Acts 15:1, 7-11 and 24, “And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved. ...And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe. And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us; And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith. Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they. ...Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying, Ye must be circumcised, and keep the law: to whom we gave no such commandment:”
The Bible says a group of false witnesses came down from the mountainous region of Judaea to [likely] Antioch, teaching that to be saved a person must keep the law. They taught that the men must be circumcised according to the law of Moses. This caused a lot of debate and heated arguments. So the church sent messengers to Jerusalem to ask the apostles the truth. (They didn't have phones or the internet back then.) So the Apostle Peter rose up to clear the matter for all to hear. Peter said that it was God's will to send him to preach the Gospel to the Gentiles, and that whosoever heard and believed it was saved by faith alone. Peter said that God can see into their hearts, and knows when a person believes, and when they do He saves and seals them with the blessed Holy Spirit.
My heart was warmed today as I heard this passage of Scripture read by Alexander Scourby. Please notice the simplicity of the plan of salvation. A person simply hears the Gospel as a needy sinner, believes it, and they are saved by faith alone. That is all that God requires. Acts 15:7b, “that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe.” Acts 15:9b, “purifying their hearts by faith.” We are saved by God's grace through faith alone in the Gospel (i.e., the Good News) of Jesus Christ.
How does this compare to the complicated plans of salvation taught by Pastor John MacArthur, Evangelist Billy Graham and Dr. Steve Pettit? Pastor MacArthur often uses the word “COST” when preaching his complicated version of how to be saved. In fact, MacArthur's plan of salvation is so hard and complicated that he says, quote: “There is no such thing as a childhood conversion.” That is exactly what he said! What do you mean children cannot be saved? Mark 10:13-14, “And they brought young children to him, that he should touch them: and his disciples rebuked those that brought them. But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.” Who are you going to believe, Jesus or MacArthur? Yes, little children can be saved. Getting saved is that easy!
I marvel, as did the Apostle Paul, at how gullible professed Christian people are. Galatians 1:6-7, “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.” Those are my exactly sentiments toward Bob Jones University and the Harvest Baptist Church on Guam (all BJU alumni). I marvel how they were so soon removed from the free grace Gospel which Dr. Bob Jones Sr. (1883-1968) preached unto them, to descend to follow the damnable Lordship Salvation heresy of Pastor John MacArthur. Dear friend, do you have any idea what Dr. MacArthur teaches? Take a look at his plan of salvation...
“The narrow gate is hard to find and hard to go through, because it demands: denial of self, denial of self-righteousness, recognition of sin, full repentance, submission to Christ, commitment to obey Him, and follow Him no matter what the cost!”
—Pastor John MacArthur, a quote from his sermon titled, “Saved Or Self-Deceived, Part One” (time: 4:25 in YouTube sermon video)
Is that what the Apostle Peter told everyone? Acts 15:7b, “that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe.” Acts 15:9b, “purifying their hearts by faith.” That's all Peter said! Peter simply said to BELIEVE the Gospel when you hear it. So how does John MacArthur get all that extra junk? Where does the Bible say you must follow Christ to be saved? Where are we told to make a commitment to obey Him? Where are we taught to make full repentance of all our sins? In his popular 1988 book titled, “The Gospel According to Jesus,” Pastor John MacArthur even heretically uses the word “exchange” concerning being saved:
“Thus in a sense we pay the ultimate price for salvation when our sinful self is nailed to a cross. . . . It is an exchange of all that we are for all that Christ is. And it denotes implicit obedience, full surrender to the lordship of Christ. Nothing less can qualify as saving faith.” [emphasis added] —Pastor John MacArthur; The Gospel According to Jesus, p. 140
What exactly is the Gospel? It is the “GOOD NEWS” of Jesus Christ—the only begotten Son of God Who was crucified on a cross—Who died, was buried and physically resurrected the third day. What saith the Scripture? ...
1st Corinthians 15:1-4, “Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:”
It doesn't get any plainer than that folks. God knows my heart, that I am not trying to be mean or unkind. I love God's Word. Psalms 119:104, “Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way.” I absolutely hate all these modern English Bible revisions, hundreds of them, that each change what God said a little bit, so that no one really has any confidence in the infallibility and inspiration of God's Word anymore! One of the greatest sins of our generation is indifference in the Bible colleges and churches. They have sold out to peer pressure from intellectuals, who tell us that we don't have a perfect Bible today. They say that no one has ever seen God's Word, because only the original autographs were inspired. Do you really believe that garbage?
I find no fault in the King James Bible. I believe I hold the inspired, perfect and infallible Word of God in my hand. Of all the preachers today who continually correct the King James Bible, I have never failed to be able to properly interpret the Bible by simply comparing Scripture with Scripture. It also helps to use a good Hebrew and Greek concordance, Bible dictionary, and Lexicon to “study” as we are commanded in 2nd Timothy 2:15. God has given us these tools so that we can study. If you listen to different preachers who correct the Bible, they are all in disagreement as to how the Bible should have been properly written. They don't agree!
Proverbs 24:6, “For by wise counsel thou shalt make thy war: and in multitude of counsellers there is safety.” I trust those 54 scholars who labored diligently for 8 years to give us the 1611 King James Bible. Some of those men spoke fluent Hebrew at age 6. Who am I, or you, to sit in judgment on God's Word, to correct those 54 men? I couldn't even order a pizza in Greece if I went there, and neither can all these preachers today who sit in judgment on God's Word, regardless of how educated they may think they are. Think about that dear friend. I agree with Pastor Bob Gray Sr., who wisely said: “The Bible doesn't need to be rewritten, it needs to be reread!”
In our text Scripture passages from Acts 15:1, 7-11 and 24 we see the simplicity that is in Christ. 2nd Corinthians 11:3-4, “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.” Dr. Steve Pettit falsely says you must faithfully “run the race” until the finish to get to Heaven. That is a reward, not a gift! Kindly said, Steve Pettit is a tare among the wheat at Bob Jones University, and he needs to get born-again before it is too late. The fact that he bids Godspeed to John MacArthur evidences further that he is not saved. I love the simple truths taught in Acts 15 concerning salvation.