The apostles proclaimed only those things Jesus commanded of them as recorded in each OF THE FOUR GOSPELS. They are found in Matt. 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-16; Luke 24:47-49; and John 17:18. It is only through a proper understanding of these commands that we can be in agreement and have the type of unity for which Jesus prayed, (recorded in John 17:20-21, “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; that they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.”)
So many are willing to accept a ‘unity-in-diversity’ approach to the Bible. This is NOT what Jesus prayed for. We must ‘rightly divide’ God’s word (2 Tim. 2:15). Division among those who profess belief in Jesus is the reason that “the world” is yet unconverted. Jesus clearly stated here that unity among believers will result in the world believing “that thou hast sent me.” Only by preaching the same message that the apostles preached will people truly know now to ‘call upon the name of the Lord’, and thus be “added to the church” by the Lord (Acts 2:47).
There are those who perverted this message, as was foretold in many places in the Bible. Acts 20:28-31 clearly points this out: “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.”
If it were not possible for this to happen, then Paul would not have warned of it. Because of this, all need to compare what they hear proclaimed by preachers today, to what the apostles preached.
The apostles were asked what to do to be saved, and their answer was clear and consistent throughout the book of Acts. All were told that they must believe that “God had made…Jesus…both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:36). All were told to repent of their sins; for God has commanded all to repent (Acts 17:30). All were told to confess Jesus to be the Son of God as seen from the confession made by the Ethiopian eunuch in Acts 8:37, and all were told of their need to be immersed in water, because it corresponded to the burial of Jesus (Romans 6:3-5). There has to be a death and a burial before there can be a resurrection. Each and every detailed account of conversion in the book of Acts therefore, mentions baptism in water as preceding forgiveness.