THE SEVEN P's IN THE POD OF SALVATION
Scripture Text: Acts 13:38,39- "Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this Man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: And by Him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses."
The background for the above text is one which was not uncommon for the Apostle Paul. Acts chapter 13 begins with Paul and Barnabas being called by the Holy Spirit of God to begin their first missionary assignment. And friend, only the Holy Spirit of God can fully prepare men for the work of the Lord, whereunto they are called. No, and God never calls a person to the Lord's work without first preparing them spiritually, for that all-important task. Unfortunately, some people go forth, to presumably serve the Lord, yet without any evidence that they were given any spiritual gifts, or the commission, to do so.
However, we read that Paul and Barnabas were preaching in the synagogues as they traveled from place to place; and it was while they were preaching in the synagogue at Antioch that Paul uttered the words, shown above, and which we use as our text for today's message. Paul has just rehearsed the Jewish history from their flight out of the Egyptian bondage, on through to the crucifixion, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. Then at the most crucial point of his address, he utters these memorable words, "Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this Man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: And by Him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses."
Friend, here was Paul, a former persecutor of Christians, now telling his own people, the Jews, about the salvation provided by God. And what a salvation it is! It is able to take the vilest of sinners, and make them a child of God, through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, alone! Now before considering the "Seven P's in the Pod of Salvation", I will give you the spiritual definition of "salvation" which I read in a Webster's Dictionary many years ago. "Salvation is the saving of man from the spiritual consequences of sin; especially, deliverance from sin and eternal damnation, through the atonement of Christ." Can you imagine the A.C.L.U. (American Civil Liberties Union), or other such groups, allowing such a definition to be in our dictionaries today? No way!
The first important, basic, and fundamental tenet concerning the salvation which the Apostle Paul was referring to in the synagogue at Antioch, was the fact that it was being PROCLAIMED. Yes, it was being PROCLAIMED! He said, "Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren". Here we read that it was actually being PROCLAIMED by a man who, at one time, was a fervent hater of Christians. Friend, Paul had a vicious zeal to persecute and prosecute those who were children of God through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. But we read in Acts chapter 9, how he was converted on the road to Damascus, after he was contacted and convicted by the voice of the Lord Jesus Christ from Heaven saying, "Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou Me?" It was then that Saul of Tarsus, now the Apostle Paul, cried out, "Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do?"
Friend, Saul's life was changed that day, and he began to tell others of his new-found living, loving, Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. In Acts 9:20 we read, "And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that He is the Son of God." What a shock it must have been to the Jews in the synagogues. Can you imagine the response if a Jew, and former persecutor of Christians, would get up and preach Christ in our synagogues today? Yes, they would be the shortest sermons he would ever preach.
However, it was Paul who declared in Romans 1:16, "For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek." Paul also said in I Corinthians 9:16, "woe is unto me, if I preach not the Gospel !" Friend, if you profess to be a Christian today, please answer these questions. When was the last time you spoke to an unsaved person about your Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ? When was the last time you passed out a Gospel tract? Do your neighbors, co-workers, or classmates know that you're a Christian? And how about your unsaved family members; do they admire you for your testimony? Or are you like so many professing Christians today, failing to tell others of what the Lord Jesus Christ has done for you, and what He can likewise do for them, if they trust Him as their Saviour and Lord?
Listen, my friend, if you don't PROCLAIM the good news of the Gospel, in some way to others, perhaps you're not saved at all. Perhaps you're just a professor of Christ, without being a possessor of Christ. Personally, I don't see how anyone who has escaped the eternal wrath of God, by accepting His Son as their Saviour and Lord, cannot be anxious to tell their unsaved acquaintances how they, too, can be "saved", or "born again". Yes, I've been saved for over 53 years, and I'm still PROCLAIMING, with God's imperative help, man's spiritual ruin, and God's marvelous remedy, through the sacrificial death of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, at Calvary's cross. Friend, if you profess to be saved, remember that there are no "still born" in God's family. There must be the evidence of a spiritual life, or being "born again", by the Holy Spirit and word of God.
Now the second "P in the Pod of Salvation" is the fact that it is a PURCHASED salvation! In our text, Paul said, "that through this Man" salvation is available. Who was the "Man" that the Apostle Paul was referring to? The Lord Jesus Christ, of course! Friend, salvation is only available today through faith in God's ONLY SON, the LORD JESUS CHRIST ! The Apostle Peter declares in Acts 4:12, "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under Heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved." Yes, God's ONLY SON, the LORD JESUS CHRIST, was the only one Who could PURCHASE our salvation. Buddha couldn't do it! Confucius couldn't do it! No, and Muhammad couldn't do it either!
In Acts 20:28, the Apostle Paul reminds the Ephesian elders of their responsibility "to feed the church of God, which He hath PURCHASED with His own blood." And yet again, in I Corinthians 6:19,20, Paul says, "What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are BOUGHT with a price:" and what was that price? the precious shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ at Calvary's cross. In I Peter 1:18,19, we read that we're not redeemed, or PURCHASED, "with corruptible things, as silver and gold, But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a Lamb without blemish and without spot."
Friend, God loved us so much that He willingly sent His ONLY SON, the LORD JESUS CHRIST, into this world to die on the cross for our sins. Yes, He paid a debt He didn't owe, for we who owed a debt we couldn't pay! Hebrews 9:22 tells us that "without shedding of blood is no remission" And the only thing I'm depending upon to take me into God's Heaven, is faith in the value and virtue of the precious blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. Yes, He PURCHASED my salvation by dying for my sins.
The third "P in the Pod of Salvation" is the fact that it is not only a PROCLAIMED and PURCHASED salvation, but it is also a PRESENT salvation! Our text tells us "that through this Man IS PREACHED unto you the forgiveness of sins". The Apostle Paul gave them no guarantee that the salvation being preached then, would also be available in the future. He wanted them to know that they were living in the PRESENT day of God's marvelous grace. And friend, that fact is one of the most basic and important characteristics of God's salvation. In II Corinthians 6:2, we are told quite clearly, "Behold, NOW is the accepted time; Behold, NOW is the day of salvation."
I honestly believe that there are millions of souls in Hell today who had expected to get saved "someday", but their "someday" never came! They were unexpectedly cut down out of time, into a lost eternity! God warns in Hebrews 4:7, "TODAY if ye will hear His voice harden not your hearts." Again in Proverbs 27:1, we read, "Boast not thyself of tomorrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth." Friend, thousands of people awoke this morning and put on their clothes, but a complete stranger at a funeral home will take those same clothes off tonight. Solemn thought, is it not?
Another Scripture verse to keep in mind is found in Proverbs 29:1, "He that being often reproved, hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed AND THAT WITHOUT REMEDY." Friend, once you die without having accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Saviour, your soul will be in Hell and the Lake of Fire for all eternity. There's no "second chance" after you die. If there was, most people would never take the first ! Furthermore, there is no such a place called "purgatory" found in the word of God. You'll either go to Heaven or Hell, for there is no place in between from which your soul can be PRAYED for, or PAID for. I must also add that the fact that you don't believe in a literal Hell, will in no way detract from it's existence. And there's one thing sure, 10 seconds after you die unsaved, you'll have no reason to doubt it! So friend, why not be wise TODAY and receive God's PRESENT salvation?
The fourth "P in the Pod of Salvation" is the fact that salvation is not only a PROCLAIMED, PURCHASED, and PRESENT salvation, but it is also a PERSONAL salvation. In our text, the Apostle Paul says, "Be it known UNTO YOU therefore, men and brethren, that through this Man is preached UNTO YOU the forgiveness of sins." Also, in Acts 13:26, the Apostle declared, "unto YOU is the word of this salvation sent." Friend, you may be reading this message today , yet you, as an individual, may be unmoved by the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Your attitude is one of complete indifference. Yes, you believe that you're on your way to Heaven, if there really is such a place, yet you don't realize it, but you are actually on your way to the place that Jesus Christ called "Hell". Friend, is this you I'm speaking about? Oh! I hope not !
Perhaps you may be highly respected in your community. You're a church-goer, you're a Bible reader, and you pray everyday; but friend, this will never get you into Heaven. You may even be thinking that it is a good thing to have a web site like this to stir up the thief, the drunkard, the drug addict, the harlot, the rapist, the religious hypocrite, or spouse-abuser. Listen my friend, nothing is more PERSONAL than YOUR salvation. It is YOUR soul that YOU should be concerned about. The Lord Jesus Christ told that religious Pharisee named Nicodemus in John 3:7, "Marvel not that I said unto THEE, YE must be born again." In Isaiah 55:3, God says, "Incline YOUR ear and come unto Me: hear and YOUR soul shall live." And in verse 6 of that same chapter 55 of Isaiah, we read, "Seek YE the Lord while He may be found, call YE upon Him while He is near." Yes, and the Lord Jesus Christ is very explicit when he says in both verses 3 and 5 of Luke chapter 13, "except YE repent, YE shall all likewise perish."
Friend, let me repeat the fact that salvation is a highly PERSONAL matter. The salvation of God is being PROCLAIMED to YOU, PERSONALLY and PRESENTLY, so don't you worry about your gossiping neighbor, or drunken spouse. YOU'RE the one who must stand before the Great White Throne of Judgment if YOU die unsaved, or if YOU'RE still unsaved when the Lord returns. And that's the reason I've got this web site, so that I can PROCLAIM God's way of salvation to YOU, as an individual sinner, and trust that the Holy Spirit, using God's word, will bring both conviction and conversion to YOUR soul.
Now as far as your so-called "good works", or religious rituals are concerned, we're told in Isaiah 64:6, that "we are ALL as an unclean thing, and ALL our righteousnesses are as filthy rags." Friend, in Ephesians 2:8,9, we read, "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: NOT OF WORKS, lest any man should boast." Again we're told in Titus 3:5, "NOT by works of righteousness which we have done but according to His mercy He saved us." The Apostle Paul also reminds the Christians, in Romans 4:5, "But to him that worketh not, but believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly, his FAITH is counted for righteousness."
The fifth "P in the Pod of Salvation" is the fact that the Apostle Paul was also PROCLAIMING a salvation which is PRECIOUS . He said, "through this Man is preached unto you THE FORGIVENESS OF SINS: And by Him all that believe are JUSTIFIED from all things." Yes, it is a very PRECIOUS salvation because it both FORGIVES and JUSTIFIES the sinner in the sight of a Holy God. Romans 3:24, tells the Christians that they are "JUSTIFIED freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus." Salvation is also PRECIOUS because it gives us spiritual PEACE with our Heavenly Father, God. In Romans 5:1, we're told, "Therefore being JUSTIFIED by faith, we have PEACE with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." Furthermore, salvation is PRECIOUS because it saves the sinner from the eternal wrath of God. In Romans 5:7, we read concerning those who are saved, "being now JUSTIFIED by His blood, we shall be SAVED FROM WRATH through Him."
Friend, to be "JUSTIFIED", simply means that, in God's sight, once we accept His Son as our PERSONAL Saviour, we are cleared of all guilt, as though we had never sinned at all. It means that we have PEACE with God, because our PROPER relationship and fellowship with our Creator has been restored. And it means that we are PRESERVED from an eternity of suffering the wrath of God in the Lake of Fire. Yes, and we're warned in Hebrews 10:31, that "it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God."
The sixth "P in the Pod of Salvation" is the fact that the salvation being offered today is PLENTEOUS." It is similar to the fourth "P" which told us that salvation is PERSONAL. Our text tells us that salvation is for "ALL THAT BELIEVE". Yes, God's salvation is still available to "whosoever will". And the only PREREQUISITE to you being saved is for you to be convicted of the God-given fact that you are a "whosoever" sinner, who can't do a thing to save your own soul. Friend, if we could do anything to either merit or inherit salvation, then why did the Lord Jesus Christ, God's only Son, suffer, bleed, and die on Calvary's cross? He was our Sovereign Substitute, and the Sinless Sacrifice for the sins of "ALL THAT BELIEVE."
Everyone in the world today is either a "believer", or a "non believer". Listen to the consequences given in John 3:36, "He that BELIEVETH on the Son hath everlasting life; and he that BELIEVETH NOT the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him." Friend are you included in the phrase, "ALL THAT BELIEVE"?
Something else you should remember, is the fact that God gets no pleasure in people not being "believers", and who eventually drop into Hell. Ah, No! In I Timothy 2:4, we read that God would "have ALL men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth." Then, in II Peter 3:9, we're told that God "is longsuffering to us-ward, NOT WILLING THAT ANY SHOULD PERISH, but that ALL should come to repentance."
In the best known verse in the Bible, John 3:16, the Lord Jesus Christ tells us just how PLENTEOUS is God's salvation. He declares, "For God so loved the WORLD, that He gave His only begotten Son, that WHOSOEVER believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." The Apostle Paul reminds us in Romans 10:13 that, "WHOSOEVER shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." Yes, and the Apostle John records for us that last great invitation given by the Lord Jesus Christ in Revelation 22:17, "WHOSOEVER will, let him take the water of life freely."
There is another verse which further defines just how PLENTEOUS is God's salvation. In I John 1:7, we're PROMISED that "the blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, cleanseth us from ALL sin." Friend, God PROMISES that if we accept His Son as our PERSONAL Saviour, He will "cleanse us from ALL unrighteousness;" He will "blot out our sins as with a thick cloud"; He will "hide our sins behind His back"; He will "cast them into the depths of the sea". And if you still need further PROOF of His PLENTEOUS salvation, He PROMISES in Hebrews 10:17, "their sins and iniquities will I remember no more."
Friend, it doesn't make any difference whether you're a pauper or a president; whether you're a thief or a teacher; whether you're a Catholic, Protestant, Jew, Buddhist, Hindu, or Muslim, or anything else, God's PLENTEOUS salvation is being offered to you today. On this web site, so far, I've had people from at least 75 foreign countries log on to read and/or to copy the Gospel Messages. Lately, I've had letters from former Muslims who have professed to be saved after listening to the taped radio messages, or reading them on this web site. Some have received Bibles, tracts, and other printed matter which I've sent to them. I hasten to add that some of those Muslims who professed faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, have been expelled from their homes and, in some cases, have been considered by their families to be "dead". NOW they are children of God! What a PROMOTION !
Now friend, the seventh, and final, "P in the Pod of Salvation" is the fact that God's salvation is PERFECT. Here is the Apostle Paul, a Jew, PREACHING in a synagogue to a company of highly orthodox Jews, and he boldly PROCLAIMS that through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, they could be "justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses." Oh, what courage this man, the Apostle Paul, displayed in the Jew's house of worship. He was telling them that the Lord Jesus Christ could do something that Moses and the law, including the ten commandments and ceremonies, could not do. In John 1:17 we read, "For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ."
Let me just mention a few Scriptures to show the contrast between law and grace, and the PERFECTION found in Christ, alone. In Galatians 2:21 we're told, "if righteousness came by the law, then Christ is dead in vain." Again in Galatians 3:11, we read, "That no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident, for the just shall live by faith." The Apostle Paul is referring to the Lord Jesus Christ, when he wrote in Hebrews 5:9, "And being made PERFECT, He became the Author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey Him." Hebrews 7:19, tells us, "For the law made nothing PERFECT, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh to God."
In closing, let me remind the reader that we are definitely living in the "last days", just prior to the Lord's return. The day of God's grace is quickly drawing to a close. Time is running out, and if you're not saved soon, the likelihood is that you'll not be saved at all. So friend, I plead with you today, in love for your soul, and in view of eternity, to acknowledge that you're a sinner; and we're all sinners. I'm no better than you, and you're no better than me. Yes, just admit that you can't do anything to save your own soul. Then, in simple child-like faith, just believe in your heart that God's Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, loved you so much that He willingly died on the cross for your sins.
Friend, if you'll do that right now, according to God, Who cannot lie, you'll be "born again", you'll be saved, not only for time; but thank God, you'll be saved for all eternity. AND REMEMBER, MY FRIEND, THIS IS FOR ETERNITY !
Evangelist: Minor C. Hawk