Summary: EPIPHANY 1(B) - What must I do to be saved is a question of desperation which needs God’s gracious answer of salvation.
WHAT MUST I DO TO BE SAVED? (Outline)
ACTS 16:25-34 - January 9, 2005 - EPIPHANY 1
INTRO: Questions. Questions. The world is full of questions that seem to have no one good answer. One such question is why? Many often ask that eternal question of why. Sometimes they are satisfied with the answer and sometimes not. People ask God why bad things happen to good people. Often man will define bad much different than what is meant. How to answer why? Just add another word for the real question and God’s answer. That word is not. Rather than just ask why, ask why not? For God is in control. This brings us to today’s question in our text: What must I do to be saved? Again, one might add not, for man cannot save himself. Remember the rich young ruler who went away sad because he did not want to part with any of his wealth. Jesus told his disciples that it would be easier for the camel to go through the eye of the needle than for the rich to enter heaven. The disciples wondered who could be saved. Jesus wanted the disciples to know that salvation did not depend on man. "Jesus looked at them and said, ’With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God’"(MARK 10:27). Today’s theme is the jailer’s question: WHAT MUST I DO TO BE SAVED? I. A question of desperation leads to II. God’s answer of salvation.
I. A QUESTION OF DESPARATION
A. Paul and Silas were preaching in the city of Philippi. It was Paul’s second missionary journey.
1. They had healed a slave girl possessed by a demon. The owners were upset.
2. This slave girl’s demonic gift produced money for the owners. Paul and Silas were beaten.
B. After the beating Paul and Silas were thrown into prison. Did they ask why? After all, innocent.
1. Text began verse 25. They sang praises to God and the other prisoners were listening.
2. God’s miracles begin. Verse 26. The prison doors were opened and the chains fell off.
C. All the prisoners were free to go. Good news for them but bad news for the jailer.
1. His reaction was to end it all. Verse 27. His life would be demanded for those missing.
2. Paul stops him from harm. Everyone is there. Then the question of desperation. Verse 30.
D. Today mankind often comes to God out of desperation. With all of the attractions and distraction of and in this world people seem to forget about God. But when things seem to fall apart people question God. When the world is crashing down around them people cry out. But the Lord is always there. We are reminded that we do not have to wait for desperate times to be close to God. The Lord listens always. “Listen to my cry, for I am in desperate need; rescue me from those who pursue me, for they are too strong for me. Set me free from my prison, that I may praise your name” (PSALM 142:6,7a).
E. Why do we wait until desperate times? All too often the things of this life also distract us. We may not always focus on our heavenly Father. We live in a world and a society that promises us the best. We are caught up in the thinking of this world. Wealth and money bring happiness. Good health means eve-rything. There is only a little bit of truth in those worldly philosophies. The real truth is that this world can easily turn our attention away from our true focus. “They promise them freedom, while they them-selves are slaves of depravity—for a man is a slave to whatever has mastered him”(2 PETER 2:19). The world promises much but ends up only making slaves of unsuspecting souls.
F. Why does this happen? Why do men fall away? There is a single source of everything that is bad in this life. Simply put it is sin. Mankind may try to dismiss sin, deny sin but sin is still sin. Sin infects and affects every living and breathing soul. There is no escape. Since Adam and Eve’s first sin all men inherit this sinful nature. “All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away”(ISAIAH 64:6). Even all those things that we might consider as righteous are still tainted by sin.
TRANS: WHAT MUST I DO TO BE SAVED? This is a question of desperation. Thankfully, as be-lievers we can always rejoice and praise the Lord for II. God’s answer of salvation.
II. GOD’S ANSWER OF SALVATION
A. We have already seen God’s grace in this jailer’s life. Earthquake, doors open, chain fall off.