“What must I do to be saved?” Acts 16:30 (Acts 16:20-34)
In Philippi, after Saul Paul cast a demon out of ah girl, ah crowd set upon thar pair and tried ter beat ’em ter ah pulp. Fer tha trouble of getting whooped up upon, tha local magistrate ordered that Saul Paul and Silas be stripped, flogged, and jailed. That be tha sort of justice some got back then. This be that sort of justice some still get ter day. Victims be punished. Assailants go free.
Ah long time ago Skipper commanded Isaiah tha prophet ter preach this word ter folks:
“Woe to those who acquit the guilty for a bribe, but deny justice to the innocent (Isaiah 5:23).
” Your rulers are rebels, partners with thieves; they all love bribes and chase after gifts. They do not defend the cause of the fatherless; the widow’s case does not come before them (Isaiah 1:23).”
“Woe to those who make unjust laws, to those who issue oppressive decrees, to deprive the poor of their rights and withhold justice from the oppressed of my people, making widows their prey and robbing the fatherless (Isaiah 10:1-2).”
Some like ter claim thar be no hell, no place of eternal punishment. And yet many times these same folks demand justice fer tha oppressed, tha orphans, tha widows, tha least among us. If fellers and lasses (who be filled with sin and living in wicked ways) kin feel compelled ter demand justice fer tha innocent and them who be denied ah fair trial, how much more shall tha King of tha Universe demand justice fer them who be wronged? If folks kin confine tha guilty in jails, what makes us think tha Creator of tha Universe and tha one who seeks justice fer all will not confine tha guilty in hell? All be guilty of some grave offense. Ter think otherwise be ter live out this prophet warning from Isaiah:
“You people are ever hearing, but never understanding; ever seeing, but never perceiving (Isaiah 6:9).”
Jail fer tha guilty be jest a taste of tha hell ter come fer all who rebel agin Skip’s Code of Conduct. Only tha blood of tha Son on tha cross kin spare us from serving our whole sentence.
While tending ter thar wounds in tha Prison of Philippi, tha jailer whar commanded ter guard Saul Paul and Silas carefully. He put tha pair in tha inner cell and fastened thar feet in stocks. He reckoned that would keep ’em secure. Only, tha jailer doth not consider that Skipper be tha King of the Universe, tha one who made tha heavens and earth.
At midnight, while Saul Paul and Silas whar singing hymns ter Skipper and praying — and with other prisoners listening on — ah violent earthquake rocked tha prison ter its foundations. All tha prison doors flew open. Ever feller’s chains come loose and fell off.
Such be tha power of Skipper. Such be tha grace and mercy of tha Son.
Without tha Son, we be bound by tha chains of sin. We be locked in ah inner cell of darkness. We be tormented by them who accuse us of things we done and sometimes things we doth not do. We seek an advocate ter defend us, but none steps forward. Bound, beaten, sitting in blackness, we be destined fer tha eternal confinement of hell that awaits all who reject tha Son and his fergiveness of sins.
When we be at our lowest, we ought ter sing songs of glory ter Skip, ter pray ter him, ter cry out, ter testify ter others of Skip’s faithfulness. Not saying doing so ‘ill be easy. No, such boldness kin only come from tha Holy Ghost of Truth. But when ya be in ah prison hole of blackness, that be tha time ter turn ter tha Light of Life: ter give yer life ter tha Son.
Tha Son may not remove yer physical chains or remove ya from a physical prison, but he will set ya free from sin and hell if only ya ‘ill believe in him, confess his name, and believe.
Tha end of tha matter be this. Tha jailer woke up and seen tha prison in shambles and inmates set free. When he spied tha prison doors opened, he drew his sword and whar ’bout ready ter run himself through, fer he thought tha prisoners had escaped. But Saul Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!”
Tha jailer called fer lights. Then he rushed in and fell trembling before Saul Paul and Silas. “Sirs,” he said, “what must I do to be saved?”
They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.”
Then they spoke tha word of tha Lord ter him and ter all tha others in tha jailer’s house. At that very hour tha jailer took ’em in and washed thar wounds. Next he and all his household whar baptized. After this tha jailer brought Saul Paul and Silas in ter his house and set ah meal be fer ’em.
Filled with joy, fer tha jailer and his whole household had come ter believe in Skipper, he rested that night knowing that he ne’er ever had ter worry ’bout getting tossed in ter tha jail of hell ever agin.
What says ya? Will ya accept tha mercy of tha King of the Universe, tha Lord who seeks justice fer all? Or will ya keep right on denying that tha one who defends orphans and widows and tha oppressed would ne’er toss tha guilty — and we all be guilty of breaking some part of Skip’s code — in ter a jail of hell?
Whar ya come down on this ‘ill determine if ya spend all eternity in stocks and chains.