Romans 10:14-21

Wednesday Evening Bible Study

May 19, 1999

Introduction

Last week we looked at the Scriptures in regard to the verse:

(Rom 10:13 KJV) For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

Something that hit me later on in the week regarding this verse is how the New Testament clarifies just what name we are to call upon. In the Old Testament, the verses that talk about calling on His name use the name "Yahweh". Itís when we call on Yahweh that we are saved. In the New Testament, itís brought a little closer to home.

The verse is a quote from Joel 2:32, which is the same passage Peter quotes on the day of Pentecost in explaining to the people the outpouring of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:15-21, see also Acts 2:36)

Later, when Peter was defending himself before the Jewish rulers,

(Acts 4:8-12 KJV) Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, said unto them, Ye rulers of the people, and elders of Israel, {9} If we this day be examined of the good deed done to the impotent man, by what means he is made whole; {10} Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. {11} This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. {12} Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

Call on the name of the Lord. Call on Jesus.

: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?

preacher Ė kerusso Ė to be a herald, to officiate as a herald; always with the suggestion of formality, gravity and an authority which must be listened to and obeyed; to publish, proclaim openly: something which has been done; used of the public proclamation of the gospel and matters pertaining to it

call Ö believed?

Note again, you canít be truly "calling on the name of the Lord" unless you believe in Him.

The idea is this, you CANNOT call on Him if you donít believe in Him. You CANNOT believe in Him if you havenít heard of Him. You CANNOT hear of Him unless someone preaches with you.

Lesson

They wonít be saved unless we tell them about Jesus.

These verses are at the very heart of why we send out missionaries around the world. Itís at the very heart of why we must tell others about Jesus.

Illustration

A woman named Rose Crawford had been blind for 50 years. "I just can't believe it!" she gasped as the doctor lifted the bandages from her eyes after her recovery from delicate surgery in an Ontario hospital. She wept for joy when for the first time in her life a dazzling and beautiful world of form and color greeted eyes that now were able to see. The amazing thing about the story, however, is that 20 years of her blindness had been unnecessary. She didn't know that surgical techniques had been developed, and that an operation could have restored her vision at the age of 30. The doctor said, "She just figured there was nothing that could be done about her condition. Much of her life could have been different."

There are people all around us that need to hear about Jesus.

Guilt. Loneliness. No purpose in life. Hopelessness and despair. Fear of death.

These are some of the many things that all those without Jesus have in common. We have the answer.

Lesson

Make the message clear.

We are to proclaim the message with clarity. Can you imagine a king sending a messenger to tell his subjects an important message when the messenger isnít really sure what heís supposed to be saying?

We have a responsibility to share the message clearly. Itís hard to respond when the message isnít clear.

Be prepared to share.

Pete Nelson, of the group The Kry, was in Littleton Colorado after the killings. The students and teachers from Columbine high school had been taken to a local Catholic Church, where counselors had been talking. There was a point where the teachers and counselors needed to take a break, so one person said, "Hey, why donít we get that musician to sing a few songs?" As the teachers and counselors stepped outside, Pete got up and in a few minutes had shared the gospel. Kids came to the Lord.

Are you ready to share? What is the content of the message?

But be sure you donít make it harder than it is.

    1. We have a problem Ė our sin separates us from God.
    2. God has a solution Ė He sent Jesus to die on a cross, to pay the penalty for our sins.
    3. We have to respond Ė we need to turn from our sins and receive Godís free gift. We need to believe and "call on the name of the Lord".

:15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent?

Lesson

Itís our job as a church to send you.

My calling by God is to equip you for your ministry.

(Eph 4:11-12 KJV) And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; {12} For the perfecting (equipping) of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

Some of your ministry involves ministering to those in the Body of Christ.

Some of your ministry involves witnessing to those who donít know Jesus.

Jesus commands us to "go" and tell others.

(Mat 28:18-20 KJV) And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. {19} Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: {20} Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

This is called the "Great Commission". It is not the "Great Suggestion". Iíve seen a Christian T-shirt that says, "What part of "GO" donít you understand?"

Going should be the natural result of true worship.

When Isaiah had his vision of the Lord sitting on His throne, the scene ends with:

(Isa 6:8 KJV) Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.

We get the idea that the natural outcome of worship should be a tingling feeling that goes up and down our spine. For some of us, we have the idea that coming to church is all about coming to "feel better". When Isaiah was experiencing true worship, the outcome was, "Here am I, send me".

:15 as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!

beautiful Ė horaios Ė blooming, beautiful (used of the human body) from hora , hour, period, means properly timely. The idea is that when things are in their "hour", their "special moment", thatís when theyíre beautiful.

Paul quotes from:

(Isa 52:7 KJV) How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!

This is a passage that is foretelling the time when Israel had been taken captive into Babylon. When the time would finally come to go back to Jerusalem and rebuild their city, the ones bringing the news would be considered having "beautiful" or "timely" feet.

Lesson

Good timing.

There is a sense in which it is always the right time to be telling people about Jesus. The Bible says:

2 Corinthians 6:2 (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now [is] the accepted time; behold, now [is] the day of salvation.)

But there is also a sense in which having just the right timing is everything.

Look at Philip with the Ethiopian Eunuch:

(Acts 8:26-35 KJV) And the angel of the Lord spake unto Philip, saying, Arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert. {27} And he arose and went: and, behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem for to worship, {28} Was returning, and sitting in his chariot read Esaias the prophet. {29} Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot. {30} And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest? {31} And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him. {32} The place of the scripture which he read was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth: {33} In his humiliation his judgment was taken away: and who shall declare his generation? for his life is taken from the earth. {34} And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man? {35} Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus.

How could Philip have timed his arrival any better? In fact, how did he time it so well in the first place? Because he was being obedient to the prompting of the Holy Spirit.

I read of a modern example of "beautiful feet" or "timely feet", an example of outreach that to me appears to have been sensitive to the Holy Spirit.

On April 28th, the strange rock singer Marilyn Manson gave the final concert of his current tour at Cedar Rapids, Iowa. In the light of what had happened at Littleton, Colorado, and the connection that the Littleton killers had in that they were big fans of Marilyn Manson, many were concerned that the concert would turn ugly with confrontations between Christian protesters and concert goers. But instead of organizing protests, many Christians began to pray. They encouraged each other to come out and love the kids instead of yell at them. One group set up a table and handed out over 100 pizzas and 50 cases of pop to the kids in line, for free. Other groups met around the concert place and prayed, 20 pastors actually went inside and prayed during the concert. The kids attending the concert were surprised to meet love instead of hatred. One pastor asked kids as they walked by how he could pray for them and about 20 kids stopped and shared specific prayer requests and were prayed for right there. A youth group raised $200 in cash and paid for the parking of the concert goers as they left the concert, saying, "Weíre Christians and weíd like to show Godís love by paying for your parking tonight." In response, many asked, "Why are you doing this?" and then they listened as they were told the answer. At least 3 of the fans asked Jesus into their hearts that night. One kid decided not to go to the concert after all, and showed up at church the next Sunday. In school the next day, many reported being impressed with the kind treatment by the Christians. After getting the pizza, one kid commented, "Wow, Marilyn Manson never gave me anything!" A Marilyn Manson web-site, reporting on the Christian response admitted, "so maybe those Christians aren't half bad!"

It sounds to me like the Christians in Cedar Rapids have beautiful feet.

:16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?

Paul quotes Isaiah 53:1

obeyed Ė hupakouo Ė to listen, to hearken; to obey, be obedient to, submit to. I wonder if it could almost be valid to say, "all have not heard". But the idea of "heard" is that of hearing in order to obey.

Lesson

Not all are going to respond.

Donít get discouraged.

Donít twist arms.

Your responsibility is simply to share the message. What they do with the message and whether or not they respond by believing is both the work of the Holy Spirit drawing them to Jesus, as well as their own individual free will in choosing whether or not they respond.

:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

Some translations have "by the word of Christ". Difference in Greek manuscripts.

hearing Ė akoe Ė the sense of hearing (note the play on words with hupakuo, "obeyed" in the previous verse)

word Ė rhema Ė that which is or has been uttered by the living voice, thing spoken, word.

Itís not that Godís written word isnít involved, but the word that Paul uses, rhema, speaks of the words that we speak to others. Itís when we speak Godís Word to them, that their faith is increased.

We often use this verse as an encouragement to read Godís Word in order to build our own faith. Thatís okay. I donít think thatís an inappropriate application of this verse. But keep in mind the context. The faith being talked about is salvation faith, believing in the Lord to save us.

And that canít come unless weíve heard the Word of God.

Lesson

Share Godís Word.

Sometimes we almost get ashamed of our Bible, as if itís "antiquated" or something thatís only for "weak people". Weíre afraid that someone will say, "Well, I donít believe in the Bible". We get the idea on our heads that if they donít believe the Bible, then they arenít going to listen to anything we have to say.

Whether they believe in the Bible or not, the Bible is Godís Word.

And Godís Word is VERY effective.

(Isa 55:10-11 KJV) For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: {11} So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.

It will do a work in the personís heart. For some it will soften their heart. For others, it will harden their hearts.

Godís Word is a very effective weapon.

(Heb 4:12 NKJV) For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

Suppose a bank robber comes into a local bank, pulls out a gun, points it at a tellerís head, and tells him to fill up his bag with money. Letís say that the teller is a wise guy, and responds to the robber, "I donít believe in guns". If the robber pulls the trigger, will the bullet have any effect on the teller, even if the teller says he doesnít believe in it?

Godís Word is powerful. Donít be afraid to use it.

Illustration

Follow the example of one of the greatest evangelists in the history of the world, Billy Graham. Heís famous for saying over and over again in his messages, "The Bible says Ö"

Lesson

Read the Bible.

It does "increase our faith". It builds us up.

How? By giving us a clearer picture of the God we follow.

(illustration idea from Chuck) Suppose I come home tomorrow and say to Deb, "Honey, Iíve decided we need a treat, letís go out to dinner!" And she responds, "Oh dear, help me to believe in you". I would kind of begin to wonder just what kind of a husband she thinks I am. But hopefully if I were to say such a thing, she wouldnít have any trouble believing me. Why? Because she knows me.

As we spend more and more time in Godís Word, we get to know better and better just how loving, kind, and faithful God is.

At the last Pastorsí Conference, Jon Courson dropped a little nugget on us when he encouraged us to, "let reading your Bible be your hobby". When you get a spare moment, go fiddle with your hobby.

:18 But I say, Have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world.

Paul quotes from:

(Psa 19:4 KJV) Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun,

This is a Psalm that starts off with talking about how creation is a witness of God. All have been exposed to that witness.

But the problem is that creationís witness is a faulty one. It was marred by sin in the Garden of Eden. Itís been twisted by the curse that came as a result of manís sin. Itís only when we hear from Godís Word that we understand the witness clearly.

(Psa 19:7 KJV) The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.

:19 But I say, Did not Israel know? First Moses saith, I will provoke you to jealousy by them that are no people, and by a foolish nation I will anger you.

This comes from:

(Deu 32:21 KJV) They have moved me to jealousy with that which is not God; they have provoked me to anger with their vanities: and I will move them to jealousy with those which are not a people; I will provoke them to anger with a foolish nation.

While wandering in the wilderness, the nation of Israel kept backsliding and worshipping various other gods. They made God jealous. So God would in turn make them jealous by reaching out to nations that would be considered "foolish" to the Jews. Namely, us.

For the Jewish mind, this was totally unheard of, that God would have actually had a plan in mind from the beginning to save people who werenít Jews.

Speaking of foolish people Ė

Illustration

A seaman meets a pirate in a bar, and talk turns to their adventures on the sea. The seaman notes that the pirate has a peg-leg, a hook, and an eye patch. The seaman asks "So, how did you end up with the peg-leg?" The pirate replies "We were in a storm at sea, and I was swept overboard into a school of sharks. Just as my men were pulling me out, a shark bit my leg off" "Wow!" said the seaman. "What about your hook"? "Well...", replied the pirate, "We were boarding an enemy ship and were battling the other sailors with swords. One of the enemy cut my hand off." "Incredible!" remarked the seaman. "How did you get the eyepatch"? "A seagull dropping fell into my eye.", replied the pirate. "You lost your eye to a seagull dropping?" the sailor asked incredulously. "Well...", said the pirate, "...it was my first day with the hook."

God would use His reaching out to foolish people to make His chosen people, Israel, jealous.

Illustration

Deb and I had been dating off and on for a year. I broke up with her for a second time at the end of May, 1977 because I was just too busy for a girlfriend between school and my ministry as a youth pastor. But a week after we broke up, she went out with three different guys in a single weekend. I think one of them even had an eye patch. I was very confused. I found myself very jealous. I asked her to marry me two weeks later. Warning to all you gals, this is only something thatís to be done by trained professionals. Donít attempt doing this at home.

God can use us His love for us Gentiles to make His people, Israel, jealous.

:20 But Esaias is very bold, and saith, I was found of them that sought me not; I was made manifest unto them that asked not after me.

(Isa 65:1 KJV) I am sought of them that asked not for me; I am found of them that sought me not: I said, Behold me, behold me, unto a nation that was not called by my name.

Again, Isaiah was long ago hinting at the fact that God would be known by Gentiles.

:21 But to Israel he saith, All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people.

(Isa 65:2 KJV) I have spread out my hands all the day unto a rebellious people, which walketh in a way that was not good, after their own thoughts;

(Rom 10:21 NLT) But regarding Israel, God said, "All day long I opened my arms to them, but they kept disobeying me and arguing with me."

The Jewish people had been content to think that just because they were descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, that they were safe and sound as far as heaven is concerned.

But God says "no".

Lesson

What are you trusting in?

There are people who think that when they die they are naturally going to go to heaven because Grandma was a Christian, and she always prayed for them every night, at least until she died.

Others think that they must be a Christian because they have been born and raised in a "Christian" nation. Their idea is that a personís "religion" is solely based upon what country theyíre born in. They think that "religion" is kind of like being in a public school district. You go to the school that you just happen to live by.

All this shows is a personís total ignorance of the real issues. Man isnít "religious" because thatís just something that weíre supposed to be, for no reason at all. Man has a real problem in coming to know his God. Unless manís sin is dealt with, unless the consequences of sin are dealt with, a person CANíT know God. And God has provided only ONE way to deal with sin, through the sacrifice of His own Son on a cross. God offers to us forgiveness for our sins, but we have to believe that Heís done this, and we have to receive the gift He offers.