Summary: This sermon focuses on the basics of salvation
Last week at the close of our service led by our youth a drama called Heaven and Hell was portrayed. In the blink of a eye an accident propelled one girl to heaven and one to hell. Two close friends separated forever- Never to see or talk to one another again.
This morning where do you stand. Do you know for certain that if you were to die that you would go to heaven? Do you know for certain that your husband, wife, sister, brother, mom, dad son, daughter- the ones that perhaps sit with you on your pew are going to heaven? How about your neighbor, your co worker, your best friend? Heaven is a real place and Hell is a real place. Everyone sitting in here, everyone who lives in Sandridge, Everyone who lives in our state, country and world will eventually end up in one of these two places.
This morning I want to bring a simple message. A message that preaches the Good news of Salvation.
With that goal in mine turn with me in your Bibles to the book of Acts chapter 16 beginning in verse 25
Setting the stage, Paul and Silas were beaten and imprisoned for preaching the Gospel. Beaten badly with rods at midnight Paul and Silas find themselves praying and singing hymns. Verse 25 says that the prisoners were listening to them. God’s light had shone into the darkness of the Prison and all were drawn to it. After an earthquake, all the prison doors were shaken loose. The Jailer ran to see and to his horror he saw all the prison doors were open. It appeared to the Jailer that all had escaped. The penalty for the jailer would be a horrific death; so the jailer decided to forgo the torture and commit suicide. But right before the Jailer was to fall on his sword, Paul’s voice screamed out “ We are all here! Every prisoner was still there. Leaving that point of desperation that point of suicide the jailer fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. There in this position the jailer asks a haunting question. A question that has been asked many times throughout the centuries. “What must I do to be saved?”
Perhaps this question haunts you as well- maybe you know the answer. If not, linger a bit longer with this message as together we answer the Jailer’s question.
So, what must I do to be saved?
First we need to ask a basic question. What does the word “saved” imply or mean?
The Greek word sodzo which is translated saved means to be delivered. But delivered from what?
What was this Philippian jailer wanting to be saved from?
Some say, the earthquake. But the earthquake was over when the jailer asked his question.
Some say, saved from his superiors who would kill him since the prisoners escaped. But clearly the Jailer knew when he asked the question that the prisoners had not escaped.
So what did he need to be saved from? What did he need to be delivered from? As Baptists we give an invitation at the end of our service, and invite lost people to be saved… But from what?
The Bible says, whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved… But again Saved from what?
The answer comes from an angel who proclaims the birth of Christ. Listen to the angel’s words:
thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.
What are we saved from? What are we delivered from? From Sin. We are saved from sin. We are delivered from sin.
Willie Nelson, before IRS caught him, when he still had money, built his own golf course on his own land.
Someone asked him about “par”. Par to the non golfers are how many attempts it should take to put the ball in the hole.
They asked what par was on his course.
He said, it’s my golf course, par is what I want it to be. He pointed at the first hole, “that’s a par 47, yesterday I birdied it”.
That’s how a lot of people approach sin these days, they think they can just define it for themselves…never mind what God says about it…they “feel” it’s ok!
The Bible points out the very root of the problem and calls it what it is: sin! Romans 3:23 says this: For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Each of are sinners. From the moment of our birth to the day we die we sin. We fail God and fall short of his desire for us. Yet in the midst of our sin Jesus Christ came and died for us that we might be saved or delivered from sin.