GOSPEL Dashboard: Sent (Romans 10)

MOTIVATE

My family is preparing travel to Disney.

One of our favorite Disney princesses is Moana.

  • FYI: Before I go on, previous trip to Disney was about princesses. This trip is for the new royalty who is 5 y/o and he’s not interested in princesses.

So, Moana, is a story of a young girl who lives on Motunui, a Polynesian island. Her father is the chief of the tribe, and like many fathers, he is a little over-protective.

  • Dad’s who care ask questions and have conversations. Dad’s who are silent or don’t show up are only father’s not a dad.

Anyway, the people of Motunui are somewhat disgruntled because their land is rejecting crops and their fishing efforts are coming up empty. Moana’s curiosity leaders her to explore hidden caves on the island. She discovers a fleet of ships that have been concealed and forgotten. The discover is a revelation as she says, “We were voyagers!”

This recovered revelation becomes her identity. Their people were not originally static in the present or scared of the future. They were not in-grown and comfortably spectators of life. Instead, they were initiators of a forward movement. They were sent from a past experience to help others experience a preferred future.

Likewise, Christians are sent. As the Father sent the Son, so the Son sends His Spirit to commission His followers to spread love and share the good news gospel of Jesus Christ. And what is remarkable, is that from the first century, Christianity has rapidly expanded. The rapid expansion of Christianity from a Jewish carpenter from a rural Middle-Eastern Jewish community, who as an adult was a homeless, traveling teacher of 12 disciples with 1 who betrayed him, has spread its movement across communities, countries, and continents throughout the centuries. Not only did Jesus travel, but His followers like Paul, and Barnabas, Timothy and Titus, John, and others traveled and sent letters that circulated across geography and generations.

If Christians were to explore the caverns of history, they would recover the revelation that we are voyagers. That does not necessarily mean you need to apply/update your passport, though it could (We’re heading to Cuba in 2023)! It doesn’t mean you need to reach platinum status on your favorite airline or hotel bonus reward account. But it does mean that every Christian needs to recover the reality that they are sent.

Your travel might merely be over the backyard fence or across the street. Your journey might be walking the neighborhood and connecting with people. It is possible the only thing you might have to cross is the cafeteria to have a conversation with a classmate. Regardless your voyage, the church was never originated to be a comfortable social club, but a missionary movement.

Yet, the modern church, especially in N.America, has grown static and stale. The fruit of our land is becoming spoiled. What once was a voyaging multitude has become the slumbering few.

But we can recapture the zeal and laser focus. This is the aim of our series GOSPEL Dashboard:

  • GOD: God is glorious  / We are worshipers.
    Romans 11:36 “To God be the glory forever. Amen.”
  • OTHERS: We are family
    • Romans 12:9, 18 “Let love be genuine… live peaceably with all.”
    • SPIRITUAL GROWTH: We are thermostats.
      Romans 12:6 “having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them…”
    • PRAYER: We are spiritual warriors.
      Romans 12:12 “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.”
    • EVANGELISM: We are sent.
      Romans 10:15 “How beautiful are the sent feet who preach good news”
  • LEGACY: We are growing godly generations.
    Romans 16:27 “to the only wise God be glory forevermore through Jesus Christ! Amen.”

EXAMINE     Romans 10:1-17         Evangelism: We are sent

Before we dig in to Ro 10, it is somewhat necessary to point out the previous chapter 9. Essentially, Romans 9 is about God’s sovereignty in salvation. In perplexing paradox, God softens some hearts and then allows others to be hardened. A paradox is when two ideas appear to contradict, yet both appear true.[1]

  • Ex1: Light can act as a wave or a particle.
  • Ex2: Productivity goes down despite technological advancements.
  • Ex3: Green energy policies intending to reduce future CO2 emissions may lead to increased emissions in the present.
  • Ex4: The economy & stock market: keep losing $ but long-term investments promises to gain $.
  • Ex 5: Which came first, the chicken or the egg?
  • Ex6: The multiplication of hedgehogs. Think about it!?!
  • Ex7: “You can check out any time you want, but you can never leave.”

Seriously, Scripture relates God’s salvation as a paradox of divine initiative and human response.

Rom 8:29-30 “For those God foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son… And those He predestined, He also called; and those He called, He also justified; and those He justified, He also glorified.”

Rom 10:13 “Everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved.”

We see Scripture affirms both divine sovereignty and human responsibility. We emphasize divine sovereignty because God’s purpose of the cross was established before the foundations of the earth (Ac 2:23; Eph 1:4-5). Further, salvation is by grace not human works, so that nobody can boast (Eph 2:8). Yet, we also emphasize the ability to acknowledge our sin, believe our Creator, and confess faith in Jesus Christ. And God does not want any to perish but all to come to repentance (Mt 23:37; Jn 3:16; 1 Tim 2:3; 2 Pet 3:9).

Christians need not get worked up to focus on human theological systems (Calvinism vs Arminianism). Those who do are often filled with pride over their knowledge rather than overflowing with humility, love, and grace that characterized our Savior.

Scripture affirms both divine sovereignty and human responsibility. Those who love their theological system more than the Savior or sharing the gospel are spiritually unhealthy and unfit for ministry leadership.


Romans 10:1  Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved.
2 For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge.
3  For, being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness.
4  For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.
5  For Moses writes about the righteousness that is based on the law, that the person who does the commandments shall live by them.
6  But the righteousness based on faith says, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’” (that is, to bring Christ down)
7 “or ‘Who will descend into the abyss?’” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead).
8  But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim);
9  because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
10  For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.
11 For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.”
12  For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him.
13  For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
14 How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?
15 And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”
16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?”
17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.

Sharing our faith starts with care and prayer.

The opening of Ro9 & Ro10 reflect the missionary heart and neighborly compassion of a faithful Christian.

  • Ro 9:2-3 “I have intense sorrow and continual anguish in my heart.
    For I could almost wish to be cursed and cut off from Christ for the benefit of my fellow Israelites [to be saved].
  • Ro 10:1 “my hearts desires and prayer to God concerning them is for their salvation.”

You see, if salvation is only about God’s predestination, then why is Paul praying? Paul knows that God works through the caring, the praying, and the testifying of Christians.

Paul describes his care with intense sorrow (λύπη = physical pain of grief) and continual anguish (δύνη = mental pain). The doubling of these words intensifies the emotion.[2] It is also no accident combining these words as the only other passage where these words are combined are in Isa 35:10 and 51:11
“The ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with singing; they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.”

So, Paul prays for his fellow Jews to know Jesus Christ. And he expresses tangible care for them. The old adage is true: people do not care how much you know until they know how much you care. While many of the Jews did not always agree with Paul’s message, they could not discount his compassion. Paul’s missional heart came from Jesus.

Mt 9:35-37 “Jesus went to all the towns and villages teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease, and every sickness. When He saw the crowds, He felt compassion (σπλαγχνίζομαι = emotional from the inward parts or “the guts”) for them, because they were weary and worn out, like sheep without a shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, ‘The harvest is abundant, but the workers are few. Therefore, pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.”

A sheep without a shepherd makes one vulnerable, defenseless, and on the brink of danger. Jesus talks about this in a parable in Luke 15. A man has 100 sheep with 1 that wanders away. The shepherd knows the threat and trouble of the sheep, so he leaves the 99 to go rescue the 1. The shepherd’s compassion is not reckless love but calculated strategy and common sense.[3] The 99 are protected by staying in the flock. But the 1 is unprotected, and is valuable to the shepherd.

  • The Bible compares all of us as wandering sheep who need a shepherd. Jesus is the Chief Shepherd, and local churches have servant shepherds, which every sheep should have shepherds in their life to nurture and defend them.

For those who are following Jesus, we share our faith with others by praying and caring.

  • How intentional and frequent do you pray for the salvation of others in your life? If we understand salvation to be eternal, and it is, then our prayer life should have deliberate discipline.
    • Pray daily on own.
      • Pray regularly with groups.
      • Send initials to Elders (me) for prayer.
        *Someone creative could create a board to list names.
        *Love to see 23 salvations in 2023.
  • Especially for those who emphasize “lifestyle evangelism,” in what ways are you practicing tangible care toward unbelievers in your life?Start with hospitality. Invite them to share meals w/ you.Listen and look for needs, then serve them.

Sharing our faith is sustained with practicing and proclamation.

In Ro10:2-5 Paul describes his fellow Jews religious beliefs and behaviors.

  • 10:2 The Jews had zeal for God but without knowledge. They had the desire but not the right doctrine; the passion but not the substance.
  • 10:3 The Jews unintentionally disregarded God’s righteousness by establishing their own righteousness.
  • Jews were zealous and strict religionists.[4] The Talmud compiled 613 laws, among also a set of customs to protect against breaking any of the 613 commands.[5] These were like a hedge around the law – like a rope around a pit to keep you from falling into it. One example is they had 39 different customs about Sabbath-keeping, including the precise number of steps you could take before it was considered “work.”
  • 10:4-5 Paul says, their zeal for the law was misplaced, because they neglected attention to God or practical affection for people. “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes. For Moses writes about the righteousness that is from the law: ‘The one who does these things will live by them.” And the contrast is true: the one who does not follow the law will die by them. So, it is clear that Paul says, “There is no one righteous, not even one” (Ro3:10), and he rejoices saying, “But now, apart from the law, God’s righteousness has been revealed – that is, God’s righteousness through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe” (Ro3:21-22; 1:17).

Note: Paul’s logic & NT theology contrasts worldly philosophy. Most people today believe that sincerity of religion is all that matters. The mindset that it does not matter which god you believe, or which sacred text you embrace. Yet, Paul says, sincerity doesn’t save but in fact creates self-righteous, prideful, and hateful bullies.

  • Illus: It’s like trying to submerge a beachball under water but it keeps popping up. This is our pride.

It was true of the Pharisees, and it’s true today of religiously zealous people who can be arrogant, judgmental, and violent. Being sincerely zealous about religion can make you twice as much a child of hell than other sinners (cf Mt 23:15).

So, our practicing of God’s heart must reflect holiness but also helpfulness. The stumbling block for others experiencing faith in Jesus should be the gospel, not our arrogant attitudes or bad behaviors.

Being sincerely zealous about religion can make you twice as much a child of hell than other sinners. The stumbling block for others experiencing faith in Jesus should be the gospel, not our arrogant attitudes or bad behaviors.

There’s a misunderstood quote: Preach the gospel, if necessary, use words. The message is that our life actions should reflect those of Jesus. Yet, this quote is also misused because to preach the gospel not only includes our life but our lips. We must use words. No one is saved apart from communicating the content of the gospel of Jesus.

When Paul describes gospel proclamation, or when Jesus commanded the disciples to preach the good news, many of us think this is the spiritual gift only of pastors/preachers. But NT Christianity reveals the responsibility to evangelize belongs to every believer. Gospel participation must result in Great Commission obligation.

  • Psalm 71:8, 15 “My mouth is full of praise and honor to You all day long… My mouth will tell about Your righteous salvation all day long.”
  • 2 Cor 5:20 “We are Christ’s ambassadors, certain that God is appealing through us. We plead on Christ’s behalf: ‘Be reconciled to God.’”
  • A great cause for unbelief is the observation of Christians who acknowledge Jesus with their lips but then deny him by their lifestyle. That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable.[6]
  • If you’re a Christian, are you committed to a local church? Oh, well, I’m not able to make the time… OR… I haven’t found one I like… I’m not into organized religion (so, you like disorganized religion? 😛 …  – – – My friend, this doesn’t make sense. If after your wedding day you did not live with your spouse, it would indicate something seriously worrying and heartbreakingly wrong. The unbelieving world is watching Christians Mon-Sat, but certainly also on Sundays.
  • Speaking of Mon-Sat, your witness of Jesus speaks loudly in your 40 hours at work/school and the other 20-30 hours wherever you invest. If your coworkers, friends, or neighbors have never heard you talk about your church, your faith relationship with Jesus, something you’re learning from the Bible, then how do they know your faith is meaningful?  

Gospel participation must result in Great Commission obligation.

  • Rom 10 14 How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? 15 And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the [sent] feet of those who preach the good news!”

    Illus: After several days, the US military shot down the China Spy Balloon. They will be salvaging all the technology to discern the device’s information and data transmitted. Similarly, Paul is reverse engineering the process of salvation.

    *The essence of Paul’s argument is seen if we put his six verbs in the opposite order: Christ sends messengers; messengers preach; people hear; hearers believe; believers call upon the Lord; and those who call are saved.[7] And, if everyone who calls upon the Lord will be saved, then it is vital that everyone have the opportunity to know about Jesus and hear the Scriptures.  

*The sentness of the messenger is not to be missed. Messengers have nothing to say unless a higher authority has given them a message and commissioned them to tell it. Paul is reminding Christians that each one of us are sent by the authority of Almighty God and the risen Lord Jesus.

*Feet are never really beautiful… but an exception is when they bring blessing from God. In God’s kingdom, beautiful feet are not soft with shiny pedicures but those that are soiled with the dirt of traveling, stained with the blood of persecution, worn out and wrinkled from perseverance in taking the gospel from far and wide.  

While Paul gives this description about the church at Rome and other Christians, he is also profiling himself. Paul is the missionary, sent by God (Acts 9:15-16) with beautiful feet traveling across cultures and continents to speak the gospel. The end chapters of Romans provide us personal insight into Paul’s relationship with Roman Christians and his hopes for future missionary endeavors.

  • Proclaiming Christ doesn’t have to be intimidating. The responsibility of someone confessing faith is not up to you. Successful evangelism is sharing Jesus in the power of the Holy Spirit and leaving the results to God. So, you don’t necessarily have to bang on someone’s door to tell them about Jesus, but you can be on the lookout for windows and opportunities to speak about the forgiving grace you’ve received, the comforting peace you experience amid challenges, and the inexhaustible hope that sustains you in heartaches and grief.
    *People are searching for acceptance; they’re wandering for purpose; and they’re curious for answers to life’s greatest questions.

Romans 15:20  I make it my ambition to preach the gospel, not where Christ has already been named, lest I build on someone else’s foundation… 24  I hope to see you in passing as I go to Spain, and to be helped on my journey there by you, once I have enjoyed your company for a while.

Paul was a pioneer. His ambition was to preach the gospel in places and among people who had never heard of Jesus. Previously, Paul had preached from Jerusalem and all the way around Illyricum [Macedonia/Albania/Greece] (Rom 15:19). His missions required risk and resolve because people didn’t accept his message of a crucified Christ who was Lord above Caesar. Paul proclaimed the gospel in places that had never heard and were often hostile to Christianity. His aim was to plant gospel seeds and start churches, for new disciples to continue the work of the ministry.

There was/is nothing wrong with ministry and missions where a gospel foundation exists or is accessible. These people and places need continued instruction, discipleship, and shepherding as God’s people.

Overall, Paul reminds us Christians they are sent. We can be sent near or far, but there is no such thing as an un-sent Christian. To be un-sent is to not be sharing the gospel, which is a sin against the Lord Jesus.

Illus: Imagine having the cure for a disease but never sharing it with those infected. Or, imagine getting news about an impending disaster on the road ahead but not stopping motorists behind you. This is the shame and blame of Christians who do not share the gospel.

  • “I remember one who spoke on the missionary question one day saying, ‘The great question is not, ‘Will not the heathen be saved if we do not send them the gospel?’ but ‘Are we saved ourselves if we do not send them the gospel?’” – Charles Spurgeon

*Christians, it is time. There is no time to waste in sharing faith with others when their eternal destiny is on the line while we live in a fleeting world of natural disasters, violent crime, and unexpected tragedies that can change a life within minutes and seconds. We must be courageous about our convictions and trust God to use us in powerful and personal ways to bring many into His kingdom.

APPLY/THINK

Ways to begin taking steps…

  • SPBC greeting compass
  • SPBC ministry opportunities
  • SPBC inviter cards in WC for neighbors & friends
  • Cuba mission trip

Come to Jesus…

9  if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
10  For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.
11 For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.”


[1] Some examples from Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_paradoxes

[2] James D. G. Dunn, Romans 9–16, vol. 38B, Word Biblical Commentary (Dallas: Word, Incorporated, 1988), 523.

[3] See collected commentary on this phrasing here: https://growinggodlygenerations.com/2018/05/07/is-gods-love-reckless/

[4] Some thoughts on this point inspired from J.D. Greear sermon on Romans 10.

[5] https://www.jewfaq.org/613_commandments

[6] Quote slightly adapted from Brennan Manning, The Ragamuffin Gospel, and quoted in D.C. Talk song, “What If I Stumble?”

[7] John Stott, Romans, p.286.

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