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Dr. John Montgomery






1372 Lane Avenue South

Jacksonville, Florida 32205

A Bit About Me

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Sermon Notes

Sermon Notes

January 14, 2024

“What Must I Do?”

Acts 16:24-34

John W. Montgomery, DD

In the movie Shawshank Redemption, Andy Dufresne is wrongfully convicted of a crime and sent to prison. He is a model prisoner and was recruited by the Warden to do some creative banking, so he had access to the Warden’s office. On one occasion, Andy came upon a recording of Mozart’s music, so he locked himself in the warden’s office and played one of Mozart’s pieces over the prison public address system. For a moment in that ugly place, every prisoner was transformed by the music. As a consequence of his indiscretion, Andy was locked up in solitary confinement for a month. When he was released back into the general prison population, his friend asked him how he survived. Andy said, “I had Mr. Mozart to keep me company.” The music playing in his mind could not be confined by even the darkness and dankness of solitary confinement.

In our passage today, Paul and Silas have been arrested. They were beaten with whips and thrown into jail for preaching the gospel of Christ. That night, an earthquake broke their bonds and destroyed the jail.

How did they respond? In Acts 16:22- 25, we learn they were praying and singing hymns to God. ”The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten with rods. 23 After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully. 24 When he received these orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks. 25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.

The greatest question that everyone must answer is - "What must I do to be saved?" This is man’s greatest question. And God’s greatest answer is found in Acts 16:31 - "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved." 


The jailer, in despair, because he thought his prisoners had escaped, "drew out his sword and would have killed himself." Paul called out to him and assured him that the prisoners were still there.

Paul and Silas "spoke unto him the Word of the Lord." (Vs. 32) The jailer soon learned that the Lord Jesus is "the author of eternal salvation." He immediately "turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God." He was saved!

The jailer’s life was changed immediately – "the same hour". The jailer "washed their stripes," the wounds Paul and Silas had received in their flogging. He "was baptized, sat meat before them and rejoiced." HE WAS CHANGED!!

Just as this Philippian jailer, you too, need to be saved. Look at the change in this man overnight. From despair and on the brink of suicide, he found joy, fulfillment, and eternal salvation in Jesus Christ. From being one of the persecutors, he turned to being one of the comforters. This Philippian jailer cried out "What must I do to be saved?" 

Let’s look at how the Bible answers this question simply and clearly.

1. The Need to be Saved, v30-31

“He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”  31 They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved…”

Before anyone can be saved, they must see and admit their need to be saved. Have you ever been saved? Do you have eternal life? Have you ever been born again? Will you honestly admit to yourself that you need to be saved? You will never be saved until you admit your need and knowledge that you are lost. Why does a person need to be saved? They need to be saved because they are a sinner before a just and holy God.

2. The Fact of Sin, Romans 3:23; 6:23

What does the Bible say about every human being on earth including you?

Romans 3:23 – “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God." "All have sinned" includes you, me, and everyone.

What is sin? God answers, "All unrighteousness is sin." That is, all wrong, or evil which we all have done is sin.

1 John 1:8 says, "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us." 

Because you and I have sinned, without Christ, we stand guilty before God. But God offers salvation and forgiveness if the sinner will admit his sin. The question is - Will you admit that you are a sinner? 


3. The Penalty of Sin, Romans 6:23

"For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." 

"The wages of sin is death." Wages are the payment you get for work; death is the pay you get for sin. Death means separation from God, being cut off. The penalty of death passed upon all men for that all have sinned- 

Romans 5:12 – “Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people because all sinned”.

This death manifests itself in 3 ways:

Our Present Condition is Death.

If you are not saved, God says you are spiritually dead. This is the present death of a lost person.

Ephesians 2:1, 3 says, "As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient”. 

Ephesians 2:4-5 says, "But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved”.

Our Future Physical Death

Hebrews 9:27 says, "It is appointed unto men once to die."

Why do people physically die? Because all have sinned. Everyone must face physical death and then the judgment. Death is no respecter of persons. This can happen to you at any time. Physical death is the curse and proof of sin.

Our Eternal Death

The unsaved person at God’s Judgment will experience what the Bible calls "the second death." If you die lost in your sins you will be with those who "have their part in the lake of fire – this is the SECOND DEATH." This death is permanent and everlasting.

But you do not have to experience spiritual death; you do not have to be separated from God forever. God wants you to be saved from eternal death. Jesus said in John 5:24 - "He that heareth my word, and believeth on Him that sent me, hath everlasting life and shall not come into condemnation, But is PASSED FROM DEATH UNTO LIFE!" 


Eternal life is a gift; it cannot be earned. It cannot be obtained by "works, lest any man should boast." Ephesians 2:8 says, "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God." 

God now offers you this gift of eternal life. Jesus suffered, bled, died, and paid the debt for your sin in your place. To be saved you must, by faith, accept this payment. If you want to be forgiven of sin and have eternal life, receive Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord.

4. The Payment God Made for Sin, Romans 5:8

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

Christ paid the penalty for your sin on the cross. Because the wages of your sin is death, Jesus died for you. On the cross, Jesus poured out his blood, "shed for many for the remission of sins." He did this so that "by the grace of God" He "should taste death for every man." Do you believe God made payment for your sins in Christ’s death for you on the cross?

The love of God leads to Repentance, Romans 2:4 says – “Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance, and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance? ”. Repentance is a radical change of the mind, the heart, and the direction of your life. It is shown in "godly sorrow" which leads you to "turn from idols to serve the living and true God". You must turn from sin unto the Savior for salvation.

Jesus says in Luke 13:3 – “…But unless you repent, you too will all perish.”

Acts 3:19 says, "Repent ye, therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out."

God is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance."             

2 Peter 3:9 says, “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead, he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”

5. Confessing Christ as your Savior brings Salvation, Romans 10:9-13.

“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. 11 As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.” 12 For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, 13 for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”  Romans 10:9-13

"What must I do to be saved?" This is your greatest question. The answer is - "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.” This is God’s greatest answer.

Be saved now! Jesus is the only way. He has done all that is necessary through the cross. He lives and draws you to Him NOW. You must receive and trust Him as your personal Savior.


It is apparent that none of us are incarcerated at the moment. But the fact that we are not locked up somewhere does not mean that we do not have our own dark places. Our trials are more likely to take the shape of circumstances related to our relationships with our spouse or our children. Our trials are more likely to arise from a challenging workplace or the desperate need for a workplace. Our trials are more likely to be related to health concerns or financial crises or grief over the loss of a loved one. Our trials may likely center around depression or addiction or emotional or physical abuse.

But if there is anything to be learned today it is this - whatever the circumstance, we may celebrate the presence of God and the reality of grace sufficient for every trial. We can sing. We can bear witness to the deep, down inner joy in our souls. We can be a transforming witness to the grace of God.

John 1:12 says, “Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—”

If you would like to receive Christ as your personal Savior, let me invite you to pray this prayer” - Dear Lord Jesus, I am a sinner and I invite you to come into my heart and forgive me of my sins. You died on the cross, was buried and on the third day was resurrected from the grave. I surrender my life to follow you from this day forward. Thank you for coming into my heart today.

If you prayed this prayer, I urge to do 3 important things that will help you in your new life in Christ.

First, begin reading God’s Word every day. I would recommend that you begin reading the Gospel of John.

Second, talk to God throughout your day in prayer. Jesus now lives in your heart, and He is there to help you in every area of your life.

Third, join a Bible-believing Church where you can grow spiritually and fellowship with other believers.

God bless you as you continue to grow in Christ.

Message Preached at

 Cedar Creek Baptist Church

 Jacksonville, Florida 32205

January 14, 2024














Sermon Notes is a Ministry of the Cedar Creek Baptist Church,

1372 Lane Avenue South, Jacksonville, Florida 32205 – 

Live Stream our Worship – YouTube@CedarCreekBaptistChurch

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