My Heart's Desire

Wednesday, September 17, 2014, 7:00 a.m. – the Lord Jesus put the song in mind, “Give Me Courage, Lord.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Romans 10 (ESV).

Not All Saved

In Romans 9 we read where Paul expressed his great sorrow and unceasing anguish in his heart for his fellow Israelites to be saved. He continued this thought in chapter 10. These were the people of his own nation, of his own race and culture, and of the faith he was brought up under, too. Some of them may have been his physical relatives, as well.

They had been so blessed by God. They had the truths of scripture given to them from birth. Jesus Christ, our Lord and Messiah, came from this people. And, the gospel of salvation was first given to them, and from them it was to be shared with the world. Yet, not all of them believed in Jesus Christ as the fulfillment of the prophecies of scripture regarding their Messiah who was to come. In fact, probably most of them did not. So, although they were physical descendants of Abraham, and were Israelites by birth, not all were (or are) true Israel, i.e. not all were (or are today) the children of promise through genuine faith in Jesus Christ.

Yet, I believe the Lord Jesus would have me personalize this passage of scripture this morning by applying its truths to my world and to my day and time period.

Not According to Knowledge

Brothers, my heart's desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved. For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. For, being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God's righteousness. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.

The institutional church of today here in America has been blessed with so much knowledge, too, and with so much in the way of Bibles, Bible helps, hymns and spiritual songs, the preaching of the Word, and material blessings, too. We have church buildings galore, freedom of worship, and sermons abound in these buildings, and on TV, on the radio, and on the internet. The Word of God is everywhere. We have no want of it in any way, only in the distortion of it as is preached in many of our pulpits today. And, that is a sad reality.

These are my people, of my nation and my culture, though of many different races. And, many of them are my physical relatives, as well. They are also the people of my faith, though not all have genuine faith. Some think because they were brought up in the church that it makes them Christians, but it does not; or they think that because their families claim Christianity as their religion that it means they, too, are Christian, but many of them are not; or they think because they are members of an institutional church that it makes them Christian, but many are not true Israel, i.e. true Christians at all.

The gospel of salvation was given to the church, and from them the true gospel of Jesus Christ was to go forth throughout the world so that many would be saved. Sadly enough, not much of that is being done anymore. Sadly enough, a social gospel of just being “nice” to people and immersing ourselves in today’s culture has replaced the true gospel of death to sin and new life in the Spirit. As well, so many in the church today are so much like the world that they don’t stand out as different at all, or they are not committed at all to spreading the Word of God so that many can know Christ and be saved.

My heart’s desire is that my people would be saved, or that they would be revived if they have wandered off from the truth after coming to know Christ as Savior, and if they have become followers of the world and of humankind, instead of Christ being their first love. I have unceasing anguish and great sorrow in my heart for my people to be saved and to walk with God in purity, righteousness and holiness, in the power of the Spirit within them. For I know that many have been given a false grace gospel absent of the cross of Christ in their lives, and so they are not genuinely saved. I also know many of them once walked with the Lord Jesus but have since gotten caught up in the ways of this world and of this social gospel which waters down the truth and which gives them an out for their sin.

If We Confess

…“The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

Many people misuse this passage of scripture in order to water down the truth of the gospel. In our culture today in America, this does not have the same meaning (weight) as it did to those of old who first heard these words. When the people of Paul’s day, in the days of the early church, believed in the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and when they confessed him audibly before humankind as Lord (ruler; master) of their lives, they knew they would most likely be persecuted and maybe even put to death for their faith. Here in America if we audibly confess belief in Jesus, little now does it bring about any kind of persecution, unless, of course, we are serious about our walks with the Lord, and we are preaching the truth of the gospel of salvation, and then we will be persecuted, and most especially by the religious establishment of our day, and by the leadership of these establishments, too.

Another thought here along these same lines is that saying audibly that “Jesus is Lord” here in America does not mean he is truly Lord of our lives, nor do I think that most people really understand what it means to have him as Lord of our lives. It is merely a title of respect given to Jesus. Yet, having him as Lord means we are in full submission to him, we have forsaken our lives of living for sin and self, we have been transformed in heart and mind of the Spirit of God, and we are walking daily in fellowship with Him in his righteousness and holiness - in the power of the Spirit within us – not in absolute perfection, but in daily dying to self and sin and choosing to walk in the light of his Word.

How Beautiful!

How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”

So, what is this “good news” that we are to preach so that people may be saved? The Bible teaches that we have all sinned and that we all come up short of attaining the glory of God in our lives (See Ro. 3:23). Yet, it also teaches that the wages (payment) for sin is death – eternal punishment and eternal separation from God – but the gift of God (our salvation) is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord (See Ro. 6:23). As well, we are taught that it is by God’s grace that we are saved, through faith, and it is not of our own making lest we should boast. Our salvation is a gift from God via Jesus’ blood shed on the cross for our sins. We do nothing to earn it or to deserve it. While we were still helpless (weak; sinners) Christ died for the ungodly (See Eph. 2:8-9; Ro. 5:6-8). Yet, we must accept it/him by faith.

So, what does this faith look like? Well, we learn in Ac. 26:16-18 that we need to have our spiritually blinded eyes opened, and we are to be turned from sin to the light of Christ and his Word, and from the power and control of Satan over our lives to God, so that we might receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified and made holy in Christ Jesus our Lord. In other words, we must die with Christ to sin, and we must be resurrected with Christ to new life, and we must walk (in lifestyle) in the Spirit in purity, righteousness and holiness – all in the power and strength of the Spirit within us (See Ro. 6-8; Eph. 4:17-24; Gal. 2:20 & 1 Jn. 1-5).

Jesus Christ died, not just so our sins would be forgiven, and so we would escape hell and have eternal life with him in heaven. Jesus Christ died to free us from the power and control of sin and Satan over our lives so that we could walk in the Spirit and in holiness day by day. He died so we would no longer live for ourselves but for him who gave himself up for us (See 2 Co. 5:15). As well, his grace teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions and to live self-controlled and upright lives while we wait for his return (See Tit. 2:11-14). If we say we have fellowship with God or that we love God, and yet we continue in sinful lifestyles (walking in darkness), scripture says we are liars, and we do not live by the truth, and in fact, we do not know God at all (See 1 Jn. 1-5).

Disobedient and Contrary

But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?” So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.

But I ask, have they not heard? Indeed they have, for

“Their voice has gone out to all the earth,
and their words to the ends of the world.”
But I ask, did Israel not understand? First Moses says,

“I will make you jealous of those who are not a nation;
with a foolish nation I will make you angry.”
Then Isaiah is so bold as to say,

“I have been found by those who did not seek me;
I have shown myself to those who did not ask for me.”
But of Israel he says, “All day long I have held out my hands to a disobedient and contrary people.”

Has the church here in America today heard the gospel of salvation? Certainly we have, though many have heard a distorted version of it. So, if they are to be truly saved, they must hear the truth. As well, many have heard the truth, but have not truly believed, or many have believed but have since strayed from their pure devotion to Christ. So, the Lord has been sending out his messengers to preach the true gospel so that they would be saved, and so the church would be revived, and yet many have ignored or have refused those messages, and have chosen, instead, to embrace a softer and more acceptable version of the gospel, which is not the gospel at all. So, much of today’s institutional church is not unlike Israel of old as they are also disobedient and obstinate in response to God.

Because of their response to the truths of God’s word, many have also rejected and persecuted the Lord’s messengers, and yet, we are to be encouraged, and to not grow weary in doing good, for our work will one day be rewarded when we see the church revived and the gospel going out like it has not for many years, and many will be saved. Amen!

Give Me Courage, Lord
An Original Work / November 13, 2013

Based off Various Scriptures

Do not let your hearts grow weary,
For your work will be rewarded.
Be strong; let your hearts take courage.
Do not fear, but wait on Jesus.

Be strong and very courageous,
For your God will go before you.
Do not fear. He will not leave you.
Wait for Him. He’ll not forsake you.

Be careful to do what He says.
Do not turn away from your Lord.
Take courage! You’ll be His witness,
For God will guide and protect you.

So we are always encouraged.
We walk by faith and not vision.
We make it our aim to please Him,
So in Christ, we glorify Him.