The Undelivered Message

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John Currier, a man who couldn’t read or write, was found guilty of murder and sentenced to life in prison in 1949. Later his sentence was commuted and he was transferred from prison and paroled to work for a wealthy farmer near Nashville, TN. In 1968, his sentence was terminated. State Correction Department records show that a letter was written to the prisoner and the farmer for whom he worked. The letter said that he was a free man. But Currier never saw the letter or even knew it had been written. One year went by...then two...then five, and finally ten. And still he didn’t know that he was free.

By this time, the farmer to whom he had been paroled was dead, but Currier kept working, serving out his life sentence. He was given a little money for personal needs, $5.00 per week at first, then a little more, and finally $20.00 per week. But life was hard and filled with labor. He slept in a drafty trailer, taking baths in a horse trough. Life held very little joy and no promise of hope. This went on until 1979. Then a state parole officer learned of his plight and told him about the missing letter.

How would you feel if you were this prisoner? Would it matter to you if someone sent you an important message; in fact, the most important of your life, but year after year the message was never delivered?                                                                                 Bruce Howell, Sermon Central

“What is 750,000 miles long? It could wrap itself around the earth 30 times and it grows an additional 20 miles longer with each passing day? It is the line of people on earth who do not know Jesus....” Guy McGraw

The Undelivered Message

Text: Rom. 10:11-15 – PPHC Revival 2/20/07

I. How Shall They Call On Him In Whom They Have Not Believed?

A. Faith is Necessary for Believing

  1. Faith is necessary for successful prayer

   a. He must “believe” in WHOM he prays to

   b. He must believe in His ABILITY to supply the need.

   c. He must believe in His WILLINGNESS to supply the need.

·         Heb. 11:6 “But without faith [it is] impossible to please [him]: for he that cometh to God

(1) must believe that he is, and (2) [that] he is  (3) a rewarder of them that diligently seek


B. The Position of the Sinner

  1. L-O-S-T in darkness; groping about as if in a darkened room

   a. Looking for relief of their situation

    1. They look from within themselves for answers

     a. Illust. – The lost man that had tried everything to remedy his problem…yet, when a

Christian asked him if he had called out to God, he quickly changed the subject.

    2. They are w/out knowledge of the true God

     a. i.e. Buddhists serve an idol (an image only)

      1. They need to know of a “living” god

      2. They need to know of a God that not only “hears”, but also finds pleasure in answering.

      3. They need to know of a Savior who gives salvation & eternal life.

II. How Shall They Believe in Him of Whom They Have Not Heard?

A. The Disillusioned Christian

  1. He believes that the heart instinctively turns to God. NOT SO!!!

   a. Matt. 15:19 “…out of the heart proceed evil thoughts…”

   b. Jer. 17:9 “…the heart is deceitful above all things and is desperately wicked; who can

know it?”

B. Faith Is Dependent Upon Knowledge

1. God uses songs, testimonies, & other things; yet, preaching is the primary method of

communicating the gospel.

a. 1 Cor. 1:21b  “…it pleased God by the foolishness (moria - > Eng. Word. Moron) of 

preaching (the message) to save them that believe.”

C. Missionaries in Foreign Lands

  1. “It is difficult to convey to the heathen mind an idea of what God is (lifestyles / philosophies

are so corrupted.”

   a. It takes a long time for them to grasp God’s truth, holiness, and purity.

D. In Our Country - America

  1. Children are growing up without any knowledge of God – it’s difficult to convey God to them

   a. i.e. God is called our Heavenly Father throughout the Scriptures

    1. Luke 11:13 depicts God as a very caring Father giving good things to His children

    2. But try to tell the teenage son that’s been abused by his dad or the daughter that has

been sexually molested by her father about a loving Heavenly Father and you will get

bitterness thrown in your face.

III. How Shall They Hear Without a Preacher?

A. The Preaching of the Gospel

  1. This is the tool that has been used to regenerate the world

   a. Peter preached its message on the Day of Pentecost & 3,000 were saved

   b. The gospel overthrew the idols of ancient Rome; brought about the Protestant Reformation

    1. Martin Luther: “The just shall live by faith.” – The gospel message broke the shackles of a

works-dominated religion.

    2. Martin Luther – “The Word, it was the Word that did it all.”

    3. Luther became the champion of that era proclaiming its message of grace & faith.

  2. Two renderings of this passage

   a. How shall they hear [about] Him without a preacher?

    1. i.e. The preacher points the way to Christ, revealing the Savior of the world.

     a. John the Baptist – Jn. 1:29Behold the Lamb of God who taketh away…”

     b. Paul – Acts 17:23  “For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with

this inscription, To The Unknown God. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare

I unto you.”

   b. How shall they hear [Him] without a preacher?

    1. When the faithful minister is properly exegeting the Word of God, it is God Himself who is

speaking to His people! Failure to hear the faithful minister is a failure to hear God


    2. A faithful minister is the mouthpiece of God!


IV. How Shall They Preach Except They Be Sent?

A. Who, Then, is the Preacher?

  1. All Christians are called of Godkle’tos (divinely (1) selected & (2) appointed)Rom.


  2. We are all ambassadors – the ambassador speaks well of his homeland and its Leader.

   a. We, as Christians, are sent into the world – Jn. 17:18 – we should speak well of our Lord

   b. The ambassador’s responsibility is to make his king attractive…we are to present the

gospel in the best light.

B. Christians have an “Obligation” to Reach the Lost

  1. The Jews had a responsibility to the Gentile world to preach the gospel to them that they

might hear and believe, since it was delivered FIRST to them (the Jew).

   a. Principle: “Along with every privilege, there comes responsibility.”

    1. Illustration: Driving…a privilege; yet, one must drive responsibly or face the law.

  2. Eph. 4:11-12 “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists;

and some, pastors and teachers; For (#4314 – pros – in regards to; in the direction of) the

perfecting (katartismos – equipping > mariner term = to mend the net) of the saints, for

(#1519 - eis – its goal / aim) the work of the ministry, for (#1519 - eis – its goal / aim)

the edifying of the body of Christ:”

   a. Paul wrote: 1 Cor. 3:6 “I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.”

  3. Being “sent” addresses the need for order, discipline, & organization.

   a. “Being sent suggests one should operate under an appointed mentor or authority that has

a vision from God.” – Gib Martin - Romans Commentary


“What is 750,000 miles long? It could wrap itself around the earth 30 times and it grows an additional 20 miles longer with each passing day? It is the line of people on earth who do not know Jesus....” Guy McGraw

·         “Our message does not originate with us, but with God. God is calling us (PPHC) today to the fields that are white with harvest.

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