Calling on the Name of the Lord (Romans Sermon 77 of 120)
August 28, 2005 | Andrew Davis
Introduction: The Enemy of Human Pride
We are looking this morning at some magnificent verses, Romans 10:11-13, and as I was considering the message that's here, I was thinking about what I consider to be one of the greatest enemies, entrenched enemies of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and that is human pride. Human pride opposes the Gospel, human pride opposes the Gospel at every turn. And the Apostle Paul, I believe, is taking on some unique aspects of human pride found in the Jews and revealing them for what they are.
I can think of three in particular, as he's dealing in Romans 9, 10 and 11, with the great question of why the Jews are not trusting in Christ, why they have not embraced Jesus as their savior and their Messiah, despite the fact that Christ was so clearly predicted in the Prophets. Why were they not embracing Christ? And I think we get to three aspects of pride that Paul is opposing that are unique to the Jews.
The first is the concept based on pride, that salvation is automatic for the Jews, that all the descendants of Abraham, are automatically going to be saved. And that was not true, He dealt with that in Romans 9, "for not all who are descended from Israel are Israel," he's dealing with that.
Secondly, especially, that you find this in the Pharisees, but I think it was in the minds of the Jews, that salvation could be earned through obedience to the law, salvation could be earned through our own efforts, that's based on pride too, and Paul's dealing with that here saying that it is not. It's simply hearing with faith. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is not something you have to ascend up into the heavens for, or cross the other side of the sea for, or go down to the depths.
It is really essentially simple, as you just heard Chris read, "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." It's that simple. Well, for the Pharisees and the law keepers, the legalist it wasn't that simple, they had to keep all the laws of Moses, and therefore it was essentially a pride based salvation at the end you could boast.
But there was a third element of Jewish national pride that Paul is taking on right here and that is salvation is impossible for the Gentiles. The Gentiles cannot be saved unless they become Jews in some way, but God has no saving intent for the Gentiles, not as such. And what Paul is doing here is he is showing that God has had a timeless universal saving concern, and he does it in the way he always does, by citing His scripture.
Now, there's another kind of pride, that's universal really, it fits with both Jew and Gentile and it's the pride of denying that you need to be saved at all. "We don't need a Savior, we're fine as we are," and Paul deals with that as well. And so we are facing human pride here, and we're doing it with the power of the gospel and with the Old Testament scripture that Paul is quoting. God has a timeless a universal saving concern. Look at Verse 11, it says, "as the scripture says, 'Anyone who trust in Him will never be put to shame.'" Now, there were Jews who are opposing Paul at every city, everywhere he went. There were Jewish opponents, and there were also some Jewish folks that were believing in Christ, and trusting in Him. But there were many opponents. They looked on Paul as a doctrinal innovator, really as a heretic, he was a pestilence, he was teaching new doctrines he was really urging Israel to follow false gods, he was a rebel.
I believe that Paul's constant appeal to scripture again, and again, makes that charge ridiculous. Verse 11 is by my count the 42nd time that Paul has quoted an Old Testament scripture in the Book of Romans. That's incredible. over and over, he is seeking to root his gospel in the Old Testament in the Scripture. If you look, you don't have to turn there, but just right at the very beginning of Romans, which I did preach on a number of millennia ago. I know it's been a long time, but way, way, way back when, Romans 1:1-2 it says, "Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God," verse two "The Gospel He promised beforehand through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures." As he will prove in verse after verse.
I. God’s Timeless, Universal Saving Concern
And so we have right here, verse 11, begins "as the scripture says…" He's rooting God's timeless universal saving concern in the Old Testament scriptures. Now what is the context of this quote? "Anyone who trusts in Him will never be put to shame." Well, it's Isaiah 28:16, and their Israel is facing a great danger, God is bringing a Gentile nation to invade Judah, to invade them and to destroy them. This is clearly prophesied in the song of Moses, that if they did not obey the law, if they did not follow the covenant that God would bring a people of a strange language in they would invade and there would be a destruction. And so, in Isaiah 28, the context there is that the Jews are facing their own destruction, they're basically facing Judgment Day of a smaller level.
In time and space, they're facing their own condemnation, now God sent profits especially Isaiah to warn them again and again that this was coming, but the Jews mocked the profits they refused to listen to them, including Isaiah. The Jews claimed to have made some kind of special arrangement to avoid the scourge that was about to come on them. They thought that they had made some kind of an alliance. I think it's tied to an alliance they had made with Egypt. They thought the Egyptians were going to come and face the Assyrians in Isaiah's time, and then later the Babylonians. So it says in Isaiah 28:15, "You boast, 'we have entered into a covenant with death, with the grave we have made an agreement. When an overwhelming scourge sweeps by it cannot touch us, for we have made a lie our refuge and falsehood, our hiding place.'" You know what this is? This is salvation by works, salvation by ingenuity, salvation by a separate covenant apart from God, it's one way to be saved. And the prophet Isaiah says; it's no salvation at all because the water is going to fill up your hiding place and you'll be drowned. There is no way to escape. There is another refuge however, and he says, it right here in Isaiah 28:16. "So this is what the Sovereign Lord says, 'see I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious corner stone for a sure foundation and the one who trusts will never be dismayed.'" And that's what it says.
Now in the New Testament, we have learned what that tested precious cornerstone is, or we should say who it is. It is none other than Jesus Christ the Son of God, as the Apostle Paul quoted in Romans 9:33, you can look back a few verses, into the end of chapter nine. "As it is written, 'see I lay a stone in Zion that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall, and the one who trusts, in Him will never be put to shame.'" The stone of salvation is none other than Jesus Christ, and if you trust in Him, the overwhelming scourge will sweep by you, and you will be saved, but if you try to make a separate covenant with death, try to make some separate arrangement, try to save yourself some other way, you will be destroyed, and Paul takes that whole concept and brings it over here into Romans 10.
Now, here he adds something else in Romans 10:11. He adds this little word again, to the quote. So two words are added, and He's emphasizing it here, he says, "As the scripture says, 'Anyone who trusts in Him will never be put to shame.'" This is God's universal saving concern, God has a concern both for Jew and Gentile not for Jew only. He has a saving concern for Gentiles. This is the principle that he's learning. So therefore, it's a universal concern and the reason for that is because there is one and only one God, there is a universal God, a God of Jews and gentiles alike. Look at verse 12-13. "For there is 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." Now the Jews believed and rightly so, that there is one God and only one God. Most of the pagan world at that time, the world of the Gentiles, was polytheistic. They believed in gods that had their own little domains, kind of like a government bureaucracy, the under secretary in charge of whatever. And you go to this god and he or she would take care of this or that problem for you.
They also believed in national gods. There'd be a god of the Ammonites and a god of the Moabites and a god of the Romans, or of the Greeks. That was the polytheistic way of thinking. Now the Jews understood that that was all foolishness, they understood that there was one God, and only one God. "Here Oh Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one." He is Lord of Heaven and Earth, He rules over all things. When Jonah was sent as the reluctant missionary to the hated Assyrians, and the storm came on the Mediterranean Sea, the polytheistic pagan sailors were asking basically "What God do you worship?" He said, "I worshipped the Lord who made the sea and everything in it, who made the sky and the earth and all things." They believed in a universal creator, God. They also believe through their prophets that this one God was Judge of all the Earth as well, remember how Abraham said, concerning Sodom and Gomorrah, "Shall not the judge of all the Earth do right?" They believed in that, they believed that the Jewish God was actually judge of all the earth.
And so Amos the prophet is saying, "For three sins of Damascus, and even for four, I will not hold back my wrath, for three sins of Egypt, and even four, I will not hold back my wrath, for three sins of Babylon, and four I'll not hold... " He's involved in everybody's business, they didn’t have any problems with that, with a God who created all things, and a God who will judge all nations. But they had a severe problem with the concept of a God who had a saving concern for all nations. They couldn't accept it, that was Jonah's problem. "Throw me in the sea Lord. I have no interest in seeing a single Assyrian come to faith, none." And they hated that concept that God would not just judge the nations, but actually would save some.
Now Paul had made this point abundantly clear, the God of the Jews is also the God of the Gentiles. He said it in Romans 3:29-30 says, "Is God the God of Jews only? Is He not the God of Gentiles too?" Yes, of Gentiles too, since there is only one God, who will justify the circumcised through faith and the uncircumcised through that same faith." There is one God, and only one God, and just as there is one universal God, there is one universal need, all of us, Jew and Gentile alike, we have the same need.
Now Paul had made that very plain also in Romans 3, "What shall we conclude then?" He says here in Romans 3:9, "Are we any better?" Speaking of the Jews. "Are we any better? Not at all! We have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under sin as it is written… 'there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God, all have turned aside…. There is no one who does good, not even one.'" He makes it very plain there in Romans 3, Jew and Gentile alike. We hold this in common, we are under sin, and thus there is one universal need. And you know what it is? That one universal need for us Sinners is mercy, we all need mercy, we need to be saved by grace and by mercy and no other way, and that's exactly where Paul's going here in Romans 9:10-11. Why is God doing all this? Why, with the Jews, why with the Gentile? What is His ultimate end?
And the ultimate end is, it's right there in Romans 11:32, and you can look there, it's just one page over perhaps, but it says that, "God has bound all men over to disobedience, in order that He may have mercy on them all." Isn't that incredible? Basically there's not going to be anybody in Heaven saying, "I didn't get here by mercy and grace." There's not going to be a single person, Jew or Gentile, that's going to say, "I didn't need a savior." There's not going to be anybody there who's going to say, "I didn't need the mercy and the grace of God," because everybody will have been so thoroughly educated in their own sin, that they will see that they needed Christ, they needed a savior, the needed the mercy of God. So there is one universal God. There's one universal need, there's one universal Savior, therefore, and that is Jesus Christ. Christ came, not just as a Savior of the Jews, but it was a universal saving concern. It says in 1 John 2:2, that Christ "is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world." He's not just a Jewish Savior, but there is saving intent to people in every tribe, and language, and people, and nation.
Isaiah saw this plainly, for God the Father spoke through Isaiah to the son in this way, it says, Isaiah 49:6, "It is too small a thing for you to be my servant, to restore the tribes of Jacob, and bring back those of Israel that I have kept. I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring my salvation to the ends of the earth." It's too small, Jesus for you, just to save Jews, it's too small a thing for your glory and for the accomplishment of your purposes, you have to be a universal savior to the ends of the earth. And so therefore there is one and only one Gospel, everybody gets saved the same way, by believing in Jesus. As it says, "Anyone who trusts in Him, will never be put to shame, for there is 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."
Anyone and Everyone Who Calls…
And now we come to this beautiful language. Anyone... Everyone. Do you notice it? It's stressed. He puts it in there, and the quote, that's what He's emphasizing here. Anyone who trusts in Him will never be put to shame. Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.
Now I know what you're thinking, you're thinking we just got done with Romans 9. How in the world does anyone and everyone fit in the Romans 9? Well, I'll say that there's no contradiction here, no contradiction. Anyone who trusts in Him, it's true will never be put to shame. Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will most certainly be saved. There is a wideness and an open invitation here, that's culminating at the end of this chapter, and we'll talk about it in due time, in Romans 10:21, where it says, "All day long, I have held out my hands to a disobedient and obstinate people." That's what you get in the Gospel, you get Jesus holding out his hand saying, anyone everyone come to me, all you who are weary and burdened and it's there. And we'll talk about it when we get to 10:21. But there's a wideness to the mercy and grace and to the appeal here. But that was the wideness the Jews hated, they didn't want to see it applying to the Ninevites, they didn't want to see it applied to the Greeks and to the Romans, they hated that thought, which I think is a glorious thought, that there's a wideness of the mercy and grace of God.
Furthermore, there's no contradiction here because Romans 9 has told us, who it is that's going to call on the name of the Lord. Who it is that's going to trust in Him and not be put to shame. And is those people that God calls by His sovereign grace he's going to be working a miracle in them, There's a wideness to God's appeal here, anyone and everyone, and we must emphasize it now what is promised for anyone who trusts in him, what is extended to everyone who calls on the name of the Lord.
II. Escaping Judgment Day Shame
First he says We're going to escape shame. Look again at verse 11. "Anyone who trusts in Him will never be put to shame." Now, from the very beginning of our history with sin, sin and shame, have been linked together isn't that so? Remember what it said in Genesis 2:25, it says the man and his wife were both naked and they felt no shame, and it's really kind of a tragic statement because Moses writing it way after the fact, was writing something about which his readers would know everything about. We know all about shame, but isn't it amazing how Adam and Eve in their early stages, the stage of purity and innocence, didn't know anything of shame?
They were free from it. Oh, wouldn't it be sweet to be there again? Brothers and sisters in Christ believers in Christ. Someday you will be, you'll be totally free of shame forever for the scripture says "Anyone who trusts in Him will never be put to shame." But from the very beginning, there's been a link between sin and shame. I've been trying to meditate on what's the difference between shame and guilt. Some say we've become more of a shame oriented culture than a guilt oriented culture. What I think guilt is an objective sense inside ourselves that we are guilty in front of an objective standard, a sense of law, We feel guilty because we are guilty, we have violated some laws of God.
But shame is much more relational, it's the emotional content of that connection at the human level horizontally and up even more toward God. We're ashamed toward one another and we feel a sense of shame up toward God and you see that in the Garden of Eden don't you? Right away, as soon as they eat from the fruit. Listen to this Genesis 3, you've heard it before, but it says, "Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized that they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves. Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man, 'Where are you?' and He answered, 'I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid.'
Do you see the shame all over that passage, they're ashamed with each other and hiding from each other, and they're ashamed toward God, and they're hiding from God. AW Tozer said this, "Brethren, I am not ashamed of this world that God created, I am only ashamed of man's sin. If you could take all of man's sin out of this world, there would be nothing to be ashamed of and nothing to be afraid of. Our apologies therefore, must be for humanity and for our sins." So there's a link between sin and shame.
Now, fear of shame, I think, is one of the most powerful forces in society, isn't it? Think about yourself, all the things you'll do to avoid being embarrassed, all the things you'll do to avoid being ashamed. We've mentioned before, if a man or a woman is arrested and the television cameras are there, they're going to want to hide their face with their coat. There's a sense of shame there. Some people will commit suicide rather than face the consequences of a crime that they've committed. They'd rather die than face the societal shame of what they've done. Teens, young people, will readily admit one of the things that they fear the most is being ashamed in front of their peers. They'd rather die a thousand deaths than to have everyone in their group laugh at them. And so they'll do anything they can to avoid feeling shame.
Christie and I were missionaries in Japan, one of the major features of that culture is saving face, the need to maintain your reputation in the eyes of your peers. And one of the greatest things you can do to hurt somebody is to cause them to lose face. All of this is related to shame, but friends, that's all at the human level, isn't it? It's not horizontal. How much infinitely greater will the feeling be when we stand in front of the Holy God on judgment day, when he looks at us with those pure and holy eyes that cannot even look at evil, when he knows everything that we have ever said or done and lays it bare for all to see? And there it says in Romans 2:16, this will take place on the day when God will judge men's secrets through Jesus Christ, as the gospel declares. Or as Jesus put it this way, in Luke 12:3-5, "What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight and what you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the rooftops. I tell you my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more, but I will show you whom you should fear, fear him who after the killing of the body has power to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you fear him."
So that's a picture of judgment day in which our secrets are laid bare and the audience there and just other human beings, it is God Almighty, it is Christ sitting on his throne. And it says, concerning God as judge, "nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give an account." On earth, it is terrifying to have our sins exposed, isn't it? The last thing any of us would want. But it's the ministry of the gospel to get us to think ahead to what it's going to feel like to have that happen in front of God and his holy angels.
And so we need this don't we? We need verse 11, "Anyone who trusts in Him will not be put to shame." We need a refuge from judgment day shame. And friends, what the glorious good news of the gospel is that there is such a refuge, there's a place we can hide and the overwhelming scourge will sweep by and not touch us, and that refuge is Jesus Christ. Anyone who trusts in Him will never be put to shame.
Now, there's a way that some people try to avoid it, get away from it and that's to deny that they have anything to be ashamed of. There's a German proverb that says not to be ashamed of sin is to sin double. I think there are some people that are actually trying to turn the whole thing around and be proud of sin. You think about, for example, Isaiah 3:9 which says, "The look on their faces terrifies against them, they parade their sin like Sodom, they do not hide it. Woe to them. They brought disaster upon themselves."
Now, God is not saying through Isaiah, "It's better to cover it over, but it's better that it not be there at all." But it's even worse when you put darkness for light and light for darkness, you put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter, you put evil for good and good for evil, you turn the whole thing around and say that what is a cause for shame is now a cause of pride. Now, that we cannot do. No, rather we need to face head on the fact that there is a Holy God who has standards and we have violated them and we need to be safe from them.
And verse 11 tells us how, "Anyone who trusts in Him will never be put to shame." Now, in context in Isaiah, the most straightforward way to understand this, to be put to shame means to trust in something that ultimately fails you. To trust in something that collapses, in the end you're destroyed. This is a big theme and Isaiah comes in again and again, Isaiah 20:5-6, it says, "Those who trusted in Cush and boasted in Egypt will be afraid and put to shame. In that day, the people who live on the coast will say, Look what's happened to those we relied on, to those we fled to for help and deliverance from the King. How then can we escape?" In that case, it was Assyria, they were trying to escape Assyria, later will be Babylon. And so they're making a connection, and he says, "You're going to be put to shame because in the end, the King of Egypt is like a splintered staff that pierces a man's hand and wounds him if you lean on it."
So it is also at the spiritual realm when you try to save yourself. When you rely on yourself, you try to save yourself by your good works, by religion, by meditation of the mind and all kinds of other things, religiosity, you're going to try to save it, that's your refuge from the overwhelming scourge. It will not save but rather you'll be put to shame on judgment day.
Another major theme in Scripture of being put to shame is in reference to a personal enemy who wants to seek your very life. Now you may say I don't have many of those. Well, maybe you don't, maybe you do. King David had them all the time, David was surrounded by enemies. And so you heard Elijah reading earlier from Psalm 25 and was one of the many times that David is thinking about his personal enemies who would love to have stripped David and put him to shame. And so what he says here is, "To you O Lord, I lift up my soul. In you I trust O my God, do not let me be put to shame nor let my enemies triumph over me." Well, the Scripture says, "Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour." You have a personal enemy. You may not think you did, but you do. And what would it be like to have him triumph over you on judgment day, to have him vindicated?
But I say to you in verse 11, Anyone who trust in Christ will not be put to shame on judgment day. And so, our personal enemy is going to be there to accuse and the Lord has already said in Romans 8:31, "What then shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who could be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all, how will he not also along with him graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns?" Or in my more irreverent kind of paraphrase, "Who cares who condemns when God justifies?" Amen. We don't fear Satan's accusation on judgment day. As a matter of fact, it says in Romans 16:20, "The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet." Praise be to God.
So our personal accuser, the one who was actually the one enticing us to do all that wickedness and then turns around like some righteous being, pointing a finger of accusation, he's going to be crushed on judgment day. He's going to be crushed by the overwhelming righteousness ascribed to our account on that day, the righteousness of Jesus Christ. Amen! I saw, I heard one of you say it, but amen! I know you're not allowed to, but you are actually. Go ahead. This is glorious. We're not going to be put to shame, but our personal enemy who had sought everyday of our lives to destroy us by sin will himself be destroyed and we will be vindicated. Christ came to remove our shame. He came to claim us as his own, to say, "He is mine. She is mine. My own. I bought them with my blood." And He will rebuke any who seek to accuse them. All of their sins will be removed from them as far as the east is from the west.
And how is that possible? Is it because there wasn't a real shame connected with our sin? No, there was. More than we think, friends. More than we think. But the fact is, Jesus Christ drank it to the bottom. He drank our shame when he was arrested. He drank our shame when he was accused by his own people falsely. He drank our shame when he was condemned. He drank our shame when he was spat upon and had the crown of thorns beat around his brow and when he was struck with a stick. He drank our shame when he was paraded through the streets of Jerusalem. He drank our shame when he was nailed to the cross and hung suspended between sky and earth and His blood mingled with the mud, he was drinking our shame. And when you look at that story, you need to say that is what I deserved and worse. But Jesus has taken my shame. And friends, He was actually glad to do it. For it says that "Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith who, for the joy set before him, endured the cross, scorning its shame," thinking nothing of the shame that he was willing to drink on our behalf. Our shame is gone if we have trusted in Him. Anyone who trusts in Him will never be put to shame.
III. Christ’s Richness for Anyone Who Believes
And what do we get? Do we get more than just not being ashamed? That's rather neutral, isn't it? You cannot be ashamed and still get nothing else. But God has far more than that for us. Look what it says, "There is no difference," verse 12, "between Jew and Gentile, the same Lord is Lord of all, and richly blesses all who call on him." Oh, Christian brother and sister, you are rich, you are wealthy, far more than you can imagine. You are infinitely wealthy in Christ. You may not feel like you are, but you are. And frankly, I think we're supposed to be meditating on our inheritance. Where your treasure is, there your heart will be, and I say should be. And how rich are you? Well Ephesians describes riches over and over. Listen to this, Ephesians 1:7-8, "In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins in accordance with the riches of God's grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding."
Ephesians 1:18, he says, "I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe." Oh, how rich you are. It says in Ephesians 2:4-5, "Because of his great love for us, God who is rich in mercy made us alive with Christ, even when we were dead in transgressions." And then Ephesians 2:6-7, I love this one. Oh, think about this. "And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that," now get this, "in the coming ages, he might show the incomparable riches of his grace expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus." We haven't seen anything yet. In the coming ages, he might be showing you how rich you are. In the new heavens, he's going to show you how rich you are. In the new earth he's going to show you how rich you are, through his kindness to you in Christ Jesus.
Calling on the Name of the Lord
You, friends, are rich. You're not just not ashamed, you are rich in the gospel if you are a Christian. How do we receive it? How will we get it? Well, it's already said in verse 11, "Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame." And again, here in verse 13, "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. Now what does it mean to call in the name of the Lord? Maybe you've never thought of that before. I asked my kids as we're driving in and one of them said, "Well, it means to pray." Right, it does. It does. In a simple way, it does but it goes so much deeper than that, doesn't it? It means a lot more than that. We're talking about an ancient practice here. Listen to Genesis 4:25-26, "Adam lay with his wife again and she gave birth to a son and named him Seth saying, God has granted me another child in the place of Abel since Cain killed him. Seth also had a son and he named him Enosh, and at that time, men began to call on the name of the Lord." That is an ancient practice, and I say to you that there is a universally uniting fact that everyone who has ever been saved is saved the same way. We're all saved the same way.
Everyone in every generation who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. Well, what does it mean? Well, later on in redemptive history, Joel quoted it. And it says, "Then afterward I'll pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams, even on my servants, both men and women. I will pour out my Spirit in those days, I will show wonders in the heavens above, and blood and fire and billows a smoke. The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord, and everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." Peter picked up on this and preached to them the day of Pentecost. Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved and 3000 Jews were saved that day and baptized. So Jews can call on the name of the Lord and be saved. They were that day. But not even Peter fully understood that God really did mean everyone.
And so, it took later in Acts 10 at Cornelius's house when the Holy Spirit came down on a bunch of Romans, of all things, and it was clear then that they understood, everyone who calls on the name of the Lord, Jew or Gentile alike will be saved. Now, to call on the name of the Lord means to call on God's character. His name is his character. You think about how in the old days with the Indians or even with the Hebrews, you would choose a name that would connect in some way to the character of the person. We don't do that as much anymore, but they did it. And so, there's a link between the name and the character. God has in Scripture revealed his character. He is good and trustworthy, he is faithful and kind, and compassionate. He is powerful. That's the kind of God. And so, to call on the name of the Lord means be good and compassionate and faithful and trustworthy for me, it means that it relates to God's character.
And secondly, it relates to God's history, to his reputation. To make a name for yourself means to craft a personal history that people can tap into and learn what kind of person you are. Your resume is how you've made a name for yourself in a way that's relevant to you getting this job. To make a name for yourself means to present your history and it relates to the kind of person you are. God has made a name for himself in history, it says in Nehemiah 9:10, speaking of the Exodus, "You sent miraculous signs and wonders against Pharaoh, against all his officials and against all the people of his land, for you knew how arrogantly the Egyptians treated them. You made a name for yourself which lasts to this very day." So God has made a name for himself in creation, he's a powerful God who created the heavens and the earth with just a word. God made a name for himself in the flood and at Sodom and Gomorrah saying, "I am a bitter and dreadful enemy of sin." God made a name for himself when he made promises to Abram under the starry sky and then kept them, and God made a name for himself at the time of the Exodus, when by a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, with plagues, 10 plagues, and with the journey through the Red Sea, with the water walled up on the left and the right, God destroyed Egypt and Pharaoh, to display his power and his intention on saving the Jews.
Why Does God Make a Name for Himself?
Now, why does God make a name for himself? So that a woman like Rahab can hear the stories, to hear the reputation of God and fear for herself and for her family, and say to the spies that Joshua had sent in there, "Now make a covenant with me that you will spare my life and my family." And so, the Book of James says she trusted in Christ. She was believing in Christ as He had been revealed to her at that point, and through faith she was justified. Through faith she was saved. God makes a glorious name for himself so sinners like Rahab the prostitute, and people all over the world, idolaters and pagans and Jews and us can hear of the stories and call on that name and be saved. It's not because he need some reputation or anything for himself, but so that sinners can be saved. And God's name is his promise as well. When you make a covenant or a contract and you sign your name, you don't sign your favorite vegetable at the bottom, you don't sign your favorite Bible verse, that won't do. You're going to put your name at the bottom of your promise that you're going to act a certain way.
God has signed in his name the promises that He's made. "I am the Lord," he says it over and over. And it's a point of honor to his name to keep His promises. As one Puritan said, "Show him his handwriting, God is partial to his handwriting, show it to him." So you said you would do this. You show him his promises and He is faithful to keep them. Call on the name of the Lord and God's name ultimately and finally is his son, Jesus Christ. All of these things, his character, his history, his promises come together in Christ and in Him are all the promises of God. Yes and amen in Christ. And so Jesus's personal life, his righteousness, his death on the cross, his resurrection from the dead, that is God's name.
Now finally, what does it mean to call on that name? Well, I'm going to close with an illustration. A number of years ago, I was on a evangelistic project at Hampton Beach, New Hampshire, and a tropical storm similar to what's going on now, a hurricane was making its way north and it got as far as New Hampshire where we were on a summer project, Hampton Beach Project. And it churned up the waves, it looked like Oahu out there, and the beach was basically, totally vacant, even though it was middle of August, there was no one there. So my friend and I thought this would be a great opportunity for some body surfing. Now if you think that I had a screw loose or whatever, you're right, but you know when you're that age you don't think you're ever going to die, you think you're kind of fine. And so the two of us went out there, and we started body surfing. It was a lot of fun for the first six or seven minutes. And then we noticed that the hotels were getting smaller and smaller as we were caught in some kind of a rip tide and we're being pulled out to the ocean. And then we started being afraid. And I have no idea how long it took, but for the next long period of time, we would ride some waves in, and then swim to hold more or less our place, and then ride the next wave in and swim to hold our place, and ride the next wave in and swim to hold our place.
Now you may ask, "Why didn't it occur to you to scream, "Help. Help. Help?" Well, pride kicks in at a certain point. It is no good in front of all your friends and your peers and male and female alike, to be dragged sputtering from the ocean, when not another of God's souls is swimming except the two of you, you were the only ones swimming. It just will not do to be dragged sputtering from the ocean. And so you will try to save yourself as long as you can, won't you? And so it is in reference to this salvation. As long as you think you can save yourself, you're going to try. But when the Holy Spirit convicts you, you cannot, and you're going to stand in front of a Holy God and nothing you have done will avail to save you before His holy gaze, and you will be condemned and you will die eternally in hell. When you come to that point, you call on the name of the Lord, and you say, "Save me Jesus. Save me from my sins." And He does. Won't you close with me in prayer?