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Sermon #116 — Romans Series

 

Title:                           Heart Faith

 

Text:                            Romans 10:10

Subject:                     Saving Faith

Date:                          Sunday Morning — April 30, 2017

Reading:       Romans 10:1-21[i]

Introduction:

 

J. C. Ryle once said, regarding his writing and preaching, “My desire is…

1.     To exalt the grace of God.

2.     To proclaim salvation alone through the blood and righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ.

3.     To declare the sinfulness, helplessness, and hopelessness of man in a state of nature.

4.     To describe, as far as I am able, the living experience of the saints of God in their trials, temptations, and sorrows, and in their consolations and blessings.

 

Ryle’s desire is my desire. In preaching this message, I want to…

  • Exalt the grace of God.
  • Proclaim salvation alone through the blood and righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ.
  • Declare the sinfulness, helplessness, and hopelessness of man in a state of nature.

Š      And to describe, as far as I am able, the living experience of the saints of God in their trials, temptations, and sorrows, and in their consolations and blessings.

 

Open your Bibles to Romans 10:10. That will be my text — Romans 10:10. As God the Holy Ghost will enable me, I want to preach to you about — Heart Faith.

 

In true, saving religion, in true Christianity, the heart is the primary thing. The Lord God says, “My son, give me thine heart.” The wise man said, “Keep thy heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life.”

Š      The Lord told Samuel, “Man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.”

Š      Israel’s greatest provocation of God’s wrath was this: “They did flatter him with their mouth and they lied unto him with their tongues. For their heart was not right with him.”

Š      When the Ethiopian Eunuch desired to be baptized, Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart thou mayest.”

Š      Peter pronounced condemnation upon Simon Magus, declaring, “Thy heart is not right in the sight of God.”

 

Christianity is a religion of the heart. It is a living union with the living God. Our text says, “With the heart man believeth unto righteousness.” To many those are strange words. It is common for men to attribute the act of faith to the understanding of the mind. The mind receives and agrees to certain facts which appear credible and worthy of acceptance. But our text says that saving faith is an act of the heart, a work of the affections, rather than the understanding.

 

Not the Head

 

The head is not the principal thing. You may know the whole truth as it is in Christ, and consent that it is good. You may be clear, correct, and sound in your religious convictions. You may be thoroughly orthodox in your doctrine. Yet, for all of that, you may be walking in the broad way that leads to destruction. It is your heart that is the main thing.

 

Not Conduct

 

I fear that most professed Christians make their outward life and conduct the principle thing. You may be very moral, descent, and respectable in the eyes of men. Your family, your pastor, your friends, and your neighbors may see nothing wrong with your outward conduct. But all the time you may be hanging over the brink of destruction and eternal ruin. Your heart is the main thing, not your outward life. Do you believe with your heart?

 

(Romans 10:9-10) “If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. (10) For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness.”

 

We must not be presumptuous about this matter of faith. One of Satan’s most subtle devices, whereby he deceives the souls of men is this: – He substitutes an emotional decision, or a doctrinal creed, or a theological system, or a disciplined, ascetic, religious life for heart faith.

 

Not Doctrine

 

There are some things that all of us, here, believe to be true. Our doctrine is very clear and thoroughly orthodox.

Š      We believe that there is one true God.

Š      We believe that God is sovereign, holy, just, and good.

Š      We believe that the Bible is the Word of God.

Š      We believe that Jesus Christ is God in our nature and that he lived, died, and rose again to save sinners.

Š      We believe in heaven and hell.

Š      We believe in the resurrection and the judgment.

Š      And we believe all the wonderful, sweet, glorious, God-honoring doctrines of God’s free and sovereign grace in Christ (Election — Predestination — Limited Atonement — Irresistible Grace — Eternal Perseveration).

 

But it is possible for you to believe all these things and yet perish in your sins. Multitudes are in hell today who were good Baptists and good Calvinists.

Š      Judas

Š      Ananias         and Sapphira

Š      Simon Magus

Š      Demas

Š      Diotrephes

 

Examine Yourself

 

We must have that heart faith, of which our text speaks. Without heart faith, our doctrinal creed and devout religion will only add to our agonies in hell.

 

Today, I want us to bring our faith to the Word of God and honestly examine it in the light of Holy Scripture. Paul gives us this solemn admonition — “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?” (2 Corinthians 13:5).

 

I have faith. But do I have a God-given heart faith in the Son of God? You have faith. But do you have a God-wrought, God-given heart faith in the Lord Jesus Christ? This is my great concern. My greatest concern as a man and as a preacher of the gospel is for my own soul. Do I have true heart faith? I do not want to be deceived. I do not want to miss Christ. I have no greater fear. There are multitudes who have perished without Christ, being deceived with a carnal profession of faith and an outward form of religion. Therefore, I bring my faith to the Scriptures to examine and prove it, lest when I have preached to others, I should prove at last to be a reprobate. I pray that God the Holy Spirit will use his Word this day, effectually applying it to each of our hearts. Do not shrink from this call to examination. Your soul is too valuable, eternity is too long, Christ is too precious, God’s justice is too strict for us to be presumptuous here. If your faith is true and sincere, examination will only strengthen it. If it is false, then it is high time you knew it.

 

False Faith

 

There is a false faith, by which multitudes are deceived. “When Jesus was in Jerusalem at the Passover, in the feast day, many believed in his name, when they saw the miracles which Jesus did. But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all” (John 2:23-24). Satan is a master deceiver. And the faith by which he deceives the souls of men appears, in many ways, to be genuine. False faith is very productive.

 

1.    False faith may be greatly enlightened and knowledgeable in gospel truth. We read in Hebrews 6:4 of apostates who “were once enlightened.”

2.    False faith excites the affections. Our Lord told us of those who “receive the word with joy,” like the seed sown in stony ground (Matthew 13:20).

3.    False faith reforms the outward life. The Pharisee said, “God, I thank thee that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican; I fast twice in the week, and give tithes of all that I possess” (Luke 18:11-12).

4.    False faith speaks well of Christ. The officers of the Jews said, “Never a man spake as this man” (John 7:46). Nicodemus said, “Good Master, we know thou art a teacher come from God, for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him” (John 3:2).

5.    False faith confesses sin. King Saul said, “I have sinned, return David my son; behold I have played the fool, and have erred greatly” (2 Samuel 26:21).

6.    False faith may humble itself in sack cloth and ashes, like Ahab (1 Kings 21:27).

7.    False faith may repent, like Esau and Judas.

8.    False faith may diligently perform religious works, like the nation of Israel.

9.    False faith may be very generous and charitable, like Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5:12).

10. False faith may tremble at the Word of God, like Felix (Acts 24:25).

11. False faith may experience much in religion. Those apostates whom Paul named had “tasted the good Word of God and the powers of the world to come.”

12. False faith may enjoy great religious privileges, like Lot’s wife.

13. False faith may preach, perform miracles, and cast out demons. — Pharaoh’s Magicians — Judas.

14. False faith may attain high office in the church, like Diotrephes.

15. False faith may walk with great preachers, like Demas walked with Paul.

16. False faith may be carnally secure and peaceful, like the five foolish virgins.

17. False faith may persevere and hold out until the Day of Judgment. Our Lord said, “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? And in thy name have cast out devils? And in the name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity” (Matthew 7:22-23).

 

Will you be numbered among such men? Beware of false faith! My friends, it is not enough to worship God and obey his Word. Our worship and obedience must arise from a heart of faith.

 

Thomas Manton wrote…

“Though thou pray with the Pharisee, pay thy vows with the harlot, kiss Christ with Judas, offer sacrifice with Cain, fast with Jezebel, sell thine inheritance to give to the poor with Ananias and Sapphira, all is vain without the heart, for it is the heart that enliveneth all.”

 

Coming now to our text – “With the heart man believeth unto righteousness,” I want to show you what true faith is.

 

Proposition: True faith is the free, firm, and cordial confidence of the heart in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, as the God-man Mediator, our Savior and our Lord.

 

Divisions: Let me raise and answer from the Scriptures, four questions about saving faith, faith in Christ, and I will send you home.

1.    What is heart faith?

2.    Where does this faith come from?

3.    What are the results of heart faith?

4.    Do I have heart faith?

 

1st —   What is

                         heart faith?

 

This is the place where we will spend the bulk of our time. Preachers everywhere are telling people to believe, to make a decision, to choose Christ, and to exercise faith. But what is it to believe; and what are we to believe?

 

Three Aspects of Faith

 

I will not attempt to define saving faith. And I know that I cannot explain this great gift and work of God. But I do know that there are three things involved in it. Here are three things which constitute the true, saving faith of the heart Knowledge, Assent, and Trust.

 

1.    Knowledge

 

Before anyone can exercise faith in Christ, there must be a knowledge of him. You’ve got to know who Christ is before you can trust him. You cannot trust an unknown Savior any more than you can come back from some place you’ve never been.

 

The apostle’s argument is, “How shall they believe on him of whom they have not heard?” Before anyone can trust the Lord Jesus Christ, he must have some knowledge of Christ. And that knowledge comes by the Word of God.

 

When our Savior put the question to the man who had been born blind, “Dost thou believe on the Son of God? He answered, who is he Lord, that I might believe on him?” Then our Lord made himself known to him; and the man believed. But, without that knowledge, he could not believe. This is the purpose of preaching, to make known unto men the revelation of God in the gospel.

 

Before anyone exercises faith in Christ, he must know his need of Christ.

Š      He must know his sin and guilt.

Š      He must know his danger and condemnation.

Š      He must know his own impotency and inability to save himself.

 

Before anyone can or will trust Christ, he must know Christ’s ability and willingness to save sinners (Hebrews 7:25).

Š      The Greatness of His Person (Incarnate God)

Š      The Worth of His Righteousness

Š      The Merit of His Blood

Š      The Efficacy of His Grace

 

2.    ASSENT

 

But knowledge alone is not faith. There must also be an assent, or agreement of the heart to God’s revelation.

Š      The foundation of our faith is not the testimony of men, but the Revelation of God.

Š      We agree with what God says about us.

Š      We agree with what God says about his Son.

Š      This agreement is free and voluntary.

Š      This is a firm agreement of the heart.

Š      It is the satisfaction of the heart with God’s salvation in, by, and with Christ.

 

3.    Trust

 

Yet, there is more. There must be a dependence, trust, and confidence in Christ as Savior and Lord. Realizing our great need, realizing Christ’s power and willingness to save such sinners as we are, we freely commit our souls to Christ, trusting him alone as our Savior. This is true faith.

 

The object of faith is Jesus Christ himself.This is plainly stated in verse 9. — “If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” Jesus Christ, in his life, death, and resurrection, is the foundation and object of our faith. Soul saving faith rests upon Christ alone, in all his Being, works, and offices.

 

The first thing that strikes us in the text is our Savior’s divinity. — If Jesus Christ were not himself the eternal God, we would be fools to trust him for the salvation of our souls.

 

Faith rests also upon the incarnation and manhood of Christ. — It is the Savior’s manhood that strikes the first ray of hope into our hearts.

 

Till God in human flesh I see,

My thoughts no comfort find;

The holy, just, and sacred Three,

Are terrors to my mind.

 

But if Immanuel’s face appears,

My hope, my joy begins;

His name forbids my slavish fears,

His grace removes my sins.

 

Faith trusts the life of Christ as her only righteousness. — Faith sees that Christ is perfect in obedience, sanctified entirely to his work. Faith knows that God’s law must be satisfied. And she sees in Christ a complete fulfilling of the law. — “Being found in fashion as a man, he became obedient.”

 

Faith trusts the sufferings, the blood, and the death of Christ as the only possible expiation of sin.

Š      We see Christ taking our sins.

Š      We see that agony and grief which he endured.

Š      We see him dying in our place.

With gratitude and hope, we hear him cry, “It is finished,” and we say, “Amen, it is finished!” Justice is satisfied, wrath is appeased, sin is removed, anger is taken away, and God is reconciled.

 

Faith beholds Christ rising from the dead, as the evidence that God is completely satisfied with his substitutionary work. “He was delivered for our offences and raised again for our justification.” If Christ is risen from the grave, then his people are justified from all things written in the book of the law.

 

Faith follows Christ up to the throne of glory and beholds him in all his glorious offices. Relying upon him as our all prevailing Intercessor, we see Christ in glory, who is able and willing to save unto the uttermost all who come unto God by him. Faith is…

Š      Receiving Christ.

Š      Coming to Christ.

Š      Eating His Flesh.

Š      Drinking His Blood.

Š      Submitting to Christ.

Š      Committing ourselves to Christ.

Š      Trusting Christ.

Š      Looking to Christ.

Š      Leaning on Christ.

Š      Worshipping Christ.

Š      Kissing the Son.

Š      Putting on Christ.

 

This faith is an act of the heart.

Š      Faith is looking away from self and looking to Christ alone.

Š      Faith is coming, as a guilty, helpless, hell-deserving criminal, to Christ the sovereign King and pleading for mercy. — “Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me whole.”

 

Perhaps he will admit my plea,

Perhaps will hear my prayer;

But if I perish, I will pray,

And perish only there.

 

I can but perish if I go;

I am resolved to try.

For if I stay away I know,

I must forever die.

 

Š      Faith is the guilty sinner fleeing from divine justice to Christ the Ark of safety and Refuge of mercy.

Š      Faith is the condemned sinner throwing himself upon the mercy of the Judge.

Š      Faith is the perishing sinner laying hold of Christ, the Tree of Life.

Š      Faith is the weary, heavy laden sinner coming to Christ to find rest for his soul.

Š      Faith is the man who feels the filth and pollution of his heart, plunging himself into the fountain of Christ’s blood for cleansing.

Š      Faith is receiving Christ as our Prophet to teach us the will of God, trusting Christ as our Priest to bring us to God, and submitting to Christ as our King to rule over us.

 

2ndWhere does heart

                        faith come from?

 

We have seen what faith is. It is the free, firm, and cordial confidence of the heart in the Son of God, our Lord Jesus Christ, as Savior and Lord. But, where does this faith come from. Let’s look to the Scriptures for our answer. “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this Word, it is because there is no light in them” (Isaiah 8:20).

 

I can tell you where faith does not come from. It does not come from man. — “As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the Sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:11-12).

 

(Romans 9:16) “So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.”

 

Š      Faith does not come by heredity.

Š      Faith does not come by the logic and persuasiveness of the preacher.

Š      Faith does not come by the sinner’s free-will.

Š      Faith does not come from the church.

 

Where does faith come from? It is the gift of God. It is the gift, work, and operation of God the Holy Ghost in you. — “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8). — “As many as were ordained to eternal life believed” (Acts 13:48). — “No man can come unto me, except my Father which hath sent me draw him; and I will raise him up at the last day” (John 5:44). — “We believe, according to the working of his mighty power” (Ephesians 1:19).

 

Š      Heart faith is the fruit of the Holy Spirit. It is the grace of God infused into the regenerate soul.

Š      Heart faith comes by divine revelation.

Š      Heart faith comes by the preaching of the gospel.

 

Oh, gift of gifts! Oh, grace of faith!

My God, how can it be,

That Thou, who hast discerning love,

Shouldst give that gift to me?

 

Oh, Grace! Into unlikeliest hearts,

It is thy boast to come,

The glory of thy light to find,

In darkest spots a home!

 

3rd —  What are the

                        results of Heart faith?

 

A mere hypocritical profession, a mere head faith is useless. The only thing it does is make a man’s soul more secure against the grace of God. But the results of a heart faith demonstrate its value, importance, and liveliness.

 

A heart faith brings us into a living union with Christ, the Son of God. Paul tells us that Christ dwells in our hearts by faith (Ephesians 3:12).

Š      By faith we live upon Christ.

Š      By faith in Christ we have access to God.

Š      By faith we understand and receive the Word of God.

Š      By faith we know the reality of things to come.

Š      By faith in Christ God the Holy Spirit seals to us all the blessings of grace and salvation (Ephesians 1:3-14; Hebrews 11:2).

 

A heart faith appropriates all the blessings of grace accomplished for us in Christ (John 1:16).

Š      By faith we receive justification. — “We are justified by the faith of Christ” (Galatians 2:16).

Š      By faith we receive the righteousness of Christ.

Š      By faith we have the remission of sins.

Š      By faith we are reconciled to God.

Š      By faith we have received the adoption of sons.

Š      By faith we have peace with God.

Š      Our hearts are sanctified by faith.

Š      By faith we receive salvation and eternal life.

 

Faith does not save us. Faith adds nothing to the work of Christ. Christ alone is our Savior. Faith receives Christ and all the fulness of grace in him.

 

4th —  Do I have

                        this heart faith?

 

That is the point. If I do not have this faith, then I am yet under the wrath of God. All else is vain without faith. There are certain indisputable marks by which this heart faith may be known (2 Timothy 1:12; 1 Thessalonians 1:4).

 

Where there is true faith there is a change of heart brought about by the power of God.

Š      The heart is broken over sin.

Š      The heart is humbled into submission before Christ.

Š      The heart is made to love righteousness and hate iniquity.

Š      Where there is true faith in the heart, Christ is precious. — “Unto you therefore which believe, he is precious” (1 Peter 2:7).

Š      Where there is true heart faith there is a complete renunciation of self and a complete reliance upon Christ.

Š      Where there is faith in Christ, there is love. — “Faith worketh by love.”

Š      Where there is faith in Christ, there is rest in the heart (Matthew 11:28-30; Hebrews4:9-11).

 

The sinner who has true faith in Christ, the sinner saved by grace, the sinner in whom heart faith is found, rejoices in God’s salvation (Philippians 3:3).

Š      We claim no merit of our own.

Š      We rest in Christ’s finished work.

Š      We trust Christ alone for all things.

Š      We trust his obedience as our Representative for all our righteousness.

Š      We trust his sin-atoning blood, as our crucified Substitute, for all our cleansing.

Š      We trust his power as our only Savior and Sustainer.

 

Application

 

Do you believe, with all your heart, on the Son of God?

Š      I warn you this day of God’s impending judgment.

Š      God himself calls you to trust his dear Son.

Š      If God has given you life and faith in Christ, confess him. — Believer’s Baptism.

Š      If we believe, let us give all praise to our God.

 

Illustration: Barnard at Old Faithful

 

Amen.


 

 

 

 

 

 

Don Fortner

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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[i] Romans 10:1-21

(1) Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.

(2) For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge.

(3) For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.

(4) For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone that believeth.

(5) For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, That the man which doeth those things shall live by them.

(6) But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above:)

(7) Or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.)

(8) But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;

(9) That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

(10) For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

(11) For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.

(12) For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.

(13) For whosoever shall call upon 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, except they be sent? As it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!

(16) But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?

(17) So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.

(18) But I say, Have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world.

(19) But I say, Did not Israel know? First Moses saith, I will provoke you to jealousy by them that are no people, and by a foolish nation I will anger you.

(20) But Esaias is very bold, and saith, I was found of them that sought me not; I was made manifest unto them that asked not after me.

(21) But to Israel he saith, All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people.