14 How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? 15 And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”
16 But not all the Israelites accepted the good news. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our message?” 17 Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ. 18 But I ask: Did they not hear? Of course they did:
“Their voice has gone out into all the earth,
their words to the ends of the world.”
19 Again I ask: Did Israel not understand? First, Moses says,
“I will make you envious by those who are not a nation;
I will make you angry by a nation that has no understanding.”
20 And Isaiah boldly says,
“I was found by those who did not seek me;
I revealed myself to those who did not ask for me.”
21 But concerning Israel he says,
“All day long I have held out my hands to a disobedient and obstinate people.”
Paul highlights God’s mercy. Then Paul highlights the message of confessing that Jesus is Lord and believing that God has raised Him from the dead. Today Paul highlights God’s messengers!
- People Must Hear the Good News
- One must hear in order to believe
- Ability to hear
“Let him who has ears to hear…”
- The message must be available
- God uses people to share the message
Back to Isaiah 6: 8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”
And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”
9 He said, “Go and tell this people:
“‘Be ever hearing, but never understanding; be ever seeing, but never perceiving.’
10 Make the heart of this people calloused; make their ears dull and close their eyes.
Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears,
understand with their hearts, and turn and be healed.”
Isaiah 52: 7 How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!”
- Not All Who Hear Believe
Isaiah 53: 1Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
Just because people hear, they don’t believe. I have heard an evangelistic statistic that the average number of times a person hears the gospel before they believe is seven.
- How Will We Participate in Sharing the Good News?
- What is the importance of following Jesus?
What has God done in your life? Direction, meaning, purpose, strength, joy, understanding of difficult circumstances. Wisdom to submit to others. Peace in relationships with others and God. Confidence in death. Satisfaction with my life in spite of the trials that endure.
Each of us has a testimony. Now, others have a testimony of how they live their lives as well, so just because we have a story doesn’t mean it is universal in application or even true and good. But it is a start and gives us an avenue to have a conversation with folks who don’t follow Jesus.
- We must be able to explain the gospel
This can be simple and complicated at the same time. It’s as simple as John 3:16 or Romans 10:9-10. But those verses are embedded in a Jewish worldview that may or may not be understood.
- There is a God
- He has created all that there is
- Man was created in a different state than he is in right now. We are meant to know God personally and walk with Him in relationship. Because he has created us, He has plans and purposes for our lives.
- God has given men directions for life that they are to follow. Those directions are the law.
- Man has not followed the directions. This is what sin is.
- The consequences of sin is a lack of awareness of God and His directions for life. This is called death and leads to a loss of life both now and when we die. And then there is a substitution of other desires for what God would have us to do. The Bible views these substitute desires as Greed, Pride and Sensual Pleasure.
- Sin and it’s effects on a person’s life grows more and more profound. Life gets worse and worse as we live apart from God’s plans for us. And when we die we will encounter God and be judged for what we have done while alive. No one who has sinned will be judged well. And all have sinned.
- Ultimately we will never experience life or God as God desires if we do not find a way to defeat sin in our lives.
- Jesus Christ came to defeat sin in our lives. He lived as an example of how we are to live. He taught us how to live a life of victory over sin as well. And Jesus died in our place as a substitute, paying the penalty for our sin and allowing us to be judged according to His righteousness.
- We gain access to this grace of Jesus Christ by turning away from our personal desires and pursuing His way of living. (His teaching and example.) Jesus becomes our way, truth and life. He makes a way for us to gain greater and greater access to God and His created purposes for us.
- Jesus ascended to God’s presence and send the Holy Spirit to lead and teach us in the same manner that He did while He was on earth.
- The Holy Spirit has inspired the Apostles and their close friends to write the information that we need about Jesus in order that we might have victory over sin and live as best we can the created life that God has for us. The written information that we have is called the Bible.
- Demonstrate the Love of God and Share Truth
I John 4: 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
John 1:18 18 No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.
Jesus did a good job of revealing God, people still rejected Him.
Jesus has fed the 5,000. He has done an amazing miracle. The people want food from Him every day in order to trust in Him. God will NOT do more than He will do to draw people.
John 6:43 43 “Stop grumbling among yourselves,” Jesus answered. 44 “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day.
John 6: 46 No one has seen the Father except the one who is from God; only he has seen the Father. 47 Very truly I tell you, the one who believes has eternal life. 48 I am the bread of life. 49 Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, yet they died. 50 But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which anyone may eat and not die.
So, something else is necessary in order for people to believe and follow Jesus! And that is that God must make them able to believe and follow. He must “draw them.”
III. God Must Work in Order for People to Believe
- God is not stingy with His love
II Peter 3: 9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
- Examples of God working
How has He worked in your life? Why do you believe?
Do not think that because you were raised in a Christian home that that is not a sign of God’s grace. That is probably the ultimate sign of His grace in your life! Many die without hearing the gospel even one time!!
The testimony of the Apostle Paul: Blinded for three days, spoken to directly by Christ.
Muslims having dreams. Story of a man raised who when hearing a teaching against Jesus’ divinity: “So you are telling me that Jesus is the Son of God?” Finding a Bible, finding Jesus.
Marty Thomas drinking mushroom tea, God speaking to Him.
Eternity in Their Hearts example after example.
Revelation 5: 9 And they sang a new song, saying:
“You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals,
because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased for God
persons from every tribe and language and people and nation.
10 You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God,
and they will reign on the earth.”
When that song was sung, there was no knowledge of North America in current day Turkey! And yet it was true of us here in this room!!
There are more people following Christ today than at any time in human history, both in terms of percentage and total numbers!
- People must believe for themselves
It is not an “either or proposition”
God will not overwhelm the will of man, the consistent call is to repent and believe!
Acts 2: 38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Acts 3: 19 Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, 20 and that he may send the Messiah, who has been appointed for you—even Jesus.
23 Anyone who does not listen to him will be completely cut off from their people.’
Acts 13: 38 “Therefore, my friends, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. 39 Through him everyone who believes is set free from every sin, a justification you were not able to obtain under the law of Moses.
48 When the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and honored the word of the Lord; and all who were appointed for eternal life believed.
14: 1At Iconium Paul and Barnabas went as usual into the Jewish synagogue. There they spoke so effectively that a great number of Jews and Greeks believed. 2 But the Jews who refused to believe stirred up the other Gentiles and poisoned their minds against the brothers.
16: 29 The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. 30 He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”
31 They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.”
Acts 17: 29 “Therefore since we are God’s offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone—an image made by human design and skill. 30 In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. 31 For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to everyone by raising him from the dead.”
32 When they heard about the resurrection of the dead, some of them sneered, but others said, “We want to hear you again on this subject.” 33 At that, Paul left the Council. 34 Some of the people became followers of Paul and believed. Among them was Dionysius, a member of the Areopagus, also a woman named Damaris, and a number of others.