What is the difference between desire and desperation?
Many of us have a desire to see the lost in our city reached, but few of us have a desperation to see the lost reached and saved by the Gospel message. Are we desperate for our community and our nation impacted by the Gospel?
Paul writing to the Christians in Rome, is encouraging these early Christians that they have obtained righteousness not by works, but by faith (Romans 9:30). In the next verse Paul says that the People of Israel, did not have faith, rather they tried to follow the law in order to obtain salvation.
I am sure you have heard someone say, “I am sure I am a Christian, I go to church every Sunday, I give money to the church, I try to follow the ten commandments”. Unfortunately, the Bible is clear that without faith in Jesus Christ as the risen Lord, you are not saved.
In Romans 10, Paul realizes that the problem with the Israelites being saved, is not their zeal for God, the problem is Jesus. Jesus is the stumbling block, the hurdle that they cannot overcome. Many people will say that they believe in God, however when asked if they believe in the son of God, Jesus Christ, and that God raised him from the dead, many would struggle at that point of clarification. To say that you believe and have a personal relationship with Jesus, who today is seated at the right hand of the father, is a line in the sand that causes offense. The name of Jesus, was a stone that caused the people of Israel to stumble, and still does the same today.
If you think about it, we all know people who are willing to say that they believe in God. But if you mention Jesus, they think you are too radical, you are being judgmental, divisive (read Luke 12:49-53 see what Jesus said about how his presence influences the world).
Getting back to Romans 10, as Paul is writing, he begins to lay out what is salvation through faith in Christ.
- In verse 4 he says that Christ is the culmination of the law, literally translated, Jesus put an end to the law of working for salvation by being good enough.
- In verses 5-7 Paul writes that salvation is found by faith alone in the risen Lord Jesus.
- In verse 8, Paul starts getting to his main point, “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,” that is, the message concerning faith that we proclaim.” Paul is saying, that we have this message in our mouth and it is in our hearts.
- One gets the picture of a burning message that is so much a part of you, that you cannot hold back, it is in your heart and in your mouth. The message is the Gospel, the Good News about Jesus Christ (v9). Paul goes on to make very clear that this is a global message for all who call on the name of Jesus (v 12).
There is a common thread in verses 8,9 and 10, we must speak this Gospel message out. As Christ’s ambassadors we need to be vocal about telling others about the Good news of Jesus Christ.
Never fall into the trap of thinking that simply be being a kind person people will somehow know the Gospel through seeing you. You must be kind, that is a given, but you must tell those around you about the Gospel that has changed your life.
Paul has defined the message and then he begins to call out the messenger.
In verses 14 and 15, Paul asks 4 rhetorical questions, 4 statements of building desperation.
- How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in (v14)? People will only call on Jesus to be the Lord of their lives, if they believe that he is actually able to save them?
- And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard (v14)? Belief in Jesus Christ cannot exist without knowledge about him (see Romans 10:17).
- And how can they hear without someone preaching to them (v14)? One hears about Christ only when someone proclaims the Gospel message. A better translation for preaching is to herald, like a town crier announcing an important message. Paul is referring to someone walking down the street and shouting out the Good News of the Gospel.
- And how can anyone preach unless they are sent (v15)? This message will never be proclaimed unless someone is sent to give the message. The Greek word for being sent here is Apostolos, meaning, being sent by God.
Paul believed that the only way to be saved was to hear and believe in the Gospel message. Believing that God sent his only son into the world to die for our sins so that by believing in Jesus, our relationship with God can be restored.
And then we have the final “how”, it is a declaration of joy and hope – “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news! (v15).
The feet that carry the message of the Gospel are made beautiful by the message. Do you have beautiful feet? Are your feet carrying the beautiful message?
Have you heard the word? Have you heard the Good news about Jesus? And if you have, can you tell the story?
If you have a personal relationship with Jesus, you have a story of the Gospel being applied to your life.
As a follower of Jesus, you are called to go and tell. Everyone fits into two categories. Either you still need to make Jesus Lord of your life or you need to tell others about what Jesus has done for you.
There is no such thing as passive Christianity.
The Normal Christian life is a life of action, being about the Masters business, doing the work that the Lord of your life prepared in advance for you to do (Ephesians 2:10).