August 13, 2017 – Tenth Sunday After Pentecost
- First reading and Psalm
- Alternate First reading and Psalm
- Second reading
Romans 10:5-15 | New Living Translation (NLT)
For Moses writes that the law’s way of making a person right with God requires obedience to all of its commands. But faith’s way of getting right with God says, “Don’t say in your heart, ‘Who will go up to heaven?’ (to bring Christ down to earth). And don’t say, ‘Who will go down to the place of the dead?’ (to bring Christ back to life again).” In fact, it says,
“The message is very close at hand;
it is on your lips and in your heart.”
And that message is the very message about faith that we preach: If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved. As the Scriptures tell us, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be disgraced.” Jew and Gentile are the same in this respect. They have the same Lord, who gives generously to all who call on him. For “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them? And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent? That is why the Scriptures say, “How beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring good news!”
“How beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring the Good News!” This is how Paul finishes this passage that we are looking at this week. Paul reminds us that the Good News is not complicated. We (as humans) love to complicate the Good News. We are told that “The message is very close at hand; it is on your lips and in your heart.”
What is the message that we are looking at today? Interestingly enough, I have quoted this over the last few weeks during our worship time. Here is the message of faith:
If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the death, you will be saved.
Why does it need to be anymore difficult than that. It seems that we like to make this life of faith or receiving Jesus more difficult than Paul made it. What is true salvation? We already have the answer. It’s in the quote that I have above…and how do we know? Listen to what Paul writes:
For everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved.
Paul is quoting from the prophet Joel. Peter quotes from the same passage during his message at Pentecost. Salvation is for everyone – not just the elect – but for everyone who believes and calls upon the name of the Lord. If you’ve never done that, today could be your day. That’s one message that we can get out of the text today.
However, let’s go back to the first thing I quoted from Paul. “How beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring good news!” Do you like to hear good news? I know I do. Don’t we often say, “I had to be the bearer of bad news?” The Gospel is Good News and God has called us to take the Good News to people who haven’t heard it.
Paul asks the question, “How can they call on him to save them unless they believe in Him?” He goes on, “How can they believe in him if they have never heard about him?” And just one more “How can they hear about him unless someone tells them?
One of my Wednesday posts coming up is called “The Burnt-Over District.” Believe it or not, there were those in the late 19th Century who believed there was no one left to save here in the Western New York region. Even if that was true, it isn’t true now, although I believe God is working in the Twin Tiers region. God is on the move. We need to go and tell people about Jesus – how will they know otherwise.
In just a few weeks, McCrae Brook will be part of the National Back to Church Sunday. We are doing it on September 10. We are told that 80% of those who don’t go to church would go, simply if they were asked. Think about that! The chances of rejection are small especially if that person is your friend. I want to encourage you. We have been commanded to take the Good News everywhere – to everyone.
How beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring the good news.