************ Sermon on Romans 10:9-10 ************
By: Rev. Adrian Dieleman
This sermon was preached on August 18, 2013
"Ideas Have Consequences"
In his book, "Ideas Have Consequences," Richard Weaver wrote that the ideas and philosophies ingested into a society bring about logical results. What happens when you declare there are no absolutes? What happens when you say every man is a law to himself? What happens when words have no meaning? For Weaver, the result was Nazi Germany and World War II.
Ideas have consequences. The result of certain ideas was the 70 dismal years of communism.
Ideas have consequences. Take a look at modern day America. The result of certain ideas is abortion, gay marriage, the dissolution of the family, single parent homes, the modern welfare state, euthanasia.
Ideas have consequences. Bad ideas have bad consequences. Good ideas have good consequences. Telling us what? Telling us that when the Holy Spirit instills God's teachings in a culture, that culture will be changed. Telling us that sound doctrine produces a Christ-like life. For instance, belief in election and predestination and the sovereignty of God should make a believer humble. The assurance of grace should produce a life of gratitude and a desire to forgive those who have sinned against us. To declare that all men are made in the image of God should reveal itself in showing respect to others no matter their position or race or ethnicity.
Our text this morning contains two dangerous ideas with deadly consequences. Dangerous and deadly, that is, if you are a Nazi, communist, or dictator. Dangerous and deadly if you are a secular humanist, atheist, hedonist, or narcissist. Dangerous and deadly if you conform to the world and the ways of the world. What are these two ideas?
(Rom 10:9) That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.What are the two ideas? That God raised Jesus from the dead. That Jesus is Lord.
Ideas have consequences. We witnessed that this morning in the four professions and three baptisms.
I God Raised Jesus from the Dead
A At the center of our faith is the confession that "God raised him from the dead." This is the first idea I want to look at.
However, to believe that Jesus was raised from the dead also means you believe He died for your sins, that His ministry was done with many signs and wonders, that He was born of a virgin, that He is the promised Messiah – the Son of God, the Redeemer, the Savior, the King. It also means you believe He was lifted into heaven and now sits at God's right hand and someday will return as Judge. You see, it is a total package.
We were watching an old Seinfeld episode. Jerry was tired of Kramer forever mooching off him. So every time Kramer ate something he had to write it down on a slip of paper and put it in a jar. At the end of the week Jerry was going to add it up and give Kremer a bill.The same thing is true with the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. The package not only includes the resurrection but also the crucifixion, the ministry, the birth, the ascension, the session, and the second coming.
Then Jerry noticed an apple with one bite out of it; sure enough, Kramer put down "one bite of apple." Jerry grabbed the apple and said when you take a bite out of an apple you buy the whole apple. Jerry grabbed half a banana and said Kramer bought the whole banana.
To believe in your heart that God raised Jesus from the dead means, then, that you accept everything the Bible claims about Jesus.
B Notice, a saving faith involves the heart. "It is with your heart that you believe" (Rom 10:10). You "believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead" (Rom 10:9).
In the Bible the heart is the center of one's being. Religious life is rooted in the heart. According to Jesus, it is the heart that determines moral conduct:
(Mt 15:19-20) For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. (20) These are what make a man 'unclean' ...It is in the heart that we keep God's commands (Prov 3:1). Understanding and wisdom reside in the heart (Prov 2:2,10). So we are urged to guard and protect our heart (Prov 4:23).
Belief or faith always involves three elements. The first is the content of the things we believe. We put our faith in something or someone. In order to believe in Jesus, we must know something about Him.
The second is that we believe the content is true. Many people know the Gospel as outlined in the Apostles' Creed and yet don't believe a word of it. Genuine faith says that the content of Scripture and the Creeds is true.
The third is trust and reliance. It is not enough to have content. It is not enough to believe that content is true. Even demons know and believe the Christian creed (James 2:10). But it does them no good because they do not trust in Jesus for salvation.
Saving faith is not mere knowledge or intellectual assent about the facts and life of Jesus. It is centered in the heart. It trusts in Him alone for salvation.
To stand before God and His people to profess your faith and be baptized requires you believe in your heart that Jesus is Who He says He is.
II Jesus is Lord
A At the center of our faith is also the confession that "Jesus is Lord." This is the second idea I want to look at.
Now, what exactly is confession? What does Paul have in mind? In the Greek language the word "confess" has a couple of different meanings. It means "to say with." So with the church of all ages you confess "Jesus is Lord." But it also means "to say before." So before God and His people you profess that "Jesus is Lord."
It should be obvious that Paul is not talking just about a brief ceremony in this worship service. Oh no, not at all! The public act before God's people is just one of the ways in which we confess the Lord. For, each and every day the Lord sends us endless opportunities to confess Him. And, each and every day He send us countless people to whom we can testify. We are to confess Christ before men at church, school, home, work, play, and on vacation. We always are to confess Christ before men. And, we are to do so until every knee shall bow before Him and every tongue confess that He is Lord.
B Those with saving faith are to confess with the mouth that "Jesus is Lord." "Lord" means Jesus is the Owner, the Master, the King. Not just of the universe but also of me. With all other created things I belong to Him and it is my calling to serve Him and obey Him. "I am not my own," says Q & A 1 of the Catechism, "but belong – body and soul, in life and in death – to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ."
Do you remember what Jesus said just before He ascended into heaven? He said, "All authority in heaven and earth has been given to me" (Mt 28:18). Not some authority but all authority. Then He added,
(Mt 28:19-20) Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, (20) and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.Notice that word "everything." The Jesus Who is Lord has all authority and wants us to obey Him in EVERYTHING and not just in some things.
C In the early church many Christians died for confessing and professing that Jesus is Lord. The reason they were killed is that they believed Jesus alone is Lord – not Caesar, not local deities. They were unwilling to add Jesus to the long list of gods that people could worship. The Romans, by way of contrast, were always willing to add another god or lord to the long list of gods and lords they already served. But not those early Christians. They confessed with the mouth that there is but one Lord – the Lord Jesus Christ. And this one Lord did not share His lordship, His rule, His authority with anyone else. To the Romans this simply was unacceptable. You could believe anything you wanted about Jesus just so long as you also acknowledged that "Caesar is Lord."
Things are not much different today. Not that any of us have to give up our lives like those early Christians had to. But many people today take the view that faith in Jesus is just one among many acceptable religious options. They say that it makes no difference what you believe just so long as you believe. They claim that all paths, all roads, and all religions lead to glory and salvation. But that was not true at the time of Paul and it is not true today either. Jesus, and Jesus alone, is Lord.
So, when you confess with your mouth "Jesus is Lord," you are saying no one else is Lord. You reject all other religious claims. You recognize that Jesus alone has all authority in heaven and on earth.
D Those with saving faith are to confess with the mouth that "Jesus is Lord." When you say that you are saying something about your relationship with Jesus. You are saying that the Jesus Who rose and died and was born and ascended is not just your Savior but that He is also your Lord. He is your Master and King and rules over your life.
Maybe you have heard the heresy that you can accept Jesus as your Savior without accepting Him as your Lord. This heresy says all you need to do is believe in the heart that He died and rose and ascended. It thinks forgiveness, salvation, redemption, and eternal life comes by believing without submitting to Jesus as King of kings and Lord of lords.
When it comes to Jesus, many people prefer to believe in their heart without also confessing with their mouth. They want to keep Jesus hidden away in a small corner of their life. They want to believe without any cost or sacrifice or submission on their part. That way you can have Him as Savior without also having Him as Lord.
Not only is this way of thinking nonsense, it is also heretical. Jesus is Lord. He didn't come only to save you. He also came to rule you. So, when you believe in Christ Who was raised from the dead you also accept Him as Lord of your life.
The Gospel is not just a set of facts to be believed or a gift of salvation to be received. It is also a Majesty to be adored, an Authority to be obeyed, and a King to be served.
Let me put this down to the most basic terms: if you don't have Jesus as Lord, you don't have Him as Savior either. To stand before God and His people requires you believe and confess. It involves the heart and the mouth.
III You Will Be Saved
A Ideas have consequences. So, what is the consequence of saying "Jesus is Lord" and believing in your heart that God raised him from the dead? Our text tells us the consequence: "you will be saved."
"You will be saved." Not, you might be saved. Not, you can be saved. Not, work hard enough and give enough and you will be saved. But, by grace, you will be saved. That's the promise of the Gospel.
I love the prophet Isaiah's picture of salvation and forgiveness. He writes,
(Is 1:18) "Come now, let us reason together," says the LORD. "Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool."Two colors can hardly be more different from each other than scarlet and white. Put a bright red stripe on a white wall. Pour a can of fire engine red paint on a field of pure white snow. What a contrast!
The difference between scarlet and white tells us that even the worst of sins can be forgiven. And, God is more than able to cleanse and forgive the foulest of sinners. Name any sin or any sinner. God is more than able to forgive and redeem. In our society, hardly any sin is viewed as worse than sexual abuse of a child. Hardly any sinner is viewed as worse than a sexual offender. Even this sin and sinner can be forgiven. However, let me hasten to add that forgiveness does involve repentance because turning from our sin is the first step we take as we truly rest on Christ alone for salvation (cf Mk 1:14-15).
In profession and baptism, we claim the promise of forgiveness for ourselves and our children.
B Now why? Why can scarlet sins and scarlet sinners be washed as white as snow? Or, maybe I should ask how? How can scarlet sins and scarlet sinners be washed as white as snow?
The only basis for forgiveness and salvation and washing and cleansing is the great exchange. Our sins and our punishment are placed on Christ. His perfect righteousness is placed on us. This is the great exchange. It all comes down to Christ and His redeeming work. The result? It is as if I have never sinned nor been a sinner. It is as if I had been as perfectly obedient as Christ was obedient for me.
C Those who believe in their heart that God raised Jesus from dead and confess with their mouth that Jesus is Lord will be saved.
What is salvation? What are we saved from? Who are we saved from? I'm about to say something that might strike you as being strange. If you are a sinner, your greatest enemy is God. God hates sin. He is angry with the sin we are born with as well as the sin we actually commit. His justice demands that our sin be punished with the supreme penalty – eternal punishment of body and soul. We need to be saved from God's anger and God's judgment. We need to be at peace with God.
By grace through faith, because of Jesus, we are given salvation and are at peace with God.
Ideas have consequences. Those who believe God raised Jesus from the dead and confess with their mouth that Jesus is Lord will be saved.
I do not know what is going in your heart. But let me tell you, if you don't believe and confess this you will not be saved and you cannot be saved. Only those are saved who believe and confess. So, I invite every person here – by the grace of God – to do the same thing as those who stood before God and His people this morning. I invite you to believe and confess. And, if you do, the promise of the Lord is that you will be saved.
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