THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date – 7-12-09
LESSON TITLE: “WHO IS GOD? GOD’S PLAN UNTO SALVATION”
How wonderful it is to know God and to have the health, strength, and will-power to give this time to Him on this Lord’s Day morning. Thank you for putting God first today and choosing to commit this time of offering to His service.
Today, we will again be uplifted through our commitment to serving God as commanded, as we approach His almighty throne. How enjoyable it will be to worship our God through prayer, song and the study of His matchless Word. Won’t you do your part this morning to see that our worship together is acceptable so that our glorious creator may be glorified?
Now, as we begin our offering to God, will you bow with me in prayer!
Well, it’s time to join in our first songs of praise. It’s name, “All The Way My Savior Leads Me.”
(SONG # 1)
When we look to the life of Christ we see that He was one who was all about doing the Father’s Will! One thing we find the Lord doing, which is of great interest, is choosing 12 men to teach over a period of years. And Why? That they might carry on the work of God, when Jesus returned to the Father.
Paul obviously learned this important lesson from Jesus, as he often took men under his wing and taught them how to do the work of an evangelist. In fact, this idea can be fully seen in 2 Timothy 2:2, where Paul also told this young evangelist to take, “the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” The plan of training faithful men to go out and to teach others the precious Word of God is certainly a Biblically based concept and command.
Another verse which shows us that we all are to participate in this important duty is found in Matthew 28:18, where Jesus said, “go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you!” Are we not all disciples of God? Therefore we are all challenged to go into this world and teach the Gospel to those who are lost and dying. And why should we do this? Because we love the souls of those around us and we want them to be saved.
I remember something that Paul once told Timothy that really ties in well to our discussion at hand. Read with me from 1 Timothy 4:16, “Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you.” Are you striving to do what you can to save the souls of those around you?
With this in mind, I am thankful for many of the great efforts being made for the sake of God, even in our area. This program is committed to preaching the gospel of God to the world. Also, we have the Bible Institute of Missouri, right here in Springfield, Missouri. An institution that is training men for the greatest work on earth, preaching the Gospel of Christ to all nations! Praise God for these good works. However, despite the good things collectively we are doing to reach out with the truth, may we never shirk our responsibility to go ourselves and to teach others. For this is one of the blessed privileges of those who are faithful children of God.
As far as our main study of the day, this morning we will conclude our series entitled, “Who Is God?” Our specific lesson of the day will focus on, “God’s Plan Unto Salvation.” So stay with us and after our next song together, we will be lead in the main thoughts of the day.
As far as our speaker, we are happy to have brother Jeremy Northrop with us. Brother Northrop is helping us this summer by teaching one of the classes at the Bible Institute of Missouri. He is a preacher of the Gospel in Ashland, Mississippi. We thank him for being with us and look forward to him leading our thoughts after the next song. So for now let’s join together in our second song of the morning. The name of this hymn, “Is It For Me Dear Savior?”
(SONG # 2)
By Jeremy Northrop
What must I do to be saved? It is the question that many people ask especially in religious settings. It is a question that is valid. It deserves a Bible answer. Today, we hope to explore this question and look to it and see what the Bible says, what essentially God says in the answer to the question: What must I do to be saved?
Before we get to what it says, let’s analyze the question for just a few moments. First we want to look at the word “what” and “What must I do to be saved?” The implication is that there is something to be done. It requires that something is required of us if we are going to be saved. Then the word “must” emphasizes this requirement. It implies it is not optional. What must I do? There is something that has to be done in order to be saved and if we don’t do it, we will not be saved. “I” makes it personal. What must I do? There is something personal that I can do in order to be saved. The word “do” requires that an action be done, that we have to do something in order to obtain eternal salvation and that is the concept of the phrase “to be saved.” When we ask this question from a spiritual point, when we ask it from what the Bible says, we’re asking the question to obtain eternal salvation and really there are two sides to eternal salvation.
Paul said, in the book of Ephesians, Ephesians 2:8, “For by grace you have been saved through faith and that not of yourselves. It is the gift of God.” Oftentimes the focus is on grace. That’s God’s part. What has God done in order to save us from our sins? He has offered us His grace. But the rest of the verse teaches that there is something personal, something that we each individually must do. By grace you are again saved through faith. That not of yourself. It is the gift of God. Grace is God’s part. Faith is our part.
There’s also some implications to the question that is asked. What must I do to be saved?
First, it implies that the answer comes from a source outside ourselves, that within ourselves we can’t answer this question. We must look to the Word of God, God’s document for us as He has communicated His Will to us in order to obtain an answer to the question: What must I do to be saved?
It also implies that we understand that we are lost. We wouldn’t ask to be saved if we didn’t have an understanding that we were lost. The people in the Bible that ask this question, the rich, young ruler, Saul of Tarsus, the people present on the Day of Pentecost in Acts chapter 2, the Philippian jailor, all of these people had an understanding that they were lost and so they asked essentially the question: What must I do to be saved? The person understands that he is indeed lost.
Today it is the same. When we ask the question we imply that we have an understanding that we are spiritually lost. The good news is that God has not left us without the information that we need. He has answered this question for us: What must I do to be saved?
There are really three occasions in the book of Acts where somebody or a group of people has essentially asked this question. They didn’t use the same words: What must I do to be saved? But they were asking the question: What must I do? IN the first occasion in Acts chapter 2, Peter had delivered a discourse referring to prophets of the Old Testament and talking about how the things that were happening there on the Day of Pentecost had been prophesied of old and essentially he comes down to a conclusion and says, “This same Jesus, you crucify. You have shed His blood.” And the people ask the question. It says that, “They were cut to the heart and saying, ‘What shall we do?’” In essence they were asking, “What can we do to be saved? What must we do in order to be saved?” The good news is Peter answered the question in verse 38 when it says, “Peter said, ‘Repent and be baptized every one of you for the remission of your sins and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.’” Those people ask the question. Peter gave the Bible answer to repent and be baptized.
Later in the same chapter you may remember that those people were added to the church. The Lord adds to the church daily those who were being saved, those who obeyed, those who repented and were baptized.
Now we come to another place in the New Testament where this question was asked. You may remember Saul of Tarsus when we are first introduced to Saul, the Bible tells us that he was persecuting or at least involved in the persecution of Christians, people who had followed the Way, so to speak. And as he was involved in the stoning of Stephen in Acts chapter 7, we come down to Acts 9 and he had gotten permission to go to Damascus and to continue to persecute people who were Christians, who were practicing New Testament Christianity. But on the way to Damascus, he was blinded by a light and as it says, “Jesus appeared to him and said, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?’” Saul asked, “Who are you, Lord?” He said, “I am Jesus whom you are persecuting.” And as the story goes on, Jesus gave Saul directions to “Go into Damascus. Lodge with one Simon, a tanner, and wait for a person by the name of Ananias. He will come to you and it will be told what you must do.” Now the blinding light blinded Saul for a period of time, but when Ananias came to Saul, he had restored his sight, and Saul asked, What must I do?” Ananias again answered the question for Saul. Saul understood that he was lost and so Ananias answers this question and it says that, “Saul was baptized and immediately he began to teach others about this gospel of Jesus Christ.”
Now we learn a couple of important things from Saul. You notice how Saul did not let his past interfere with doing what was right. So oftentimes we find people… “The Lord just might not forgive me. We regret our past so much that we don’t want to do what is right in the eyes of the Lord.” Not Saul. I think about the reputation that he had of persecuting people. Ananias actually confronted God when he said, “Wait I’ve heard about this man. I know what he does to Christians. I don’t want to go teach him.” And God said, “Go teach him. He is a chosen vessel and I’ve got a special purpose for him and as soon as Saul learned what was right he was converted to New Testament Christianity and baptized for the remission of his sins and began to proclaim and advocate the very thing that he was opposing previously in his life. What must I do to be saved? Well for Saul of Tarsus he was baptized for the remission of his sins.
There is one final place where this question is asked. It is asked by a jailer later on in the book of Acts chapter 16. Paul and Silas are in prison because they cast out a spirit of divination and they are in prison. It says that they were singing praises to God and all of the people in the prison or in the dungeon there were observing Paul and Silas as they were singing praises. Now when we come down to this particular text, starting about verse 25 as they are praying and singing hymns, the text tells us that a great earthquake happened, the shackles were opened, and you may remember how the jailer on that occasion got up and took the sword, went to take his own life because he was afraid that some of the prisoners had escaped. Some of the people that he was responsible for had gotten out of prison and he was going to take his own life. Paul called out to him and said, “Do yourself no harm. We’re all here.” Then later that jailer said, “Sir, what must I do to be saved?”
I know some people would tell you that the jailer was talking about physical salvation, in other words, “What do I need to do in order to not receive the consequences of not looking after this jail like I should?” I don’t think that is the case for a couple of reasons. First of all, Paul said very clearly, “We’re all here.” He wasn’t under any threat because all of the captives had stayed right where they were. But another reason I don’t think this is about physical salvation is because he is asking the wrong people. A jailer doesn’t go to the captives in a prison and say, “What do I need to do in order to avoid the government coming down on me and inflicting consequences upon me.” He wouldn’t have asked Paul and Silas that. They were in jail. He would’ve went to the government or somebody along those lines. I believe he was asking for spiritual salvation. “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”
Verse 31, they answered, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved, you and all your household.” They spoke the Word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. It says that he took them that same hour and (inaudible). Do you see repentance there? He was regretting some of the things that he had done. (Inaudible) and it says they brought him before God, he and all his family (verse 32) were baptized. What did he have to do? Believe on the Lord and be baptized.
Now we take these three occasions and we put them together and we learn what the Bible says about spiritual salvation. In Acts 2 they had to repent and were baptized. Saul of Tarsus had to hear the Word of God, believe what he had heard, repent and be baptized. This jailer shows fruits of repentance in his life and he, too, was baptized. The text says that, “He was told to believe on the Lord and be baptized.” There are a lot of people in the religious world that would teach us that baptism is not essential for salvation. They might say things like, “Well God can save me without baptism. God has the power to save me even if I am not baptized for the remission of my sins. Why do I have to be baptized?” You know the first answer to that question? Because God said so! God said to be baptized. In fact, Jesus commanded people to go into all the world and teach and baptize in the name of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit. All three occasions that we have that we’ve looked at this morning the people were baptized for the remission of their sins.
Friends, today we need to do no less but to be baptized. Now we don’t have one instance in the New Testament where a person we know of where it is directly stated that they heard the Word, believed the Word, repented of their sins, confessed Jesus and were baptized, but when we take all the acts of conversion throughout the book of Acts and put them together, we learn that’s the Biblical plan of salvation.
The Eunuch certainly did such in Acts chapter 8 and what I find interesting is in every single instance of conversion that applies to you and me today the person was baptized.
What about the thief on the cross? Someone might say, “Well that doesn’t apply to us. He died under the old law.” That’s not something that has application to you and I today under the new law, but you come to the book of Acts and you find that every person that was converted to New Testament Christianity, they were baptized for the remission of sins.
Another point that I might make is that you know baptism is just not that difficult of a thing to do. For most of us it is very simple. We can go to a body of water that is big enough to immerse us and we too can be baptized. What we find interesting is that the Lord will add us to the church.
Now there is one other thought that I might point out as we think about this. That is that Peter said, “God shows no partiality.” If God required people in the days of Acts to hear the Word, believe, repent, confess, and be baptized, He is going to require the same from you and me today. Today we do the very same thing. We follow the Bible and we too can be saved from our sins.
What must I do to be saved? We hear the Word. Believe what we have heard. Repent of our sins. Confess Jesus before men. And we are baptized for the remission of sins. That’s how we are saved today.
And then we can come over to Acts 2 again and find that just as those people were converted to New Testament Christianity on that occasion, the text says that, “The Lord added them to the church.” Aren’t you thankful that God is concerned about your soul? It’s not dependent upon any board. It’s not dependent on some man… “Well you can come over with us and we’ll let you be a part of our church, or we’ll let you be a part of this group.” No! Not my salvation. I don’t want my salvation to depend upon any man. I want God to determine whether or not I am saved, and if I will do what God says as these three occasions did, then I, too, can be saved just as they were.
One other thought. Think about what the Bible does not say. You know the Bible doesn’t say, “Well just feel in your heart that you’re saved and you will be saved,” and that it is all about what we feel. No! The Bible doesn’t teach that at all. Nowhere in the Bible does it teach us to pray the sinner’s prayer and we, too, can be saved. It doesn’t say base our salvation upon feelings and it doesn’t say base salvation upon what you want. I know people say it. They say, “Well I’ve got this talent. I want to use this talent to the glory of God. I want to use this talent that I have in a way that will bring glory to God.” God has already told us. God has already explained to us what we need to do to be saved and if we will do it His way, we can, too, make our calling an election sure that’s not based on feelings, and it’s not based on what we want.
What must I do to be saved? Just follow the Bible!
(SONG # 3 - “Is Thy Heart Right With God?”)
What a blessing it has been to join together in the things of God this morning. Thank you for doing your part in making all these things to be according to His Will. As always, we invite you back every Lord’s Day morning at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to this offering for God!
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Isn’t it wonderful to know that we have a Father who cares enough to give us a clear plan unto salvation? The question is, are we willing to obey Him and to do things His way! Won’t you submit to God even today?