The complete statement from which our title is taken reads: “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me” (John 6:44-45). Before one can become a Christian, he must be “taught of God.” This is demonstrated in the Book of Acts as we see ten examples of conversion. It is interesting that in every case, it is specifically mentioned that before anyone was converted, he/she was taught.
On the day of Pentecost, “Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them” (Acts 2:14). Following this declaration, the first Gospel sermon in completion was preached, and about 3,000 souls responded. In Acts 8 we are told, “Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them” (v. 5). Later in this same chapter we see Philip after he was sent to the Ethiopian nobleman, as he “opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus” (v. 35). After hearing “Christ” preached, the Samarians “were baptized, both men and women” (v. 12); and after hearing him preach “Jesus,” the eunuch desired to be baptized (v. 37). Simon, a sorcerer, also heard Philip “preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ.” “Then Simon himself, believed also and was baptized” (vs. 12-13).
In the tenth chapter of the Book of Acts, we learn of the first Gentile converts. This conversion took place after Peter had done what the angel had told Cornelius he would do, “tell thee words whereby thou and all thy house shall be saved” (Acts 11:13-14). Next we read of a jailor in Philippi becoming a new Christian after “They spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house” (Acts 16:32). The conversion of the Corinthians is given in only one short, quick statement, but even then it includes this important fact. The narrative reads, “and many of the Corinthians hearing believed, and were baptized” (Acts 18:8). Next we read of Saul of Tarsus, the persecutor of Christians, encountering the Lord on the way to Damascus. When he asked the Lord, “What wilt thou have me to do?” he was told, “Arise, and go into the city, and there it will be told thee what thou must do” (Acts 9:6). And later we read of Ananias going to Saul and telling him to “Arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord” (Acts 22:16). And our final example is found in Acts 19, where Paul encountered “certain disciples” (v. 1). Apparently these disciples had been taught by Apollos and had been baptized of John’s baptism after it had been replaced with baptism in the name of Christ. After instructing them, we are informed, “after they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus” (v. 5).
Isn’t it remarkable that in every example of conversion in the Book of Acts, it is specifically mentioned that the Gospel was preached. It is too obvious to miss that preaching Christ, preaching Jesus, preaching the word of the Lord, preaching the things concerning the kingdom, and the name of the Lord Jesus, are all synonymous expressions; they all mean one and the same thing.
What is the conclusion? When we hear folks relate some mysterious experience as evidence of salvation, without ever having heard the Gospel, we know that they are giving a false report. No man, woman, or child has been saved since that Pentecost day, as recorded in Acts 2, without first being taught the Gospel. That is the order of things given by Jesus in His commission to the apostles as given by Matthew: “Go … teach all nations … baptizing them …” (Matt. 28:19). It is imperative that you hear the Gospel.
Paul M. Wilmoth