Summary: This sermon clearly explains for the unchurched how to be saved.
The Plain English Guide To Salvation
Text: Acts 16:30-31
Introduction: A few years ago the Plain English Campaign ran a national survey that found that some people would rather have a grander job title than a pay rise. This might seem astonishing, but upgrading job titles has apparently become more and more popular as employers try to keep their staff happy.
Here are some examples.
• Space consultant (estate agent)
• Ambient replenishment controllers (shelf stackers)
• Revenue Protection Officer (ticket inspector)
• Foot health gain facilitator (chiropodist)
• Head of Verbal Communications (secretary)
• Technical horticultural maintenance officer (gardener)
• Flueologist (chimney sweep)
• Dispatch services facilitator (post room worker)
• Regional head of services, infrastructure and procurement (caretaker)
• Knowledge navigator (teacher)
I suppose these grand titles appeal to human pride. But it is no just in the world of secular employment that men make things sound grander than they really are, but even in the things of God. I remember when I was training for ministry I was studying systematic theology, which in itself simply means a methodical study of the nature of God, I was introduced to such wonderful terms that, at first, appeared a little bit intimidating. Terms such as pneumatology, which is the study of the Holy Spirit, and anthropology, the study of the nature of man. I read about soteriology, which believe it not, is the study of the doctrine of salvation. There is something in human nature that always wants to make simple things complicated. So from now on, when people ask me what my occupation is, I will no longer say “pastor”, but tell them I am a soteriological communicator!
All joking aside, as much as I enjoy broadening my vocabulary and playing with words, sometimes, some situations are so serious that the simplest form of words is called for. For example, if someone ran through the door of our church tonight and cried out, “There is an exothermic oxidation of a combustible substance resulting in rapid, persistent chemical change which is releasing heat and light, accompanied by flame.” We might wonder what the problem is. But if they just should “fire!” we would evacuate the building swiftly! You see, some situations are so pressing that we needed the simplest form of communication to express their urgency.
Now that is how it is with the matter of salvation. You see, everyone of us has an eternal soul, and as the name suggests that means there is a part of us that was made to last forever; and that soul, the inner person, is going to spend eternity either in heaven with God, our cast off from heaven, in hell without God. That’s the truth, plain and simple. Now most people want to go to heaven when they die, but most people don’t know how and that’s because man and religion has complicated something that would be best kept plain and simple.
For example, some people say, “Well I will do the best I can.” But what if your best is not good enough? And how can you know how well you are doing? Some will say I have not murdered anyone, so I am doing OK. Is that it? If you don’t actually kill someone you go to heaven? And if that is so, where does Jesus fit in?
Other people say, I will go to church. Fair enough, but how do you know you are going to the right church? And how do you know they have the right rituals? Some churches baptise by immersion, as we do, and some sprinkle and pour. Some baptise adults and others christen infants, and some don’t even baptise at all! Well you want to get it right don’t you? I mean what happens if you are not properly baptised by the right church. “Well”, some will say, “the main thing is that you are sincere.”
So now its not church or religion that matters, but sincerity. So what about the sincere atheist? He doesn’t believe in God at all, in fact, as atheism has become increasingly fashionable many sincere atheists have become very vitriolic in lampooning God and those who believe in God. Are they going to heaven? And hat those who sincerely believe in God. Does it matter which God they sincerely believe in? Three years ago Islamic extremists, sincerely holding to their belief in Allah killed 52 people in central London with a series of suicide bombings. This they did believing in Allah, sincerely. So if sincerity gets you into heaven, and if just believing in any God gets you there those guys are there. You see how difficult all this is becomes? How we complicate it.
Yet, when Jesus came bringing the message of salvation with Him, He didn’t choose men with brilliant minds to be His disciples. He chose simple men, fishermen, tax collectors, and ordinary people, described by academia as, ”ignorant and unlearned” men to carry His message into the world. The Bible says that when He spoke, the “common people heard Him gladly.” That should tell us something about the message. You see it was never supposed to be complex and difficult, it was always intended to be plain and simple. So let me simply state it for you.