Speaking the Truth in Love
Calling on the name of the Lord
Over the years we have had many callers call in and say that all one must do is to “call on the name of the Lord.” Sometimes callers have said this calling means that one acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God; some say it is a warm feeling that one has received Jesus into their heart; some say it is when one simply says that they accept Jesus into their heart, or some say that it is a reference to what many call saying the sinner’s prayer. Tonight we want to study what the Bible says “calling on the name of the Lord” really involves.
Acts 2:21, 2:39 – “That whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved” and “as many as the Lord our God will call.” In Acts chapter 2, calling on the name of the Lord included believing (Acts 2:37, 44), repenting (Acts 2:38), being baptized (Acts 2:38, 41), responding to the gospel (Acts 2:40-41), continuing in the doctrine (Acts 2:42), providing for one another’s needs (Acts 2:44-45), and worshipping God (Acts 2:46-47).
Acts 4:12 – “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” No one can save you but Jesus. No man, such as Martin Luther King Jr., Joseph Smith, or Pope John Paul; no man-made denomination, and no man-made organization can save.
Acts 8:12 – Here Philip preaches in Samaria about “the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ.” The response was that men and women were baptized. They were saved because they responded to the gospel.
Acts 9:14, 21 – “all who call on Your name” and “those who called on this name”. This is referring to Christians, disciples of the Lord, who are following His commandments (John 14:15).
Acts 19:11-20 – Proper honor for the name of the Lord is the lesson from this passage. Jewish exorcists tried to “call the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits” (verse 13). It led to the conclusion that Jesus is not simply a name to use but rather one who should be believed and obeyed. We have many today who want to use the name of Jesus, but will not honor Him and obey Him.
Acts 22:16 – Ananias asks Paul, “And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.” Here calling on the name of the Lord included being baptized to wash away sins.
Romans 10:12-14 – In verse 13 the scripture says, “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved”. Verse 12 shows that the gospel is for everyone. Verse 14 shows that calling on the name of the Lord included hearing and believing the preaching of the gospel.
1 Corinthians 1:2 – “to those who are sanctified (set apart) in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all who in every place call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord”. In 1 Corinthians 6:11, the scripture says of the sinners mentioned in verse 9 of that chapter, “but you were washed, but you were sanctified (set apart), but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God. This sanctification and washing had come about because the Corinthians had turned from their evil deeds to obey God. This included belief (1 Corinthians 3:5), repentance (2 Corinthians 7:9-10) and baptism (1 Corinthians 12:13).
2 Timothy 2:22 – Paul tells Timothy, “Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” This call included fleeing youthful lusts, maintaining a pure heart (Romans 12:1-2), and pursuing godly virtues. Paul tells the Galatians that this pursuit includes all the good things of God along with crucifying the flesh, its passions and desires, and walking in the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-25).
1 Peter 1:17-23 – Peter says in verse 17, “And if you call on the Father”. He goes on to tell them what is involved in calling on the Father; conducting themselves in fear, remembering they were redeemed with the blood of Christ by believing and putting their faith and hope in Him, having purified their souls in obeying the truth, and having been born again through the Word.
2 Peter 1:1-11 – Peter in verse 3, “through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue.” These called individuals had “obtained like precious faith” in verse 1. In verses 5-7 Peter lists out virtues that these called individuals need to to pursue with zeal [all diligence, faith, virtue, knowledge, self-control, perseverance (or patience), godliness, and brotherly kindness]. He tells them if they do this they will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of Jesus (verse 8). He concludes this section by encouraging them to “be even more diligent to make your call and election sure”. Then he says in verse 11, “for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”
Philippians 3:8-4:1 – Paul says in verse 14, “I press toward the goal of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus”. This calling included being mature (verse 15), walking by the same rule (verse 16 - living by the same standard NAS), standing fast (4:1), and doing the things which they had learned and received and heard and saw (4:9). God calls all people through the gospel, but only those with pure hearts will respond by calling on the name of the Lord.
From all these passages we all can see that “calling on the name of the Lord” is much more than simply saying a prayer, accepting Jesus into your heart, or just acknowledging that He is the Son of God. Calling on the name of the Lord means that we call on Him as our authority and we will do whatever he says we must to do be saved (1 Corinthians 11:1). Have you done all that the Lord has instructed you to do? On this program we try our hardest to proclaim the whole counsel of God. We cannot pick and chose what commandments we want to obey. We need to “wholly follow the Lord” like Joshua and Caleb did (Numbers 32:12). Paul sums up what calling on the name of the Lord means when he said in Galatians 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” Why not truly call on the name of the Lord, before it is too late for you? We hope to see you next time on “Speaking the Truth in Love.”