your Bible. The Scriptures will prove whether the things
brought to your attention are true. If you see a contradiction between what’s being handed to you and what the apostles taught, take the courage to stand for truth.
“But,” you say, “almost all the churches in the world believe the same way my church does. So many people just couldn’t be wrong.” That’s what everyone thought when Galileo said the Sun didn’t revolve around the earth: “How can this one man be right and all those scholars and scientists and teachers be wrong?”
You should be concerned if you’re following the crowd because the crowd is on the broad road, the road to hell. Strait is the gate and narrow is the way that leads to life and, because of false prophets, very few will even find the strait and the narrow.
Just before He ascended into heaven, Jesus gave His apostles their final instructions, the “Great Commission.” He told them to wait until they received the Holy Ghost and then preach the gospel (repentance and remission of sins in Jesus’ name). They were to begin at Jerusalem and continue from there, teaching this very same message to every person in every country on earth. To be truly saved, people would have to obey the gospel of His apostles, not just believe that Jesus lived and died and rose again, but believe and obey what they taught. The church of Jesus Christ is built on this very specific gospel, and the book of Acts records exactly how the apostles preached it, with verbatim accounts given in some instances. Does your preacher teach that you can be saved differently than Peter and Philip and Paul? Jesus is only coming back for His church, the church that He established by His apostles.
You don’t want to find yourself arguing with Jesus on Judgment Day, saying, “Lord, Lord, didn’t I accept you as my personal savior?” “Lord, wasn’t I a believer?”
Lay aside every opinion and man-made doctrine that is contrary to the truth. Turn from your traditions and obey Matthew 28:19 the way the apostles obeyed it and ask Jesus to fill you with the same Holy Ghost they received in the church in the Bible.
Don’t allow a false prophet to convince you to accept the traditions of men over the Word of God. Don’t be one of the “Christians” Jesus warns us about in the 7th chapter of Matthew. Don’t be one of those sincere believers who will hear him say, “I NEVER KNEW YOU.”