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As Close As Your Mouth and Your Heart

Summit Life / J.D. Greear
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July 25, 2023 9:00 am

As Close As Your Mouth and Your Heart

Summit Life / J.D. Greear

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July 25, 2023 9:00 am

In this message, Pastor J.D. looks at Romans 10 to show us how, no matter how much shame we feel from our past or how far we feel from God, he is as close as our mouth and our heart.

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Today on Summit Life with J.D.

Greer. Okay, now be honest. Have you ever had these questions? Did I do enough to be saved? Did I say the prayer right?

Am I really sorry enough to be forgiven? Today Pastor J.D. shows us that no matter how much shame we may feel from our past or how far we feel from God, the Bible tells us that if we believe in our heart and confess with our mouth that Jesus is Lord, that will always be enough for salvation because Christ has already done enough for us. So let's jump into today's teaching in Romans Chapter 10.

Here's Pastor J.D. Romans Chapter 10. Romans Chapter 10 is the other side of the coin of Romans 9. The focus of Romans 9 was God's sovereignty and our salvation.

The focus of Romans 10 is going to shift to our role, our role in the salvation, our own salvation, and also the salvation of others. In Scripture, God's sovereignty and man's responsibility, I explain to you, are presented as a paradox. A paradox just means something that on the surface appears to be contradictory, but in reality it is not.

In a paradox, the only reason that things seem to contradict is that your understanding or your perspective is limited. We've got a lot of examples of this in the natural world. Albert Einstein demonstrated, for example, that light sometimes appears to behave like a wave and sometimes it appears to behave like a particle, which up until his time were thought to be mutually exclusive categories.

They still, scientists still aren't totally sure how light could be both wave and particle, but that's just because they say there are some things about the nature of quantum physics that they don't quite understand yet. Or if you're in mathematics, you've got what they call chaos theory, where numbers chosen totally at random will still form a nearly symmetrical and predictable graph if you put them on a graph. Or on a more popular level, you have the so-called bumblebee paradox. It just refers to the fact that for a while, physicists could not understand how the bumblebee could fly based on what they knew about wingspan and velocity.

It just didn't add up. Later a Cambridge zoologist demonstrated that there were some imperceptible things because the wing was beating so fast and they couldn't measure it and it was making a few motions while it was beating. He demonstrated that there were things about that, the motion of the wing that overcame the odds and enabled the bumblebee to fly. Now, what I'm not saying is that the bumblebee holds the answer to the mysteries of God's sovereignty or that chaos theory illuminates for us the secrets of God's electing providences.

I'm only saying that if apparent contradictions in nature can be resolved with expanded knowledge, well then how much more should we expect that to also be true with supernatural realities? Paul brings up God's sovereignty in our salvation not to confuse us. He doesn't even bring it up to invite us to reflect on the mysteries of God. He brings them up in Romans chapter eight and nine to give us assurance of our salvation.

Paul certainly does not bring up the sovereignty of God to make you or I question whether or not we are elect. The Bible never, not one time points to God as the reason that somebody rejects him. 2 Peter 3.9, the Lord is not willing that any should perish. It's not God's will that a single person be lost. He wants all to come to repentance.

Matthew 23 37, right before Jesus died, he looks out over Jerusalem and he says, oh, Jerusalem, Jerusalem, how many times did I want to gather you to myself? Like a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you, you weren't willing. He didn't say it was because I was not sovereignly appointing you to do this. He said, you were the one that resisted it, right?

Even Romans nine that we looked at last weekend when Paul got through talking about God's role in it, he talks about why Israel, why Israel stumbled over the stumbling stone and he didn't point to God's Providence. He pointed to something about them. He said, because you would not humble yourself and you would not, would not put away pride in your religiosity and admit that you needed the grace of God. It wasn't something about God that kept you from salvation. It was something about, about you. The point is God has given you a sincere invitation to receive him.

If you reject him, that's on you. On the other hand, if you choose God, then you know that God was in it. In fact, here's how we said it last weekend. If any of us are saved, all the praise goes to Jesus Christ. If any of us are lost, well, then all the blame goes to us. And I realized that when you try to weave all that together in your head, it creates a tension in there that might make your head feel like it's going to explode.

So let me just give you something I've always found really helpful. It's a verse from Deuteronomy. Incidentally, this was John Calvin's favorite verse. Deuteronomy 29, 29.

This is his favorite verse. The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever that we may follow all the words of this law. Notice you got secret things and you have revealed things. Hear ye, hear ye, all ye want to be theologians.

Okay? There are secret things that you and I will like likely never be able to understand. And there are revealed things. It is arrogance and presumption to sit around speculating and arguing about secret things when simple obedience to reveal things is what has been commanded. Deuteronomy 29 tells me that there are things about the ways of God that I will never figure out.

They are going to remain secret, at least in this life, maybe forever. But that is okay because God has revealed enough for me to grasp his will and to obey it. What Paul says about God's sovereignty in Romans 9, he says that I might be confident in what God is doing in my life, knowing that what God has started in me, he surely will finish. That's the only reason that it's in there.

By the way, one more little thing I've always thought was helpful. Martin Luther in his commentary on Romans points out that Paul puts this discussion in Romans 9, not in Romans 1. Not in Romans 1, as if it's the foundation of theology, like many Calvinists would have you believe, right?

Until you get this, you can't really understand anything. No, Paul puts it in Luther says like a footnote. It's like a footnote to Romans 8, explaining to you how the promises in Romans 8 work like they do. He's like, hey, you got to understand how these things work.

So then he includes this discussion. It tells you, Romans 9 tells you that when everything in your life feels like it is falling apart, hang on, hang on. It's not falling apart because the God who started the good work in you is a God who's going to complete it.

And if nobody else, not even you is going to be able to mess that up. Martin Luther would tell people when they wrote to him and they would say to him, oh, oh, Dr. Luther, I'm afraid I'm not elect. My faith feels so weak. I struggle so much with sin. How could I doubt my salvation like this? If I'm actually one of the elect, Luther would always write them back and tell them that the doctrine of predestination only ever appears in the Bible to bring comfort, never fear. If you want to be saved, you can.

It is in your power to choose it right now. On the other hand, if you have been saved, you can be sure that God was in it and you can be sure that what he start, he surely will finish. Okay, chapter 10, chapter 10. Like I said, chapter 10, Paul shifts the focus back to our responsibility and the salvation process. The first 13 verses explain how we believe.

That's what we're going to look at today. The last half, verses 14 and beyond, explains our role, our role in helping others to believe. Personally, y'all, I love this passage because years ago in my own struggle with assurance of salvation, this passage helped me see the true nature of faith, the simplicity of faith. I had so many questions about did I pray the sinner's prayer right? Had I been sorry enough for my sins? Did I know enough about my sins? Did I know enough about God? How strong did my faith need to be to actually save me? It was this chapter and Martin Luther's commentary on it that revealed to me the simplicity of faith in a way that finally released me from my confusion.

All right, let's work our way through it. Verse one, Paul talks again about the genuine heartbreak he has over his fellow Jews who have not come to faith in Christ. Brothers and sisters, my heart's desire, my yearning desire, my prayer to God concerning them is for their salvation. This is not a philosophical musing for me. This is not a seminary discussion.

It's something deeply personal. Now, real quick, notice this word prayer. Notice he's praying for Israel's salvation. I point that out because some of the more cynical among you would say, well, wait a minute, Paul, if you just got done talking about God choosing, why are you praying? Why would you pray if God has already chosen it from the foundation of the world?

And see, that's the point, friend. Not even Paul, after discussing the sovereignty of God, not even Paul will kind of resign himself to it being all about God's work and he's got no part of it. He understands that his prayers make an actual difference in the eternities of others.

And he's like, I don't know how it all works together, but I'm still praying for them because God uses my prayer to bring Jesus to others. Verse two, I can testify about them, the Jews, that they have zeal for God, but it's not according to knowledge. The Jews' problem, he says, is not that they lack zeal for God. It's not that they lack zeal for God. Jews were the most zealous people on earth. In fact, I tell you, they put modern day fundamentalist Muslims and Buddhist monks to shame. They had 613 written laws in the Old Testament that they organized their life around.

613, how do you even remember all those? In addition to that, they had what they called the hedge about the law, which were all these oral manmade traditions that kept them away from disobedience of the 613. Think a hedge like you put a hedge around a well that you don't want somebody to fall in.

These were the hedge around the well of disobedience so that nobody would even get close to it. For example, keep the Sabbath day holy. That's one law, right?

There were 39, 39 mini laws tucked under that one they had developed to keep you away from breaking that one. Like for example, they had the number of steps. They would count the number of steps they took on a Sunday to make sure they didn't cross into the line of working.

And so this isn't a day before Fitbits, they're just counting their steps because I got to stay away from the working line. They had all these, they were zealous, man, they were zealous. Paul says a problem was that their zeal, admirable as it was, was not pursued with an accurate knowledge about God. Because see your zeal for God is only valuable if it is attached to the right truths about God. By the way, this flies in the face of one of our most cherished cultural maxims.

What is it? It's the gospel according to Oprah. Sincerity in religion is all that matters.

It's all that matters. Paul says, if ever there were a people who were sincere, it was the Jews. But their sincerity, their sincerity didn't save them. The Jews zeal in religion, in fact, Paul says took them to a very dark place. Their zeal in religion took them towards self-righteousness and hatred.

And they hated Jesus so badly that they ended up killing him. We've all seen that, right? Religiously zealous people can be the worst. Amen.

Come on now. Religious people can be the worst. Everybody right now, turn to your neighbor and say, you are the worst.

You're the worst. No, no, not everybody, not everybody, but some of them can. Because religion can make people violent, judgmental, bigoted.

It can make them hard to be around. If you have trouble believing this and it's a venture, you just go home and get on Facebook. I'm going to tell you right now, if all I knew about Christianity was based on what I saw Christians post on Facebook, there is no possible way I'd be a Christian. I was thinking this week about what Jesus' Facebook presence would be like. I imagine it'd be just him replying with hashtags like whitewash tomb and did I really die for this?

And certainly not elect back to people. It's what he would be doing. You're listening to Summit Life with Pastor J.D.

Greer. Before we dive back into today's teaching, I wanted to take a minute to tell you about our latest featured resource. It's a Bible study on the first half of Romans by the late Pastor Tim Keller, who was one of Pastor J.D. 's most significant mentors in ministry. This study, called The Gift of God, will help you experience and learn from the deep, rich teaching in the book of Romans in a whole new way. Each of the seven lessons includes key verses, practical application questions and prayer prompts, which are designed for your own individual reflection or for facilitating group discussions. We'll send you a copy with your gift of $35 or more to this ministry, and you can give now by calling 866-335-5220 or by visiting us online at As always, we want to express how grateful we are for all of our generous donors and gospel partners. You truly do make Summit Life possible.

Now let's get back to today's teaching on Summit Life. Here's Pastor J.D. Zeal for God is only valuable if it's attached to the right truths about God. Otherwise, zeal for God turns toxic.

And if your zeal for God isn't based in grace, if it's not based in gift righteousness, then it's going to turn you into somebody who's arrogant and judgmental and not like Jesus at all, and they take you to a very bad place. And he says they are ignorant of the righteousness of God. And so they attempted to establish their own righteousness. And because of that, they've not submitted to God's righteousness.

We really delved into this in chapters two and three of our study of Romans. But at the end of the day, there's only two approaches to God. There's one approach where you try to establish your own righteousness. You try through obedience to establish your righteousness.

We say that is religion that is spelled, two letters, D-O. It's what you do that makes you righteous. The other approach, the gospel approach, is righteousness given to you as a gift. Not because of what you D-O, but because of what has been D-O-N-E.

Done not by you, but by Jesus, and given to you as a gift. And see, Paul says, if you're convinced that you could ever do enough to be accepted by God, well, then you won't submit to the message about his done. Friend, do not let anyone tell you that all religions are the same.

Yeah, I get it. They may all teach you to be kind and to be fair and to be truthful and to love people. They may encourage you to do some of the same things, but the basis for doing those things is entirely different in Christianity than in every other religion. In every other religion, you do those good things in order to be accepted by God. In Christianity, you do those things because you have been accepted by God. Your D-O is fueled by his D-O-N-E. And that produces an entirely different spirit in you. Here's how we've explained it throughout this series.

It's a little thing by Tim Keller. Religion says, I obey. I obey, therefore I will be accepted. If I obey good enough, consistently enough, then I'll be accepted. The gospel flips that on its head.

The gospel says, no, no, no, you are accepted because of what Christ has done. Therefore, in response to that, you will obey. There's a great little story about C.S. Lewis walking through the halls of Oxford one day and he passes down the philosophy hall and there's about 25 Oxford professors from the philosophy and the religion departments and they're all in there and they were preparing a symposium on why all religions were basically the same. So they had a chalkboard filled with all these words that religions had in common.

All of them taught people to be good and truthful and kind. All the fruits of the spirit were on there. They saw C.S. Lewis walking down the hall and they're like, Jack, that's what his nickname was, Jack, come in here for a minute. And he comes in there and said, look at this list, probably 150 words on there. And you tell us what you think makes Christianity different than what every religion has in common. And the story goes, C.S. Lewis looked at it for about 10 seconds. He goes, oh, that's easy.

He goes up, takes a thing, erases the entire chalkboard and writes up G-R-A-C-E, grace. That's what separates Christianity from every other religion. What separates Christianity from every other religion is not that it teaches you to pursue the fruits of the spirit.

It teaches you to do them for a different reason. Not in order to be accepted by God, but because you have been accepted by God. Not with a self-interest of, if I do this, then God will reward me with heaven. But in gratefulness to the God who has saved you, you want to love other people the way that you have been loved. Verse four, Christ you see is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes. After you've received the righteousness of Christ, you no longer need the law to give you righteousness anymore. You quit obeying it for the purpose of making you righteous. You're already righteous. Now you obey it out of love. That produces a totally different spirit in you religiously.

Tony Evans, one of my favorite preachers from Dallas has a great illustration about this. He said he doesn't understand it when somebody goes into a restaurant and orders unsweet tea instead of sweet tea, only to then add sugar to it. He said, because you ever try to add sugar to unsweet tea, cold, you know, iced tea, it's very frustrating. You put some in and you stir, but it doesn't seem to really blend in. And so you take your first sip and it's bitter. And so you add more to it and more, and eventually you put like three packs in there and you've got like all these particles floating around and it still doesn't taste quite right. And then you violently get to the bottom and you've got like a centimeter of sugar that is stacked at the bottom. He said, why would you do that? Why not do it when it's hot so it gets blended in?

Here's what he says. Many of you are trying to make it to God's heaven by stirring up your own righteousness in the same way. You're stirring as hard as you can.

You're trying to add stuff in there. You got to live right today. You got to do better today. You got to go to church today.

You got to give money today. And you stir and you stir and it's still not sweet. You've stirred your life the best you can, but stuff is still settling at the bottom and it's just not blending in. The righteousness that Jesus Christ offers is the end of your stirring. He'll make you into sweet tea.

I love that. That should have been a Bible verse. He is the end of the law to everyone who believes because he's already fulfilled the law for you.

And he's put his sweet spirit into you. After Christ credits you with his righteous record and after he puts his sweet spirit inside of you, you no longer have to add goodness to yourself artificially or stir your religion calendar frantically in order to establish it. Paul continues discussing the difference in the two approaches to God. Verse five, Moses, you see, starts quoting the Old Testament. Moses writes about the righteousness that is from the law.

What's he saying? Deuteronomy 30 verse 15, the one who does these things shall live by them. After Moses had given the law, Moses warns the people in Deuteronomy 30 after they got the whole law, all 613 laws, the one who does these things is going to live spiritually by them. Here's a question for you. When the Israelites heard that, do you think that was encouraging or discouraging?

Not to say discouraging. I just heard 613 laws. I can't even remember. And you're telling me the man who does these things lives by them? That would mean if the man who does these things lives by them, that would mean the man who fails to do these things will die by them.

And who is there that has succeeded at keeping the commandments? Verse six, the righteousness that comes from faith speaks like this. He again quotes from Deuteronomy 30 where Moses already sort of tucks in there the answer that, hey, you're never going to be able to be fully obedient to these and you're going to need a different salvation. So he quotes from Deuteronomy 30, do not say in your heart who will go up to heaven, that is to bring Christ down or who will go down into the abyss, that is to bring Christ up from the dead. On the contrary, what does the gospel say? Again, quoting Deuteronomy 30, the gospel says the message is near you.

It is in your mouth and it is in your heart. In other words, watch this, righteousness is not a quest. You don't need to go up to heaven in your zeal for God in order to obtain his righteousness, nor do you need to reach down into the depths of your heart for the willpower to obey. And that's because Christ, the gift righteousness of God, he's the one that came down from heaven for you. He went into the abyss for you.

You are not saved by your zeal for him. You were saved by his zeal for you. The effort was his, the coming down was his, the going into the depths was his.

He lived the perfect life. By the way, do you ever wonder why Jesus lived 33 years? Again, Augustine said it was because in 33 years he is able to encounter every temptation that a normal person encounters in their lives. He wanted to face every temptation that you and I would face and pass the test. Every test that you and I failed, Jesus passed with flying colors. We see Jesus even pass the test of repentance for us. Jesus goes through the process of repentance.

You say, what are you talking about? Do you remember where he got baptized by John the Baptist? Do you remember what John the Baptist baptism was called? The baptism of repentance, which is why John was so confused when Jesus steps into the water because Jesus had never sinned. So why is Jesus being baptized with a baptism of repentance if he's never even sinned? What's he got to repent of? What is Jesus' answer when John says, I don't need to baptize you? No, no, no, be still. I've got to do this to fulfill all righteousness.

Wait a minute. He was fully righteous. So whose righteousness was he fulfilling? Whose righteousness had not yet been filled up?

Yours and mine. He was doing the baptism of repentance because you would never repent sufficiently enough to gain forgiveness of your sins. So when I used to ask that question, have I repented enough for my sins?

The answer was no. You did not repent sincerely enough to get forgiveness of sins. That's why Jesus did it for you. He literally went through everything that you were supposed to go through and what you didn't do right, he did perfectly. He lived the life you were supposed to live. He passed every temptation you failed. He even repented in your place and then he died in your place so that when you received him as your gift righteousness, his record could become yours. No matter how far you feel from God, salvation is as close as your mouth confessing what your heart believes. What good news. You're listening to Summit Life with Pastor J.D.

Greer. There's lots of heavy, deep theology in the book of Romans, and if we're honest, it can be intimidating at times. I asked Pastor J.D.

about that not long ago, and here's what he had to say. You know, one of the things you should remember when you get into a book like this is God doesn't put these books in the Bible to overwhelm us with information. He puts this stuff in there so he can change our lives. This book is written not merely to inform us, but to transform us. The study of this book has produced every major awakening in our country as people got back to the essence of the gospel.

I believe it will transform and revolutionize your life too. And so along with this series where we walk through the book of Romans here on Summit Life, we're providing an incredible personal Bible study resource, small group study resource by the late Tim Keller. He's got a great two-part Bible study.

Volume one covers Romans one through seven. It's a great thing to do alongside of what you're hearing here at Summit Life. You can do it again personally or with your family, with a small group, but we would love to get you a copy of that. If you'll reach out to us at, you can reserve yours today. We'd love to send you this Romans Bible study today with your gift of thirty-five dollars or more to this ministry. To donate, simply call us at 866-335-5220. That's 866-335-5220. Or visit to give your gift online.

I'm Molly Bidevich. Tomorrow, Pastor JD continues his message from Romans chapter ten called As Close as Your Mouth and Your Heart. So listen Wednesday to Summit Life with JD Grier. Today's program was produced and sponsored by JD Grier Ministries.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-07-25 10:50:29 / 2023-07-25 11:01:04 / 11

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