Salvation's Ongoing Work: Hearing and Calling (Romans Sermon 80 of 120)

Salvation's Ongoing Work: Hearing and Calling (Romans Sermon 80 of 120)

September 18, 2005 | Andrew Davis
Running the Race, Perseverance

Introduction

When I was growing up we used to visit my grandmother's house. I still remember aspects of that house, but one thing I have in mind are some coasters that were on her end tables. They were made of acrylics or some kind of plastic and inside there were these purple wild flowers. I don't know if what they were Pansies or whatever but I remember year after year I would go and there they'd be. And they were always the same. Just like just about everything in my grandmother's house always the same and nothing ever changed and that was... There was a good feeling about that but I remember picking these plastic encrusted flowers and just looking at them and being amazed and actually feeling almost kind of a little sad like they were trapped and I'd like to help them to escape. I think that it's possible that some people look at salvation that way. That it is somehow a thing or object that you obtain at a certain point in your life. It never changes, it's just there. You prayed the prayer, and that's it forever and no one can take it away from you and if you give it on Judgment Day they'll let you in there. And that's it. It's just this static thing.

But I believe that Scripture portrays salvation as a living dynamic thing that has opened up, has been brought to life within our hearts and souls. It's alive and it must grow and it must bear fruit. It's not like that coaster in my grandmother's house of flower encrusted in plastic. The purpose of this sermon today, is to help you understand two dynamic forces that are given by God to you. One could say these are dispositions of the soul that are given by God to you to help you grow up in your salvation for the rest of your life. And I fear that when we read through Romans we're always thinking about the unsaved person, how they come to faith originally in Christ and we forget that we're not done being saved and that universal statements are being made here in Romans 10 about how that happens and they apply to us today. And there are two I want to focus on in particular one in verse 17, and there it says, "Faith comes by hearing and hearing through the word of Christ." and then earlier but logically later verse 13, "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."

Now, many Christians I think perhaps even most Christians think of these verses as applying to the lost person and how it is they get saved in that same kind of static way of thinking. But I'm saying to you today, it's my argument today, that you need these verses. You yourself if you're a Christian, you need to hear the Word of Christ, you'll need to hear the Word of Christ the rest of your life. And secondly, you need to call on the name of the Lord, the rest of your life to be saved. That's what I'm arguing for today.

I. The Various Parts of Salvation

Let's first begin by talking about the various parts of salvation. I still get into difficulty when I talk about the fact that we're not done being saved and that we're still... We have to work out our salvation with fear and trembling and people are troubled by this. They think maybe it's some holdover from my Catholic days where we're kind of through works righteousness, we have to earn... It isn't anything of the sort. Salvation is bigger than justification. Justification is the beginning of the Christian life, but there's more to it than that. Now, Christ's mission when he came into the world was to save us from sin. I mean completely. Everything that sin had done to us and to this world. Matthew 1:21 the angel said to Joseph, "You will give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins." And that means in my way of reading and understanding everything that sin has done to me.

And I want that salvation. I want to be completely saved not just from sin's penalty but I want to be saved from sin's power, from sin's persuasion. I want to be saved from sin's presence itself, amen. I want to be done with it forever and I'd like to see what God's going to do in the new Heaven and new Earth when he frees us forever from the groaning that this created world is under because of sin. Don't you want to see that? I yearn to see a full salvation. I want to be totally saved. Therefore, salvation has certain time aspects even for the individual.

There is a past aspect, there is a present aspect, there is a future aspect of salvation and this can be supported biblically. We have been saved if we're Christians. It says in Ephesians 2:8, "For it is by grace you have been saved through faith." so we can speak that way.

There's also a present and ongoing salvation. The Bible speaks in this way, the message of the cross, 1 Corinthians 1:18, "The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing but to we who are being saved it is the power of God." Does not a Christian say every day, "I need the power of the cross today." So there's an ongoing saving work going on in our life.

And salvation is future. We will be saved and in that in two senses, we'll be saved from this day until the day of our death or the day the Lord returns we will be progressively being saved and we're going to be saved on that great and final day, called The Judgment Day. There's two aspects of the future salvation. I find this in Romans 5:9-10, "Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him." There Paul differentiates between justification and salvation. We have been justified, but we still have yet got to be saved on the day of wrath when God will reveal his wrath. I want to be saved on that, don't you? And we will be saved. Verse 10 of Romans 5 says, "For if when we were God's enemies we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more having been reconciled shall we be saved by his life." There's something about the ongoing life of Christ that keeps saving us. I want to understand that today. I want to know how Christ's ongoing resurrected life is at work in my life saving me. And so there is past, present and future.

Therefore salvation has a beginning, it makes progress and it has an ultimate end. The beginning of salvation is justification where God by faith in his Word alone declares you not guilty of all your sins forever: Past, present and future. You are righteous in his sight. That's just the beginning though. Then there's sanctification, which you are in an ongoing way being made more and more like Jesus and that's the work of God in you, for the rest of your life to be made more and more like Jesus, sanctification. And then there's glorification in which you will be made glorious in Jesus. "Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their father." That's the completed end of salvation. That's the whole thing.

What resources has God made available for this ongoing work of salvation in our souls?

Now, the question I want to ask today is, what resources has God made available for this ongoing work of salvation in our souls? And I believe verse 17 and verse 13 give us two key postures of the Christian soul. Hearing and calling. We are going to be hearing from Jesus the rest of our lives and our faith must have that hearing in order to be alive and flourishing and healthy and fruitful. You must continually be hearing the word of Christ to be healthy as a Christian. And secondly, you must be continually calling on the name of the Lord in order that this saving work be continuing in your life.

II. Faith is Sustained and Grows by Hearing (verse 17)

Now, let's look at verse 17 first, this idea that faith is sustained and it grows by hearing. Look again at verse 17, it says in the ESV translation, some of you use that version but others are good translations but I like this one. It says, "Faith comes from hearing and hearing through the word of Christ." Therefore faith's beginning, faith's genesis in your soul came when you heard the gospel, the word of truth.

When you heard the Gospel explained that Jesus was born of the Virgin Mary. I mean the things we just sang about it really, for the most part, the Apostles Creed just the life of Jesus set to music there and we just sang it. He was born of the Virgin Mary, he lived a sinless life, he did great miracles, incredible teachings, he suffered and died on the cross under Pontius Pilate, and the Jews who gave him over to it. His blood shed on the cross was a substitute for us. He died under the wrath of God for our sins. He was buried on the third day God raised him from the dead, seen by many witnesses, ascended to heaven and he's there now. That's the story of Jesus, that's the Gospel of Jesus. Now, what happens is when an evangelist, a pastor, just a witness, a coworker shares these things in the heart of somebody who is about to be saved, about to be justified, what happens is as they're hearing this Word of Christ, faith comes in in the heart. It has its genesis. It is spoken into existence into your heart by Almighty God. Just like God spoke into darkness and said, "Let there be light," and there was light. So when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation God spoke the light of his glory into your heart. 2 Corinthians 4:6, "For God who said, let light shine out of darkness, made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ."

That's what happened when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Faith was created inside you, and then on the basis of that, God justified you. He gave you Christ's righteousness, all your sins forgiven and that's permanent, nothing can ever take it. It's more permanent than that purple flower was encrusted in plastic. More permanent than that, more set, nothing will ever change it. That is permanent but that's not the end of it. That's not the end of your faith. Basically God called something to life that wasn't alive before and like all living things your faith needs food. Now, that's what I'm saying today. Your faith needs nourishment in order to thrive, in order to survive. And what I'm saying to you is that the word of Christ is that nourishment. It's the word of Christ that is the food of faith.

Now, every living thing on earth needs food to survive, that's just part of the way it is. Plants are able to make their own food by photosynthesis, are able to take light and with water and oxygen, carbon dioxide, some nitrates and things from the soil, able to make its own food. And that's the beginning of what biologists call the food chain. Animals either eat the plants or other animals, everything needs to feed to survive. God made it that way. And as a matter of fact, God is given credit in scripture for feeding every living thing, what it needs to survive. I love Psalm 104, and there the psalmist celebrates the wide range of diverse life that God has created, everything from the whale to the lion to the hyrax which I had to look up. It's a rock Badger and it lives way up in some rocky ledge in Africa somewhere and eats Moss. Aren't you glad you're not a hyrax. Aren't you glad you have something better to eat than moss? But that's what they eat.

And God made them that way. And it says in Psalm 104, "These all," all these created beings, "These all look to you to give them their food at the proper time. When you give it to them they gather it up. When you open your hand, you satisfy the desires of every living thing." so there's God opening up his hand and feeding literally trillions of living entities in this world every day. We don't imagine how much power God has. God is feeding living things every day. Now, what I'm saying to you is just as that works physically, it's also at work spiritually. Your faith needs food. You need to feed, it needs to feed and if it doesn't it will grow weak. And the food of faith is the word of Christ, the food of faith is the Bible, it's the Word of God as we read it here. Now Martin Luther knew this and Martin Luther has a beautiful image. It's one of my favorites concerning Bible study. I love this image and Luther talked about his daily personal Bible study this is what he said, "For some years now I have read through the Bible twice every year." Now, if you've ever tried to read through the Bible once in a year you realize what an incredible achievement it is to read through twice in the year.

We know that George Muller did it 100 times. So he read through it twice a year for 50 years. Luther did the same. He read through the Bible twice every year, this is what he said, "If you picture the Bible to be a mighty tree, and every word a little branch. I have shaken every one of those branches because I wanted to know what it was and what it meant. I study my Bible like I gather apples. First, I shake the whole tree that the ripest may fall." Those are the easy things. The first thought you kind of shake the whole tree and three or four fall down and that's the easy thoughts right away. "Then I shake each limb and when I have shaken each limb I shake each branch and then I shake every twig then I look under every leaf. I searched the Bible as a whole, like shaking the whole tree then I shake every limb, I study book after book, then I shake every branch, giving attention to the chapters then I shake every twig or a careful study of the paragraphs and sentences and even the individual words and their meanings." What is he looking for? He's looking for food for his faith. Now out of that he will preach and teach and write his tracks and do all this stuff but first and foremost he is an individual man before God. He needs communion with Jesus today. And so do you.

And the way that God has given us food for our faith is the word of God. The goal of our reading in this case is not so we can serve or evangelize better or so we can do different other things, it so that we can be alive with Jesus today. We can have lively fellowship with our risen Savior today. That's the purpose of this kind of Bible reading. Now, let me ask you a question, is your faith weak? Is it waning? Is it anemic? Unable to meet the challenges that you're facing in your Christian life? Then feed, feed, feed on the Word of God. Feed on the Bible. Have you forgotten the beauties of Heaven? Have you forgotten the purity of God's holy eyes, that he cannot even look at sin? Have you forgotten the blessedness of having God say, "Well done, good and faithful servant." over certain aspects of your service to Him? Have you've forgotten what it'll feel like to have him say that? Have you forgotten the value of souls that are perishing around you every day? Have you forgotten the power of prayer, to heal the sick, and to move the hands of presidents and prime ministers? Have you forgotten the reality of the invisible spiritual world, with its devils and its angels, that's around you, at all times? Have you've forgotten that it's there, and of God who sits on His throne?

Have you forgotten the perfection of God's holy law? Have you forgotten that God if you are a Christian has written his law in your heart and he is moving you by the Spirit to fulfill it, have you forgotten that? Have you forgotten the history of godly men and women who went before us and who lived their lives out for examples for us? Have you forgotten the warning inherent in the flood of Noah, in the fire and brimstone that God poured down on Sodom and Gomorrah, and the 10 plagues that he poured down on Egypt, and the way that most of that first generation of Israelites died in the desert and never enter the Promised Land? Have you forgotten the warnings inherent in those stories? Have you forgotten God? Have you forgotten his sovereign power and his great goodness to us in Christ? Have you forgotten Christ, that he shed his blood on the cross to pay for your sin? Have you forgotten these things? Is your faith weak? Is it anemic? Is your grasp on these realities slipping? Then you need to feed on the Word of God, you need to feed on the Bible. Read the Bible every day.

I was reading one  of John Piper’s daily devotions and he had a section on this that was just so perfect and I thought it was just timely that I came across it a couple weeks ago as I was preparing this message. This is what Piper wrote,

"Faith feeds on the word of God without it, without a steady diet it gets weaker and weaker. If you are dissatisfied with your Christian courage and joy and purity of heart then check the way your feeding your faith. Compare the way you eat. Now listen, suppose that you start the day with a glass of orange juice. It's good and good for you. Takes you maybe five minutes to drink if you read the newspaper at the same time and then you go off to work or to school. You don't eat another thing until the next morning where you sit down and have another glass of juice. And so you go on drinking one glass of orange juice every day until you drop. That's the way a lot of Christians try to survive as believers. They feed their faith with five minutes of food in the morning or evening and then they don't eat again until 24 hours later. Some even skip one or two mornings and don't give their faith anything to eat for days. Now, the effect of starving your faith is the faith starves. It's not hard to understand and when faith is starving it is getting weaker and not able to do much. It has a hard time trusting God and worshipping and rejoicing and resisting sin. It gasps and stumbles."

Is that happening to you? Do you have a hard time joining in the worship here because your faith is weak? Do you have a hard time doing any of the good works that God has ordained for you to do? Do you have a hard time resisting any temptation at all? Could it be your faith is weak. Now, we live surrounded every moment by great threats to our faith. Our faith needs protection. The clear example of this happened the night before Jesus was crucified, when Jesus warned His disciples and specifically Simon Peter he said, "'Simon, Simon, Satan has demanded to sift you like wheat. But I have prayed for you Simon that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.' But he replied, 'Lord, I'm ready to go with you to prison and death.' And Jesus answered, 'I tell you Peter, before the rooster crows today you will deny three times that you know me.'" Now, there's a lot in there but first of all the basic idea is without sustenance, without sustaining ministry by God the Father, through the intercession, the prayer of God the Son, Peter's faith would fail.

And Jesus doesn't want that to happen. And so he prays for Peter that his faith won't fail and it won't because Peter's going to turn back and he's going to strengthen his brothers. But that's not all Jesus does he doesn't just pray to the Father about Peter, he tells Peter about it and has this conversation and gives him a prediction, the Word of Christ. And when Peter fell that night, when he denied the Lord three times and when the rooster crows, you know what happened then it says in Matthew 26, "Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken to him and he went outside and wept bitterly." What recovered Peter's faith? It was the word of Christ. Does your faith need recovery today? Do you need to get back to hearing from Jesus again then remember what Jesus has said to you. Our faith is threatened, it is threatened by the Devil. 1st Peter 5 it says, "He prowls around like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour. Resist him standing firm in the faith because you know your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kinds of sufferings." The devil and his angels have your faith in their cross hairs. They want to destroy it if they can and so they have created a world system that entices you away from a life of faith, away from pleasing Jesus, your faith is therefore threatened. You need to hear Christ speak today, don't you? You need to hear him and the way you hear is by the Word of God. We hear by the Word of God.

III. Calling on the Name of the Lord Every Day (verse 13)

The second thing that I want to say to you is that not only do you need to hear every day from Jesus by hearing the Word of God, you need to call on the name of the Lord, look at verse 13. There it says, "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." Now I've already told you salvation is bigger than just justification. So what I am arguing for today is you need to keep on calling on the name of the Lord to be saved. If you want to work out your salvation with fear and trembling like it says in Philippians, the essence of that is going to be an ongoing calling on the name of the Lord. Now, remember what we meant by that, first of all, the name of the Lord represents his character as revealed in his word, it represents his mighty acts in history the way he's made a name for himself, it represents his promises all the things he's promised to do and more than anything, all of it is represented in His Son, Jesus Christ our Savior. And so when you call on Jesus' name for salvation, you're calling on him to be for you, a sinner everything he's revealed himself to be in his character, in his mighty actions, in his great promises, "Save me from sin Jesus." and he does.

Now we tend to think of that as the sinner's prayer, right? You pray that prayer after the Gospel presentation, do you want to receive Jesus today as your Savior? And so you say yes. And so the sinner comes forward, maybe at the service or just bows with the evangelist right there and they pray the sinner's prayer. Are they calling on the name of the Lord? Well, if it's a genuine prayer that's exactly what they're doing. They're calling on Jesus to save them from their sins but is that the last time they need to do it? I contend no. I think that's just the first of more times than you can count that that soul will call on the name of the Lord. They'll be doing it the rest of their lives.

Now, I came across this marvelous thought here and it was Charles Spurgeon was preaching a sermon on Psalm 50:15. The verse is written right in your outline there. Take a minute and look at it. Psalm 50:15 Charles Spurgeon called it Robinson Crusoe's text. You know the story of Robinson Crusoe, he was shipwrecked and had a helper with him named Friday eventually and he had a whole story there. Well, it's got some strong Christian themes in it. And this verse Psalm 50:15, which is printed in your outline it says this, "Call upon me in the day of trouble, I will deliver you and you shall glorify me." That's Robinson Crusoe's text.

Well, Spurgeon... Charles Spurgeon was preaching a sermon on this and this is what he said,

"Robinson Crusoe has been wrecked. He has left on the desert island all alone, his case is a very, very pitiable one. He goes to his bed and he is smitten with fever. The fever lasts upon him long and he has no one to wait upon him, none even bring him a drink of cold water. He is ready to perish. He had been accustomed to sin, he had all the vices of a sailor. But his hard case brought him to think. He opens a Bible which he found in a sea chest and he lights upon this passage, "Call upon me in the day of trouble, I will deliver thee and thou shalt glorify me." That night he prayed for the first time in his life and ever after there was in him a hope in God, which marked the birth of a heavenly life."

Now, Spurgeon then applied this whole concept powerfully to us in prayer, this is what he said,

"God and the praying man take shares…First here is your share, 'Call upon me in the day of trouble.' Secondly, here's God's share, 'I will deliver thee.' Again you take a share for you shall be delivered. And then again it is the Lord's turn, 'And thou shalt glorify me.' Here is a compact, a covenant that God enters into with you who pray to him and whom he helps. He says, 'You shall have the deliverance but I must have the glory...' Here is a delightful partnership. We obtain that which we so greatly need and all that God getteth is the glory which is due unto his name."

Now, I think that God wants great glory and so he brings us through a whole lifetime of testing and troubles and difficulties and he wants us to call on his name, call on his name in every one of them so that he delivers us again and again and he gets the glory and we get the joy of salvation.

What is the Day of Trouble?

Now what is the day of trouble? Says, "Call on me in the day of trouble and I will deliver you." What day of trouble do you face? Are you in trouble? You know whether you feel like you are or not Christian you are in trouble. You're in great trouble because you're still in this world. And Jesus said in John 16:33, "In this world you will have trouble but take heart I have overcome the world." so this world in Jesus' mind, this world equates to trouble, the day of trouble. Now the trouble comes first and foremost, the threat to your soul of your own sin. The great trouble you face is Judgment Day. And you know that you've heard the Gospel you've come to believe that you can't survive Judgment Day without Jesus and so you call on the name of the Lord and he saves you from that day of trouble.

But there's more trouble for you isn't there? The fact is, you've got a journey to walk, miles and miles through enemy territory and Jesus knew that and so the night before he was crucified in John 17, he prayed for his disciples what we call the "high priestly prayer" and he's praying for them because they're in trouble. Listen to what he says. "I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world." Do you see how Jesus thinks, I'm leaving this dangerous place but they are still here. "They are still in the world and I am coming to you. Holy Father protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me so that they may be one as we are one. While I was with them I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost." That's the danger, lost. "None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that the Scripture would be fulfilled." and then Jesus said, "I have given them your word and the world has hated them for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world, but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world even as I am not of it."

Now what would you think of a parent that left a child of age two or three in the median strip of a super highway and drove off? You'd think that's a terrible parent. Why? Because a parent is responsible to protect their children from danger, right? Do you think Jesus doesn't know that? Do you think he doesn't know that these, his believers must be protected? But we are in grave danger, friends. It's like we're in a fire zone in a war, and so we are. And so Jesus prays for us constantly because we're still in danger. He wants to protect our faith to keep it alive, to keep it strong and vibrant. And so he prays for us. But we are in danger for the rest of our lives because the Devil is trying to lead us into sin, trying to attack our faith and so he entices us. And it happens in a lot of different ways. I think we have to call on the name of the Lord in every situation so that we can grow in grace in the knowledge of Christ.

For example, perhaps a man has a habit of looking at internet pornography. In the former generations these deadly images would have been reserved for just one section, a CD section of the big city. And you had to intentionally go there to see it but that's not the case anymore. Through the miracle of modern technology to bring it right to your workstation, right to your home. Sometimes without you asking for it at all, brings it right to you. And Jesus told us the deadly danger of lust, he said in Matthew 5, "I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye cause you to sin gouge it out and throw it away. It's better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell." Jesus says the danger of lust, it's hell. And so therefore we have to stand and fight. Well, what happens if these temptations come? Call on me in the day of trouble and I will deliver you and you shall glorify me. Call on the name of the Lord, everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved at the day of testing, the moment of temptation. He is faithful to make a way of escape. Ask him for it. Say, "Jesus, save me."

Or perhaps a person's overcome by selfishness and materialism, when they look at the record of their expenditures on the credit card statement they find that most of the stuff they buy is for themselves, for their own pleasure and they say, "This isn't right." They want to live differently, they want to use their money more for the kingdom of God but they're still tempted. They still think that the more stuff I have the happier I'll be. "Save me Jesus, save me from that whole way of thinking. Give me a different way of looking at money."

Or perhaps another person is struggling with depression and loneliness. Maybe they don't have anyone in their home. They live alone, maybe they're elderly, maybe they feel like their life is wasted, there's nothing going on for them, there's no purpose. Nobody really ever visits or calls. And so the devil starts to whisper depression and dark thoughts even of death into their minds. And when it's starting to get dark like that you've got to call on the name of the Lord. Give me joy Lord, give me purpose. Maybe I can't do as much as I used to do, but make me a prayer warrior for missions, give me a purpose helping to stand against this inky darkness of depression.

Or maybe somebody's getting lazy in their quiet times. They've not even been sipping on their little glass of orange juice not for weeks even. They want to make a new start, they set their alarm earlier than they've been getting up the alarm rings and immediately the battle starts. The flesh does not want to get up and there's that diabolical snooze button. Oh, that wicked snooze button and it's pulling on you saying, "You don't want to get up, come on your body needs sleep." No your body needs God, your soul needs God but you're at the point of battle and you don't even realize how much is hanging in the balance at that moment and you say, "Jesus, help me. Get me out of bed." and he does. Call on me in the day of trouble and I will rescue you.

Maybe somebody's got a habit of anger toward somebody in their family. Maybe toward a spouse, a husband or wife, maybe toward a child. The moment of temptation comes, they just want to erupt. No, call on me in the day of trouble and I'll deliver you. "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." Saved from what? Saved from sin. You don't sin at that moment instead you have a sweet and a gentle answer because Jesus has stepped in and has saved you at that time.

Maybe somebody else is weak in evangelism. And the Lord's laid an office mate on their heart and say, "I want you to witness to them, invite them to church, talk to them about Jesus." And so lunch time comes and that conversation is college football, weather, current events and there's a prompting inside, "Say something, something about me." and the beads of sweat start to form on the forehead and you're saying, "I can't do it, it costs too much." You call on the name of Lord. I would advise quietly inwardly at that moment. But you call on the name of the Lord and you say, "Jesus save me from my weakness and my lack of love. Let me say something for you today."

Maybe the Lord is calling on you to get involved in a ministry or to stay up late at night to pray for somebody who's got cancer or to give sacrificially to the Durham Rescue Mission or to start a ministry get involved in some way and all of those things or any of them take a level of sacrifice that your flesh isn't ready to make. Call on me in the day of trouble and I will deliver you and you will rescue me.

The Deadly Habit of Self-Reliance

Friends, we are too self-reliant we look inward, for the resources for our lives. I was looking at a pamphlet the American Psychological Association put out on raising positive kids in a negative world. You're wondering why I was reading it. Well, not because I needed advice from the American Psychological Association, but just to find out what it is they're saying. And they said If you want your kids to be positive in a negative world, they have to have friends and be a friend. That's profound [laughter]. They need to take charge of their behavior and actions. It says look on the bright side, set new goals and make a plan to reach them and the key to it all, believe in yourself and in what you can do. Have you ever had that before? Believe in yourself. What am I supposed to believe about myself that's going to help me? I know what I am, I've been proving it for years. I want to believe in the Lord.

We are far too self-reliant. We Americans, we love the picture of the self-reliant one. The mountain man who goes out back in the 1800s and for months on end just with him and his trusty horse and his rifle and his knowledge, he can be out there in the wilderness with wild Indians and he can hunt his own game and he can do it all himself, he doesn't need you. We like that. There's something attractive about that man, the Daniel Boone figure. You can go out for months and months or even the rags to riches self-made man who can do all of these things or self-made woman. We like the story of success of what you can do for yourself. The scripture says salvation is the opposite. As a matter of fact it says you have to be weaned off of your self reliance. You have to learn somehow to stop depending on yourself. A profound passage in this is 2 Corinthians 1:8-10, don't turn there but just listen. The Apostle Paul had reached this point in his life, he had been brought through a severe trial and this is what he writes about it. "We do not want you to be uninformed brothers about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure far beyond our ability to endure so that we despaired even of life, indeed in our hearts we felt the sentence of death, but this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God who raises the dead."

Did you hear that? Paul says this trouble happened in my life to teach me to stop relying on myself. Well, if the Apostle Paul, one of the godliest men that ever lived, needed that so do you and I. We need to learn how to stop relying on ourselves. Call on me in the day of trouble and I will deliver you and you will honor and glorify me. By application it's really pretty straightforward. Frankly this is just application section of another sermon on these two verses. It's all application. Read the Bible every day, feed on it. Feed on it every day, take in the scripture, take in the word of God. Memorize it, meditate on it, feed on it. Are you sipping orange juice a couple of five minutes, a little devotion lit? It's not going to be enough. You need more of the word. Make a commitment to read through the Bible. Get a pattern, a program, get a note book take some notes and then call on me in the day of trouble. Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord. What I'd urge you to do is make a habit of praying through everything you're facing in your day. And get friends to pray for you in weak areas. Get somebody to hold you accountable if you're struggling with some of the things I've mentioned in my message here. Say, "I am a struggling. Will you pray for me? Will you pray for me?" Call on the Lord. Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. Close with me in prayer.

Other Sermons in This Series

Previous1234