Worship for Trinity Four, Sunday July 10, 2022 – No Online Service Microphone Failure
Sermon for Sunday July 10, 2022 – Trinity Four
Calvary/Marquette ● Soli Deo Gloria
God’s grace and mercy are yours, a gift planned in eternity by the Father, carried out in time by the Son our Savior, made our own possession by the gracious work of the Holy Spirit. Let us glorify God for His Love. Amen.
But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.”
In the Name of Jesus, the Curse bearer,
Fellow Redeemed from the Curse of the Law,
Let’s imagine for a moment this morning that you are the first human beings to inhabit another planet, let’s say Mars. So, millions of dollars have been spent to transport you from earth to mars. Millions of dollars worth of scientific instruments and foods have been transported with you to your new home.
However, in order for you to use those instruments and carry out your duties, you need oxygen. If you can’t breathe, you’ll die and all that has been done for you will have done in vain. However, you have been given a machine that produces oxygen.
Would you agree that that machine is the most important thing to you? Wouldn’t you want to know everything about that machine and how it works…just in case it broke down and needed to be fixed?
Would you be careless or indifferent about the upkeep of that machine, knowing that it was the difference between life and death? Well, certainly not.
Why then is it, that we, having been given the Living Word of God which alone can tell us all that we need to know about how it is that we may live eternally in Christ, why are we satisfied simply to memorize the table of contents? (I’m including myself here!)
Why are we so brazen as to think that we ‘know it all’ or have ‘heard and learned it all’?
Why are we sometimes so careless and indifferent about what we believe, that we answer specific questions about our faith only generally: “I believe this because it’s our church policy.” A living trust in Jesus Christ is the difference between eternal life and eternal death.
How can we be careless about its upkeep, knowing that only when Faith is greased and lubricated by the Word of God will it work? The answer is simple, weakness, laziness, sin.
In this 10th Chapter of the letter to the Romans, we are taught that the Gospel of Christ has two goals – Faith and Confession.
When the Good News of what Jesus has done is proclaimed, it works so that a living trust in the Lord Jesus may be created in the heart. When it is proclaimed it also works that a heartfelt confession of Him may also proceed from our human lips. May God grant this be the case both in our hearts and on our lips. So to this end, we ask the guidance of God the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Can you imagine what it would be like if you were the only Christian in your entire family, and one of only a few in the entire nation? Consider the Apostle Paul. His family and his nation rejected him because He trusted in Jesus, still it was his prayer that they all come to believe in Jesus and be saved (Romans 10:1-4):
Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved. For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.
The Jews were devoted to God and passionate, but they were uninformed. They were ignorant of the fact that human beings are made right with God through Jesus Christ, so they set out to be right with God by their own actions. Those who believe in Jesus no longer seek to be right with God by their own actions, but by faith in life, death and resurrection of the Son of God. While the Law demands, “Do this and you shall live,” Faith created by the Gospel of Christ speaks differently (Romans 10:5-8)
For Moses writes about the righteousness which is of the law, “The man who does those things shall live by them.” But the righteousness of faith speaks in this way, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’ ” (that is, to bring Christ down from above) or, “ ‘Who will descend into the abyss?’ ” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead).
But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.
We might say that the Law and the Gospel are opposites. While the Law tells us to look at ourselves and our actions, the Gospel directs us outside ourselves, to Christ and His completed work. If we compare our lives to the Law honestly, then we cannot be certain we have hope of reaching heaven.
However, the Gospel of Christ gives us hope and confidence, because it proclaims, If you believe in the Lord Jesus that God has raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
So can it be said that you will be saved because you have a strong faith? Well, not exactly. The Gospel declares that you will be saved because of the object of your faith, because you trust in the Living Jesus. A strong faith is one that clings to the Living Christ. The Life and Death of Jesus are important because Jesus arose from the dead. The Resurrection of Jesus confirms that God accepted Jesus perfect life and innocent death as full payment for our Redemption. It is no accident that we confess in the Apostle’s Creed that Jesus was:
“…conceived by the Holy Ghost, Born of the Virgin Mary, Suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead and buried, He descended into hell and on the third day rose again from the dead…”
This is a brief summary of what Jesus did to rescue us. This is a thumbnail sketch of the object of our faith – what Jesus has done. Those who believe, who trust that Jesus has done this for them in their hearts – have the One True Faith – the faith that counts. They will be saved, literally, rescued (from sin and death). They shall live on after death eternally, as if they had never committed sin. This faith is built from and upon Holy Scripture, on the Word of God:
For the Scripture says,
“Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.”
What does it mean that we will never be put to shame? Imagine choosing a political candidate for president. You trust what he says and believe that He will, when elected, do what he says. So you defend him vocally when others doubt his words…but then when he is elected you find that he only pretended to care, he only said what you wanted to hear. You would feel, dishonored, disgraced, humiliated, or put to shame…because the object of your faith was show to be worthless.
God promises us that those who trust in Jesus will never be put to shame. When death comes, when the last day arrives, all that he has said and promised will come to pass. We will not be put to shame. We are confident for we have confidence in Christ. We express that confidence also with our lips, for the Scripture says:
…if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation
So why do we make a point of confessing our faith every Sunday? Why the Apostle’s or Nicene or Athanasian Creed? Is it just one of those old traditions, do we do it because we always have done it? NO.
Is this just part of our church policy? NO. Is this done so we don’t forget? Well, it should serve to help us remember, but that’s not why we do it.
We confess our faith in Christ, aloud, using these words – because we believe these things in our hearts and are not embarrassed to say so. We do so because the Lord Jesus Himself encourages us to do so, saying (Matthew 10:32-33):
“Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.”
We speak with our mouths of Christ, because Christ rules in our hearts.
A number of years ago I sat down to watch the MLB All-star home run derby. In the home run derby, a number of professional baseball players try to hit home runs and win a trophy. Since the event is sponsored by Century 21, the sponsor choses a number of fans and if their player wins, they win $250K toward the purchase of a new home.
Well, after the matter had been decided on the field, the winning fan was given the microphone. What he said was striking. He said: “First of all, I’d like to thank the Lord Jesus Christ, who through His life and death on the cross has won for me an eternal home in the heavens.” He then went on to thank the baseball player for the chance to have a fancy earthly home too.
Why? I’d like to think that he couldn’t help it. He was aware first of all that the Lord Jesus had rescued him and He wasn’t ashamed to say so. He wasn’t the first.
The Bible gives many such examples:
Peter spoke for all the disciples when he said to Jesus, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God!”
Thomas, who when he saw Jesus alive confessed (John 20:28): “My Lord and My God.”
The Ethiopian Eunuch, when he heard what Jesus had done for him confessed to Philip (Acts 8:37): “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.”
We declare what we believe publicly, because we can’t help it and because we are not ashamed, we want others to know of Him. We don’t come to faith in solitude, but when the Word is proclaimed, we are moved to speak, “I believe.”
The Bible shows that faith in Jesus and confessing that faith publicly go hand in hand. The Gospel of Christ moves us to speak. We speak as individuals, “I believe…” we also speak together, as a body, a group that believes and teaches the same thing from the Bible.
So may God grant that when we lift our voices together to confess our faith we speak freely out of hearts that trust in the Lord Jesus. May we speak that He may be glorified and others may come to trust in Him.
This is, after all, the goal of the Gospel of Christ – that faith in Jesus is created in the heart and that the mouth confirms that faith in word. Amen.