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Rainbow Divider
MCM Broadcast

TV Broadcast #963

How to Be Saved
Part One

March 20, 2011

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Transcript of message from TV Broadcast 963 -- taken from Closed Captioning Text

-- Brother Phil Enlow: Praise God! Good to see everybody this morning. I just pray that the Lord will speak His words, because mine are no good, neither are yours. But He’s got words that are all that we need.

Let’s turn to Acts chapter 16 and…praise God, let me see where I want to pick this up. Acts chapter 16, and this is where we find Paul’s Macedonian vision. He is ministering and he wants to go a certain direction and the Lord says, no, I don’t want you to go that way. So they kind of wait and they pray and…in verse 8 it says, “So they passed by Mysia and went down to Troas. During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, Come over to Macedonia and help us. After Paul had seen the vision, we got ready at once to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.” (NIV).

Now just one little side note, how many of you noticed the change of whose…the change of…anyway of description of this thing. In verse 8 it says, so ‘they’ passed, and down here it says, ‘we’ got ready. Notice the difference? Who can tell me what’s happened there?

( congregation inaudible ).

Yeah, the author is who? Luke is the author of this book. Luke joined the party, didn’t he? Up to this point he was talking about something that he knew as a point of history, this is what they did, but now he’s joined the party and so, we go. You’ll notice that throughout the book of Acts and that can tell you, give you a clue as to when Luke was with them and when he wasn’t. Well anyway, Luke is part of the party at this time.

So it says, “From Troas we put out to sea and sailed straight for Samothrace…” however you pronounce that, “…and the next day on to Neapolis. From there we traveled to Philippi, a Roman colony and the leading city of that district of Macedonia. And we stayed there several days. On the Sabbath we went outside the city gate to the river, where we expected to find a place of prayer.” So, basically they’re just going out to look for a place themselves to be alone with the Lord and to pray, and they figured, well, there’s a river out there, let’s go out and just spend some time with the Lord.

But of course, when they got there…they weren’t alone, were they? It says, “We sat down and began to speak to the women who had gathered there. One of those listening was a woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth from the city of Thyatira, who was a worshiper of God.” So whatever this woman knew, I mean she evidently didn’t know a lot, but there was something in her heart that was already reaching out to God.

It kind of reminds you of Cornelius, doesn’t it? You know God has a way of working with people’s hearts long before He brings them to faith. And you can see right off why the Lord had turned them in this direction. He had people that He was interested in in this particular place and here was a woman that He was particularly concerned about.

I wonder how many of us can look into our lives…you may not even know the Lord yet…but how many of you can look into your lives and see the hand of God that has dealt with you in special ways, has singled you out, has made Himself known to you? I mean that’s an incredible, awesome thing when you look at the blindness of people in this world, for anyone to even know about God, and to have any inclination in their heart of desire towards Him, and a sense of need towards Him, God is the One who has engineered that.

Man, that ought to fill every one of us with love, with joy, with confidence, with hope. It certainly does me. I can’t look in the mirror and find, as I said many times, a single reason why God would pay any attention to me. He doesn’t look for the good, and the confident, and the capable, and all of that. He looks for sinners. Well, I qualify, but then so do you.

Sometimes people don’t realize that, but I’ll tell you,, when God makes himself known, it’s kind of like I said last night when I quoted C. S. Lewis about the sunrise. It’s not only that I see the sun, but it’s by the sun I see everything else. And I’ll tell you, when the knowledge of God comes, we suddenly see everything in its true light. The first thing that people tend to see is their own heart and their own need by contrast.

You remember what John said in his Gospel about Jesus…that there was a Light that came. When Jesus came into the world, there was a light. That Life that was in Him was a Light. It tended to expose the true situation, the true condition of men’s hearts wherever it went. People were conscious, oh my God, this is different. This makes me feel uncomfortable, uneasy, uncertain, but yet there was also with it a sense of hope.

It’s a strange confluence of ideas there that something can bring convicting of our need, at the same time, give us hope. But I’ll tell you, that’s the kind of a God that we serve. ‘Cause the need is real, but without Him there is no hope. Without the knowledge of the hope, there isn’t any desire in us to seek after Him, apart from His work. So let’s see what God did for her.

It says, “The Lord opened her heart.…” I’ll tell you,, do you realize that God has to do that? You know, we’re prone to say, oh, if I could only explain it better, if I were only more sincere, if I were only more full of zeal. I’ll tell you, there’s a place for the words that need to come, but I’ll tell you what, God has to open hearts. We can preach ‘til we’re blue in the face, but that’s my prayer, and I believe it’s the prayer of many others that God will simply prepare and open hearts.

You know the heart is compared in the scriptures to soil, isn’t it? You don’t just go out and plant seed anywhere, you have to go, you who plant gardens and you who are farmers, you know you’ve got to go out and prepare the soil. You got to separate things out of it, you got to weed it, you got to break it up so that it’s soft and can receive the rain, and allow these tender little roots to grow.

But God is so faithful. I’ll tell you, everyone who ever comes to Him, I believe there’s times when we can look back and see that hand of God that has gone before. You know what…I’ve used this before and mentioned it many times before, but what the writer of the Hebrews says about angels. God sends them forth to those who shall be heirs of salvation. He doesn’t even wait ‘til we come to that place of faith. I’ll tell you, there’s something about the foreknowledge and the grace of God that singles out…He knows everyone that’s His from the foundation of the world. And I’ll tell you, the moment…and long before, no doubt, that person is born, there are angels dispatched, saying, watch over that one; that one’s mine.

You ever wonder why the devil is so hard against some, how he fights so strongly? I have a feeling he knows, and he’s just doing everything he can to prevent that person from coming to that place of really realizing who Jesus is and what life is about.

But here was somebody, and it says, “The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message. When she and the members of her household were baptized, she invited us to her home. If you consider me a believer in the Lord, she said, come and stay at my house. And she persuaded us.” Okay so now Paul has got a kind of a beachhead, as it were, in the city. God has opened up a household and a place from which to go out and to begin to tell the message.

“Once when we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit by which she predicted the future.” She was a fortune teller. “She earned a great deal of money for her owners by fortune telling.” Now this particular girl had a real demon. This was supernatural power by which she did what she did. There’s a lot of fakery out there, but this was some real stuff here, occult power.

“This girl followed Paul and the rest of us, shouting, These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved. She kept this up for many days. Finally Paul became so troubled that he turned around and said to the spirit.…” Now he didn’t say it to the girl, did he? He addressed the spirit. He recognized where this inspiration was coming from. He looked at that spirit and said, “In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!”

What happened? “At that moment the spirit left her.” I’ll tell you, I am, along with every one of us, I believe that God wants to give us a greater confidence in who we are and the kingdom that we serve…that we are on, I don’t care what the world looks like, we are on the winning side. We serve Somebody who did conquer everything. He conquered every demon in Hell at the cross. And it was the blood, as I said last week, it was the blood that spilled there, that is the truth that demons tremble before. They hate it. They fear it. They know that it spells their defeat. I feel like telling every devil this morning, how do you dare, how is it that you dare to oppose the Son of God?

( congregational amens ).

Praise God! He is Lord of Heaven. He is a representative ultimately of the God of love and grace and mercy, who is bringing about a kingdom that will last forever, ruled by His love and His grace. Praise God! So anyway, so now this demon’s gone. Well, of course, the owners of the slave girl…you know, they were using her, to them she was just a means to make them rich. Obviously their desires were entirely earthly.

“When the owners of the slave girl realized that their hope of making money was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to face the authorities. They brought them before the magistrates and said, These men are Jews, and are throwing our city into an uproar by advocating customs unlawful for us Romans to accept or practice.” All right, so, “The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten.”

Now how many of you have seen the Passion of the Christ? So you know something about what they’re talking about there, how brutal the beatings and the floggings that the Romans gave were. So anyway, this is what’s going on. “After they had been severely flogged,” it says, “they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully.” So there’s special attention--they’re being singled out. You know, you’ve got a lot of prisoners here but I want you to pay special attention…don’t you dare let these guys get loose.

So of course, “Upon receiving such orders, he put them in the inner cell…” This is, you know, there’s obviously outer cells, but now they’re inside that, and not only that, he’s got their feet fastened in the stocks.” Well of course they had a pity party, didn’t they? No, not at all. It says, “About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God.”

Oh, I’ll tell you what, what an example that is for us. How much do we complain about the things that we go through in our lives, and here they are serving God--here they are doing the very thing God had sent them to do, and what is their reward? It’s to be thrown in the inner prison after being beaten severely. So what do they do? They see the hand of God, and they continue to worship Him and to praise Him. I’ll tell you, that’s an example for me that humbles me, that causes me to realize how much it is that I need to just worship God and trust Him in every circumstance, and understand that He’s got my life in His hands.

And so, of course this is a familiar story to us. The prisoners, of course, heard all this. They were listening. You can imagine what the other prisoners were thinking. This is really…what in the world is going on here. We know these guys, we know what it’s like to be in here. We know they’ve been singled out for harsh treatment and there they are singing! They’re having a worship time, they’re praising God! Something is really going on here that’s unusual.

What a testimony it is! You know sometimes God often…God uses extreme circumstances, that even though they’re difficult for us, when Christians express faith, when Christians can have a spirit of praise and honor to God, God gets more out of that than He does when everything is going fine and the sun is shining. Anybody can come and worship God and look like everything is great, but I’ll tell you, when it’s not great, and we can see past all of that, and we can see the loving hand of God that is shaping us for eternity, what a difference it makes!

( congregational amens ).

And I’ll tell you, when God…well, how many of you remember the message we heard from Louie Giglio when he talked about the megaphone…talked about how God uses extreme circumstances. And what that’s like is just a megaphone that enlarges everything you say and everything you do that’s positive. God gets glory out of that. I mean, there’s people that hear that and they see that you have something that they don’t.

But God has a real purpose in this and this one is immediate. Not everything that God does just happens like that. Sometimes we have to go on and just maintain a stance of faith. But right now God had a particular purpose in reaching somebody with the Gospel. And so we know what happened. “Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open…” This is quite an earthquake. “…And everybody’s chains came loose.” Now I don’t know how they were fastened but I mean, this was a very special earthquake to be able to shake doors open and shake chains loose. But that’s what happened.

Now you’ve got to realize that in the Roman justice system, if you were the jailor, it was your life for the ones that you were charged with keeping. And if somebody was put in your charge and they got out and escaped, it was your life. So this was no small thing for the jailor. You can understand that this kind of got his attention. “At once all the prison doors flew open, and everybody’s chains came loose. The jailor woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped.” You can understand his thinking there. He certainly didn’t want to fall into the hands of the authorities, because their idea of killing him would not have been…as nice as him simply falling on his sword. It’s a pretty rough situation to feel like you’re in. “But Paul shouted, Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!

The jailor called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. He then brought them out and asked, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” I’ll tell you, that’s the question of all questions, isn’t it? People have all kinds of ideas as to what this thing, salvation, is about and what to do to be saved. Now obviously this guy had a sense of his need. God had already firmly established that he had a need, didn’t he? God didn’t have to convince him that he was weak and he was in the presence of someone who was real and powerful, and he knew that he didn’t have any kind of sense of relationship or confidence that he could face this One. This was a man who was just brought down to the place of utter need.

That is part of, I believe, what God does for every person one way or another. Now it says earlier, He opened Lydia’s heart. Now I don’t know that she was falling down trembling…everybody’s experience is different. But she came to a place too, where she knew, hey, I need--I need this message, I need to know this God. In the case of the jailor, I need to know a God who can shake my prison doors open, and get my attention the way he has. “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

I’ll tell you, there’s a simplicity to the Gospel that a child, if God opens their heart, a child can understand. I thank God you don’t have to be a theologian to be saved and to know God. You don’t have to go out and do great and grand things, because there’s not a thing that any of us can do. We are completely dependent upon the mercy of God. But that was the glorious message that Paul went out and preached.

When Paul answered, he didn’t say well if you will join my church, if you will do this, if you will believe my doctrines, if you will practice this, and do this, and do the other, then God will accept you. That wasn’t it. The message was utter simplicity. “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved.” And he says, “…You and your household.” Now he didn’t mean if you believe, your household will be saved. He meant that this message is for them, too. See at this point the jailor is fallen down before them. I don’t know whether his family is still asleep…probably they’re awake because of the earthquake. But right now this is just Paul and Silas talking to the jailor. So he says, you and your household.

So, what happens then is he gathers his household. “Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house.” So Paul summarizes the message though with such words of utter simplicity. Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved. But now he’s going to enlarge upon that. He’s going to help him to understand, what the heck does this mean? This is a Roman citizen in a Greek city who’s probably never heard of Jesus Christ, doesn’t have a clue who He is, and so naturally Paul has to begin with a question. Well, who is He? Who is this One in whom you need to put your faith? Why should you put your faith in somebody?

And so I have no doubt that Paul went right back to the very beginning and explained that Jesus Christ, though He lived as a man in Galilee and in Judea of that day, that He was in reality the Son of God. He was, in reality, the Creator of all things! And he could point out, this was the middle of the night…he could point out and say, look at the stars out there. The One I’m talking about made them. Look at that earthquake that you felt a while ago. That was Him intervening in life. This is a powerful…this is the Son of the living God. This is the One who has made us. This is the One before whom we will one day bow.

You remember, just a chapter later, he’s in Athens, and he uses much the same thing. He goes right back to the beginning, but then he also talks about a day that’s coming when everyone is going to have to stand and be judged by His Son. This is all part of the message. You’ve got to know who Jesus is before you could put your faith in Him.

But not only is He the Creator, not only is He the Judge before whom we will stand, but He is the One who came, like we sang the song “…Fullness of God and helpless babe.” Praise God! Can you imagine the humility, what it would take for Him to come and to literally allow himself to be born in a stable or whatever it was? It wasn’t the five star hotel of their day. It was a humble place…and to live and to walk among men, to feel every sorrow that we feel, to feel every hurt, every pain. It says, He was acquainted with grief. He took our sorrows upon Himself.

I’m sure all of this was told to the Philippian jailor. I can picture him talking about some of the things that happened in Jesus life. I mean Luke was part of the party at this time. Luke was the one who wrote the gospel. Luke was completely familiar, he says, with all the things that had happened, so I have…all ideas that they had done a lot of talking.

Paul was, by his knowledge and the time he spent with Luke, he was very familiar with Jesus’ life, and so he could talk to him about the things that Jesus did…how the religious people hated Him, but how He would go time and time again and He would encounter someone in desperate need. He would go to the woman at the well and instead of heaping condemnation and scorn upon her, He offered her hope. He said, if you knew who I was--if you knew who I was, you’d ask Me, and I’d give you living water and that water would be in you as a well springing up to everlasting life!

Oh there was such a…this business of her sensing the shame of her life in the light of His presence, and at the same time being filled with hope. What a joy for Paul to be able to sit there and tell what this One was like. I want you to know what He’s like, because this is the One you have to put your trust in if you’re gonna be saved. Jesus stayed with that poor, despised woman in her village. He didn’t look down on her. He loved her. She felt the love of God in His heart. And she shared Him with everybody. I mean, it was something that brought such joy to her life, to know that she could find hope and everything that goes with it from this One.

And how He would stop and just play with the children. At times the children would gather around Him and He would just welcome them, take them in his arms, and bless them, and pray for them. And then mamas were bringing their kids saying, here’s Somebody important, let Him bless them. I’ve seen some of that, by the way, in some of our travels. You go into some of the villages, and the mothers would bring their children, and want you to lay hands on them, and bless them. So, Praise God, by faith you just go ahead and pray for them. That’s what He did, why shouldn’t we?

But anyway, the disciples, of course, they were…you know, other things were much too important…but not to Jesus. There was a tender heart toward the smallest and the weakest, and His heart just welcomed them and they sensed it. You know children aren’t stupid. Children can sense what’s going on in people’s spirits. When they were around Jesus, they knew they were loved, they were welcomed. He wasn’t…okay, I’ll do this, but I’ve got more important stuff to do. This was just…I love you. I want you to know you’re important to Me. What a message! It wasn’t just words that Jesus said, but it was everything He did that let us know that the smallest and the weakest of us are loved, that we matter to the One who made us, that He longs, through all that He did for us, to give hope. This was what Paul was sharing.