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Romans 4:6-15,

Faith Alone


Romans 4:6-15, “Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works [Psalm 32:1-2], saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered.  Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.  Cometh this blessedness then upon the circumcision [Jews] only, or upon the uncircumcision [Gentiles] also?  For we say that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness.  How was it then reckoned?  When he was in circumcision, or in uncircumcision?  Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision.  And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might also be imputed unto them also: and the father of circumcision to them who are not of the circumcision only, but who also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which he had being yet uncircumcised.  For the promise, that he should be heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith.  For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect: because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression."  (King James Version)  I'm going to give this set of verses in the NIV as well.  Romans 4:6-15, (NIV) "David says the same thing when he speaks of the blessedness of the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works:

‘Blessed are they whose transgressions are forgiven,

whose sins are covered.

Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will

never count against him.’

Is this blessedness only for the circumcised, or also for the uncircumcised?  We have been saying that Abraham's faith was credited to him as righteousness.  Under what circumstances was it credited?  Was it after he was circumcised, or before?  It was not after, but before!  And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised.  So then, he is the father of all who believe but have not been circumcised, in order that righteousness might be credited to them.  And he is also the father of the circumcised who not only are circumcised but who also walk in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had before he was circumcised.   It was not through law that Abraham and his offspring received the promise that he would be heir of the world, but through the righteousness that comes by faith.  For if those who live by the law are heirs, faith has no value and the promise is worthless, because law brings wrath.  And where there is no law there is no transgression.”




"This morning, let's open our Bibles to the 4th chapter of the book of Romans and we will begin our study in verse 6 of Romans chapter 4, verse 6.  We're sort of in the middle of a thought, and the thought is, the argument actually is, ‘Look, Abraham, the one that you claim you want to follow, and the one that you say is your example, he was saved by this gospel of grace that I've been preaching to you.’  See the common idea was Abraham had been saved by his goodness, by his works.  No way!  He (Paul) established that Abraham was saved by faith.  Now he's saying, because he knows he's writing to quite a few Jewish people in Rome [i.e. Paul's writing to Jewish believers within the congregation of the Church of God in Rome -- i.e. Torah-observant Messianic Jewish believers in Yeshua -- there were two major divisions or groups of believers in the Roman congregation, Jewish and Gentile -- and you may notice, if you look for it, Paul is always addressing these two groups throughout his letter to the "saints in Rome"], he knows that the Jewish law says out of the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every testimony be established.  And so he brings up another witness from the Old Testament, another great man from the Old Testament, one of the hero's of Israel, king David.  And he says, ‘David was saved by grace too.’  We all know that David was a great king, we all know that David loved God, we all know that David was a child of God, and we all know that David sinned.  He sinned big time, didn't he? -- with Bathsheba.  But in spite of his sin, God saved him.  And David becomes a testimony to the one who is saved by faith and faith alone.  David, though he was held in great honor by the Jews, was also a man who fell into great sin, and he was saved by the same great grace that saves you and me.  David writes about that in Psalm 32.  And the apostle Paul plucks out a couple verses out of Psalms 32 and quotes them right here.  Read with me, just read along with me, verses 6, 7 and 8, he says “Just as David also speaks of the blessing upon the man whom God reckons righteousness, who credits righteousness, apart from works.  Blessed are those whose lawless deeds have been forgiven, and whose sins have been covered.  Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will not take into account.”  You know, the root of Christian happiness or blessedness, is not, you know, our incomes, not our check books, not how well our children behave, not how happily we are married, not how wonderfully we are serving the Lord.  The root of our happiness in Christ is the forgiveness of sins.  “Blessed is the person,” he says, “those whose lawless deeds have been forgiven, and whose sins have been covered.  The Scripture says that love will cover a multitude of sins, and God's grace covers our sins.  David knew that first hand, he wrote this after he had received pardon from God for his sin with Bathsheba.  And then in verse 8, “Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will never take into account.”  God isn't keeping a little book with all your sins and he's going to review them someday.  If you're a Christian, your sins are forgiven by the blood of Jesus Christ.  


Do I Need To Confess My Sins Since They Are Forgiven By Jesus’ Grace?


Do I need to confess my sins, since they are forgiven by Jesus' grace?  Yes, yes, 1st John 1:8 and 9 says “that if we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”  But Mark, that was written for unbelievers.  No, if you read 1st John, read the letter of 1st John, the whole letter of 1st John is written ‘that we might believe,’  that ‘we might know.’  It's written to Christians [and at the time of writing, probably to the Messianic believers of the latter half of the 1st century residing in Asia Minor where John lived and fellowshipped].  Every bit of it is written to Christians [believers in Jesus, Yeshua].  We'll you say, ‘Why do you have to confess your sins, if they've already been forgiven?’  The same reason why you want your children to come and say they're sorry when they misbehave.  Is it because you won't forgive them until they say they're sorry?  Huh?  I mean, you've already forgiven the little pumpkins, they're already forgiven.  But the point is, now that they're forgiven in your heart, they need to receive that freshly.  They need to be brought into oneness with you.  You know when we spank our children, little Em, she does something wrong and afterwards, I always hug her.  But I still always ask her to say she's sorry.  I say ‘Are you sorry?’  ‘Yes.’  ‘Ok, you give Daddy a hug.’  Now when she says ‘No!, well she has not received my forgiveness yet has she?  It's there.  It's not going to make her not my child.  And so we don't confess our sins in order to be saved, we're not saved by the confession of sin, but we confess our sins as Christians in order to stay in a happy family relationship with the Lord.  We will never get kicked out of his family for not confessing our sins.  But we certainly be miserable if we don't.  “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper.”  So, be careful.  I know there's guys, there's a guy on the radio that's big into telling Christians that they don't need to confess their sins.  I'm sorry, he's got too much Scripture [going against him] to argue with, he's misinterpreting the Scripture.  In fact, I know we're not in 1st John 1:8-9, but it says in the Greek, “If we continue to confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us.”  There's a present continuous tense.  So, don't be deceived.  It's important for you to keep the family relationship with the Lord happy.  You can still be in the family [if you don't], but be under that dark cloud.  You know what I mean?  And it's your own creation.  The Lord's forgiveness is there, it's been provided, it covers you.  You need to receive it.  It's already over you, legally.  Experientially, you need to receive it.  OK?  I know some of you are listening [to this] on the radio, some of you are reading the books [we put out], and I just think we need to say something about this at this point.


Did Abraham Have To Go Through The Ceremony Of Circumcision To Get Saved?


Now, moving on, he says ‘OK, David is another witness.’  David was saved by grace, because there's no forgiveness for adultery, there's no sacrifice where he could come and give God for adultery or pre-meditated murder or coveting.  There weren't sacrifices for that kind of thing.  So he had to throw himself on the mercy of God, and God covered his sin and accepted him just as he was, and he [David] says, ‘Man am I a happy guy, praise God, I have received the forgiveness of sins!’  Hey, if you don't have anything else to be happy about today, and you're a Christian, you can be happy that your sins are not recorded somewhere on a book or a disk or a floppy someplace, they are gone, gone, gone!  Amen?  Verse 9, But, someone might say, ‘Abraham did.’ ‘I know you're saying he's saved by grace, and I'm sort of inclined that way, but Abraham went through the ritual, Abraham went through the ceremony of circumcision.’  ‘I know you're saying it's grace through faith alone, but Abraham, he participated in circumcision.’  ‘Maybe you aren't saved until you go through some ritual.’  [or for our Messianic Jewish believers, ‘like wearing Tallit’s or Yarmulkes make you holy or something?’ Paul would ask.]  I guess there's always been people, gang, who've believed in a sort of salvation by ceremony, you know -- some kind of a ceremony.  You say Don't religious ceremonies, rites, don't they help you just a little bit maybe, you know?  Isn't God a little happier after you're baptized than he was with you before?’  [maybe, if that is the means by which you ask Jesus into your life, which was the customary way of doing it in the early church, cf. Book of Acts]  Doesn't God smile a little broader at you when partake of holy communion than when you don't?  Well, that's not a dumb question, it's a good question, it's probably on a lot of minds.  It's been on minds for thousands of years.  But the answer can be found right here, in Romans 4, when we ask the question, "OK, WHEN was Abraham saved?"  Look at verses 9, 10 and onward.  "Is this blessing then upon the circumcised or the uncircumcised also?  For we say faith was reckoned to Abraham as righteousness.  How then was it reckoned?  While he was circumcised or uncircumcised?"  Was he saved before he went through the ceremony, or after?  Did he have to go through the ceremony to get saved, or was he saved and then he went through the ceremony?  Which is it?  He [Paul] says, "not while circumcised, but while uncircumcised." OK, we've got Abraham.  Abraham was saved in Genesis 15, he was saved by faith, right?  He believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness.  So you just hold that, saved by faith.  OK, were going to mark that point in time.  Then (from Genesis 15) we're not quite sure how much time went by.  We got to peg some things down here.  I don't know how much time went by, maybe a year.  And then we're told that Abraham, when he was 86 years old, he did a no-no, his faith really got weak and he listened to his wife, not that that's a big weakness of faith (I didn't mean that [chuckle]), but her suggestion wasn't the best.  And he fathered a child through her handmaid, which he shouldn't have done, OK, caused him a lot of pain, and Sarah as well.  [And the whole Middle east now is really feeling that pain, but especially in the land of Israel.]  But we know at that point he was 86 years old.  Then a period, some say, actually the Jewish commentators say 29 years went by until he was circumcised.  Our Bible tells us he was circumcised when he was 99 years old.  So lets let this equal thirteen or fourteen years of time in here.  Then, according to Galatians 3:15, 17, somewhere in there, four hundred and thirty years later, the Law was given.  OK?  So here's the time line of Abraham's life.  So here was have Abraham, saved by grace through faith.   Right?  He's around 86 years old.  Thirteen years go by, and then he goes through the ceremony of circumcision.  But he was saved--when?  Way back here, thirteen or fourteen years before.  And the Law didn't come for a long time.  So what I want you to see is, the question was, Well, if Abraham was saved by a ceremony, then we should be saved by a ceremony of some kind.  But if he was saved apart from ceremonies, then that's the way we would be saved too. 


Do You Realize Abraham Was Saved As A Gentile?


And so, how was he saved gang?  By faith alone.  Right, by faith alone.  Then later he received circumcision.  Why?  Why was he circumcised later on?  Look at verse 11-12 [of Romans 4] “And he received the sign of circumcision, a"--what?--"seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had while uncircumcised, that he might be the father of all who believe, without being circumcised, that righteousness might be reckoned to them, and the father of circumcision to those who are not only of the circumcision, but also who follow in the steps of faith of our father Abraham which he had while uncircumcised.”  [I don't know which translation Pastor Martin is using, but I think the NIV does a better job with these two verses, so here is the NIV version.]  “And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised.  So then, he is the father of all who believe but have not been circumcised, in order that righteousness might be credited to them.  And he is also the father of the circumcised but who also walk in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had before he was circumcised” (NIV)  An incredible thing going on here, he's saying, actually he's saying, ‘Do you guys realize Abraham was saved as a Gentile.’  He really didn't consider Jewry, it really didn't come into being until after he was saved, God began to give the rituals and ordinances that separated them as a people from the rest of the earth.  [Actually the first time the word “Jew” was used to denote someone from the tribe of Judah was in one of the books of Kings or Chronicles.  Before then, everyone from Abraham's descendants from Jacob onward were termed as Israelites, up until the division of the kingdom at the time of Rehoboam, Solomon's son.  In 721BC the northern kingdom, called the House of Israel, consisting of ten tribes of Israel, was conquered and deported by the Assyrian Empire.  The only group left was the southern kingdom, made up of the tribe of Judah, Levi and part of Benjamin.  The northern ten tribes called House of Israel lost their identity, historically.  The southern House of Judah came then to be referred to as Jews.]  God saved that man as a Gentile, he was a pagan from Ur of the Chaldees.  Then later he was circumcised.  And Paul's saying ‘This is great!’  Because some of you are saying ‘Oh, I can't be saved because I'm not a Jew.’  And he's saying, ‘Don't worry, he [Abraham] wasn't a Jew to begin with, either!  But God still saved him.’  But others of you are saying ‘Can I still be saved, even though I've been circumcised?’  ‘Sure, Abraham was circumcised too.’  He's saying it doesn't matter who you are, Jew, Greek, Italian, whatever you are, Mexican, whatever, it doesn't matter.  We're all saved the same way, the Abraham way, by faith alone.  So the circumcision that came later [in Abraham's life] was a sign or a seal of what had already transpired.  OK, a sign, is something that is not there for its own purpose.  A sign's whole purpose is to point to something else.  Right?  There is this sign in Cottonwood that drives me literally banana's.  I'll tell you why.  It's because, on this main road in Cottonwood, when you want to turn to go back to Phoenix, to get to the freeway, you know, there's this great big Smith's Shopping Center there now.  And there is this sign, and here you are driving along, and we want to turn that way to Phoenix, and the sign says "Phoenix" and an arrow.  And then there's this huge turn, and so I took this great big turn, and it takes you right into this Smith's parking lot!  It was the dumbest placement of a sign I've ever seen, because it's not until the next big turn that you get onto the freeway to Phoenix.  And I sat across from that intersection, and I watched people, all the Tourista's you know, I watched them turning into Smith's parking lot, and getting, and they go like this “This is Smith's parking lot!!!”  Brilliant piece of advertising for Smith's, I think, don't you?  But a very bad sign.  But the whole purpose of a sign, if you follow the sign you'll get to your destination.  A sign's purpose is to point to something else.  Now a seal is even different from that.  A seal is something that guarantees or protects something.  Like, if you ever get a passport, to get a passport you have to prove who you are.  And then the government backs up that claim with its own seal, and a seal of the United States Government is put on your passport, sort of put on your picture even, and that way, it is guaranteeing with the seal of the U.S. that you are who you claim to be, no matter where you are in the world.  We have seals on food.  Right?  You can't open anything anymore unless you have a hatchet.  Try to open the bag of potato chips anymore, you know you used to be able to rip it with your teeth.  Now when you do that your teeth go flying out, and the bag is still unopened.  You have to have some kind of a chainsaw to get the bag open.  But the seal is their to protect the food.  We have quality protection, with the Good Housekeeping seal, oh wow, if it's got that Good Housekeeping seal on it, it must be best, quality is guaranteed.  And then, seals protect, don't they.  What do you call that which is around a window or a door that keeps the cold and hot out?--a seal, a window seal (not sill, but the seal around the window or door).  So it's there, the seal identifies, promises freshness, promises quality, promises protection, and a seal oft times shows ownership.  It acknowledges who built this, who makes this, they put their seal on it, they're not ashamed to claim this.  Well, how does this apply?  I'll tell you.  It applies in that the seals that we have in the Christian (or Messianic Jewish believer) faith, the signs and seals of the new covenant, the rites and the ordinances, if you will, the ceremonies we have, as Christians, are just like circumcision.  Circumcision was a sign, a seal of what had already transpired.  The circumcision didn't save him.  The two signs or seals of the new covenant don't save us.  The two signs of the new covenant for the church or body of Christ, Messiah, are baptism by water, and the Lord's Super, or the Holy Communion [or the early Quartodeciman Passover service in the early Messianic congregations in Asia Minor during the first 3 centuries AD, as observed in some Sabbatarian churches of God today] or whatever you prefer to call it.  These are two signs,  two seals of the new covenant.  They don't save you.  Let me illustrate it this way.  This is what kind of a ring guys?  I just took it off of this hand [left hand], this finger -- what kind of a ring is this?  A wedding ring.  Now we know, this is a sign, this is a covenant sign, the covenant of marriage.  And we realize, this is a wedding ring.  You high school guys, you're about ready to graduate, what would a girl do if you walked up to her and gave her this kind of ring and said ‘Would you go out with me?’  She'd run, you know.  ‘What are you doing!?  That's a wedding ring, you turkey!’  You don't want to give this kind of a ring to just anybody.  If I walked up to one of you sisters and said ‘Hey, I want you to have this.’  You'd slap me (in love) and say ‘What's the matter with you?!’  ‘That's your wedding ring.’  ‘That's a sign of the covenant you made with your wife, turkey.’  We know this [ring] is a sign, a covenant sign.  Now does this sign marry me?  No, you could put it on, it doesn't make you married to my wife.  We could change rings, it doesn't make you married to anybody.  It's just a sign, a seal of that covenant though.  In fact, we were married a couple of years before we were able to wear wedding rings, because the religion we were in forbade the use of wedding bands.  [Pastor Mark used to be a Seventh Day Adventist]  That has since changed, now it's legal.  This is a sign, and a seal of the covenant that I have with Leslie.  My wedding ring doesn't make me married, it doesn't keep me married.  But it is a sign of a relationship that I already have with my wife.  Like I said, I didn't have it until we were married two and a half years or so, and we finally placed them on each other's fingers.  And it was right!  We should have done it before.  And so, baptism, the Lord's Supper [the Quartodeciman Passover service for our church of God Sabbatarian brethren, and yes, they’re precious in God’s eyes too], these things don't save you, they don't make you Christ's any more than any other seal or sign makes you saved, or makes you married or any other thing.  [I might add here, what really makes you saved, is when, at the moment you ask Jesus into your life, what makes you saved is his direct response, action, by divine fiat, his placing of the Holy Spirit within you.  It's an action God takes, after you ask him to.  Cf. Romans 8:9,15-16.]  The two covenant signs of the new covenant, water baptism and the Lord's Supper or Holy Communion, have no merits in themselves.  They're just a sign, like this wedding ring is just a ring.  It's just a ring.  But it symbolizes something else.  So remember that when you think of marriage and rings, remember what Billy Graham said.  Billy Graham said “There are three rings in marriage.  First  he said, “there is the engagement ring.  Then” he said, there is the wedding ring.”  And finally, Billy Graham said, “there is suffe-ring.”  That's what he said [laughter], he said those are the three rings of marriage.  Anyway, he is one of my hero's, so, he said it, it's true.  I had you going, didn't I?  OK, the personal application of what we're gleaning now from Romans 4 is, you're not saved, any one of you, by any rite, ritual or ceremony that you've gone through.  The three C's don't save you, Communion, Confession and Confirmation, they don't save you.  Your well intentioned parents who had you baptized as an infant, they didn't save you.  Or later on as an adult when you were baptized by immersion, you were not saved, I'm sorry that didn't save you.  [Some churches use the custom of baptizing and the laying on of hands as their way for individuals to call on the Lord to enter their lives and receive the Holy Spirit, following the example of the early church, and I know of a whole denomination of real believers who have accepted the Lord into their lives in this manner-instead and in place of using the altar call, so when baptism and the laying on of hands is used in this manner as a method of calling on the name of the Lord, the Lord can and does honor this request and come into these people's lives.  I've seen the fruit, so I know it's true.  Just thought I'd point this out.  But in general, Pastor J. Mark Martin is correct.  In my personal opinion, though, this group of people who have come to the Lord this way, in many cases had already had the Holy Spirit come into them before their baptism, simply because their lives and attitudes demonstrated this -- much in the same way that God may already be working in the lives of those who end up in an altar call.  (see )]  Those things are signs, they are symbols, they are seals of being in Christ.  But they don't make you Christ's.  You see, all they can do is attest to the fact that there is a previously existing relationship there.  Just like this wedding band just says, ‘yes, there is a relationship between Mark and Leslie, there is a marriage, a oneness there.’  It didn't make it, but it attests to that fact.  So, baptism, it doesn't save you.  Baptism is a righteous thing to do though.  Being baptized as a believer is a righteous thing to do, it's an obedient thing to do.  Jesus said “Be baptized.”  Taking the Lord's Supper is a righteous thing to do, you should partake of the Lord's Supper as frequently as you can.  But there is no merit in doing it.  There's no brownie points in doing it.  ‘Oh, I've kept track, I've got a score in the back of my Bible, every time I took Communion.’  Why?  There's no righteousness in it.  It's a righteous thing to do, but it can't save you.  [Same with Holy Day and Sabbath observance for all those that are Torah observant Messianic Jewish or Sabbatarian, it's a righteous and good thing to do, scheduling all that time on the Lord's appointed Holy days, to spend with the Lord, worshipping him.  But all that is not going to save you.  It is Jesus, Yeshua, and his sacrifice that saves you.]  'Are you sure?'  Yes, I'm sure.  Look at Titus, keep your finger or a bookmark in Romans 4, go to Titus, go to the right to Titus chapter 3.  Look what he says, it's so clear here.  I've had people call me down, because they say, 'Mark, you should be teaching people that baptism saves them, they need to be saved, they've got to believe and be baptized.'  No that's like saying Abraham needed to believe and be circumcised to be saved.  When was Abraham saved, gang?  Right there!  It wasn't until years later that he went through [circumcision], put the wedding ring on, he went through the rite, the ceremony, the ritual.  It was a righteous thing to do, but it didn't save him.  He was saved a decade and a half before. 


Being Saved Is Something God Does When He Places His Holy Spirit Within You


Look at what he says in verse 4, Titus 3:4, “But when the kindness of God our Saviour, and his love for mankind appeared, he saved us not on the basis of deeds which we've done in righteousness.”  “He saved us” -- what's the next word? -- not on the basis of deeds which we've done in righteousness.”  Is baptism a righteous deed?  You'd better believe it is.  ‘No it's not, Mark.  That's not what it's talking about?’    OK, what is baptism then, is it an unrighteous deed?  You see what I mean?  It's a righteous deed.  But it doesn't save you.  It's a sign.  But you are already Christ's, it's a symbol that you already belong to him.  But it doesn't make you Christ's.  Of course, the same is true of the Lord's Supper.  not on the basis of deeds which we've done in righteousness, but according to his mercy, by the washing of regeneration.”  [you might be saying] ‘Aah, ah, washing, that's baptism.’  I've had people say that to me.  No, read on, that a problem [with people] today, nobody reads context.  by the washing of regeneration” -- and what? -- “renewing by the Holy Spirit.”  Listen, if it was dirt on the outside that made you a sinner, then that water in that baptistery can save you.  [Technically, in a very real spiritual sense, being saved is something God does when he places his Holy Spirit within you, Romans 8:9-16.  Whatever means you use to ask the Lord into your life, where the Lord honors that request by doing so, saves you.  Some older Sabbatarian branches of the body of Christ actually use baptism and the laying on of hands as the early Christian church did in the book of Acts, as their way of requesting the Lord to place his Holy Spirit within them.  But baptism is an outward sign.  People can also use the altar call as an outward sign, and when their altar call request of the Lord is not sincere, it no more saves you than baptism or taking the Lord's Supper.  You must come to understand the point Pastor J. Mark Martin is making.  It is actually the Lord who saves you by placing the Holy Spirit within you.  That is a God-action, taken in response to a sincere request being made of him by a person.]  If it was a dirty face that needed to be washed, then baptismal waters could save you.  That could be a washing that could save you.  But where's the dirtiness, gang?  It's on the inside.  Right?  We got an inside problem, and no outward cure is going to take it away.  You can dunk 'em until you drown 'em, and you're not going to clean their sin out of their lives, you're not going to give them a new nature.  That's a work by the renewing, by the washing of regeneration, the new birth, what the Holy Spirit does--he changes you from the inside.  And you can still have a dirty face on the outside, while the Holy Spirit could have made you a brand new person on the inside.  You know what I'm saying?  So don't let anybody deceive you.  Don't let anybody lead you down that prickly path of telling you that you have to go through any rite, through any ceremony, any ordinance, any anything to be saved.  It's by grace.  Abraham was saved before anything had been done to him, because he believed God's word and God's promise.  Hey, then the stuff began to happen in his life.  OK, well what about the Law.  Four hundred and thirty years later the Law came.  We'll it's obvious the Law couldn't save you, it came four hundred and thirty years after Abraham was saved.  He couldn't be saved by Law because the Law hadn't even been given yet.  So that's absurd, thinking that Law could save you, because the Law was a late Johnny-come-lately addition [the Jews tend to disagree, seeing Abel was having sacrifices, and Abraham was thought to be observing the Days of Unleavened Bread in Genesis 18, so there is some justifiable disagreement over that thought, but yes, the actual old covenant ratification of the Law, making it binding upon the physical nation of Israel was not until 430 years later].  No, it's faith alone, faith alone that saves [which is true, regardless of the pre-existence of the Law or not]. 


Let’s Trust God!


You say ‘Well that's great Mark, that's wonderful Mark.  But I've been saved awhile, and this is all elementary to me.  I've grown beyond this.’  Then why don't you grow into it.  I'm amazed at the mature Christians that, Oh, they know this, but they're not trusting God.  Hey, as I read this as a Christian, and let's take for granted, which I probably shouldn't, most of you are Christians today.  About the time I do that [say that], 500 people give their lives to Christ, or something you know.  Well, let's say we're all Christians, and we all know that we are saved by grace apart from anything we do.  Then why isn't it changing our lives?  I look at it this way, if God could take care of that kind of a problem in my life, my huge billion dollar problem, then can't I trust him to take care of a nickel and dime problem?  But what do we do, we worry about these things.  We act like God hasn't done anything for us in the past, we act like ‘Well, it's all up to us.’  The whole message is it's all been up to him.  All we did was respond.  My point is, LET'S TRUST GOD.  If you trust him for your salvation, why aren't you trusting him for your living, for you life, for your health, for your future, for your children?  Why?  See, apply this.  If you're resting in God for salvation, why do you divorce the rest of your life from that?  Why don't you rest in the same God for everything else?  ‘Easier said than done, Mark.’  Well, I know it.  What do you think I am, a spiritual giant?  I know exactly, I probably worry more than any of you.  I got more to worry about than any of you [because he probably worries about all of you].  But you know what?  I've learned, and what I am in the process of learning now, this is so neat.  I'll just share my heart here at the end.  I'm learning, you know, all my worrying didn't help God out any.  Did you realize that?  That dawned on me one day.  I didn't help God out, it didn't help it get done.  It's like the person who's never flown in an airplane before and they're so scared, you know, so they never really sat in the chair, they're always just sort of, don't want to put their whole weight on that seat, you know, because it might be too much for the airplane.  How stupid.  You know, the plane is in the air, your feet are on the plane's floor, oh well, forget it.  But that's, the Lord looks at us and says ‘What's the matter with you turkeys?  You're afraid to trust me?’  I mean it would be as if some guy, let's say you got in debt unthinkably, a million dollars into debt.  I can't even comprehend a million dollars.  Let's just say $50,000 in debt.  Maybe I could relate to that.  OK, $50,000 in debt, and some nice guy, some very, very wealthy guy, I mean he's got bucks to burn.  He comes and says, ‘I'm just a nice guy and I want to help you out.  Here's a check for $50,000.’  And then he says, ‘If you have any other problems, call me.’  ‘Oh thank you, oh, thank you.’  And then you write hymns about the man who came and paid your debt [chuckle], and you believe in him, you've accepted his gift.  Yes, your debt is paid, oh glory.  But ‘Oh, no, no this summer your utility bill is here, O my God, help, help, help.’  He told you, ‘Hey, if you have a need, call me.’  He said, ‘Call me.’  You see, the whole point was, if you could trust him to pay the $50,000, you could trust him to pay the $200 or whatever your summer utility might be.  Trust him!  And I'm learning.  This is what I've learned.  I thought, I mean I went through, I was a basket case, couldn't sleep, crying, worrying, biting my fingernails.  You know the whole deal.  ‘I don't know how I'm gonna help God get through this one?’  you know.  But he got through it.  After I had passed out we woke up on the other side [of his situation] and we were safe.  God did it.  So the next time, this is what, this is where I'm at right now.  (Now watch it be tested next week, I don't know.)  I've just decided, look, I really don't help you out when I think I'm helping you out.  And I'm facing some major deals right now, ok?  Just heart to heart, big deals.  And I don't know how it's going to work out, I have no idea what's going to happen.  And believe me, I'm the kind of person where this could really be bugging me and bumming me out and depressing me, etc.  But you know what?  I've decided, I'm not worrying about it.  Tough.  Now I do wonder, once in a while, whether I've lost my mind, because it's not like me, you know.  Stick out my tongue in the mirror, ‘What's the matter?’  But I've just figured, ‘This is your problem, not mine.  I'm your kid, you got to take care of me.  You birthed me, you conceived me, by the Holy Spirit -- right? -- I'm yours.  Feed me!  Take care of me, Daddy!  I'm your kid.’  I mean, when my kids wake up in the morning, they didn't lose sleep the night before, wondering ‘What were they going to eat for breakfast?’  Or, ‘Oh, I'm growing out of my shoes, what I'm I going to wear for shoes, I can't sleep tonight.’  They don't go to sleep when you're potty training them, worried.  They just got to bed and if it happens, it happens, they wake up and they come and get you, don't they, you clean up the mess [laughter].  These earthly illustrations, but I think we can relate to them.  Right?  Jesus said, ‘Be like a child, enter the kingdom of heaven like a kid.  Trust me.’  I want you to look at one last verse, I think it's basically the last verse, really.  This is for sure the last verse.  Matthew chapter 6, verse 25.  If you can trust him to save you eternally, to pay your debt, to justify you, to credit righteousness to you, then why don't you trust him for today, for tomorrow, for the next day?  “For this reason I say to you” -- read the next four words with me -- “do not be anxious.”  Verse 31, read it with me.  “Do not be anxious...”  Verse 34, read it with me, “Therefore, do not be anxious.”  Who's talking?  Jesus, Yeshua.  Interesting, his emphasis, ‘Don't worry.  Relax.  I'm on the throne.’  ‘You never helped me out before, you're not gonna help me out now.’  ‘Relax.  I'm in control.’  I mean, when everything was going terribly, and Peter thought, ‘Oh it's curtains, they're arresting the Lord!  I'd better help him out!’  It's interesting, how the Lord had already shown he was in control.  They'd come to the garden, and he said “Who are you seeking?” and they said “Jesus of Nazareth.”  And he said “I AM.”  Boomed, they fell down, they were stricken down, flat on their backs.  Who's in control?  He is.  They got back up on their feet, brushed themselves off.  Jesus said again “Who are you looking for?”  “(Brace yourselves men,) Jesus of Nazareth.”  “I told you, I am he, take me and let these others go.”  Ok they took him, roughed him up, tied him up, but who was in absolute control?  He was.  The disciples were freaked out, ran for their lives.  But who was in control the whole time?  Jesus!  And not one of his true disciples lost a thing, except trust in themselves, except their doubts, except their fears, that's all they lost through that experience of three days.  Resurrection morning [technically, it was late Saturday afternoon when Yeshua was resurrected] they saw him.  You know he was in control at the beginning of this thing, and he's in control at the end-I guess he was in control the whole time.  “For this reason I say to you” verse 25, “don't be anxious about your life, or what you shall eat, or what you shall drink, or for your body or what you shall put on.  Is not life more than food or the body more than clothing.  Look at the birds of the air.”  I looked at the birds of the air this week, like I said, I'm sort of in the middle of a vacation.  But this is fun for me, I love this, this is vacation for me.  But I was watching these birds, up in Prescott, and they've got all these woodpeckers, and crows and hawks and all these birds up there.  I was watching them, and you know I never saw one of them waking up in the morning, wringing its wings, ‘Oh me, oh my, what are we gonna eat today?!  Oh, these are last year's feathers I'm wearing’  They just get up and in the morning, and it's ‘Praise you Lord, tweet, tweet’ and ‘Let's get the food that the Lord's given us!’ and they go out and there's the food.  They're not bugged by it.  They're just trusting the Lord.  Verse 27, “and which of you by being anxious can add single foot to his lifespan?”  Now I've heard vitamin C will extend a man's lifespan, if you start taking it now, guys, 5 years.  Come on, brothers.  I have my own special formula in the lobby, which you can buy after services-No [just kidding].  But really, they have studies now that show that vitamin C taken in a certain quantity will extend your lifespan.  Well, why don't you rest in the Lord.  Now I've never met a person, really, that worry added to their life.  What do you think is the secret of your longevity?  ‘Oh, I've worried every day of my life.’  [chuckle]  No, usually, I just take one day at a time, never sure of the next one.  And I just trust the Lord.  It's so obnoxious to God when we don't trust him.  My little three and a half year old.  She'll run up to me out of the clear blue, I've been there all day long, ‘Don't leave me Daddy!’  ‘Honey, I'm not going anywhere, I've been sitting here, I'm not going anywhere, we're not doing anything -- what's your problem?  I'm not going to leave you.  You're stuck with me!’  That's what tell her, ‘Hey baby, you're going to want me to leave you some day -- when you're 19 and dating that dude -- you're stuck with this Dad.’  And it sort of bugs me, you know.  What's the matter with me?  What am I doing?  Why don't you trust me?  Did I drop her when she was a baby?  Before she was born, did Leslie fall?  Yeah, you did fall in the grocery store that time, remember Leslie?  She fell one time, I wonder if that was it?  Was insecure ever since, you know.  It was before she was born.  I'd don't know, it's just sort of silly, isn't it, not to trust your heavenly Father -- when he's proven himself like he has in your salvation.  So, grow up.  I don't want to hear anymore, ‘Well, that's salvation stuff',’ when people aren't living salvation stuff.   You know what I mean?  Start living it.  Grow in it.  Believe it.  Trust him.”  [transcript of a sermon by J. Mark Martin of Calvary Community Church, P.O. Box 39607, Phoenix, Arizona, 85069.]





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