Text: Acts 16:25-34 KJV (Be sure to read the text.)
Introduction: This text is commonly known as the conversion of the Philippian jailor. In this text, Paul and Silas are beaten and cast into prison. Their imprisonment seemed to be an obstacle to their preaching ministry. However, these men used this obstacle as an opportunity to minister. Our text tells us, “And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them” (Acts 16:25 KJV).
Then God sent an earthquake. This caused the doors of the prison to be opened and their bands to be loosened. Every prisoner was free. Yet, no one tried to escape. They were held captive by the testimony of Paul and Silas. The jailor came running in. Thinking the prisoners in his charge had escaped, he prepared to take his own life.
Paul cried out, “Do thyself no harm: for we are all here” (Acts 16:28 KJV). The jailor was so stirred that he cried out one of life’s most important questions, “what must I do to be saved?” (Acts 16:30 KJV).
Having considered what God has done to make possible your salvation, you will now examine what you must do to be saved. While salvation occurs instantly, there are three spiritual steps you take in order to be saved.
I. Step of Recognition
The first step in salvation is recognition. There are two things you must recognize in order to be saved.
A. Sin Must Be Recognized
The first thing you must recognize is your sin. It is the Bible that informs you of your sins. From the Scriptures, you discover two things about sin.
1. All have sinned: The Bible says, “As it is written, there is none righteous, no, not one” (Romans 3:10 KJV). The reason is “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23 KJV). As a lost sinner, you do not have a right standing with God because of sin.
2. Sin has a price: Grave are the consequences of unforgiven sin. Romans 6:23 states, “For the wages of sin is death. . . .” The price on your sin is death. This death is twofold.
a. Earthly Death: Sin will cause you to experience earthly death. In Romans 5:12 Paul tells you, “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.” You will one day die physically as a result of sin unless the Lord returns first.
b. Eternal Death: Far more serious are the consequences of sin than earthly death. Unless you are saved, you will one day experience what the Bible calls eternal death. Concerning this spiritual death, John wrote, “And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.” (Revelation 20:14 KJV). If you should die before you get saved, then you will experience the “second death” or “eternal death.” This death will cause you to be eternally separated from God in Hell.
Sin certainly has grave consequences. The most common word to describe the unsaved is that they are “lost.” Indeed, this is a good word to describe them. Those who die without Christ will lose everything!
From the Bible, you are able to recognize the truth about sin. The Holy Spirit has been given to make this truth real to your heart.
B. Saviour Must Be Recognized
It is only after you are aware of your lost condition that you are able to understand your need of the Savior. Not only does the Bible warn you about sin, but it also informs you about the Saviour.
Paul wrote, “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8 KJV). His death makes it possible for you to be saved. Since Jesus paid the price of sin, Paul could write “but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23b KJV). The law demanded your physical and your spiritual death. Christ’s death enabled you to have forgiveness of sin and eternal life. Indeed, Christ is the Saviour for all who believe on Him!
II. Step of Repentance
The second step to salvation is repentance. Jesus said, “I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3,5 KJV). It is impossible to be saved unless you repent of your sins! Multitudes of people have uttered the sinner’s prayer without experiencing repentance. According to the Saviour, they are still lost. This profession without repentance is often called “easy believism.” Because repentance is essential to salvation, it is important that you understand the meaning of “biblical repentance.” It has often been simply defined as “a change of mind.” In order to understand this change of mind, consider two words which best describe it.
The first word is abandonment. As the Holy Spirit convicts you of sin, you change your mind about it. You become willing to abandon or turn from your old life of sin and of self.
The sinful things that once brought you pleasure now trouble you. The Bible has made you aware that these things are wrong. Being aware of God’s displeasure with these things, you become willing to give them up. So you abandon these things.
The second word is attainment. As you change your mind about sin, not only are you willing to abandon it, but also you are willing to turn to a new life in Christ. The landmarks of the Christian life are not those things you give up, but those things you gain or add.
There are some wonderful things you may attain and enjoy as a Believer. You now find church attendance to be a joy. Also, your Bible becomes a delight to read and study. As you add prayer, it becomes an important part of your new life as a Christian. Perhaps you say, “I want to be saved, but I am not willing to give up my old way of life.” Then Jesus says to you, “Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.”
III. Step of Reception
The third step to salvation is that of reception. Of this step, John wrote, “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name” (John 1:12 KJV).
How can you receive Christ? To receive Him, there are two things you must do.
A. Confidence in Christ
The first thing you must do is to believe on or to place your confidence in Christ for salvation. John wrote that to receive Christ is to “believe on” Him. You must believe that Jesus, the Son of God, died on the cross for your sins. Also, you must believe that He rose from the dead, conquering both sin and death. You believe or place your faith in the fact that it pleased God to let Jesus die for your sins. With confidence, you then ask God to save you because of what Christ has done in your behalf. You place your confidence for salvation in Jesus Christ and in the blood He shed at Calvary for your sins. God saves you for Christ’s sake when you believe on or place your confidence in Jesus Christ.
B. Call on God
The second thing you must do is to call on God. Because you believe on Christ for salvation, you call on or pray to God for His salvation. From your heart, you pray a prayer similar to this one. “Dear God, from the Bible I have learned that I am a sinner. I know sin is serious and will cause me to go to Hell for eternity. I believe that Jesus died on the Cross for my sins. I repent of my sins, and I ask you to forgive me of them. Save me on the basis of what Christ has done. Amen.”
Concerning calling on God, Paul wrote, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved” (Romans 10:9). Again he wrote, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:13 KJV).
Have you followed these simple steps to salvation? If not, then why don’t you, from a repentant heart, call on God to save you? These steps are essential to a true salvation experience!
By Evangelist Donnie Melton
Permission given to post on our web site.
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Lakewood Park Baptist Church • Davenport, Florida USA