Throughout our lives we are confronted with trials and troubles. We sometimes look at the problems we face, and they appear as mountains.
It is then we sense the burden of what lies ahead of us. We feel the deep-seated need for answers. We need direction; we need hope.
Maybe as you are reading this column you sense that same gnawing deep inside of you that things are not right. You don’t know where to turn, and a voice inside cries out, “What must I do?”
Every person on the face of the earth has experienced it. There are those who have listened and chosen wisely. There are those who have not listened and have suffered the consequences. So let’s open our Bibles to Acts 16:25: “And at midnight (when things are darkest) 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 opened, and every one’s bands were loosed. And the keeper of the prison awakened 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 fled. But Paul cried with a loud voice, 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? And they said, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.”
This man saw his need. He knew as the jailer that he was responsible for making sure the prisoners did not escape, as he would pay with his life. He recognized his guilt and was so upset he was about to commit suicide.
Maybe something has happened to you and you can see no way out. Friend, there is hope! There is a way, “the only way” for you to have peace in this life and the next.
It was at that very moment, when all seemed lost and the jailer was cast down and couldn’t look anywhere but up, he heard a voice; the voice of the Apostle Paul saying “do thyself no harm.”
A ray of hope shone into his soul. Calling for a light, this man wanted to be free from the darkness that surrounded him.
May I say that it was at a dark time in my own life that the light of Holy Spirit shone into my soul proclaiming the truth about Jesus Christ, that He is “The Way, the Truth and the Life” (John 14:6).
As the jailer came in, he fell down, trembling before Paul and Silas as out of despair he cried, “What must I do to be saved?”
Because of seeing and admitting his own true condition, he risked all to find the answer. Are you at that point? Have you tried to just get through life looking to the bottle? Or maybe you have found yourself at a place in life that you would have never imagined yourself at. Could it be that you have tried religion, but that didn’t work either?
Jesus knows where you are right now. He has seen every act we have ever committed. He hears every thought that we have thought and every word that we have spoken (sobering, isn’t it?).
Still, Jesus has his hands outstretched toward us, saying “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).
I want you to know that God never changes. He said in his word, “I am the Lord; I change not” (Malachi 3:6a).
And I want you to know that God cannot lie (Titus 1:2).
Now you might be saying at this point, “Preacher, you have described me. What must I do to be saved? Can I be forgiven, can my life be changed, or have I gone too far?”
If this is where you are at, I want you to listen. God is holy; no sin will ever enter into his presence. Man is sinful; “for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).
You see, we can’t save ourselves. That is why God sent Jesus to live a perfect, sinless life for us, because we couldn’t. He then placed every sinful act we have or ever will commit on Christ. As Jesus hung there suspended between heaven and earth, he cried out, “It is finished.”
The price for our salvation had been paid for by the Son of God himself.
I say this because we must first see our sin. One doesn’t go to a oncologist unless one has cancer. And a person doesn’t truly come to Jesus Christ until that person sees that he or she is a sinner.
Will you right now agree with God that you are a lost sinner and unable to save yourself? Next believe that Jesus Christ died for your sins, asking Him to forgive you, save you, and to be your Savior and Lord, committing your life to serving Him. The Bible says, “Verily, verily I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on Him that sent me, hath everlasting life and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life” (John 5:24).
Can you hear his voice speaking to you this very moment? Do you sense the Holy Spirit drawing you to Christ?
With all my heart I pray that you heed his call today. You may not have another chance.
Lance Stevens pastors at Huntsville Evangelical Community Church in Pendleton. He and his wife, Judy, live in Greenfield. This weekly column is written by local clergy members. Send comments to email@example.com.