“Confessing and Trusting” Romans 10:8b- 13
that is, the message concerning faith that we proclaim: 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. 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.”
Two year old Peyton Myrick was being kept by his grandfather on his farm in York County, SC last November. The grandfather went to the barn to move his tractor and when he came back his two year old grandson had disappeared. They called and called for Peyton- no answer. It was getting dark and cold, and an helicopter with infrared search capabilities came in, tracking dogs too, but they didn’t find him. They called and called. Over four hundred volunteers went into the woods looking and calling out “Peyton” “Peyton” “Peyton”. They called and called but no answer. People were getting more and more desperate. However, the family dog, Ashepoo, kept walking to the rescuers and toward an old barn in the woods. While the boy didn’t cal back, he was saved by the dog. God is calling us. He calls out to everyone by name. He wants to help us. He wants us to call back to Him. In our passage on Romans 10 we are reminded to call out to the God who rescues us, to confess that He is the One who rescues us, and then to trust in Him.
I. CALLING ON THE LORD- God really wants us to call out to Him. He is like the rescuer waiting for a call. He first calls to us- He is always calling to us. He is waiting with all the help we need if we will but answer Him.
A. ALL ARE INVITED- He calls to everyone. It is not just the moral- but also the thief on the cross; Not just the church folk- but also the woman at the well; Not just the smart people- sometimes they are the ones who think they are too self-sufficient to answer. Everyone who calls on the Lord will be saved. Not just some. The words used here by Paul are “all” and “everyone.” This is the ultimate inclusivism. Here is an urgency- just call. When you are helpless and when you are strong; when you are sad, when you are joyful; Call back to Him- for He is seeking to rescue you and bless you even more.
B. THE LORD RICHLY BLESSES- You can’t give enough money for the things God gives you- peace, hope, strength, courage, meaning, love, joy- the way of eternal life- which begins now. There are people who say Christianity is not really about calling out to the Lord. They would say it is just a matter of thinking and living. But it is calling out to God for His rescue. Christianity without salvation is like jumping out of a plane without a parachute. It is like climbing on board a sinking ship without a life preserver. It is like denying that we need help. Paul says if there is no salvation or no resurrection – we are to be pitied above all people (1 Cor. 15).
The word “call upon” is in the present perfect sense- which means “call upon and continuing to call upon” the Lord. Do not ever think- that you can simply one time in your life call upon God- and that’s it. Now in church, that sounds simple. But there are lots of people who are resting on their laurels. They say, “I joined the church- I’m good.” If you want God’s continued blessing, then continue to call to Him.
You know the story about that little two year old is the next day when CNN and FOX, and NBC were all there- that little toddler- just wandered away again- right in front of them. That is so human- we are rescued, and then the next thing you know- we are wandering off again in our own little world- forgetting our direction, forgetting our purpose. If we only got lost once, we would only need to call once. Call out to God with your heart- and believe in Him with your heart.
II. CONFESSING THE LORD- Confessing is something we do a lot. We say, “I believe in my kid’s teacher” or “I believe that things are getting better”; or “I believe that spring time is just around the corner.” We say to our kids- “Other families may believe doing drugs is okay- but we do not.” That is confession. Confession as Paul uses it here is saying what we believe. It is an important part of life, and also a very important part of our faith.
Here Paul talks about publicly saying you believe. He puts it on the same exact level as believing in your heart. Identify with Christ- declare His glory. We are all called to believe and to be missionaries to the world around us. I really like our yard crosses- for it is an easy way to identify yourself as a missionary- a rescuer.
Two things we need to confess- essential tenets. He is the rescuer. He is worth following out- because He is Lord- in charge- smarter than we are. When the rescuer comes to save you- you don’t say- “I don’t need you, I’m just fine.” You don’t say, “I know the way out- I don’t want to go your way.” When the rescuer comes to rescue you- you have to go their way- and give up going your own way. But you know- smart people want to do that. It is the height of pride to say- “I want to drown because all my friends are drowning.” Will you not be the first one rescued in order to show your friends? Confess- He is the Rescuer so they can hear too and be rescued. He is worth following because He is the One- the only religious leader- who has been raised from the dead- and can show us a real way out. Believe in His ability to rescue us- tell others. Christ wants us to tell others how to get out of their mess.
III. TRUSTING THE LORD- After we have called out to Him and after we confess that He is our rescuer, we need to trust in His rescue. Lifeguards and coastguard rescuers speak of the most dangerous time in their rescue is when they get to someone who is panicked. Lifeguards are actually trained to knock someone out if they keep resisting being saved, or threaten the life of the one trying to save them with their panic.
In our passage it says that those who trust in God will not be put to shame. Paul is trying to say- trust the rescuer. Trust that He knows what He is doing. Trust that God will get you through your problem, your valley, your trouble. He not only is a refuge- He is a rescuer. That is, what the word “Savior” means. He is the one who ransoms us, who comes down for us in our place. He is really the ONLY one who knows what He is doing in life. So trust in Him when the meteor lands. Trust in Him when the asteroid has a near miss. Trust in Him when your marriage is not what you want it to be- do you know that more divorces take place the week after Valentines Day than any other time? One comedian said, “When I go to the store, I see a “Sorry I missed your birthday” card; or even a “sorry I missed our anniversary card” but never do you see a “sorry I missed Valentine’s Day” card. He said there is a price to pay- you can’t make up for it. I would say, yes you can. Everyone messes up- but trust that God can forgive you and get you going again. Quit trying to figure it all out on your own. Release yourself and everyone around you from your too-high expectations. Instead- learn how to lean back into God’s arms.
I remember reading of one guy who was supposed to be rescued by helicopter- pulled up by rope from the water. He had to be pulled up three times because he freaked out when they came to get him. Too many of us are like Lot’s wife- she was being rescued from Sodom and Gomorrah and looked back. Trust the rescuer- and you will not be put to shame. But remember Lot’s wife- for she was not looking forward- she was looking down as she was being lifted up. She was looking back when she was called to look ahead.
I wanted to end with a Hurricane Sandy story that has South Carolina connections. Bill McDonald went to the Citadel and he also owned the only hardware store in Warren, NJ. Warren was hit hard by Hurricane Sandy and virtually cut off. Bill had a generator and he was up for two nights ordering supplies that never came. Finally he flew a guy hundreds of miles away- had him rent a huge truck, and fill it up with batteries, gas cans, generators, water, and drive back. But no one had any cash because all the ATMs were down- no electricity. So Bill did something by faith-A George Baily-It’s a Wonderful-Life- move- he had thousands of customers simply write down their credit card numbers and take whatever they needed. Bill illustrates a larger picture- this is the way God wants us all to act- to call out- to believe you can do it—and then to trust to make it happen. Bill called for help- sent a guy up to the warehouse on faith- and then trusted that people would come through on faith- by the way- out of hundreds of thousands of dollars trusted in- only one person’s credit card failed and it was for a $2.99 adapter.
We are called to call out to God- to publicly put our faith in Him- and then to trust Him the rest of our way.