Some religious teachers insist that there is no pattern in the Bible for us to follow as a Christian. To contend such a thing is completely beyond the imagination of many of us. The reason we cannot accept such a proposition is because there are patterns for us to follow for every facet of Christianity. The Bible furnishes us all things which pertain to life and Godliness. And the patterns are laid out for us to follow. Read Peter's assurance of this fact:
"According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:" (2 Peter 1:3 KJV)
Understand, that these patterns are not necessarily found in any one passage of scripture, but it is our duty to study His word and 'rightly divide' it. (2 Timothy 3:15)
Those who deny that there are patterns are those who prefer to do things their own way whether or not they are God's way. Perhaps the one major point to which they claim there is no pattern is what we often refer to as "the plan of salvation". The method and steps taken to have one's former sins forgiven, never to be remembered against him again. This is one of the most plainly laid out of all the others and not only is spelled out for us but we are given examples of it. And you will not find any individual who became a Christian and member of the Lord's kingdom in any other way. None.
Keep one thing in mind. If the Bible says that you must do this to be saved in one place and you must to that in another place, you must do this and that. All steps in His plans are not always given in each passage of scripture. Also realize that anyone living before the kingdom was established were not subject to these requirements until it was established. This is mentioned because the penitent thief on the cross died before the Lord's perfect law of liberty became effective, fifty days before it. So he was subject to the law given through Moses. Jesus, however, had the authority to forgive him under any circumstances.
So let us see what all it takes for one to have his sins remitted and become a member of the kingdom. When Jesus was raised from the dead and before his ascension into heaven, he began preparing his apostles for their duty once he was gone. Read these scriptures carefully and thoughtfully: All of the following words were spoken after Jesus death, burial and resurrection.
"Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them. "And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted. And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen." (Matthew 28:16-20 KJV)
"Afterward he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen. And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned." (Mark 16:14-16 KJV)
Those two passages tell plainly what the mission of his apostles was to be. Now. He specified 2 items to require of those to whom they preached the gospel. Believe and be baptized. That is as plain as it gets. And, some say that he did not specify that those who were not baptized would be damned. He didn't have to or need to. Why? Because if one believed, he would be baptized! If he did not, he certainly would not be baptized. That stand, is a very pathetic effort to avoid doing something as simple as being baptized. You will see later that this symbolicly "washed" away their sins. Even Jesus, who had no sin, allowed John to baptize him to fulfill all righteousness...which meant it had been given to John as a command from GOD. And Jesus intended to follow every command of God. It is difficult to believe that some people feel they do not need to obey that command even though Jesus did.
Understand this, that those two items were not all one had to do to receive remission of sins. Notice that they were told also to preach the gospel to every creature. One also has to do the other things mentioned in his gospel. There are 5 requirements for one to be added to the Lord's church, or kingdom. The three additional things, are intended in their command to preach the gospel. First of all, one must hear the gospel (Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God: Romans 10:17) No one can have faith in anything of which they are not aware. So, there you have hear and faith. One must repent of their sins (Peter told them this in his sermon on the day of Pentecost: Acts 2:38)
Repentance is not simply feeling sorry that you have committed sins, but a complete change of heart, that you are determined to leave your life o sinning and turn to the Lord and follow him. And, one must acknowledge their faith in Jesus by confessing they believe he is the Son of God. Read an perfect example of this when a man was converted. (Acts 8:26-40) This man made the confession must make before men in order to be an acceptable subject for baptism.
So there you have the steps in the pattern by which one my become a Christian, may be added to the Lord's church, may have his sins forgiven. (1) Hear. (2) Believe (Faith). (3) Repent. (4) Confess belief in Jesus as the Son of God. (5) Be baptized symbolically in into his death, burial and resurrection, where you are raised to walk in newness of life. The old man of sin is put off in baptism.
"But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed." (Galatians 1:8-9 KJV)
The above does not list or specify all remarks concerning this subject. But it does lay out completely, the pattern given by Jesus and his inspired apostles. One step is just as important as another and the task is incomplete until all commands are met. These are inspired scriptures, don't let anyone give you an uninspired, "You don't have to do that." And be perfectly convinced that the steps taken to become a member of any earthly organization or denomination, are not the steps taken to become a Christian. Only those described by the Holy Scriptures, and for the purposes given.
Due to space restrictions, we cannot detail all the other patterns in the New Testament, but you can find complete details of the patterns of identifying the church of our Lord, the pattern of acts of worship in the church. And the above descriptions give the only way to become a member of his kingdom, added only by him and him alone, once you have taken the steps accurately laid out by those inspired writers.
They have given us a pattern as to which day to worship him. And it is not the Sabbath of the Old Law through Moses which was the 7th day of the week. It was ended when Jesus nailed the old law to his cross. And he established the 1st day of the week as the "Lord's day" (Revelation 1:9-10). Jesus was raised from the dead on the first day of the week. The disciples met for worship on each first day of the week. They partook of the Lord's Supper each first day of the week. They gave of their means towards the work of the church and assisting poor Christians, on the first day of the week.
There is also a pattern for the proper officials and their qualifications for serving each congregation's needs. There is no further hierarchy authorized than that of the individual congregations. No further governmental pattern is given, or authorized.