FOF-03 - Plan of Salvation
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FUNDAMENTALS OF FAITH
Of all the questions that are asked in Scripture, none is more important than this
one, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” Acts 16:30-31. Of all the fundamental studies
that we might look at, none could be more fundamental than knowing what one must do
to be saved and to ultimately live in that place called Heaven.
Let's begin thinking about that supremely important question, “What must I do to
be saved?” This is asked at least two other times in the New Testament. When the
Jews realize in Acts chapter 2, that they had killed their own Messiah, they turned to
Peter and the rest disciples, and they say, “Men and brethren what shall we do?” Peter
told them exactly what to do to be saved. This also came up in Paul's life, who was
formerly Saul. In Acts 9:4-6, the Lord confronts Saul on the on the road to Tarsus, on
the road to Damascus there, Saul of Tarsus on the road to Damascus and Saul, ‘Who
are you Lord?’ “I'm Jesus, whom you are persecuting.” ‘Lord, what would you have me
Let's think about what is it God says a person must do to be saved. I'm I want
you listen real carefully, we're speaking on these things, because it is such an important
subject. I want you to know our motive in doing this, more than anything, we want you,
we want to go to Heaven, and we want all who hear this lesson to go to Heaven. Our
motivation is out of love. The Bible says God wants all men to be saved and come to
knowledge of the truth. I'll assure you at the gospel of Christ and in the Lord's church,
the church of Christ; we want men and women simply to go to Heaven. Our motive is
simply to say, what the Bible says. I know full well there a lot of ideas from men about
salvation. Friend, it's not man who's going to save me and you. It's not man's doctrine.
No human being has ever, outside Lord Jesus Christ; no person can make the sacrifice
for your soul. God did that. So, what matters is, ‘What does the Scripture say?’ Romans
Then let’s turn our attention to the plan of salvation. What is God's plan of
salvation for a person to be saved? Naturally he must hear what he needs to do to be
saved. The Scripture teaches that hearing God's word is an essential part to salvation.
Romans 10:17 the Bible says, “So then faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word
of God.” That passage teaches us to have faith. I've got to hear God's word, but this is
essential in salvation, because faith is essential. Do you remember Hebrews 11:6?
“Without faith it's impossible please God, for he that comes to God must believe he is
and He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” Now think about this with me. If
faith is essential, and it is, whatever way I get faith is essential to salvation. How do you
get faith? “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.” Now, when we say
hearing the word of God, what does that really mean? It means that I accept, and I
understand this book is God. The Bible is God's voice, final voice, on salvation, that it's
all I need to get to Heaven. 2 Peter 1:3, “God is given to us all things for life and
godliness through the knowledge of Him who called us.”
When we talk about salvation, this is the book you need. This is God's word.
What man says, what man thinks, what people have written, this is what I will be judged
by. Jesus in John 12:48, “He who rejects me does not receive my word has that which
judges him. The word that I've spoken will judge him in the last day.” Practically
speaking, here's what it means in a practical sense, when we talk about hearing the
word of God. It means that I must listen very carefully to the word of God. Luke 8:18,
“Take heed how you hear.” Mark 4:24, “Take heed what you hear.” And then of course,
Mark 9:7, God said, “This my beloved sons, whom I’m well pleased, hear him.” I want to
let God's voice be the voice that I hear. And regardless of what anybody else teaches,
all that matters is, “What does the Scripture say?” Romans 4:3.And so, are we listening
carefully to the word of God? Are we recognizing its authority, as the final authority?
We would be amiss if we didn’t mention this, hearing means I have to prove what
I hear is true to the will of God. Let me give you the best example I can think of. I want
you to look in your Bible with me in Acts 17:11. As I think about, ‘Ok, what is Bible
hearing? What does it mean to really hear the word of God? And is there an example of
that in Scripture?’ The Bible says in Acts 17:11, “These the Bereans, who were more
fair-minded than those in Thessalonica in that they received the word with all readiness,
and searched the Scriptures daily, to find out whether these things were so.” Now
you’ve got to set the scene in your mind. Use your imagination as you think about
what's going on here. Paul goes into Berea, and he knocks on the door. He says, ‘I
know you’ve heard some things about me. I’ve transformed my life. I'm here to tell you
about Christ.’ Do they shut the door in his face? Do they say no we’re not interested?
No, they received the word with all readiness. Meaning, they were alert and eager to
hear if it was a message from God. And so they said, ‘Paul come on in, sit down.’ They
sat down. Paul sat down. And Paul began to teach about Christ. What’d they do next?
Did they immediately by what Paul said lock, stock, and barrel? No, they said, ‘Paul we
appreciate you coming today. We've heard what you had to say. We've taken notes.’
And then listen, Acts 17:11, “They searched the Scriptures daily to see if these things
were so.” Friend, this is so pivotal, especially in our day and age today, to
understanding God's will. With the variety and all the many flavors out there that people
promote about salvation, what matters is, am I willing in hearing the gospel to searched
the Scripture for myself and make sure it's true to the will of God?
Now let's look at a second part in God's plan of salvation. I must believe in Jesus
Christ. Do you remember Hebrews 11:6? “Without faith it's impossible please God, for
he that comes to him must believe that he is and that he is a rewarder of those who
diligently seek him.” Can I please God without faith? What is faith? It's commitment. It's
belief. It's trust in the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus taught us the importance of believing. In
John 8:24 Jesus said, “Unless you believe that I'm he you’ll surely die in your sins.”
Must a person be committed to, a 100% committed to, the idea that Jesus is the Savior?
Absolutely! In Acts chapter 8, as Philip and Ethiopian eunuch are in the chariot traveling
down the road back to Egypt, he’s heard the gospel, or Ethiopia, hears the gospel. And
in the water, he knows, what it in the distance he sees water. He knows what he needs
to do. “Here is water what hinders me?” “If you believe with all your heart you may,”
Are we saying belief is something you to earn salvation? Don’t misunderstand
here. No different than hearing the word of God, repenting of sin, confessing, or being
baptized, belief is a requirement. But it’s not something I do to earn salvation. Is it a
work? Yes, it is a work from God for man. But not a work of merit where I can say, ‘I
believe; now I deserve it.’ John 6:29 Jesus said, “This is the work of God that you
believe on him whom He sent.” And so, is it a condition set forth from God? Absolutely.
There's a verse that I want to point out here. There a lot of people that say in our
world today, and it’s so sad, a lot of people say all you've got to do to be saved initially
is believe in Jesus. I hear it; you hear it. I know people that say it and you know people
that say it too. ‘You want to be saved? Just believe in Christ and you'll be saved.’
Friend, don't get me wrong, belief is essential .But does the Bible say faith only saves?
Did you know that the only time ‘faith only’ is used in the Bible; it says it does not save.
That's right, a host of people in this world are teaching, all you got a do to be saved is
have faith only. And the doctrine of faith only is very prominent today. But the only time
it's used in Scripture, God says, “Faith only will not save.” Let me show you from your
own Bible. Look in James 2. I want you to notice verse 24 with me. What does the
Scripture say here? The Bible says, “You see then, the man is justified by works,” now
notice this, “and you see then that man is justified by works, and not by faith only.”
The only time in Scripture, the words faith and only are paired together, God says
they will not save. And so, yes belief is essential. Yes, it's a condition set forth from
God, but alone, Bible teaches it won't save. If I just stop there, I've stop short of what
the Scripture says I must do to be saved.
That leads us right into the third condition God sets forth. If a person is going to
be saved, must he repent of past sin? Let's ask it this way, if I'm going to be a child of
God and a Christian and live like God wants me to, can I keep living in sin? If
somebody’s a bank robber, or a drunk, or a murderer, to become a child of God must
they stop doing that? Well anybody with common sense says, sure. You can’t keep
living like that and be a child of God. That’s what Jesus said. Luke 3:8, Jesus said,
“Repent or perish.” Luke chapter 13:1-3, “Unless you repent you will all likewise perish.”
But what is repentance? Here's a real easy way to remember repentance. Repentance
is a changed will that leads to a changed way. Or put in another way, repentance is a
changed way of thinking that leads to a changed way of acting. That’s all repentance is.
When I repent, I change the way I think, and I change the way I act. Matthew 21:28-30,
Jesus told an illustration of a father and two sons. He said to his first son, ‘Son go work
in my field today.’ The son said he would but never did. Then he said to the second son,
‘Son go work in my field today.’ He said he wouldn't, later regretted it, and went and
worked in the father’s field. Jesus said, “Which of those two did the will of the father?”
The one who said he would and never did? Or the one who said he wouldn’t and
changed his mind and changed his action? Well you know which one, the one who
changed his way of thinking and changed his way of acting, repented, and went and
worked in his father’s field.
Jesus again emphasized the importance of repentance. Certain people came to
him, and they’re looking at people who they think God's divine wrath has been exhibited
upon, they say ‘Lord what about these Galileans who had their blood mingle with their
sacrifice?’ meaning at the time sacrifice, they were killed. ‘Weren't they worse sinners
than anybody else? Or what about these people who were walking down the road, this
group of people walking down the road, and out of nowhere that a tower falls on them
and crushes them, weren't they worse sinners than everybody else?’ You know how
Jesus answered both those questions? “I tell you no but unless you repent, you will all
likewise perish.” Acts 3:19 says, “Repent and turn again that your sins may be blotted
out that seasons of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.” Acts 2:38,
Peter preached in the very first gospel sermon, “Repent and be baptized for the
forgiveness of sins.”
Friend, it's also important for us to mention that while we think about repentance,
and repentance does have a sense of sorrow, please understand that sorrow alone is
not real repentance. Here’s what we mean by that, 2 Corinthians 7:10, the Scripture
says, “Godly sorrow produces repentance”, and now listen to that again, “Godly sorrow
produces repentance.” The Scripture does not say, Godly sorrow equates with
repentance, is repentance. Rather when I'm sorrow, in a Godly way, I want to do what
God wants me to do and change my way. That sorrow leads me to repent which is to
change my thinking and change my way of acting. Sometimes we see maybe in the
media, or things like that, somebody gets caught doing something. And they had this
growth, great emotional outpouring, but then they go back and do what they were doing.
Is just having an emotional response repentance? Godly sorrow leads to repentance,
but it does not say it in of itself, is repentance.
Now let's talk about a fourth condition that God sets forth in this fundamental
study, on what must I do to be saved. The fourth condition God sets forth is we must
confess Jesus as Lord and Savior. Where do we find that the Scripture? We will look at
a couple of passages. Romans chapter 10:10 says, “For with the heart one believes
unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” Now
sometimes we talk about confession, because of some false ideas that are popular
world today, people hear this idea of confession, and they think they need to go get a
cubicle and tell somebody their sin. Now that’s not what we’re talking about. We’re not
going with the idea of getting a cubicle, in some box, and telling somebody across the
screen of the window from you, your sin is foreign to the teaching New Testament.
When we say confession is a part of salvation, what are we to confess? Well that
second passage I mentioned tells us. Listen to Matthew 10:32-33. Jesus said, “Whoever
confesses,” and here's the content, “whoever confesses me before men, him will I also
confess before my Father, who is in heaven whoever does not confess me before men
neither will I confess him before my Father who is in Heaven.” What am I to confess
with my mouth? That Jesus is the Christ, the son of God and the Savior of the world.
Two times that happens. 1 Timothy 6:12-13 Paul said of Timothy, “He made the good
confession in the presence of many witnesses.” And then again, Acts 8, Philip told the
eth Philip told Ethiopian eunuch, ‘If you believe with all your heart you may be baptized.’
And he said, ‘I believe Jesus is the Christ the son of the living God.’
We now come to that fifth condition God sets forth about salvation. What is it?
The Scriptures teach that for a person to be saved, he must be immersed in water for
the remission of sins. Let’s talk about a couple of things related to that. And again,
friend all we ask of you today is, check your Bible and see. You see if these things are
true to the Bible. If they are, obey them because God said them. What is baptism? You
look up a dictionary meaning of baptism and it may give you a two of three different
ideas. Some dictionary meanings will say baptism is pouring, sprinkling, or immersion.
Well I'm not looking to the dictionary today to learn what to do to be saved. I’m looking
to God's answer in the Bible. What how does the Scripture defined baptism? In the
Scripture baptism is only defined as immersion. Now let me give you some examples of
that. Mark 1:9-11, Jesus is here baptized by John. The Bible says this, at Jesus baptism
the Bible says, “And coming up out of the water, the spirit descended upon him like a
dove.” Question: to come up out of water, what must you first do? Go down into water,
immersion. John 3:23, John was baptizing in Aemon, near Salim, because there was
much water there. How much water does it take to sprinkled or poured little on
somebody’s head? Not much. John could have done that anywhere, just take a little
water with him. How much water does it take to immerse, put a full-grown adult
completely under the water? Much water. Couple of other examples found in Acts 8:37-
40, you have got example of Philip and Ethiopian eunuch. The Bible says they stop the
chariot. He is traveling back to Ethiopia, a dry parched land, they stop the chariot. They
both get down out of the chariot. They both go into the water. He baptizes him, and they
come up out of the water. Why’d they both get up out of the chariot? Why’d they have to
both get in the water? If sprinkling or pouring had worked, they could have sent a
servant to go down the water. Why did everybody get in water and everybody come
out? Why’d they stop the chariot? Again the idea is immersion. Now here's the clearest
passage of all. Romans 6:1-4 teaches that baptism is likened to a burial. We're buried
with Christ in baptism. And so, Paul uses the illustration of a burial. What happens at a
burial? They don't do this; they don't set the body on the ground and sprinkle a little dirt
on it. They don't take a cup or two and pour a little dirt on it. What happens in a burial
with the body? That hole is dug, that body is encased in the ground, dirt on the bottom
dirt on every side, and then it's covered up. It's completely into enclosed in the ground.
And thus, Paul used the illustration of a burial to represent baptism. That teaches us
that it is a complete immersion in water.
What is the purpose of baptism? I understand and I know full well that a lot of
people teach baptism is a good thing you should do. Baptism’s something you do after
you’re saved. Baptism, you should do it like Jesus, just to follow Jesus. But so many
people will say, baptism: not essential to salvation. Friend, I want you listen carefully
just to what the Bible says. We want you to see for yourself from the Scripture that the
Bible teaches you are not saved before baptism. Baptism is essential to salvation. What
passages teach that? Probably the clearest to teach baptism is essential to salvation, is
found in the gospel of Mark 16:16. Jesus said, “He who believes and is baptized will be
saved, he who does not believe shall be condemned.” If you don't believe, are you a
candidate to be baptized? Of course not. So if don't believe you’re already in a
condemned state, but think about what Jesus did say. Did Jesus say, ‘he who believes
will be saved?’ That’s not what he said. Did Jesus say, ‘he who is baptized will be
saved?’ Not what he said. “He who believes and is baptized will be saved.”
Does your Bible say that? Does your Bible say, ‘He who believes and is baptized
will be saved’? Second passage I'd like to direct your attention to is found in the gospel
of John. I want you look at John 3. I want you notice what Jesus says beginning in verse
3. Jesus answered Nicodemus and said to him, “Most assuredly I say to you unless one
is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus said to him, ‘How can a
man be born when he's old? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb and be
born?’ Listen to this, Jesus answered, “Most assuredly I say I say to you unless one is
born of water and the spirit he cannot enter the kingdom of God.” You know, sometimes
people say baptism’s not essential, you don’t have to be baptized go to Heaven. What’d
Jesus say? “Unless,” if and only if, “one is born of water and the spirit he cannot enter
the kingdom of God.” Now are those the only two passages in the Bible? No, they're
not. They’re others that teach this exact same idea. Would you look in your Bible in Acts
chapter 2:38? Again, we want you to see for yourself. Look in Acts chapter 2. I want you
to notice what the Scripture says in the very first gospel sermon preached Acts 2:38.
They just asked Peter and rest disciples, ‘Men and brethren what must we do?’ and
here's the answer, Peter said to them, “Repent and let every one of you be baptized in
the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins and you shall receive the gift of the
Holy Spirit.” What's baptism for? What's its purpose? Why be baptized? It is for the
remission of sins. Acts 22:16 Ananias came to Saul and he said, ‘Saul Saul why tarries
thou? Arise and be baptized and wash away your sins calling on the name the Lord.’
Friend just consider with me for just a moment, does the Bible teach sin
separates me from God? It absolutely does. Isaiah 59: 1-2, “Sin separates us from
God.” If I can know when the moment in time occurs, the moment salvation when sin is
removed, I can know when I'm in a safe state with God. ‘Arise, be baptized, wash away
your sins calling on the name the Lord.’
Now probably one of the clearest of all is found in 1 Peter 3:21. Peter says this,
and you can't get any clearer than this, “Baptism, there is a light figure in which does
save us, baptism.” Or as the new King James says, “Baptism does now also save us.”
Not that we were built of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God.
When God says be baptized, I answer with a good conscience by doing what God says.
And so does Peter say, you look in your Bible and see, does the Holy Spirit say baptism
saves us? If it says that in your Bible, then friend I'm responsible and you're responsible
just simply to do what the Bible says. Are we saying there is something mystical or
magical in the waters of baptism? That's not the idea. If it were in the water, I lived in the
water all the time. Wouldn’t you? But it's not the water; it’s not the mystical magical idea.
It's the answer of a good heart toward God, good consciences when God says do it and
I do it, I've been obedient to the will of God. I've done what he says. Have I earned
salvation? That's not the idea. The Bible says in Luke 17:10, “and you when you done
all those things commanded you say, I'm an unprofitable servant, I've only done that
which was my duty to do.” Must I obey God? Sure. Have I earned salvation? Of course
not. If I'm saved, it will be by the grace of God. But grace and faith go hand-in-hand, ‘by
grace are you saved through faith.’
We encourage you today, if you've never obeyed the gospel. We love you, God
loves you, and won’t you obey the gospel today and become a Christian?
Study Questions for: “Fundamentals of the Faith: Salvation”
1. What important question is asked in Acts 16:30-31?
2. According to Romans 10:17, what comes by hearing?
3. What must we have to please God according to Hebrews 11:6?
4. What will judge us according to John 12:48?
5. According to Mark 4:24, what must we do with what we hear?
6. What did they search daily in Acts 17:11?
7. What is man justified by according to James 2:24?
8. According to Luke 3:8, repent or what?
9. Romans 6:1-4 compares baptism to what?
10. What must we do to see the Kingdom of God according to John 3:3?