Summary: SALVATION MESSAGE
The Greek word translated "conversion" refers to a turning on
the part of an individual. When it is applied to salvation it consists of two elements,
repentance and faith. Repentance is a turning from and faith is a turning to.
In Acts 20:21 Paul included both concepts during his farewell message to the Ephesian elders when he said that he testified "both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ."
Paul also gives an example of the two elements of conversion
when he stated to the church at Thessalonica that others were aware of the fact that they had "turned (converted) to God from idols."
This message is a look at three conversions in the book of
Acts. Consider some vital truths about conversion as seen in:
The jailer’s conversion
I. The experience of conversion will be different.
All do not have the same experiences surrounding salvation. All are
saved by grace, but the working of grace oftentimes is different. All are saved alike but not all that are saved are alike. There is no difference in the application of grace, but there is a difference in the persons benefiting from that grace.
A. Saul’s conversion was marked with clearness (Acts 9:1-5)
One moment Saul of Tarsus was riding high, secure in the
impenetrable armor of his iron-clad prejudices, breathing out threatening and slaughter. The next moment he was prostrate on the ground, blinded by such a light as never shone on earth before.
One moment Saul of Tarsus is determined to wreak havoc and
vengeance on the believers in Damascus, being exceeding enraged against them. His giant intellect, his fierce emotions, and his iron will are all fused together into a determined hatred of Jesus. The next moment, he lay in the dust, filled
with remorse, humbled beyond measure, contrite, repentant, and yet filled now with a strange sense of wonder, hope, and fear.
Verses 1 and 2 we find Saul on the road; verse 4 finds
him on the ground. Saul was on the road to arrest others, but God arrested him.
One moment Saul was a proud persecutor and the next moment a humble penitent. He who was an angry bull now becomes a docile lamb.
B. Lydia’s conversion was marked with quietness. (Acts
Lydia was a business-woman of Thyatira. She was captivated by Paul’s message. The gospel message went to work on her understanding, the Holy Spirit worked on her heart, and the result was a conversion.
She was just listening attentively and quietly to the Word of God and was brought to conversion.
C. The Philippian jailer’s conversion was marked by suddenness.
(Acts 16: 23-34)
1. A saint singing.
2. A stronghold shaken.
3. A suicide saved.
a. What he feared.
b. What he found.
Conviction of the Holy Spirit set in suddenly and a yearning filled his soul. He was shaken immediately and was ready to be saved.
D. Each of these conversions were by grace through faith but
different to the individuals involved.
1. Saul is a picture of a tormented soul converted.
2. Lydia is a picture of a tender soul converted.
3. The jailer is a picture of a tough soul converted.
II. The essence of conversion will be divine.
There are a few things that are fundamental to a conversion
experience. Though the experience of conversion may be different, the essence of conversion is the same.
A. The light of God’s Word is revealed.
In each of the three instances under consideration the Word of God was heard.
"Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God."
In every genuine conversion experience, the truth is revealed.
B. The life of God’s Son is received.
All three, Saul-Lydia and the Philippian jailer trusted in God’s Son for salvation (Acts 4:12).
A little boy started to cry one Sunday as he left church for the first time. The preacher asked him what was wrong. The little boy replied, "I didn’t see Jesus this morning."
God help us to shew Jesus in every service for it is He that brings eternal life.
C. The love of God’s Spirit is released
"The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy
Ghost which is given unto you." The fruit of the Spirit is love (Galatians 5). Fruit is the result of life. Fruit of the Spirit is an outward and inner indicator of life (conversion).
"We know that we have passed from death unto life, because
we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death."
"Love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God,