The gospel is the "good news" of the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ
(1 Corinthians 15:1-4), which gives us the hope of Heaven. It is the "power of God unto salvation to everyone that believes"
(Romans 1:16). As the "power of God" it is more than just a set of facts regarding historical events. God expects us to "obey the gospel"
(2 Thessalonians 1:8;
1 Peter 4:17).
Here is the gospel in Jesus' own words:
Go ye therefore, and make disciples
of all the nations, baptizing
them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit: teaching them to observe all things
whatsoever I commanded you: and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.
Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to the whole creation. He that believeth
and is baptized
shall be saved; but he that disbelieveth shall be condemned.
In short, Jesus expects people to believe, be baptized, and observe all his teachings. The Bible gives more attention to baptism than any other part of obeying the gospel. (See "God's Emphasis on Baptism."
) Baptism literally means immersion under water, but it it must be done in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (i.e. by their authority). Thus, one must understand that he is "putting on Christ"
) by being "buried with him" and "raised"
). It is the point at which one's sins are "washed away"
). Baptism for the wrong reasons is invalid
). This implies there are prerequisites.
How People Became Christians in the Bible
One common element in every passage below is that they became Christians by being baptized. Not one of them was instructed to say the "sinner's prayer." In fact, the "sinner's prayer" is a man-made invention found nowhere in the Bible. Here is the general pattern to obeying the gospel: