Romans

Romans 10v14-2 – Christ must be proclaimed

CHRIST MUST BE PROCLAIMED:

ALL THE EVIDENCE POINTS TO HIM SO THERE IS NO EXCUSE FOR UNBELIEF

 

Romans 10v14-21.

 

So far…

 

Reminder – in these chapters 9-11 Paul is addressing the relationship between Jews and Gentiles in relation to Christ.

 

He has told us in the letter so far that ALL are sinners and fall short of the standards God requires and that only way for anyone, whether Jew or Gentile, to know God, to be justified before God,  is by faith in Jesus.

That raises the question about the Jews as God’s chosen people and the special place they have enjoyed in the OT – What about the Jewish Law given through Moses? Didn’t a person first have to accept this and become a Jew in order to become a Christian? NO, says Paul, the Law never brought about salvation but was simply a pointer that was leading us to Christ who is the end of the Law – [the terminus or goal of the Law]. [10v4]

 

The Jews for the most part had rejected Jesus – in rejecting him they had failed to grasp their own law. Because they misunderstood their own Law they rejected Christ.

 

So whether one was a Jew with all the OT background or a Gentile with a pagan background – there is no difference, says Paul, as the offer of salvation is to everyone — and everyone who believes on the Lord Jesus Christ will be saved.

God is Lord of all – both Jews and Gentiles  ….. and HE richly blesses all who call on him, 13 for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (NIV)

 

Saved from what? — from the anger and judgement of God which is directed against ALL people.

WHY? — because all people are sinner — naturally we are all spiritually dead. SO it is being saved from our sinfulness, from spiritual death and from God’s judgement BUT it is being saved for eternal, spiritual life — coming to know God in a personal way – becoming part of God’s kingdom – having the privilege and enjoyment of being involved in God’s business where the fulfillment, job satisfaction and benefits are out of this world.

 

 

 

No matter how fulfilling and wonderful your life might be – “You may have a great life, good job, financial security, loving family BUT all that is only for a short time because we all must die and leave it all behind and then what??” — That is why we need to call on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and be saved.

 

BUT how? …how? …how? …how?

 

1. THE PROCESS OF PROCLAIMING THE GOSPEL.

 

What is the Gospel? – The good news about Jesus Christ and what he did by dying on the cross for us!!

 

Romans 10:14-15

14 How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? 15 And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” (NIV)

 

Paul’s logic in these verses in quite clear — how does anyone come to know God?

 

1)    CALLING  – Calling on the NAME of the Lord — means believing that Jesus died, rose from the dead and that he is Lord — summed up in this question is everything that Paul has said so far in this chapter — Romans 10:9 9 That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. (NIV)

 

 

2)    HEARING – What kind of hearing And how can they believe in the one {of} whom they have not heard? – omit ‘of’ because the kind of hearing Paul is talking about is not simply hearing about Christ BUT hearing Christ. The Christian faith is not a system of belief, it is not only know facts about Christ but it is knowing Christ personally. It is having a direct encounter with a person who can bring about a transformation of heart and mind. It is not any old religious experience or commitment BUT a faith in a risen Christ who has been heard personally.

 

 

3)    PREACHING – the word is to proclaim or herald – in the days before mass media news was communicated to the masses in this way – the old town crier in the city square or village marketplace – there could be no hearers without heralds – those who communicate the good news – all Christians are to be witnesses but some are specially gifted as proclaimers/preachers/evangelists

 

 

 

4)    SENDING – word is apostello – same as apostle – narrow use of Paul and the other 11 — but also a broader meaning of those sent out by the Church to herald the good news – so the sending is the responsibility of the Church – thus we are all responsible to be involved in the proclamation of the gospel even if we are not on the front-line.

 

The need for this kind of proclamation is now confirmed by the Scriptures

Isaiah 52:7        7 How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion,”Your God reigns!”

This was the proclamation of the prophet Isaiah at the good news that the Jewish exiles in Babylon were to be released and return to Jerusalem. How much more beautiful should be the feet of the proclaimers of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

 

Why beautiful feet – the OT Heralds/messengers would run swiftly carrying the news to the people.

 

This then is the essence of Paul’s explanation as to how the Good News is proclaimed:- (In the reverse order)

  • Christ sends heralds
  • heralds preach
  • people hear
  • hearers believe
  • believers call
  • those who call are saved!

 

If Christ is going to be made known to the ends of the earth then evangelism is essential. We feel the force of Paul’s argument in the rhetorical way in which he asks these questions:-

  • unless some are commissioned for the task there will be no gospel preachers
  • unless the gospel is preached, sinners will not hear Christ’s voice [sometimes the preaching falls on deaf ears]
  • unless they hear [this hearing is not simply receiving sound waves through the ears but is encountering the risen, living Christ] him they will not believe the truth of his death/resurrection
  • unless they believe these truths they cannot call on Him
  • unless they call on him they cannot be saved

 

 

 

 

2. THE RESPONSIBILITY FOR REJECTING THE GOSPEL.

          – there is no excuse for unbelief

 

Romans 10:16-17

            16 But not all the {Israelites } accepted the good news. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our message?” 17 Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ. (NIV)

 

The word Israelites does not appear in the original text – while there is a good case for assuming that Paul is referring to the rejecting of Jesus by the Jews it is certainly not only the Jews who have rejected the gospel – many non-Jews have as well!

 

While the Jews may be in the forefront of Paul’s thinking they are by no means the only ones who have rejected the good news.

The gospel had been widely preached – many had heard –

Today with Radio/TV/print millions hear and many reject so they have no excuse before God.

 

You maybe thinking – “What about those who have not heard?”

 

Paul quotes Ps.19:4 to substantiate his position. He knows how you think ….

Romans 10:18 18 But I ask: Did they not hear? Of course they did:

Their voice has gone out into all the earth,

                        their words to the ends of the world.” (NIV)

 

Paul doesn’t quote from a passage about the spread of the gospel but from a psalm that is about the witness of the heavens (creation) to the creator.

Has Paul made a mistake? NO! if creation is sufficient witness to people that there is a Creator and they are thus without excuse — how much more when they hear about God’s special revelation through Jesus.

 

No one has an excuse – even if there is no response to those who proclaim God’s message — they still have before them the witness of creation to the power and majesty of God.

 

Faith comes when we hear the message of Christ – it is a gift from God! [v.17]

Hearing with the physical ear is insufficient – we must hear and receive Christ in our souls.

 

 

 

The is no excuse for unbelief —-

Romans 1:19-20 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities — his eternal power and divine nature — have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. (NIV)

 

3. THE OPEN OFFER OF THE GOSPEL

          – God’s gracious initiative

 

18 But I ask: Did they not hear? Of course they did:

            “Their voice has gone out into all the earth,

                        their words to the ends of the world.”

19 Again I ask: Did Israel not understand? First, Moses says,

            “I will make you envious by those who are not a nation;

                        I will make you angry by a nation that has no understanding.”

20 And Isaiah boldly says,

            “I was found by those who did not seek me;

                        I revealed myself to those who did not ask for me.”

21 But concerning Israel he says,

            “All day long I have held out my hands

                        to a disobedient and obstinate people.”

 

Remember that Paul is dealing with the issue of the relationship between Jews and Gentiles in God’s plan.

Some Gentile-Christian who were saying that God had finished with Israel – the church had replaced Israel in God’s plan.

There were some Jewish-Christians who were saying that Israel, the Jewish Law, was still indispensable and a person had to become a Jew before he/she could become a Christian.

Paul is arguing on two fronts and he will deal with this in greater detail when he comes to ch.11.

 

The Gentiles are included in God’s plan of salvation – [v18] — his witness is to the ends of the earth. This includes the Jews and so they cannot blame their unbelief on their having not heard.

They cannot use not hearing as an excuse!!

 

Did they not then understand?  No! says Paul, that is not possible! He quotes from Moses [The Law] and from Isaiah [The Prophets] – two witnesses against Israel!

          MOSES – Deuteronomy 32:21

21 ……I will make them envious by those who are not a people;

I will make them angry by a nation that has no understanding. (NIV)

This nation of no understanding about whom Moses speaks are not Jews but Gentiles – called ‘not a nation’ – a reminder of what Paul quoted earlier from Hosea – ‘not my people’.

God has been gracious to the Gentiles because he wants his salvation to go to all the earth BUT also as a message to Israel – it is an object lesson to make the Jews angry and jealous of what God has done for these ‘not-understanding’ and ‘no-nation’ Gentiles – The Gentiles are God’s message to Israel with Love

 

Israel, says Paul has rejected Christ not because she has not heard and not because she has not understood! So why?? — because she is stubborn – a disobedient and obstinate people – they are ignorant of God’s righteousness but it is a willful ignorance!

 

CONTRASTING RESPONSES –

to show the difference between the Gentile response and the Jewish response Paul quotes again from the OT, this time from Isaiah.

Isaiah 65:1

1 “I revealed myself to those who did not ask for me;

I was found by those who did not seek me.

[To a nation that did not call on my name,

                        I said, ‘Here am I, here am I.’ ]

TO THE GENTILES – Paul did not quote the second half of this verse but he could have done. This is God speaking; to those who do not normally worship him, who did not seek him, God takes the initiative and comes to them

I showed myself to them – I caused them to find me – I presented myself to them ‘Here I am!’”.

 

This is wonderful imagery of the Grace of God –  we do not naturally seek God – the initiative for salvation is with God. Left to our own devices we would never find God because we would never look for Him. We do not find him, rather he allows himself to be found.

 

TO ISRAEL  – Paul quotes the very next verse from

Isaiah 65:2

2 All day long I have held out my hands

to an obstinate people,

who walk in ways not good,

pursuing their own imaginations — (NIV)

 

Here is a picture not just of a God being found BUT holding out his hands – outstretched arms of welcome.

Like a parent offering a welcome to a wayward child – like the father in the prodigal son – offering an embrace and a kiss.

 

N.B. the All day long – God doesn’t turn away when there is no response – he is patient and kind and forgiving. Paul is saying to the Jews – God’s offer of salvation is still there – he has not finished with Israel – he still holds out his hands – BUT they are disobedient and obstinate! Israel’s fall from grace was their own fault!

 

 

WHAT ARE THE LESSONS FOR US?

 

1)  If you are a Christian you have a part to play in the proclamation of the gospel.

 

2)  If you are one who does not receive God’s offer of salvation – then you have no excuse before God  – you are at fault and you only have yourself to blame!

 

3)  God is infinitely gracious

  • he offers salvation to those who have not yet believed – if you do not yet know Christ – if you have not heard his voice in your soul – he is standing before you saying ‘Here I am!’ accept my offer – accept Jesus.

 

  • maybe like Israel you have believed but you have turned away

– your heart is cold towards God

– you have done something of which you are ashamed and think God can’t forgive you

– maybe you are angry with God because you are suffering emotionally/physically financially, life is hard

–   maybe like Israel you just wilfully want to go your own way. God stands before you all day long like a loving father with outstretched arms inviting you back.

 

 

GOD’S GRACE IS OFFERED TO EVERYONE

SO THERE IS NO EXCUSE FOR ANYONE!

 

Romans 10v14-21

 

1. The Process of Proclaiming the Gospel.

                                                      [v.14-15]

                  Calling

                  Hearing

                  Preaching

                  Sending

      (Christ sends heralds – Heralds preach –   

        – People hear – Hearers believe – Believers call –

        – Those who Call are saved!)

 

2. The Responsibility for Rejecting the      Gospel.                                  [v.16-18]

 

            “Don’t blame God, …

                     … there is no excuse for unbelief!”

 

3. The Open Offer of the Gospel.

                                                      [v.18-21]  

       God’s gracious initiative to ALL

              – the Gentiles …

                     … and the Jews

 

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