This title comes from my good friend Donald Haigh who always challenged me to talk to others about Jesus!
There’s a song by Matthew West with lyrics that say, “What if I had given everything, instead of going through the motions?” Good stuff. There is a big difference between knowing God and knowing OF God – an eternal difference! In this chapter, Paul contrasts true internal saving faith with deceptive external religious practice.
“Brothers, my heart's desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved.” Paul was passionate for people to know Jesus and make Him known and His heart was broken (9:2) that the Israelites were rejecting Jesus. They had an outward “zeal” but because they were ignorant of true righteousness (by grace through faith) they “sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God's righteousness.” Christ’s righteousness is “for everyone who believes.”
This “righteousness that is by faith” believes Jesus (God) came down from heaven (6) and that He rose again from the dead (7) – both of which the nation of Israel rejected. So Paul explains how a person is truly saved: “That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.” Profession of Jesus (mouth) is nothing without Possession of Jesus (heart) – you have to have both! And two great promises comes with it: "Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame” and “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."
Whoah – if these are true then our friends, family, neighbors all have the chance to believe!~*! But “how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!’" God’s means of reaching others with this eternal, life-giving message of Jesus is YOU & ME! Some will believe, some won’t, some may even fake it, but ALL can hear, understand and believe. Let’s be faithful to tell, to live THE Cause!~
*What is your “heart’s desire”? Not sure? If we’ll take a look at where we spend our time, money & energy, that will give us a good clue. Jesus put it this way, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” So, anyone in need of heart surgery? One of my daily prayers is “Lord, help me to have a passion and desire for the things that YOU LORD are passionate about.” I pray it because I’m usually more passionate about me. Would you consider making this one of your daily prayers as well?
*Unbelief is fairly easy to detect, but make-belief isn’t because on the outside it looks like belief. This is dangerous because it is deceiving. Jesus put it this way, “Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'” It’s not about “doing”, it’s first and foremost about a relationship with Jesus, believing in what HE did for us! My hearts desire is that students in Katy (& all peeps everywhere) be saved and not “play church.” Lord help this be true for all of us!
*Finally, never ever forget that living for Jesus is worth it! (11)