And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?…
It puts into a single sentence the great cry of the human soul. And yet see how difficult it is to get the soul to realize this its greatest need, and to utter this its greatest cry.
I. MANY OF YOU ARE NOT QUITE SURE YET THAT YOU NEED TO BE SAVED. That is the gravest hindrance to the preaching of Christ to you. You attach very little meaning to the expression. You say, "Saved! Saved from what?" You need to be saved from two things:
(1) the penal consequences of your sin; and
(2) the moral power of your sinfulness.
That is, you need to be saved from all that is gathered up in the word hell, and from all that is gathered up in the word self. You are not your own; you are a creature of God's. Your first duty is to love, trust, and obey God. To help you God has made his will known with sanctions. Do you think he will fail to keep his sanctions? His "Law is holy, his commandment is holy, and just, and good; and The soul that sinneth, it shall die. Moreover, you are as one stricken with a foul disease, the leprosy of sinfulness, You need to be saved from a foulness that pollutes you, from delusions which vainly seek to shatter you, and from bondages which you are powerless to break. How can a. man be just before God, a sinful man be clean in the presence of his Maker? Verily you need to be saved.
II. EVEN WHEN AROUSED TO ANXIETY, MANY TURN ANYWHERE FOR REFUGE RATHER THAN TO CHRIST. Many are like Lot - they will not do just what the angel-messenger commands, they will seek for some little city near to which they may flee; but there are no Zones now for seeking sinners, they must flee to the mountain. Show some of the subtle refuges in which awakened souls try to find shelter and rest; e.g. waiting for deeper conviction; intenser effort to make themselves good; devotion to the externalities of religion; expecting to get more feeling, etc.
III. EVEN WHEN DRIVEN FROM OTHER CONFIDENCES, AND LED TO CHRIST, MANY OF US CAN SCARCELY BE SATISFIED WITH "ONLY BELIEVE." The very simplicity of the gospel terms of salvation we turn into a hindrance. Yet this is the gospel - God, of his free mercy, is willing to pardon, deliver, and receive all who seek him, solely on the ground of what his Son has done for them, and is in relation to them. And God is pleased to make their justification depend on their believing in his Son. "God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life," etc. "By this Man is preached unto us the forgiveness of sins." Does any man now ask, "What must I do to be saved?" The old answer is ever new, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved." - R.T.
Parallel VersesKJV: And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?