Sunday morning, Jurie brought us a simple but powerful message - we serve the God who saves. One of the things Howard Storm, our guest interviewee, pointed out was that the Bible reiterates the phrase, "Anyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved," three times (in Romans 10:13, Acts 2:21, and Joel 2:32). Any time the Bible holds a passage or phrase multiple times, there's something God wants to pound into our heads and hearts - we need reminding, and in this case, God made sure that if we zoned out while reading Joel, we have two more chances to pick up on the same concept.
Contemplating this phrase got me thinking, "What does it mean to be saved?" Jurie pointed out in the sermon that our God rescued the Israelites over, and over, and over, and..., and.... He is the God who rescues. Many Christians in our culture have a much narrower definition of what it means to "be saved." When asked, "What does it mean to be saved?" I think many of us would say, "Jesus died on the cross to save us from our sins so we can go to heaven when we die."
While this latter definition is very true, I'm realizing this week that it is really quite a narrow definition. By defining "saved" as an event that happened in the past to determine our future, we're missing out on the profound effect salvation has on our present.
Jurie pointed out that our God has the ability to save your finances, your marriage, your health, your relationships, your mental health, your..., your..... But while most of us think we believe our God can save, often times we don't act like we believe it, or to be more precise, we don't "live in it" or "live it out." Thanks to our postmodern culture of individualism and self-sufficiency (not to mention our own pride), we try to fix everything on our own first, and then to pray for help as an afterthought or last-ditch effort.
In my own head, I find myself saying, "Oh sure, I know that God has the ability to reach into my circumstances and save me, but I'm not sure He will, and usually I don't think He wants to." Most of the time, it doesn't even occur to me to ask for His help for myself, although I'm more than happy to pray on the behalf of others.
And so I come back to the phrase, "Anyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." What is the name of the Lord? "Jesus" is of course one answer, but when you pore over the Bible for what Jesus is called, other names come up too. Today, I am calling on the Great Physician to ease my headache. Yesterday, I was feeling wistful about missing friends I haven't seen in a long time, and Immanuel (God with us) comforted me. Tomorrow, I may long for wisdom, and The Word of God will be right there to grant it. In times when I need advice, my Wonderful Counselor is happy to guide me, and when frustration with the political climate gets me down, I'm reminded that the King of Kings will have the last say.
When I was little, I sometimes wondered why Jesus is referred to so many ways in the Bible. "Really, God, are you trying to confuse us?" Now I realize that God has given us an amazing gift by reminding us that Jesus isn't just the Guy who came to earth so we can go to heaven (although if that were all, it would be more than enough). He has always been and will always be (the Alpha and Omega) so that we can reach out to any facet of His character and identity in our time of need.
I encourage you to call upon a name of the Lord, and be saved - right here and right now, for right here and right now.
Terry Page - May 15th, 2020 at 12:12pm
He is so personal and all we need. Well said Sarah Jo!