THE MOST IMPORTANT QUESTION
Charles E. Burch
The apostle Paul and Silas had been beaten with many stripes and were cast into the inner prison at Philippi. "And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them. And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were open, and every one's bands were loosed. And the keeper of the prison awaking out of his sleep, and seeing the prison doors open, he drew out his sword, and would have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners had been fled, But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, do thyself no harm: for we are all here. Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas, and brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" (Acts 16:25-30).
"What must I do to be saved?" Is the most important question that anyone could ask. Then of equal importance is the correct answer. Many men give a denominational church answer to this question, instead of a Bible answer. But the person asking, must hear and obey God's answer, not man's, to be saved.
What answer did the inspired Apostle give? "And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thou house" (Acts 16:31). Many stop reading here and teach that a person can be saved by only believing on Jesus. But how could this jailer believe on Jesus, when he didn't know Him? He could not! So notice: "And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house" (Acts 16:32). They taught him the "Lord's plan of salvation" or the "Gospel of Christ.” The first part was faith or belief, but that was not all. Jesus said: "I tell you nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish" (Luke 13:3). Philip refused to baptize the Ethiopian, until he confessed Jesus to be the Son of God (Acts 8:36-38). Then Jesus taught: ”He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned” (Mark 16:16).
So in order to answer this important question the Bible reveals five things: (1) One must Hear the word of God, (2) One must Believe in Christ, (3) One must Repent, (4) One must Confess his faith in Christ as God’s Son, (5) One must be Baptized for the remission of sins. These five acts make up the Gospel of Christ. Without obeying the Gospel one will be lost. The great apostle wrote, “And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power” (II Thessalonians 1:7-9). If someone tells you how to be saved different from the above, its not from God. One must obey the gospel according to God’s will in order to be saved. Have you obeyed?