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Summary: The Good News of Jesus has saved us. How precious it is! Now we can continue the chain and pass it on to others. Parts: A. Cherish it in faith. B. Share it with others.

Text: Romans 10:13-17

Theme: Only the Message of Christ Saves

A. Cherish it in faith

B. Share it with others

Season: Epiphany 5c

Date: February 7, 2010

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Grace and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen. The Word from God through which the Holy Spirit stirs our hearts is Romans 10:13-17

"For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. How then shall they call on him whom they have not believed? How shall they believe him whom they have not heard? How shall they hear without someone preaching? And how shall they preach unless they have been sent? Just as it stands written: "How beautiful are the feet of those who announce Good News."

"But not everyone has listened to the Good News. For Isaiah says, "Lord, who has believed what was heard from us?" So faith comes from what's heard, and what's heard comes through the word of Christ." (Romans 10:13-17)

Dear friends in Christ, fellow saints washed clean in the blood of our risen Savior:

How do you get a message out? This evening for $2.5 million or more you could have gotten a 30-second message out to 80 million or more Americans, unless they're refilling their snack bowls in the kitchen during your commercial break. That's the low end price for adds during the Super Bowl tonight.

We live in an age that specializes in getting messages out. Creative artists meld sight and sound to grab attention. Others seek to make us laugh so that we remember the product. Still others push the edge of shock, crudeness, or obscenity to leave a permanent impression in our psyche.

But all this hype does not change the basic way you get a message out. By you telling it and someone else hearing it. That's one of the links in Paul's chain of rhetorical questions: "How can they hear without someone preaching to them?" (Romans 10:14 NIV). You need a teller or preacher and a hearer.

The Apostle though was not laying out an add campaign as he wrote these words. Rather he was talking about the most important message of all. The Gospel. The Good News of Christ. The message of forgiveness and eternal life through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God. That message brings faith, faith that saves. Only the message of Christ saves. That's the theme to take to heart. May the Holy Spirit through his Word lead each of us to cherish that message in faith and to share it with others.

A. Cherish it in faith

1. Why is the message of Christ so vital?

Take to heart, dear friends, why this message of Christ is so vital. Verse 13 sums it up "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved" (Romans 10:13 NIV). Mark well those last three words: "will be saved." We're talking about the difference between salvation and damnation, paradise and perdition, bliss and bane. Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved, and those who do not are lost, damned. They go to hell.

That's the road we were born traveling on, the road to hell. Jesus spoke of it like this, "Wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it" (Matthew 7:13 NIV). The billboards on this road promise good things. "Do you it your way!" "You're in charge!" "Who needs forgiveness!" "Fun! Fun! Fun!" "Seize the day, party on!" All lies and propaganda. And yet we were swallowing it -- hook, line, and sinker. The devil was reeling us in, and we weren't even fighting to get away. We thought we were happy with the devil's lure hooked in our mouth.

But then the net came sweeping down -- not Satan's net, but Christ's net. His net caught you and me. His net rescued us from Satan's lure. His net saved us. We saw Satan's bait for the lie that it is, for the net opened our hearts to believe Jesus, to cling to him in faith. The net opened our mouths so that rather than holding on to Satan's lure, our faith calls on the name of the Lord. This net that saves us is the message of Christ, his Good News, the Gospel that proclaims his saving work for you, the Gospel in Word and Sacrament. Cherish it, dear friend. Cherish it in faith.

2. How do we continue to cherish the message of Christ?

Cherish the message of Christ, as each day you continue to call on the name of the Lord. Like the tax collector in Jesus' parable who beat his breast and said, "God, have mercy on me, a sinner" (Luke 18:13 NIV), so also you and I each day call on the name of the Lord for mercy. For we daily sin much. How often don't we feel regret that we're missing out on some of life because we follow Jesus? Satan's lures still look so inviting. We nibble even though we know better. We know the danger. Doesn't that make us even more guilty than the ignorant unbeliever? We lament and even complain how small the gate and how narrow the road that leads to life is. What kind of thanks to Jesus is that?

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