The calling of the jailer.
I still have a few sermons of H. Hoeksema that I haven’t listened to so this morning was an opportune time to do that. I am always edified when I listen to him expand upon Scripture, in this case these two and what led to the jailer asking: “What must I do to be saved”?
There is wonder in the calling of the jailer, wonder in the Sovereign Grace of God displayed for us in this passage in Scripture. He was a heathen (I can relate to that) and knew nothing of the Christ or salvation. Perhaps he had heard Paul and Silas singing hymns that night and praying to God, but it was the jailer that night who was the object of the calling of God. We can always rest assured that not one will be lost of the elect of God.
There was 4 elements in the calling of the jailer:
The despair of the jailer
The outcry of the jailer
Preaching of the Gospel
The natural earthquake, the time the place and the effects were wrought by God for a special purpose. In His providence, the jail was not destroyed, only the doors were opened and the bands of the prisoners were loosed, giving them the opportunity to escape, leading us to the jailer’s despair.
He was asleep when the earthquake came and supposing the prisoner’s had fled he was despairing and on the brink of suicide, but Paul called to him and said, “Do yourself no harm, for we are all here”. It is the response of the jailer where we see the work of God’s Grace in his heart for his outcry is “What must I do to be saved”?
HH tells us that the outcry came from the real earthquake in the jailer’s heart and soul as the Kingdom of God broke through the power of sin and death and Christ woke him and spoke “Awake thou that sleepest, arise from the dead and Christ shall give you light”. There had been an earthquake in his soul called regeneration, the same earthquake that every elect child of God will have in their soul sometime in their life. It may be from your youth as with Timothy; it may be as a heathen as with the jailer, it may be, as a persecutor of the people of God, such as Paul, but every one of us will have the same outcry in our heart. It is then that we will ‘hear’ the Gospel as preached to the jailer, the Words of life and we will believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.
When the earthquake comes, we will be delivered out of the greatest evil. We will be delivered from sin and from unrighteousness, in one word we will be delivered from death. We WILL believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. It is then than we will know that we are partakers of the highest good. Out of death, into life, out of unrighteousness into righteousness, out of darkness into light, that is our salvation.
Thus when Christ speaks to our heart, we don’t say “I must believe” or 'I’m saved on condition that I believe', no, when Christ speaks to our heart we say “I do believe” and the fruit of the salvation wrought for us eternally and at the cross, the fruit of the earthquake in our soul is the gift of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. The faith that brings us assurance that we belong to our faithful Savior Jesus Christ, both in life and in death, the faith in the soul that clings to Christ alone.
The jailer was delivered that night and Christ became his light, his fullness and his righteousness, just as He is ours.