This is a very moving experience for me to watch that video. I know many of those faces and many of those missionaries and many of those nationals, and I’ve been to many of those places and preached in some of those churches that you saw. This is all very near and dear and precious to my own heart. These people are my heroes, as I am eager to say. They forsake all the things that make life comfortable here and abandon themselves to the challenges and the difficulties of taking the gospel into a completely foreign place, completely different culture involving, in most cases, the learning of the language, the mastery of the language so as to be able to teach and preach in that language effectively.
They have supported wives and supported children and it’s just a profound benediction for our church to have these kind of people who are a part of our missionary family. Our hearts should go out to them in abundant love and gratitude for the sacrifices they make, for the diligence that they apply to these very difficult tasks. They’ve gone through preparation. We thank the Lord for the Master’s Seminary, and in many cases, they’ve even been to the Master’s College for the preparation, for the diligence of the faculty and the folks who influenced them through their years of training.
And now to see them reproduce this around the world is such a great blessing. Each of these ministries seems to be flourishing and growing to the degree, that I said earlier, we need 45 new missionaries immediately to step in to carry the load because it’s more than we can bear. The new opportunities are everywhere. Just in Italy we have a training center in Sicily now, 57 men now already in training and it’s just barely getting started. They never heard of expository preaching really five years ago.
New training center just opening in Zurich, a ministry there. I was able to be there for the launching of that new training center among Swiss Germans and it was a great joy. There’s a ministry there that’s giving us a facility free of charge that’s a world-class beautiful, beautiful facility for the training center. And there’s just a tremendous emphasis everywhere in the world, a hunger among the true church of God to know the Word of God and looking for somebody who can teach them how to understand and proclaim the Scripture.
The translation of the Bible, the planting of churches, training of leaders, this is the heart and soul of what we do, what Grace Church missionaries are all about. And it’s our passion. I am, in a sense, second-class citizen in the group today. I might have wished in God’s purposes He had made me a missionary, that’s not what He did. But if – if He had done that in my life, I would have rejoiced at that great privilege. But it is a joy to be able to be associated with them, to try to undergird and help and support them, encourage them any way that I possibly can.
That video closed with a passage of Scripture, I’d like you to open your Bibles to Romans chapter 10 verses 14 and 15. I just want to make a few comments about it. We’ve already had a lot. I’m not going to preach a full message. I want to really give you time to go circulate out on the patio and enjoy the fellowship with the missionaries in a time of getting to know them and their ministries. But I do want to make a few comments about this.
Romans chapter 10, verses 14 and 15, “How then shall they call upon Him in whom they have not believed? How shall they believe in Him whom they have not heard? How shall they hear without a preacher? And how will they preach unless they are sent?” This lays out the gospel mandate. In order to be saved, people have to believe. In order to believe, they have to know what to believe. In order to know what to believe, there has to be somebody who tells them. And in order for them to be somebody who tells them, somebody has to be sent. That’s really the mission mandate. That sums it all up.
There is no salvation apart from the gospel. No gospel, no salvation. You must know the truth and believe the truth. And to know the truth and believe the truth, you have to hear the truth and, therefore, somebody has to bring it to you. That’s why we are so committed in sending people around the world to multiply themselves.
Go back to the beginning of this chapter and let’s understand the context in which the apostle Paul says this. In this great epistle to the Romans, the apostle Paul lays out the matters that concern salvation. He understands perfectly well, as well as any human being could understand it, the sinfulness of man because he was inspired by the Spirit of God to write the first, second, and third chapter which lay out in unmistakable terms the issue of human lostness and depravity. He understands the total inability of the sinner on his own to be saved.
“By the deeds of the law,” – he wrote – “shall no flesh be justified.” He understands that the sinner has no ability within himself to save himself. He has no moral virtue by which he can please God and there are no religious works which he can do to gain forgiveness. He understands the sinner’s plight. He also understands perfectly well, as well as anyone could ever understand, because this too was revealed to him by God, that salvation is a sovereign work of God. He understands that it is the work of God to awaken the dead sinner and to open his heart to grant him faith to believe and embrace the gospel.
It is a divine and sovereign work and that becomes crystal clear from chapter 3 in verse 20 all the way to the end of chapter 11. This great section from chapter 3 verse 21 to the end of chapter 11 is all about God’s sovereign work of salvation. It looks at the cross and the resurrection, the work of God in justification and sanctification, the coming glorification, and lays all the responsibility before God as the sovereign one in saving sinners. And he closes with that great benediction, “For from Him,” – chapter 11 verse 36 – “and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.”
Paul understands that salvation is a mighty work of God. It is a sovereign work of God. It is God alone who can make the dead live and the blind see. It is God alone who can give to man a righteousness that satisfies Him, His own righteousness, alien to the sinner. It is God alone, through the work of Christ, who has satisfied His own justice by making Christ the penalty for sin. Heaping His own wrath on Christ His justice is satisfied and He can then count the righteousness of Christ as if it were the sinner’s righteousness.
He understands all those great truths about a sovereign God having to awaken a dead sinner, about a sovereign God choosing to save, about a sovereign God determining a way in which He can satisfy His justice through the sacrifice of His Son and at the same time, save the sinner, how He can be both just and the justifier of sinners. Paul understands all of that. And he understands that God gets all the glory and God gets all the credit. And that the plan is completely God's, completely God’s. But as well as He understands all that, he also understands that no one will ever be saved apart from the gospel. Someone must take the sinner the message.
He began this wonderful epistle in chapter 1 in verse 16 with this statement, “I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation.” Salvation cannot occur apart from the gospel. The gospel is the power of God for salvation. No one has ever been saved apart from the gospel since the coming of Christ and since His death and resurrection. No one can be saved unless they hear. No one can hear unless somebody preaches. And there’s no one to preach unless someone is sent.
And when you take the gospel, it is necessary that a clear explanation of the gospel be made. That’s why training is so important. There are so many inadequate representations of the gospel such as, I just told you, about the pastor in Greece who is horrified because there’s a fast=growing movement among so-called evangelicals that denies that Jesus actually came in the flesh. It is necessary that we get the right message and that we get it accurately. And that’s why training is absolutely critical. You can’t have a caricature of the gospel. You can’t have bits and pieces of the gospel that have been floating around and amalgamated themselves into some syncretistic kind of understanding that is inadequate. It must be the gospel, it must be the true gospel and it can be nothing but the gospel.
The world is full of religion. There are religious people all over the planet. They are passionately religious. You see it all the time. You see religious Hindus in the media all the time. You see religious Buddhists. You see religious Muslims all the time escalating in their exposure to the world. You see religious Roman Catholics. You see religious New Agers, religious spiritualists, religious Protestants, even religious so-called evangelicals who have some kind of longing to gain heaven and know God. But unless they know the truth, it’s all useless.
Nobody ever sought for the truth more zealously than the Jews did. And, in fact, they had the Old Testament to begin with, it was to them that God gave the covenants and the adoption as sons and the promises, gave them the scriptures. They had rabbis, scribes, Pharisees, experts in the study of Scripture, self-appointed, self-styled, self-confessed experts. They had commentaries that had been written and accumulated through the centuries to assist them in interpreting the Scripture.
Jerusalem was a citadel of Jewish learning. They had developed a very sophisticated tradition of explaining the Scripture. They were thought to have possessed, these scribes, esoteric, supernatural insights into the meaning of Scripture. They were believed to have powers of discernment so that their word became equal to the Scripture. In fact, they substituted the traditions of man for the Word of God. That was Jesus’ own indictment. They made immense efforts to the interpretation of Scripture.
Coming out of Italy in the last few days, I was amazed again to see the complexity of that massive system of Roman Catholicism and go through some of their ancient buildings and some of their ancient libraries and see the massive amount of writing that’s gone on through the centuries to try to explain the Scripture. Stood in the private library in – in Wittenberg where Luther was and I held in my hands some of Luther’s own books, some of his own books with his initials on the front cover.
I held Luther’s commentary of Romans written by his friend Melanchthon and with his notes written in his own pen, are still there to be read in the margins. And I realized that one man indicted the whole Roman system for their misunderstanding of the gospel and by the grace of God brought down the system. There are people all over the world who are zealous in their religious pursuit of God. And that was true of the Jews. In fact, Jesus said of them in John 8:19, “You know neither me nor My Father.” It’s all useless. It all leads you absolutely nowhere. You have not come to know My Father, He said later in the eighth chapter.
Very little different than what Isaiah had said about an apostate Israel in his day. Isaiah wrote in the beginning of his prophecy in verse 2 of the first chapter, “Listen, O heavens, and hear, O earth; For the Lord speaks, ‘Sons I have reared and brought up, but they have revolted against Me. An ox knows its owner, and a donkey its master’s manger, But Israel does not know, my people do not understand.’ They have abandoned the Lord, they have despised the Holy One of Israel, they have turned away from Him.”
Jeremiah understood exactly the same thing when he wrote in chapter 9 verse 23, “Thus says the Lord, ‘Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches; but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me’” The true knowledge of God is the issue. And there is error all over the globe. As you know. Satan is the father of lies and the deceiver. And so, in the proclamation of the gospel, we are sent to the ends of the earth with the truth.
Now let me show you a little this by taking you back to chapter 10 verse 1. There are some necessary understandings if we’re going to be effective in doing this. And I just want to point these to you just briefly this morning. Number one, there is a necessary attitude. Effective evangelism, effective mission work flows out of basic attitude. And it is illustrated for us here by the apostle Paul. “Brethren,” – he writes – “my heart’s desire and my prayer to God for them” – that is for Israel – “is for their salvation.” What you see with the apostle Paul is a passion. My heart’s desire, my heart passion, my heart’s longing is for the salvation of Israel. This is what motivated him. This is what drove him. This is what compelled him. This is what constrained him.
When he wrote to the Corinthians he said this, and it’s such a telling statement. In 2 Corinthians 5, he says we know no man after the flesh. He said I don’t even see people as just human. I see them as eternal souls. We don’t know people on the fleshly side. We don’t evaluate people as to their earthly status, their success or failure, their material wealth or poverty. We don’t evaluate people as to their education or lack of it, as to their style of life or absence of that. We don’t even view people that way. We know no man after the flesh. We see all men for what they really are and that is eternal souls. And when you look at people and realize that they are eternal souls who will live forever, either – either in heaven or hell, this should have a very compelling draw toward evangelism on your heart.
To show you how strong it was with Paul, go back to chapter 9. And in chapter 9 in verse 1, what he’s about to say is so shocking, it is so extreme, it is so severe, it is so, I guess you could say hard to believe, that he begins with some preliminary statements. “I am telling the truth in Christ.” What I’m about to say is going to seem so strange and so unbelievable that I am going to say at the very beginning that I will call on Christ to affirm this is exactly the truth. This is true and Christ knows it. I am not lying.
“My conscience bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit.” The Holy Spirit confirms in my conscience that what I’m about to say is true. My conscience says it’s true. You ought to know I’m not lying. And Christ knows I’m telling the truth. He is amassing every bit of support he can for the validity of his statement. And here is his statement. “I have” – verse 2 – “great sorrow,” – great sorrow, not just sorrow, great sorrow – “and unceasing grief in my heart.” I have an endless ache, endless pain, it never goes away and it is profound. It is high and deep and broad and long. I have an endless sorrow and an endless grief.
In verse 3 he explains. What is it? “I could wish that I myself were accursed,” – or damned – “separated from Christ for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh, who are Israelites.” I could wish that I would go to hell forever if in so doing salvation would come to Israel. He’s not just saying I would give my time for the cause of the gospel to Israel. I – he’s not saying I would just give my life. He’s saying I’d give my eternity for it, I’d give my eternity. I’d go to hell if I could for them. What kind of love is that? What kind of passion is that? What kind of deep drive is that? But that’s what he means by heart’s desire.
Go over to chapter 10 again. When he says “my heart’s desire,” that’s what loaded in that statement. And this heart’s desire becomes a petition, “My heart’s desire” – and, consequently – “my prayer to God”; my deēsis, my constant pleading. It’s a word that means persistent pleading, petition. Now I say it again. He understood the depravity of man so that a man had nothing in himself to save himself. He understood the sovereignty of God so that only God could save and did so, according to His sovereign will. But that did not eliminate his prayer life. That did not make him indifferent.
He still was driven by this passion for the salvation of the Jews, and I might add as a footnote to that, he had a passion equal to that for the salvation of the Gentiles and he expresses it again and again in the letters that he writes to his Gentile churches, as well as his own testimony from the Damascus road which he gives in Acts 22 and again in Acts 26. His passion is clear for all that are lost, both Jew and Gentile. And this passion does not resign itself to the inability of human depravity, nor does it resign itself to divine sovereignty. It ends up in pleading persistent petition.
And it is critical to understand that prayer is a vital part of the work of evangelism. When Paul writes to Timothy, he says to him in the second chapter of his epistle that “I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, in order that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth.”
So what he’s saying is, you pray for everyone to come to the knowledge of the truth because that’s the heart of God. God desires men to come to the knowledge of the truth and that’s how we have to pray. Jesus prayed evangelistically on the cross. “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do,” asking God to forgive those who crucified Him. Stephen prayed evangelistically when he was being crushed under the stones of the Jews who were stoning him and said, “Lord, lay not this sin to their charge.” Forgive them of this sin.
Evangelism starts with an attitude, an attitude of passionate concern and moves to prayer. God uses our prayers. Yes God is sovereign, yes man is unable, but God has not only chosen whom He will save and how He will save but by the means of prayer He saves. And so, like Paul, we plead with God. He was not making hopeless pleas. He was not banging against a vaulted closed door. He was pleading to God who by nature was a Savior. Jesus it was, you know, who wept over the city of Jerusalem, said, “How often I would have gathered you but you would not.”
This whole missionary enterprise starts with the attitude of the heart, attitude of compassion and sympathy, seeing no person for the superficial person that they appear to be, but understanding their eternal souls and caring about their eternity. The wider your world gets – I will just tell you this – the further you go and the more people you see, the more faces you look into, the deeper this passion becomes.
Secondly, not only is there to be a necessary attitude for effective evangelism, but there has to be an assessment of the issues. You have to go beyond attitude to knowledge. You’ve got to get to the point where you understand what we’re dealing with here. You can’t rush into this dilemma, into this massive world of people that are lost and do the once-over-lightly thing. You can’t just give them some over-simplified message and then ask them to do some over-simplified act and assume that that is what is required.
It is far deeper than that. You go from this heart attitude, which I think a lot of people have had and it has compelled them into some kind of ministry, but the ministry has been so superficial that it never was able to accomplish what their heart hoped it would. There has to be a true understanding of what we’re dealing with. Paul could have certainly done a once-over-lightly with the Jews, typical little presentation of something, believe in Jesus, made it as simple as he could, made it as easy as he could and then told them that that would settle it all before God. But he didn’t do that. He knew he had to deal with the deep realities of the gospel.
And so, notice again in verse 2, he said I bear them witness, they are very religious. “They have a zeal for God, but not in accordance with knowledge.” They’re running after God. They’re coming after God but the way they’re coming is wrong. People today want to say it’s fine. You know, if you’re seeking God, whatever way you’re seeking Him, if you look to him – look for Him in this religion, that religion, the other religion, as long as you’re looking for God. And some writers say as long as it’s monotheism, you're – we’re all going to end up at the same place. That’s not what Paul said. “They have a zeal for God, but not in accordance with knowledge.” There’s some things they have to know. There are ignorances that are damning ignorances, and he lays them out. Here they are.
Number one, “not knowing about God’s righteousness.” The first problem is people don’t know how righteous God really is. That is, they don’t understand that He’s absolutely holy and the only one who can come to God will be the one who is also absolutely holy. Leviticus says it, “Be ye holy for I am holy.” The New Testament repeats it again and again. Jesus put it this way, “Be ye perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect.” God requires perfection. He is absolutely holy, absolutely holy. People today cannot be ignorant of the righteousness of God. They have to have a sound and solid theology proper. They have to know God to be a God of absolute holiness.
As it says in Exodus 15:11, “He is majestic in holiness.” Psalm 50 verse 21 indicts people. “You have thought that I was just like you.” And I am not. So when you do the work of evangelism, you start with the holiness of God. You start with the absolute holiness of God. God is perfectly holy, completely holy, totally holy, and no one can enter His presence who is not also holy. Therefore, you must have a holiness which is equal to the holiness of God to have a relationship to God. That’s where it all begins. And the sinner then needs to recognize the fact that no such holiness is available to him, therefore needs an alien holiness that must be granted him by God Himself if he is to ever have the holiness that God requires.
Those Jews, along with religious people all over the world throughout all of history and even today, think God is less holy than He is. They think that while God may be holy to some degree, He’s not as holy as all that and you can, if you work at it, be good enough to satisfy God. That’s why every religion in the world, every religion on the face of the earth no matter what its name, apart from the truth is a system of diminishing the holiness of God and elevating the capability of man so that man can do what pleases God.
That’s the second point. Sinners are ignorant of the holiness of God, and they are, secondly, ignorant of the sinfulness of man. That’s why in verse 3 he says, “Not knowing about God’s righteousness they seek to establish their own.” They think God is less righteous than He is, as I’ve said many times. They think they are more righteous than they are. They bring God down, push themselves up. You hear people say it all the time, “I’m basically a good person. I’m a good person. I’m a religious person. I’m a spiritual person. I believe in God. I try to do the right thing, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.”
They have pulled God down. They have diminished His glory. They have lowered His standard. They have misidentified God. And then they have elevated themselves. James 2:10, “Whoever keeps the whole law and stumbles in one point has become guilty of all.” So we have a problem here. People think God is less holy than He is. They think that they are more holy than they are. So in any work of evangelism you have to establish the holiness of God in its absolute nature and you have to establish the unholiness of man, also in its absolute nature, that even man’s righteousness, Isaiah 64:6, “is as filthy rags.”
So, the problem is, people do not understand the righteousness of God. They have a bad theology proper, theology being that which is true about God. They have a bad anthropology; they misunderstand man. And thirdly, they have a bad harmartiology; they misunderstand the sinfulness of man. Verse 3 says, “they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God.” Man doesn’t understand God, he doesn’t understand himself and he doesn’t understand his own sin. They did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God.
Now how could the sinner do that because God has given him a law? There is a law written in the Scripture, there’s also a law written in the heart of man, aided and abetted by the conscience. God has written His law in the heart, Romans 2 says, God has given His law inscripturated to the Jews. But what do men do? Instead of subjecting themselves to the righteousness of God that works in the law, they wrongly apply the law and think that by the law they can work themselves into favor with God.
What is the purpose of the law? We don’t want to go too far with this, but what is the purpose of the law? The purpose of the law is to demonstrate to man that He is a sinner. So man has a wrong understanding of God, has a wrong understanding of himself, he has a wrong understanding of his sin. He doesn’t understand the law is to disclose his sin, to manifest his sin so you bring the sinner before a holy God, you bring the sinner to the recognition of his own inability to maintain a holy righteous standard. If he offends in one, he is damned by that one. You show the sinner that instead of seeing the law of God as what crushes him, he sees the law of God as a means by which in keeping it in some minuscule way he can earn favor with God.
The goal of the law is to produce an awareness of sin. An awareness of sin is to produce guilt. Guilt is to produce helplessness. Helplessness is to produce fear of damnation. And that’s the work of the law. The Jews had the law but they didn’t let the law do its work. They failed to be alarmed by the Law. They failed to be threatened by the law. They failed to be scared out of their wits by the law and the promised judgment of God on those who violated that law. They failed to be brought under the conviction of a smiting conscience. The sinner must come to the place of condemnation, humiliation and penitence.
And the fourth thing they were ignorant of – and many religious people are ignorant of as well – they were not only ignorant of God, a bad theology; ignorant of themselves, a bad anthropology; ignorant of sin, a bad harmartiology, they were ignorant of the provision of Christ. They had a bad soteriology. They didn’t understand, verse 4 says, that “Christ is the end of the law for righteousness.” They didn’t understand how Christ brings an end to the tyranny of the law.
Here they are crushed under the weight of the righteousness of God, held captive to their own inability and here they are having violated the law of God and they are in sin and guilt and hopelessness and fear of eternal damnation, and where are they going to turn to get out from under the curse of the law? And the answer is that Christ is an – is the end of the law for righteousness, end meaning fulfillment. He provides the fulfillment the law demands. The law demands death, He dies the death. The law demands a perfect life, He lives the perfect life.
His death is credited to your account. God’s wrath is satisfied, His justice is met and He credits His life to your account as well and you’re covered by His righteousness. So, on the positive side, the law provides perfect righteousness, Christ lives a perfect life credited to your account. On the negative side, the law requires death, Christ dies the death, that death credited to your account. Christ then becomes the end or the fulfillment of the law’s requirement with regard to righteousness. When you go to preach the gospel, you have to have a sound theology, anthropology, a sound harmartiology, – understanding of the sinfulness of sin – and a sound soteriology, the work of Christ.
And in that soteriology, there’s one other component that you must know that they didn’t know. They were also ignorant of their place of faith. End of verse 4, “Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.” It’s all faith, not of works. That’s what Paul’s been saying since chapter 3. “By the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified.” It’s all by faith. He said it in chapter 1 verse 16, “The gospel is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes.” “It is the righteousness of God,” – 3:22 – “through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe.”
They failed, Israel did, because they tried to work their way. Their failure is indicated in verse 32 of chapter 9. Why did they fail? Why did they never attain righteousness? Because they didn’t pursue it by faith but as though it were by works. So they stumbled over the stumbling stone, they stumbled over Christ. Why? Because look, if you can work your way to heaven, you don’t need a Savior, right? If you can earn your salvation, you don’t need a substitute. If you can satisfy God on your own, you don’t need somebody to pay the penalty for your sin. So they stumbled over the idea of a crucified Messiah. They didn’t need a mediator. They didn’t need a Redeemer, a Savior, a ransom price to be paid. They could do it on their own.
So that’s how the world is, even the religious world. That’s how the most religious people who were the closest to the truth – the Jews were, they didn’t have a right view of God, didn’t have a right view of man, didn’t have a right view of sin, didn’t have a right view of the work of Christ, didn’t have a right view of salvation by faith. They certainly didn’t understand the extent of the gospel, to everyone who believes, to everyone.
Paul then unfolds more about that in the remainder of the verses, but let’s go down then to verse 14 and ask our final question. If this is the condition of the world, this is the assessment, what – what is our responsibility? We have the attitude laid out for us in the first verse. We have the assessment of the condition of a world around us in the remaining verses, all the way down. We have the good news of verse 13, “Whoever will call on the name of the Lord to be saved,” and that brings it right down to our responsibility.
And here is where we get involved. “How then shall they call on Him in whom they haven’t believed? How are they going to believe in Him in whom they haven’t heard? And how are they going to hear without a preacher? And how are they going to preach unless they are sent?” That’s why we do what we do. We have people who have this passion. We have people who have this attitude, people who have this heart. I – I have a whole church full of them. And we all go. And some of us go to the ends of the earth and some of us go to our neighborhood and our family and our school and our job and our friends.
We go wherever we go with a view to – to take to people from the heart this passionate desire to see people saved, to take to these people who we want to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. People who are in ignorance, even though they may have a zeal for God, we take to them the truth that we know is an antidote to their ignorance. We have to show them about an absolutely holy God, about an utterly sinful man. We have to show them about the purpose of the law, to crush them under the weight of their own sin and make them fear their damnation.
We have to show them then how Christ brings an end to all that, how this gospel is available by faith alone and it’s available to anyone and everyone who believes. And then, just as it is written, verse 15, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring glad tidings of good things.” You want to have beautiful feet in your world, your little world? You be the one who brings somebody the gospel. Beautiful feet is just a simple little way to refer to the joyous arrival of someone. You will be the most joyous person ever to arrive in someone’s life when you bring them the gospel.
I’ve seen it all my life. It’s even strange to me in other parts of the world to be embraced by people that I’ve never met in the strangest places, in the strangest languages, who somehow, someway through the ministry of Grace Community Church have come to faith in Jesus Christ. And how thankful they are and how they consider the – the beauty of those who have brought them that eternally wonderful message. Not everybody’s going to believe, verse 16 says. “They didn’t all heed the glad tidings.” Even Isaiah said, “Lord, who has believed our report?” First verse of chapter 53.
Not everybody’s going to believe. That doesn’t change our responsibility. So you go back to your responsibility in the last verse that I want to look at, verse 17, “Faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the Word of Christ.” So you start with the word of Christ, you send people who know the Word to preach so the people can hear and believe and call upon the name of the Lord and be saved. This is our mission mandate. This is our responsibility. And this is our joy. Bow with me in prayer.
What a privilege, Lord, it is to see again clearly the responsibility that is ours for the proclamation of the glorious gospel of Christ. Thank You for letting us participate in Your divine work. We understand it is from You and through You and to You that all this happens, and all the glory if Yours.
But, Lord, You’ve also chosen to use us and You’ve asked us to be faithful and passionate and zealous, diligent so that we can enjoy eternal reward and fruit that will redound to Your glory and our eternal joy. Thank You for these missionaries, both those that are sent around the world and those who are part of our church family here who are faithful. And may You increase their joy as they proclaim the gospel and see sinners repent and believe. For the glory of Christ we pray. Amen.
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