Summary: “What must I do to be saved?” This lesson examines three times in scripture where this question was asked and considers the answer given in each case.

"What Must I Do To Be Saved?"

09/19/04 AM

Text: Acts 2:37, Acts 22:10, Acts 16:30

Reading: Romans 10:1-10


Today’s lesson will consider the question, “What must I do to be saved?” We will examine three times in the scriptures where this question was asked and we will consider in each case the answer given to the question.

Before we get to the questions I’d like to share an illustration with you that I believe will help us in understanding our study today. This is the illustration of the Blind Men and the Elephant.

Most of us have heard this story in one version or another but it is the story of six blind men who try to learn about the elephant. Each one examines a different part of the elephant and each comes away with a different conclusion. One believes the elephant to be like a wall, having felt the broad side. Another believes the elephant to be a spear, having felt the tusk. The blind man feeling the trunk envisions a snake, the one feeling the leg believes the elephant to be like a tree. The fifth claims the elephant to be like a fan having felt the ear and the last claims the elephant to be like a rope having felt the tail. This story was the basis of a poem by John Saxe and one of the last stanzas provides us application to our lesson today:

And so these men of Indostan

Disputed loud and long,

Each in his own opinion

Exceeding stiff and strong,

Though each was partly in the right,

And all were in the wrong!

And with this illustration in mind let us consider the text we read this morning: Romans 10:1-10

1. For many this text is considered to contain the answer to our question “what must I do to be saved?” As they believe, according to this and other “proof” texts, all that is required is to believe. But this is taking the approach of the six blind men.

2. To arrive at the truth we cannot handle the scriptures as if there is only one verse or one section of verses in the Bible.

3. One must examine the totality of God’s word in order to see the whole elephant.

a. Psalm 119:160a “The sum of Your word is truth,”


c. 2 Peter 3:16 Peter writes that there are some who mishandle the scriptures and distort them to their own destruction.

d. 2 Tim. 2:15 Paul told Timothy that we must “accurately handle” the word of truth.

One part is not enough to know the whole of the elephant; one part is not enough to know God’s plan of salvation. We need the whole picture to understand and to get it right. Those who use partial texts for “proof” are missing the whole picture and are in jeopardy of missing out on salvation. There is more even in the text we read earlier, turn back to Romans 10:11-14. In these verses we can see three elements of salvation, not just one; Hear, Believe, and Confess.

Let us examine now the scriptures where the question was asked “what must I do to be saved?” and consider the answers given beginning with:


A. Acts 2:14-36

1. Peter preaches the first gospel sermon. His points are

a. There has been a fulfillment of prophecy (14-21).

b. The resurrection and exaltation of Jesus (22-33).

c. Jesus is Lord (34-36).

2. This sermon resulted in the gathering being convicted of their sins.

a. They knew they were responsible for crucifying the Lord.

b. They were pricked in their heart.

c. So they cried out, "Men and brethren, what shall we do?"

B. The answer to the question.

1. Peter answers their question in vs 38-40.

2. Notice what Peter does not say.

a. He does not say “Hear the gospel.” They had already heard.

b. He does not say, “Believe in Jesus.” They believed based on the earlier statements. They are now acting on that belief.

c. Peter does not say to pray a prayer of forgiveness and everything would be OK.

3. Peter tells them to “Repent.”

a. They had crucified the Lord and were guilty just as if they had driven the nails themselves.

b. They needed to repent of rebelling against God.

c. Acts 17:30-31 Paul states: “Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent, because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead.”

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