Monday, August 10, 2020

The Bethany Bullet Sermon Message - Week of August 9, 2020

The Bethany Bullet is a weekly capsule of worship highlights and big information that your brain may or may not have 'downloaded' from the prior Sunday. The purpose is to bolster you in faith, build you up in the key Biblical themes shared the previous Sunday in worship, to bring to mind the important issues on Bethany's plate and to broaden your awareness of opportunities of service to your Lord, your church, and your community. Tell a friend about The Bethany Bullet! (




Link to Worship Video for 8/9/20 – HERE

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Link for printing Sunday’s Bulletin for 8/9/20 – HERE

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Link to Bible Discovery Resources for 8/9/20 – HERE

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 “Believe & Speak & Vice Versa”

Text: Romans 10:5-17


Grace, mercy and peace to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  

Throughout my educational career, I have always been much stronger in Math and Writing areas as opposed to the Music and Art areas. I even received a failing mark in my High School Art class to compound my dilemma. Hence, I have always struggled in really appreciating Art in any way, shape, or form.

Needless to say, my eyes have been opened in this area for this particular message. Unfortunately, you only have before you a copy of Salvador Dali’s Christ of St. John of the Cross which he painted in 1951. The copy does not do it justice. However, kindly do the best that you can as you take a look at this image to see Jesus on the cross in a darkened sky floating over a body of water complete with a boat and fishermen.  It is a striking change in perspective from the norm. 

We are all familiar with the traditional perspective of standing below the cross, lifting our eyes upward.  But in this painting rather than standing below the cross, looking up into the face of Jesus, Dali asks the viewer, for a moment, to be situated above the cross, looking down upon Jesus, who Himself is looking down upon the world.

This perspective disturbs some.  It’s an uncommon view but what are we being asked to see in this image?

Well I think that Roman’s chapter 10 can help us see.

When we encounter the cross of Christ we often only look up, but in our text we see that our heavenly Father invites us to also see the world through the eyes of His Son Jesus, dying on the cross, for all people.  How easy it is for us to enter worship or study and turn our eyes upward to the cross and leave the world behind. This is not necessarily a bad thing.  It was because of your sin, and mine that Jesus was hung upon that cross.  He could have delivered Himself . . . if He wanted to.

But Jesus stayed on the cross, not because He was only human and couldn’t get down but because He was truly God and wouldn’t get down.

Jesus stayed on the cross because He didn’t come into this world to save Himself. No, He came to save you. He came to save me.  God, in Jesus Christ, willingly gave His life for you and for the world that you live in.  This is something that the apostle Paul understands. Salvation comes to us purely by grace. It is only by the love of God poured out for us in Jesus Christ that we are saved.  This is what Paul has been writing about up to this point in his letter to the Romans. 

At the heart of God’s covenant lies not what we do for salvation but rather what God does for us.

We are saved not because we are a mighty or numerous or particularly holy people. No, we are stubborn and rebellious and sinners before God. But we are saved by God’s mercy made known for us in Jesus Christ.

Paul writes, 12 There is no difference between Jews and Greeks. They all have the same Lord, who gives his riches to everyone who calls on him.” (Romans 10:12). 

In Paul’s words we hear an emphasis upon everyone. All people. Jew and Gentile. There is no fine print.  Fine print spells out exclusions in contracts. Fine print tells prescription users that the medicine is not really for everyone because some side effects can exclude people from its effectiveness. Fine print says that even though what is being marketed is for everyone, it's not really for everyone.

So, is there any fine print in Romans, chapter ten? Everyone who believes in the Lord Jesus Christ will not be put to shame. Everyone who calls on the Name of the Lord will be saved. Does the Word really mean everyone or is there some fine print somewhere excluding people from this bold promise? 

Where's the fine print in Romans 10? Nowhere. 

You won't find it here or anywhere else in the Bible.

Everyone who calls on the Name of the Lord will be saved. That means your neighbor, your co-worker, the person you have been fighting with on social media over politics, the family member who has done some awful things, everyone and that includes YOU, too.

When it comes down to whether God can save you, it doesn't matter how much you've sinned. It doesn't matter if you don't fit into society's acceptable categories. It doesn't matter if you're in prison or you're sitting in a corporate office. God’s promises are for you!

This promise is for both scholars and the uneducated. It is for people with any faith background or no faith background. It is for outsiders and insiders. There are no exceptions. There is no fine print.

Paul has been clear in his letter to the Romans of the centrality of Grace but here in Romans 10 Paul helps us see Jesus at work through His people in the world.

This is the changed perspective.  Our eyes, no longer looking up to Jesus but down, through Jesus. 

In Scripture we find that Jesus asks us to see the world through Him.  Like Dali’s image of Jesus hanging there, below us, offering His life for the world. And He invites us to see the world, through the cross, living in God’s mission of love!  This is the perspective the apostle Paul had upon the world. This is the vision the apostle Paul was inviting Christians in Rome and Christians today to see.

God has called us to be part of His people for His purpose, His purpose of reaching out to the ends of the earth with Christ’s saving love.

As we come to terms with this amazing grace we gain divine perspective and something almost inconceivable happens.  God invites us on the mission; to see the world through His eyes, to be His hands and feet.

God’s mission is to bring His salvation to the ends of the earth. For Paul, that mission of God is not something that merely hangs there in the sky. No, Paul brings that mission of God down to earth into the very mouths of God’s people.

Paul asks a series of questions to which the answers are obvious: 14 But how can people call on him if they have not believed in him? How can they believe in him if they have not heard his message? How can they hear if no one tells the Good News? 15 How can people tell the Good News if no one sends them? (Romans 10:14-15)

God brings people into His kingdom through the words that His people proclaim.

Paul knows this truth about God’s greater story. When God brings people into His kingdom, He brings them into His mission, His mission that extends to the ends of the earth.

God gives every person, including you and me a confession of faith, a word of faith that when spoken touches others with the power of God.

Paul wants us all to know that as God’s people today, we have a purpose, a purpose in God’s kingdom. God uses us in His mission to share with others the Good News.

Dali’s painting offers us a visual reminder of this work of God. There, in the heights of heaven, is the cross; Jesus, in love, offering His life for the world. There below Him is the world. It extends outward, across a lake, into the distance.

This love of God is a love that will reach to the ends of the earth. The question, however, is how is this love to be communicated to all of those people?

How will God make His saving love known? There at the bottom of the picture, which is very tough to see is the answer; two men, going about their task of fishing near the boat.

They seem to be plain men, Fishermen. Nothing would set them apart from others as God’s special instruments to the world. And yet, that is what happens in the ministry of Jesus.

He comes and calls plain fishermen to follow Him. These men are not sent into Rome to learn rhetoric from famous speakers. No, they are invited to live with Jesus; to listen to Jesus; to witness what He has done.

And then, Jesus gathers the believers together on Pentecost and sends His Holy Spirit upon them and they are sent out to bring the Good News of salvation to the ends of the earth.

God’s work does not come through human eloquence or wisdom. It comes in the foolishness of the Gospel, a story so simple that even a child could tell it. A story so amazing that only God could bring it about. A story spoken by regular, normal people, doing regular, normal things.

This is the work of Jesus, sending His Spirit to speak through His people. Not just those in the Bible or those with a specialized degree, it’s also been given to you!

And through your words, His work is done today. You don’t need special training to speak of what God has done for you. As Paul writes, “This message is near you. It’s in your mouth and in your heart.” (Romans 10:8)

God has called you, chosen you, to be His people who live by His promise and live for His purpose, to share the Good News.

As we stand at the cross today Paul asks us to look up, and see Jesus. But we don’t only see Jesus. No, Paul changes our perspective so that we see Jesus at work through His people bringing salvation to the ends of the earth.

Paul desires us to catch that vision. It catches your breath and causes you to cry out with wonder with Paul “How beautiful are the feet of the messengers who announce the Good News.” (Romans 10:15)

As we close let me give you just a few things to ponder this week:

  1. How can you find ways to share about Jesus in your regular every day routines?  Who in your circle of friends needs to see Jesus at work in their lives?  It doesn’t have to be with eloquent words but sometimes just with loving actions.  
  2. If there is no fine print on who is saved, how does that change your perspective in sharing the message?


Just a few things to ponder. 


Let’s pray…

Heavenly Father, thank You for the message today through Your servant Paul. Thank you for changing our perspective of Your Son hanging on the cross for each of us. Guide us in the coming weeks to reach out to those in need of hearing that message of grace and mercy through Your Son, Jesu Christ, our Lord. Shove us into action this day and always, remembering that it was You who first reached down and saved us. In Your Son’s Name we pray. Amen.

- Karl Fink



Worship Resources for Sunday, August 16th will be up

on Bethany’s website by midday Saturday, August 15th!


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