What Must I do to be Saved?
What Must I do to be Saved?
William Stout / General
Acting Out Acts – 19 / Acts 16:1–31
Acts 16:1–3 NKJV
1 Then he came to Derbe and Lystra. And behold, a certain disciple was there, named Timothy, the son of a certain Jewish woman who believed, but his father was Greek.
2 He was well spoken of by the brethren who were at Lystra and Iconium.
3 Paul wanted to have him go on with him. And he took him and circumcised him because of the Jews who were in that region, for they all knew that his father was Greek.
- Again Paul returns to Lystra
- Meets Timothy
- Timothy went on with Paul from here
- Chose to be circumcised “because of the Jews”
- Because they knew he was a greek
- He did not become circumcised to be saved, or to satisfy God
- He was willing to undergo this in order to be effective as a minister of Jesus
- In order to avoid the distraction so that he could share the gospel
- Sometimes we have to make sacrifices in order to reach the lost
- It is not always convenient
- Sometimes can be painful
- For the Love of God, Love of people
1 Corinthians 9:19–23 NKJV
19 For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win the more;
20 and to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews; to those who are under the law, as under the law, that I might win those who are under the law;
21 to those who are without law, as without law (not being without law toward God, but under law toward Christ), that I might win those who are without law;
22 to the weak I became as weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.
23 Now this I do for the gospel’s sake, that I may be partaker of it with you.
- What are we willing to sacrifice in order to reach others?
- what changes are we willing to make to reach the lost?
- Are we willing to go out of our way? to adapt ourselves?
- To be partakers with them?
Acts 16:6–10 NKJV
6 Now when they had gone through Phrygia and the region of Galatia, they were forbidden by the Holy Spirit to preach the word in Asia.
7 After they had come to Mysia, they tried to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit did not permit them.
8 So passing by Mysia, they came down to Troas.
9 And a vision appeared to Paul in the night. A man of Macedonia stood and pleaded with him, saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.”
10 Now after he had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go to Macedonia, concluding that the Lord had called us to preach the gospel to them.
- They were “forbidden by the Holy Spirt to preach in Asia”
- Another pattern we see in the early church is that they were obedient to God
- What would be wrong with preaching in Asia
- Apparently they had wanted to go to Asia
- It probably seemed like a good thing to do to go to Asia
- Preaching the gospel is never a bad thing to do
- Yet they were “forbidden” to go there.
- Because they were willing to seek God’s will, to wait on God’s direction, and to obey God’s direction, they did not go.
- Just because something is a good thing to do does not mean it is the best thing to do
- We only have one life to give
- We can only spend today once
- I want to spend my life in the way that “most” glorifies God and accomplishes His purpose.
- Although they wanted to go to Asia, and they could have many reasons to justify the trip, God had a purpose for them in Macedonia
- There was a great need there that God had particularly prepared them for
- There was a great testimony awaiting them there, and a church to plan and people to be transformed
- Your plans might be good sometimes, but God’s plans are great all the time
A vision appeared to Paul in the night
- Paul had a dream while he slept
- He saw the man in Macedonia saying “come help us”
- This dream didn’t happen until after they had decided to obey the Holy Spirit
- We often can’t discern God’s will until we are willing to let go of our own will.
- God communicated this to Paul in a dream
- there are numerous examples in Old testament and New Testament of God speaking to us in dreams
Numbers 12:6 NKJV
6 Then He said, “Hear now My words: If there is a prophet among you, I, the Lord, make Myself known to him in a vision; I speak to him in a dream.
- Often when we sleep our minds are quiet enough to “hear” our spirit and God’s Spirit
- We should pay attention to our dreams
- Expect God to communicate with us in dreams
- Pray over our sleep and our dreams
- Pray to remember our dreams
- write down our dreams and pray for interpretation and understanding
Paul and Silas in prison
- One of the cities of Macedonia was Philippi
- they had been staying there some time when they were met on their way to prayer by a demon possessed slave girl
- This demon was referred to as a spirit of divination – she was a fortune teller
- her masters made a lot of profit off of her fortune telling
- She followed them saying “these men are servants of the most high God which show us the way of salvation
- Like the demons that Jesus cast out, they recognized Paul and Silas and their purpose
- She did this for many days, until Paul became grieved by it
- He turned and cast out the demon and it came out the same hour
- after this she could no longer make her masters money
- they became angry and arrested Paul and Silas
Beaten with “many stripes” and cast in prison
- After they were dragged into the marketplace, they were accused of “exceedingly troubling the city”
- Severely beaten and cast into prison
- cast into the “inner prison”
- imagine the pain
- the darkness
- the cold and discomfort
- A certain Jailer was given command to keep them
- What if they had gone to Asia instead?
- This is the place where many of us would begin complaining, perhaps becoming angry with God
- Many people would be crying out here “I should have went to Asia like I wanted to in the first place”
- When we get in these dark dark places, doubt begins to creep in
- Maybe I didn’t here from God in the first place?
- That probably wasn’t the Holy Spirit that told me to go to Macedonia
- If it had really been God telling us to go here we wouldn’t be in this mess.
- Doubt is the enemy of faith
Hebrews 10:23 NKJV
23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.
- God’s way may not be the easy way, but it is always the best way
- we don’t measure success by circumstance, but rather by faithfulness!
- You have to Stand! Stand firm. Stand without wavering.
- Imagine the situation with Paul and Silas in that Prison:
- The pain they were in
- they cold damp conditions of the cell
- their feet were clamped tight in leg irons and chains
- the darkness of the inner prison
- no light at all. the inner prison, deep inside the facility, no windows. No candles or lights
- only darkness, cold and pain.
- How easy for doubt and despair to creep in
Doubt and Despair
- enemies of faith
- yet, somehow through their pain, instead of giving into doubt, the began to pray
- they began to call upon the name of the Lord!
- Oh, that wonderful name. They started praying, and then that prayer started turning into praise
- Suddenly those praise broke out into songs of praise
- And the whole prison heard them!
Acts 16:25–26 NKJV
25 But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them.
26 Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were loosed.
- When we resist the darkness – light breaks through!
- the power of God becomes manifest, when we don’t give into that negative spirit
- that negative spirit of doubt and despair that so easily keeps us in those chains,
- those chains are broken through faith, and prayer and songs of praise
- Sing unto the Lord all His Saints!
The Foundations of the Prison were shaken!
- The doors were opened and their chains were loosed
- If the devil has had you bound, break free with your songs of praise!
- “everyone’s chains were loosed”
- Not only were Paul and Silas free, everyone was free
- The jailer came rushing in to see the prisoners escaping drew his sword and would have killed himself
- But Paul shouted with a loud voice “Don’t hurt yourself! We are all still here!”
- Consider this jailer for a moment
- Wasn’t changed by the fame of Paul and Silas
- Not changed by the message of Paul and Silas
- Not changed by their power over the demons
- Not changed by their songs of praise
- Not changed by the power of God to shake the prison
- Not changed by any of the many stories he must have heard of these disciples
- had been accused of exceedingly troubling the city
- men who turned the world upside down
- Yet, none of these things had been effective to change him at all
- But when he saw the Love of God, displayed by Paul to him
- He fell down on his knees
Acts 16:30–31 NKJV
30 And he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”
31 So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.”
- Love never fails
- If you are praying for someone whose heart seems hard
- break it with that same love seen here
- If God can so change Paul, He can surely change you and I.