Monday, November 19, 2012

Scenes From A Prison

The earth shook. The prison went dark. Walls and gates collapsed. Chains and shackles were broken apart. Prisoners were free to escape. The jailer was on the verge of killing himself as he believed many surely took full advantage.

Acts 16:28 - "But Paul shouted, Do not harm yourself, for we are all here!"

The jailer, so stunned, and so impressed and thankful for Paul and Silas, and recognizing they represent God, falls at their feet.

He sees something supernatural in them. He senses their rightness in Jesus Christ.

He had been listening to their songs. He had been listening to their preaching to the other prisoners.

The Philippian jailer wanted some of that!

Acts 16:30 - "And he brought them out [of the dungeon] and said, Men, what is it necessary for me to do that I may be saved?"

He was probably thinking there was a great work to be done. Some chores. Some duties. A club to join.

He must have been surprised at the response.

Acts 16:31 - "And they answered, Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ [give yourself up to Him, take yourself out of your own keeping and entrust yourself into His keeping] and you will be saved, [and this applies both to] you and your household as well."

A simple task as far as performing goes.

Let go of yourself and trust Jesus Christ.

My, how we've complicated that over the centuries.

Stop trying to do it alone. Put yourself squarely in the hands of your Creator, and not only will it work for you, but your family as well.

The least common denominator? Trust Jesus.

Anything that teaches anything more or less than that is a corrupted gospel.

Acts 16:32 - "And they declared the Word of the Lord [the doctrine concerning the attainment through Christ of eternal salvation in the kingdom of God] to him and to all who were in his house."

Paul and Silas went to the jailer's home and preached the gospel to his family, and they were all saved as well.

How do we know? Because they submitted. They agreed to be baptized.

Acts 16:33 - "And he took them the same hour of the night and bathed [them because of their bloody] wounds, and he was baptized immediately and all [the members of] his [household]."

We have even turned that into a ritualistic religious endeavor.

Have you ever contemplated why we are to be baptized? Why Jesus commanded that we do that?

Well, there it is.

It's proof that we submitted.

Unless the jailer and his family submitted to be baptized we would not have the proof 2,000 years later that they had actually believed in the first place.

Even today our submission to the waters of baptism is simply an outward sign as to what Jesus has done in our heart.

What's the point of all this today?

Submit and don't complicate it.

This time of the season is a great time to fully submit. It's a great time to share with others what Jesus has done for you as well.

If you blink Christmas will be gone, and another opportunity will have slipped by.

You can choose to grow the Kingdom.

Or you can be religious.

I hope you are meditating every day on what God has done for you in Christ. I pray that this Christmas will be your most meaningful ever.

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <><

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