And take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17
Volume 17, Number
In this issue:
September 21-26, 2014
lessons nightly, Mon-Fri at 7:00 PM
“The Truth that Shall Make You Free”
Sunday Class: Truth Misunderstood in Bible Times
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"Calling On The Name Of The Lord"
Steven J. Wallace
It is a phrase which is often stated but one that is unlikely explained. You must “call on the name of the Lord” to be saved. But what does it mean? How do we call on the name of the Lord today?
This command was also unclear to many of the Jews in the first century. The apostle Peter was preaching the gospel to thousands on the day of Pentecost wherein he quoted from the prophet Joel, “And it shall come to pass That whoever calls on the name of the LORD Shall be saved” (Acts 2:21).
After he testified against their deeds, and after he gave irrefutable proof that Jesus was the Christ, the people were pierced to the heart and asked a very important question in Acts 2:37, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” If they knew how to “call on the name of the Lord,” they would not have asked, “What shall we do?” Fortunately, we do not need to go on wondering either, for Peter explained what it was by commanding the people to, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38).
Repent and Be Immersed
When the imperative commands of repenting and being immersed are fulfilled, then one has “called on the name of the Lord.”
The Example of the Apostle Paul
The same thing can be seen with the apostle Paul. He had actually seen the Lord and even called out to Him, “Who are you Lord?” as well as “Lord, what do You want me to do?” See Acts 9:4, 5. Even though Paul called out to the Lord, he had not yet “call upon the name of the Lord.” Jesus plainly asked some in Luke 6:46, “But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do the things which I say?” There is an obedient act that is required for the person to call upon the name of the Lord. “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven” (Matt. 7:21).
Not by Fasting and Prayer
As we look at Paul’s conversion to Christ, we next observe him not eating or drinking anything for the three days following his encounter with Jesus. Though he was blind, he filled the time with prayer (see Acts 9:9, 11). Yet in all this fasting and prayer, he still had not “called upon the name of the Lord” because he still had sin which he needed forgiveness of.
It was not until a certain disciple named Ananias came to him and told him to be baptized, where Paul could actually know how to “call upon the name of the Lord.” Paul, who later told others to call upon the name of the Lord to be saved, did likewise appeal to the name of Christ when he was baptized into Christ. “And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord” (Acts 22:16; cf. Rom. 10:13).
Obeying and Believing
“For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. For ‘whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved’” (Rom. 10:12, 13).
While there is no distinction between Jew and Greek and while God invites all to call, we also read, “But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, ‘Lord, who has believed our report?’” (Rom. 10:16). Who then is the one who calls on the name of the Lord? It is the one who obeys the gospel in baptism. Faith that saves is faith that obeys.
David wrote, “I was glad when they said to me, ‘Let us go into the house of the Lord’” (Psa. 122:1). David’s heart was joyfully set on worshiping God. Are our hearts filled with gladness or complaint when we have the chance to worship God?
Let us gladly attend Bible classes. To meditate on and increase our knowledge of God’s word is a great blessing. Contact with God’s word strengthens us, protects us from sin and equips us to teach others (Psa. 119:9-11; 2 Tim. 2:2).
Let us gladly sing. Singing involves “speaking to one another” (Eph. 5:19). Yet, some sit silently as songs of praise are sung around them. Some sing with a whisper, and although God can hear a whisper, it is difficult to teach and admonish one another in song through whispers (Col. 3:16). We must hear one another in order to teach each other in song. Sing with joy and gladness of heart!
Let us gladly attend our gospel meeting. Our gospel meeting is a week-long opportunity to worship together, to hear God’s word, to teach and to be taught. Yes, a gospel meeting requires additional commitments of time and energy. But, it also brings additional blessings. With glad hearts we anticipate the gospel message of salvation, hope and peace. We look forward to the fellowship of our worship in the service of God.
Let us be glad to worship and serve God during our gospel meeting – and
(Current events in the light of Scripture)
Is Spanking Sinful?
The recent felony indictment of football star Adrian Peterson for child abuse (switching the bare skin of his 4-year-old son, leaving bleeding wounds) has rekindled the corporal discipline debate.
Many parents refuse to use any form of corporal discipline as they train and guide their children. We should not expect people who refuse the discipline of the Lord to understand, appreciate and use the “rod of correction”. Uninformed people conflate child abuse and corporal discipline. We will not do that here. We will distinguish between the two because God does.
Physical abuse of a child is sin. The parent who loses his or her temper and hits a child is wrong. Period. Love is “not provoked” (1 Cor. 13:4). If you find yourself losing control of your emotions when using corporal discipline, then use others ways to correct your child until you can control yourself. Do not sin against the child.
Proper use of corporal discipline is not child abuse. “Do not withhold correction from a child, for if you beat him with a rod, he will not die” (Prov. 23:13). Abuse and the correct use of spanking are not the same. “My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, nor detest His correction; for whom the Lord loves He correct, just as a father the son in whom he delights” (Prov. 3:11-12). We will not accuse God of sin, nor the godly parent who loving spanks to correct the child.
Use spanking to correct willful disobedience. Not every situation needs corporal discipline. Willful defiance of authority is the time to use spanking to drive out such behavior. “Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; The rod of correction will drive it far from him” (Prov. 22:15).
Prevention is easier than cure. “Chasten your son while there is hope, and do not set your heart on his destruction” (Prov. 19:18). As one clinical psychologist said, “What we want children to understand is that the gentle sting of a spanking is connected to the greater and often long-term pain of harmful choices. Simply put, prevention is easier than cure” (Dr. Jared Pingleton, “Is Spanking Child Abuse?”, Focus on the Family). The momentary pain of corporal discipline yields “the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it” (Heb. 12:11).
Created by Chuck Sibbing, last updated. 09/19/2014
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA