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Saturday, November 09, 2002

Edifier du Jour-Acts 16:25-34
25 But about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God, and the prisoners were listening to them; 26 and suddenly there came a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison house were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone's chains were unfastened. 27 When the jailer awoke and saw the prison doors opened, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had escaped. 28 But Paul cried out with a loud voice, saying, "Do not harm yourself, for we are all here!" 29 And he called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas, 30 and after he brought them out, he said, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" 31 They said, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household." 32 And they spoke the word of the Lord to him together with all who were in his house. 33 And he took them that very hour of the night and washed their wounds, and immediately he was baptized, he and all his household. 34 And he brought them into his house and set food before them, and rejoiced greatly, having believed in God with his whole household.
Verses 30-31 sound so much like a archetypal street-preacher, yet that is the PDQ Gospel -Believe in the Jesus, and you will be saved. There was baptism later, but that is something believers do rather than a saving act. Note that believing in Jesus isn't just an acknowledgement of his existence but knowing that he died for us and rose again. Obedience and good works will follow, but they are a result of that salvation rather than a prereq of it. It ain't a long, seven-point thesis with footnotes and citations; it's just believing in God made flesh. Jesus didn't hire the top seminarians of his day to be his inner circle, he called a bunch of simple blue-collar guys to spread the word. Paul's an exception to that rule, for he was a Pharisee’s Pharisee, but this is a simple message (to borrow an old Clay Crosse tune) of a man dying on a cross and saving the world.

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