And take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17
Volume X, Number 40 July 22, 2007
In this issue:
This question was asked by the Philippian jailer of Paul and Silas in Acts 16:30 after he witnessed the miraculous effects of God’s mighty power. A great earthquake had opened the doors to the prison and loosed the prisoners’ restraints (Acts 16:25-26). The jailer was prepared to take his own life (supposing his prisoners had escaped) when Paul’s reassuring voice stayed his hand (v. 27-28). Fearfully, this unbeliever was compelled to ask the all important question, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” (v. 30) Paul and Silas answer with the most general of statements, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household” (v. 31). Some have taken this as final proof that the only thing one must do in order to be saved is believe (the “faith only” doctrine of salvation). They fail to see that in the case of the jailer, belief was the first step he needed to take. Included in the commandment to believe is necessarily implied all the other commandments (equally contained in the word of God) that must be obeyed for initial salvation. An examination of the events that followed convinces us of this.
Following his question and their answer, Paul and Silas “spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house” (v. 32). After all, they had to hear the gospel before they could believe it, since “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Rom. 10:17). Having heard the gospel, it is evident that the jailer and his house then believed it since they showed evidence of a changed heart. Repentance is present since “he took them the same hour of the night and washed their stripes” (v. 33). Previously, he had “put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks” (v. 24). Following this clear action of repentance, “immediately he and all his family were baptized” (v. 33). What a joyful occasion! Please observe when the man and his family rejoiced in their new found salvation; not at the point of initial faith, nor even when they repented of their past sins. It was when they had been baptized. They arose from baptism with joyful hearts like the Ethiopian in Acts 8:39.
The reason for their joy is given in verse 34: “he rejoiced, having believed in God with all his household.” The faith that saved him included obeying the commandment of the gospel just as certainly as it included believing the facts about Jesus contained in the gospel. The most comprehensive answer to the question, “What must I do to be saved?” is to hear the gospel, believe the gospel, confess your faith (other passages confirm this, Rom. 10:9-10), repent of your sins and then be baptized for the remission of your sins (Rom. 10:17; Heb. 11:6; Acts 17:30; Mk. 16:16). To be saved, you too must believe in the Lord Jesus Christ just like the jailer did.
The question, “what must I do to be saved?” is also found in Acts 2:37. The gospel that was preached by the apostles produced faith in the hearts the murderers of Jesus, convincing them of their crime against the Son of God: “Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, "Men and brethren, what shall we do?” These believers were told to “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (v. 38). When a believer asks what to do to be saved, the gospel answer is to repent and be baptized. This is not a different answer from the one given the jailer in Acts 16:30. The fact is that the Jews in Acts 2:37 were farther along on the road toward salvation when they asked their question than was the jailer when he asked his question.
The question, “what must I do?”, is asked for a third time in Acts 9:6. Saul was on a journey to Damascus to persecute Christians (v. 2). While traveling, Jesus appeared to him, giving him undeniable proof that he is the Christ (v. 4-5). Saul asked, “"Lord, what do you want me to do?" (v. 6) Jesus told him to go into Damascus "and you will be told what you must do." Blinded for the next three days, Saul prayed, but did not eat or drink. Here is a former unbeliever who is now a repentant believer (Acts 9:9-11). What was Saul told he must do in Damascus? Would it affect his salvation? Many believe Saul was saved on the road when Jesus appeared to him. But, the preacher Ananias, whom Jesus sent to Saul, told him, “And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.” (Acts 22:16) No, Saul was not saved on the road to Damascus, but after Jesus appeared to him he was on the road to salvation. He was saved from his sins in Damascus when he obeyed the Lord’s commandment to be baptized (see Mk. 16:16). When a repentant believer asks what to do to be saved, the gospel answer he is given is to not put off being baptized, because his sins are not washed away until he do so (Acts 22:16). If you are a repentant believer you, why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord (for your salvation).
Where are you on the road to salvation? If you are an unbeliever, hear the gospel and allow it to produce faith in you that Jesus is the Son of God (Jno. 20:30-31). Repent and be baptized so you can rejoice in the saving power of faith.
If you are a believer, confess your faith, repent of your sins and be baptized into Christ for the remission of your sins and you will obtain the “seasons of refreshing from the presence of the Lord” (Acts 2:38; 3:19).
If you are a repentant believer, do not wait. Be baptized and your sins will be washed away by the blood of the Son of God (Acts 22:16; Rom. 6:3-4).
Now that you know where you are and what to do; will you do it?
You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS
Scripture Reading: Philippians 3:12-16
1. Bible speaks of
being “full of faith” (Acts 6:5; 11:24); Are we?
I. ONE IS NOT A FAITHFUL CHRISTIAN MERELY BECAUSE:
A. He Believes
Something about Jesus, Jno. 12:42-43; Jas. 2:19.
II. ONE IS A FAITHFUL CHRISTIAN BECAUSE:
A. He is Saved
from his Past Sins, Eph. 1:7.
1. This is who is
really a Christian, Rom. 8:14 (statement); Gal. 3:26-27 (2:20).
You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS
Scripture Reading: Ezekiel 43:4-12
measurements are vital (Deut 25:15).
I. DO MEASUREMENTS REALLY MATTER?
A. Noah Obtained
God’s Grace when he Applied God’s Measurements, Gen. 6:8.
II. BIBLE PATTERNS STILL MATTER TODAY.
A. We Must Live
by… Rule (Phil. 3:16); Form (Rom. 6:17); Pattern (2 Tim. 1:13).
III. GOD’S MEASUREMENTS MUST BE RESPECTED & APPLIED.
A. How to be
Saved: Is there a Measurement? Jno. 8:24; Lk. 13:3; Mk. 16:16
Conclusion Once God’s measurements are set aside we are in uncharted waters.
When Jeremiah’s prophecy of the coming Babylonian captivity was read in the hearing of Jehoiakim, after Jehudi had read three or four leaves, “he cut it with the penknife, and cast it into the fire that was on the hearth, until all the roll was consumed in the fire that was on the hearth” (Jer. 36:23). The prophet hoped the message would bring about repentance. He said, “It may be they will return every one from his evil way: for great is the anger and the fury that the Lord hath pronounced against this people (Jer. 36:7). But burning God’s message did not change what God had decreed.
There are still those who cut out the parts of the Bible they do not like. The homosexuals do not like Romans 1:24-32. They don’t want to hear it and they can’t tolerate those who want to read it to them. They can’t about 1 Corinthians 6:9-11. Those who favor “gay marriages” don’t want to hear, “Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and every woman have her own husband” (1 Cor. 7:2).
Marriage here is clearly between a man and a woman. There are many other applications of this to both moral and doctrinal issues, but you get the point. Cutting out what you don’t like and burning it will not change what God said. “The word of the Lord endureth forever” (1 Pet. 1:25).
-Truth Magazine, July 2007, page 4
Created by Chuck Sibbing. 07/23/2007
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA