Calling Out

CALLING OUT

For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. 

Romans 10:13

         So how can there be any confusion about the way of salvation?  Calling on the Lord, plus nothing, brings salvation.  Paul doesn’t tell me to do ten things and then come and call on the Lord.  I bring nothing but my plea.

         How can any person living on this broken earth not believe that there is a need for salvation?  Evil is everywhere.  It is so obvious that something is wrong, even as we look within ourselves and see our anger, entitlement, and self-righteousness.  Self-help books abound and they abound because no self-help strategy has ever worked to eradicate evil and bring lasting righteousness.  Continue reading “Calling Out”

Test of Admission

TEST OF ADMISSION

For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.  Romans 10:10

         Confession for the early church (and ultimately for me) was important because the times were perilous for Christians.  To admit that you were a disciple of Christ was to potentially sign a death warrant.  A person didn’t play at Christianity like it’s easy to do today in a country where Christianity might even bring power, opportunity, and prestige.

         Still, I don’t want to underestimate the cost, even today, for so many.  There are those who are hated in families, scorned and cast out, just because they love Christ and put His ways over the sacred family way of doing things.  To proclaim an allegiance to Jesus over father and mother can carry heavy consequences.  Continue reading “Test of Admission”

In Front Of Family And Friends

IN FRONT OF FAMILY AND FRIENDS

If you shall confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in your heart that God has raised him from the dead, you shall be saved.  Romans 10:9

            Did you ever date someone you knew your family wouldn’t like or approve of?  Chances are, you dated in secret.  There was a lot of shame involved.  Fear kept you from bringing that person home to meet the family.  You hid how often you saw this person, how strongly you felt about the relationship, and just prayed no one would ask any questions.

            This is how many ‘believers’ feel about Jesus.  They made a closet decision to embrace Him but then they keep it a secret.  They are afraid of what others might say if they openly disclose their love for Him.  He’s like a shameful date where they must keep the object of their affection out of sight.  Continue reading “In Front Of Family And Friends”

Danger of Familiarity

DANGER OF FAMILIARITY

But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim);  because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  Romans 10:8-9

Gospel language is familiar in so many parts of our world.  In our country alone, all one has to do is turn on a sitcom, or listen to a popular prime time interviewer, to hear them use terms like “Christian,” “born-again,” “saved,” etc.  Extended members of our family, hostile to Christ, have watched Billy Graham more than a few times and mock the terminology he uses during the invitation.  The Word is surely ‘near them’ and unless they open their hearts to Christ, they are without excuse.

I am shocked by how many movies and television programs make Christianity an open target in their material.  Pieces of scripture are quoted out of context and always with disrespect.  Those who follow Christ are portrayed as horribly out of step with the times.

Never has the Gospel been more available with the Internet and fun gadgets like iPads, iPhones, Kindles, E-books, and Bible apps.  But not all who know the lingo know the Savior.  The word is near them, even very familiar to them, but knowing it and confessing Christ as Lord with sincerity of heart is a completely different matter.

Is there such a thing as a closet Christian?  What about the one who won’t associate with Christians and says that he privately believes?  That makes me nervous, I have to tell you.  Stating an allegiance without apology makes it real.  Oh, the power of speaking what is in the heart.  It has an effect on the one who speaks it and it definitely penetrates the conversation one has with others.

In this post-Christian era, I can’t afford to hide.  I shouldn’t mince words either.  Prayers for boldness, shared words with others that are heart driven; these have always been the hallmarks of God’s servants who go out and change the world.

Where can I speak where I’ve been shy?  Show me.  Amen

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Giving up Is A Good Thing Sometimes

GIVING UP IS A GOOD THING SOMETIMES

The righteousness based on faith says, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’ ” (that is, to bring Christ down)   “or ‘Who will descend into the abyss?’ ” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead).  Romans 10:6

         Think of someone you know who is a bit deluded and out of touch with reality.  Have that person in mind?  Now, imagine asking them later this morning, “What are your plans today?”  Their answer, “Two things are on my list.  First, I plan to make a trip to heaven to bring Jesus down to earth.  If that doesn’t work, I’ll assume He’s dead and go down into the belly of the earth and retrieve Him that way.”  I think you’ll be calling 911.

         These examples are preposterous.  Yet, these are the lengths Paul goes to ~ to make sure I understand that believing that God will just accept me outside of Christ is as ludicrous as believing that I can plan a trip to heaven or hell and make it happen.  Continue reading “Giving up Is A Good Thing Sometimes”

The Law Was A Pointer

THE LAW WAS A POINTER

For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.  Romans 10:4

         The Law was never an end unto itself.  It was designed by God to be fulfilled in Christ.  The sacrifices that were made were just pointers to the once-and-for-all sacrifice of Christ.  He gave His life as the perfect Lamb – doing away forever with the need to sacrifice anything else.  He was morally perfect and because of that, He was the only One who could fulfill the law and forgive sin.

         Yet everyday, people live as if the law still exists and as if, by keeping it, God is appeased.

         Unbelievers live their lives by a self-made set of scales.  They perceive bad deeds on the one side and good deeds on the other.  By ‘keeping the law’ enough times, their good deeds outweigh the bad and earn them God’s favor and an eternal home in heaven.  The problem is, God never suggested this exercise in morality.  Continue reading “The Law Was A Pointer”

Zealous But Lost

For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge.  Romans 10:2

To many, zeal counts for everything.  Zeal means sincerity and in our present day society, it is believed that if one is sincere, then a person is entitled to whatever opinion they hold.

Paul would be the first one to tell us that zeal can be misguided.  No one was more passionate to protect the Jewish traditions of his spiritual fathers than Paul.  So much so, that he hunted down followers of Jesus.  He believed them to be heretics.  His zeal was commendable but it worked against the purposes of the God he believed he loved.

I have known a few pastors and Christian leaders who were so zealous to protect their people from the influence of ‘what they considered’ liberal views on lifestyle preferences, that they considered a large sector of the body of Christ enemies. Nasty letters, disparaging remarks from the pulpit and in print; these may have convinced their followers that their zeal was commendable but it was really misguided.

My zeal, my passion, must be surrendered to Christ.  I want to be passionate about truth but not so passionate about peripheral issues that I alienate the body of Christ.  Zeal must cause me to pick my battles carefully, prayerfully, to make sure I feel strongly about the things that Jesus feels strongly about.  Much of the things I’m zealous for may just arise out of personal baggage.  This is the ‘zeal – not according to knowledge.’

         Passion is a stunning thing when it is pure.  But when it is not, it can  leave a wake of bodies in its path.

Am I passionate about the right things?  Is my passion holy?  Only You can tell me.  Amen

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