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April 22, 2007 AM


ACTS 27:22-24,30,31

INTRO: I suppose as one reads the book of Acts he could wonder why inspiration devoted such a large section of the book to a storm on the sea and a shipwreck. If you read the 27th chapter of Acts, you will find a great deal of detail about this particular ill fated voyage. As I read this chapter, however, I see some very interesting illustrative material for a very important subject ... that of our salvation. The background here is that the apostle Paul is on his way to Rome to make his defense before Caesar. The voyage was undertaken at a season of the year when violent storms were not all that unusual and such voyages, therefore, could be very dangerous. Sure enough, such a storm overtook the ship, and it was "exceedingly tossed with a tempest" (27:18).

    1. 27:20 - The storm was so violent that all hope for life was gone
      1. experienced sailors would be able to make such an assessment
      2. the situation was grim - violent storm, no sun or stars for navigation
    2. 27:22-24 - A promise from God ... there will not be a life lost
      1. notice how Paul describes himself - "whose I am, and whom I serve"
      2. notice v. 24 - "God hath given thee all them that sail with thee"
      3. this is the predetermined promise of God - all who are in the ship will be saved
    3. 27:30,31 - A condition of the promise - stay in the ship
      1. fear overtook some of the sailors - were ready to "flee out of the ship"
      2. notice carefully what Paul told the centurion - v. 31
      3. God's promise of "salvation" was only for those in the ship - outside of the ship was certain death - "salvation" was in the ship, but it was not by the ship ... it was by the promise and power of God
    1. Mk 16:16 with Acts 2:47 - The "saved" are added to the church
      1. it is of critical importance that we realize there is a "place" where the saved are, and there is a place where the saved are not
      2. clearly, the "place" where the saved are is the church
      3. salvation is not by the church ... but it is in the church
      4. salvation is promised by God, and that promise involves the "place" God elects for that salvation to be ... in the church
    2. There must, therefore, be a "point of entry" into the church
      1. if, as scripture indicates, salvation is in the church, how do I "enter" it?
      2. well, scripture tells us that the Lord adds the saved to the church
      3. but notice Col 1:18 with1 Cor 12:13 - baptized into the body/church
      4. everything in scripture points to baptism as the place, the point, the time of a believer's being granted salvation, his entering the church, his being added to the church
    3. How important is it for us to understand this?
      1. return with me to Acts 27:30,31
      2. God had promised salvation to those in the ship - to leave the ship meant the negating of the promise for the fleeing individual
      3. that, my friends, is exactly the likeness to ones relationship to the church
      4. God's promised salvation is in the church ... if one leaves the church, the promise is withdrawn for that individual
    4. God predetermined that salvation would be in the church
      1. He did not predetermine what people would be saved - Rev 22:17
      2. the illustration of the ship notes this very clearly ... He made a promise that all in the ship would be saved ... but each individual's freewill created for him a "choice" situation ... choose to be in the ship ... or to leave it
      3. but God's promise was/is limited to a specific place
      4. to believe the church is not important, or to leave the church thinking there will be no consequences is foolishness of the greatest degree!
    5. Are you in the church? Are you leaving the church?
      1. you can know whether or not you are in the church - as one who believes in Jesus, have you been baptized into His body? (cf. Gal 3:26,27)
      2. what about one who leaves the church? he begins the leaving before he has left
      3. consider Acts 27:30 - still in the ship ... but mentally they had left it ... wanted to be out of it
      4. are you in the church ... but your heart is really elsewhere? (Heb 6:4-6)

CLOSE: Never, never minimize the importance of the Lord's church. Never, never disparage the church. The church, precious friends, is your secure conveyance to heaven!

Cecil A. Hutson

22 April 2007

God's Plan of Salvation

You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)

You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)

You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)

You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)

Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!

Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)