Though I have already violated the “summary” approach in this post - I thought I would offer this which I preached anyway. The outline is not exactly how I preached it; in fact, I don’t think it is that close, but it is what I intended and it preached even better.
- Every now and again there is an appropriateness to review what the Bible says regarding salvation. It is an important question and one that is not to be minimized at all. To begin, we need to start with Abraham (Romans 4:1-8, 16-22). The kind of faith one finds in this reading is a faith that is much more than an acknowledgement of one’s belief in God’s existence. It is a conviction and a response (Hebrews 11:6, 1). Because of such a response to God, because of such an understanding that God is the very essence of love, man responds (1 John 4:15-19). Man responds by obeying from the heart that teaching (form of doctrine) that delivers us from sin (ROMANS 6:16-18). Of course, this implies that one has a clear understanding of what sin is and how damning it actually is.
- It is likely that you (as an individual) try to do that which is right. You have been raised that way, and you understand its value. When you do what is right you believe there is a reward in such an approach to life. What is that reward? That you believe there is is obvious because you are currently doing it – even if you don’t KNOW what the reward is. You hope it is heaven, but you don’t actually know whether it is or not. The idea of judgment in an eternal hell is as disagreeable to you as it is to any thoughtful person. The Lord has made it clear to each who seeks to understand that doing what one thinks is right in life is inadequate (Acts 23:1).
- What the Lord teaches is that man’s ability to KNOW and do what is right must have an origin that is higher than himself (Jeremiah 10:23; Romans 3:23 and 6:23). This is the message of the Lord, His apostles, and each generation of preachers that have since followed. It is a message that is consistent, but one that a great many people refuse to hear. Thus, when the Lord spoke as He did in Matthew 7:13-14, He warned man of the seriousness of the matter.
- What must I do to be saved? This brings us to an application of LOVE. Love is that which seeks what is best. We often use it in the context of another, but in this context, we want to understand it in relation to ourselves. Do you love yourself? It is not likely that you even considered the question, much less the answer to the question. That it is true, however, is evident because you will seek that which is best for you in life – we all do it! Well, the Lord has told us about the temporary nature of life and He has made known His love toward us in Christ (John 3:16). The Philippians jailor understood death and salvation. When he dropped down in front of Paul and Silas, he understood enough about that which resided in their heart to inquire of them, especially given what had just taken place. You can be sure that Paul and Silas helped the rough-cut man understand love as seen and lived in Christ.
- A person who does understand sin, a person who does understand love will ask the same question the jailor asked. He will ask the question because he knows better than anyone that life with all of its joys has much that is painful, and that pain that is brought about demands a greater explanation than what many give. He can’t seem to DO enough to be saved, to give him some adequate answer that is more than current life. To ask the question, then, is to understand what it means to be saved. Paul told the jailor he must believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. This response is similar to Abraham’s response; it is more than an acknowledgment, it is a life-changing response. Peter told those who were present on Pentecost they needed to “repent and be baptized.” This life-changing response is now “not my will be done, but thine be done.”
- SALVATION is found only in Jesus Christ (Acts 4:12). If you would be saved, then you will submit to His authority, His love, and His commands. If you think He will accept you into the eternal realm without submitting to His authority, you are right. His acceptance, however, will be a pointing to His left (Matthew 25:33, 46).