Sermon on Soteriology | What Must I Do to Be Saved?

What Must I do to be saved?

What Must I Do to Be Saved?

The most important question ever to be asked is, “What must I do to be saved?”

The question was asked three different times in Acts. After Peter convicted the crowd at Pentecost of killing the Messiah, they asked, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” (Acts 2:37). After the great earthquake that occurred in Philippi, the jailer asked Paul and Silas, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” (Acts 16:30). When the Lord appeared to Saul of Tarsus, he asked the Lord, “What shall I do, Lord’?” (Acts 22:10). Each time different responses were given because the individuals were at different places in their obedience.

The question implies that:

There is something to do.

Some groups want us to believe that there isn’t anything to do to be saved. However, the question we are examining this morning implies there is something which must be done.

That man is lost.

Those who are outside of Christ have no hope (Eph. 2:12). Those who are outside of Christ have been separated from God because of their sins (Is 59:2).

This morning, we want to examine the Scriptures and answer the question, “What must I do to be saved?”

We Must Believe

Believing is essential to salvation. Paul and Silas told the Philippian jailer, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:1). “He who believes and is baptized will be saved” (Mk. 16:16). “Whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved. How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed?” (Rom. 10:13-14).

We must believe: That God is (Heb. 11:6) and that That Jesus is the divine Son of God-“If you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins” (Jn. 8:24). God revealed himself to Moses as “I AM” (Ex. 3:14). Here, Jesus literally says, “Unless you believe that I am, you will die in your sins.” Jesus here claims to be divine and claims that unless we believe that we will die in our sins.

Although faith is necessary for salvation, one cannot be saved by faith only. “Faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead” (Js. 2:17). “A man is justified by works, and not by faith only” (Js. 2:24).

Do you believe?

We Must Repent

Repentance is essential to salvation.

When the multitude at Pentecost asked Peter and the other apostles what they should do, Peter replied, “Repent, and be baptized” (Acts 2:38). “Unless you repent you will all likewise perish” (Lk. 13:3, 5). “Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out” (Acts 3:19). God “now commands all men everywhere to repent” (Acts 17:30).

Repentance involves:

Godly sorrow: “Godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation (2 Cor. 7:10). Godly sorrow is regretting that we’ve violated God’s commands. This leads us toward repentance; by itself, it is not repentance.

Changing our actions: When John the Baptist saw the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to him for baptism, he told them, “Bear fruits worthy of repentance” (Matt. 3:7-8). “Fruits of repentance” show that we’ve repented, this is the change in actions that repentance brings. Unless we change our actions, repentance is not complete.

Ambrose of Milan said, “True repentance is to cease from sin.”

Have you repented of your sins?

We Must Confess Our Faith

Confession is essential to salvation.

Matthew 10:32-33. The Ethiopian eunuch told Philip, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God” (Acts 8:37). Romans 10:9-10. Timothy “confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses” (1 Tim. 6:12).

Peter made this same confession (Matt. 16:16-17). Jesus blessed Peter for making this confession. God will save us if we make the same confession.

We Must Be Baptized

Baptism is essential to salvation.

“He who believes and is baptized will be saved” (Mk. 16:16). “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38). “Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord” (Acts 22:16). “There is also an antitype which now saves us—baptism (1 Pet. 3:21).

Some want us to believe that baptism isn’t essential. They say one can be saved by praying and then can be baptized later. Yet, Saul still had his sins after praying for three days (Acts 22:16; Acts 9:9-11).

Acts 2:38 says that baptism is “for the remission of sins.” Some tell us that “for” means “because of;” the meaning of the text would then be that we should be baptized because our sins are already forgiven. Jesus gave his blood for many “for the remission of sins” (Matt. 26:28). If baptism isn’t essential to salvation, neither if Jesus’ death.

If one has been improperly baptized, he needs to be baptized biblically (Acts 19:1-5). Paul encountered some disciples who had been baptized with John’s baptism. They had not been baptized “in the name of the Lord Jesus.” Being baptized “in the name of the Lord Jesus” means by his authority, under his direction. Those who claim to have been saved before baptism have not been baptized the way the New Testament teaches; they need to be baptized again.

Baptism is immersion. That’s what the Greek term means. When Philip baptized the eunuch, they both went down into the water (Acts 8:38).


Once we’ve obeyed the Lord in baptism, we need to be faithful. “Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life” (Rev. 2:10). When Simon fell into sin after becoming a Christian, he was told to repent and pray (Acts 8:18-22). Simon attempted to buy the miraculous measure of the Holy Spirit. Simon’s heart was not right before God; he was told to repent and pray.

Becoming a Christian is urgent. Ananias asked Saul, “And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized” (Acts 22:16). Why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized.

This sermon was originally preached by Dr. Justin Imel, Sr., at the Owingsville church of Christ in Owingsville, Kentucky.

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