Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered outside the gate.  Therefore, let us go forth to him outside the camp, bearing his reproach.  For we have no continuing city here, but we seek one to come.

 
 
 

Going to Jesus

Gospel Tracts

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Gospel Tract #43

Conversion

by George C. Clark, Sr. and John D. Clark, Sr.

When you are converted, strengthen your brothers.”
Luke 22:32

These words, spoken by Jesus at the Last Supper, indicate that Simon Peter was not yet converted. In fact, it was impossible for anyone to be converted during Jesus’ earthly ministry, for conversion into God’s kingdom means to receive the Spirit, and as long as Jesus was still among us, the Spirit was not yet given (Jn. 7:39). Those who followed Christ prior to the outpouring of the Spirit at Pentecost (Acts 2) were considered faithful Jews, not born-again people. They were under the Old Covenant and stayed under it until Jesus brought in a New Covenant by his death, resurrection, and ascension to offer himself to the Father for our sins (Heb. 9:24–26). “For a testament [covenant] is in force after men are dead; it has no force at all while the testator is alive” (Heb. 9:17).

Peter received the Spirit on the day of Pentecost, along with Jesus’ other disciples. And since Paul told us that we become God’s children only when we receive His Spirit (Rom. 8:9), we know that Pentecost was the day when Jesus’ disciples were born again.

Paul told the saints in Colossae that God has “translated us into the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have the redemption, the forgiveness of sins” (Col. 1:13–14). This translation into the kingdom of God, this redemption and forgiveness, is conversion.

Obviously, no one could be converted, or translated into the kingdom of God, before the Spirit came to convert men into that kingdom. It is astounding that so many believe that the disciples were converted, or born again, before Jesus died, when his sacrificial death is what made the new birth possible. My friend, the baptism of the holy Spirit places us into the kingdom of God, just as it placed the disciples into God’s kingdom on Pentecost morning. There is no other way to be converted except by that baptism. This is why Peter taught that baptism saves us (1Pet. 3:21).

Jesus’ disciples were not the only ones who were waiting to be converted into God’s mysterious kingdom. Among others, “Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent member of the Council, who himself also was awaiting the kingdom of God ” (Mk. 15:43). Watching the Master ride triumphantly into Jerusalem, and thinking that his kingdom would be an earthly one, Jesus’ excited disciples thought “that the kingdom of God was immediately about to appear” (Lk. 19:11). Even after his resurrection, as Jesus instructed them to tarry in Jerusalem for the Spirit, they were expecting an earthly kingdom. They inquired, “Lord, is this the time you will re-establish the kingdom of Israel?” (Acts 1:6). They didn’t know that by speaking of the Spirit, Jesus was already telling them of his kingdom. Only when Pentecost came did they finally begin to understand Jesus’ words, “Don’t be afraid, little flock; your Father is very pleased to give you the kingdom” (Lk. 12:32).

Being Conceived and Being Born

Spiritually or naturally, the seed being sown is what begins the process that leads to birth. Jesus compared the preaching of the word of God to the Seed of God being sown into human hearts (Lk. 8:11). So, even in the case of spiritual birth, the conception must come first. And just as in nature, just a few of the many seeds sown will produce fruit, so only a few who hear the word of God will be changed by it and receive the new birth. Many ministers confuse the conception with the birth; in other words, they confuse conviction with conversion. The apostle Paul, for example, was convicted on the Damascus road, not converted. He was converted three days later, when he received the Spirit (Acts 22:16). Being convicted of sin is not being born again, though it will lead to it if the repentant soul continues to follow after righteousness.

Moreover, just as in nature, some who are conceived (convicted of sin) will never come to the birth. Many were truly conceived by the word of God during Jesus’ ministry, but only about 120 continued in his word to be born again in Acts 2. Jesus knew that many would not love the truth he taught them, and he warned his disciples that they must continue in his word to really be his disciples (Jn. 8:31).

Many have been convicted of sin by the Spirit but have not continued in that conviction. They were conceived when they heard the word, just as a baby is conceived in its mother’s womb, but they have not grown in the womb and come out to be a part of God’s family. They never received the baptism of the Spirit. They do not understand that when Jesus said to Nicodemus, “You must be born again”, he was only saying, “You must receive the Spirit of God.”

The Lord warned his disciples, “Unless you are converted and become like little children, you will never enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Mt. 18:3). This godly counsel should stir every heart which has been conceived by the word, but who has not yet received the Spirit, to renew his zeal for the righteousness of God.

What We Believe

George C. Clark, Sr.

We believe in the old-time power
That fell at Pentecost;
You may call Him the Holy Spirit,
But to us He’s the Holy Ghost.
We believe they were converted
Who tarried there for Him,
We believe in the old-time power
From beginning to the end.

We believe that the Spirit witnessed
With cloven tongues of fire;
We believe that the people heard Him
Who came from lands afar.
We believe they were confounded,
While others said, “Amen!”
We believe in the old-time power
From beginning to the end.

We believe if you would enter
The chosen bride of Christ,
You’ll have to have His Spirit
And make the sacrifice.
We believe the Lord is saying,
“Ye must be born again!”
We believe in the old-time power
From beginning to the end.

We believe that old Cornelius
Received the Holy Ghost;
We believe that the Spirit witnessed,
Just like at Pentecost;
We believe he was a Gentile,
A Roman, we contend.
We believe in the old-time power
From beginning to the end.

We believe that Paul did enter
And passed “the upper coasts”;
He came to the Ephesians
To preach the Holy Ghost.
We believe twelve men received Him
When Paul laid on his hands.
We believe in the old-time power
From beginning to the end.

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