Assumptions can be quite dangerous. For example, the photographer for a national magazine was assigned to get photos of a great forest fire. Smoke at the scene hampered him and he asked his home office to hire a plane. Arrangements were made and he was told to go at once to a nearby airport, where the plane would be waiting. When he arrived at the airport, a plane was warming up near the runway. He jumped in with his equipment and yelled, "Let’s go! Let’s go!" The pilot swung the plane into the wind and they soon were in the air. "Fly over the north side of the fire," yelled the photographer, "and make three or four low level passes." "Why?" asked the pilot. "Because I’m going to take pictures," cried the photographer. "I’m a photographer and photographers take pictures!" After a pause the pilot said, "You mean you’re not the instructor?"
Have you made assumptions about life, death, and eternity?
In Acts 16, the Bible tells of a Philippians jailer that assumed that he was safe, until God brought him face to face with the reality of death.
On Wednesday, March 27, 1996, a great tragedy occurred in our community. A pressurized tank of hydraulic oil at the Beta Steel processing plant exploded. Three men were killed and seven others were injured. That event was a sobering to our region as people pondered the brevity of life, and the reality of death.
The mother of one of the men that was injured made the remark, "I feel sorry for those three that died. They were all young men. But you know, when your kids walk out that door, you just never know what will happen. You never know."
Those men had no idea that it would be their last day. Dying was probably the last thing on their mind. They were looking forward to plans for their weekend, an upcoming vacation, or perhaps some other event. But suddenly and without warning, their lives were snuffed out! I did not know these men, and I sympathize with their families, but I wondered, "Were those men prepared, to go out into eternity?"
A similar event took place in Acts 16. The Apostle Paul and Silas were in the city of Philippi preaching. A girl possessed by a demon, who paraded around as a fortune teller, followed the missionaries saying, "These men are the servants of the most high God, which shew unto us the way of salvation." After several days of following them, Paul turns to her and in the name of Christ casts this demon out. When her masters saw that she could not tell fortunes any longer, they had Paul and Silas arrested, beaten, and imprisoned.
At midnight, while Paul and Silas were singing praises to God, the earth suddenly shook. The foundations of the jail trembled, and the doors of the prison opened. The jailor's mind was racing as the dust settled around him. He saw his life flash before him in the earthquake, and paused to see if he was unhurt. His heart sank, as he peered through the rubble and saw that the prison doors were all open. He knew that if the prisoners escaped, he would be executed by the Roman command for allowing it to happen. Suicide seemed like a better alternative, but he halted when he heard Paul's voice say, "Do thyself no harm: for we are all here."
Having spent much of the evening listening to Paul & Silas's singing, the jailor knew that these men had a peace and calm about life and death. And he came trembling into where they were, to find how he could have it also.
Ac.16:30 And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?(KJV)
At a time of death and destruction, the seriousness of the moment, the reality of death, and the unpredictability of life, caused the Philippian jailor to consider the matter of salvation. Often it is not until an earthquake shakes open every door, and breaks every chain in prison that men with fear and trembling become aware of their sins, and aware of their need of salvation.
The situation in which the jailor found himself, awakened him to the realization that life is fragile and death is imminent.
Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas, And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?(KJV)
This is, perhaps, the most important question that can come from the lips of mortal man. This jailor was urgent and insistent on knowing how he might be saved from the penalty of his sins. In the midst of the rubble and ruins of the prison, there was one chief concern of the jailor. "What must I do to be saved?" The jailor realized that this matter demanded his immediate attention. He could not delay this matter any longer.
Rev. T. Dewitt Talmage, pastor of the great Brooklyn Tabernacle of the late 1800’s challenged his listeners with the danger of procrastinating in the matter of salvation.
"Choose yourself as to which is the best time. Perhaps it is better to put off this matter of religion for ten years. If so, drop the whole subject now. Just as a judge in court sets down a trial for three months ahead, and does not bother himself about the trial until that day comes, so set down a day for your conversion, ten years from now. If you can keep the world all these ten years and at the close of that time can take Christ, will it not be better than to take Him now? Decided, then, let it be that ten years from now you will attend to it. Or, if you be in robust health, and your prospects are very fair, then put it off twenty years, But I hear someone say, "What if an accident should take me off before that? What if I should lose my reason before that? What if my day of grace should end before that? What if the Holy Spirit should leave my soul before that? What if the avalanche of my transgressions should crush me before that? What if I should lift my eyes in Hell before that?" Oh, I see the point you make. You mean to say: "I think that it may be now or never." I think you mean to say that of a million souls lost, 999,999 are lost through procrastination."
The Bible warns us in Proverbs 27:1, “Boast not thyself of to morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.”
Friend, the fact that you are reading this right now is a good indication that you understand the urgency and serious nature of being saved from your sins against God. You may be thinking about the simple, yet urgent question, “What must I do to be saved?”
Ac.16:31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. (KJV)
The original answer was as short and simple as the question: "Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved." But leave it to theologians to twist and complicate the matter. I think that many preachers are as guilty as the IRS, by the way they complicate salvation. Faith is Simple!
The nature of faith is the reception of something that is true. It is not something that we do, but rather something that we receive. It was not DOING any works, but BELIEVING on Christ that the Jews needed to do. They could not be saved by doing works. God's only requirement was belief in His Son. Paul was simply telling the jailer to accept something as true, to trust in the truth about the Lord Jesus Christ.
We must know something about Jesus if we are to trust Him. The essentials of saving faith are few and very simple. The facts are these:
1. Jesus was the promised Messiah. 2. Jesus lived a sinless life. 3. Jesus died on the cross as a sacrifice for sin. 4. Jesus rose from the grave that He might have power to redeem. 5. Jesus lives, and is able to save you now.
Notice the many times that the truth of the necessity of believing faith for salvation is given in the New Testament.
Jn.1:12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: (KJV)
14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:
15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. (KJV)
Jn.3:36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him. (KJV)
Jn.6:47 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life. (KJV)
38 Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins:
39 And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses. (KJV)
Faith and repentance are like two sides of the same coin. The heart that really turns from sin in heart repentance; having an honest change of mind and heart toward sin; trusts in Jesus for mercy. One cannot separate faith and repentance. They are different ways of expressing the same truth. The heart that comes to Christ, turning from sin, trusts Him for salvation and is saved.
Understand that while minds believe doctrine, faith trusts a Person. What saves a man is not faith in a prayer, or in a procedure, but faith in a Person - Jesus Christ. This jailor did not understand at that point all the fine points of theology or the magnitude of this decision. All he knew was that he was a sinner needing a Savior, and Jesus was that Savior.
Author Charles Bing aptly stated, "The object of faith does not determine the nature of faith. If someone writes a check sincerely believing he has adequate funds to cover it when he really doesn't, has he believed any less than if he did have adequate funds? Of course not! Likewise, one can believe in Buddha and another believes in Christ. Both believe the same way, but only one will be saved. What is different is the object of their faith."
The nature of faith is trusting; the object of faith must be in Christ. Let me illustrate this matter with a story. Years ago, a large tenement house was on fire. It was thought that everyone inside had been rescued, when, to the horror of the rescuers and spectators, two children appeared in the topmost window. The outside staircase was a roaring furnace, and all means of reaching them was cut off. Quickly, strong men got hold of a stout blanket, and holding it taut to break their fall, shouted to the children to jump. But the two little ones only looked down with frightened eyes. Meanwhile the fire was hissing and roaring, and leaping from floor to floor, until it seemed to engulf the entire building. "JUMP! JUMP!" yelled the people until their voices were hoarse. But it was all to no avail. Just then, a man came around the corner. In a moment he took in the situation. Stepping quickly forward he cried, "JUMP!" Immediately the children obeyed, and they were saved. The other rescuers went up to the man, and asked how it was that the children listened to him when they neglected to hear all of the other pleas. “Because, I am their father", was his reply. What was it that saved the children? Blankets? No. Obedience? Not altogether. IT WAS FAITH IN THEIR FATHER THAT LED THEM TO TRUST HIS WORD.
Friend, would you “believe on the Lord Jesus Christ” today? Would you right now talk to the Lord Jesus in prayer and ask Him to save you?
If so, sincerely pray: “Lord, I know that I am a sinner (Romans 3:23). I have broken your laws and am deserving of the penalty of my sin in the Lake of Fire (Romans 6:23). But I also realize that You are the Savior from sin, Who died upon the cross in my place for my sin (Romans 5:8; 1 Corinthians 15:3). I know You rose again from the dead, and can save me from sin, death, and Hell (1 Corinthians 15:4). The best I know how, I call upon You to save me from sin and hell right now (Romans 10:13). I am depending upon You alone as my Savior (Acts 4:12). Thank You for forgiving all my sins, and giving me eternal life (1 John 5:13). Amen.
Friend if you just made this choice to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, would you send an email to us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will send you information on how you can grow as a Christian.