Salvation is Near
Do you believe that God has a plan for your life? Do you believe that our faith is more than just watching a sermon or participating in a Bible Study? What is our role?
Romans 10, as we should expect, continues to expound upon the victory and splendor of salvation in Christ. Indeed, in this particular chapter, Paul speaks about the misunderstanding of the Jews, who- you remember, have rejected Jesus. We will learn today that Paul is giving a clear message- the Jews who have rejected Jesus will stand before God and have no excuse. The Gospel message is simple and has been proclaimed in order that they and we would hear it and respond in faith.
If you were with us last week when we walked through Romans 9, you will remember that Paul made a case for God’s role in salvation (His sovereignty, His Righteousness, and His Love). Today, we look at our responsibility. By the time we conclude this morning, you will hopefully grasp how you fit in God’s Kingdom plan. In fact, I believe Paul has laid out a formula of sorts that, when put together, describes three essential elements of the genuine disciple-maker. Let us learn together.
The first element Paul shows us is:
A Desire for the Lost to be Saved (1-4)
A Desire for the Lost to be Saved (1-4)
We saw last week Paul’s sorrow over the Jews who had rejected Christ. Today, we see that Paul’s desire - more than anything else, is their salvation.
Paul understood this to be a literal life and death situation- he understood that God isn’t just messing around with mankind. And because he understood the urgency of the situation, he was willing to confront them with honesty.
Here’s what Paul says in 2-3:
They have a zeal for God as they understand Him
In fact, these Jews took very serious the details of the OT Law- they prayed, sacrificed, and held all the traditional feasts, etc.
From the outside, they looked to be a devoted, God-fearing people.
Paul recognized this probably because he himself was a Pharisee who was zealous about all the Jewish traditions and rules.
Yet their zeal was filled with ignorance.
Paul is not saying they were stupid- what he is saying is that they were so determined to earn God’s favor through their own righteousness, that they completely missed God.
They believed that they were right, however and failed to see what God had done.
I’ve met lots of folks who would fit into this kind of category- many of them claim to be Christians! But if their zealous actions show anything it is that they do not have a proper grasp of the Gospel. Now, these folks also range from devout Mormons, JW’s, and Muslims, to people who think that their good deeds will be enough to satisfy God and prevent any condemnation. They are nice people- they do nice things. Some of them are more generous than many Christians I know.
Paul put it this way-(4) Christ is the righteousness that God requires, and His righteousness is available to everyone who believes. The Jews refused to submit themselves to God’s own provision.
The question is, Do I truly desire their salvation? Am I unmoved by the reality of their eternity? Am I concerned enough about them to tell them the truth?
Discuss: Do I genuinely desire to see the lost saved?
I want you to imagine the scene described in
Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.
Friend, does that bother you? Does it disturb you to think that there are people in your neighborhood, at your work, in your school, whose name is not written in the book of life? Does the idea of eternal judgment move you to desire salvation for them?
You and I, as Christian Disciple-makers ought to have a desire to see the lost saved. But this desire is not enough if we have not:
A Right Understanding of Salvation (5-13)
A Right Understanding of Salvation (5-13)
I would venture to say that many of you have a framework for this, but if you are honest, you are not quite as clear on this as you’d hope to be. You know the events - the crucifixion and resurrection… perhaps you even know the right words to say to explain the Gospel, but your actual grasp on salvation and what it means for both now and eternity could stand some strengthening.
Now, as Paul explained, the Jews completely missed this, so he once again refers to the OT to help explain salvation. Here’s what he says:
If you pursue your own righteousness, you will come up short and be found guilty before God.
BUT (read 6-8)
What does this mean? We need to understand what Paul is referring to in Deut. 30: 11-14
Moses said that it is not too difficult nor is it out of reach
In fact, you need not try to go up to heaven in order understand it
Nor do we have to cross the oceans and mountains in search for it
Rather, the Word of salvation is near- in your mouth and in your heart.
Paul goes on to explain what Moses is talking about and that is: That salvation comes through genuine faith- belief in your heart.
When Moses declared this to Israel, he said that this is the difference between life and death, blessing and curse.
And so it was with the Roman church and is with you and I today.
Listen to what he says in
that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved;
This is the simple message of the Gospel. In fact, I just want to pause here for a minute. If you are listening to this message and have not trusted in Christ, pay attention!
This world and everything in it was created by God. And through man’s rebellion sin entered the world and separated us from God. In order to come into His presence we need to be righteous, holy, and pure. But WE CANNOT DO THAT on our own. The work of righteousness was accomplished by Christ! We are all sinners and deserve God’s wrath, but God Himself took the penalty that we deserve in the person of Jesus Christ who died for our sins, and raised on the 3rd day. And if we confess our need and trust in Him, believing that Jesus is the Son of God, the promised Savior, we will be saved!
Our baptism does not save us, the Lord’s supper does not save us, your name on a church role does not save you- it’s through faith in Jesus Christ alone!
C.S. Lewis: What separates Christianity from every other religion: grace. We obey in gratitude and love for the God who saved us, not in order to gain his favor.
Every other religion you have to work to earn favor- Christ said, “It is finished” Done. We love Him and serve Him because He first loved us. Don’t confuse obedience to God for righteousness.
As Tony Evans once said, God’s already sweetened the tea- you don’t have to get unsweet tea and try to add your own sugar (that never works anyway!… makes me feel kinda sad for my friends up north)
And here’s what’s great- This message of salvation is for WHOEVER believes. It doesn’t matter how sinful you are, it doesn’t matter what language you speak, what color your skin is, the kind of job or education you have, it doesn’t matter what kind of clothes you wear or how much money is in your bank account! The Gospel is for WHOEVER - whether you are a drug addict or a business owner, republican or democrat, whether you have tattoos and piercings or whether you wear deodorant or not… Folks, God offers salvation to (13) Whoever will call upon the name of the Lord...
The Gospel is the exclusive message of salvation through Christ alone, yet it is the most inclusive message of hope because it is extended to all.
ILL: This is the conclusion that the German reformer Martin Luther came to as he wrestled with with his own peace with God through the works-based salvation idea set forth in the Catholic church. You see, in that framework, the church claimed control over salvation. But it was in the book of Romans, as Luther studied, that it became evident that salvation was not about tradition or superstition, but through belief in Jesus Christ!
Discuss: How have we misunderstood the Gospel? What needs to change?
The genuine Disciple-Maker has a desire to see lost people saved, has a right understanding of salvation, and finally
A Mouth Sent to Preach (14-15)
A Mouth Sent to Preach (14-15)
Now, some of you are thinking, wait a minute! Are you trying to tell me that only preachers can be disciple-makers? Um, NO! That is NOT what I’m saying.
We need to understand the words here: preach in this text means to proclaim or to tell. Paul is not describing an office or vocation, but rather a witness.
Discuss: What does it mean to preach?
I want you to really take a second here and reflect on this. Do you proclaim the Gospel regularly? Before I go into Paul’s argument, I want to give you a few statements that Jesus made so that you can see our responsibility here:
“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
“Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven. “But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven.
“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.
Without a doubt, we are God’s ambassadors, and so let us walk through the logic that the Apostle Paul gives us here:
I. We have established in v. 13 that salvation is simple and is for whoever will call...
So Paul asks a series of questions that lead us to our conclusion: (SLOWLY READ EACH ONE!)
How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news of good things!”
Do you see the logic? Now let’s work backwards to our point:
It is because people are sent to proclaim the Gospel that
people will hear that Gospel so that they
can believe in the Gospel so that they
can call upon the name of the Lord
You see, God has spoken to man - revealed Himself through Scripture and through the person of Jesus Christ. It is through God’s Word that creation was formed; It was through word that Jesus spoke healing and performed miracles. Likewise, as Paul says in
So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.
How will your friends and family know of the glorious Gospel of Jesus?
Will they stand before God’s throne and receive the penalty they are due- will they look across that great throne room and find your eyes and plead WHY? WHY didn’t you tell me?!!? Or will they rejoice in victory with you for eternity?
The risen Jesus said, in John 20:21 “… As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.”
I’d like to close by reading the words of Charles Wesley’s Hymn “O for a Thousand Tongues”
O for a thousand tongues to sing my great Redeemer's praise, the glories of my God and King, the triumphs of his grace!
My gracious Master and my God, assist me to proclaim, to spread thro' all the earth abroad the honors of your name.
Jesus! the name that charms our fears, that bids our sorrows cease, 'tis music in the sinner's ears, 'tis life and health and peace.
There is good news today- let us share it with the world.
Let us pray.