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Were You Converted, Or Were You Just Baptized?

What were you thinking the day you were baptized?

Acts 2.41–47

Don Ruhl • Savage Street, Grants Pass, Oregon • August 26, In the year of our Lord, 2012

Scripture Reader and Reading: Kadin – Acts 2.36–40


  1. Being baptized and baptizing are two of the most thrilling things in life. 
    1. When I was baptized on November 2, 1976 in Longmont, Colorado,
      1. it climaxed something that had been going on inside of me for months.
      2. I had been attending the services of the Collyer Street Church with Kerri since January of that year.
        1. The more I heard Paul Rogers preaching,
        2. the more I knew that I wanted to be a Christian.
          1. Then he started preaching on heaven and hell, and
          2. who was going to each place, and
            1. it became apparent that I was not going to the good place.
            2. So, just as my heart was getting primed,
              1. one of the elders approached me, and
              2. invited us over for dinner to show us a slide presentation.
      3. At the end of the fourth dinner and slide presentation,
        1. I knew how to be saved, and
        2. Earl Herrington asked me about my salvation,
          1. wanting to know if I wanted to do something about it that night.
          2. Trembling I said, yes.
            1. We went to the building at about 10 p.m. and
            2. he baptized me into Christ.
      4. That was the most thrilling thing I have ever done in my life, because
        1. I knew at that moment
          1. God forgave me of all my sins,
          2. He saved me from the fires of hell, and
          3. I was being born again with a new life ahead of me.
        2. Everyone needs to have that experience.
    2. For those reasons, when I baptize someone it thrills my soul.
      1. You may not know this, but
        1. when someone responds,
          1. whether in a home Bible study, or
          2. to the invitation at the end of my sermon,
        2. my heart starts racing,
        3. adrenaline rushes through my body, and
        4. I have a difficult time breathing.
      2. When we go into the back, and
        1. the person is changing, and
        2. I have gone into another room to change my shirt and put on waders,
          1. I can hardly breathe or talk.
          2. When the person comes out of the room,
            1. I rehearse with him what we are going to do in the baptistry.
            2. I strain to get the words out, because
              1. of the awesome event about to take place.
              2. God will do something awesome during the baptism.
    3. Baptisms, my own and those I perform, are truly that exciting to me, and
      1. if I am not careful,
      2. I will probably die doing a baptism someday.
  2. However, it is not just the baptism, but 
    1. I assume in that person’s heart he has converted to Christ, and
    2. he wishes to be baptized as a disciple of Christ, and
      1. I assume his discipleship will continue after the baptism,
      2. believing that person was not just dunked under water, but
        1. that he converted from an old life in violation of the will of God, and
        2. that he will now live out the new life that begins at baptism.
  3. For some people that did not happen. 
    1. They did not convert to the Lord.
    2. They were just baptized.


  1. Why Some People Are Baptized 
    1. Parental pressure
    2. Unintentional peer pressure
    3. Seemingly easy, and a once, never-to-be-repeated step
    4. To win someone
    5. Or as part of conversion, seeking forgiveness, and living for Christ
  2. What Is Conversion? 
    1. Conversion is not an easy, once, never-to-be-repeated act.
    2. Conversion requires a whole life change.
      1. Therefore, the Bible calls it being born again.
      2. You were dead in sin, but now live in righteousness.
    3. Conversion simply means to turn.
      1. Some people have to turn more than others.
      2. However, everyone needs to turn from self to God.
    4. We have to turn onto God’s Way of life and on to the way to heaven.
      1. Jesus said that He is the Way.
      2. The Book of Acts refers to what we call Christianity, as the Way.
    5. Conversion is transformation.

      1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God (Rom 12.1, 2).

      1. Verses 3–21 show evidences of transformation or conversion.
      2. One of the first things Paul says in that section, is this,

        4 For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, 5 so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another (Rom 12.4, 5).

        1. Conversion means we have become members of the body of Christ.
        2. If we are not active members of His church, we have not been converted.
    6. Think of the kind of people you would like to have for neighbors.
      1. My guess is that you do not want evil people living next to you.
      2. You want good people next door.
        1. That will give you a picture of conversion to Christ.
        2. You want neighbors like Jesus.
          1. Your neighbors want you to be like Jesus.
          2. What do they see in your life?
    7. Conversion is not a tuneup, it is an overhaul.
    8. Conversion is not a repair, it is rebuilding.
  3. Baptism’s Place in Conversion 
    1. We baptize disciples,

      1 Therefore, when the Lord knew that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John… (John 4.1).
      19 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen (Matt 28.19, 20).
    2. While many people can see the error of once-saved-always-saved,
      1. they practice once-baptized-always-saved.
      2. Since we baptize disciples, discipleship continues after baptism.
    3. Baptism and repentance go hand-in-hand.
      1. Have you watched the people carefully in Acts 2?
        1. Before you get to Acts 2, you can read this of these very people,

          18 And they all cried out at once, saying, “Away with this Man, and release to us Barabbas”— 19 who had been thrown into prison for a certain rebellion made in the city, and for murder. 20 Pilate, therefore, wishing to release Jesus, again called out to them. 21 But they shouted, saying, “Crucify Him, crucify Him!” 22 Then he said to them the third time, “Why, what evil has He done? I have found no reason for death in Him. I will therefore chastise Him and let Him go.” 23 But they were insistent, demanding with loud voices that He be crucified. And the voices of these men and of the chief priests prevailed. 24 So Pilate gave sentence that it should be as they requested. 25 And he released to them the one they requested, who for rebellion and murder had been thrown into prison; but he delivered Jesus to their will (Luke 23.18–25).
        2. However, the manner in which Jesus died,
          1. persuaded many, if not all of those people
          2. that they ordered and witnessed the death of a righteous man,
            1. perhaps even the Son of God,
            2. as He had demonstrated during His ministry,

              47 So when the centurion saw what had happened, he glorified God, saying, “Certainly this was a righteous Man!” 48 And the whole crowd who came together to that sight, seeing what had been done, beat their breasts and returned (Luke 23.47, 48).
      2. God let them think about it for fifty-one days.
        1. The next day was the Sabbath.
        2. Fifty days later was the Feast of Weeks, or the Day of Pentecost.
          1. Peter preaches to those very people.
          2. They have been thinking about this for the past 51 days.
      3. Then Peter uses the sword of the Spirit to thrust it through their hearts,

        22 “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know— 23 Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death…” (Acts 2.22, 23).
      4. Peter removes the sword from their hearts,
        1. makes a further case for God’s approval of Jesus, and
        2. that the Scriptures spoke of Him, and then
          1. Peter drives the sword of the Spirit into their hearts again,

            36 “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2.36).
          2. The people felt the thrusting of the Spirit’s sword into their hearts,

            37 Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” (Acts 2.37).
      5. Then Peter applied God’s healing to their deep wounds,

        38 Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.” 40 And with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation” (Acts 2.38–40).

        1. Peter did not only mention baptism, but
        2. he tied repentance to it,
          1. so that the desired results of forgiveness and the Holy Spirit
          2. come when repentance and baptism take place.
    4. Did those bloodthirsty people repent?

      41 Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them. 42 And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. 43 Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. 44 Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, 45 and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need. 46 So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved (Acts 2.41–47).

      1. Were those people converted or
      2. were they just baptized?
    5. What makes you think they were converted, and not merely baptized?
      1. They gladly received Peter’s word.
      2. They continued steadfastly in four things:
        1. In the apostles’ doctrine
        2. In fellowship
        3. In breaking bread
        4. In prayers
      3. Fear came upon them.
      4. They were together.
      5. They had all things in common.
      6. They gave to anyone in need.
      7. They worshiped daily.
      8. They ate with one another.
      9. They praised God.
        1. Do those things picture you?
        2. Were you converted, or were you just baptized?


  1. Rededicate yourself. 
    1. Then you will have inner peace.
    2. Living for Jesus and being a faithful member of the church
      1. is not popular right now, but
      2. it is with God.
  2. Your eternity depends upon whether you were converted or merely baptized. 
    1. Were you converted, or were you just baptized?
    2. What do you think you need to do right now?
    3. If you do not know, tell us and we will help you.