"But when they believed Philip preaching the good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were being baptized, men and women alike. " (Acts 8:12 NAS)
It would be good to read my prior article on this directory entitled, “Receiving the Gospel, " as Acts 8:12 is pretty much a parallel passage teaching the same thing as Acts 2:41. What was the good news Philip preached? Was it the gospel? If it was not the gospel what was it? If it was not the gospel these people of whom it is said “they believed" walked away lost in their sins. Philip preached the gospel. I think we are all agreed on that.
The text says “they believed Philip" with regards to what he was teaching. This is the equivalent of “those who had received his word" with reference to Peter's preaching in Acts 2:41. When they believed Philip what did they do? The text says “they were being baptized" when they believed. In Acts 2:41 when they received Peter's word what did they do? They were baptized. Thus we see that in the beginning of the church, of Christianity, of faith in Christ that when the gospel was preached and believed or received it, it led to people being baptized. There has to be a reason for that.
Is baptism a part of the gospel? Is it a part of the good news of the gospel? It is if it is “for the forgiveness of your sins" as per Acts 2:38. It is if Philip preached it. It is if these two Holy Spirit inspired men preached it.
Only when one receives the word, the gospel, only when one believes it, is he baptized. Those who did not receive the word, did not believe it, were not baptized. This pretty much tells us who has believed the gospel and who has believed something else. If you believe something else you are not baptized. We ought to consider that seriously.
We know in both cases baptism was preached for how else were people led to be baptized? What led Philip's audience to be baptized if Philip did not preach it? Where did they learn about baptism if he did not preach it? Why were people baptized on the day of Pentecost under Peter's preaching if he did not preach it? But, we do not have to guess about Peter's preaching for Peter's words were “repent, and let each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of you sins. " (Acts 2:38 NAS)
If you have never been baptized for the remission of sins you are in a fight against God. Don't be one of those who insist on being saved their way rather than the way taught by Peter and Philip, by the Holy Spirit. You cannot win in a fight against God. It is his way or the highway. You cannot become a child of God by disobedience, by ignoring his word, by doing it the way my group believes. God only has one group - those who have done it his way. It is “the Way. "
Denny Smith's articles are all listed on his web site - dennysmith.net - along with many audio sermons by Waymon Swain. There are also links that will take you to hundreds of other articles and audio sermons found on other recommended sites.