Saturday, November 5, 2016, 9:11 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Give Ear to Jesus.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Psalm 119:145-152 (ESV).
I Call to You (vv. 145-146)
With my whole heart I cry; answer me, O Lord!
I will keep your statutes.
I call to you; save me,
that I may observe your testimonies.
Peter, on the Day of Pentecost, when confronted by mockers who thought the Lord’s disciples were drunk with wine, when they were filled with the Spirit, quoted Joel 2 regarding what had just taken place. At the end of the quotation he said, “And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Paul appears to have also quoted from Joel when he wrote, “For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. For ‘everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved’” (Ro. 10:12-13). So, what does it mean to call on God for salvation? Isn’t God the one who does the calling? We can’t be saved unless God first draws us to Jesus.
Romans 10:14-17 says this: “How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!’ But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, ‘Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?’ So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.”
Yes, the Father is the one who draws us to Jesus through the preaching of the gospel of our salvation. He convicts our hearts of sin, via the Holy Spirit, so that we become conscious that we are sinners in need of the Savior. The preaching of the gospel tells us the story of how Jesus Christ, the Son of God (and God), died on a cross, taking upon himself the sins of the world, so that our sins died with him and were buried with him. It also tells of how he was resurrected back to life when he rose victorious over hell, Satan, death and sin on our behalf, so that we could be set free from slavery to sin, and so we could walk now in his righteousness. The gospel message, thus, invites the sinner to turn from his (or her) sin and to follow our Lord Jesus in obedience.
In response to hearing the gospel, the sinner believes on Jesus and thus calls on him in faith, which is also equated with obedience (Ro. 10:16). Calling on Jesus, thus, is not merely making a request to him for salvation, but it is a heart (believing) response to the message of the gospel, as well as it is an obedient response to the teaching of the gospel and to God’s drawing us to Christ. So, what is the gospel? Peter summarized it pretty well in 1 Pet. 2:24: “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.” What that scripture expresses, in a nutshell, is really the purpose for which Jesus died, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness, not just so that we might escape hell and go to heaven when we die.
When we truly trust in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of our lives, we are crucified with Christ in death to sin, and we are resurrected with Christ to newness of life, “created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (See: Eph. 4:17-24; Ro. 6:1-23). “We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin” (Ro. 6:6). Jesus also died that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who walk not according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For, if we walk according to the flesh, we will die (in our sins without Christ), but if by the Spirit we are putting to death the deeds of the flesh, we will live (with Christ for eternity) (See: Ro. 8:1-14). As well, John said that if we say we have fellowship with God but we walk in darkness, we are liars (1 Jn. 1:6).
I hope in Your Words (vv. 147-148)
I rise before dawn and cry for help;
I hope in your words.
My eyes are awake before the watches of the night,
that I may meditate on your promise.
When Jesus saves us from our sins, it doesn’t stop there until we get to heaven. The moment we believe in Jesus to be Lord and Savior of our lives is not the “end-all” until we get to heaven, though many people teach that. We are saved (past), we are being saved (present) and we will be saved (future) when Christ returns for us and takes us to be with him forever. Some people call this the process of sanctification in the life of the believer. However you want to look at it, our salvation is not complete until Jesus comes back for us and we have the wedding banquet. Our faith needs to remain in Christ and us in his Word throughout our lives on this earth, and we need to continue in him until the end. We also must walk (lifestyle) according to the Spirit and not according to the flesh. Our lifestyles must reflect that we have died with Christ to sin and that we are living to his righteousness, otherwise we have believed in vain.
When we believe in Jesus, and we call on him in faith, he transforms our lives away from living for sin and self to living for our Lord. We love our Lord, and we love his Word, and we want to spend time with him in his Word, listening to all that he has for us, and we desire to do what it says. It should not be a drudgery for us. We should not feel like it is some task we have to check off each day, either. We should even be willing to get up in the middle of the night if he wakes us, in order to hear what he has to say to us. In fact, we should have such a close relationship with Jesus that reading his Word should be like eating meals. We wouldn’t go without eating, would we, unless we were fasting? Or, unless we had no food to eat. Yet, our time with him should really never have a beginning or an end. We should be continually aware of his presence, listening for his voice, and be ready to obey him at a moment’s notice when he speaks his truths to our hearts.
Give Me Life (vv. 149-150)
Hear my voice according to your steadfast love;
O Lord, according to your justice give me life.
They draw near who persecute me with evil purpose;
they are far from your law.
When Jesus saves us from our sins, the life we receive from him is not just the life we will receive after death, when we go to be with him forever. He gives us new life in him right then and there, which is to be lived no longer for ourselves, but for him who gave his life up for us. It is a transformed life of the Spirit of God in new birth of the Spirit. It isn’t like the old life, and it isn’t just a slightly cleaned up version of the old life, either. The change should be like turning the opposite direction from what we had been going and going the other (opposite) way. It should be radical, and it should be obvious that we are not the same as we were before. It doesn’t mean we will be perfect or sinless, but that sin should no longer be our master, but Jesus should be our only Lord (owner-master) of our lives. And, our desire should now be for him, and not for the trappings of this sinful world.
Yet, when we have this heart transformation, and we no longer live how we lived before, and we don’t do the things we used to do with the people of this world, there will be those who will hate us, and who will reject us, and who will persecute us because we will be an offense to them. Sin loves company, so those who choose to continue in sin will no longer be comfortable around those of us who choose to walk in holiness. It is just the nature of the beast. In other words, that is just how things go. People who are walking in sin won’t want to be around those who are not, and so they may even attack us, and kick us out of their lives, so they can go on sinning without any feeling of guilt for their sin. So, we should pray for them.
Your Commandments (vv. 151-152)
But you are near, O Lord,
and all your commandments are true.
Long have I known from your testimonies
that you have founded them forever.
So, what do we do when we are persecuted? We should turn to the Lord for our consolation and our comfort, and we should rest in him and in his love for us. We should also be determined even more to stand on his Word, to speak boldly the gospel of our salvation, and to never compromise our faith or convictions in order to be liked or accepted by other humans. People will fail us, but God and his Word will never fail us. We can count on them always. People will leave us and forsake us, but our God will never leave those who are his. We can count on his complete faithfulness and his continual presence with us, and his guidance and direction in our lives to take us where we need to go. He is our only hope, joy and salvation.
Give Ear to Jesus / An Original Work
Based off Isaiah 55 / February 16, 2016
Call on your Savior.
Seek the Lord while He is near.
Let the wicked forsake his way;
Turn to the Lord.
God will have mercy.
He’ll forgive you of your sin.
He will freely pardon you
And give peace within.
Turn from your sin, follow Jesus,
Be cleansed from sin.
Give ear to Jesus.
Come to Him. Your soul will live.
Listen to Him speaking to you:
“Eat what is good.”
If you are thirsty,
Come to Jesus, drink from Him.
Drink His Spirit given to you.
Be born again.
Listen to Him. Do what He says.
Rejoice in Him.
God’s Word, eternal,
Will achieve what He desires.
He is willing none should perish,
Saved by His blood.
Share now the gospel.
Jesus died so we’d go free.
Walk in vict’ry,
Free from your sin, eternally.
Die to sin, and live to Jesus.
In Him believe.