Intro: Start with a personal question. Have you ever taught another person how to be saved? Have you ever shared the gospel message with a friend, neighbor, or relative? Is it possible for someone to be a Christian for decades, never teach another person the gospel directly?
In our investigation of the fundamentals of Gospel – “being established in the present truth”- this question is appropriate and maybe compelling.
- Romans 10:12-13– For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. 13 For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” It may be that this is the most comforting and encouraging promise in God’s word. The apostle Paul quotes from the prophet Joel (Joel 2:32) when he writes those familiar words, “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved”.
- Contrary to popular thought, the phrase “calls on the name of the Lord” does describe a simple “sinner’s prayer”, but a faithful obedience to God’s words. Ananias used the same words to direct Saul of Tarsus to arise from his praying and obey the Lord in baptism (Acts 22:16). That having been said, I want to focus on the promise involved. God will not turn away the repentant and obedient sinner. God will save all those who come to Him. That is comforting (especially to us sinners). But it teaches us more…
I. The Necessity of Spreading the Good News: Notice Paul’s next words: Romans 10:14-17 – 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? 15 And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written:”How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, Who bring glad tidings of good things!” 16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our report?” 17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
A. Paul quotes from Isaiah and declares that God’s plan to save the sinner involved the preaching of God’s good news (gospel). Although many will not (did not) heed to the word, they could not be saved without it. True compassion for the lost begins here. We must be willing to preach the gospel – the whole gospel message – at all cost.
1. vs. 17 is a familiar verse to most of us. “Faith comes by hearing the words of God” – We often quote it as the first step toward salvation (Hear-Believe-Repent-Confess-Be Baptized – Live faithfully). But in context these words are Paul’s conclusion (so then) to a powerful point about those who would call on the name of the Lord. They need someone to preach the gospel to them first. Preaching the gospel is a compelling necessity. It may be that the Lord’s church has lost that perspective on evangelism, both personal and congregational.
B. Preaching the gospel message is a moral imperative. By this we mean that God has commanded us to do it. But this mandate is not a call for a special clergy class of professionals who are ordained to the task in behalf of others. The NT church evangelized the world through the efforts of individual Christians spreading the word. (Acts 5:41 – in the Temple, and from house to house; Acts 8:4 – went everywhere teaching the word😉 In Eph. 4 Paul says that the growth of the body (church) is accomplished through what every joint supplies. This lesson is about you!
C. But preaching the gospel message it also a necessary ingredient to saving the lost. That is Paul’s point here in Romans 10 (faith comes by hearing the word of God). People cannot be saved without hearing the message of the cross of Jesus. So how does this help us?
II. Motivated to Spread the Good News: How does God motivate us to be evangelistic? (so many of us are not). This is not a complicated question. The answer flows naturally from your own conversion. God’s compels us to teach others…
A. Through knowing what it means to be lost –We were having a reminiscing in the car the other day about the times from our childhood when we were left alone, or lost in a crowd, or in some dangerous situation. We all had a memory. It stuck with us even now. There was a consciousness of what it was like to be helpless and in danger. In almost all the stories there was someone who came to our rescue.
1. Do you remember what it was like to be lost? If anyone could easily remember his life before he became a Christian it was Paul (formerly Saul). 1 Cor 15:9-11 – For I am the least of the apostles, who am not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. 11 Therefore, whether it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed. Paul understood how lost he was before. This moved him to tell others about the One who had saved him. There are many who do not share this perspective about their own salvation. They have always been pretty good people – “not far from the kingdom”. These folks are seldom motivated to teach others. They can easily look down on the people of the world, and thank God they are not like those publicans.
2. Do you know what it means for others to be lost? Jesus was always conscious of the lost – even among the religiously acceptable. (Nicodemus, Simon, Judas, Peter, etc).
a. Consider Paul’s perspective in Romans 9:1-5 – 9 I tell the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit, 2 that I have great sorrow and continual grief in my heart. 3 For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my countrymen according to the flesh, 4 who are Israelites, to whom pertain the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service of God, and the promises; 5 of whom are the fathers and from whom, according to the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, the eternally blessed God. Amen. He had great sorrow and continual grief (unceasing anguish) in his heart. Why? Because he understood the truth about his friends and countrymen. He knew they were lost without Jesus. Do you feel this type of pain for your friends and neighbors?
b. He even wishes he could give himself in exchange for those who are lost. Can we begin to see the level of spirituality that must exist to have such a genuine attitude?
c. A Spiritual Reality Check – Paul was not willing to ignore the reality before him. His comrades were lost and headed for an eternity in hell unless they obeyed the gospel of Christ. This created a spiritual perspective (unceasing pain for the lost) that was at the heart of his evangelistic efforts. Rom. 15:20-21 “And so I have made it my aim to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build on another man’s foundation, but as it is written: “To whom He was not announced, they shall see; and those who have not heard shall understand.” Paul had a real desire to share his knowledge with those who did not know.
d. In 1 Cor. 4 He speaks about the apostles as becoming “fools” in order to preach to others. Verses 10-13 “We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are distinguished, but we are dishonored! To the present hour we both hunger and thirst, and we are poorly clothed, and beaten, and homeless. And we labor, working with our own hands. Being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we endure; being defamed, we entreat. We have been made as the filth of the world, the offscouring of all things until now.” Later in 1 Cor. 9:16 he cries out – “woe is me if I do not preach the gospel!” Too much was at stake to keep silent. He would endure any physical to pain in order to respond to the spiritual pain that motivated him. Are you willing to embarrass yourself that others might know about Jesus?
e. We need to experience this spiritual reality check about our own world. Judgment day is coming, and no one is going to escape it. 2 Cor 5:10-11 – 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. 11 Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men…;
B. Through knowing what it means to be saved – the other motivating factor inherent in our own conversion is our knowledge of what we have gained in Christ.
1. Do you know what it means to be saved? This is how Peter stated it – 1 Peter 2:9-10 – 9 But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; 10 who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy. Our special mission (to proclaim the praises of Him who called us) is connected to our new position before Him. We are no longer in darkness, but in light. No longer without mercy, but forgiven. We are His special people and holy nation. Knowing what we have gained, how could we keep silent? The gospel is “good news”.
2. Motivated by love: If you know how much God has loved you, you will be motivated to teach others, so that they can experience God’s love as well. Jesus Himself expressed this purpose in John 17:26 – 26 And I have declared to them Your name, and will declare it, that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.” If we are not motivated enough to teach others, it may signal that we do not appreciate the love of God enough. There are scores of people who do not know what it means to be loved unconditionally, as God loves us. They do not know the joy of forgiveness and compassion that is the fruit of being in the family of God.
a. Meditations on the cross, time at the Lord’s Supper, and confessing our sins to each other, all work toward evangelism of the lost, because these things help us see God’s love for us.
3. Motivated by hope: What do you have that the unbeliever does not have? You have something that the world does not have. 1 Peter 3:15 – But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, (NIV) The world needs the hope you possess. We must be prepared to tell them how we obtained this hope. Every day we cherish our hope we need to think of those who do not have it, and we need to yearn to tell them.
a. I remember seeing my brother’s pictures of his first trip to Alaska. He kept telling me “you have to go see this place”. His enthusiasm motivated me to go. I took some pictures, and if you have never been I can show them to you. You will want to go yourself.
b. Where are you going when this life is over? Our answer is heaven. Who are you taking with you? If heaven is what we believe it is, (seen the pictures) can we possibly want to go alone?
c. We need to develop a true appreciation for the hope of heaven – not just as a theological image, but a true motivation toward obedience. Revelation 7:13-17 – 13 Then one of the elders answered, saying to me, “Who are these arrayed in white robes, and where did they come from?” 14 And I said to him, “Sir, you know.” So he said to me, “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. 15 Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple. And He who sits on the throne will dwell among them. 16 They shall neither hunger anymore nor thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any heat; 17 for the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to living fountains of waters. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”
d. It also helps to think of what God will do for those we reach. Paul did, as he describes in 1 Thessalonians 2:19-20 – 19 For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Is it not even you in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming? 20 For you are our glory and joy.
Conclusion: There is no greater work than teaching others about Christ, and leading them to their Savior. It is the truest source of joy. Can we tell you about Jesus? Do you want to hear the good news? We are ready to share this message with you. Call on us here at Southside.
If you know about Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, believe in Him and want to call on His name in obedience to the gospel message you can come to the front today and we will help you follow the Lord’s command. We have water available, and you can be baptized for the forgiveness of sins today. IF you have fallen away from your previous commitment and want us to pray for you, we can do that as well. Will you come?