Sermons

Summary: The question which the Philippian jailer asked Paul and Silas 2,000 years ago is still relevant today and we have to encourage people to ask it, and no matter how 'diverse' or 'multi-cultural' our society is, there is only one correct answer to it.

Psalm 34:1-9 and 17-22 (all) emphasize v.22

Acts 16: 16-34

Sermon: What must I do to be Saved?

There's only one answer to that question.

“Saved”.

A little 5-letter word usually being the past tense of the verb “save”

which means 'set free' or 'rescue'.

In the context of being rescued from a house fire or a car crash

it is a word that would make telller and hearer happy,

but used in a religious context, it often results in anger and heated argument.

Obviously, it is this use of the word that we are going to look at today.

…...........................................................................................................................

Who asked the question

and who asks it today

and what is the right answer to the question?

.............................................................................................................................

Acts chapters 16, 17 and 18 record Paul's Second Missionary Journey.

His First had led to the creation of churches in Galatia, which is now Turkey,

and his Second saw him revisit these

and go on, with Silas, to plant churches in Southern Europe.

As we probably know from experience, telling people that they are sinners

who need Jesus,

resulted in the Missionaries being put in prison,

from which God 'saved' them by sending an earthquake,

and this led to the jailer asking the question.

…...........................................................................................................................

Who asks the question 'What must I do to be saved?' today?

That depends on someone presenting them, challenging them,

with the same 2,000-year oldGospel message,

and on the Holy Spirit working within them.

…..............................................................................................................................

We are all aware of Jesus' words to the disciples before He ascended into heaven:

'Go and preach the Gospel, and make more disciples',

not that WE can save anyone,

but the Holy Spirit works through the written word

and the spoken word.

And we are all aware of Paul's words in Romans:

'Faith comes by hearing'

and 'how can unbelievers hear unless someone tells them'.

…...........................................................................................................................

We are God's ambassadors, God's representatives, as was Paul in Acts 16

and we know that we should be, if not 'preaching',

at least 'sharing' and doing what we can to spread

the Gospel of salvation.

….........................................................................................................................

We have all had Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses at our doors,

and while we know their message is false and distorted,

and while we know that most people don't like being confronted by them

and having their peace and family time interrupted by them

(especially when 'Coronation Street' is on TV),

we probably experience guilt when we see them out and about,

because we know that WE should have the dedication

and commitment they show;

even if they are doing it for the wrong reason: to 'earn' salvation

by doing 'good works'.

…................................................................................................................................

We all come in contact with unsaved people;

unsaved relatives;

unsaved neighbours;

unsaved window cleaners;

unsaved posties; etc., etc.

and we know that they are sinners heading for a lost eternity unless they are 'saved'

but we hold back from 'preaching the Gospel'

because we are aware that most people get upset

when a friend, or a neighbour, or a total stranger

asks them, point blank, “Are you saved?"

…...................................................................................................................................

David Cameron, the UK Prime Minister said recently

that Britain, although the home of diverse racial groups

and many different religious faiths, IS a Christian country.

Rowan Williams, the recently retired Archbishop of Canterbury said,

'No, it is not; it might have been, but it is not now'.

In England and Wales the Queen is Head of the Established Church,

and has inherited the title 'Defender of the Faith'

which is why we have 'fid def' on our coins,

but Prince Charles has stated that when he eventually becomes King

he will be defender of all faiths,

not just the Christian one.

Whether or not Britain is a 'Christian country'

and whether or not the Anglican Episcopal church should be the state church

in England and Wales at least,

most people today consider 'religion' a private matter

and do not like to be confronted by evangelists or evangelicals.

As Tony Blair said when he was PM, 'We don't do God'.

…...................................................................................................................................

If people DO think about religion in the UK,

they tend to be Universalists,

thinking that all you have to do to get to heaven (if there is one) is DIE.

Whenever a poor child dies in a traffic accident

or as the result of a crime,

within minutes a 'shrine' appears in the street,

with flowers, cuddly toys, and a message along the lines of:

'Another angel in heaven; another star in the sky'

and woe betide any evangelical or evangelist who queries,

let alone criticises, the platitudes and sentimentalities expressed.

…...........................................................................................................................

To suggest that someone is 'a sinner'

who needs to 'be saved'

must be one of the easiest ways NOT to win friends and influence people today.

And if we do 'hit a nerve' when we are trying to witness,

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