We’ve been going through the book of Romans and as we reached chapter 10 we discovered that Moses said that to be made right with God required obedience to the law. Paul wrote that the gospel is close to us- in fact it is as close as believing in our heart and saying yes to faith in Jesus Christ. Paul wrote in Romans 10:9, “If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Pretty straight forward stuff. Everyone who calls- that includes- everyone! No one is left out- Anyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. Jesus is inviting all people to be saved. This is more than a mumbled confession of faith- this is the time to take a stand: Jesus, I believe. We are to be bold and let the world know. It seems impossible for a Christian to remain in the closet- a Christian must be ready to share their faith from the very beginning- to let the people around them know. For us in North America- there’s nothing too scary about sharing our newfound faith and conversion-we’re still pretty safe here. Imagine being of a different faith and culture and then discovering the truth of the gospel. Those that do often face persecution; as a believer they may be kicked out of their home, they may be disowned by their family, and they may even lose their life.
Let’s get personal: have you received Christ as your Lord and Savior? Have you let everyone know that you are a believer? This is more than confirmation- this is more than an infant baptism- this is you saying in your heart and mind- I believe in Jesus Christ- He is my God; my Savior and He is my Lord! If you said yes- that’s great! Then think about this question for a minute- If you were arrested for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?
Jesus said that as a believer our lives will reflect our faith! And for those that aren’t producing fruit in their lives- He prunes. Pruning isn’t a pleasant process- it’s cutting off and removing the branches that are only sucking up the nutrients but not producing anything. The people that are only taking and not giving back- When we produce much fruit, we are His true disciples.
Now for Paul’s challenge to each of us today- “But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him?”
This is a call to all believers. We are able to do greater things than Jesus, because we have His Spirit living inside of us. He sent the Holy Spirit to live in us and fill us with the power to be the leaders- the disciples that He has called us to be! We are called to go and tell them. Paul said, how can they call on Jesus to save them unless they believe in Him? And how can they believe in Him if they have never heard about Him? How can they hear if no one has told them? Questions we need to answer today just as Paul asked them in the 1st century.
Did you know that there are 7.7 billion people in the world today? And of those 7.7 billion, 2.2 billion of them are Christians. That’s a lot of people and a lot of Christians. I do hope you also notice that that is about 5.5 billion people that don’t know Jesus Christ as their Savior! That’s a lot of people that don’t know and many haven’t heard.
Now you might be thinking that most of those people are in other parts of the world- and you’d be correct in thinking that many are in other parts of the world- but in the United States- the numbers of people that identify as Christians is less than 50%. The fastest growing ‘faith’ group in our country are the NONES. Nones are people with no religious affiliation at all. Many of them may are spiritual and believe there is a god of some sort out there- but have no personal relationship with the one true God and His Son Jesus Christ. According to an article published by Statista Research Department, Jan 24, 2022, “According to a 2021 survey, 31 percent of Americans never attend church or synagogue, compared to 22 percent of Americans who attend every week. And another 25% say they seldom if ever attend. If I those 2 numbers are added together that tells us that in the US 56% of the American people aren’t attending church- and although it is possible to be a Christian without going to church- it is also a good indicator that many of that 56% probably do not believe in Jesus Christ as their Savior. So, let’s bring these numbers closer to where we live: in the 55991 & 55956 zip codes there are approximately 3372 people; in the 55991:1464 people & in the 55956:1908 people. Now a lot of these people are already going to church- aren’t they? As I shared “According to a 2021 survey, 56% of all Americans never or seldom attend church. Now if we take 56% of the people in these two zip codes we would have 1,888 people that seldom or never go to a place to worship.
There are a lot of people that are still unchurched in our communities. They are our neighbors, our family, and our community. Jesus came for them- and He calls us to go to them. Paul asked, “how will they know if no one tells them?” Who better to reach the 1888 people in our zip codes than you and me? We live and work with them. We see them in Walmart, on the bus, in our schools, on our walks, in the restaurants, everywhere. God is calling us to go.
It is time we obey the call of Christ to go and tell the good news. We can do that by supporting those in ministry, sharing our faith story, inviting our neighbors to church, and living out our faith daily. It is Time- who will you tell this week?
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