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29 JANUARY 1995

By Frank L. Hoffman, Pastor


Psalm 71:1-6
Isaiah 64:6
Jeremiah 7:8-11
Ezekiel 18:4
Jonah 2:1-10
John 3:36
Acts 16:25-34

Why do we need to be saved?

Let's consider how much real power we humans have on our own.

Can we prevent floods?

Can we prevent tornados?

Can we prevent earthquakes?

Can we prevent ourselves from dying?

No we can't.

Are we able to create things like the heavens or the earth?

Are we able to change the things that God has put in motion?

And again the answer is no!

And another of the things God created is the separation of the Godly from the ungodly.

He created the heavens and He created a hell.

God has also set the limits on the conditions that bring us to heaven or condemn us to hell.

Thus, if we can't change or prevent the physical occurrences of this world, which we can see, why should so many people think that they could change the spiritual conditions of heaven or hell, which they can't see?

The answer is in their pride of life: They say they can do anything, even when they know they really can't.

The main part of recognizing why we need to be saved is realizing that we don't have control of our ultimate destiny.

In Acts 16 we are told of a time when Paul and Silas were thrown into prison. Note what took place (Acts 16:25-34):

25. But about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God, and the prisoners were listening to them;

They were in prison, in chains, and in a situation beyond their personal control.

They knew that they couldn't save themselves, so why fret and worry about it, or be demoralized?

So they simply began praising the Lord, for they realized that He was their only hope.

26. and suddenly there came a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison house were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone's chains were unfastened.

27. And when the jailer had been roused out of sleep and had seen the prison doors opened, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had escaped.

The jailer realized he was in a situation beyond his control, and he knew the cruel punishment that he would receive.

As a result, he figured it was better to kill himself.

But even that, though it could save him from other humans, would not save him from the righteous judgment of God.

28. But Paul cried out with a loud voice, saying, "Do yourself no harm, for we are all here!"

29. And he called for lights and rushed in and, trembling with fear, he fell down before Paul and Silas,

30. and after he brought them out, he said, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?"

The jailer obviously knew who Paul and Silas were.

He also realized that the earthquake, the opening of the doors, and the releasing of the chains were from God, and not a coincidence.

And since their cry had saved him from death at his own hands, he now sought the salvation that Paul and Silas preached.

The Holy Spirit had convicted him in his own heart, and he didn't fight against Him.

31. And they said, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you shall be saved, you and your household."

32. And they spoke the word of the Lord to him together with all who were in his house.

33. And he took them that very hour of the night and washed their wounds, and immediately he was baptized, he and all his household.

34. And he brought them into his house and set food before them, and rejoiced greatly, having believed in God with his whole household.

The jailer knew why he had to be saved, and he received salvation.

The prayer of the old man in Psalm 71 is a prayer of recognition of the fact that situations in the world were beyond his control. So he reached out for the Lord to help him, for in Him he put his trust.

1. In Thee, O Lord, I have taken refuge;

Let me never be ashamed.

2. In Thy righteousness deliver me, and rescue me;

Incline Thine ear to me, and save me.

Note what this old man says.

He does not ask the Lord to save him because of his own righteousness, but because of the Lord's righteousness.

3. Be Thou to me a rock of habitation, to which I may continually come;

Thou hast given commandment to save me,

For Thou art my rock and my fortress.

4. Rescue me, O my God, out of the hand of the wicked,

Out of the grasp of the wrongdoer and ruthless man,

5. For Thou art my hope;

O Lord God, Thou art my confidence from my youth.

6. By Thee I have been sustained from my birth;

Thou art He who took me from my mother's womb;

My praise is continually of Thee.

Remember that we don't have to wait until we are in trouble to pray to the Lord.

He should be the rock of our habitation at all times, and not just in troubled times.

Our praise should be continually of Him, for in that praise is the strength of our salvation.

If we at least recognize Jesus as our Lord and Savior, and praise God, we don't have other gods before Him; thus we cover a multitude of sins in our lives.

Note what Isaiah says (Isaiah 64:6):

6. For all of us have become like one who is unclean,

And all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment;

And all of us wither like a leaf,

And our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.

Without the Lord Jesus in our lives, this is the way we appear in the eyes of God; we all need to recognize this fact.

We need a Savior, or we are going to hell.

Note what Jeremiah says to the Israelites (Jeremiah 7:8-11), and how it might apply to the church today.

8. "Behold, you are trusting in deceptive words to no avail.

There are many deceptive words in and around the church today, and one of them concerns cheap salvation, or what Bonhoeffer called "cheap grace".

9. "Will you steal, murder, and commit adultery, and swear falsely, and offer sacrifices to Baal, and walk after other gods that you have not known,

10. then come and stand before Me in this house, which is called by My name, and say, 'We are delivered!' -- that you may do all these abominations?

So much for cheap salvation, and that we are in control.

Just because we say that we are saved, doesn't necessarily make it so.

11. "Has this house, which is called by My name, become a den of robbers in your sight? Behold, I, even I, have seen it," declares the Lord.

We can't hide our iniquity from the eyes of God.

Thus Ezekiel says for the Lord (Ezekiel 18:4),

4. "Behold, all souls are Mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is Mine. The soul who sins will die.

For his sin of trying to run away from the Lord, Jonah saw himself dying in the belly of the great fish. Listen to his prayer (Jonah 2:1-10).

1. Then Jonah prayed to the Lord his God from the stomach of the fish,

2. and he said,

"I called out of my distress to the Lord,

And He answered me.

I cried for help from the depth of Sheol;

Thou didst hear my voice.

3. "For Thou hadst cast me into the deep,

Into the heart of the seas,

And the current engulfed me.

All Thy breakers and billows passed over me.

4. "So I said, 'I have been expelled from Thy sight.

Nevertheless I will look again toward Thy holy temple.'

5. "Water encompassed me to the point of death.

The great deep engulfed me,

Weeds were wrapped around my head.

6. "I descended to the roots of the mountains.

The earth with its bars was around me forever,

But Thou hast brought up my life from the pit, O Lord my God.

7. "While I was fainting away,

I remembered the Lord;

And my prayer came to Thee,

Into Thy holy temple.

8. "Those who regard vain idols

Forsake their faithfulness,

9. But I will sacrifice to Thee

With the voice of thanksgiving.

That which I have vowed I will pay.

Salvation is from the Lord."

10. Then the Lord commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah up onto the dry land.

Jonah couldn't save himself, but because of his faithful prayer the Lord saved him, for salvation is indeed from the Lord.

Jesus gives us this same message in John 3:36.

36. "He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him."

Many people don't like to think that they may go to hell; but these same people also don't desire to live righteously before God.

They still want to “do their own thing.”

They think they can call upon the Lord, as did Jonah when he was slipping into death.

But there is a big difference between a Jonah, who truly believed in God, dying in his sin and non-believers dying in their sin.

Jonah was already saved.

If we don't know Jesus now and submit our life to him, and if we seek our worldly pleasures as though they were our gods, from where will salvation come when we face death?

Seek God now while there is still time, and tell your friends and loved ones to do the same, just as the jailer did.

Today is a good day, for today is the day of salvation, and today everyone needs to be saved, for the end is near.

Let us pray.


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