Tag Archives: growth

God’s Pathway to Salvation

5 For Moses writes about the righteousness which is of the law, “The man who does those things shall live by them.” 6 But the righteousness of faith speaks in this way, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’” (that is, to bring Christ down from above) 7 or, “‘Who will descend into the abyss?’” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). 8 But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach): 9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. 13 For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”14 How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? 15 And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, Who bring glad tidings of good things!” 16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our report?” 17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. (Romans 10:5-17)

Introduction
The 10th Chapter of Romans gives us three insights into what it means to be saved. First, it gives us the contrary thoughts which impeded salvation. Second, it gives us the process of salvation. Third, it gives us the method whereby salvation can be attained. I want to deal with these this morning.

Move 1
Salvation simply means that you and God have been reconciled back together from a position of alienation. Ephesians 2:12 put it this way, “12 that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.” You and I once were estranged from God and some are even to this day because they have a misunderstanding of how to be saved. Because they rely on the wrong process of salvation. So let’s look at the 1st thing Paul tells Israel about salvation which is informative for us.

First, Paul says your thoughts about salvation are contrary to God’s method of salvation and thereby your thoughts actually are impeding your salvation. Paul writes to them telling them that to believe that obeying the law and doing good works gets you right with God is false. In Romans 10:5 Paul says, “For Moses writes about the righteousness which is of the law, “The man who does those things shall live by them.” You can live according to the law and you can do many mighty works, but to think that after you die those things will save you from hell is totally wrong. God does not base our salvation on our works.

Rather Paul writes plainly in Ephesians 2:8-10, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” In other words, the only reason we do good works is because of our gratitude to God that he saved us, with our undeserving selves, through faith and not through works. But let me move on to the next insight Paul stresses in this chapter.

Move 2
Second, Paul gives us a two-step process of salvation. Step One, stop trying to judge whose going to heaven or hell based on their outward moral behavior and conduct. In Romans 10:6-7 Paul writes, “But the righteousness of faith speaks in this way, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’” (that is, to bring Christ down from above) 7 or, “‘Who will descend into the abyss?’” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead).” Paul says trying to determine God’s children by outward works is misleading. Paul makes it even more plain in Philippians 2:12-13, “12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.” Which leads us to Step Two in the process which is to repent and renew ourselves in the faith.

In Step Two, Paul enjoins us to change our Old Testament beliefs about works and change the way you speak about God’s righteousness. Paul writes, “But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach): 9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” I remember the Memphis Sanitation Workers went on strike for fair wages and benefits. The men faced racial discrimination and violence as they refused to collect the city’s garbage without a change.
They had been called everything but a child of God, but they wouldn’t back down. In fact they kept on marching, kept on boycotting even in the face of death threats. When the CBS news broadcast put the spotlight on this movement, the men walked with signs around their necks that read, “I am a Man!” That’s what Paul is saying, you may not be where you ought to be, but you’re a child of the king. Just keep on marching and kept on speaking about the change that Christ has made and is making in your life.

Yes, Paul says it’s with the mouth that confession is made unto salvation. Your salvation is lodged within your heart and must be expressed through your mouth. Profession of your salvation erupts from within your heart, from that place where faith resides. How many of you know that “Death and life are in the power of the tongue? Hallelujah!

Paul says believe in your heart that “God raised Jesus from the dead in the flesh.” Because when you get this faith down in your heart it will come out of your mouth. We find this in Romans 10:11-13, “For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. 13 For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Things change when Jesus comes into your heart. You remember that hymn don’t you (Hymn #301). The first stanza says, “What a wonderful change in my life has been wrought since Jesus came into my heart! I have light in my soul for which long I had sought, Since Jesus came into my heart!”
Faith, beloved is a gift of God that is received by hearing the Word of God. Romans 10:17 declares, “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God. So I want you to hear the Word of God this morning.

Salvation then, comes to each of us by faith in God’s Word; faith that leads to action rather than mental assent. For example “The story is told of a man who was crossing a desert in the days of the pioneers. He ran into trouble and was dying of thirst when he spotted a pump near an abandoned shack. He had no water to prime the pump, but he noticed a jug of water near the pump with a note attached. It read: “There is just enough water in this jug to prime the pump, but not if you drink some first. This well has never gone dry, even in the worst of times. Pour the water in the top of the pump and pump the handle quickly. After you have had a drink refill this jug for the next man who comes along.”
What would the man dying of thirst do? To follow the instructions and prime the pump without first taking a drink would be an exercise of the kind of faith the Bible speaks of. Biblical faith requires that one stake his life on the truth of the promise. If the man follows the instructions, he takes the chance of pouring out all the water and getting none to drink if the pump fails. So he must trust that the message is right. He must act in faith, without first receiving, and must trust in the truth of the promise.”

The writer of Hebrews adds value to this conversation when he writes in Hebrews 11:6, “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” Beloved when you experience salvation you experience faith in God’s ability to deliver you. God’s gift of faith is God depositing in you the knowledge that God is both able and willing to come to your aid despite whether you’re the victim or the perpetrator.

Despite how you got in that situation, faith says God’s grace and mercy is available to you when you call on the Lord Jesus Christ. Again, the writer of Hebrews is informative on this point when he writes in Hebrews 4:14-16, “14 Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

Beloved, Faith is an unexpressed hope that lies within the heart which provokes one to act and speak in line with what one both believes and expects. Hallelujah!

Move 3
Third, and finally Romans Chapter 10 gives us the method whereby salvation can be attained. In Romans 10:14-17, “14 How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? 15 And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, Who bring glad tidings of good things!” 16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our report?” 17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”

Paul informs the Israelites and us that God’s gift of salvation comes through the preaching, teaching, and witnessing of the gospel of Jesus Christ. When Paul says “shall be saved” Paul understands that this process of salvation is an ongoing process. You and I have many flaws, shortcomings, and defects that must be overcome. Therefore, we must be studious; we must become disciples of Jesus Christ on a daily basis.
We should get “better” as time goes on. This is illustrated by what many consider to be the greatest horse race ever run. When Secretariat won the Kentucky Derby, each successive quarter-mile in the race was run faster than the one before. The longer the race went, the faster the horse ran.”

Again, faith is like “a little boy who ties a rope swing onto a tiny sapling’s branch. Then, noticing that the seat of the swing rests on the ground, he goes to get the garden hose and begins to water the sapling.”
Throughout our salvation experience, God uses his grace to allow us to be taught, to allow us time to grow in the knowledge of Jesus Christ. In Titus 2:11-14, Paul writes, 11 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, 12 teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, 13 looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14 who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.”

Conclusion
Listen, you would not scramble five good eggs and one rotten egg and serve the mixture to guests, expecting it to be acceptable. Even less can you serve up to god a life that has the good things in it tainted with deeds and thoughts that are rotten, and expect it to be acceptable to God? If you wanted to get to heaven by your good works, then you would have to be perfect, which means complete obedience to God at all times. But all of us have fallen short of this!”

Today, I urge each of us to receive salvation by faith alone. Faith in the gift of God granted to us through Jesus Christ. This is the gospel in a nutshell: John 3:16, “16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

Growth: The Fourth Responsibility of a Leader

“Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other”~John F. Kennedy

Followers expect leaders to model the values they promote.  If you value learning, then as a leader you should be continuously learning.  Why?  Having current knowledge affects your leadership effectiveness.  Leaders have to stay current in their field; without a continuing education program, leaders lose their edge.  

One of the things that give companies the competitive edge is their leader’s ability to stay current with the latest information, technology, industry thought, etc.  Leaders who isolate themselves from other leaders  in their field, lag behind in productivity which erodes the ability of the company to sustain its growth.  Leaders may not implement current trends but they should not be ignorant of current trends.

My children laugh at me when I tell them I’m going to get another degree; they know that at any given moment I can be reinolved in the learning process.  I have an associates degree, bachelor’s degree, two master’s degrees, and a doctoral degree.  Why? because I value education.  I believe that learning and leadership are intertwined; you can’t have one without the other.  Although I may not be involved in a degree program,  I seek other learning opportunities that help develop my personal growth as a leader.

That is one reason that a few months after I completed my second masters degree, I invested in a leadership coaching program.  True to form, my children said, “We knew it daddy!”  “You just an’t stop learning.”  As of August 2013, I am a Certified Coach, Speaker, and Trainer with the John Maxwell Group.  Not all learning occurs in a formal program of learning, I get that.  Yet, formal coursework challenges a leader to attain new perspectives based on the latest research and newest technologies.

Coaching is a great way for leaders to improve their effectiveness, but a good coach will help leaders see that education is vital to their success.  There are no shortcuts to education; mentoring, coaching, and counseling serve supportive roles.  Education is foundational to the effectiveness of a leader.  I wholeheartedly support and value education; I believe all leaders should.

 

The Value of a Good Coach

“I’m so not hearing that,” Robert told Susan.  Robert was thoroughly H hot. The nerve of Tim to tell him he needed to include others in his assessment. “These people have no idea what I do,” he reasons with Susan. Robert felt insulted that other leaders in different parts of the company would be invited to critique his plans. Robert had been doing this project just fine without sitting around a table subjecting himself to questions. “Who were they to question him?” Robert was so incensed Susan could see the heat rising from his hair.

Robert is not alone. Proverbs 18:17 reads, “He that is first in his own cause seemeth just; but his neighbour cometh and searcheth him.” Most leaders have suffered from tunnel vision during their development. Luckily, Robert had a good coach.

Susan through questioning Robert helped him to understand the importance of teamwork. His passion was misdirected; he saw Tim’s insistence that others give him feedback on his plans as a direct reflection of his competence. Susan helped Robert as John Maxwell would say “lift his lid.” She helped Robert see the big picture. His project wasn’t being carried out in a vacuum, his was one of many company projects all aimed at fulfilling the company vision. Teamwork then was an invaluable asset to saving the company money and improving its efficiency.

Each of us can benefit from a good coach; someone who opens our eyes to the bigger picture. Do you have a good coach? Better yet, “Are you open to coaching?”

A Sure Sign of Maturity

“Brothers and sisters, I can’t consider myself a winner yet. This is what I do: I don’t look back, I lengthen my stride, and I run straight toward the goal to win the prize that God’s heavenly call offers in Christ Jesus. Whoever has a mature faith should think this way. And if you think differently, God will show you how to think. However, we should be guided by what we have learned so far” ( Philippians 3:13-16 GWT).

Maturity recognizes the role God has played in one’s life. It acknowledges that God’s gift of life does not come without struggle, setbacks, and stress. Notwithstanding, maturity learns from each experience, taking each lesson and using it to propel his or her life further along its chosen path. A mature person fails forward using failure as a guide for what not to do.

Paul realized his past could not be used as a bench upon which to sit. Despite past success and failure, his life was not complete. Paul determined to exceed expectations and set his life on a course to achieve more. Maturity reaches for the furthest galaxy, decides to climb the highest mountain, and traverse the widest ocean. Maturity seeks its best self, never settling for mediocrity. Paul set goals impossible to achieve without the help of Christ and others.

Paul refused to be limited by his past, broke numerous barriers, and had the testimony of a well spent life. I urge you to challenge yourself to greatness. You have God’s life within you; you can achieve more than you think!