The Book of ROMANS
James J. Barker
THE IMPORTANCE OF GOSPEL PREACHING
Text: ROMANS 10:12-21
- The theme of the book of Romans is the Gospel. In Romans 1:1, it is referred to as “the gospel of God.”
- In Romans 1:9, Paul calls it "the gospel of his Son."
- In Romans 1:16, Paul calls it "the gospel of Christ."
- In Romans 2:16 and 16:25, Paul calls it “my gospel.”
- In Romans 10:15, Paul calls it “the gospel of peace.”
- The apostle Paul's emphasis was preaching the Gospel. This should be our emphasis as well.
- In I Corinthians 9:16, Paul said, "Woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!"
- There have always been people preaching a false gospel, but the Bible is clear: The only way to get saved is through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ (cf. 10:9, 13).
- John Phillips said, "The Gospel message grips the mind, stabs the conscience, warms the heart, saves the soul, and sanctifies the life. It can make drunken men sober, crooked men straight, and profligate women pure. It is a message sufficient to transform the life of any who believe" (Exploring Romans).
- THE GOSPEL PREACHED
- THE GOSPEL HEARD
- THE GOSPEL REJECTED
THE GOSPEL PREACHED
- One preacher outlined Romans 10:13 this way:
- The broadest possible invitation -- "whosoever."
- The easiest possible condition -- "shall call."
- The simplest possible supplication -- "upon the name of the Lord."
- The greatest possible salvation -- "shall be saved."
- The Bible stresses the importance of getting the Gospel out to all the nations (cf. 10:18). Ezekiel 18:4 says, “Behold, all souls are mine.”
- Romans 10:13 tells us that salvation through Christ has been provided for all men -- "whosoever" (10:11, 13) – therefore it must be proclaimed to all men (10:14).
- “For the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him” (10:12b). Jesus Christ is “Lord over all.”
- And He is “rich unto all that call upon him” (10:12). He is “ready to pour out the wealth of His grace to any one and every one who seeks Him” (W.H. Griffith Thomas, St. Paul’s Epistle to the Romans).
- The phrase “for there is no difference” (10:12) was seen back in Romans 3:22. In Romans 3:22, we see there is no difference in human sinfulness. “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (3:23).
- Here in Romans 10, we see there is no difference in the wealth of God’s grace. He is “rich unto all that call upon him” (10:12).
- There is an emphasis on “calling” upon the Lord (10:12, 13, 14), but in order to call upon the Lord, sinners need to first believe (10:14).
- And in order to believe they first have to hear the Gospel (10:14).
- And in order to hear, someone has to preach the Gospel (10:14).
- Therefore, we need more preachers to proclaim the Gospel (10:17).
- First Corinthians 1:21 says “it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.”
- Churches today are not emphasizing Gospel preaching. Many churches have replaced preaching with entertainment. Someone recently told me he visited one of these big, worldly “churches,” and said, “When I left there I didn’t feel like I went to church!”
- Modern Christianity has little use for preaching, but the apostolic church spread the Gospel all over the world through preaching.
- Acts 8:4 says, “Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word.”
- Titus 1:3 says, “But hath in due times manifested his word through preaching.”
- In the liturgical churches, the pulpit is off to the side, out of the way. The emphasis is on ritual, candles, priests with robes, etc.
- And I hear that even in many evangelical churches now, the pulpit is being removed or pushed aside out of the way, into some corner.
- Some even ridicule old-fashioned Bible preaching. A few years ago, I saw a church ad that featured a cartoon of an ugly preacher belching out fire and smoke, and underneath it said, “Are you tired of listening to the Sermon-ator? Then come to our church! Our pastor gives nice, friendly messages with no fire and brimstone, etc.”
- In good churches, the pulpit is front and center, because the emphasis is on preaching the Gospel.
- Paul lays great stress in this chapter upon the spoken word, i.e., the word preached. The word "word" here means ‘spoken word’ (cf. 10:8, 17, 18).
- In order for the Word of God to be heard, preachers are necessary. By the preacher, the written word becomes the spoken word (cf. 10:14). The Word of God must be preached.
- Paul told young Timothy, “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine” (II Timothy 4:2).
- Sinners will not get to hear the Word without somebody preaching it. In Acts 8:26, “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.”
- Philip went, and there he found the Ethiopian eunuch sitting in his chariot reading Isaiah 53.
- Philip asked him, “Understandest thou what thou readest?” (Acts 8:30), and the eunuch answered, “How can I, except some man should guide me?” (Acts 8:31).
- As they sat and read Isaiah 53 together, the eunuch asked Philip, “I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man?” (Acts 8:34).
- “Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus” (Acts 8:35).
- In Revelation 14:6, the Bible says that during the tribulation, God will send an angel down to earth to preach the gospel. But right now He has given that privilege to you and me.
- Over and over in the Bible, the emphasis is on preaching the Word of God. First Peter 1:25 says, “The word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.”
- We need more preachers. Our Lord said to His disciples, “The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest. (Matt. 9:37, 38).
- All believers have a responsibility to get the Gospel out. Either we will go ourselves, or we will help others go. And if we cannot go far, we can try and win souls right where we are.
- There are many different people preaching today, but the Bible is clear that the preacher must be sent by God (10:15).
- Let us preach the Bible and let us allow the Bible to speak for itself.
- This is the only way sinners will get under conviction and get saved.
THE GOSPEL HEARD (ROMANS 10:17)
- We usually think of Romans 10:17 in terms of saving faith, but it also refers to Christians having their faith strengthened.
- The more we know the Word of God, the more we know of God, and the more faith we shall possess.
- W.H. Griffith Thomas said, “The longer we spend with our Bible in getting acquainted with God, the stronger, more practical, and more blessed will our faith be” (St. Paul’s Epistle to the Romans).
- “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (10:13). This refers to the sincere prayer of faith.
- But in order to call on the Lord, they first have to believe in the Lord. And in order to believe in the Lord, they must first hear the Gospel (10:13-15).
- The apostle Paul quotes from Psalm 19:4; Joel 2:32; Isaiah 49:23; 52:7; 53:1; and Nahum 1:15.
- Romans 10:11 refers to Isaiah 49:23 (cf. Romans 9:33).
- “And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD (Jehovah) shall be delivered” (Joel 2:32; cf. Romans 10:13).
- “As it is written (10:15) refers to Nahum 1:15 and Isaiah 52:7. “Behold upon the mountains the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace!” (Nahum 1:15).
- “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!” (Isaiah 52:7).
- “For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?” (Romans 10:16). “Who hath believed our report?” (Isaiah 53:1).
- “Their sound went into all the earth…” (Romans 10:18). “Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world” (Psalm 19:4).
- One thousand years before Christ, the Bible says, their words have gone out “to the end of the world” (Psalm 19:4).
- The problem isn’t that the Word of God wasn’t preached or wasn’t heard. The problem is the Word of God was rejected.
THE GOSPEL REJECTED
- Romans 10:16 says, "But they have not all obeyed the gospel" (10:16). The disobedience of lost sinners weighs heavily upon the Gospel preacher. Week after week we preach our hearts out and week after week we see sinners reject the Gospel.
- This unbelief greatly bothers the preacher (and it ought to bother all Christians), because he knows what will happen to them.
- “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned” (Mark 16:15, 16).
- The Gospel has been proclaimed all over the world – “their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world” (10:18).
- The Gospel has been preached, but it has been largely ignored and rejected.
- Like the prophet Isaiah, we cry out: "Lord, who hath believed our report?" (Rom. 10:16; cf. Isa. 53:1). The sad answer: not very many.
- When Isaiah cried out, he was referring to his fellow Jews (Romans 10:16). And so is Paul (cf. Romans 10:1). Next Paul goes on to say that the spoken word has gone out to "the ends of the world" (10:18).
- Therefore, Israel has no excuse. "Did not Israel know?" (10:19). Yes, they were the first to hear the message from God. God provoked them to jealousy by saving Gentiles (10:19).
- Over the years, more and more Gentiles have turned to Christ, whilst Israel has remained "a disobedient and gainsaying people" (Rom. 10:20, 21; cf. Isaiah 65:1, 2).
- After quoting from the book of Psalms and three Old Testament prophets, Isaiah, Joel and Nahum, Paul goes on to quote Moses, and then Isaiah once more (Romans 10:19-21; cf. Deuteronomy 32:21; Isaiah 65:1, 2).
- Romans 10 ends with a dismal picture of unbelieving Israel. They are without excuse. At this point, one might think that God was finished with Israel, but that is not the case (cf. 11:1, 2).
- J. Vernon McGee said this: "Have you ever stopped to think how tiresome it is to hold your hands out for a long period of time? Try it sometime and see how long you can do it. It is one of the most tiring things in the world."
- Then Dr. McGee points out that God has been holding out His hands "all day long" to "a disobedient and gainsaying people" (10:21).