Summary: This sermon is for the first Sunday in Lent and is based on Paul’s letter to the Romans about what is necessary for salvation.

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Romans 10: 8 – 13 / I Do! (Saved)

Intro: George was an aspiring musician/composer who suffered from depression. His musical group had to disband b/c they lost their lease / last concert was shut down because of the boos and mocking of the audience / Charles, his friend asked George to create music for some Biblical passages he had put together. 24 days later, George was finished and was no longer depressed. He completed 53 pieces divided into 3 sections and in so doing had met the King of Kings. He titled his work, The Messiah.

I. In this letter by Paul to the Roman Christians, we see how deeply Paul was affected by his encounter with God’s Word.

A. Paul masterfully weaves together 3 OT passages: Deut. 30: 12 – 13 (V. 8)/ Isaiah 28: 16 (V.11) / Joel 2 :32 (13) to support his belief that the WORD is near you, in your mouth and in your heart.

B. What is this WORD of which Paul speaks? In GK. it is RHEMA / It means more that a few letters or syllables put together to present a single thought or picture. It means the entire content of a rabbi’s teaching.

C. That teaching is summarized by Paul in two phrases intertwined that will save ALL humanity: Jesus is Lord / God raised him from the dead.

II. The great theologian Sophia Loren was quoted in USA Today as saying that although she was not a practicing Christian, I should go to heaven; otherwise it’s not nice. I haven’t done anything wrong. My conscience is very clean. My soul is as white as orchids and I should go straight , straight to heaven.

A. It is generally accepted that Romans is the greatest of all Paul’s letters. He wrote it somewhere between 51 – 57. It is his great exposition of the doctrine of salvation set out in logical fashion.

B. George Barna, a market researcher on Christianity, recently revealed that 51% of people believed that good people go to heaven. --- My question is this, if good people go to heaven then how much good is good enough to get there? If a clean conscience is the necessary requirement, then how do we clean our conscience?

C. VS. 9 & 10 – Paul says that believing and confessing righteousness that comes from God saves us from our sins. No one is saved merely by outward observances – the state of the heart is a key element. But Paul does not contemplate an inward state that has no corresponding outward reality. The heart is reflected in the conduct. Belief is seen in life.

III. According to Paul, God’s way is the only way and it has 2 parts: the first part starts in your heart, the second part is that the love of God that is in your heart has to travel from your heart to your lips.

A. 2 old classmates met on the street: one a beggar and the other a successful businessman. The business man gave the beggar a check for $1,000 to get a new start. The past is gone, it’s the future that counts now. The beggar made his way to the bank but seeing all the well dressed people believed they would never cash the check. The 2 men met again the next day. Sam, did you just drink or gamble that money away? No, he said as he pulled the check from his pocket. What makes that check good is not your clothes or appearance, or anything about you . . . It’s my signature that counts. Go on cash it. ( from Sinners In the Hands of a Loving God by Russell Brownworth,

B. That is the promise from God. Not our character, not our gifts or good works; never our promises of being better and going to church more . . . It is simply His name, as we confess him as Lord of our lives and risen from the dead.

C. You and I do not have to earn God’s love. God proved his love for us all through Christ Jesus. It’s something you must accept by believing in your heart and saying so with your life. On the condition that you believe and confess, you are released from judgment. You are saved.

Conclu: Imagine for a moment that you’re in a church on your wedding day. You are looking deeply into the eyes of your soon to be spouse. The Pastor asks you a question: Do you accept this person to be your lawfully wedded spouse, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, and forsaking all others be faithful to this person until death parts you? What would happen if you just stood there in silence or just said, no comment? The question is, Do you take Christ Jesus to be your savior, from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, and forsaking all others, be faithful to Jesus knowing that not even in death will you part?

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