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Sermon #121 — Romans Series


Title:                                       Plain Instruction

to Perishing Sinners


Text:                            Romans 10:13-17

Subject:                     Faith in Christ

Date:                          Sunday Morning — June 18, 2017

Reading:       Ezekiel 33:1-16[i]



Open your Bible to Romans 10. My text is Romans 10:13-17. Let’s read it together — Romans 10:13-17.


(Romans 10:13-17 “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.”


Four Revealed Facts


Here are four facts revealed in Holy Scripture, four things which are true of every man, woman, and child in this assembly. Without exception, these four things are true of us all. They are true of you; and they are true of me. They are true of your children; and they are true of mine.


1.    We are all sinners (Romans 3:23; 5:12).


“There is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good and sinneth not.” Some of us have been saved by the grace of God, and some are still unsaved, lost, without Christ; but we are all sinners.


Š      We are sinners by birth (Psalm 51:5; 58:3).

Š      We are sinners by nature (Mark 7:15, 21-23).

Š      We are sinners by choice. — (“Rejoice to do evil!” [Proverbs 2:14] — “Devise to do evil!” [Proverbs])

Š      We are sinners by practice (Isaiah 64:6).


“Man, at his best estate, is altogether vanity.” — “How abominable and filthy is man, which drinketh iniquity like water?”


2.    Because we are all sinners, depraved, willing transgressors of God’s holy law, we all by nature are justly the objects of God’s wrath (Ephesians 2:1-3; Galatians 3:10).


“The soul that sinneth it shall die.” You and I, by nature, by birth, by choice, and by practice are criminals against the throne of the most high God.

Š      We have broken God’s law in every point, and we continually do so day by day (Exodus 20:1-17).

Š      We have all taken the incarnate God and crucified him in our hearts (Hebrews 10:26-29).


All sin is an attack upon God’s throne. Unbelief is decided agreement with our Lord’s tormentors. Unbelief cries out, “Crucify him! Crucify him! His blood be upon us and upon our children!”

Š      We have all sinned against the goodness, grace, and mercy of God revealed in the gospel (Matthew 11:21-25).

Š      Our rebellion and sin against the God of heaven is willful, deliberate, and voluntary (Proverbs 1:24, 30-31).


“The wages of sin is death!” Hell is what we deserve. Hell is what justice demands. Until you acknowledge that you justly deserve God’s wrath; you will never seek his mercy.


3.    We are all sinners, justly condemned sinners, by nature; and we have no ability to change our natural condition.


Poor souls! We are as helpless as we are depraved. There is nothing you can do to change your sinful nature, nothing you can do to win God’s favor, nothing you can do to escape the wrath of God.

Š      We cannot satisfy the offended justice of God.

Š      We cannot perform righteousness.

Š      We cannot change our sinful nature. We are dead, entirely without spiritual life or ability. We have no capacity for change, and no ability to change our condition. — “Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? Then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil” (Jeremiah 13:23).


4.    The only way you and I can ever be saved, saved from our sins and saved from the wrath of God, is by the grace of God, through the righteousness and blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, the sinner’s Substitute.


God’s way of salvation is Christ alone. — Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” — “He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.”


Christ alone is salvation. And the only way we can obtain salvation in Christ is by faith.“If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shall believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved” (Romans 10:9; Isaiah 45:22; Matthew 11:28-30; John 3:14-16).


(Isaiah 45:22) “Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.”


(Matthew 11:28-30) “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. (29) Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. (30) For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”


(John 3:14-16) “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: (15) That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. (16) For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”


Proposition: My object, my goal in preaching this message is just this. — I want you to be saved this day for the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ.



1.    In order to be saved, you must call upon the name of the Lord.

2.    In order to call upon the name of the Lord, you must believe.

3.    In order to believe, you must hear the gospel.

4.    In order to hear the gospel, someone must preach the gospel to you.

5.    In order to preach the gospel, a man must be sent of God.


Call on Christ


1st — This is I my first word to you. — In order to be saved, you must call upon the name of the Lord. The way of salvation is set before us in very plain, simple language. — “Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (v. 13) Paul is telling us that a personal acknowledgement of God and trust in God as he is revealed in Christ is the way to obtain salvation. Look at the verse more closely.


Here is a very broad word — “Whosoever.”


Illustration: I’m not a lawyer; but understand that when making a will, if you want to leave everything you own to one person, it is best to simply say, “I leave my entire estate to Shelby Fortner,” and not mention any particulars, lest you leave something out. This is what God does here. — “Whosoever.”


Whosoever” includes me and you. Anyone of any age, condition, or character in the whole wide world who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved (Joel 2:32; Acts 2:21).


(Joel 2:32) “And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD hath said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall call.”


  • Those who call upon the name of the Lord have been called by the Lord.
  • The Lord called upon, the Lord by whom alone sinners are saved, is Jesus of Nazareth, our Lord Jesus, who is the Christ. — There is no other God; and there is no other Savior.


(Acts 2:31) “He (Joel) seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption.”


Š      The grace of God is not restricted to any race, nationality, or social class.

Š      It is better to read “whosoever” than to read Donald Stewart Fortner. “Whosoever” draws a circle around the globe and includes everyone.


Here is a very simple word — “Call.” —— The smallest child knows what that means. A little boy falls down and bruises his knees, or scratches his hands, and with tearful eyes, looks up to his daddy. That look is a call. The boy is saying, “Daddy, help me. I’m hurting. And I know you can help.” The call itself implies faith in the one called upon. Sometimes the call is vocal. Sometimes it is silent.

Š      The Publican — “God be merciful to me a sinner” (Luke 18:13).

Š      The Disciples — “Lord, save us: we perish” (Matthew 8:25).

Š      Peter — “Lord, save me” (Matthew 14:30).

Š      The Woman — “If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole” (Mark 6:28). “She touched the border of his garment” (Luke 8:44).


Here is a sure word — “Shall.” —— There is no “if” in the text. There are no conditions to be met. There are no qualifications. — “Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” This word is as sure as the throne of the eternal God.


Here is a precious word — “Saved.”

Š      To be saved is to have life, eternal life.

Š      To be saved is to be pardoned of all sin, acquitted from all charges, cleared of all guilt.

Š      To be saved is to be accepted, favored, received by God.

Š      To be saved is to be a child of God (1 John 3:1-3).

Š      To be saved is to be an heir of God and joint-heir with Christ.


If you call upon the name of the Lord, you shall be saved, immediately and eternally saved. But you must call upon the name of the Lord yourself.


Trust Christ


2nd — My second word of instruction is this — In order to call upon the name of the Lord you must believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, you must trust Christ.“How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed?” That fallen child looks to his father and calls for his father to help him, because he believes in his father’s strength and goodness. The mere fact that we call upon anyone for help demonstrates some measure of faith in that person, and some measure of confidence that he can and will help.


Faith First


Without question, you must call upon the name of the Lord. We must seek him by prayer and supplication. But before we call, we must believe. In order to pray, we must believe. Faith comes first (Hebrews 11:6).


I stand before you as a sinner calling upon God for mercy and grace in Christ. The very fact that I call upon the Lord God for mercy proves that I do, at least in some measure, have faith. The fact that I am calling upon the Lord for salvation implies four things.


1.    I am calling upon God for mercy, because I know that I need his saving mercy.


I believe what God reveals about himself and about me, about his justice and my transgressions, about his holiness and my sinfulness, about his purity and my iniquity. I take sides with God against myself and acknowledge my need of salvation. This is the result of Holy Spirit conviction (John 16:8-11; Psalm 51:1-5).


No sinner will ever seek Christ and the grace of God in Christ until he is brought to realize his need of Christ. — (Example: The Prodigal in Luke 15:14-17).


2.    I am calling upon God to save me, because I believe God has provided a way of salvation for sinners.Substitution (2 Corinthians 5:21; Galatians 3:13; Romans 3:24-26).

Š      Propitiation has been made!

Š      Justice has been satisfied!

Š      Righteousness has been brought in!


3.    I am calling upon the name of the Lord, because I believe there is a Savior who delights in mercy (Micah 7:18-20; Matthew 1:21).


(Micah 7:18-20) “Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger forever, because he delighteth in mercy. (19) He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea. (20) Thou wilt perform the truth to Jacob, and the mercy to Abraham, which thou hast sworn unto our fathers from the days of old.”


Š      Christ is able to save (Hebrews 7:25).

Š      Christ is willing to save (Isaiah 1:18; 55:6-7).

Š      Christ is anxious to save. — “Today, if ye will hear his voice, harden not your heart.”


(Isaiah 1:18) “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.”


(Isaiah 55:6-7) “Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: (7) Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.


4.    I think I may say this too. — The fact that I am calling upon Christ, seeking mercy, grace, and salvation by him, implies that I do, in measure, trust him.


I am not trusting anyone else. I look for hope to no one else. I am looking to Christ and Christ alone. I have let go of all other confidence; and falling into his mighty arms, I am saved.


How about you? Will you let go of all other hope and fall into the arms of Christ? In order to be saved, you must call upon God for mercy. But in order to call upon the name of the Lord in repentance and faith, you must believe.


Necessary Hearing


3rd — And, thirdly, Paul shows us that — In order to believe on Christ, you must hear the gospel of the grace of God in Christ (v. 14; 17). — “How shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard?” It is impossible for sinners to believe in Christ until they have heard the gospel of Christ. The word “heard,” as it is used in this text, is to be understood loosely, in a very wide sense. It is not merely listening with the ear; but you must, by some means or other, coming to a knowledge of the truth. You cannot believe what you do not know. And you cannot know what you do not hear, or read, or by some means learn. You must come to know the gospel. Otherwise, you can never believe in Christ (Romans 10:17; 1 Corinthians 1:21).


There is but one gospel, and that is the gospel of the grace of God in Christ (1 Corinthians 15:1-3).


(1 Corinthians 15:1-3) “Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; (2) By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. (3) For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures.”


Three Vital Points


There are many things taught plainly and clearly revealed in the gospel. But particularly there are three vital points.


1.    Grace Alone! — Salvation is by grace alone (Ephesians 2:8-9). The grace of God is eternal, sovereign, effectual, and immutable.


2.    Christ Alone! — Salvation has been accomplished by Christ alone (1 Corinthians 1:30). The gospel of substitution is the only gospel there is. No man preaches the gospel who fails to plainly declare “how that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures.”

Š                     Sovereignty

Š                     Substitution

Š                     Satisfaction

Š                     Success!


3.    Faith Alone! — Salvation is received by faith alone (Romans 3:20-31).


(Romans 3:20-31) “Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. (21) But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; (22) Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: (23) For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; (24) Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: (25) Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; (26) To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. (27) Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. (28) Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law. (29) Is he the God of the Jews only? Is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also: (30) Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith. (31) Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.


There are many ways in which you might hear the gospel, but the primary means employed by God for the salvation of sinners is preaching; I mean the public ministry of the Word.


Illustrations: The Eunuch

            The Jailor




Every believer ought to be a preacher. Spurgeon learned the gospel through a cook’s instruction. I learned the gospel from a mailman and a dock worker.

Š      Witness to men.

Š      Distribute tracts, disks, literature.

Š      Write letters.

Š      Bring sinners to hear the Word.


Illustration: Birds tell each other where the feeder is!


If you are interested in your immortal soul, I admonish you to hear the gospel.

1.    Be sure that what you hear is the gospel.

2.    The more often you hear the better.

3.    As you sit in your pew, listen with interest, bring your Bible, take notes.


Illustration: The Reading of a Will


4.    Try to understand what you hear.


Preacher Needed


4th — I have already touched upon this fourth point, but let met state it plainly. — In order to hear the gospel someone must preach the gospel to you (v. 14). — “How shall they hear without a preacher?” God will not reveal the gospel to men by supernatural agencies. Someone must make the truth known to men. They cannot learn without being taught. So, let us carry the Word of grace to perishing men. — Preachers are needed!


You do not have to have any great learning or unusual gifts to preach the gospel.

Š      If you know the gospel, you can tell it to others.

Š      You can tell men what happened at Calvary.

Š      You can tell men what God has done for you.

Usually, it is not a lack of ability that keeps us from witnessing to men; it is a lack of concern for their souls, and a lack of love for Christ.


When you have told a sinner the story of the cross, you have fulfilled your responsibility to him. This is a debt we owe to all men. Make it your business every day to tell some perishing, eternity bound sinner the way of life. It is a shameful pity that any man should live and die without hearing the gospel.


1.    In order to be saved, you must call upon the name of the Lord.

2.    In order to call upon the name of the Lord, you must believe God.

3.    In order to believe, you must hear the gospel.

4.    In order to hear the gospel, someone must preach the gospel to you.


God Sent


5thFifthly, in order to preach the gospel a man must be sent of God (v. 15). — “How shall they preach except they be sent?” No man can truly preach the gospel in the power of God the Holy Spirit except he be sent of God.


Here are four things that are true of every gospel preacher.

1.    He has a message to deliver. He is an ambassador with a message.

2.    He must deliver the message God has given him. There is an impulse within. He carries with him the burden of the Lord. It is like fire in his bones.

3.    He will deliver his message with the authority and power of heaven’s eternal throne.

4.    He will return to his Master to give a report of his labor.

Š      In Prayer

Š      At the Judgment




1.    Sinner, call upon the name of the Lord.

2.    Believer, preach the gospel to perishing men.

3.    See to it that you properly value and esteem the ministry of the gospel. Avail yourself of the blessed privilege of hearing the gospel (James 1:18-21).










Don Fortner








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[i] Ezekiel 33:1-16

1 Again the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,

2 Son of man, speak to the children of thy people, and say unto them, When I bring the sword upon a land, if the people of the land take a man of their coasts, and set him for their watchman:

3 If when he seeth the sword come upon the land, he blow the trumpet, and warn the people;

4 Then whosoever heareth the sound of the trumpet, and taketh not warning; if the sword come, and take him away, his blood shall be upon his own head.

5 He heard the sound of the trumpet, and took not warning; his blood shall be upon him. But he that taketh warning shall deliver his soul.

6 But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned; if the sword come, and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at the watchman's hand.

7 So thou, O son of man, I have set thee a watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore thou shalt hear the word at my mouth, and warn them from me.

8 When I say unto the wicked, O wicked man, thou shalt surely die; if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand.

9 Nevertheless, if thou warn the wicked of his way to turn from it; if he do not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul.

10 Therefore, O thou son of man, speak unto the house of Israel; Thus ye speak, saying, If our transgressions and our sins be upon us, and we pine away in them, how should we then live?

11 Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?

12 Therefore, thou son of man, say unto the children of thy people, The righteousness of the righteous shall not deliver him in the day of his transgression: as for the wickedness of the wicked, he shall not fall thereby in the day that he turneth from his wickedness; neither shall the righteous be able to live for his righteousness in the day that he sinneth.

13 When I shall say to the righteous, that he shall surely live; if he trust to his own righteousness, and commit iniquity, all his righteousnesses shall not be remembered; but for his iniquity that he hath committed, he shall die for it.

14 Again, when I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; if he turn from his sin, and do that which is lawful and right;

15 If the wicked restore the pledge, give again that he had robbed, walk in the statutes of life, without committing iniquity; he shall surely live, he shall not die.

16 None of his sins that he hath committed shall be mentioned unto him: he hath done that which is lawful and right; he shall surely live.