A Religious “Tract”
A friend of mine found a little religious tract the other day, and he showed it to me, and here’s part of what it said; One day John’s friend stopped him.. “John, I’ve got some good news for you! “Really?” John said. “Yes, the bible tells us that heaven can be our home, since Jesus Christ died for our sins! “That is good news”, John said.
“The shed blood of Jesus Christ washes away all of our sins.” “Wow!” said John. “Christ did everything needed for us to gain heaven.”
Now let me pause for a minute; If that were true, that Christ did everything needed, to enter heaven, then everyone would enter heaven. But the scriptures say that’s not true. Because Jesus Himself said that many people will hear these words at the judgment; “Depart from Me, you who work iniquity.” (Mathew 7:22) (Also v’s 13 & 14)
And then the tract says this; “If we reject Him, we’ll go to hell, instead of heaven.” (Now that’s true) “NO!” said John. “Yes!!” John’s friend said. “John, all you do is this..” And let me pause again…
Now, I believe we’ve got a contradiction here. First the tract said; “Christ did everything for us to gain heaven.” But now it says; “All YOU do is this..” Now, Either Christ did everything, or He didn’t do everything. If there’s even one little thing that we’ve got to do, then Christ didn’t do everything. True? The truth is, that Jesus Christ did everything that HE needed to do, for us to gain eternal life, which is of course, heaven. But He didn’t do everything that WE need to do.
But let me get back to what the tract says; “John, all you do is this; Call on the Lord Jesus Christ. Do it today! He’ll forgive all of your sins!”
The point of this tract was procrastination. That’s why it says; “Do it today!” You see, John had a habit of procrastinating over everything, and so, he procrastinated over “calling on Jesus”. Procrastination is a bad thing. That’s why in every account that the bible gives, of a person learning the way of salvation, in every account, they are baptized immediately! The bible says; “Behold, now is the acceptable time, Behold, today is the day of salvation.” (2 Corinthians 6, verse 2) The only thing you’ve got to gain by procrastinating, is eternal separation from God. The scriptures refer to that, as “hell”.
“Calling on Jesus”
That tract used the phrase “call on the Lord Jesus Christ”. I don’t think the bible uses that exact phrase, but it does use this phrase; “call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ”. (1 Corinthians 1, verse 2) Most people think that to “call on the name of Jesus” means to pray, and to use the name of Jesus, in your prayer. Most people think that in order to have your sins forgiven, all you need to do, is pray to Jesus, and “call on Him”; In other words, to earnestly ask for forgiveness
“Jesus forgive me!” I’m calling on you Jesus, forgive my sins. What’s wrong with that? Well, there’s actually a couple things wrong with that. First of all, we’re clearly instructed in the bible to pray to the Father, not the Son. And so if we’re going to pray for forgiveness, let’s at least pray to the Father for that forgiveness, as the bible instructs us to do. Even though both the Father and the Son, are God, the bible still tells us, in Colossians 3:17; “And whatever you do, in word or deed, (and that includes prayer) do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks TO THE FATHER, through Him.” (through Jesus) And “through Jesus”, basically means the same thing as “in the name of Jesus”.
Clearly, that verse instructs us to give our thanks, “to the Father”, not to the Son, but “to the Father”. And that’s what Jesus taught His disciples, in Luke 11, verse 2. Jesus told His disciples; “When you pray, say this; “Father, hallowed be Thy name.”
The second thing that’s wrong with the idea of “calling out” Jesus’ name in a prayer, and expecting to be forgiven, is that the phrase “calling on His name”, has nothing to do with “calling out” or “saying” His name in a prayer.
But nonetheless, that’s what so many people have been told, and it’s causing countless people to remain lost. We become lost by sinning, but we remain lost, by not knowing the truth about how to be forgiven, and by believing what “people say”, instead of learning and believing what God says, in His scriptures.
Now please don’t misunderstand; Prayer does indeed play a part in our forgiveness, and in our salvation. But “calling on the name of Jesus”, doesn’t refer to prayer, but rather, it refers to the “authority” of Jesus. The “name of Jesus” always refers to the “authority of Jesus”. When the bible tells us to “call on His name”, it’s telling us to call on His “authority”. And His authority, “is above every authority”. (Philippians 2, verse 9)
Romans 10, verse 13 says; “For whoever shall call upon the name of Jesus, shall be saved.” Jesus has “all authority in heaven and on earth” (Mathew 28:18) He has the authority to forgive our sins, and save us from hell, if we do what He says. And He has told us to believe in Him (John 8:24) And He has told us to confess His name. (Mathew 10:32) And He has told us to repent AND to be baptized. (Acts 2, verse 38) And he has told us to be faithful unto death. (Revelation 2:10)
Jesus has the authority to require us to do all those things, if we want to be saved. And there is absolutely no way that we can “call on His authority” without DOING, all that He has told us to do! “Why do you call Me, Lord, Lord, and do not do what I say?” (Luke 6:46)
In order to scripturally “call on the Lord”, you’ve first got to do what He says. And then once you’ve called on Christ’s authority, by doing what He commands, then you can call on God’s mercy, to forgive you of your sins. That is the way it works.
“Coming to Jesus”
Another verse cited in the tract, is John 6:37. The tract quotes the last part of the verse; “..And the one coming to Me, I will in no way cast out.”
But again, “Coming to Jesus”, is NOT praying to Jesus!
Here’s an example, illustrating how you “come to Jesus”. Imagine that there are two “spirits” in the world; One is the Spirit of Jesus, and the other is the spirit of satan. (And you don’t really have to imagine that, because it’s a fact) The Spirit of Jesus is the Spirit of obedience to God. And the spirit of satan, is the spirit of disobedience to God. And each one of us, is going to “come to” one spirit, or the other.
On one hand, satan is saying to you; “Come to me, because I’ve got the whole world in my control, and I want to give you, your fair share of the riches of the world.” You might have to lie, and cheat, defraud, and use others for your own benefit, but it will be worth it.”
And on the other hand, Jesus is saying to you; “Come to Me, all you that labor, and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Mathew 11:28) “I won’t necessarily give you the world’s goods, and you’ll have to make sacrifices, and you won’t be very popular, but it will be worth it.”
What are these two “spirits” actually saying? Well, they’re both saying the same thing; “Come to me, by doing what I say. If you will obey what I tell you to do, then I will give you what I’ve promised.” Satan promises us this world, or at least a good piece of this world, and Jesus promises us eternal life, in a completely different “world”. Both spirits, the Spirit of Christ, and the spirit of satan, are saying the same thing; “Come to me, by obeying me.” And so “coming to Jesus”, means obeying Jesus! It doesn’t mean coming to Him in prayer; It means coming to Him in obedience!
Jesus said in Luke 11:23; “He who is not for Me, is against Me.” And so, if you’re not obeying Jesus, then you’re automatically coming to satan.
What about coming to the Father, and praying to the Father, “through Jesus”? How do we do something “through Jesus”?
How did you get into this building today? You came through the door, didn’t you? You used the means, that has been provided, to get yourself into this building. And that’s exactly what it means to go to the Father, “through Jesus”. Jesus Christ is the means which has been provided, so that we can approach the Father acceptably.
Jesus compared Himself to a door, in John 10, verse 9. He said; “I am the door; By Me, if any man enters in, he shall be saved..”
I’m sure you’ve heard these words; “I am the way, the truth, and the life, no one comes to the Father, but by Me.” John 14, verse 6.
Jesus is the “means”, which has been provided. He is the way, and there is no other way. No one has access to the Father, except “through Jesus”.
Do you know why you can’t acceptably approach the Father, without going through Jesus? It’s because of sin. Isaiah 59, verse 2 says;“Your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden His face, so that He will not hear” That verse doesn’t say that God cannot hear you; It says that He WILL NOT hear you.
So we’ve got a problem, haven’t we? “We have all sinned..” (Romans 3:23) And our sins have separated us from God, so that He WILL NOT hear us! So are we just hopelessly lost then? Yeah, we would be, if God hadn’t provided the “means” by which to come back to Him, and to be heard. God has provided the “means”, and the “way”, and the “door” that we come back to God through. and that’s Jesus! “No one comes to the Father, but by Me!” Jesus said.
How do we make use of the “means” provided to us? How do we make use of the sacrifice of Jesus, so that our sins can be forgiven, so that we can be heard by God, so that he will forgive us of our sin? We do it by obeying Christ! We do it by being IN Christ!
To do something “through Jesus” is to do it by being IN Jesus. How do you get IN Jesus? There’s only one way; You have to be baptized, into Jesus.
Galatians 3:27 says; “For as many of you who have been baptized INTO Christ, have put on Christ.” Romans 6:3 & 4 puts it this way; “Or do you not know? That all of us who have been baptized INTO Christ Jesus, have been baptized into His death. Therefore, we are buried with Him in baptism, that as Christ was raise from the dead, y the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.”
By the Authority of Jesus
When you are “In Christ”, you are in a covenant relationship with Him, and you are then going “through Him”, for your access to God’s blessings.
When you obey Jesus, you are “coming to Jesus”.
And when you do something “in the name of Jesus”, you are doing it “by the authority” of Jesus, and thus you are “calling on His name”.
“Calling on His name” is calling on the authority, of Christ. You can’t CALL on Christ’s authority, without SUBMITTING yourself to His authority.
“And whatever you do, in word or deed, do all, in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to the Father, through Him.” (Colossians 3:17) Make sure, that whatever it is that you are doing, you have Christ’s authority to be doing it. You know the type of things that Jesus has given us the authority to be doing. I don’t have to go through everything that’s said in the bible. You have a bible, and you know what it says.
Make certain that you have Christ’s authority, for everything that you do. And when you do what He has authorized you to do, give thanks to God the Father, through Jesus. In other words, be IN Christ, and in a covenant relationship with Him, so that your thanks is heard by God the Father. Do, what Christ’s word authorizes you to do; Come to Christ, through your obedience. Give thanks to God the Father, through the means that He has provided for you, in order to come to Him and to be heard.
Give thanks for the forgiveness of your sins, which you have, “through Christ”. Everything spiritual blessing is “through Christ”. Christ is “the door” that gives us access, to God the Father, and to all spiritual blessings, the greatest of which, is the forgiveness of sins, and the promise of eternal life in heaven.
The bible says in Revelation 22, verse 17; “The Spirit (that’s Christ) and the bride (that’s Christ’s church) say, Come. And he that heareth, let him come. And he that is thirsty, let him come. He that will, let him take of the water of life freely.”
The invitation is yours, to “call on Jesus” and to “come to Jesus”, by believing that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God. And by confessing that faith before others; And by repenting of your sins (that means to turn form them, and to turn to God instead) And by being buried in the water of baptism, for the forgiveness of yours sins, so that you can receive that forgiveness, and so you can receive the promise, of eternal life with God, at the judgment.
To borrow the words of Acts 8, verse 36; “..Behold, here’s water! What hinders ME from being baptized?”
We pray that you’ll think seriously, about obeying God’s words today, even now, as we stand and sing our invitational song. Let me know if we can help you in any way. Let’s stand and sing.