Summary: To establish that true salvation is through a genuine faith and willing obedience to the word of God. This lesson deals with the false notion that the jailer and his house was saved by belief only, and no other act of obedience.
1. The Question is Personal
2. The Question is Participative
3. The Question is Profitable
1. In our lesson today we will be discussing, a man who asked a very important question. A question that had eternal implications! This is a question that all must ask if they like him are unaware of God’s terms of salvation. Not everyone however will receive the answer, in the same spirit in which he and his entire family did. We are not talking about some man's theology! Or someone’s philosophy! We are talking about things, which are eternal, and divinely ordained. Many have asked this question, but not all have received the same answer. In every case where one inquired of God's terms of salvation, of the man of God, the Lord requires his servants to give the same answer and assistance to the inquirer’s search for salivation. The man of God answered: "Believe on the Lord Jesus..." I know this response requires further explanation.
2. First of all, this question is personal. The jailer asked only for himself: "what must I do to be saved?" He did not ask for his mother, daddy, wife or children. He desired to be saved himself. Perhaps fear generated this question. Fear for his life. But, somehow he knew these men could give him the answer he needed. We need to understand this for ourselves; for each of us must stand before the judgment seat of Christ. Most important however, we cannot help others find the way, if we don’t know it first ourselves. It is important to find out what we must do, first do it, and then instruct others how to obey God.
3. Secondly, this question is participative in nature. "What must I DO?" It implies participation on the part of the jailer. It is active in response and not passive. One must do something - to be saved. Unlike the Universalist which says, "Ye need not do anything – it has all been done for you." Or like the Calvinist which says, "You can't do anything if you are not one of His elect." But, Paul told the man to have faith in Jesus, and he could be saved he and his entire house. God desires all to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth. But each must do something to be saved and what is required is taught in this act of true conversion - by faith in Christ Jesus. We will see from this example, what God requires of us all, to be saved.
4. Lastly, this question is profitable. Salvation was the desired end of his question. He was not trying to deceive, or attempting to distract them from escaping that night. He truly wanted to be saved. Like so many today! If one would ask this same question, would the answer be the same? I real think not. However, God's terms of pardon and salvation have not changed since this man's conversion! He is the "same yesterday, today and forever." In the same hour of the night - this man's life was saved both from suicide and sin, by these men of God. He and his entire household heard, believed and obeyed the Gospel! I would today, that everyone here today would do the same! Let’s consider our first point, the question is personal.
I THE QUESTION IS PERSONAL
A. How the jailer arrived at the conclusion he needed to be saved is a question of speculation. It is possible he had seen or heard of Paul’s work among the Macedonians. It may be possible or even likely, he heard talk of their work among the prisoners or the guards. God sent Paul and Silas into Macedonia. Illustrate: The Macedonian Call, Acts 16:9-17. Philippi was Roman city and colony. The gospel was being preached in Europe in this city, about 50 AD. Paul’s vison in Corinth, Acts 18:9-10; and his preaching in the city of Rome, Acts 28:23-24, and Acts 28:31.
B. First converts in the city, was Lydia and her household, Acts 16:13-l5. "The Lord opened her heart...as she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul. And when she was baptized, and her household...." How was her heart opened? Through preaching! "Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God," Romans 10:17.
C. Healing of a damsel of an evil spirit. Who had followed them and proclaimed: "these men are the servants of the Most High God, which show unto us the way of salvation," Acts 16:16-24. For this they were beaten and place in prison, for doing well. Don't be discouraged when people are unappreciative of the good you do, or even cause evil to become part of your day. The man and woman of God seek to relieve the affliction and oppression of others; even if they receive persecution for doing so. Paul admonishes us all not to "Become weary in well doing...," Galatians 6:9-10. What does God require? Micah answers: “To do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly before his God," Micah 6:8.