The most important question that we could ever ask, is; “What must I do to be saved”. If we don’t know HOW to be saved, it’s pretty much guaranteed, we WON’T be saved. But before we answer the question of HOW we can be saved, let’s consider this question; “What is it, that makes us UN-saved?”
To be Un-saved, is to be lost. Jesus said in Luke 19, verse 10; “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save, that which was lost.” So Jesus came to SAVE, the lost. But how do we BECOME lost?
To become lost physically, you pretty much have to wander away from the safest place you know, your home. You might have left home, THINKING that you knew where you were going, but then you found out, you really didn’t know as much as you thought you knew, and suddenly, you look around, and you’re lost.
The bible says, in Jeremiah 10, verse 23; “I know O Lord, that a man’s way is NOT in himself. Nor is it in a man who walks, to direct his own steps.” That verse is talking about our “spiritual steps”. The spiritual steps, that lead to spiritual life, are only found in the bible. We don’t have that knowledge, “naturally” within ourselves.
Psalm 119, verse 105 says; “Thy word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path.” So then, theoretically, if you’ve got the bible, you shouldn’t get lost, right? Jesus said; “I am the way..”
In Micah 6, verse 8, we’re told; “..To do justice, and to love kindness, and to.. walk humbly with your God.” If you’re walking humbly WITH God, you’re not likely to get lost, are you?
Jesus said, in Mathew 11, verses 29 & 30; “Take my YOKE upon you, and learn from Me. For I am gentle, and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and My load is light.”
How you gonna get lost, if you’re yoked, to Jesus? How you gonna get lost, if you walk, humbly with God? How you gonna get lost, if you’ve got the bible, and you’ve got Jesus, and you’ve got God? With all this direction, and guidance, I don’t know how on earth, we’ve ALL succeeded in getting lost, but we did!
God says in Romans 3, verse 23; “For ALL have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God!” We’ve all sinned. Isaiah 59, verse 2 tells us; “But your iniquities (that’s your sin) have made a separation, between you and your God. And your sins have hidden His face from you, so that he does not hear.”
When we get separated from God, we end up LOST. So then, that’s HOW we get lost; By sinning, and by being separated from God. That’s how we get Un-saved.
We’re not born, Un-saved! We don’t HAVE any sin when we’re born. But somewhere along the way, we’ve acquired sin. Isn’t that what Ezekiel 28, verse 15 says? “You were blameless, from the day you were created, until unrighteousness was found in you.”
As you’re growing up, it’s hard to put your finger on exactly WHEN that unrighteousness, was first found in you. But it was found in all of us, and so we’ve all been lost.
How did YOU get lost?
So then, I’d like everyone here today, to think about your very own life. Because we’re all a little different. How did you personally, become lost? How did it happen to you, and WHEN did it happen to you?
Maybe you were raised in a home that didn’t believe in religion. Or maybe you were raised in a home that believed in a DIFFERENT religion, different from Christianity. In either case, you wouldn’t have had the word to guide you. And without the word, you’re without God, and without God, you’re lost.
Remember what the apostle Paul wrote to Christians in Ephesus, who formerly, didn’t have the word of God to guide them? He wrote, in Ephesians 2, verses 12 & 13; “You were at that time, SEPARATE from Christ..” (When you’re separate from Christ, you’re separate from God!) “You were at that time, separate from Christ, EXCLUDED from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise. Having NO hope, and WITHOUT GOD in the world. But now, IN Christ Jesus, you who were formerly far off, have been brought near, by the blood of Christ.”
Maybe you were raised in a so called “Christian home”, but your family wasn’t faithful. They didn’t stick to the bible, and didn’t obey what it says. Isn’t that the case with the majority of so called, “Christian homes”? You’re taught to believe in God, and even in Christ, but that’s where it ends. You never learn to “walk with God”, and you never become “yoked to Christ”. And so what’s the result? You’re LOST!
Some people WERE raised in a Christian home. They had God, they had Jesus, they had that lamp to light their path, but for some reason, they left home. They wandered away. Jesus told a story about a similar situation, in Luke 15, verses 11 thru 32. It’s the story called, “The Prodigal Son”.
Do you know what the word “prodigal” means? It means.. “spending money, OR resources, freely and recklessly; wastefully, and extravagantly.” That’s not how the bible tells us to live, is it? Philippians 4, verse 5 says; “Let your moderation be known unto all men.” The NASB says; “Let your forbearing spirit be known..” One version says, “your modesty”. Verse 6 says; “Be anxious for nothing..” Don’t get all excited, don’t go to extremes! “But in everything, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.”
That’s the kind of life we should live; A moderate life, a calm life, a thankful life. You want to get all excited about something? Fine! Get all excited about being saved! Tell the world about it, SHOUT about it. Tell everyone you know. And do all you can to get THEM to be saved too. Then you can ALL shout about it together. But don’t get all excited about THIS life.
The Prodigal Son Left Home
The prodigal son got all excited about what the world had to offer, and he left home and wandered away. He must have thought life was passing him by. He said in Luke 15, verse 12; “Father, give me the share of the estate that falls to me.” He was all excited about THIS life.
So he left his father, and he left his home. He was evidently raised in a good home. His father was there to provide for him, and to guide him, but yet he wandered away. Jesus said, in Luke 15, verse 13, that this young man.. “went on a journey, into a distant country, and there he squandered his estate, with riotous living.” He got all excited and tried to “direct his own steps”, but “the way” just wasn’t in him, and he lost everything.
Verse 17 says; “But when he finally came to his senses..” He had lost his senses, along with everything else. He was “out of his mind”, thinking he could follow his own path. But then, he finally “came to his senses”, and decided to go back home. Now we know, that in this story, the father represents OUR Father in heaven. And the prodigal son.. Well, he represents ANYONE, who leaves God, and tries to make it on their own. This story had a happy ending, and so can our story, if we will all return to God.
King Nebuchadnezzar forgot God
Do you remember, in the book of Daniel, the story of king Nebuchadnezzar? Nebuchadnezzar tried to rule an empire, without God! And what did he get in return, for separating himself from God? God separated HIM, from his empire. God said in Daniel chapter 4, and verse 32; “And you will be driven away from MANKIND.. (not just from his empire, but from mankind!) ..and your dwelling place will be with the beasts of the field! And you shall be given grass to eat, like cattle. And seven periods of time will pass over you, until you recognize, that the Most High is ruler over the realm of mankind..” In other words, it’s GOD who directs your steps, not you! God is the ruler of EVERY realm.
And unless WE realize, that God is the ruler, we’ll be out there “with the beasts of the fields”, just like Nebuchadnezzar was. Or we’ll be “in the fields with the swine”; That where Jesus said the prodigal son ended up. (Luke 15:15 & 16) They were both, “out of their minds!”
But Luke 15, and verse 17 says, the prodigal son; “came to his senses”. And Daniel 4, verse 34 says, that Nebuchadnezzar; “Raised my eyes to heaven, and my reason returned to me! And I blessed the Most High.. (that means he thanked GOD, for the return of his sense of reasoning) ..And I praised and honored, Him wo lives forever! For His dominion is an everlasting dominion, and His kingdom endures from generation to generation.”
Verse 35 tells us that; “And all the inhabitants of the earth, are accounted as nothing! But He (God) does according to HIS will, in the host of heaven, and among the inhabitants of earth. And NO ONE can ward off His hand, or say to Him; What hast Thou done?”
Did You Have it all?
So, maybe YOU knew about God, and had all God’s blessings at your finger tips, but you wandered away anyhow. Why do we wander away? God only knows! But here’s something that WE know. We know, that we can always come back.
Daniel 4, verse 36 says; “At that time, my reason returned to me. And my majesty, and my splendor were restored to me..” Now we won’t get an earthly kingdom restored to us, when we return to God. But listen to how Jesus tells the story of the prodigal son, when he “came to HIS senses”, and decided to go home..
Jesus said, in Luke 15, verses 20 thru 24; “And he got up, and came to his father.. (Now you remember who the father and the son represent, right?) ..But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him.. (God sees you no matter where you are) ..his father saw him, and felt compassion for him, and RAN, and embraced him, and kissed him.”
“And the son said to his father; I have sinned against heaven, and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son. But the father said to His slaves; Quickly, bring out the best robe, and put it on him. And put a ring on his hand, and sandals on his feet. And bring the fatted calf, kill it, and let us eat and be merry. For this son of Mine, was DEAD, and has come to life again. He was LOST, and has been found. And they began to be merry.” There’s joy in heaven, over one sinner who repents, isn’t there? Luke 15:10.
A Spiritual Lesson on Salvation
What do we see in this story, besides the obvious? It’s a parable, right? So then it’s an earthly story, with a spiritual meaning. It teaches us a spiritual lesson.
So what do we see? We see a wandering away from God, and being lost in sin. But we also see, a “coming to our senses”. In other words, we see “a coming of faith. We see, “a believing”, in what God has told us, all along. That “A man’s way is not in himself..” And so we had better be trusting in GOD’S way, and following God’s way! When we start believing the truth of God’s word, that’s when we “come to our senses”. That’s when we start having FAITH, in Jesus Christ.
But what else do we see in this story? Listen to verses 18 & 19. This is what the son said to himself; “I will get up and go to my Father, and I will say to Him; Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in Your sight. I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me as one of your hired men.”
So what do you see? You see repentance don’t you? “I will get up and go to my Father” Repentance is a “turning”, isn’t it? It’s a turning back to God.
What else do we see? Well, we see humility; “I am no longer worthy to be called Your son”. And we see a confession; “Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in Your sight”.
It says in 1 John 1, verse 9; “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
And we SEE that forgiveness, in the story of the prodigal son; “His Father SAW him, and felt compassion for him. And RAN, and embraced him, and kissed him.”
We Can Be Found
No matter HOW or WHEN, we got lost to begin with, we can be found, and we can be saved!
“What must I do to be saved?” That’s the question that we began with. For the Christian, who has been with the Father, in HIS house, and has been blessed with “every spiritual blessing in Christ”, but then has “left home”; This story of the prodigal son, is the perfect illustration of what we must do to be saved.
We must come to our senses, and once again believe in the word of God. And we must repent of our sins, and confess our sins, and pray to God for the forgiveness of those sins. And then, as we’ve seen, God will SEE us, and He’ll have compassion for us, and He will RUN to us, and take us in His arms and embrace us, as if we’d never left.
But what about this situation; What if the only time that you were ever really “with God”, is when you were an infant, when you were “blameless”? But then, “iniquity was found in you”. In other words, you sinned, and became lost, like we all do. But then, from that point on in your life, you never came back to God? Now, what do you have to do to be saved?
Well, you’ve got to do exactly the same thing that a Christian has to do, if they leave God. You’ve got to have FAITH! You’ve got to “come to your senses”. You’ve got to believe the word of God, and repent of your sins, and confess your faith in Christ, and again, pray to God for the forgiveness of your sins. Because NO one is saved if they’re in sin.
The most simple answer to the question; “What must I do to be saved”, is; You’ve got to get rid of your sins! That’s the only way to be saved.. Get rid of your sins. Wash them away.
Wash Your Sins Away!
There are nine specific examples in the book of Acts, that tell of the initial conversion, of people who had come to believe in Jesus Christ. And we already know that EVERYONE, who is forgiven of their sins, has to believe, and repent, and confess their faith, and pray for forgiveness. But all nine of these specific examples, tell of ONE more thing, that is required, in order to have your sins forgiven, for the very first time. Let me read to you what that “one more thing” is..
Acts 2; The example of the day of Pentecost; Repent, and let each one of you be baptized..” V-38
Acts 8; The example of some Samaritans; “They were being baptized, men and women alike..” V-12
Acts 8 again; The example of Simon the magician; “Simon himself believed, and after being baptized..” V-13
Acts 8 once more; The example of the Ethiopian treasurer; “They went down into the water, both Philip as well as the eunuch, and he baptized him.” V-38
Acts 9; The example of Saul; “And he arose and was baptized.” V-18. Chapter 22, verse 16 tells the same story. It says; “And now, why do you delay? Arise and be baptized, and WASH AWAY YOUR SINS..”
Acts 10; The household of Cornelius; “And he ORDERED them, to be baptized, in the name of Jesus Christ.” V-48
Acts 16; Lydia and her household; “And the Lord opened her heart to respond to the things spoken by Paul. And when she and her household had been baptized..” V’s 14 & 15
Acts 16 again; The Philippian jailer; “And he took them that very hour of the night, and washed their wounds, and immediately, he was baptized, he and all his household.” V-33
We’re almost through..
Acts 18; Crispus, a leader of the synagogue; “With all his household, and many of the Corinthians, when they heard, were believing and being baptized.” V-8
Acts 19; Some disciples at Ephesus; “And when they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.” V-5
Now, can I please have everyone’s attention.. If there is anyone here today, that does NOT know, what you must do to be saved; Would you please raise your hand. This is important. If you do not know how to be saved, please raise your hand.
Good, everyone knows, what they must do to be saved. We know that sin causes us to be un-saved, or lost, and we know what will cause us to be saved again. Praise the Lord for salvation!