Short and Sweet

Black and white cross with sunPower of Three

I’ve mentioned before that if you are doing a presentation, there is a power of three. For instance, on a page supporting a given idea, only have three bullets. Not two, not five, but three.

This sermon is titled “Short and Sweet.” you might say three concise bullets are exactly that, “short and sweet.”

We humans like the number three…and recognizing that today, we are going to use “the power of three” to answer the simple question, “What must I do to be saved?”

To begin doing that, let’s look at biblical reference one of three:

5 For Moses writes about the righteousness that is based on the law, that the person who does the commandments shall live by them. 6 But the righteousness based on faith says, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’ ” (that is, to bring Christ down) 7 “or ‘Who will descend into the abyss?’ ” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). 8 But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); 9 because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. 11 For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. 13 For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Romans 10:5-13).

Who will be saved?

“Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord…”

[ These are quick sermon notes…not cleaned-up…and missing the “extras” that come out in the audio (which is available here). All quotes are from the English Standard Version unless otherwise noted. ]

But, of course, it also says, “…if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” and “For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.”

Relative short…and definitely sweet…but can we go to reference two of three and simplify it even more?

37 Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” 38 And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.” 40 And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.” 41 So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls (Acts 2:37-41).

Peter…a pretty regular guy…and definitely not a great orator like the super-apostles we discussed last week…nevertheless, with the Holy Spirit, cut his Pentacost listeners to the heart and was asked, “Brothers, what shall we do?”

“Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

Repent, and be baptized for the forgiveness of your sins. That’s short and the result is definitely sweet.

We all can use forgiveness. We all need it.

However, I’m wondering if we can simplify it even more with biblical reference three of three:

25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them, 26 and suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken. And immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone’s bonds were unfastened. 27 When the jailer woke and saw that the prison doors were open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had escaped. 28 But Paul cried with a loud voice, “Do not harm yourself, for we are all here.” 29 And the jailer called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas. 30 Then he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” 31 And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household” (Acts 16:25-31).

It may not have been a convincing talk from an apostle that did it, but the jailer was definitely “cut to the heart.”

“Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

“Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved…”

Now, that is absolutely short and sweet.

What must you do to be saved?

Believe in the Lord Jesus. That’s it.

“But, Alan, what about what we read before?! Don’t we have to confess with our mouth He is Lord, believe He was resurrected from the dead, call on His name, repent, and be baptized?!”

Yes! Of course!

But if you believe…truly believe…in the Lord Jesus…

Won’t you do all that?! Won’t they all be natural consequences of truly believing in the Lord Jesus?

We humans overcomplicate things.

Let’s not overcomplicate salvation.

It’s not smart for us.

It’s not fair to others.

Let’s keep it short and sweet.

“What must I do to be saved?”

“Believe in the Lord Jesus.”

Sweet and simple.

Praise God for that!


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