Monday, August 08, 2011

Sermon on Romans 10:5-17, for the 8th Sunday after Pentecost, "Need to Hear"

Sermon outline

1. “Evangelism is witness. It is one beggar telling another beggar where to get food. The Christian does not offer out of his bounty. He has no bounty. He is simply guest at His Master’s table and, as evangelist, he calls others too.” Daniel T. Niles
a. We can’t witness to Christ unless we first have Him ourselves. It’s not out of sharing our poverty that others will come to Christ, but by sharing Christ and His bounty.
b. So we must constantly hear the Word of Christ ourselves and know the love of Christ that He came into the world, God’s loving act to join Himself to the fallen creation, fallen mankind, and to collect our sin and guilt upon Himself, so that Jesus could pay the ultimate price on the cross. God was justifying us in Christ—declaring us innocent in His eyes, because the guilt had been paid, and Jesus’ perfect life stands to our credit. It is this good news, what we call the “Gospel”, that we confess with our mouths that Jesus is Lord, and believe in our hearts that God raised Him from the dead, so that we are saved. For with the mouth one believes and is justified and with the mouth one confesses and is saved (because of that saving act of Christ!).

2. Christianity is an “Audio faith.” It exists and spreads through speaking and listening. It’s through the audible Word of God, through hearing that message about Christ, that we receive faith.
a. Christianity is the only truly global religion, that has so successfully taken root in cultures on every continent and almost every country around the world. While Buddhism and Islam have also spread to other places, they remain concentrated heavily in certain regions, and haven’t transferred as well to other cultures. Scripture says: “There is no distinction between Jew and Greek; the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on Him. ‘For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’”
b. Amazing shift of Christianity to the South—growth in Africa and South America, beginning of a significant spread to Southeast Asia. Center of Lutheranism has moved from Europe and North America to Africa. Over 15 million Lutherans in African countries, compared to about 7 million in North America. Tanzania, Madagascar, and Ethiopia each have Lutheran churches larger than our 2.3 million member LCMS! God’s Word is alive and creating faith around the world!
c. We want people everywhere to hear and know Christ, because He came for them. But God doesn’t just randomly “zap” people with faith around the world, He works through the humble means of preaching and speaking the Gospel of Christ. This is the audible Word of God that the Holy Spirit uses to create faith and make disciples.

3. So we know the method by which the church advances throughout the world—by proclaiming the Word of Christ. Notice, this is not by coercion or force, not by the power of the sword or the threat of death. Paul acknowledges that not all have obeyed the gospel. In other words, not everyone is going to believe and accept it.
a. How can we participate and support the advance of Christianity? How can we get more people to call on the name of the Lord?
b. Paul’s rhetorical questions: “How can they call on Him in whom they have not believed?” Of course they have to believe in Him, before they can call on His name to be saved. “How can they believe in Him of whom they have never heard?” Of course they must hear of Christ. They must learn of His saving deeds, and that they were done for them. “How are they to hear without someone preaching?” Of course someone must tell them! There must be a person who tells what God has done in Christ. “And how are they to preach unless they are sent?” Of course people must be sent!
c. Hopefully by stating the obvious, we can see several places where we can be involved. Tell others of Christ. Fear: don’t know enough. Remember: we’re beggars, pointing the way to the feast. Know Christ so you know His Word and can confess it with your mouth. If someone has the gift and the passion for sharing God’s Word, encourage them to pursue that calling. Help send workers into the harvest field by prayer, encouragement, and financial support!
d. Men in the congregation feeling led to study God’s Word and prepare to serve as a pastor or missionary? Men and women being led to share God’s Word through teaching, through local or international missions, through mercy work, etc.

4. Learning at the seminary that the mission field is all around us. Encounters with men of all different ages, some leaving behind other careers as doctors, computer programmers, engineers, teaching, sales, etc…meeting students from Nigeria, Ethiopia, Madagascar, Kenya, Argentina, South Korea, Poland, Denmark, and other countries. POBLO missionaries to people of Islamic faith, from Morocco, Iran, Pakistan, India, Egypt, and other Muslim countries. Is God calling you to the full-time ministry of the church? Has He set a mission opportunity right at your door? Is there a person who you can tell the Word of Christ to?

5. To be good messengers we need to have the good message—the Gospel of Christ. Know the difference between trying to climb up to God (by works, by reason, by mysticism = fail!) and God’s descent to us in the person of Jesus, to save us (grace, receive, faith, not works).

6. Having the good message makes for beautiful feet. The bearer of good news is always welcome. (Imagine the postman coming down the street, with a letter from a husband at war—how the wife would anticipate, cherish the words of her love). Do we cherish the Word of God? Do we wait for it with eager expectation? It’s the Word of Christ—the message that God came down out of heaven, and He targeted each and every one of you for His personal plan of redemption, to buy you out of your sins, so you could stand forgiven and alive before Him in eternity. This is the news we need to hear, and others do as well! How beautiful to hear, and how beautiful to carry that message to others!

Sermon Talking Points
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Listen to audio at:

1. If we are spiritual beggars, and Christ is the one who has prepared a feast, what is our role in God’s mission? What is it that we have to share with others?

2. How do we “enrich ourselves” to be able to share with others? Rom. 10:12; 2 Cor. 8:9; Isaiah 55:1-2.

3. Why was it necessary and part of God’s plan that Christianity would become global? Matt. 28:19-20; Luke 24:47; Acts 1:8; Col. 3:11; Joel 2:28-32

4. What is God’s method or means to create faith? Rom. 10:14-17. How does that get us involved in the mission of God?

5. Have you considered whether God is calling you to serve in the mission and ministry of His church, either as a pastor, teacher, deaconess, missionary, youth worker, or in another capacity? How can you support and encourage those who might be called? How can you support the work of the church in preparing such workers for the harvest?

6. How does having the “good message” make for a good messenger with “beautiful feet?” Rom. 10:15; Isaiah 52:7.

7. Summarize that “good news” or Gospel about Jesus Christ, and how you can tell it simply to another person. What has God done for us in Christ Jesus? Use the words of the Creed if you need help. Why is this a message to be cherished and to always hear with joy and expectation?

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