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Religion

What is Your Confession Worth Scripture Memory 6

By Pastor Phillip Howle
web posted September 17, 2014

RELIGION – Football season is in full swing. It is a great game and a gift of God to enjoy. However, being honest, I am not a huge college football fan. I like seeing good football played in our state. I played football from ages all my childhood and I do still enjoy watching it some. You can learn a great deal about life through playing sports and even be inspired by the sacrifice and dedication of athletes.

The truth is that I can be easily bothered by some fans of college football. They can be obnoxious, they can be sore losers, and at times even worse winners. I suspect that readership of my column just went down by half. But there are some fans that I truly respect. These are the fans that stay devoted to their team through the rough years. The fans that still wear the T-Shirts and hat when the team is 0-8, the ones who sit all four quarters even when the team is behind by 27 in the fourth quarter; it’s the fans who stay true through the rough years that impress me.

But the opposite of this which I have little respect for is the fair-weather Johnson. These are the fans whose closet is full of shirts and hats from a whole assortment of teams. They pick up a team when it is hot and then drop them when they slump. They are only along for the ride as long as things are good.  They pull for whoever is winning and hot right now.

Our last memory verse from Romans Road this week is Romans 10:9-10“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. (10) For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.”  I know you are thinking that is a lot of words.

But so are all the songs that you have in your head! You will remember what matters and what you hear over and over. Imagine your child is asking how they can be saved, and you then walk them through the Romans Road and close with this verse and see their little lives forever changed by Jesus. Knowing the words to “Red Solo Cup” is not going to do much good in this situation.

So why is this verse important? Let’s think about what situation Paul is writing. At the time of the writing of the book of Romans, as a nation, the Jews had rejected Jesus as their Messiah. For an individual to accept Christ and confess that He was the Messiah would typically result in persecution and ultimately death. At this time, for a Jew to embrace Christ and subsequently confess Him as Lord, knowing that persecution was sure to come, was an indication of true salvation and the work of the Holy Spirit. The salvation here is clearly powerful as for the one who in confessing is to accept the very possibility of death. The legitimacy of their salvation was their believing so strongly that they would die for their beliefs.
 
This verse is not teaching that merely audibly saying “Jesus is Lord” makes one a believer. It is teaching that when one genuinely believes in Christ, who He is and what He has done for them, it changes their life! Fair-weather Christianity maybe popular, hang with Jesus as long as things are going well, and ditch him when something better comes along, but it is not Biblical or even Christianity.

I have been amazed at the strength of many of Iraqi Christians. It is widely known now that ISIS, since they entered Iraq, has targeted and Killed Christians. The Iraqi Christians had their homes and businesses with a red, painted ن (pronounced “noon”), the 14th letter of the Arabic alphabet and the equivalent to our letter N.  The ن stands for Nasara or Nazarenes, a pejorative Arabic word for Christians. They have been forced to flee and leave behind their home, and all that owned and worked for. Many have been killed for their faith.

The Islamic terrorists mean it for evil when they mark homes with “N” for “Nazarene.” They assume it’s an insult, an emblem of shame. But for the Iraqi people who know Romans 10:9-10 “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. (10)  For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.” That “N” is mark of pride! They have been willing to die or flee in refusal to convert to a religion that knows no grace or love.

The reality is that if you are worried about appearing a little weird if you speak of being a Christian where you work, then you need to look at the genuineness of your salvation. Matthew 10:32-33 “So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, (33)  but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.” Furthermore, people who have a relationship with Jesus and confess him as Lord worship together at a church. The Christians in Iraq have had their churches burned down and blown up and would love to worship together, a privilege that many of us take for granted and neglect.

I fear we have many fair-weather Christians who have never truly, meaningfully, and powerfully confessed Jesus as their Savior and Lord. So before you memorize this verse make sure you have first understood and applied this verse to your own life. Also, we should not just be content to sit here and enjoy our church while our brothers and sisters right now are being killed for their faith. We should be faithful to pray for them that their faith and love may continue to shine brightly in the face of real, true, and powerful evil. 

Pastor Phillip




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