Summary: Do we truly confess Jesus as Lord?
Do You Confess Jesus As Lord?
Please turn with me to Romans chapter 10 starting at verse 9.
This morning in Acadiana as well as across our vast country, thousands upon thousands of congregations will meet just as we have.
Songs will be sung in praise to God
A message will be given by a Pastor.
Then everyone will be asked to close their eyes as he asks for anyone who has experienced a desire for salvation during the service to raise their hand in secret as to not be embarrassed.
Anyone who raises their hand will be asked to come forward and repeat “the sinners prayer”.
Once this technicality has been taken care of...he will popeshly declare them saved.
How did we get to this?
From Paul in 2 Cor. “17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.[a] The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” Being a new creation with new desires, that desires God above all as the watermark for our salvation.
To now….reciting words you were told to say as if they were some mystical chant that forced God to follow our command.
How did we go from the early church and even today followers of Christ joyfully laying down their lives for the Lamb who was slain in the ultimate act of devotion and love…..to being sooooo embarrassed by it, we need a room full of professing Christians to hide their faces...so we can feel comfortable enough to acknowledge our need for the very Lord who was publicly put to shame on our behalf?
I think it can be pinpointed to a fundamental misunderstanding of verses concerning professions of faith like we are fixing to read.
Go with me now to the word of the Lord. Romans 10:9-10
9 because, 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.
CONTEXT, CONTEXT, CONTEXT
Weather we realize it or not..we do not come to Scripture with an interpretative clean slate.
Instead we look at Scripture with cultural blinders. We relate Scripture to our own personal experience in an attempt understand the Author's intent. Let me give you an example of what I mean:
1 Timothy 3:2 is a well known verse regarding qualifications to be an Elder in the Church. It says:
2 Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach,
Pretty simple correct? We understand “husband to one wife” to mean the prospective Elder could not have been previously divorced for unbiblical reasons.
Yet….I read of a missionary in the Republic of Congo running into a difficult theological road block with this verse. He had planted a churches throughout the country and upon returning for a visit to one of the congregations he a serious debate that threatened to split the church.
There was a serious issue with the men the congregation felt had been called to be Elders because they could not decide which of their wives they would divorce and which one they would keep.
See their region practiced polygamy. So when they read 1 Timothy 3:2 they come away with a completely different understanding.
They interpreted this same verse to mean they could only keep 1 of their numerous wives.
They used cultural and personal experience to drive their biblical understanding…..just as we do.
1 verse….2 completely different understandings.
Now it’s easy for us to look at the absurdity of the Congolese understanding of 1 Timothy 3:2. But the hard truth is we are just as guilty of doing the same thing.
How many time have you heard “what this verse means to me” in a conversation about difficult passages in the Bible.....how many times have you been guilty of saying it yourself…..
Often without even realizing it, we bring presupposition to our reading of Scripture.
But the good news is, there is a sure way of overcoming this. It’s by employing an essential method used in rightly interpreting Scripture. It’s a method if you’re not already acquainted with, I want you to leave the service this morning with a greater understanding of.
It’s understanding Scripture in its historical context.
We tend to forget that we are not the original audience of the Scriptures.
When reading passages like Romans 10:9-10…..realizing that they were written originally to a particular group of people addressing issues they were dealing with…..is essential to a correct understanding of the Author’s intent.
The simple rule of thumb is this “It cannot mean to us, what it didn’t mean to them”.
I have said all of that to lay the foundation for this. What would “confessing Jesus as Lord” have meant to the Roman Church?