Someone said, "Just when you think that you have all the answers, they change the questions!" At times I am sure that all of us have felt similar frustrations. A little boy was asking a lot of questions of an older man. The older man asked him why he had so many questions. The boy said, "I've only been around for five years, there are a lot of things I don't know yet!" Good answer!
There are many questions we need to ask ourselves throughout life. As children we were asked what we wanted to be when we grow up? Later on it was what college or training should I pursue? Maybe it was where do I want to go to work? Should I get married? How many children should we have? What about retirement? There are many other questions that we may ask, but this morning I want to discuss three very important questions for all of us. How we answer these three questions will have a lot to do with all the other questions we face throughout our lives.
I. A Question of Salvation: What must I do to be saved? cf Acts 16:30
A. It is popular.
1. In one way or another, everyone is asking the jailer's question.
2. We all desire the wholeness that salvation brings.
3. Pagan savages have burned their children alive hoping that such sacrifices will win the favor of their gods.
4. People experiment with drugs and sex looking for joy, peace, and fulfillment.
5. Others seek to gain favor with God through all sorts of good deeds that they do, all seeking the answer to the question...What must I do to be saved!
B. It is providential.
1. God brought about the circumstances that night to accomplish His purposes.
2. The guard assumed that the prisoners had fled and was ready to commit suicide because of a distorted sense of honor.
3. When he realized that the prisoners had not escaped he trembled before Paul and Silas asking, "What must I do to be saved?"
4. Testimony of a Titanic survivor:
a. While drifting along in the darkness on that terrible night the tide brought another man nearby.
b. His name was John Harper, and he asked me, are you a Christian? To which I replied, "No, sir, I am not."
c. Mr. Harper then said, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved!" and then the current carried him away.
d. A short time later he drifted nearby and asked the same question to which I once again replied, "No sir, I am not a Christian."
e. He said, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved!"
f. With that he lost his grip on the plank and slipped into the dark waters of death.
g. While drifting, alone once again, I bowed my head and cried out to God in faith and God saved me!
h. He said, "I was John Harper's last convert."
5. God, at times, providentially brings circumstances into our lives to shake our very foundations and to lead us to faith in His dear Son.
C. It is personal.
1. He asked, "What must I do to be saved?"
2. We are reminded of the importance of knowing Christ personally.
3. Here was a man who had to know right then how to be saved from his sins.
4. He was not a particularly evil man, he was simply doing his job as jailer...but now he needed to personally know how to be saved!
5. Paul's answer is clear and to the point: Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.
6. Have you answered that question personally this morning? Are you saved?
II. A Question of Lordship: Why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say? cf Lk. 6:46
A. A challenge. v46
1. A lord is a master, someone who deserves unconditional obedience.
2. But when we rebel against or neglect Jesus' commands we invalidate our testimony to the Lord that He is our Lord.
3. A young boy inquired after a storekeeper had placed a sign stating "Boy Wanted" in his store window.
4. The storekeeper, doubting the boy's ability, asked him "What can you do?"
5. The boy replied, "I can do what I am told, sir." He hired the boy on the spot.
6. The Lord is looking for those who will do what they are told.
7. He has little use for those who say one thing, but do another.
B. A contrast. v47-49
1. The person who acts upon Christ's words.
a. He is deep in his trust...has a sure foundation on which to build for the future.
b. He will be able to endure the trials of life that will come his way.
c. His strength is not in himself, but because he has built his house upon the rock!
2. The person who hears but fails to obey God's Word.
a. He is detached from Christ...he has a faulty foundation.
b. He is defenseless without Christ.
c. He is deceived about Christ.
Note: Mt. 7:21, "Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven."
C. The question is first, are you saved, and then are you obedient?
III. A Question of Love: "Lovest thou me more than these?" cf John 21:15
A. A condition for service.
1. Three times Jesus commissioned Peter to feed His sheep.
2. But each of these commissionings were preceded by this question, 'do you love me'?
3. Without love for Christ, Peter (and each of us) would have been unfit for ministry.
B. What did Jesus mean by 'More than these'?
1. The other apostles: More than your closest friends and family?
2. The fishing boats and nets: More than your old life?
3. The fish and bread: More than the material things of this world.
4. Regardless of what He may have meant, the question that burned within Peter is one that should also cause us to be a bit uneasy...Do We Love Christ?
5. Peter's answer was totally honest and unpretentious...Lord, you know!
C. The unasked questions are significant.
1. Jesus never asked if Peter loved the Word.
2. Jesus never asked if Peter was willing to serve Him.
3. Jesus never asked if Peter loved the others, or the local church, or anything else...because the question before us is one of the utmost importance...Do We Love Christ?
A question of salvation, of Lordship and obedience, and of love and service. How do we answer these this morning? It is for sure that we must answer them for ourselves. No one else can answer for us. It is also equally sure that God already knows the answers. The importance is in our knowing them.