Father, thank you so much for Your Word, that we have the record of what You have to say to us as permanently recorded. And as we now open these pages of Scripture, we ask that Your Holy Spirit would be the Instructor, the Teacher.
I pray that You would bless these readers, that You would build them up in their faith as we look into Your Word. I pray for those who are going to come to the moment when they read these words of devotion, that You alone would meet with them right where they are. So, put Your hand upon me strongly for good, use me now to teach Your Word. I pray this in my Savior Christ’s name, Amen.
Romans 10:14-15 Disciples’ Literal New Testament
This Is Why God Sent Forth His Messengers With The Report About Christ
14 How then[a] may they[b] call-upon the One in Whom they did not believe? And how may they believe the One Whom[c] they did not hear? And how may they hear without one proclaiming? 15 And how may they proclaim if they are not sent-forth? — just as it has been written[d] [in Isaiah 52:7]: “How beautiful are the feet of the ones announcing-good-news–of good things!”
The Word of God for the Children of God. Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Amen.
All right my brothers and sisters, we are still in Romans chapter 10. So, I hope your Bible just automatically flops open to the book of Romans right now.
My pages in Romans are about to come out right now as we have proceeded from verse one till right now. I already had them once re-stitched back in, but that is a good problem to have. Romans chapter 10 is critically important to us.
We are in Romans chapter 10, and to put a title on this lesson, it is “Gospel Preaching,” gospel preaching. And we are going to look at verses 14 through 17 this morning as we keep working our way through the book of Romans, and I think you will see why I am calling this devotional effort, “Gospel Preaching.”
Beginning in verse 14,
“How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news of good things!’
they did not all heed the good news; for Isaiah says, ‘Lord, who has believed our report?’ So, faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.”
The central idea of these verses is the preaching of the gospel.
And the importance of the preaching of the gospel cannot be overstated.
From cover to cover throughout the entire Bible, God has sent waves and legions of preachers to preach the gospel. It is God’s primary means to get the Word of God out. It is by the preaching of the Word.
The prophets of old were gospel preachers. Moses was a gospel preacher. David was a gospel psalmist. Isaiah was a gospel preacher. Jeremiah, Ezekiel were gospel preachers. And as we come to the New Testament, it is just more the same. John the Baptist was a gospel preacher. Jesus Christ Himself was a gospel preacher. God had only one Son and He made Him a gospel preacher.
Jesus for three years trained gospel preachers, and He sent them out to preach the gospel. Peter was a gospel preacher. On the day of Pentecost, he just picked up where Jesus had left off. Stephen was a gospel preacher. Paul was a gospel preacher. John was a gospel preacher. And when you trace church history, the greatest eras of church history are when God has raised up gospel preachers, and the low valleys of church history is when God has withheld His preachers.
So, the passage that we have before us in some ways is a snapshot of the entire Bible. And in some ways, it is a snapshot of the entirety of church history. So, we are not surprised as we come to these verses to read what Paul states, the chief importance of gospel preaching.
It is what the Puritans used to refer to as the primary ordinary means of grace.
There are many other means of grace.
The means of grace comes through one-on-one witnessing. It comes through parents teaching their children the gospel. It comes through counseling. The gospel comes through singing. The gospel comes through teaching venues.
But those are secondary to what is primary, and what has always been primary from the beginning of the Bible to the end of the Bible and throughout church history has been the preaching of the Word of God.
So, as we look at these verses, and I know most of us reading here today are not preachers, but you are dependent upon preachers, and this is a very important passage in your spiritual life. And there are some readers here today who are even praying about, “Has God called me to preach His Word?”
So, this is a very relevant passage.
So, I want you to note first as we walk through this text, the necessity of gospel preaching, the necessity of gospel preaching, and we see it in verse 14 and the beginning of verse 15.
Now, let me comment on this verse and a half before we begin to look at it.
What we have here is a series of questions.
It is a series of four rhetorical questions. A rhetorical question is really a statement. A rhetorical question raises a question, and the answer is so obvious that the one who raises it does not bother to answer it because the answer is self-evident.
That is what we have here. And in these four questions, they all begin with the word “how.” You will see the word “how” mentioned four consecutive times, and they are all linked together. They are inseparably linked like links in a chain. And what Paul does is Paul starts at the end and works backwards to the front. So, what he is arguing for here is the necessity of gospel preaching.
So, the first question is at the beginning of verse 14 and he says, “How will they call on Him in whom they have not heard?” The answer is obvious. No one can call on the name of the Lord until they have believed in the Lord.
Now, “call.” “How will they call on Him?” That is synonymous with saving faith, and it is mentioned in the previous verse, verse 13, “Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.” And it is mentioned in the verse previous to that at the end of verse 12 that “He is Lord of all abounding in riches for all who call on Him.” So, that is synonymous with saving faith. That starts at the end, the connecting point when someone calls upon the name of the Lord.
Now, to be distinguished is the word “believed” at the end of that question, because here Paul uses “believe” in a way that is less than saving faith. He uses it here really for just head knowledge. No one can call on the name of the Lord with saving faith until they have the head knowledge about Christ.
Really, it is to believe about Christ. That is how Paul is using the word here. It is to be distinguished from “call on Him.” In order to call upon Christ, you must know about Christ. You must know who He is. You must know why He came into this world. And more than just know it, you must be persuaded of it. You must be convinced of it by really the work of the Holy Spirit inside of your heart.
And so, believing the facts about the gospel precedes calling upon the name of the Lord. Saving faith never takes place within an intellectual vacuum.
There must always be the cognitive facts of the gospel, the absolute truth of the gospel that Christ Jesus came into this world to save sinners, that He is the virgin born, sinless, crucified, sin-bearing Savior who was buried, who was raised on the third day, who ascended back to heaven, who is seated at the right hand of God the Father.
And as verse 13 says, “And whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” You must believe that in your heart before you can call upon Him for salvation. That is where Paul begins his series of questions here. “How can you call on Him in whom you have not believed?” And the answer is “You cannot.”
So, now with the second question, he will take another step backwards. And he will then say, “How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard?”
Again, the answer is, “They cannot.” No one can believe the facts of the gospel until they hear the facts of the gospel. And so, preceding believing the facts of the gospel, you must hear the facts of the gospel.
And it is interesting he doesn’t say, “In whom you have not read,” but “whom you have not heard.” And again, the emphasis is it is expected that the gospel would primarily go out preached in order to be heard, not so much written in order to be read, but preached in order to be heard.
Martin Luther, during the Reformation, once said that the church is not to be a “pen house,” but to be a “mouth house.”
In other words, it is not to be a reading club, though obviously we read our Bibles and we read books that help us understand the Bible, but the tip of the spear primarily when you come to church is not to have someone read something to you; it is to have someone preach something to you.
The gospel is designed in the genius of God to be heralded, to be proclaimed, because there is an energy level and a depth of convictions that comes when the Word of God is to be preached.
And so, the highest rung on the ladder for how the gospel is to go out, it is to be preached and it is to be heard. And so that is why Paul continues to make this emphasis: “How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard?” And the answer again is a negative. No one can believe the facts about the gospel until they have heard the facts about the gospel being preached from the pulpits.
Now, I want to show you something here in that question that would easily escape our looking at this, but to be very specific, this does not say that they heard about Christ.
Please note how it reads in your Bible. It actually says that they actually heard Christ. Now, that is an important distinction because in every act of preaching there is really to be two preachers, one who is seen, but One who is unseen.
And when the written Word is preached, it is actually the living Word, Jesus Christ, who is speaking through this Word.
And for someone to call on the name of the Lord, you must actually realize it is Jesus Christ Himself who is speaking through His written Word and that the authority of Christ Himself is coming through the preaching of the Word of God. You are not merely hearing a man; you are hearing Jesus Christ Himself!
Now, you see the man and you hear the man, but behind the man stands Jesus Christ. And in reality, though you are not hearing the audible voice of Christ, you nevertheless in your heart are hearing the authority of Christ Himself and you are hearing the truth of Christ Himself.
You are hearing more than a man. You are hearing Christ Himself. And I trust that even this moment as I am teaching this that God is giving you ears to hear Christ Himself speak through the pages of His Word as I am opening this up.
This isn’t me speaking. This is Christ Himself who is speaking, and that needs to be brought to your attention as we even look at that question. You must hear more than a human preacher. You must hear Christ Himself who is calling out and who is speaking to you. And I would say to you, with all humility, Christ is speaking His Truth right now through me to you by means of His written Word.
But when people stand up with an open Bible and they read our passages and they explain the passages and then they exhort with the passages, Christ is in that, He is speaking through His written Word.
So that is the second question that Paul raises, “How will they call on Him in whom they have not believed?”
And the answer is that they cannot. But if you truly believe and if you truly call on the name of the Lord, you discern the power of Christ in that message.
Now, the third question.
And Paul is working his way backwards to the beginning.
And the third question is, “How will they hear without a preacher?”
And this underscores that God has chosen to work through means. He has chosen to work through human means.
God could have it written in the skies. God could have gospel tracts dropped out of the clouds. God could send legions of angels. But that is not how God has chosen to work.
God has chosen to work by raising up incredibly fallible, undeniably weak human instruments so the power belongs to God and the power does not belong to the frail human instrument. The power is in the message and the power is in the Holy Spirit who is working through the message through a very weak vessel.
So, look at the third question. “How will they hear without a preacher?” And the answer again is a negative. They cannot hear Christ preach through His written Word except there be a preacher who takes the written Word and opens it up and proclaims it.
Now, “preacher” here is really in a verb form, and it really literally is translated “without one preaching.” And it is a Greek word. It is the most prominent Greek word in the New Testament for “preaching.” It is a Greek word kerysso, and it actually means to lift up the voice and to announce and proclaim and to declare.
It would be much like what we would think of a town crier who would be going through the streets of a town and lifting up his voice so that everyone can hear.
The word does not mean “to share.” The word does not mean “to talk.” The word means actually “to announce and proclaim.”
And it is drawn from the culture of the day where Caesar had his heralds in the palace, and Caesar would issue to his heralds his imperial decree. And he would then dispatch and commission his heralds to go throughout the Roman Empire.
It was the only way of communication. And they would go into the towns. They would gather the people around them. They would cup their hands, lift up their voice, and say something like this, “Hear ye, hear ye this day. Rome has won a great victory. Rome has annexed another kingdom into the Empire.”
There was to be no negotiation. They were not allowed to withhold any part of the message. They were not allowed to add any of their own personal opinion or perspective to the message.
Or today, the message would be something like this, “Hear ye, hear ye, this day,” as the people gathered around. “Caesar has a son. There is an heir to the throne of Rome.”
As soon as the message was given, as he represented Caesar in each of these cities, he was then to report back to Rome. He was to go back into the palace, and he would give an account of himself to Caesar, had there been a full disclosure of the message that had been entrusted to him.
And if they were faithless or feckless and tried to tone down the message or withhold any part or add anything to it, it would cost them their life, and they would be immediately executed. That is the very word kerysso here.
Beautiful Are the Feet of Those Who Bring Good News—Romans 10:14-15
The good news is not just good news, it’s great news.
The nuance of the Greek for the word gospel literally means that this news is ‘almost too good to be true’.
In our world when something seems too good to be true, it usually is.
But this is not the case with the gospel of Jesus Christ. This news is true and incredible. And Paul reminds us that beautiful are the feet of those who bring this good news and announce it to the world.
Throughout the book of Romans, Paul refers to the gospel as his gospel. This is because this revelation came directly to him by Jesus.
He said in Galatians, “I want you to know, brothers, that the gospel I preached is not something that man made up. I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ” (Galatians 1:11-12).
Paul wrote so extensively about the gift of God’s grace offered to mankind through the person of Jesus Christ that he claimed this gospel as his own.
He lived and breathed this message because it was the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes (Romans 1:16).
Paul was set apart, called and ordained to be a minister of the gospel by the will of God. This is an amazing thing when you realize that before his conversion he literally hunted and killed Christians.
He considered himself the chief of sinners but after he experienced God’s incredible grace and mercy, he knew that this good news wasn’t too good to be true, that is why he said,
“Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Romans 10:13).
In today’s text from verses 14 and 15, Paul is reminding us that this news has to be passed on and received before its power is released.
People cannot look to Jesus for eternal life if they don’t believe in him. They can’t believe in him unless they have heard about him, and they can’t hear about him unless someone tells them.
People need to be sent before anyone can call upon the name of the Lord and find salvation.
This may seem like a quandary but to use a baseball metaphor; the bases are loaded. God has sent messengers of the gospel forth to preach the good news throughout the entire world.
We merely have to step up to the plate and start swinging and hitting the ball.
The first thing to consider is that this gospel message originated with God.
John said, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him” (John 3:16-17).
God sent his Son Jesus to save the world. This is the good news for which Paul was in chains. God initiated and provided the means whereby we can be reconciled to him. Sin stood in the way, but God sent Jesus to bridge the gap.
Paul said in Corinthians, “All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation” (II Corinthians 5:18-19).
God was the one speaking peace over the world through the blood of Christ.
He sent Jesus to save the world. His feet were beautiful!
Secondly, after Jesus died to pay the penalty for our sins and was raised again to life to secure our justification before God, he then turned around and sent us to spread this message of reconciliation.
We call this the Great Commission.
“Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20, Mark 16:15-18).
He won back all the authority and power that was transferred to Satan in the fall, and look what he did, He gave it back to us. He commissioned us to be the beautiful feet that preached the good news around the world.
What a remarkable thing this is. God has entrusted us with the words of life.
We have the power over death through the blood of Jesus and we have been equipped and assigned to share this wonderful news with the world.
Paul said, this news was
“the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16).
We are entrusted with a tremendous thing.
God trusts and believes in us to fulfill this great commission.
Isaiah said, “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!” (Isaiah 52:7).
What an incredible thing to share with those around us.
God’s brand of peace towards mankind, his love for us, his gift of grace and his overwhelming mercy.
We have the words that bring life and Jesus has placed His faith in us to share it.
Paul said, “Faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ” (Romans 10:17).
The Messiah of reconciliation came from the very lips of Christ himself.
God was not holding mankind’s sins against them, and He came to bring us peace with God.
It’s almost too good to be true but the fact remains that it is true, and God calls our feet beautiful because he has sent us forward so to proclaim this message!
In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,
Let us Pray,
As we are gathered here today, we ask you, our living God, to shower onto us your wisdom and knowledge. We pray that as we listen to your word, we may have the ability to clearly see what God has called us to do. We seek to live to fulfill your purpose so that we can see your kingdom. Illuminate our eyes and reveal to us your glory alone. Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Alleluia! Amen.
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