(Acts 2:38 ) “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.”
I’ve heard of Ziz Zigler’s “Seven Steps to Success,” and I’ve read about Dale Carnegie’s “How To Win Friends And Influence People,” with his nine steps to being a leader, and I’ve listen to those that tell me that life’s longest journey begins with one step. I’ve heard that it can be dangerous to walk in someone else’s footsteps, and sometimes it can be good. I’ve studied Charles Swindoll’s, “Three Steps Forward And Two Steps Backward.”
After reading and studying this literture, and after hear many people’s philosophies, I am persuaded to believe that there is no steps made as important as the steps that will be made toward God and Salvation. When you make steps toward God and Salvation, you are walking toward the promise land of the believers paradise, the heaven of rest for storm tossed souls, a garden of Eden for human wrecks, a shelter from the lightings and thunderings of a world that’s gone bad.
Early one morning fire broke out in a house on a narrow street. The alarm was sounded by a policeman on duty. Before the fire engines could get to the scene, however, flames were leaping high into the air. Suddenly a young man appeared at an upper window in his pajamas. Firemen quickly placed a ladder against the burning building. But to the consternation of all, he refused to come down, shouting back that he had to get dressed first. The firemen pleaded, “Come as you are! Come as you are!” but to no avail. From below they tried to ascend the stairs, but were turned back as the wind fanned the flames into fury. When a rescuer tried to enter through a window, the heat and smoke forced him away. Suddenly the stairs gave way and the roof fell in. The man had waited too long and was buried beneath the ruins.
How much greater tragedy awaits all who refuse to “flee from the wrath to come.” Many reject God’s provision of salvation and safety in Christ because they want to get dressed up in the clothes of self- righteousness or religion. Their delay could cost them their souls. But they can make three simple steps and find God and Salvation.
“Salvation” is the generic term employed in Scripture to express the idea of any gracious deliverance of God, but especially of the spiritual redemption from sin and all it’s consequences predicted by the Old Testament prophets, and realized in the mission and work of the Saviour, Jesus Christ.
Men have sinned and need a Saviour, they need Salvation. Men need something that will lift them from the cesspool of the degenerating nature of sin. Men need something that will lift them from the dishonorable plains of debauchery to the heavenly heights of the spiritual. And I know of nothing that can do this work in a persons life except God and Salvation. And Salvation is within reach of every man, woman, boy, and girl. Yes! God has made sure of it, He’s not far from where ever you are.
I. THE FIRST STEP YOU WILL TAKE TOWARD SALVATION IS FAITH:
Heb. 11:6 “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”
A. You must believe He is.
1. In the present tense, not was, not will be, but now. He is
available to you, for your needs, at this very moment.
(Luke11:9-10)”And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you;
seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.
“For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth;
and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.”
B. You must believe that He is a rewarded
1. To those that seek.
2. To those that believe.
II. THE SECOND STEP TO SALVATION IS REPENTANCE:
All translations of the scriptures use the word “repent” in Acts 2:38 with the exception of the Calothic Bible and it uses the words “Do penance.” There is a great difference in the two. According to Webster’s New World Dictionary, repent means “To feel sorry for sin.” The same dictionary says that “penance” means “a voluntary self-punishment to show repentance.”
God is not interested in our ability to show, but in our ability to feel.
If repentance is just words God will not forgive. It is when we feel sorry for sin, and ask for forgiveness, that God forgives.
A Sunday School teacher once asked a class what was meant by the word “repentance.” A little boy put up his hand and said, “It is being sorry for your sins.” A little girl also raised her hand and said, “And it is feeling sorry enough to quit.”
The prodical son, in Luke 15, could have talked about going home until his throat became sore. But his father would never came to meet him in the hog pen with him just talking. It was when he let his feelings guide him into repentance that his father met him, and welcomed him home.