Very often we are guilty of using terminology that we assume everyone else understands. But, I don't want anyone to misunderstand what the Scriptures say when it comes to salvation! It is too important for us to just walk away wondering what the Bible really says!
Two terms that I use quite a bit is 'Lost' and 'Saved'. Many of you understand what I am saying when I use those terms, but perhaps not all of you. A person is 'saved' when they have accepted the finished work of Christ on Calvary as payment for their sin. It means being born again, or being a child of God.
A person who has no personal relationship with God; one who has never accepted Christ as their personal Savior, is 'Lost'. I love to hear the testimony of how the 'Lost' person becomes 'Saved'. Each one here today who has accepted Christ has a unique testimony. In our text this morning we have a biblical testimony of how one man who was 'Lost' came to Christ and was gloriously 'Saved'. We see in his testimony several stages of his life.
Read: Acts 16:16-34
I. The First Stage: Unconcern
A. Notice the jailer's unconcern v 23-24
1. He cared nothing about Paul and Silas.
2. He was unconcerned that their backs were bruised and bleeding.
3. He was unconcerned about their message.
4. He was unconcerned about his personal need of salvation.
B. Many today are in this stage.
1. They are unconcerned about Christ.
2. They are unconcerned with the church.
3. They are unconcerned about their Christian friends' and relatives' prayers and efforts to win them to Christ.
C. Unconcern can be devastating.
1. Like the mother hen and her baby chicks.
2. She called and all but one came to her for shelter from impending danger.
3. The one was too busy enjoying the food the farmer had placed in the trough.
4. The little chick was destroyed when the storm hit for it had no shelter.
"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!" (Mat 23:37)
5. A lot of people are unconcerned.
6. They are enjoying what this world has to offer too much to listen to the call of the Holy Spirit.
7. Perhaps there is someone here today who is unconcerned - right now the door is open for salvation, but one day that door will close.
II. The Second Stage: Fear v 27
A. The jailer was afraid of the consequences.
1. He knew that the prisoners had been placed in his custody.
2. He knew he was responsible no matter what might happen.
3. He was so afraid he was about to commit suicide.
B. Many people are like this jailer.
1. They cannot cope with the conse- quences of life and they are afraid.
2. They seek their own way out of a situation.
3. The Bible clearly states that the way that seems right to a man results in death. cf Pr. 14:12
C. Fear of God is not enough.
1. The Bible says the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom.
2. But there is so much more - many people are afraid to die like they are:
a. They may put on a front before others but many nights when they are alone they cannot sleep.
b. They know if they should die that they would wake up in hell!
3. If you are lost you have good reason to fear God - but it's not enough!
4. Jesus said, "Except ye repent ye shall likewise perish". cf Lk 13:3
III. The Third Stage: A Call for a Light v29
A. The jailer realized the darkness
1. He immediately called for a light so he could see how serious the situation actually was.
2. When he saw Paul & Silas sitting there with the doors opened and the bands loosed it caused him to tremble.
3. He had no doubt been a jailer for sometime, but now he saw something he had never seen before.
B. Christ is the Light of the world.
1. The Holy Spirit is the One who opens up the eyes of the blind that they might see Christ.
2. The Holy Spirit lets the natural man see himself as a sinner and realize his need to be saved.
3. Often that causes us to tremble.
C. The light makes it possible to see.
1. In order for a person to be saved he must first realize he is lost.
2. Darkness hides all the danger along the way but in the light of Holy Spirit conviction one can see the treacherous path he has been following.
3. The little boy who climbs the tree doesn't fear until he realizes his danger, then he cries out for help.
IV. Final Stage: A Humble Cry for Help v29b-30
A. The jailer dropped to his knees.
1. Imagine that just a few hours before this man was clamping the stocks on Paul & Silas.
2. He had treated them cruelly and without concern.
3. Now he was coming to them crying out for help that is humility!
B. Too proud to be saved.
1. Many today refuse to come to Christ because they won't humble themselves
2. They make all sorts of excuses as to why they won't come.
3. None of those excuses will stand - a person will either bow our knee and confess Christ now or they will do it just before they are cast headlong into the lake of fire,
"That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." (Phil 2:10-11)
C. The cry will not go unheeded.
1. The jailer said, "What must I do to be saved?"
2. The answer was clear, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ"
3. The salvation is evidenced:
a. He was baptized straightway
b. He was rejoicing the fellowshipping with a new group
What a great testimony! This man saw his need, repented toward God, and was saved! What about you this morning? Do you have that testimony as well? This morning if you have never been saved, why not come to Christ? Is there unconcern? Fear? Jesus said, "...him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out" Jn 6:37