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Romans 10:1-21

Trust in the Living Word

  • Jean Marais
  • Sunday Night Messages
  • February 04, 2024

God desires for each of us, to believe, to have faith, to trust that God is for you and that His plan is a foundation on which to build your life. It is not only that you have faith, but what or whom you put your faith in. Israel did not subject themselves to God’s righteousness. They tried to establish their own. They had knowledge, but they did not operate from the correct and vital knowledge.

Paul shares the truth and the right knowledge that they need for salvation. This is critical for us as well. What you know, or think you know, has a great impact on how you act, what you’re moving towards, and how you relate to God and your faith. Faith itself is not enough. It is critical what truth your faith is grounded in.

  • Sermon Notes
  • Scripture

Trust in the Living Word
Romans 10:1-21
February 4, 2024

The theme of the book of Romans is victory, even surpassing victory through Him who loved us. “Nothing can separate us from the love of God which is found in Christ Jesus our Lord,” Paul said.

But Paul has great sorrow and unceasing grief in his heart because his brethren, the Israelites, don’t have that surpassing victory.

Some of the Jews actually thought Paul was against them, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth, Paul is saying. The problem was that they had rejected the very one God had sent for their salvation. The entirety of the Old Testament law pointed to Jesus and yet they missed it. All of God’s promises are built on Christ, the Cornerstone, but they stumbled over that stone, and it became a rock of offense.

How did they stumble over it? They didn’t like the plan. The whole point of Romans chapter 9 is that God gets to make the plan He wants to make. He decided before the foundation of the earth that His Son would be the answer to the sinner’s great dilemma; how can an unrighteous sinner have a relationship with the righteous, holy God?

Why didn’t they like God’s plan? Because they couldn’t be the heroes of the story. There is a part of us that likes to be the hero; we achieved, we conquered to the credit of our own fame, but God decided before the foundation of the world that those who come to Him must come by faith in all humility.

Illus – Real relationship is always built on humility, caring for the other person, ‘realness’, and love.

The problem was that they were hard of heart. That’s why Paul brought up the hard heart of Pharaoh as an example. Hardness of heart will keep you from the promises of God, but God keeps reaching out to them. Verse 21, “As for Israel He says, ‘All day long I have stretched out My hands to a disobedient and obstinate people.’”

What does God want Israel to do? The same thing He desires for each of us, to believe, to have faith, to trust that God is for you and that His plan is a foundation on which to build your life. It is not only that you have faith, but what or whom you put your faith in.

I. Be Subject to God’s Righteousness

Verse 3 – Israel did not subject themselves to God’s righteousness. They tried to establish their own. Paul says that they have a zeal for God, but the problem was that it was not according to knowledge. They had knowledge, but they did not operate from the correct and vital knowledge.

He then continues to roll out the truth and the right knowledge that they need for salvation. This is critical for us as well. What you know, or think you know, has a great impact on how you act, what you’re moving towards, and how you relate to God and your faith.

Faith itself is not enough. It is critical what truth your faith is grounded in. Many have faith, that is misplaced. Islam radicals have faith. Buddhists have faith. Mormons have faith. Satanists have faith. Even atheists have faith. All of them trust in what they believe based on the knowledge that they have or “truth” they subscribe to.

Paul then continues by laying out the truth and the right knowledge to build your life on and to move from.

A. Christ is the end of the law

  • Many times in Romans Paul addresses this issue. It is as if he wants to imprint this on them so they would have this as a steadfast foundation that should not be shaken.
  • Christ is the end of the law. What does this mean? Does the law cease to exist? Is the law irrelevant? We know that the law is still relevant, because society is built on the basic precepts of God’s law. Even societies that are not Christian, have the basic moral code written in their human nature.
  • It does not mean that all societies follow the moral law, but deep down everyone ascribes to a moral law. People might even say they don’t, but as soon as they themselves are threatened by someone wanting to break the moral law, they quickly become outraged.
  • Without the basic law as described in the Bible, there will be no guardrails for society. Yet, as we saw last week, the fleshy nature of man tries to break free, even if not from all of the laws, but definitely from some.

Illus – Everyone is included in this. Some might say that they don’t murder, swear, steal, or do any of those lawless things. But then you ask them if they sometimes look down on people, are sometimes envious of someone, sometimes covet things. Do they get angry and lash out at people?

  • Although the law keeps the guardrails up, it is useless in regard to making someone righteous before God.
  • Verse 5 – that the man who practices the righteousness which is based on law shall live by that righteousness.
  • Some use this verse to say that by upholding the law you can be righteous, but that is a wrong interpretation of what he said.
  • What it means is this: only a man who can practice perfect conformity to God’s will and law with all of its intricate and minute demands, shall find life through it.
  • By this statement, Paul is excluding everyone, except one: Jesus the Messiah.

Hebrews 4:15, For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.

  • Only Jesus was able to fulfill and keep the fullness of the law. Therefore, He was the only righteous one who could die in our stead and fulfill the requirements of the law.
  • Paul did not say that the law ended and that we should now live lawless. Christ is the end of the law for It is not the vehicle by which people try to be righteous anymore, because it was futile anyway.
  • The law only accentuated the need for a Savior.
  • The law leads up to Him who is the fulfillment of all its types. Jesus. In Him the purpose which it was designed to accomplish was fulfilled.
  • The righteousness based on works says, I will ascend into heaven and find Messiah, or I will descend into the abyss and find the Messiah. Essentially it says, I want to be the hero of the story. I will find a way.

Illus. This reminds me of so many stories that have been written based on one going on a quest to find help. There is even a literary saying for this, The Hero’s Journey. Like Frodo in Lord of the Rings. He is celebrated as the Hero.

  • Righteousness by faith does not say that. It does not focus on its own merit and ability.
  • Righteousness by faith says I am dead to trying on my own, trusting in my own merit and ability to be righteous.

B. Confess and believe

  • The Word of Faith we are preaching is this.
  • Verse 9 – if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
  • We need to understand this correctly. There’s a reason the scripture says to confess and believe.
  • Many “Christian” teachings have erred by making a big thing of just confessing.
  • Confessing in itself means nothing. It has to be aligned with the heart.

Illus – I remember one day watching a mob movie where the mob boss was sitting in church busy with mass and confession while on his phone ordering someone to be killed.

          Or from a different angle, we find people confessing, naming and claiming, using confession as a magic spell to get what they want.

Matthew 15:8, 8 ‘These people honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far away from Me.

  • The heart needs to believe. The heart needs to trust. The heart speaks of the center of one’s being representing your whole being.
  • From that belief, one then confesses. But now it is not just about confessing what you believe, because even the demons do that.

James 2:19, You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder. 

  • I submit to you that demons even believe more than many Christians do because they have seen Jesus on the cross and His resurrection and have experienced the power that raised Jesus from the grave which stripped them of their power.
  • There is a very specific confession here. Confessing him as Lord. It speaks of God’s Lordship over your life. Many don’t have a problem asking Jesus to be their Savior, but many are reluctant to call him Lord.
  • Lordship implies that you are no longer in control and the lord of your life. You have surrendered and relinquished control to Jesus. Which isn’t such a bad thing. Because many have tried to be lord of their own lives and have made quite a mess of it.
  • By the way, how do we know what we believe is right?

Illus – Maybe Islam is right and we should all join Hamas and catch the next plane to Palestine; or maybe the Jehovah’s Witnesses are right, or maybe Mormonism is right; maybe Buddhism or Hinduism is right. How do you know?

  • I would like to give one definitive answer. This is how we know that we are right, that we are standing on the truth – because Jesus Christ declared that He was the Son of the living God and was raised from the dead on the third day!
  • That truth is our hope, as Paul says.

1 Corinthians 15:17, 19, If Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless and you are still in your sins… If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied. But Christ has been raised from the dead… For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead.

  • He has risen from the dead. There is overwhelming evidence of that. There were living eyewitnesses to it in Paul’s time. And therefore, He has made a way to the Father and everyone ought to call out to Him and be saved.

Acts 17:30-31, “Having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to all men that all people everywhere should repent, because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead.”

C. Call on Him and be saved

  • Romans 9 is often used as a proof text for a theology that says that the verse, “God will have mercy upon whom He will have mercy and harden those whom He will harden,” is taken to mean that God saves those whom He wishes and rejects whom He wishes without regard to their personal choice.
  • But in chapter 10 Paul makes a point of saying, “Whoever will call upon the name of the Lord will be saved,” without distinction.

1 Timothy 2:4, …God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

  • It is God’s heart that all will be saved.

John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil.

  • I consider it this way; there will be no one in hell who will be able to say, “I wanted to be saved, but you put my name on the wrong list.”

Illus – You can have two responses. One person says, I choose God. Thank you, Jesus, for making a way. I surrender my life and trust in you. I receive forgiveness and salvation as a gift.

The second says, I knew it. It is not my fault that I am not saved. I believe that I am not destined to choose God. My excuse is that God must know that I will not CHOOSE Him, so I am lost.

  • This is circular reasoning. Every person still CHOOSES. Just because God knows the end from the beginning doesn’t mean that one does not have a choice.

II. Faith Comes by Hearing

  • Paul says not all heeded the good news, even though it was prophesied. He then continues to point out two ways that people can hear so no one is without excuse.

A. Creation Testifies

  • Verse 18- This is a quote from Psalm 19 where it speaks of the voices of all creation declaring the works of God’s hands.

Psalm 19:1-4, The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork.  Day after day pours forth speech, and night after night shows forth knowledge. There is no speech nor spoken word [from the stars]; their voice is not heard. Yet their voice [in evidence] goes out through all the earth, their sayings to the end of the world.

  • We already covered this in Romans 1 declaring that all creation testifies that there is a God. This we call general revelation.
  • How does this testify about Christ?

Matthew 8:27, The men were amazed, and said, “What kind of a man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?”

  • Every miracle Jesus did, defied the laws of nature. Fish obeyed his command and filled the nets. Bread and fish (matter) multiplied. He walked on water. Sicknesses were healed. Storms obeyed His voice. Dead were raised.
  • This confirmed Him as Lord and one with authority over nature and creation. Only the one who created it could command it. He was even Lord over death. No one could refute it, because Lazarus was still walking among them!
  • Again, in Paul’s time, there were living eyewitnesses who saw all these miracles. Paul even told the readers of his letters to confirm many things he taught with living witnesses.
  • Because of this, we can also build our faith on these truths.

B. Listen to His word

  • Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of Christ.
  • Faith comes by hearing what is told and what is heard preached as received from the mouth of Jesus himself.
  • This is why we spend time in the word. As you hear the message of righteousness, your faith grows. As you hear the message of justification and salvation, your faith grows. As you hear about the love of God, the promises of God, and the grace of God, your faith grows.
  • And this is continual. We have many things and forces against us that want to destroy our faith. Just because you heard about, for example, righteousness, before, doesn’t mean you never have to again.
  • People might say, I have heard these sermons on this or that topic so many times, but has it been engraved in your heart to such an extent that it has transformed and continues to transform who you are?
  • All of us need to be reminded continually of all that is in the word.
  • The word of Christ is different than any other. It is living, active, sharper than any two-edged sword. It cuts between bone and marrow, soul and spirit. Lays bare the hidden things of the heart.

Illus – I have had so many times after a service people come up to me and say, you spoke directly to me today. Some have even said, ‘Did my wife call you and tell you what I am  doing and you should preach on it?’

  • Jesus is the Living Word. His Spirit quickens and brings the word to life inside our hearts. His word transforms and changes us and it becomes the cornerstone of our lives.
  • We put our trust in His word, not in ourselves. His word speaks righteousness over us and makes us Righteous before God.
  • Finally, as for Israel, God says, “All day long I have stretched out My hands to a disobedient and obstinate people.”
  • God even tries to stir them up, to provoke them to jealousy and anger by bringing in the Gentiles in their place.
  • The Lord stretches out His hands to you as well. He may even provoke you by His Spirit to stir you up. God loves you and won’t give up.
  • Don’t resist Him. Don’t stumble over the cornerstone, Jesus. Trust in the Living word.

Romans 10:1-21    NASB 1995

1Brethren, my heart’s desire and my prayer to God for them is for their salvation. For I testify about them that they have a zeal for God, but not in accordance with knowledge. For not knowing about God’s righteousness and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.

For Moses writes that the man who practices the righteousness which is based on law shall live by that righteousness. But the righteousness based on faith speaks as follows: “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’ (that is, to bring Christ down), or ‘Who will descend into the abyss?’ (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead).” But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart”—that is, the word of faith which we are preaching, 9 that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; 10 for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him; 13 for “Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

14 How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? 15 How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news of good things!”

16 However, they did not all heed the good news; for Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our report?” 17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.

18 But I say, surely they have never heard, have they? Indeed they have;

Their voice has gone out into all the earth,
And their words to the ends of the [l]world.”

19 But I say, surely Israel did not know, did they? First Moses says,

“I will make you jealous by that which is not a nation,
By a nation without understanding will I anger you.”

20 And Isaiah is very bold and says,

“I was found by those who did not seek Me,
became manifest to those who did not ask for Me.”

21 But as for Israel He says, “All the day long I have stretched out My hands to a disobedient and obstinate people.”


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