Calling on the name of the Lord

Calling on the Name of the Lord

by Bill Hall

THE EXPRESSION, “Calling on the name of the Lord,” is found three times in the New Testament (Acts 2:21; 22:16; Romans 10:13). It is an expression of trust and reliance. In obedience to the gospel, one is not calling upon water to save him; nor is he calling upon his own meritorious works; rather, he is “calling upon the name of the Lord.” He is placing his trust in the only true source of salvation: “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

Misunderstandings Corrected

One does not call upon the name of the Lord through mere belief. In fact, belief is a prerequisite to calling upon His name: “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?” (Romans 10:14).

One does not call upon the name of the Lord by citing the “sinner’s prayer.” The “sinner’s prayer” originated with men rather than with God. One does call upon the name of the Lord through action: “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of the Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 7:21).

One calls upon the name of the Lord when he “trusts and obeys.” After proclaiming, “And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved,” Peter told inquiring sinners, “Repent, and be baptized … for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:21, 38). Since salvation results from calling on the name of the Lord and also from repenting and being baptized, an obvious link exists between the two. This link is further confirmed in Acts 22:16: “And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.” It should be observed that these were words spoken by Ananias to a praying Saul of Tarsus. Saul was not to call upon the name of the Lord through continued praying, but through arising and being baptized.

Trust is the key element. One may be baptized, trusting the merit of his works for salvation. Such a person is not calling on the name of the Lord. Another is baptized, looking to Jesus for salvation, placing his trust in the promise of God and efficacy of Christ’s blood. This is the person who truly obeys the gospel and, in so doing, calls upon the name of the Lord.

One’s calling upon the name of the Lord, however, is not not completed at the point of baptism. One continues to call upon His name through living as a Christian. Ananias said of Saul’s intent in going to Damascus: “And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name” (Acts 9:14). Christians can be described, then, as those who call on the Lord’s name. This implies ongoing action. The whole of one’s life as a Christian is to be built on trust. As one lives a godly life, worships, prays, works, and seeks to do God’s will, he must do so, not trusting the merit of his own righteousness, but placing his trust in the Lord. In so living, he is calling, not on himself, but on the name of the Lord.

The Promise Is To All

The word “whosoever” must not be overlooked. “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved,” Paul wrote to the Romans (Romans 10:13). Paul’s primary purpose in quoting this passage was to show that salvation was for both Jew and Gentile and that the word “whosoever” in the prophecy implied the necessity of preaching to both Jew and Gentile. No one is excluded. The promise is for all: for people of all nations, for rich and for poor, for educated and uneducated, for moral and immoral (if they will repent of their immorality), for the mighty and the lowly. Thank God! All can call upon the name of the Lord. All can be saved.

Source: [1] Hall, B. (1988). Calling on the Name of the Lord. In E. Harrell (Ed.), Christianity Magazine: January 1988, Volume 5, Number 1 (E. Harrell, Ed.) (14). Jacksonville, FL: Christianity Magazine.

What Eloquence Needs

In a recent Bible class discussion, we came to Luke’s statement about Apollos of Alexandria. “He was an eloquent man, competent in the Scriptures,” (Acts 18:24, ESV).

Eloquence is to be commended. It is knowing how to communicate; having the learning and skill to deliver your message in such a manner, it is easy for your audience to listen, to follow along and understand how the message relates to their lives. This is what we might have learned in speech or communication classes in college. Though we may not specifically define eloquence, I think we know it when we hear it. Preachers and teachers should give attention to delivery skills. Elements of good public speaking like structure, good illustrations, pace, clear objective, etc. should never be dismissed or slighted. But there was something else about Apollos.

He was competent in the Scriptures. It is very likely that other public speakers in Corinth and Ephesus had equal or greater skill that Apollos – better vocal resonance, vocabulary, passion, format, etc. Whatever comparisons might have been observed and exchanged, Apollos had something more important than eloquence, learning or public speaking ability. He had the right message, the only message that answered the needs of his auditors.

So let’s see the value of eloquence while acknowledging that what’s primary is the content, the message. Preachers and teachers are well advised to hone their delivery skills. But what is being delivered? It must be God’s message!

Mouth & Keyboard

Prov. 10:11 – “The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life.” Would it change the sense of the verse to translate it, “the keyboard of the righteous is a fountain of life?”

My belief is, everything the Bible says about the good use of the tongue  needs to be equally applied to the keyboard; to social media and email.

Years ago – before computer technology, cell phones – and before wired telephones – if you had some morsel of gossip, flattering or perverse speech – there was some pause – before you could get that out to people.

There was a time lag that was a blessing. You had time to think about what you would report. Today there is no time lag. You can have a thought, and report or share that thought, while you are forming the thought. The speed of internet and cell phone communication enhances the temptation. So, everything the Bible says about good attitude, maturity and communication needs to be applied to the keyboard, social media, email and texting. Remember this …

 “For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned,” (Matt. 12:36).

Different People – Same Faith

Different People – Same Faith

Early in our Bible reading we are introduced to Abram (Abraham). He was called by God to leave the land of his fathers. He went. He was promised he would have a son in his old age. He did. He was told to sacrifice that son. He got up and set himself to that dreaded task, that was brought to a good conclusion. Isaac lived and from him the promised nation came into existence (Gen. 12-22).

Much later in Bible history we meet Rahab. Whatever we find detestable about her past, when she heard what was about to happen in Jericho, she hid the messengers and Joshua spared her and her father’s household (Josh. 6).

Very different people! A rich landowner, chosen by God to father the nation that would deliver the Messiah to the earth. A poor harlot of Jericho. What did they have in common? Their faith was not passive!

As James said: “Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect? And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, ‘Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.’ And he was called the friend of God. You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only. Likewise, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way? For as the body without the spirits is dead, so faith without works is dead also,” (Jas. 2:21-26).

From Doy Moyer

People are concerned that there is evil in the government. Not to be trite, but of course there is evil in the government. It is the nature of human governments. There is a reason why Scripture uses the imagery of beasts to represent world empires (Dan 7; Rev 13; Isa 27:1). Every human government ultimately comes under the sway of the dragon of old. Every human government becomes Babylon, in which God’s people are in exile. Christians are told to come out of them, to trust God, and to rely on the blood of the Lamb. Christians who trust God will not resort to violent overthrows or become insurrectionists. No good will be accomplished in the name of Christ by these means. We may be persecuted, beaten down, afflicted, and perplexed, but not driven to despair, not forsaken, and never destroyed (see 2 Cor 4:7-12). Let us take the perspective of heaven. Here is a call for the endurance and faith of the saints.


Reverence – The Summation of Hebrews

Heb. 12:28,29

Warren E. Berkley

The book of Hebrews is a warning to all Christians, “that no one fails to obtain the grace of God,” (12:15). The original recipients were under pressure to abandon Christ and resume their previous practice of Judaism or make some attempt to re-involve themselves in the Old Covenant, now terminated. The writer moves from affirmation to argumentation, then issues warnings, prohibitions and imperatives lest anyone fall away.

For Christians today, the message is to persevere in the activity of our faith in Christ, “looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith,” (12:2). We are urged to “lay aside every weight,” in order to “run the race.” We ought to endure hardship, accepting the discipline of the Lord and lifting our hands high to the task. We should strive for peace and holiness, carefully avoid any bitterness and see that we do not refuse Him who speaks from heaven.

Are you a Christian? Do you want to live out that identify and go to heaven? They you will want be to be engaged with God through Christ, as described in the warnings, prohibitions and imperatives written in Hebrews.

All the arguments, warnings, prohibitions and imperatives in Hebrews are summed up here:

“Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire,” (Heb. 12:28,29).

What is reverence? It is our inner sense of who God is, with all the respect that will generate in all our behavior. It includes one’s attendance in and deportment in the assembly, but reverence is more than just one’s conduct in a building or audience. It is your inner sense of the greatness of God; your respect for Him, with all the godly behavior that will come from that respect. Bible reading and study is foundational and essential to reverence – but is not the essence of reverence. Prayer can help you develop reverence, and will be a product of reverence. Worship, association with people who are reverent . . . my point is, many things can lead to reverence and sustain reverence, but the definition, the essence is – your inner sense of who God is, with all the respect that will generate in all your behavior.

With such reverence, you will live in gratitude. “Let us be grateful.” This is not a single act of thanks, but a way of heart and life; a continuous awareness of your dependence on a great God. Gratitude enables a great joy and desire to please God.

With such reverence, we are able to “offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe.” We “offer to God” whatever He says is acceptable, out of “reverence and awe.” We offer to Him our worship, our resources, our very lives, and we do this motivated by our awareness of who He is and what He has done for us through His Son.

With such reverence, we regard ourselves as citizens of an everlasting kingdom. The highest possible encouragements to be a good citizen in the kingdom is the recognition that it is permanent! Earthly governments fail, suffer revolutions or change leadership. Not the kingdom of Christ.

With such reverence, we never forget that our God is a consuming fire. We do not take lightly that His glory and goodness involves His absolute hatred of sin and His promised negative and eternal response to apostasy.

“Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire,” (Heb. 12:28,29).

Where are “we” going?

A bumper sticker reads: “Don’t follow me. I’m lost too.” Motion does not always mean purpose. Be very careful if you follow the crowd, for they may not know where they are going.

SOURCE: Green, M. P. (Ed.). (1989). Illustrations for Biblical Preaching: Over 1500 sermon illustrations arranged by topic and indexed exhaustively (Revised edition of: The expositor’s illustration file). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

Mirror, Mirror …

On The Use Of Mirrors

The mirrors used in Roman antiquity were slightly convex disks of metal, either bronze, tin or silver, that reflected light when the surfaces were highly polished.

There are about four references to mirrors in the Bible (Job 37:18; 1 Cor. 13:12; 2 Cor. 3:18 and Jas. 1:23). In ancient times, mirrors might be used for a variety of secondary purposes (some suggest in military battle, mirrors may have been used to send signals or confuse the enemy). While the idea is intriguing, there is no solid evidence that the Roman chariots were equipped with rear view mirrors!

The primary use, however, was the popular current use: to see what you look like. To see if your face is dirty; to apply make-up or jewelry; to arrange hair.

Here’s something self-evident: To use a mirror and find something that needs attention, then do nothing about it, is futile. The point is totally uncomplicated, and finds ready application: To use the Word of God and find something that needs attention in your life, but do nothing is futile.

Why read the Bible, if you’re not going to do what it says? Why come to a Bible class and learn truth for a good life, then make no effort to apply it in your life? Why listen to Bible preaching, then ignore that teaching in the way you live?

Or as James said – “For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does,” (Jas. 1:23-25).

I Love You

Did you hear about the old farmer and his wife? Having marital trouble, they went to see the preacher who was a young fellow; no experience in marriage counseling at all. He listened to the couple for an hour or so; couldn’t think of any profound or powerful solution to their problem. So, he decided to use a dramatic approach. He said to the old farmer: “Brother, in order for your marriage to improve – here’s what needs to happen.” The young preacher got up – walked around the desk and gave the farmer’s wife a hug and kiss and said, “I love you.”

The preacher sat down and said, “Now that needs to happen at least three times a week.” The farmer said, “Fine. You want me to bring her in on Monday, Wed. and Friday, or Tues., Thurs. and Saturday??”

Some men would do almost anything to keep from saying these words: “I love you!” I heard of a husband who said to his wife: “I told you I loved you when we got married … If I ever change my mind I’ll let you know.”

That’s about how we are sometimes. Yet one of the greatest things we can do for people we love is TO SHOW THEM, AND TELL THEM AND REASSURE THEM OF OUR LOVE. And I know some who hear this are ready to say THAT’S NOTHING BUT SENTIMENT AND EMOTION; there is no strength and substance to it. Really?

Let me tell you about a man we all know. He was a Christian, who lived many years ago; he was so faithful and bold and strong HE PREACHED THE GOSPEL, LIVED THE GOSPEL AND DIED BECAUSE OF IT!! He stood face to face with sinners and false teachers and rebuked them. He walked in among brethren who were in error and told them what they needed to hear. He was pursued by Satan and Satan’s men everywhere he went. His name was Paul, and over and over in his letters to brethren he said: “I love you!”

Biblical love is capable of being displayed by deeds and by words; and there is nothing weak or embarrassing or inappropriate in saying to the people you love: “I love you.” I’m persuaded – if we have real, biblical love in our hearts, we will find it only natural to speak, to express that love. {1 Cor. 13}.