INTRO: By Gods word at last my sin I learned; then I trembled at the law Id spurned, till my guilty soul imploring turned to Calvary. In this section of the words from a wonderful old hymn is found a word critical to the subject of salvation. It is the word turned! When the apostle Paul defended himself before King Agrippa, he described his mission to the Gentiles this way: To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light... (Acts 26:18). Later, he said that he had indeed been faithful to preach to the Gentiles that they should repent and turn to God... (Acts 26:20). To repent and to turn are vital issues in ones progress toward his salvation.
I. WHAT DOES TURN IMPLY?
A. That I am going the wrong direction
1. the word turn at Acts 26:20 means to turn about - 180N
2. rather than going toward, I am going away from
B. That I am not where I should be
1. otherwise, why should I turn?
2. Eph 4:17-19 - well, these folks were certainly not where they should be!
C. That I am proceeding in a course without hope of blessing
1. notice that Paul preached that they should turn to God
2. and he indicated that the point of this turn was that they may receive forgiveness of sins - but proceeding in any other direction cannot promise this
II. ISSUES INVOLVED IN OUR DECISION TO TURN, TO REPENT
A. That my life is not lived under the Lordship of Jesus
1. now, coming to this understanding implies knowing that He must be Lord
2. such knowledge comes through ones careful study of the Word
3. Lk 9:23 - the issue: following Him means denying self!
4. and it is clear that I. am very much in control of my life
B. That my life without Christ is vanity
1. there has got to be more to life than this!
2. I hear many, many people expressing this sentiment - they have put all their eggs in the worldly basket, and they see the emptiness of it - devoted to making a living, but not to making a life
3. return to Eph 4:17-19 - alienated, ignorant, blind, past feeling, completely sensual ... in the vanity of their mind
4. until one comes to this realization, he will have no inclination to turn
C. That I am not prepared for any life beyond this present existence
1. I have given very little thought or time to consideration of eternity
2. this, of course, is so typical of our time - the demands, the emphases which surround us are attractive, loud, urgent, etc.
3. perhaps people do have good intentions, concerns ... but deferred
4. Heb 11:13 - ...strangers and pilgrims on the earth - there will be no real turning until we come to this realization
D. That I am ready put my life in His hands
1. all of the realizations in the world will do no good until we commit
2. here is the place at which we may stall ... do I really want to make such a commitment? Do I really want to make the sacrifices?
3. we may even find ourselves thinking, Im not such an evil person ... why cant I just be a disciple like I am?
4. but we must forsake all - Lk 14:25-27,33 ... either we submit to His Lordship, or we dont!
III. THE PROOF OF THE PUDDING...
A. Notice again Acts 26:20 ...
1. the last part of that verse has got to have attention
2. all that we have been thinking, considering about turning, repenting comes to this doing place
3. and there are certain things which give evidence of penitence
B. For example: Acts 2:38
1. we are not out of place to say that the first evidence of penitence will be in ones being baptized
2. baptism is clearly put before remission of sins is granted
3. baptism is the obedience of submission to the will of God - baptism is the place at which one clearly understands that he has died to sin (Rom 6:5,6)
4. if one rejects baptism, it would be accurate to conclude that there really has been no turn, no repentance
C. Further, 2 Cor 7:1 - a life that conforms to the way, will of God
CLOSE: It comes to this. Will you gladly own Him as your king? If so, submit to Him this morning in your being baptized. Baptism is the great beginning place ... have you begun your submission?
Cecil A. Hutson
30 March 2003
You Must Hear the Gospel
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) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)
You Must Believe
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
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
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)
You Must Be Baptized
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!
You Must Be Faithful Unto Death
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)