- he grieved in his heart that he had to say goodbye to you.
- he communicated his love to you
- must have been a time of sorrow for him.
- able to face death with peace.
-ready to go home.
-spoke of heaven - a beautiful place. He spoke of wanting to go and meet the patriarchs and speak with them. Above all, he indicated that he wanted to go home to God.
You mentioned to me that in his Bible, he had made particular note of Romans 10:9. I think it would be appropriate at this time to reflect on this passage which seems to have been a favorite of his. It is a good passage for today because it reminds us about that which was his hope as he faced death. It is also appropriate because it encourages you with the hope of the gospel as you contemplate death in a very personal way.
I would like to read Romans 10:9-13 from “The Message and then comment on it.
“Say the welcoming word to God—“Jesus is my Master”—embracing, body and soul, God’s work of doing in us what he did in raising Jesus from the dead. That’s it. You’re not “doing” anything; you’re simply calling out to God, trusting him to do it for you. That’s salvation. With your whole being you embrace God setting things right, and then you say it, right out loud: “God has set everything right between him and me!”
Scripture reassures us, “No one who trusts God like this—heart and soul—will ever regret it.” It’s exactly the same no matter what a person’s religious background may be: the same God for all of us, acting the same incredibly generous way to everyone who calls out for help. “Everyone who calls, ‘Help, God!’ gets help.”
You told me that the reason he liked this passage was because it encouraged him that the way to God was easy. Didn’t you tell me that he had said that this passage made it clear that the way was so easy that he wondered why everyone did not accept it?
This is a very accurate and perceptive interpretation of this passage. If we read it in context, this is exactly what it says. It is written in the context of a discussion about the way of righteousness. Paul is trying to convince the Jews that the way of Jesus is much easier than the way they are trying to go. The Jews were steeped in a system of legalism by which they thought that if they obeyed all the law, they would be righteous and acceptable to God. In 10:2,3 Paul writes, “For I can testify about the Jews that they are zealous for God, but …they …sought to establish their own (righteousness).
Trying to make our own way to God is very common. A food processing firm marketed a cake mix which required that you add only water to produce a creamy batter and fine cake. The company could not understand why the mix would not sell, until research revealed the public felt uneasy about a mix that required only water. It seemed too simple. They felt they themselves had to do something to a cake mix. So the company changed the formula and required the housewife to add an egg. Immediately, the mix achieved great success. That is human nature, we want to do it ourselves. In fact, all religions and most people try to go this way. For some reason, we are so proud and independent that we think we can do it ourselves. But do we really know what we are trying to do? Trying to establish our own righteousness is not easy. It means that we have to obey every law and do everything right all the time. When we establish our own righteousness, we are on a slippery slope of destruction. One wrong step and we are plunged into wrath and destruction. What a burden, what a difficult path. In spite of our best denials that perhaps we are not so bad and we just might make it, the truth is that we are doomed to failure before we start.
The truth of the gospel is that salvation is much, much easier than that. In this passage, we are told what is required for salvation. God has provided the way and there are just two things which we must do.
The first thing that must be done is that we must believe that God raised Jesus from the dead. To believe that is, of course, to believe all the other things about Jesus - that he came from God, was the Son of God, lived a holy, sinless life, died on the cross for our sin and rose from the dead. But especially, it means believing that since He was raised from the dead, he is the one who can raise us from the dead. Jesus is not only the living God, but the life giving God. The first key to salvation is not a work we do, but a completed work we accept. Believing is simply understanding that we can’t do it, but God has done it for us.
The other thing we must do is to confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. What are we saying when we make that confession? That confession means a recognition that Jesus is the God of all the universe. Such a confession must be open and public. Confession is not something that happens in the heart, but something that happens in a public way. Until we are able and willing to declare to all the world that we trust Jesus, can it really be said that we trust him?
We are accepted by God and receive righteousness by faith and confession. It is as simple as that. A lady became quite angry with D.L. Moody when he made this statement: “None in this congregation will be saved until they stop trying to save themselves.” She said, “You have made me perfectly miserable. I always thought that if I kept on trying, God would save me at some time; and now you tell me to stop trying. What then am I to do?” D.L. Moody responded “Let the Lord save you.”
It is not a matter of knowing all the right things to do. It is not a matter of doing all the right things we know. It is not even doing all the right things as much as we know them. It is as easy as believing and confessing. Your husband and father knew that and rejoiced in it. He wished that others would also find this easy way to life.
Another observation we need to note is that this salvation which is so easy is available to everyone. The Israelites were sure that they were the exclusive recipients of salvation. Not only did they think that they could achieve it by their good deeds, they were also quite sure that they were the only ones on earth who could do so. If we can earn our salvation, then that kind of reasoning makes sense, but if God has done it, then it is up to him and what this passage says is that all can have salvation in the same easy way. In verse 12, he says that “… there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him…” Please note how thoroughly this idea is communicated in this passage. In verse 11 he says this is for “everyone.” We have already noted that this is for “all.” In verse 13, he again indicates that “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
Someone has put it this way, since there is “No distinction of race in the universality of sin, so there is none in the possibility of ultimate salvation.”
No matter what our race may be, no matter what our life may have been, no matter what we may have done, salvation is equally accessible and equally easy for every person. The Ethiopian Eunuch in Acts 8, the thief on the cross, the woman caught in adultery in John 8, the women who divorced 5 times in John 4, the apostle Paul who had murdered were all accepted by God because they believed and confessed.
Your husband, father and grandfather knew that and rejoiced in it because he was one of those “everyone’s” who had experienced acceptance from God. It was his desire others also find this hope.
III. Rich Blessing
But what does salvation mean? What is it we are saved from or saved to?
There are three words which describe the results of trust and confession. It speaks of being saved. It speaks about being justified. It speaks of “experiencing the “rich blessings” from God.
Salvation means that we are saved. If a tornado comes along and misses our house and lifts before it does any damage, we talk about being saved from its power. Destruction comes on all people because all sin. The anger of God is on all those who do wrong things. We have a sense of that anger in our hearts. We know that God doesn’t like what we do wrong. Salvation means that we are saved from that judgement. Our sins are forgiven and as a result, we receive eternal life. We are saved from God’s judgment.
Implicit in that is the understanding that we are acceptable to God because of what He has done. We are righteous. Not because we have been so good, but because He is gracious. The assures us that we are blessed with friendship with God and with being considered His children.
These are rich blessings indeed and in them, we are assured of all of God’s rich blessings. One person, on being asked to describe salvation, replied, “Something for nothing.” Another person, who had weathered the storms for many years and was nearing death, on hearing this story, exclaimed, “Yes, it’s even better than that. It’s everything for nothing.”
Your husband and father rejoiced in this hope and it was what allowed him to face death with peace. It was what allowed him in the last day of his life to say, “I want to go home.” As much as he would have liked to go home to Rosenort, he meant home to heaven because he was looking forward to the complete fulfillment of the rich blessings which God has promised to all those who put their trust in Him.
The confidence he had in this promise was fully justified. The passage we are looking at is filled with promise. Verse 9 “you will be saved.” Verse 10 “you… are saved.” Verse 11 “will never be put to shame.” Verse 13, “will be saved.”
Certainty is not arrogance because certainty does not come from our doing it. The beginning of the message which declared the easy way is an important part of the end of the message which guarantees it. It is precisely because we have not achieved salvation, but because God has done it and given it to us as a gift that we are able to say, “I know that I will be saved.”
Queen Victoria had attended a service in St. Paul’s Cathedral and had listened to a sermon that interested her greatly; then she asked her chaplain, “Can one in this life be absolutely sure of eternal safety?” His answer was that he “knew of no way that one could be absolutely sure.”
This was published in the Court News and fell under the eye of a minister of the Gospel named John Townsend. After reading Queen Victoria’s question and the answer she received, John Townsend thought and prayed much about the matter and then sent the following note to the Queen:
“To her gracious Majesty, our beloved Queen Victoria, from one of her most humble subjects: “With trembling hands, but heart-filled love, and because I know that we can be absolutely sure even now of our eternal life in the Home that Jesus went to prepare, may I ask your Most Gracious Majesty to read the following passage of Scripture: Romans 10:9, 10? “These verses prove there is full assurance of salvation by faith in our Lord Jesus Christ for those who believe and accept His finished work.”
In the Minneapolis airport, they have long stretches of moving sidewalks, you don’t have to walk miles carrying a heavy bag to get to your terminal. You just get on the sidewalk, and it will take you to your destination.
Many people in life are walking along carrying heavy loads making their way towards their destination with their own struggle and effort. When they get there, they will find that the plane has already left.
The promise is that we can get on the moving sidewalk. God has already done it all. By faith and confession He will take us to our eternal destination.
Mr. Friesen knew this hope. It was what sustained him in the end of his life and allowed him to face death with peace. If you don’t know this hope, perhaps now is the time to embrace it. If you do, may it comfort you as you trust in Christ in this time of loss.
Congregational Song – Lorne Loewen
Prayer – George Toews
Words of Committal & Prayer – George Toews
Read I Corinthians 15:50-58
Seeing that the life of Frank L. Friesen has come to an end, we commit his body to the earth confident of the resurrection to eternal life through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Singing – Amos Fehr