Summary: The mystery of salvation.
Note: This is the sermon manuscript that Ben carried into the pulpit. Feel free to use it in any way to advance the kingdom of God.
How To Be Saved
Englewood Baptist Church
Sunday Morning, June 22, 2008
Let me begin with a quick review…the last time we were in Romans together, we studied chapter 9 which emphasizes God’s sovereignty in salvation. And I made the statement recently that we as Christians must “stand where we may not understand.” I don’t know how electricity works but I refuse to sit in darkness until I figure it out. Likewise, I do not understand how salvation works, but it is not necessary for me to fully comprehend it before I receive it. It is a mystery. Even Jesus hinted at the puzzling process of salvation when he said this in John 3:8,
The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit. John 3:8
Without question, salvation is draped in mystery. Even Jesus would not begin to try to explain it to us. But being a follower of Christ, does not mean that we have every answer. Sometimes we must stand where we do not understand.
In Physics class, I would often walk out of a lecture scratching my head and saying to my classmate, “I don’t get it.” That doesn’t mean that the laws of physics do not hold. It simply means that I don’t comprehend them well. The same is true for our faith. I don’t get how Jesus Christ was fully man and fully God. I don’t think I can diagram it, but I believe in the Incarnation of Christ. I believe that he was 100% God and at the same time, 100% flesh.
Beyond that, I confess that I don’t understand the Trinity. How can three be one and one be three? Yet this mystery is to be believed rather than entirely understood. Consider prayer. It is stated in Scripture that God’s plans are always accomplished—that he is not like man that he changes his mind. However, the Bible clearly teaches that our prayers affect the outcome of the events on earth. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. So what should we do? We should pray! We may not be able to explain how prayer works, but we are called to a lifestyle of prayer because it does work.
And while we are on this subject of God’s wisdom, let’s be honest. Wouldn’t you be disappointed if you had everything “figured out” about God? This Creator who spoke the solar system into existence, who produced gravity so that we don’t float off into outer space, this God who gave you a brain that is 80% water, yet has the ability to recall an incident from your childhood. This God gave you a body that grows from the time you are born, every single part of your body grows over the course of your life, except for your eyeballs. You have the same size eye that you had as a baby. Who told the eyeball not to grow? God. This God is beyond our comprehension. But, here is the good news. While it is impossible to understand him, it is not impossible to know Him. The Bible says that He loved you so much that He created a way for you to know Him personally, to be saved.
In Romans 10, our text for today, Paul is about to explain salvation. He is about to teach what every Jew needs—salvation through Christ. And not just every Jew, but every Gentile, every single person scattered across the face of this watery earth. We must be saved. But how?!?
It must be complex. After all, God is unquestionably complex. This plan of salvation must be intricate and detailed. It must take years to understand. No. Salvation is so simple that even a child can grab ahold of it. Even a man with a 1st grade education can understand it. Look what Paul says in these first 5 verses of Romans 10…
Read Romans 10:1-5.
Paul begins with a heartfelt confession. He says, “My heart’s desire, my prayer, is for the Jewish people to be saved.” They need to be saved. And he goes to make the first point about salvation.
The Simple Plan of Salvation
1. Salvation is free. (vv.2-4)
I wish my people understood that! Paul says. V.2, They have a zeal for God but their zeal is not based on knowledge. Without question, the Jews were religious people. They were sincere, but sincerity does not replace truth. I do not question the sincerity of those Mormon boys that walk the streets of Jackson. They truly believe in what their selling. The only problem is: it’s not true. I have studied the history of the Mormon faith and the facts are just simply untrue. And on top of that, their “gospel” is not the gospel of the New Testament. It is another example of a works-based righteousness.