September 3, 2017
Romans 10:9-12, 14-17, 1 Peter 2:9
The last three weeks we have looked at the trinity. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Today, we are going to look at the confessor which is you and me. Now, when you hear the word, “confess” what do you think of? Probably someone who is confessing to doing something. Maybe a parent asking their kid what they did, and the kid in turn confesses to the wrong that he committed.
That’s not the type of confession we are talking about today. We want to focus on confessing or declaring who our God is. And what we are going to see is that confessing who is God is extremely importantly not just for others, but for you as well. And here’s why: everyone spends eternity somewhere. Either heaven or hell. So why does confessing matter in the 21st century?
It is necessary.
We are in Romans 10 this morning. Romans was a letter written by Paul around 57-58 ad. Paul had never visited the church there, but he desperately wanted to. Someone else had carried the message of Jesus to Rome and started a church. Paul’s intent was to correct some errors that had popped up in the church, but also to encourage them to grow in the love and forgiveness of Jesus because it is only through that message that they would be saved. Here’s what he says in verse 9
9 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.
These first three verses are jammed backed with importance and so we are going to take them one at a time. Paul addresses right away why it is important to confess God. It’s because when you confess with your mouth, and you believe in your heart that God raised Jesus from the dead, you will be saved. You can’t just give lip service. It has to be planted and trusted in your heart. And when you believe in your heart in Jesus, you will be saved Paul says.
How? Because Jesus, God himself, became man to live under his own law, the same law you and I live under, and he lived perfectly. You and I we struggle with keeping God’s law. In fact, we can’t keep it. But Jesus came, and he earned perfection. He earned righteousness and holiness. Then, by his own choice, he suffered the death for our many sins. And God raised him from the dead proving that God the Father accepted his work.
There’s a story of a 4-year-old girl who had a rare blood disease. The disease was going to kill her if they didn’t find someone with the same blood type as her who had overcome the disease themselves. It just so happened that her 7-year-old brother had gone through the same blood disease, except he miraculously survived it. One afternoon, the doctor asked the brother if he’d be willing to give his blood to his sister so that she could heal. The boy hesitated for a moment as his lower lip started to quiver just a little bit, but he said yes. So they got the cots ready and started the blood transfusion. As the blood was entering his sister, it was as if you could see her getting stronger as the disease was leaving her because of her brother’s blood. The color was coming back to her pale face. There was a brief smile on the boy’s face as he saw that, but then he turned to the doctor and said, “How much longer until I die?” The boy thought that he was giving up his life so that his sister could live.
See, that’s what Jesus did for you. He gave you his blood. The only difference is that he did die, and he knew he was going to die to save you from the disease of sin. When you confess with your mouth “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you are confessing that he is your perfect substitute who gave his blood to save you. If there’s ever a time that you’re doubting whether or not you’ll be saved, just ask yourself if you believe in Jesus as your Savior. If you answer yes, 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.
Paul says it’ sin your heart that you believe, and when you believe you are justified. The word justify means to declare not guilty. It doesn’t mean you didn’t commit a crime against God, it means that in the Judge’s eyes you are not responsible for that crime. So think of the worst sin you’ve ever committed. There are probably many because we sin every day. But just pick one. Okay. You got it? God declares you not guilty. Why? Because Jesus took the punishment for you. He paid for your crimes so that God would declare you innocent.
We hear this message every single week. Jesus lived, died, and rose again for you personally, but it is so hard to apply it. I know this woman and we’ve had several conversations about God and Jesus. Every single time she would tell me how salvation and forgiveness is a gift of from God. Because of Jesus, her sins are paid for and she’s going to heaven. Then she ran into a stretch of bad health problems. I went to see her and she said to me, “Pastor, do you think God is punishing me for my sins?” We have such a hard time grasping this message don’t we? But the fact is, no, God wasn’t punishing her for her sins because look at what he says for those who believe in Jesus, “You are justified.” You are declared not guilty. Why would God punish someone that he has declared not guilty? He wouldn’t. And why are you declared not guilty? Because Jesus was your substitute, and when you believe in him, you receive him as your substitute.
It is a complete gift from God. We neither earned nor deserved it and yet God gives it to us. And Paul says when we believe it in our hearts and we confess it, we will be saved.
11 As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.”
What does this mean? Well, I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but in some parts of the country it is not so popular to be Christian. They make Christians feel like less than intelligent people. But check this out. Paul says that anyone who trusts in Jesus and confesses their faith will never be put to shame. Not necessarily here on earth, but when you reach the gates of heaven, you will not be turned away. You will be welcomed in with open arms.
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,
When God looks down from heaven he doesn’t see people with a nice car, a nice home and living in the suburbs. He doesn’t see people who are morally better than others. He doesn’t see homeless people or less educated people. Know what he sees? Sinners. There is no difference. We have all sinned.
And Jesus died for everyone. Through faith we receive this forgiveness and the blessings that come from Christ. The opposite is true too isn’t it? Everyone who doesn’t call on the name of the Lord, wont’ be saved. And that leads us to our second point.
It is needed
14 How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? 15 And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”
16 But not all the Israelites accepted the good news. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our message?” 17 Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.
Do you see why confessing is needed? If someone needs to believe in their heart and confess that Jesus is Lord, how can they do that if they don’t know the message? How can they confess when they don’t believe in their hearts? How can they believe if they have not heard the message? How can they hear the message if someone doesn’t tell them? Remember, every one spends eternity somewhere. And if people don’t hear this message, they will not believe in their heart or confess with their mouth that Jesus is Lord.
And who is the one who brings good news? You. Me. Every Christian. But here’s the great news. I said it a few weeks ago, but the great news is that we don’t’ have the pressure of creating faith. That’s the Holy Spirit’s job. Notice how faith comes? It comes from hearing the message and the message is heard through the word about Christ. When that message is preached or taught, the Holy Spirit goes to work. He penetrates through the hard heart and works faith so that they believe in their heart. But the Holy Spirit doesn’t work faith unless people hear the message, and that’s where you and I come in.
Paul says, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news.” He’s actually quoting from the Old Testament book of Nahum. Nahum was writing around the mid 600’s B.C. God declared through him that the Assyrians and the Babylonians were done taking over the Israelites. God was going to destroy these two nations. Both of them were ruthless nations that inflicted pain, torture, and death to the Jewish people. Imagine that message of good news. Imagine going to the people and saying, “Good news everyone! God is going to destroy these people. He said no more will they rule over us and hurt us.” How beautiful are the feet that bring good news?
Do you know what the ironic thing is? We love sharing good news. People share baby announcements, wedding announcements, engagements announcements. We love to share good news from work and for our business. But when we stop and think about it, the good news that we love to share with others, has no lasting impact on them. We share these joyful announcements, and understandably so, but we share them and want people to be excited but it has no eternal impact on them. Here, we have the most joyful, exciting, and impactfull message anyone can hear, and yet we have every excuse in the book as to why we can’t open our mouth and say, “Jesus loves you.” When it comes to good news, nothing beats that. There is nothing more exciting than that message. Remember, everyone spends eternity somewhere. How can they hear, believe, and confess, if we don’t tell them the good news? They can’t.
9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
1 Peter 2:9
The Greek for “you” is a collective you. He’s not talking to one individual. If we want to put it in southern language, he’s saying, “all y’all.” And what are all y’all? You’re a people belonging to God that you may declare the praises of him.
What if you don’t know the Bible as well? What if you don’t know what to say? What if they ask you a question you don’t know? Is it better to just stay quiet? Well, if you were in a dark room would you ever say, “Because my candle doesn’t shine as brightly as a lantern I’m not going to let it shine?” No! We’d still light that candle because it provides light. All of you have the ability to bring the light of Jesus’ love to someone who is living in darkness. You have the ability to tell them Jesus loves them.
Why is this so important? Because you know people who are struggling. You know people who are hurting and struggling with guilty. Every day they feel the weight of guilt on them and they can’t escape it. You know people who are looking to change their life with a quick fix, or looking to cope with their problems with alcohol and drugs. You know people who are depressed because they don’t feel love that their hearts so desperately need and want. And you all know people who as of right now are not going to spend eternity with their Savior.
God has showered you with his grace, his undeserved love, again and again. You are blessed enough to know and believe that you have a Father in heaven who loves you and is providing for you. You are blessed to know that Jesus loved you so much that he lived, died, and rose again to declare you not guilty. You are blessed to know that the Holy Spirit works faith in your heart and continues to keep you in that faith. Give that blessing to someone else this week.
May the triune God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be with you this week as you bring that message of God’s love to others.