Whoever Calls on the Name of the Lord will be Saved

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For whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved
Romans 10:13

We can take great comfort in the fact that Jesus died so we could have eternal life.  Paul told the Romans that “whoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”  What does it mean to call on the name of the Lord?

The Context of Romans 10:13

Beginning in the first part of the book, Paul argued that the Jews under the Old Law did not keep the Law completely (so as to earn justification) and failed when they tried to establish their own righteousness.  Since one cannot earn righteousness because of sin, man needed God to develop a means of removing sin and allowing man to once again live in harmony with Him.

Paul wrote that the righteousness of God is obtained through faith.  Faith is belief based on the word of God (Romans 10:9, 14) coupled with obedience to the word (James 2:14-26).  Without faith, we cannot please God (Hebrews 11:6).

In Romans 10, Paul says that one must believe in Jesus and confess Him before He can be saved.  If this were all that was written about salvation,  this is all one would have to do.  However, there are other passages that tell us what we must do  to  “call on the name of the Lord.”  Some passages tell us that repentance is necessary for  salvation.  Other passages tell us that we must be baptized and live godly lives in order to have salvation.  Let us look at what all of the scriptures say about our salvation. Let us begin with Acts 2.

Joel’s Prophecy

Romans 10:13 is a quote from Joel 2:32.  It is a prophecy that the apostle Peter says was fulfilled after Jesus ascended back into heaven.  In Acts 2, Peter quotes Joel 2:28-32 and says that the events that took place that day were the fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy.  From that day, the day that the church was established, Peter and the apostles preached that whoever would call on the name of the Lord would be saved.

Peter’s Sermon

Back in Romans 10, Paul wrote that in order to call on the Lord, one had to believe; in order to believe, one had to hear the gospel.  Peter, in Acts 2, began to preach about Jesus so the
audience could believe that Jesus, whom they crucified, was the Son of God.

Many in the audience believed the words of Peter and realized that by killing Jesus, they had made themselves enemies of God.  They cried out, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?”  They wanted to make peace with Jesus for they had sinned against Him.  Remember, from this time forward “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Peter did not tell them to pray and accept Jesus Christ into their heart.  I have read many tracts that encourage the reader to commit his life to Jesus then tell him to pray something like this:

“Lord Jesus, I do now by faith accept Thee as my personal Savior.  I call on Thee to reign in my heart.”

Though it is good to want Jesus to be in charge of our lives, there is no instance of anyone in the New Testament being told to pray to accept Jesus as their personal savior in order to have salvation.  Search the scriptures and you will find this to be true.

Calling on the Name of the Lord

What did Peter tell them to do?

“Repent and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins”

They were to call on the name of the Lord by repenting and being baptized in the Lord’s name.

Joel:     Call on the name of the Lord => Saved.
Peter:  Repent and be baptized => Saved

In Acts 22:16, Paul was told:

Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord

Paul was not baptized because he had called on the name of the Lord, nor was he baptized because his sins had already been washed away (according to the verse they had not been removed).  Baptism was part of the calling on the name of the Lord.  It was the culmination of his response to Jesus’ call.  Of course, this response to the gospel was commanded by Jesus in Mark 16:16:

He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned

If we want to call on the name of the Lord, we must do so like Jesus and the apostles taught.  Since we cannot find the “Sinner’s Prayer” in the New Testament nor do we find any person who was saved in the New Testament by being told to pray a similar prayer for salvation, we must acknowledge that this approach is man-made, not from God’s authority

To “call on the name of the Lord” is to call for the Lord’s help, namely, to remove our sins.  It is more than a verbal acknowledgement of Jesus’ lordship, for some will call Him “Lord” and be lost (Matthew 7:21-23).  Calling on the name of the Lord is complete obedience to the gospel for it alone has the power to save us.

For more details, look at this SlideShare presentation:

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What Is Your Life?

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Guest Post by Russell Poe

I saw a commercial the other day regarding the sale of AARP Medicare Supplement plans.  An older, “well preserved” female is shown walking down a beautifully landscaped path toward the camera, smiling and looking quite alive.  After a moment she stops, looks at the camera and says “I’m only in my 60’s – I’ve got a long life ahead of me – big plans.”   And I suddenly found myself wondering if I actually, correctly heard what she said.

The last time I checked, the average American’s life expectancy was about 77 years old.  Assuming this lady was in her mid 60’s, and she lives the average life span of an American, she only has about 9 to 12 years left to live.  And that’s ASSUMING she lives the average number of years for an American – she could EASILY die sooner.

Even if she was Japanese, the race of people who currently have the highest average life expectancy in the world (80 years old), at best she would have 12 to 15 years left to live.

Sure, she may live to be 95, which would give her approximately 30 years left to live, but statistically she only has an 18% chance of doing that.  The odds are definitely not in her favor!

Now I don’t know about you, but if you told me I had another 9 to 15 years to live, I don’t think I would consider that a “long life ahead of me” -  and I’m not sure that’s even enough time to consider making “big plans” either.

Isn’t it sad how our society can so easily ignore things they don’t want to hear or that makes them feel uncomfortable?  Ignore solid facts and figures about death?  Or even make up “truth” of their own?

Most of us here know what the Bible says about the length of our life – in fact, the Bible mentions the human being’s “average” life span.  Moses wrote in the 90th Psalm “The days of our lives are SEVENTY years; and if by reason of strength they are 80 years, yet their boast is only labor and sorrow, for it is soon cut off and we fly away.”  Apparently the eagerness to sell AARP products and make money overrides everything the Bible says about the matter, but that’s not unusual – so many in the world simply ignore what God’s word says.

But I did a spur of the moment test that in a way was shocking, but in a way not at all and simply shows the wisdom and the accuracy of the Bible.  The test and the parameters were as random as they could be and I actually had most of this invitation written before I even did it.

UndertakerWe had purchased a past Sunday Birmingham News and in the obituary column there were 27 people listed that had recently passed away.  I wrote down all their ages (the oldest was 98, the youngest died at 41), totaled them and then divided by 27. Guess how long their average lifespan totaled?  SEVENTY (.6) YEARS OLD!!  Almost exactly what Moses, an inspired writer, recorded as Scripture – and the world chooses to ignore the Bible, claiming it is a “fairy tale”.

So, going back to our commercial – if our mid 60’s woman lives an average American life span of 77 years – does 10-12 years REALLY sound like “a long life ahead of me?!”  Think back 10 years of your life – does it seem like ages ago, or yesterday?  If you have a 10 year old, has life just slowed down like molasses in winter since they were born???

Well, back to the obituary – what about young people, teenagers?  I mean, the youngest person in the obituary column was still 41.  If you’re a teenager, should you worry about dying?   Let’s let the numbers testify.  In America, from 1996 to 2006, over 16,000 teenagers between 12 and 19 died EACH YEAR.  Each Year!  How do you think all of these teenagers died?  Did I include all those inner city kids who shoot each other every year?  Yes, they’re in there, but only 13% of the 16,000 teenagers died from homicide.  The next lowest percentage of deaths was by suicide, at 11% – that’s a terrible statistic and so sad.  But do you know what IS the leading killer of teenagers 12-19 years old?  Unintentional Injury.  What killed almost half of the 16,000 teenagers every year for 10 years?  Unintentional or Accidental Injury.

I don’t know about you, but what I see in these figures scares me.  First, it bothers me to think of 16,000 plus teenagers dying every year in America, having one myself in that age group.  Next, I look at the percentages of those killed by suicide and homicide and it begins to make me a little sick.  But then I see that almost half of all the teenagers 12-19 years old die from something that was an ACCIDENT!  Something that wasn’t planned!  Something they may never have seen coming….  What I’m trying to tell each of us, those of you who are young, and ESPECIALLY to those of you who are young and haven’t obeyed the Gospel, is that life is uncertain.  People die from doing everyday things – something went wrong, an accident happened and someone died, just like that.  No warning, no symptoms, no clue that you’re about to die – an accident happens and death occurs.

James says in James chapter 4:13-14     “Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit”; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow.  For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for (how long??) a little time and then vanishes away.”

That’s true for babies, it’s true for teenagers, it’s true for grown people and it is true for EVERYBODY – we don’t have a very long time on this earth.  We’re born, we grow up, we die – most do, many don’t!  There are no guarantees – you may be in perfect health today and be gone tomorrow.

NOW – remember that half of the 16,000 teenagers 12-19 years old that died of Accidental Injury for 10 years in a row?  Do you know what killed 73% of that half?  “Motor vehicle traffic accidents”.

How many times have you heard “You could just be driving down the road and” – people usually say something a lot because it’s true.  And dedicating yourself to driving safely won’t guarantee you won’t be in an accident.  In fact, if you are young and don’t have your driver’s license, you aren’t even in control of the situation!  Someone ELSE is doing the driving!

You might be asking this – Am I saying all these things to try to scare teenagers into obeying the Gospel?  I’d have to say no – if anyone wants to be saved by hearing God’s word, believing it and in Him, repenting of all sins, confessing belief that Jesus to be the Son of God and being baptized into Christ to wash away sins, I want (or rather GOD wants) it to be because they’ve decided to give up their own will and follow God’s will, desiring whole-heartedly to live as the Bible teaches – and NOT because something scared them to do these things.

But shouldn’t these facts and figures cause a moment of serious thought?  Another statement people say often is “Numbers don’t lie” and true numbers don’t.  I’m praying that what has been said tonight will cause each one to take a minute, consider your soul’s standing before God right now, and if you haven’t obeyed the Gospel, make up your mind to do it right now.

It may be that someone reading this has obeyed the Gospel in the past but currently isn’t living the way God would want – doing something sinful on a regular basis because it’s enjoyable and counting (or rather GAMBLING) on the fact that good health and life will continue.

God wants us to give up our idols and give ourselves totally to Him – and repentance and confession of such acts are God’s method of restoring us, publicly if the sins have been committed publicly.

Don’t be like the person I noted when I was gathering these facts – on the same website showing all the ways people die, this person commented:

“Anyone with sense knows that if you get enough vitamins and a proper diet you don’t get sick!!!”

The world has so easily learned to deceive itself and believe anything that’s not true – God’s word is truth and says clearly that there is no promise of tomorrow.  This same truth also says “The wages of sin is death”.  On the other hand, God’s word also gives “exceedingly great and precious promises” of eternal life in Heaven where there is “no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying” and “God will wipe away every tear from their eyes”.   Decide to live for Him who died for you.

Life Changing Decisions for Young People to Make

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It is said that the best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago but the next best time is today. Young people have an opportunity to make important choices to affect their life for the better that they won’t regret not making twenty years from now. Start today to make the change you will appreciate in your future.

Starting today I will…

Pay attention during my Bible class and during the sermon. I realize that my Bible class teachers and the preacher have worked hard to prepare lessons to help me grow closer to God and to be a better person. I also realize that God’s word is able to make me wise so that I can make good decisions and live the best possible life on earth. I also know that by learning God’s word I will be able to obey Him and have eternal salvation (2 Timothy 3:15).

I will not play or write notes to friends during class or the sermon. I will tell my friends that I am trying to pay attention to the teacher or preacher and encourage them to do the same. If they play so much that I cannot listen, I will find another place to sit and play with my friends later.

I will turn to the Bible verses during the class and sermon. I may take notes on what the preacher says so that I can remember what was taught because I know I will need it in the future. I will honor God by listening.

Be a good example to those who are younger than me. I realize that no matter how old or young I am, there are people who look up to me. If I say “no” to something bad, maybe they will have the courage to say “no” as well. I want to live like Jesus did and that means being a good example. I do not want to cause someone to do wrong or to stumble.

Be more respectful to my parents and other adults. I will not think that my opinion is so important that I must interrupt their conversation to speak my mind but will spend more time listening and learning. I will respect my parents by obeying them since God put them in charge of the family and has commanded me to obey them. I will also pray for them.

Make sure that I do not start using bad language. When I was young I remember a bully in our neighborhood tried to teach other kids filthy words. Bad language does not please God or make us look older. Colossians 3:8 tells us to put away filthy language. We should never speak words that are unkind or hateful. Think before you speak: would Jesus say this?

There are many other habits one can begin but this are a few to start with. Always strive to be like Jesus…starting today.

5 Ways You Must Test Your Faith

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Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test! I hope you will find out that we have not failed the test. But we pray to God that you may not do wrong—not that we may appear to have met the test, but that you may do what is right, though we may seem to have failed. For we cannot do anything against the truth, but only for the truth. For we are glad when we are weak and you are strong. Your restoration is what we pray for. For this reason I write these things while I am away from you, that when I come I may not have to be severe in my use of the authority that the Lord has given me for building up and not for tearing down. 2 Corinthians 13:5-10

Why test your faith?

How do you know the strength of your faith? You test your faith. The King James Version says to “prove” yourself. When you test or prove something you are evaluating its quality and durability. Is it good and will it last? Car manufacturers test cars to see how they resist failing in harsh conditions or through extended use and the ability to protect the passengers in an accident.

In ancient times, armorers would test the weapons they made in order to verify their strength and durability before the soldier took it into battle. The sword would be tested under stress during peacetime so the soldier would have confidence in the strength of the sword during battle. They tested the sword so they would know it would be strong enough, not guess or hope that it will be strong.

Schools perform fire and hazardous weather drills when there is no danger so that everyone knows what to do when disaster strikes. It reminds me of a football players shirt that read, “Championships are won when the stands are empty.” On the practice field players discover how strong or weak they are, what they need to fix before the game, and run plays until they are executed by habit. The legendary Alabama football coach, Bear Bryant, organized some very strong practices for his teams because, as he said, “If a man is a quitter, I’d rather find out in practice than in a game. I ask for all a player has so I’ll know later what I can expect.” He tested his players to see what they were made of and to make them stronger.

Far more important for our life is the strength of our faith. It needs to strengthen us daily throughout our life, help us keep focused on what is important during times of prosperity and trial, and preserve us to the end of our life. As with the sword, we need to test our faith when things are peaceful and strengthen it as necessary so it will be strong in adversity and endure until the end.

Test 1: Are you obedient to the faith?

The first question is simple: are you obeying God? Have you come to the Father through Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins and submitted your life to the rule of the King of Kings by believing the message of the gospel, turning from unholy living and thinking,  acknowledging Jesus as Lord, and being adopted as His child and enjoying the cleansing of sin through baptism (Romans 10:6-15;  Galatians 3:26-27)? If you are not God’s child, that is the first step.

Once you are a child of God, are you daily obeying God’s word? Are you living a changed life? Does your life conform to the standard of teaching to which you committed yourself so that you are a slave to righteousness, Romans 6:17-19? Have you set your mind on what is above and put to death what is “earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry”, Colossians 3:1-5? Have you clothed yourself with holiness and are you demonstrating love and compassion towards others, being filled with the word of God so that it comes out in your words, life, and worship, Colossians 3:12-17?

Test 2: Are you living in faith?

When my children learned to swim, I would have the stand on the end of a dock or on the side of a pool and jump into the water near me. I gave them the assurance that I would be there when they entered the water and could pull them to me. I know they loved me and obeyed me but I needed them to trust me. They had to trust that I would take care of them and protect them and that I had their best interests at heart. We can love God and obey Him, but we must also trust Him with our lives.

We have to live courageous lives knowing that if we step from life into death that He will be there to receive us, 2 Corinthians 5:6-10. Every day we must live with complete trust in God, casting all of our cares into His hands or accept a weak existence where we do not trust God completely with our life.  Consider Paul’s promise in Philippians 4:4-7:

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Notice the extremes in the trust we must have. If we want to be able to rejoice in dark times as Paul did and enjoy the peace that surpasses all understanding we must, give everything to God and trust that He hears and will act according to His will and wisdom. I see Christians with weak faith because they will not turn everything over to God. They pray then continue to worry if things will turn out alright. They pray and have no peace because, down deep, they either do not trust that God is there or that He will do anything about their request.  Are you trusting God with everything in your life? If you do not have joy or peace, you are still holding on.

Test 3: Is your faith growing?

With anything that once excites us there is the threat that it will become routine. Our new birth should result in continual growth but if we do not tend to our spiritual life, it can stagnate. The Hebrew writer warned of those who over time should have been teachers needing to be taught the basic principles of the faith again. Later he warns those who endured great hardship for their faith to endure and not shrink back towards destruction. In graphic terms, Jesus told the lukewarm church of Laodicea that He would spit them out of His mouth because they became stagnant. One reason the faith of many grows cold is that they quit growing in knowledge and living their faith. They found a comfortable place and quit growing. When it comes to faith, if you are not growing you are dying.

Paul told the Corinthians to be transformed so that they looked more like Jesus each day:

And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. (2 Corinthians 3:18, ESV)

This  lifelong transformation being in the mind (Romans 12:1-2) and should grow day by day (2 Corinthians 4:16-18). God’s children should be able to notice their stronger faith, deeper love for God and man, and zeal for His work improving every year. How is your prayer life and Bible study compared to this time last year? How is your service for God improved? Do you still struggle with the same challenges or have you experienced many victories and improved self-control? How does your faith compare over longer periods of time?

Test 4: Is your faith evident to others?

Your faith should not be the best kept secret in your life. It should be obvious to others that you are a disciple of Christ. Paul told the young preacher Timothy that his faith should be evident to everyone, 1 Timothy 4:11-16. By practicing and “immersing himself” in what Paul taught him, he would be a good example in his speech, conduct, love, faith, and purity so that his discipleship would be obvious to all. The Thessalonians imitated the Lord such that their faith and example was known in regions beyond their city. Peter urged Christians to live like Jesus so that even their enemies would notice and glorify God.

Do you live as a Christian with boldness and joy? Would your neighbors, co-workers, classmates, and others be able to say, without hesitation, that you are a child of God? Even your enemies should grudgingly admit that you live consistent with your profession of faith even if they hate your faith and think you are fool for following Jesus. Could you be found guilty if put on trial for being a Christian?

Test 5: Do you share your faith with others?

If you know that the gospel is true and that your faith is transforming, you should not hesitate to share it with others. Paul told Timothy to teach others what he learned. They gospel is meant to be taught to others to bring them to Christ. Jesus came to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10) and that should be the Christian’s mission. The Lord does not wish anyone to perish (2 Peter 3:9) and neither should we. If you do not share your faith it may indicate that your faith is not as valuable as you claim. Perhaps being a Christian is a lifestyle choice and not discipleship. If you fear persecution, remember that you become a companion of our Lord, the apostles, and prophets who also suffered for proclaiming God’s word, Matthew 5:11-12. If you believe the gospel is the only way to salvation and that others will be lost eternally if they do not obey it, it should urge you to teach others about Jesus.

There are many other tests one might use to see where they stand in the faith but these five tests will give you a good indication of where you are and where you need to grow.

The Christian Sports Fan

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Friends have divided over it. Marriages have been strained by it. Fights have been started over it. Some have even been killed by it. The “it” is a fanatical dedication to a sports team. It is often said that college football in the South is more like religion than sport. Yet worldwide you will find passionate  fans of many sports teams who cheer their name, wear the colors, and sing the fight song. The sports field is a great place to find camaraderie and entertainment. Individuals, teams, and games are a wonderful source of inspirational stories, quotes, and illustrations. Even the apostle Paul used boxing and running to illustrate Christian principles.
But sports fanaticism has a dark side and one that Christians should consider. Fanatic, from which “fan” derives, can be defined as “marked by excessive enthusiasm and often intense uncritical devotion” (Merriam-Webster Online, “fanatic”). A true fan sees little or no wrong in their team but highlights every real or perceived fault in other teams, especially rivals. Whether the fanaticism is directed towards a sports team, political party, or politician, the person is either unwilling or incapable of seeing things in perspective. Their view is clouded by their obsession. They cannot see why everyone does not share their view and believe everyone is ignorant or evil who disagrees with them.
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Allegiance or Idolatry?

To have an affinity for a sports team or hobby is not wrong. To love a team, enthusiastically support them, and follow them is not wrong of itself. Fanaticism is hard to separate from idolatry. There are people whose year will be considered good or bad not by their relationship with family and friends, success in endeavors, the growth of the Lord, or any virtuous thing but by how their team did against a rival or in a championship game. Some will have their year ruined because a rival did better than their team. So a few hours out of a year will determine whether it was a good or bad year? Whether I am happy or sad?
Sometimes our relationship with our sports teams and God can flesh out where our heart really stands.
  • When attending a football game, some can sit in the cold and rain during overtime and double overtime but complain when they feel the preacher went “over” when proclaiming God’s word.
  • Some can endure rain delays or watch a baseball game on a hot day with no complaint if the game goes into extra innings but gripe when the song leader chose some extra songs or the service ended later than usual.
  • Some can recite team rosters, history, and key points in past games but have trouble identifying Bible characters, telling Bible stories from memory, and discussing key teaching of scripture.
  • Some can read blogs, magazines, and listen to sports radio for hours about their team, recruiting, predictions, and game recaps but are bored at the thought of reading the Bible, doing their lessons, or listening to sermon audio on subjects they need.

It’s not that keeping up with one’s team or sport is wrong, it is not. The issue is when we give inordinate attention to what is passing away and less attention to what is eternal. We can enjoy the eternal and the temporal but never let what is passing eclipse what is really important.

Hateful Speech
Christians must also guard their tongue when discussing sports. I have some good friends at a rival school that love their team. I love them more than I love my team. There is friendly poking back and forth at work and with these friends. it is friendly give and take but in the end we value our relationship with one another more than any team and will not insult or demean one another.
But some turn nasty and vindictive and that is where the fun stops. I block some Christian friends on Facebook  during football season because they speak with such venom about their rivals and perceived injustices against their team. Some cannot love their team without hating on someone else’s team. Sadly, I used to fall into that category and I repent of my folly and shortsightedness. Can you let your light shine and glorify God when your words are hateful and launched with an intent to hurt? Can you enjoy your team without hating on another team? Can you walk the high road when someone hates on your team?

Keeping First Things First

I love the Fall. I love football. I love my team. I love its history and I love watching the games. I love a loud stadium. I love it when we win. I love championships. I love everything about it and feel like a kid at Christmas when Fall arrives.

But I love God, His children, and His work more. In this area of my life it must clearly be evident to all. If I’m proud to wear my team colors I must be more zealous to show the glory of the Lord in my word, my priorities, and my life.

O’ Worship the Team

Sung to the tune “O, Worship the King”

O’ worship the team,
You make me so proud.
I faithfully sing,
The fight song so loud.
With venom I’ll speak of our rivals to all,
For grace seasoned speech isn’t used in the Fall.

I tell of your fame,
Your history I know.
I yell out your name,
And cheers proudly crow.
I don’t know much Bible after all of these years,
And don’t speak of Jesus for fear of the jeers.

O’ where is my love?
And what do I serve?
Do I look above,
And feed on His word?

Let all loves in life fade when I seek Your face,
And let my example reflect Your good grace.

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