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The Pastor's Blog

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What to do?

How many animals did Moses take into the ark?

That’s a trick question.... The answer is, none... it wasn’t Moses, it was Noah...

Since we’ve been considering Bible questions, let’s look at the question that the Philippian Jailer asked. “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” (Acts 16:30, ESV). He wasn’t asking a trick question. He sincerely wanted to know how to be saved. It’s not a trick question... but maybe there’s a trick answer....

You remember the story. Paul and Silas were on the “second” missionary journey. They had traveled westward across Asia, and, led by the Holy Spirit, arrived in the city of Philippi. There, they were arrested for boldly sharing the Gospel: the Good News that Jesus came to save everyone, even Romans living in Europe.

In the dungeon, they joyfully worshipped. “About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them, and 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 bonds were unfastened” (Acts 16:25-26, ESV).

Can you imagine? First, can you imagine singing after being beaten and chained? And then, can you imagine the prison door miraculously opening and the shackles falling away?

“When the jailer woke and saw that the prison doors were open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself” (Acts 16:27, ESV). He knew that a jailer who allowed his prisoners to escape would pay with his own life. Suicide must have seemed the easy way out.

“But Paul cried with a loud voice, ‘Do not harm yourself, for we are all here.’ And the jailer called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas. Then he brought them out and said, ‘Sirs, what must I do to be saved?’ ” (Acts 16:28-30, ESV).

There’s the question! “What must I do to be saved?” (Acts 16:30). The trick answer is: Nothing! Jesus already did it!

Paul wrote, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast” (Ephesians 2:8, ESV). Salvation is not a result of religious activity or good works... it’s not because we’ve done something to become worthy! Paul also said that Jesus “saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace” (2 Timothy 1:9, ESV) and “He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy” (Titus 3:5, ESV).

There was nothing that the jailer could do. He had to trust that Jesus had already accomplished the work. It is by faith alone, through grace alone, in Jesus alone...

“We are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works” (Ephesians 2:10). We’re not saved by good works, but we are saved to do good works.


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