You can find the “ABC’s of Salvation” in a variety of forms on the internet.  What’s below is how I preached them at the end of my message on Easter Sunday, 2014.  I’ve tried to present these in a way that acknowledges some of our Lutheran distinctives.

A. Admit that you need God.

Some of you are just trying to do life without God.  You think you’ve “got this” all by yourself.  How’s that working for ya?  If you haven’t already, you will encounter something in life that is going to break you and bring you to your knees and show you that you need someone stronger.  And more that that, you need someone better than you.  The Bible says …

No one is good—except God alone (Luke 18:19, NIV).

We know that’s true, because the Bible tells us …

All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23, NIV).

In other words, none of us is good enough to please God or earn eternal life on our own merit. We may not be as bad as the next guy, but the next guy’s not your standard.  God’s perfection is.  And you need to admit, that if it depends on you alone, you come up empty handed.  You need God.

B. Believe in him.

Jesus said …

“I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die;and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26, NIV).

You say, “that’s too easy!”  But why is it that we think that for something powerful to happen, it has to be all magical? – thank you Harry Potter.  We think we have to have the right skills, the right spell, the right supplies, before something dramatic can occur.  But we see a man in the OT cured of leprosy just because he believed enough to get off his horse and wash in the Jordan. (see 2 Kings 5, particular attention to v. 13)  So when Jesus tells Martha, “anyone who believes in me will live” … it’s so simple a child can do it, it’s so accessible that it’s available to everyone – yet it’s so powerful it saves lives.  Believe!

C. Be Cleansed/Claimed in the waters of Baptism.  

Jesus says plainly,

“He who believes and is baptized will be saved.”  (Mark 16:16, NIV).

But baptism is more than a ritual.  It’s not about something you do, but about something God is doing TO you… It’s about Him placing His Name on you and claiming you as His child, and cleansing you of your sin.

How can a little water do such powerful things?  There’s that faith-thing again.  But the One who told us to be baptized, is also the One who rose from the grave, and is also the One who says – give me your hard heart, and I will give you a new heart (Ezekiel 36:26), and make you a new creation!  The old has gone the new has come. (2 Corinthians 5:17) The Name of God, the forgiveness of sins, a fresh start and a new heart that is restored to God… all of that is yours in Baptism!

So what are you waiting for?  Do you still have questions?  I’d love to hear your comments and questions – just click “comment” on this blog, or send me an email.  And if you’re ready to be baptized – that’s great!  Come to Redeemer by the Sea, or find a Bible-believing church, where the Word is preached in its purity and Truth, and the Sacraments are rightly administered, and ask about baptism.  Let me know how I can help you in your spiritual journey.  May you respond to the Lord’s invitation… Come!

In The Name of Jesus!

– Pastor Augie.