Jump Start # 2525
Acts 22:10 “And I said, ‘What shall I do, Lord?’ And the Lord said to me, ‘Arise and go into Damascus; and there you will be told of all that has been appointed for you to do.’”
A simple question, “What shall I do?” That question shows responsibility. Something must be done. Something must be done by us. In our verse today, Saul, also known as Paul, is asking the question. He was on a mission to wipe out Christians. He had letters with him giving him permission to bring back to Jerusalem man or woman who believed in Jesus. Saul was focused, intent and was going to do what it seemed that no one else was doing. He was going to put an end to this growing menace that claimed Jesus was the resurrected Messiah.
On his journey to Damascus, God had enough. A vision came to Paul. Jesus appeared. Paul didn’t fully understand who Jesus was or what was going on. And, it is here that Paul asks, “What shall I do?”
Other times in Acts the question is asked, “What must I do?” Same thought. Same question. And, that question takes us to some observations:
First, God expects us to do something. That’s life. Only the young get a pass. A little child knocks over a glass of milk and it’s the adults that coming running with paper towels to clean it up. He can’t. He’d make things worse. But for the rest of us, responsibility demands we do something. Not to jump into the muddy pool of politics, but this is one of the strongest arguments against socialism. A college student takes out loans to pay for their education. Yet, that student wants someone else to pay for those loans. Where does this end? Car loans? Some else pays for them. Mortgages? Someone else pays for them. Crimes? Someone else pays for them. The only time this really worked is with our salvation. Jesus did pay for our sins. He did so because we couldn’t. We were incapable of making right the wrongs we have done.
This thought transfers to other areas of our spiritual life. God expects us to grow and excel spiritually. It’s not the church’s job to do that. It’s not up to sermons to do that. I must be doing things myself. What must I do? Open the Bible. Turn the TV off. Put on your thinking cap. Put yourself into those passages. Learn. Become.
Second, doing something in regards to salvation really bothers some. They see it as a means of work, or earning your salvation. That idea is so disagreeable in their thinking, that the have concluded that we do nothing. God does it all. We sit back and enjoy the ride. That takes all obligation, responsibility and duty away from us and puts it completely upon God. Now, that seems very lopsided. We are sinners because we chose to sin. We are saved, in the thinking of some, because God chose to save us. Salvation falls squarely upon God, not us. If we go to Heaven, it’s because of God and only God. If we don’t, it’s because of God and only of God.
Yet, over and over, we find not only our question, “what shall I do?” but also the compelling need to believe. If we have no faith, we will not make it. God doesn’t give us faith. He gives us the reasons to believe. He shows us the consequences if we do not believe. But having faith, is up to us. That’s doing something. That is a responsibility upon our part. What must I do? You have to believe. No one is going to make you believe. No one is going to force you to believe. The devil will give you every reason not to believe. He’ll surround you with hundreds of people who do no believe. They are having the time of their life. They don’t need to believe, they believe. This is why Jesus sent the apostles into all the world. They were to preach and give evidence that Jesus was the Son of God. Believing what was preached would change lives.
Third, if one really believes, then he will do what that faith tells him. God told Noah about the coming flood. He told him to build the ark. Hebrews 11 states that by faith Noah prepared the ark. His faith led him to do what God said. Again, this is doing something. What shall I do, is the question. The answer, I must do what God’s word tells me. If I believe that Jesus is the righteous Savior and that I have sinned, then something must be done. I can’t stay the course that I am on. That path messed me up. That path took me away from God. I have to change directions. I have to turn around. Biblically, we call that repentance. We stop the sinning. We decide to live better. We choose to follow Christ. Now, is that doing something? Yes. What must I do? I’ve got to stop living the way that I have been.
Fourth, I must be immersed for the remission of my sins. That’s what Paul was told. That’s what the audience who heard Peter preach were told. Baptized. Baptized for the remission of our sins. Water salvation some declare. Salvation by works others say. Yet, it takes a cleansing element to get things the way they should be. You don’t turn on the dishwasher without first putting in the soap pod. You don’t just spray your car with water, to get it clean. You get out the bucket and with soapy water, you wash it clean. It takes the blood of Jesus to cleanse us from our sins. Where do we get that blood? It’s through the act of baptism that we obey the Lord in faith and God cleanses us. That’s doing something. Yes, it is. That’s earning salvation. No, it’s not. That’s works. So. Not all works are wrong. Not all works fall under the category of earning something. Jesus was baptized. Jesus taught baptism. Jesus says we need to be baptized. Jesus wants us to be baptized. Now, am I going to dig my heels in and declare “I’m not going to do it.”
The very man who asked, “What shall I do?” was baptized for the remission of his sins. Just read through the book of Acts. You will not find anyone who was saved without baptism. You will not find anyone who was called a Christian who was not baptized. If they believed, they were baptized.
God’s grace is available to all of us. Yet, not all of us will be saved. Why? It’s not because of God. He wants everyone to be saved. If it’s not because of God, then it must be on our doorsteps. It’s up to us. What shall I do, implies that there is something to be done. There is something that we can do.
Are you living any which way you want with the expectation that when this life is all over, God will swing the gates of Heaven open just for you. You didn’t have to follow Him. You didn’t have to worship Him. You didn’t have to obey Him. You didn’t have to do anything. Really? Can you find a verse that brought you to that conclusion? One is more likely to believe in the Easter bunny that that.
What shall I do? God’s got things for you to do. Are you aware of that? Are you doing them?