Video Transcript: Responding to Jesus

It is a tremendous blessing and advantage, to have a great mother and a great family, to  have person or parents who care for you and look out for you and supply many of your needs. It's a tremendous advantage even for your spiritual life, to have someone who teaches you  well, who shows you by example, as well as by teaching the right things to do the polite  things to do, who often helps you to observe high and important days, even Holy Days, and to honor certain practices and rituals, there's just a tremendous advantage to having a mom and a family who teach you the right way, who show you the right things, who teach you to  behave well, who give you a strong and deep heritage and roots that helps you to understand who you are. It's also dangerous to have a great mom and a great family. Because when you  have an upbringing that helps you to feel secure, that helps you to observe the right things to do the right things. And to be kind of proud of your heritage, you can be on dangerous  territory, here are some of the hazards of religion, being taught to do the right thing can get  you to thinking that you have to earn God's acceptance by doing the right thing by following  the correct rules by performing the proper rituals. And your upbringing can convince you that  good behavior makes you right with God. Or even if you can't behave very well, if you do the  right rituals that will make up for what you didn't do well. You can also begin to assume that if mom was good and close to God, and maybe if Dad was too, I guess that means I am as well.  And so you can begin to assume that mom's apron strings and dad's coattails will pull you  through the gates of heaven, you can assume that you have God's favor based on who your  family is or what your community is like, or on the long heritage that you come from. Another  danger is that if you grow up in kind of a religious setting, it kind of conditions you to feel  certain things and to even kind of psych yourself into it at times feeling really enthusiastic  and sincere and really excited about the heritage that you come from. But even that's  dangerous, if your heritage was misleading. Or if you think that being sincere and excited and enthusiastic is what it's all about. Because you can be sincerely wrong. So when you have a  strong and encouraging background, beware of thinking that I learned from mom to do good  and doing good is how I get God to approve of me. Or assuming I am one of the chosen  people because I come from a chosen group. Or that boy, I'm gung ho, and you can't go to it  really doesn't matter what you believe, as long as you're sincere about it. The apostle Paul  addresses that kind of thinking. In Romans chapter nine, he talks to the people who  historically had been the chosen people, the people of Israel, and about what their situation  is. And he says that many of them have not believed in Christ, and it breaks his heart. And  then he goes on to say it's not as though God's purposes are failing, or that God is not  accomplishing His purposes. And then he goes, and says that God has mercy on whom He  wants to have mercy and hardens whom He wants to harden. And you can listen to that and  say, Well, I guess God is just dictating and determining everything that happens. So doesn't  really matter what we do. And you move on from that chapter. And the first thing you find the  Apostle Paul doing is praying. There are some who say well if God is in charge of salvation?  What's the use of praying about it? Well, if he's not in charge of salvation, what's the use of  praying about it? If he's done everything he can do about it already? Why talk to him If he has is actually sovereign and in charge of salvation, then when you pray to Him, perhaps his your  prayers will be part of the reason that he intervenes on somebody's behalf. So just because  you believe that God is in charge in this matter of salvation is not a discouragement to pray.  Instead, it's an encouragement to pray. Another thing that some people will say is, well, if  God's in charge, then why would I need to respond in any way, if God's in charge, I'm going to get saved, you know, it's just kind of an Eeny meeny miney, mo thing he picks who he's going to save they're going to get saved, doesn't matter how I respond. Well, that's not how the  apostle Paul discussed these matters. He spoke very urgently, of the need to respond to the  Word of God, the Word of Christ, the Word of the gospel. And there are some who say, Well, if  God's in charge of salvation, then that means you don't really have to think about evangelism and missions because God's going to save who he's going to save. Yeah, and he's going to do  it through you. That's what God does when he saves people. And the last part of Romans 10  talks about how in the world they're going to call on somebody, they haven't believed how  they're going to believe on somebody, they've never heard of how they're going to hear  unless somebody tells them how they're going to tell unless somebody sends them. So you 

see in all of Romans 10, in prayer, in urging response, and in saying that Christians have got  to spread the good news, he's really laying now heavy emphasis on our response and our  involvement in what God is doing. Even on the matter of the chosen people to think that  you're one of the chosen people, just because you are from Israel, or just because you grew  up in a church and had the proper background. That is not the basis for thinking of yourself as one of the chosen people. Paul says there's no difference between Jew and Gentile anymore.  The way that you know, you're among the chosen people, the way that you know your name  is in the Lamb's book of life, is if you've put your faith in Jesus. And when you've been moved  to choose him, then you realize that he chose me. I never would have responded to him in  faith if he hadn't been working in my life and hadn't done everything for me through the Lord  Jesus Christ. So your, your idea of the chosen people is misguided. If you say, Well, Mom was  great, I guess I am too, or I went to church, I guess that makes me fine. you've maybe heard  the old saying of being in a garage doesn't make you a car. Being in a church doesn't make  you a Christian. So just want to alert you to again to some of these hazards of religion that  were expressed in the life of the people of Israel, where some said we're Abraham's children  must be okay. They were really gung ho and excited and enthusiastic, some of them, but they  were enthusiastically wrong. The Apostle says, Brothers, my heart's desire in prayer to God  for the Israelites is that they may be saved. For I can testify about them that they are zealous  for God. But their zeal is not based on knowledge. He says, I've got to hand it to him. They're  not all lukewarm. They're not all just phonies, pretending to believe something and not really  believing it. They believe. At least the people I'm talking about now. They're really  enthusiastic. They're excited. They are gung ho. And they're wrong. The Apostle himself knew  what that was like. He had been, he said, devoted above anybody else his age, to his religion,  and to doing the right thing, and to keeping the law. And he was so energetic and so  enthusiastic and so eager to please God and do what God wanted. There was nobody better.  And he supervised the killing of the followers of Jesus Christ. That's where his zeal brought  him. Zeal without knowledge makes you a fanatic. A Ku Klux Klan person may be very sincere, may be very enthusiastic, that the white race is vastly superior to all others, but they're  sincerely wrong. Some of the people involved in the abortion industry may just be in it for the  money. But they're not the most dangerous ones. The dangerous ones are the true believers  who believe they are helping women. They are noble people in one sense, who want to help  women have a future and to protect them from the terrors of having to bring up a child they  didn't want. And so they, many of them are in it because they earnestly firmly want to help  women and their zeal without knowledge. Makes them killers. Just like the Apostle Paul in his  zeal became a killer because his knowledge was misguided. Now, it's kind of common to say  that in matters of religion, it doesn't matter what you believe, unless you're sincere about it.  It's a very common, widely accepted way of thinking, and it's very wrong. It's about religion is  one of the few areas where you actually would apply that. In investing, do you say, it doesn't  really matter what fund I invest in, or what companies I invest in. As long as I'm sincere about  it. That's how Warren Buffett got rich, was just investing anywhere and being really sincere  about it. No, he checked out the companies very thoroughly before he would invest in them.  And he knew that being sincere and sincerely wrong doesn't make you much money. Or think  about traveling. You say, you know, if you apply to travel, though, what some people apply to  religion, it doesn't matter what road you take, they all lead to the same destination. Well, I've  tried that one a few times because I'm not very good with directions. And some of you  probably have too where you've gotten a lot of sightseeing in. But, you know, that's about all  that's good for is taking whatever road because when you take whatever road, it does not  lead to the place you want to get, you've got to have the right road, you need to know  directions. And so pay attention to the right directions, a map a GPS, but you cannot say it  does not matter what road I'm on. As long as I'm sincere about it. Those who think all roads  lead to God are contra, there's at least one road that's different from the other roads. So the  Jesus road either leads to God, or it doesn't. But if it does lead to God, the others don't.  Because Jesus said, I'm the WAY and the TRUTH and the LIFE and no one comes to the Father  except through me. So you have the matter of investing or of traveling or just one more  example of being sincere. Let's say I don't think it matters what physician you visit a lot, as 

long as you're sincere in believing he's a good one. And one person happens to like Doctor  Quack, and his wonderous snake oil, and another likes a different position. But who's to say,  as long as you're sincere in believing that Doctor Quack and his wonderous snake oil are  going to make you better. That's fantastic. Well, there are many areas of life where being  sincere, or having a firm belief don't help you very much because it's just wrong. And the  Apostle says, I'll, I'll grant it to these Israelites I'm talking about they're zealous for God, but  they missed the boat on Jesus. They have a zeal, but it's not based on true knowledge of Jesus and who he is. And as the Old Testament says, It's not good to have zeal without knowledge,  and miss the way well, being sincerely wrong was was the problem. And it can be a problem  for people who have even a religious upbringing, it can happen that you got the wrong ideas  that you liked your religious upbringing, but it was just the wrong upbringing, then you're  going to be sincerely wrong and following the ways of those who came before you. And as I've already said, you can even have the right upbringing, but get the wrong ideas from it. The  idea that you can earn God's favor, the idea that certain rituals will get you there, and these  other mistakes that you can make when it comes to having the right kind of upbringing. And  then there's the approach of pastors who, who want to make people feel good. I saw this the  other day on the internet and thought it was worth showing to you. This is an accurate  description of sugar coated preaching, somebody is drowning and their hand is sticking out of  the water and the preacher reaches out his hand and gives them a high five. If you're  drowning, you don't want a high five. But But sugar coated preaching tells you that  everything's okay. That you're doing fabulously you know, you're underwater, you're gonna be drowning here in a few minutes. But, whoo! The Apostle Paul was not willing to do that. He  didn't just give people a high five. He said All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.  There's no difference between Jew and Gentile. We're all drowning in sin and we need a savior and you don't need a high five, you need to be pulled out and be rescued by Christ. And he,  he knew that they could not save themselves. He said he says since they did not know the  righteousness that comes from God, and they sought to establish their own righteousness.  They did not submit to God's righteousness. Christ is the end of the law. So that there may be  righteousness for everyone who believes. The apostle is saying you cannot save yourself by  keeping all the commands of God. Those commands show you how far how far you fall short,  they do not save you. And here again, self salvation is one of the most dangerous things of  having a religious upbringing because you think that if you wipe your nose properly, and go to church or observe other rituals that's going to get you saved, and you can miss out on the  righteousness, the right standing with God that comes through faith in Jesus Christ and Christ  as the end of the notion that you can save yourself by keeping the law. He's also the end of  the law. In another sense, he's the goal or purpose of God's law that the law was intended to  lead us to. But self salvation is the deadly mistake that the people of Israel were making. And  they had to submit to God's righteousness, or be lost. And this really wasn't even the first  time that something like that happened in Israel's history, or in the history of the Old  Testament. I'll give you a few other examples where you either had to submit to God's way of  salvation, or you would perish. At the time of the flood, or before the flood. People thought  that Noah was crazy, to build a huge boat on dry land, and to keep talking for year after year  after year, about a flood that seemed never to come. But if you were outside that ark, when  God closed the door, you were dead. Or take the Passover, the 10th plague was about to  come. And the Lord said, now, on this night, every one of you must get inside a house and on  the door of that house, there must be blood splashed around the door. And if you're don't do  that, the destroyer will kill the firstborn of every house in Egypt that doesn't have that. If you  submitted to God's way, and did it, death did not enter your home. If you didn't submit to  God's way, death came in and destroyed. You remember the story where the Israelites are  traveling in the wilderness, and they've sinned against the Lord. They've brought judgment on themselves. And there are poisonous snakes going among them and biting them. And people  are dying from the poison. And God says to Moses, take, take some bronze and form it into a  snake and lift it up on a pole and just tell the people to look at that snake. Now, if you're a real intellectual, you're going to be thinking to yourself, What? What is the use of sticking some  snake on a pole and telling people to look at it. But if you looked, you lived. If you didn't, you 

died. And Jesus said, As Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be  lifted up that whoever believes in Him shall have eternal life. For God so loved the world that  He gave His one and only Son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal  life. That's the way God gave for receiving eternal life. And even if it doesn't make sense to  you how God did it through Jesus, and through his blood and his death, even if you don't fully  understand how that works, even if when you read the book of Romans, and, and Paul's telling you how it works, he said, but I can't quite figure that out. Well, even if you can't figure it out,  just believe that it works, that when God lifted up His Son on the cross, he dealt with the  things that destroy us and gives eternal life. And when you believe in Him, and submit to  God's way of righteousness, then you're made right with God. If you don't, you're not made  right with God. You cannot say, Well, I'm not going to submit to the righteousness that comes  from God and establish my own way of being right with Him. So we need to get rid of these  notions of self salvation, and accept God's salvation. Even if we can't figure it out. The Bible  says the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are  being saved. It is the power of God, for the foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom and the weakness of God is stronger than man's strength. Then you read on in Romans chapter  10. It says, Moses describes in this way, the righteousness that is by the law, the man who  does these things will live by them. If you keep God's law perfectly, great, you'll be saved.  And you won't, you won't keep it perfectly and you won't be saved. But the righteousness that is by faith says And here he's again quoting Moses, do not say in your heart who will ascend  into heaven, that is to bring Christ down or who will descend into the deep that is to bring  Christ up from the dead. But what does it Say the word is near you, it's in your mouth and in  your heart that is the word of faith that we are proclaiming. 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. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified. It is with your mouth that  you confess and are saved. As the Scripture says, Anyone who trusts in him will never be put  to shame. For there's no difference between Jew and Gentile. The same Lord is Lord of all and  richly blesses all who call on him, for everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be  saved. So the apostle is saying we, we need to respond to Jesus. And we can look at those  verses and think now, what are some questions? Well, one is what must you do first, before  you can respond to Jesus? Well, nothing. There's nothing that you have to do first, before you  can respond to Jesus, and put your faith in Him. The apostle says, now don't say, Who's going  to ascend up into heaven as though you had to bring Jesus on down. You don't have to do  anything to get Jesus to come down out of heaven, He already came down, Christmas already  happened, the word already became flesh, God already dwelt among us. You don't have to  bring Jesus down from heaven. And don't say in your heart, oh, who's going to ascend into the deeps, as though you had to go down and bring Jesus up from the dead? Did he really need  your help? He already did that. Jesus already descended into the realm of death, and then  rose again, and you do not have to bring him back up from the grave. There's nothing you  have to do. Jesus has already done it, he has already conquered death, he's already become  one of us. He's already done everything necessary to make us his own. And so it's a great  mistake to think to yourself, boy, there's a lot of things that I need to do before I can respond  to Jesus in faith. He has already done it all. And therefore, you simply need to respond and  trust him. And then see what happens once you've trusted him. Once you've put him in  charge of your life, some things are going to change, but they're going to change after your  life is yielded to him, and after you've trusted him not before. So in this question of  responding to Jesus, remember that you must do exactly nothing. Salvation is Jesus Christ  plus nothing. He is the one who will come in and make the changes that are necessary. Next  question is response necessary the words near you, it's in your heart and in your mouth  already. So you don't have to bring Christ down. You don't even have to make the word and  the gospel happen. It's already there. You've heard it. Now that you've heard it, it's kind of  there right in your heart and mouth. And but what is your heart and mouth going to do with it  is response necessary and absolutely, a response is necessary. The Bible strongly reveals over and over and over that even though salvation is completely from God and of Christ, that when God comes to us, he calls forth a response of faith from us. Maybe one way to think of it is if 

someone offers you a large check. Now, in order for that check to be any good to you, the  person writing the check, has to have the funds to cover it. If somebody writes you a check  for $10,000. You do not look at your own account and say, do I have 10,000 to cover that? It's  not based on your account. It's based on their account. And if they have the money, then that check is good. It's worth $10,000. You don't have to do anything to make that check worth  something. But you do still need to accept the check. And you need to endorse that check  with your own name. And all of that money. You don't deserve any credit for it, because it's  written on somebody else's account. It's all from their resources. But you do have to trust  them, and receive the check and put your own name on it. And so it is very important that we respond in faith to God's promises in Christ. And many of us have different paths through life.  Some people grew up in a very godly Christian home. Others grew up in a church going home  that was quite ungodly, and their church background is almost a negative because they have  a very negative experience of church and of churchy people, especially maybe of their own  parents. And some people come to the Lord very suddenly. Where they hear about Christ and  the Holy Spirit does something in them and they get excited right away, they receive the  gospel. And it's like they move from darkness, to not to light in only a few minutes. And for  others, it may take several months, even years of just slowly, learning a little bit of having  your heart kind of slowly awakened, there's a lot of different ways. And the pace is often very  different, in which people come to know of Christ and to respond to him. So there are a lot of  different spiritual journeys. Or to take an example, from romance, there's just a lot of different ways that people get to know each other. For some, it's a love at first sight when you're  smitten, and you're crazy about each other. And that's, that's how it got started. For others,  you, you get to know each other kind of gradually, and maybe you've known each other for a  few years, and all of a sudden, you start looking at each other a little different than you used  to. And all of a sudden, you're not just sort of buddies or acquaintances anymore, and, and  you come to love each other. But whatever the path was, and one story is very different than  another when it comes to romance. But I can tell you this, if there is no wedding, and no  wedding vows, then you're not married yet. If there is a wedding and wedding vows, then  whatever path got you to the altar. You got to the altar, and now you're married. So there are  differences in paths in romance. But there are also some things that are common to every  true marriage and one is promises, public promises. So is response necessary. Yeah. Whether  whether you get there one way or another, at some point, you say to Jesus, yes, I'm yours,  your mine. It's necessary to respond well, well, how should I respond? Romans says, well, it  needs to be personal. And it needs to be public. It's a response with your heart. And it's a  response with your mouth. You believe in your heart, you confess with your mouth, and you  find that running through this passage of Romans, mouth, heart, heart, mouth. Believe,  confess, you find that private or personal and public element going together to have only a  public statement, but nothing going on in your heart would be total hypocrisy. But there's also something amiss. If you say, Well, I, I believe in Jesus. But I don't want to say so in front of  anybody else. I don't even want the rest of the church to know about it. I'm not ready. I'm not  gonna confess my faith publicly. I don't need to be baptized. I've got a heart relationship with  God. Well, I'll just say believe with your heart, and confess with your mouth. That's how the  Bible invites us to respond to be personal and deeply committed in our relationship to Christ,  but also to publicly declare that I belong to Christ, and he's mine. And in fact, the confession  is, Jesus is Lord. I won't go there with this sermon, I preached a whole nother sermon, just  titled Three words that change everything. Jesus is Lord. That confession that Jesus is Lord  was what the early Christians confessed, when many other people were saying Caesar is Lord. And people would have been willing to accept the Christians if they would have said that  Jesus is one among many gods, because the Romans had plenty. They had lots of gods and  goddesses, they would have gladly added one more to the collection. But the Christians kept  saying, there's one God. And there's one way of salvation, and Jesus is it. And there is one  supreme ruler over all things, and it's Jesus, not Caesar. And that got a lot of them killed. But  it changed the world. And so when we say Jesus is Lord, we're saying Jesus, and nobody else  is Supreme Lord, we're saying Jesus is Lord, not just that it's something going to come  someday in the future, but he's Lord right now. And we're saying Jesus is Lord. When we talk 

about faith in Jesus, we trust Him as Savior, the one who rescues us, but we also trust and  confess Him as Lord, the one who reigns when you are saved. Jesus is your master. Jesus runs  the show. When you come to him, you don't have to do anything in advance. But you do need  to acknowledge that he's Lord that he's taking over. You don't have to make yourself good  enough for him to take over your life. He'll it'll take care of that, but he does take over. And so when you say Jesus is Lord, You're not just saying that Jesus died to pay for my sins. You're  saying he died. To pay for me, and I belong to him, he purchased me with his blood. And  you're not saying I'm going to take the the Savior part of Jesus and leave the Lord part  because I do want to get saved, but I don't want anybody else running my life. You don't get  to chop Jesus in half. You accept the whole Christ, and he gets the whole you. That's what it  means to confess that Jesus is Lord and you believe in your heart that God raised Him from  the dead. That's that great saving act of God, by which he showed that the sacrifice on the  cross was accepted, that death was defeated, that Jesus is the one who is the source of  eternal life. So you believe with your heart, that Jesus rose from the dead, you confess with  your mouth, Jesus is Lord, and Jesus is my Lord. And what happens? Well, you'll be saved,  you'll be saved. And the Bible says that again, whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be  saved. If you're Jewish and you don't call on the name of the Lord Jesus, you won't be saved. If you're non Jewish, and you won't call the name of the Lord Jesus, you won't be saved. But Jew  or Gentile, whoever calls on the name of the Lord Jesus confesses, as Jesus is Lord will be  saved, you'll be saved from the penalty of sin, which is hell. You'll be saved from the power of  sin from sin, just dominating and controlling your entire life. Because Jesus comes in and His  Holy Spirit starts making changes in you and gives you greater and greater strength to fight  against sin and make you a different person and to grow up in him. So you'll be saved not just from the penalty of sin, but from sin itself. That's what Jesus name means. He was supposed  to be named Jesus said the angel because he will save his people from their sins. So when you trust in Jesus, you're saved from judgment, you're saved from sin, and you belong in life and  in death, to the Lord Jesus Christ. This is Paul's teaching in Romans 10. It's God's teaching in  Romans 10. And this is not the kind of teaching that we can simply say, Oh, another  interesting factoid to be filed away in my theology notebook. This is the direct appeal to every heart, and every mouth here, the word is near you. It is in your heart, you've heard it. It's in  your mouth, you could say it if you wanted to. The word is here. Have you confessed Jesus as  Lord? Do you believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead? Are those three words  Jesus is Lord changing? Everything about you? Have you called on the name of the Lord? Are  you saved? And each of us? Who can say yes, I do believe, and I do confess, let's renew then  our confidence and our joy in the Lord and our gladness that in confessing Him, we can know  that our name has been written in the Lamb's book of life. If you haven't yet confessed your  faith in the Lord Jesus. What are you waiting for? I've already said you, you don't have to do  anything else. You simply have to confess Jesus is Lord, if you haven't already been baptized,  be baptized in his name, come to the Lord's table. That's another way that we publicly  acknowledge Jesus as Lord. So this is not something that, that you just say, Well, that was  another sermon. But we need again to have our trust rekindled by the Lord. And if we've  never truly confessed our faith in the Lord, then do so. And do so today. For many of you who  had godly mothers, some of you may have wandered a ways from there. And and yet there's  a bit of a tug. Well, there's no better day than today to say, hey, what my mother and my  grandmother once taught me that's the faith that I want to have. The apostle Paul could write  to his friend Timothy and say, you know, the faith that lived in your grandmother, and in your  mother, and that now lives in you. Can you say not just Hey, mom and grandma, they  believed and that was fine for you know, that generation. No, the faith that lived in them now  lives in you too. Theologian once said that tradition is the Living Faith of people now, dead.  Traditionalism is the dead faith of people now living. You heard about faith from somewhere  way back when but your heart is dead as a stone. Well, that's traditionalism, you're counting  on the rituals, you're counting on the background, you're counting on the whatever almost  everything except a living relationship to the Lord Jesus Christ. So, respond to Jesus. The Bible says, Now is the time of God's favor. Now is the day of salvation. And if any of you today  would like to confess your faith in the Lord or want to ask more about that, then then certainly

see me. And let's talk about that. And you can confess your faith in the Lord Jesus if you  haven't been baptized. Consider that because heart, and mouth personal and public, is how  we respond to Jesus. And then when we leave this place throughout the week, it's also  personal, and public. Let your light shine, that people may see your good deeds and glorify  your Father in heaven. We thank You, Father, for sending your son. We thank you for the way  of righteousness that you provide. And we pray that you will help us Lord to hear your  summons and to truly respond with heart and mouth to the gospel of Christ crucified and  risen and reigning as Lord. Lord, help each one of us again to thrill to the good news, that you  have done everything, and that by faith, we can receive all that you have done. And we pray,  Father, that you will help some of us here who may be just wondering or struggling right now.  That we may truly have a heart for you, and a mouth that confesses you help us Lord to  respond to the good news of the gospel and discover the wonders of your salvation through  Jesus our Lord, Amen.

Last modified: Monday, January 3, 2022, 7:14 AM