We have progressed past the Easter Weekend … past Bloody Friday and Victory Sunday … but we have not and will never pass the effects of that weekend for the believer. I would like you to join me on a seven stage journey that could be called the Seven Wonders for the Believer … or better … the Seven Precious Blessings for the Believer.
Often, we tend to forget who we are and what happened to us through the Lord Jesus Christ. Sadly, this could result in us gravitating back into worldly ways. We can’t lose our salvation if we are truly born again … but we can lose focus of our identity in Christ to the point where we forget we are God’s own, separated for Him and His purposes. When this happens, without losing our general Gospel morality, we easily tend to drift into the forbidden. So, it’s good for you and me to be reminded of who we are and what blessings flow our way because we are in Christ. The first precious blessing for the believer is that you are “saved”. Before we explore this concept, please read Acts 16:22-34:
Ac 16:22 The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten. 23 After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully. 24 Upon receiving such orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks. 25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. 26 Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everybody’s chains came loose. 27 The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. 28 But Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!” 29 The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. 30 He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” 31 They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.” 32 Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. 33 At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his family were baptized. 34 The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God—he and his whole family.’
The first part of the reading is self-explanatory. Paul and Silas landed up in jail because they were serving the Gospel. Once in jail they do not behave as people being punished because their confinement was because of the Gospel. Verse 25 exposes what they did whilst heavily incarcerated … they prayed to God and sang praises to God which caused all the other prisoners to listen up. What a Gospel testimony. Then verse 26 tells us that a “violent earthquake” rocking the prison building. This was supernatural because all the prison doors flung open and everyone’s chains came loose resulting in the jailer wanting to commit suicide for he feared should prisoners escape he would be blamed and face public execution. After Paul calms him assuring him that all the prisoners were accounted for … the jailer gets lights and:
Ac 16:29 rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. 30 He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”
He knew about Jesus because this was a talking point in the City of Philippi. He heard Paul and Silas’ prayers and songs. He witnessed the earthquake, prison doors opening and prisoners stocks (chains) falling off. He witnessed all accounted for. This was supernatural. God was speaking to him and he responds in great fear! “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” There was fear and panic … the true God was at work and he had better get right with this God.
Paul and Silas respond.
Ac 16:31 They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.”
Surrender to Jesus … but there was more … they did not just tell him what to do they told him why he needed to do it:
Ac 16:32 Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house.
A clear explanation of the Gospel and its requirements were taught … and then faith and salvation are proved:
Ac 16:33 At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his family were baptized. 34 The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God—he and his whole family.
Wounds were washed; he and the family demonstrated faith in Jesus through baptism; a celebratory meal was enjoyed and there was great joy. Now consider yourself. You are not the jailer nor are you Paul or Silas in prison. There is no earthquake and you are not living under the persecution of an aggressive city’s leadership. But if you are a Christian, the principles the jailer went through are true for you as well.
You heard the Gospel message in one way or the other. Maybe it was someone praying or another singing. Most likely it was through hearing the Gospel preached … or you read the Bible or someone shared their conversion testimony with you. You were convicted. Maybe the fear was not shaped as the jailer … but there was fear because you realized you were on the wrong side of a Holy God! You queried what to do … because on your own you did not know exactly how to go about making right with God. Not only were you told to repent and believe. You were taught the basic requirements of what is entailed in following Jesus. The costs of repentance; being rejected by loved ones and friends; repentance was explained; the new life in Christ and holy living through church, prayer and Bible reading were shown. And like the jailer you were filled with joy, demonstrating your faith through identification with Christ and good deeds because of salvation.
Dear God, thank You for saving my soul through Your Gospel message. Thank You for the joy of knowing Jesus as Lord and the assurance of heaven with You one day. Amen.