News Worth Appreciating and Sharing.
But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them? – Romans 10:14 NLT
For nine chapters, Paul has made a big deal out of the Good News. He has been the undeserving recipient of it. He lives day by day in the power made available through it. He has spent his life telling others about it. He even longs for his own nation, the people of Israel, to discover the joy and freedom of salvation through Christ, rather than through their continued efforts at trying to keep the law of Moses. But in spite of his efforts to share the Good News with the Jewish people, they didn’t respond favorably. He wrote, “they don’t understand God’s way of making people right with himself. Refusing to accept God’s way, they cling to their own way of getting right with God by trying to keep the law” (Romans 10:3 NLT). But their refusal to accept the Good News never stopped Paul from sharing it. Why? Because he knew from first-hand experience the freedom, joy, peace, contentment, and hope it could bring. So he preached the message of faith relentlessly, tirelessly, and obsessively. He wanted anyone and everyone to know that “it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved” (Romans 10:10 NLT). He told anyone who would listen, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Romans 10:13 NLT). He didn’t worry about whether they were going to respond positively or negatively. He saw his job as that of sharing and proclaiming. It was God’s job to save.
Paul saw his role as a messenger of the Gospel of Jesus Christ as vital and non-negotiable. He had been shown grace and mercy from God. He had been given a second chance. And he wanted to extend that same offer of redemption and reconciliation with God to every person with whom he came into contact – whether that person was a Jew or a Gentile, rich or poor, slave or free, influential or inconsequential. Paul believed what Isaiah 52:7 said: “How beautiful are the feet of the messengers who bring good news!” He realized that he had a responsibility to tell others what had happened to him and for him. The Good News has to be proclaimed. The message of salvation needs to be shared. Paul’s logic is impeccable and impenetrable. “But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them? And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent” (Romans 10:14-15 NLT). Paul knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that he had been sent. Not long after his miraculous conversion on the road to Damascus, he had received a God-appointed visit from Ananias, who told him, “The God of our ancestors has chosen you to know his will and to see the Righteous One and hear him speak. For you are to be his witness, telling everyone what you have seen and heard” (Acts 22:14-15 NLT). Not long after that, Jesus Himself told Paul, “Go, for I will send you far away to the Gentiles” (Acts 22:21 NLT). And Paul took his commission seriously. He went to the Gentiles. He told everyone what he had seen and heard. He gave his testimony of life change. He shared how men could be made right with God. He witnessed to the life-transformative power of God made available through the death of Jesus Christ. And many believed. Many called on the name of the Lord and were saved. Many confessed with their mouths that Jesus is Lord and believed in their hearts that God had raised him from the dead, and they were saved.
But Paul wasn’t the first and last messenger. He wasn’t the only one to receive a commission. Jesus had told the disciples, just prior to His ascension, “And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere – in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8 NLT). Matthew records these well-known words from Jesus that have stood as the commission and calling for every Christ-follower since the earliest days of the church until now. “Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20. We have news to share. We have a commission to accomplish. We have Good News to announce to the nations. But could the reason many of us fail to share be because we fail to truly appreciate what we have received? Does the Good News mean as much to us as it did to Paul? Are we blown away by the grace and mercy of God and can’t help but tell others what He has done for us – in spite of us? Paul was a transformed man. He was truly free. He had lived much of his life trying to make himself right with God, but had been released from the dead-end pursuit by the unmerited, unearned favor of God. He couldn’t help but tell others what God had done for him. “I am compelled by God to do it. How terrible for me if I didn’t preach the Good News!” (1Corinthians 9:16b NLT). What about you? Are you compelled by God to share the Good News? Would you ever consider it “terrible” should you NOT be able to share? Paul was driven by a passion to see people escape condemnation and death, not just go to heaven. He was motivated by a strong desire to see people released from captivity to sin and self-righteousness. His own salvation became the his greatest motivation for telling others about Jesus. His gratitude to God flowed out in his attitude of compassion for others.
Father, may my awareness of the magnitude of Your gracious gift motivate me to share what I have received with others. Give me a growing passion for proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ to anyone and everyone I meet. My job is not to save anyone, but to share with everyone. Thank You that someone told me. Now may I be a willing witness to others. Amen.
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men