The Text

Romans 10:14-21 (CSB) How, then, can they call on him they have not believed in? And how can they believe without hearing about him? And how can they hear without a preacher? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news. But not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, Lord, who has believed our message? So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the message about Christ. But I ask, “Did they not hear?” Yes, they did:

Their voice has gone out to the whole earth,
and their words to the ends of the world.

But I ask, “Did Israel not understand?” First, Moses said,
I will make you jealous
of those who are not a nation;
I will make you angry by a nation
that lacks understanding.

And Isaiah says boldly,
I was found
by those who were not looking for me;
I revealed myself
to those who were not asking for me.

But to Israel he says, All day long I have held out my hands to a disobedient and defiant people.

The Support

Mark 4:1-9 (CSB) Again he began to teach by the sea, and a very large crowd gathered around him. So he got into a boat on the sea and sat down, while the whole crowd was by the sea on the shore. He taught them many things in parables, and in his teaching he said to them, “Listen! Consider the sower who went out to sow. As he sowed, some seed fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured it. Other seed fell on rocky ground where it didn’t have much soil, and it grew up quickly, since the soil wasn’t deep. When the sun came up, it was scorched, and since it had no root, it withered away. Other seed fell among thorns, and the thorns came up and choked it, and it didn’t produce fruit. Still other seed fell on good ground and it grew up, producing fruit that increased thirty, sixty, and a hundred times.” Then he said, “Let anyone who has ears to hear listen.”

Isaiah 55:10-11 (ESV) For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven
and do not return there but water the earth,
making it bring forth and sprout,
giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.

Mark 16:14-16 (CSB) Later he appeared to the Eleven themselves as they were reclining at the table. He rebuked their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they did not believe those who saw him after he had risen. Then he said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.

Where do you see God in the text? What does the text say about God?

God

Romans 1:16-17 (CSB) For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, first to the Jew, and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith, just as it is written: The righteous will live by faith.

The Gospel

1 Corinthians 15:1-11 (CSB) ow I want to make clear for you, brothers and sisters, the gospel I preached to you, which you received, on which you have taken your stand and by which you are being saved, if you hold to the message I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. For I passed on to you as most important what I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the Twelve. Then he appeared to over five hundred brothers and sisters at one time; most of them are still alive, but some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one born at the wrong time, he also appeared to me.

For I am the least of the apostles, not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me. Whether, then, it is I or they, so we proclaim and so you have believed.

Our Responsibility

Christ has told us two things:

  1. When the gospel is proclaimed, preached, mentioned, taughted, spoken: there are four kinds of people who are going to reject it either the moment they hear it or later on when circumstances are not going their way,

  2. Guess what? Go and preach the gospel anyways.

How, then, can they call on him they have not believed in?

The answer is no.

1 Corinthians 12:1-3 (CSB) Now concerning spiritual gifts: brothers and sisters, I do not want you to be unaware. You know that when you were pagans, you used to be enticed and led astray by mute idols. Therefore I want you to know that no one speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus is cursed,” and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.

And how can they believe without hearing about him?

The answer is they cannot. The gospel is not inherent knowledge. In other words, we are not born with the knowledge of God’s saving grace. That is what it means to be born into sin. Sin has kept you from knowing and seeing God in your glory. There is nothing you can change and nothing you can do and nothing you can learn to make yourself see God. God will literally have to come into your life and swap your dead, granite heart for his living, soft heart. He will have to change your mind. He will have to open your eyes. He will have to do everything in order for you to see him and believe him and obey him.

And how can they hear without a preacher?

The answer is they cannot. For the life of me, I cannot fathom why God, in his infinite wisdom and might and goodness, would put the gospel into a collection of words. Not a set collection. Not a script. Here is the gospel and you know the gospel–now go and proclaim it.

“But I don’t know how to do it like my pastor?” Ah, like Moses? Go and just share what you know.

And how can they preach unless they are sent?

We might have the internet. But we still send missionaries and church planters. Go, therefore, and make disciples.

As it is written: How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news

I like this description. When the gospel is being proclaimed, no one EVER remarks about the speaker’s words, poise, or articulation. No! It is always, “This is mind blowing stuff! Why hasn’t anybody told me this before?” How beautiful are the feet of the ones who bring the good news to me!

But not all obeyed the gospel

Make no mistake: the gospel is a commandment by the Lord our God. Repent for the kingdom of God is at hand. Christ lived, died, rose, and ascended. Choose this day on whom you will serve.

For Isaiah says, Lord, who has believed our message

John 3:5-8 (CSB) Jesus answered, “Truly I tell you, unless someone is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. Whatever is born of the flesh is flesh, and whatever is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be amazed that I told you that you must be born again. The wind blows where it pleases, and you hear its sound, but you don’t know where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”

In other words, let the Spirit do his work. You don’t have to speak well, entertain, or be charismatic or the right personality type to proclaim the gospel. Just get it out of your mouth in front of another human, and then the Spirit goes to work.

So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the message about Christ

It is not that an unbeliever will see good works and be saved. They will hear our words and believe that they will be saved.

Pray

Our Savior
 

Lead us to proclaim the gospel.

Spirit, save us.

Amen.