Have you ever tried very had to please someone, but ended up missing the mark.
Maybe it was a boss, you know the kind, driven, high expectations, yet seemingly unaware of your efforts to please.
Maybe it was a parent that you so desperately wanted to please and everything you did seemed to miss the mark.
Or for me it was a teacher in Grade 9.
I entered the class of graphic arts and drafting will a high expectation for myself and what I wanted to do with my life.
I was thrilled with drawing up plans, creating things, in fact, I still am, but this teacher had other plans.
I was labelled a trouble maker the first day in his class. Nothing I could do would please him, in fact if I helped other students understand how to draw out a geometric shape, or how to run a machine, I would in the teacher’s view get into trouble,
Nothing I did pleased the man.
Fortunately for me my parents moved and I was able to change schools.
What about you,
Can you relate?
Has there been a time in your life that you attempt to do all the right things to please or satisfy an expectation, yet fall short?
How did that make you feel, what did you do to recover?
Maybe you haven’t recovered, and you are still attempting to make things right.
Can I go a bit deeper with you,
Maybe this morning that could be your struggle with God.
You had done everything you can think of to please Him and you are feeling that He is wanting something else.
You trying to do things on your own for God’s acceptance and have fallen short.
No matter where you are in your life today, this passage is to bring you hope.
Turn with me if you would as we read this morning’s passage.
30 What shall we say, then? That Gentiles who did not pursue righteousness have attained it, that is, a righteousness that is by faith; 31 but that Israel who pursued a law that would lead to righteousness did not succeed in reaching that law. 32 Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as if it were based on works. They have stumbled over the stumbling stone, 33 as it is written, “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense; and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.” 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. 18 But I ask, have they not heard? Indeed they have, for “Their voice has gone out to all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world.” 19 But I ask, did Israel not understand? First Moses says, “I will make you jealous of those who are not a nation; with a foolish nation I will make you angry.” 20 Then Isaiah is so bold as to say, “I have been found by those who did not seek me; I have shown myself to those who did not ask for me.” 21 But of Israel he says, “All day long I have held out my hands to a disobedient and contrary people.”
As we continue in our series of working through Romans,
We are going to realize this morning that Paul has just finished discussing the concept of election and now address the three topics of faith, righteousness, and salvation and how they are all connected.
Romans 9:30 (ESV)
30 What shall we say, then? ..........
Faith is the key to righteousness and salvation
Faith is the key to righteousness and salvation
Paul begins this section, and address an issue held by the faithful Jews of the day.
In fact, its a question I often come across as I talk with people and their journey in faith.
It’s a question of Why.
It’s a question of equality.
It’s can be a question of getting what you deserve.
It’s a question the older brother asks his father in the story of the prodigal son. Why him. Look at what he did and what I did.
All our questions should be a question about faith.
When Paul brings up the conversation of faith of the Gentiles, he is not referring that all gentiles are saved, rather those who have accepted the gospel of Jesus Christ.
In contrast those who were called by God to follow the law, and they followed it by faith or specifically a covenant with His people were called righteous not because of the law. Because the law isn’t the one that saves but that God will on their behalf bring about salvation.
To the kinsman talked about in the previous chapter, they failed to see the new covenant God brought forth as a fulfillment of the promise laid out in the entire Old Testament.
Word Biblical Commentary, Volume 38B: Romans 9–16 (Explanation)
it is always something which depends ultimately on God, the power of God sustaining man in his creaturely dependence on the creator and enabling him to live through that relation. It was this relation which God set forth in his covenant with Israel and of which Gentiles remained largely ignorant until the gospel made known the offer of God’s righteousness to everyone.
Paul goes on to argue that the centuries of keeping the law was not the problem or the result of unrighteousness, because it was impossible to keep the law fully.
Rather, to those following the law and covenant was a sign of works and not of faith.
Imagine a person running a race, hoping to reach the finish line and win the prize. This person is running as fast as they can, putting all their effort into each step. But as they near the end of the race, they suddenly realize that they've been running in the wrong direction the whole time.
This is what happened to Israel in their pursuit of righteousness. They had been running hard, trying to keep the law and follow God's commands, but they were running in the wrong direction. Instead of running towards Jesus, the author and finisher of their faith, they were running towards their own self-righteousness.
Just like the person in the race, Israel had been putting all their effort into their pursuit of righteousness, but they were not succeeding in reaching the law. They were missing the mark, because they were pursuing the law as an end in itself, rather than as a means to an end.
How do I know this to be true,
Look at verse 32
32 Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as if it were based on works. They have stumbled over the stumbling stone,
Are you hear this morning running a race that you have set out in your mind of what it means to live a righteous life?
Have you been raised by a set of standards that can’t possibly be met and you struggle with keeping up to that standard?
Faith in the key to being claimed, and folks we are claimed righteous not by what we have done, but by God calling us righteous because of our faith in Christ Jesus.
He was the fulfilment of the promise in the Old Testament. It was that faith that brought them through and not that of attempting to follow that law.
As Paul continues in the chapter 10, he is once again thinking of his kinsman, but with a different resolve.
A resolve that all of his Kinsman will choose to come into a saving knowledge of Christ.
It is what wakes him up in the morning. It is what drives him with every conversation he has with his Kinsman.
2 For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge.
One of the greatest testimonies I have heard was from Dr. Dan Allender.
He is a prolific author, speaker, teacher, professor and mentor.
He has a fabulous ministry of counselling people specifically those who have been through abuse.
I first met him through a book I read in college and then met him in person. I continue to met him in his other books.
What stood out was the time I met him in person. It was at Breakforth Canada, a Christian conference held in Edmonton in Jan where he was one of the many speakers and I chose that year to volunteer.
I was the host of the sessions that he spoke at and we struck up several conversations.
It was his testimony that stood out and it come to my mind regularly, especially when I meet people who appear to have great knowledge and believe they are winning the grace of God because of it.
You see Dan in High School had a good friend who was a follower of Christ and had shared the salvation message to Dan numerous times. Dan knew the way, but didn’t follow it, in fact did quite the opposite. He became a drug dealer in High School because the money was great.
He did later come to a saving knowledge of Christ, but during the High school years, he wasn’t a follower of Christ, but he had the knowledge of what to do to become a follower.
So much in fact, that when he came across a young girl who was struggling with life, Dan simply said to her, you need Jesus. He explained the Gospel story he had been told so many times before and she became a follower of Christ.
Paul reminded the Jewish people who were faithful in following the law who knew the law inside and out, that knowing and having God’s righteousness are two different things.
Faith in the promises of God especially that the messiah would come, has come, and his name is Jesus Christ.
Salvation is available to everyone:
Salvation is available to everyone:
Verse 5 of Chapter Ten, Paul moves onto the next theme, mainly Salvation is available for everyone.
This is one verse in the Bible that everyone who is a follower of Christ should memorize
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.
If you are sitting here this morning, wondering what must I do to be said
Paul makes it clear that salvation is available to everyone, regardless of their background or circumstances. He writes that "there is no difference between Jew and Gentile--the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him" (Romans 10:12).
As many of you know, Jim Stewart has been called by God to have a ministries with folks who are in our town that meet downtown. These folks have lived in the surounding areas or are just passing through town.
If you know Jim, he is eager to share with you the conversations he has with these folks, as Jim is a regular prayer warrior, I get to hear these stories weekly, and this morning, I am asking him to come forward and to share one particular story with you.
Jim come forward
Thank you Jim for your testimonial.
Paul continues in his message by saying
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.
Preaching is essential to spreading the gospel:
Preaching is essential to spreading the gospel:
Finally, Paul emphasizes the importance of preaching the gospel to others. He writes that "how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?" (Romans 10:14). Paul recognizes that faith comes through hearing the message, and that it is the responsibility of believers to share the good news with others.
To be honest, if I were to take this passage completely out of context, I could announce it is job security for me.
Rom 10:14 “14 ...... And how are they to hear without someone preaching?”
If you were to take this out of context, you two would be able to sit back in your chair this morning and be satisfied that the word is being preached every Sunday morning and you get to hear.
But is that really what these verses are about?
Sorry, I’m not letting you off the hook. Neither is Paul.
Notice it doesn’t say,
Rom 10:14 “14 And how are they to hear without “The PREACHER “ preaching?”
Kerr ru so
The Greek work is not the pastor but one who proclaims. To make known important news.
Folks this is all of us.
We have a wonderful message that needs to be taken to all people.
To proclaim loudly to our neighbors, to our friends.
I was reflecting upon this and the thought came to me. How willing are we to announce to our neighbors of the good weather that is coming this week, or a special item for sale at a local store, or a situation in our town, fire, flood, windstorm, Hospital rally. Many of us watch and monitor the local newspaper, Facebook Merritt Wire.
We are connected in several ways of news and I often find myself spreading or proclaiming that news.
What about the Gospel.
Is it a part of our conversation with folks around us?
Our job is to plant seeds with those we come in contact with.
I read these verses and ask myself, can I do more?
Paul says, how are they to believe in God if they have never heard?
There are many things that I bring to God as this redeemed by Jesus, the things I struggle with, but this tops it all.
Who has God placed in my path, that I was to be the messenger of God’s greatest story and I didn’t tell them.
We have in our hands the greatest gift, resource for that person in our lives and we are to bring them the good news.
You and me.
If you read these words from Paul and hear the Spirit speak to your heart, it should motive us, challenge us to speak with boldness.
God’s heart is have the message of Salvation known to all.
We are God’s messengers to the world today.
You don’t have to be a pastor in order to share God’s Love.
We all are called to preach the Good news to all that come our way.
Can I ask you a personal question?
Have you this morning responded to God’s message of salvation?
Have you called upon the name of the Lord to come to call you one of His own?
Have you called upon the name of the Lord and are you saved?
If not, don’t delay. Do it today.
Christ came to this world to not only die for mankind, he came for you today.
Confess with your mouth that Jesus is lord and believe in your heart and you will be saved.
As the worship team makes there way to the stage to prepare for communion, and the elders come forward to help me serve communion,
let’s all take a moment to come to God in prayer.
Let’s examine our hearts, Listen to the Spirit speak to you.
Take a few moments to respond to God.
24 Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, 25 to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.