The rapture is a very important and exciting moment in time for true "born again" believers. Since we are so close, I just want to present what Jesus, the apostles and the word of God have to say about salvation. Upon looking over these scriptures, please ask yourself honestly if you have obeyed the gospel for your salvation. I believe you can not skip any of the requirements.Jesus said the following concerning entering into heaven and I paraphrase:You must repent or you will perish; you must be converted, and become as little children; you must be born (born again) of the water and of the Spirit & whomsovever believeth in him should not perish.(Note: Jesus said that whomsoever believes in him, should not perish. He did not say shall not perish, but he said should. This is important! Believing is not enough. Obedience is essential; read the many stories in the Old Testament re: the consequences of disobedience.)Jesus gave the following instructions to his disciples after he was resurrected:Matthew 28:19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
Mark 16:16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.
Luke 24:47 And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 And ye are witnesses of these things. 49 And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.
You're probably wondering what all of this means. I will simplify; it is not difficult at all. Jesus in Matthew 16:18 said to Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church & he also said he would give the keys of the kingdom of heaven to Peter. What did Peter say in his first sermon once he had received power from the Holy Ghost?
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, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
It is a 3 step process. If you look over this scripture very carefully, you'll see that it covers everything Jesus said. There is no contradiction. The first step is straightforward and that is to repent with a Godly sorrow. The Luke scripture mirrors Acts 2:38 quite well; in this scripture Jesus is telling them to repent, baptize in his name (Jesus) for the remission of sins & receive the promise of the Father upon you which is the Holy Ghost. In Matthew he states to be baptized in the name, not names, of the Father, Son & Holy Ghost. Everyone knows the name of the son is Jesus, so how could the Father and Holy Ghost have a different name? The name of the Father is Jesus (John 5:43 & 14:9), the name of the Son is Jesus & the name of the Holy Ghost is Jesus (John 14:26). It's not enough to be baptized in the titles, you must be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ (Acts 4:12, Luke 24:47). Everyone baptized in the book of Acts was baptized in the name of Jesus, not the titles.
Next, the Holy Ghost. Peter said & you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. This confirms what Jesus said when he stated that he would send the promise of the Father (Acts 2:33) and when he said you must be born again of the Spirit. Spirit with a capital S is the Holy Ghost (John 7:39). A water baptism does not guarantee the infilling of the Holy Ghost; only a repentant heart does this. You can get the Holy Ghost anytime as soon as you repent. Evidence of receiving the Holy Ghost is stammering lips and speaking in another tongue, usually in prayer/worship/praise. (Mark 16:17, Isaiah 28:11 & Acts 2:4, Acts 10:46 & 19:6)
The apostle Paul said in I Corinthians 15:2 that you are saved by obedience to the gospel. The gospel is the death, burial & resurrection of Jesus Christ. How do we obey this? We have to mirror this through obedience to Acts 2:38. The first step, repentance, is our death to sin, hence, requiring us to be "reborn" since we have died. Then we are buried in a water baptism (immersion) in Jesus name for remission of sins; this is what Jesus was referring to when he said you must be "born" again of the water. And finally, the 3rd step is our resurrection into a new creature by the infilling of the Holy Ghost. This is what Jesus meant when he said to be born again of the Spirit.
This is a lot of information but it is so critical. And it is not complicated if you just focus on Acts 2:38. It accomplishes everything you need to do to be saved.
I am aware of a few misconceptions out there re: this topic, but search it out in the bible and let Jesus into your heart to speak to you. When I asked him if it was important to be baptized in his name vs. the titles, he immediately gave me Acts 4:12.... There is no other name under heaven by which you must be saved given by men & that name is Jesus. We are saved by the blood of Jesus and by his name. In Matthew, I feel that Jesus was giving an instruction to baptize in the name of the three, not a baptismal formula to state over someone. If you were baptized in the titles, you haven't been baptized in Jesus name or any name for that matter. In other words, no name was stated. Here's another one; just getting water poured or sprinkled over your head. I've heard this was initiated for babies by a certain denomination and somehow it has spilled over into procedures for adults in all sorts of denominations. You must be immersed just like Jesus and everyone else did in the rivers in biblical times & how does pouring or sprinkling accomplish a burial for us? Babies don't need to be baptized for remission of sins when they don't know anything about sin or repentance, do they? Concerning the Holy Ghost infilling. I've witnessed to alot of people regarding salvation, in particular the Holy Ghost because many don't have it when they think they do. They would say things like I have accepted Christ in my heart, or I have the Holy Ghost through my church, or I have the spirit of God. In other words, they feel or think they have it when they don't understand that it is a supernatural infilling of God's Holy Spirit that changes you in many ways, giving you power over sin, use in the gifts and fruits of the Spirit and when you first get the Holy Ghost, you will speak in tongues with a stammering lip.
I think it is very dangerous to just believe or say I accept Christ in my heart. These are good for a start but like I said earlier you must submit to & obey Christ and his word. He does not go back on his word. Read the Old Testament. So many are hanging there hat on Paul's words in Romans Chapter 10 about believing and being saved. He was speaking to saved Romans re: the Israelites who did not believe in Jesus. Why would Paul be baptized in the name of the Lord and receive the Holy Ghost (Acts 9:17 & 18, Acts 22:16) and then tell someone else all they had to do was believe? Doesn't make sense to me; that sounds like a double standard to me. Why would Paul describe the baptism in water and of the Holy Ghost in Romans Chapter 6 if it was not necessary? I recently had a long time friend who has been serving the Lord for a good 20 years or so, tell me all of a sudden you don't need to be baptized, just receive Christ in your heart and bam, you're saved. I'm not knocking this as this is a start but it does not save you. Jesus said to believe and be baptized; he did not say believe or be baptized. He did not say you may be baptized or skip it if you want to. I'm actually hearing stuff like this, that it is optional. Jesus nor the apostles ever said that.
I truly hope this helps someone. I obeyed this and received the blessing. I want to state that what you have read above is backed by scripture and my actual experience, not my opinion. I would be happy to answer any questions re: this topic that I can. I realize there are a lot of beliefs on this topic and I'm willing to listen to any of them, but please if you respond, please include scripture to support what you feel or believe.