Jack Graham - It's Too Good to Keep
Take your Bibles and turn with me to the book of Romans, chapter 10. And the title of this message is "It's Too Good to Keep". At this time of the year down here deep in the heart of Texas we have birds flying south. I enjoy seeing them come through, and I heard about a bird though that was a little late getting down from Canada. Winter had already come and he was late getting down south, so as he's flying, he's freezing up. He's getting very, very cold and so finally he's just absolutely freezing. He can barely flap his wings and fly south. And so he says, "I've got to get some warmth"!
And so he sees down in Iowa somewhere a barn and so he just swoops down and finds his way into this barn. And already he's being comforted by the warmth and he gets under the hay in the barn and just snuggling. He's shivering but he's warming up and he is feeling so good and he's feeling very happy. And about that time a cow in the barn comes over and puts a big plop right on him. But he didn't care because it was warm and he was having a great day, and he's happy. So he's so happy that he sticks our his head and he just starts singing, singing at the top of his voice. Loud as he can sing. Sing, singing away! And a cat in the barn heard him singing and came over and picked him up and ate him.
Now there are three lessons, three morals in this story. Number one, not everyone who plops on you is your enemy. Number two: Not everyone who picks you up is your friend. And number 3: If you're having a good day, keep your mouth shut! Well, I hope you're having a good day! But the fact is, we can't help but sing, we can't help but shout, we can't help but say, "Jesus is Lord". And we are excited. And in fact this message of salvation in Christ is "Too Good to Keep". And so that is the message today. Beginning in verse 1 of Romans chapter 10, and I'm reading today from the New Believer's Bible, New Testament, the New Living Translation is what we give to new believers here and I’m going to read from the New Living because this is a familiar passage to many longtime Christians so I want to give it a fresh look, and also just to use some language that everybody is going to understand.
Verse 1, Romans 10, "Dear Brothers and sisters, the longing of my heart and my prayer to God is for the people of Israel to be saved. I know what enthusiasm they have for God, but it is misdirected zeal. For they don’t understand God’s way of making people right with himself. Refusing to accept God’s way, they cling to their own way of getting right with God by trying to keep the law". That is, rejecting Jesus the way of salvation and keeping the law as a means of salvation. Verse 4, "For Christ has already accomplished the purpose for which the law was given". Jesus fulfilled the law. He points, everything in the Old Testament, all the law, the sacrificial system, the Temple, the worship, all the feasts and festivals, all point to Jesus Christ. He fulfills it all.
"As a result, all who believe in him are made right with God". Then scroll on down to verse 8 of Romans 10, "In fact, it says, 'The message is very close at hand; it is on your lips and in your heart.' And that message is the very message about faith that we preach", verse 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. For it is by the believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved. As the Scriptures tell us, 'Anyone who trusts in him will never be (disappointed or) disgraced'. Jew and Gentile are the same in this respect", that is, "the Gospel for everyone", "They have the same Lord", only Jesus, "who gives generously to all who call on him. For 'Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.'"
Verse 14, "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? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them? And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent? This is why the Scriptures say, 'How beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring good news!' But not everyone welcomes the Good News, for Isaiah the prophet said, 'Lord, who has believed our message?' So faith comes by hearing, that is hearing the Good News about Christ". The passion of the Apostle Paul, the passion of the church of the Lord Jesus Christ is a passion intense and intentional to see people saved. This was Paul's prayer. He said, "My heart's desire and prayer is that Israel would be saved".
Salvation, saved is key, critical, essential word in the Gospel, in all of the Bible. I know for some it must sound archaic. Some even mock the idea of "Oh, you people say you’re saved". And you can go to churches that never speak of people needing to be saved or being saved. I mean it’s just sort of a word that for some reason, some have set aside. But this word saved is vital, it is an incredible and beautiful word because the most important question that any of us can ask is the question "What must I do to be saved"? Because when you get right down to it there are only two categories of people, to classes of people in all of the world: the saved and the lost. Life is short, death is sure and Jesus saves!
As a matter of fact the Apostle Peter said in Acts chapter 4 and verse 12 that: "There is salvation in no one else. Because God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved". Jesus Himself said, "I am the way, the truth and the life and no one comes to the Father except by Me". No one is made right with God until they are saved and the only way to be saved is by Jesus. When the angel announced the name of Jesus, he said, "You shall call His name Jesus for He will save His people from their sin". Saved. The Bible says in Luke chapter 19, verse 10; this is quoting Jesus, "For the Son of Man", the Savior, "has come to seek and to save those who are lost". And 1 Timothy 1:15: "This is a trustworthy saying", in other words, count on this and everyone should accept it, "Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinner", and Paul added, "and I am the worst of them all"!
So we’re all sinners. Paul and all! And we need a Savior. And so Jesus came to be our Savior. I am unapologetically and unashamedly a salvation preacher. As a little boy, God put it in my heart to preach. As a teenager that was confirmed and from that day till this day, I’ve been preaching this message, to preach Christ, to teach the Bible, to serve the church, to reach the lost, to help the helpless and the hopeless, to stand for life and fight for life and to do whatever it takes to deliver the message of salvation till the whole world hears! That is what God has called me to do! And though we all do it in different ways, He's called you to do it as well. By praying and giving and sending and going. It's the good news of great joy that shall be delivered to all people.
The message of men and angels. It's the message of the Bible. It's a very simple message. It's a very straight forward message. Because humanity our greatest need is this salvation from sin. I tell you, I love preaching the Gospel of Christ, and I’m going to be preaching this salvation message as long as God gives me breath. It is the message to "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved". So how can we participate in this so that, know that it’s too good to keep, that we can share the Gospel with others? Number one, pray for lost people. Pray with passion for people far from God. And that includes your religious friends who don't know Jesus.
In those first four verses that we read, Paul is praying like he prayed in chapter 9 the first several verses for his Jewish friends and family. He said, "My heart's desire, my prayer, my passion is for Jewish people to be saved". He earlier said, chapter 9, verse 3, "I am willing to die and go to hell if my kinsmen, my countrymen, my family would come to Jesus. My Jewish family would receive Yahshua the Messiah". That was his passion, that was his burden and he carried that burden and that passion from prayer around the world to become the great missionary of the faith. But what Paul prayed, we ought to be praying. That God would give us the same kind of intense and intentional passion for souls, lost people. That it would be the longing of our hearts. Many of us have loved ones and family and friends who do not know Jesus. Some are far, far from God and far away from the things of God. They’re living a life without the Lord.
One of the things we have to remember is that many people who go to church or who have a religion don't have salvation. They've never been born again. Because you're not saved by religious ceremony or ritual or praying more prayers or being baptized. You know every believer will want to be baptized, but we're not saved by baptism. We're not saved by taking communion or showing up at church. Everybody ought to go to church and everybody ought to receive communion who is a Christians. But none of these things save us! None of these things get you right with God. Only Jesus is the Savior of the world! And because the world needs a Savior, He sent His Son. And so do you know someone who needs to know Jesus. I’m certain that you do. And if you don’t, you need to get out more! Because they are all around us, aren’t they? Across the street, across the office, across town, across the world. And there are ways that we can get to them but we should pray.
You say, "What should I pray"? Well, in praying for lost people. Well, remember, this is a spiritual battle. And we fight this battle on our knees. People without Jesus are held captive by the enemy, by Satan himself. And sometimes I think we get angry with the very people that God loves. I know people who are lost do things that lost people do. And we don't like it, but lost people aren't the enemy. Satan is the enemy! And so the battle begins on our knees as we pray and take spiritual authority in the name of Jesus over all the works of the enemy. That we begin to ask God to open the hearts of unbelievers around us. That we would begin to ask that God would soften the hard hearts of people who seem to resist so much.
And I'm asking you today, I'm encouraging you today to have a prayer list of people who do not know Jesus and pray till they come to know Him. Pray and ask God to open their heart. Pray and ask God to send a witness. And then we get off our knees and up on our feet and we go in Jesus' name. We put feet to our prayers. Beautiful feet the Scripture says here and we go in Jesus' name and we share the good news. And that's the second point, and that is that if we believe that this is too good to keep, not only will we pray for lost people, but we will personally share the good news. And what is the good news?
Look at it again. Verse 9 of Romans 10, "If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are", there it is again, "saved". So how can a person be saved? How can you be saved? By believing in your heart. The heart is the you of you. We're speaking of the inner life, the part of you that was made to live forever. To believe in your heart, beyond emotional or intellectual assent or affirmation of a religion, but to believe in your heart and confess with your mouth Jesus is Lord. In fact, let's just all say that together. "Jesus is Lord". On 3 - 1,2,3: Jesus is Lord! Again. Jesus is Lord!
This is the message of salvation. That you would believe within and that without you would confess your personal faith in Jesus Christ. That you would make the good confession that Christ died on the cross for our sins and that He rose again. Because it's the resurrection that makes the sacrifice, the cross so powerful and so effective. If there had been no resurrection, the cross would have been meaningless. But believe in your heart that God has raise Him from the dead, that Christ is alive and that He lives and that He can live in you! That's salvation. To be forgiven of all of our sins, that Christ would live in us and that we would know that we're going to heaven. You can be for sure, for certain forever that you are saved and going to heaven. It says later in chapter 10, "Whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved"! In case you haven’t gotten it yet, I’m trying to help you get saved! And know that you’re saved! And so that we together can help as many people as possible to get saved around us! So personally share this.
So here we have, we are to pray for lost people and then we are to personally go actively share the Gospel with others. And the Gospel is Jesus saves, Jesus saves. And maybe you're thinking right now, "I'm so far away. I'm long gone. I'm lost as a ball in high weeds. What I need to do to be saved. I gotta climb some ladder, I got to pay some penance, I got to pay some money, I gotta do something". NO! The Scripture says here is Romans chapter 10 that this is close. Look at chapter 10 when it says, "The message is very close at hand", this is verse 8, "The message is very close at hand. It is on your lips and in your heart". And that message is the very message about faith that we preach. So here's what's happening right now. I've been preaching the word of faith. I've been pouring out the message of salvation. "Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God".
So I've been pouring out my faith and sharing my faith. And perhaps others have shared their faith with you. People have been pouring out. So we have preached this word of faith to you. So it is near you. It is close to you. It's in your mouth, you can taste it. You don't have to go on some pilgrimage to find God. You don't have to perform multiple religious rites that you can never achieve. You know, you don't even have to live, just like you think "I could never live a Christian life". Right, you can't but He can through you if you will come to Him! So I'm saying, listen to me, it's near you, it's close to you, it's in your mouth. All you got to do is say it. All you got to do is believe it and profess it. And it’s personal and it’s very public.
This is why we give an open invitation for people to profess their faith in Jesus Christ every service. And beyond every service. Cause we want you to have the opportunity whether you’re watching online or right here in this room, to do what the Bible says, to put your faith and trust in Jesus Christ and to come to Him. One final thing: You know the Gospel is not good news unless it gets there on time. And so we give and we go and we share Jesus and we send missionaries because it's urgent. The times are urgent. So be prepared and promise to go anywhere to share Jesus now. That's the last point. Look again in verses 14. Let's just scan these a little bit. Chapter 10, verse 14: "How can they call on him to save them unless they can believe on him? And how can they believe if they never heard? And how can they hear unless someone tells them? And how can anyone go and tell them without being sent? That is why the Scriptures say, 'How beautiful are the feet of the messengers who bring good news!'"
Feet... everybody loves their feet. I know we do cause we buy really expensive shoes now to put on our feet. Remember the day when you just had maybe one pair of shoes? Now you got closets full of shoes. Or a lot of people do. And you know that tennis shoes today cost more than $25.00? Did you know that? If you want some really nice, you know, like really good tennis shoes? So we got all these shoes and, you know, we got dress shoes and work shoes and boots and so. And here the focus is on your feet, on the shoe. First on our knees in prayer, then up on our feet because "How beautiful are the feet of the messengers of God". The word beautiful there means lovely, of course, but it also means lively feet. And we need to get our feet moving whether it is across the street or across the seas. Across to the neighborhood or across to the nations. We need to get our feet moving, because "unless they hear how can they be saved"?
So pray and ask God for a passion for people who don't know the Lord everywhere. Personally share the message of salvation. "Whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved". And then prepare yourself to go anywhere and everywhere. Some of you, there's some young men, maybe some older guys that God is calling you to preach the Gospel. To lay aside your career plans and your career path and to hear the call to go and preach the Gospel. Others, to go to a mission field. And I know God has called everyone of us. You know preaching is not just doing what I do. It's sharing Jesus in the power of the Holy Spirit and leaving the results to God. So be prepared. If Paul could say I’m willing to die and go to hell so that people could be saved. My family, my friends. What personal risk are we willing to take to get people to Jesus so that they can be saved?