“Who Has Believed Our Message?

” (Romans 10:16-21)

I. Introduction. A. Review. 1. Paul has shown the Jews the way of salvation: through faith in Christ (10:9-10). 2. He has told them that God is now including the Gentiles in His salvation: “Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed. For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call upon Him” (vv. 11-12). 3. But he has also reminded them that no one will be saved – either Jew or Gentile – unless the Gospel reaches them. a. If anyone is to be saved, they must hear. b. To hear, there must be a preacher. c. To have a preacher, one must be sent. d. And to be sent, the church must do her part: praying, giving, going. B. Preview. 1. Faith comes by hearing; but this morning we are reminded again that not everyone who hears believes – most won’t and will perish. 2. The Jews heard, but few believed. 3. We will see that this was God’s doing, that He might turn to the Gentiles to make them jealous – when they see the Gentiles coming into the Kingdom and themselves left out, it makes them just plain angry. II. Sermon. A. First, Paul reminds us that all the Jews heard, but not everyone believed. 1. God told them in the OT that Gospel preaching among the Jews would be very ineffective: “However, they did not all heed the glad tidings; for Isaiah says, ‘Lord, who has believed our report” (v. 16)? a. “We told them, but who listened?” The answer is few. b. Why? They were too busy seeking salvation in their own way: through works. c. The Gospel showed them another way, the right way, the way of faith. d. But they were offended by the truth and rejected it: truth isn’t always welcome; truth sometimes makes people angry; most of the time it does. 2. But by this time, had they heard? a. Paul says, Yes, there was a sense in which everyone had heard. b. Paul writes, “But I say, surely they have never heard, have they? Indeed they have; ‘Their voice has gone out into all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world.’” c. The Gospel had gone out to all the Jews, in fact, to the whole Roman Empire.

2 (i) This was one of the purposes of Pentecost: Jews from every nation under heaven were present, heard, and took the Gospel back home with them. (ii) Paul himself had preached from Jerusalem as far as Illyricum (15:19; this was almost as far as Italy. He will later preach at Rome. But don’t forget, he was writing to the Romans). (iii) He quotes Ps. 19:4, referring to natural revelation, to refer to what was then going on. The Gospel had become as universal as that revelation of God through the sun, moon, and stars. B. Second, Paul asks whether or not Israel knew. “But I say, surely Israel did not know, did they” (v. 19)? 1. Knew what? Whether they knew that in this universal call of the Gospel, that many of them would reject the Gospel, while the Gentiles would receive it? The answer again is, Yes. 2. First he quotes Deuteronomy 32:21, “At the first Moses says, ‘I will make you jealous by that which is not a nation, by a nation without understanding will I anger you.’” a. God offered them the Gospel first, but they rejected it. Peter said to the Jews, “It is you who are the sons of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with your fathers, saying to Abraham, ‘And in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed.’ For you first, God raised up His Servant, and sent Him to bless you by turning every one of you from your wicked ways’” (Acts 3:25-26). b. They were the sons of the prophets, the sons of the covenant. They were the heirs of the kingdom of God. They were to receive the offer of salvation first. c. But when they rejected it, God turned to the Gentiles. Paul and Barnabas said to the Jews at Pisidian Antioch, “It was necessary that the word of God should be spoken to you first; since you repudiate it, and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold, we are turning to the Gentiles” (Acts 13:46). d. Why did God do this? To provoke the Jews to jealousy: “I will make you jealous by that which is not a nation.” e. The Jews are like the elder brother in the Prodigal Son. When his wayward brother repented and was honored by his father, he was jealous of his brother (Luke 15). f. The Gentiles were no people/not a nation. They had no knowledge of the Gospel – they were in darkness, in ignorance – but Christ became to them the light of God, the wisdom of God, the salvation of God. g. And this provoked the Jews to jealousy. h. It wasn’t always the kind of jealousy that led to salvation. We read in Acts 13:43-45, “Now when the meeting of the synagogue had broken up, many of the Jews and of the God-fearing proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas, who, speaking to them, were urging them to continue in the grace of God. And the next Sabbath nearly the whole city assembled to hear the word of God. But when the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy, and began

3 contradicting the things spoken by Paul, and were blaspheming” (Cf. Acts 17:5, 13; 22:21-22). i. But sometimes the Lord would use it to that end (Rom. 11:11). 3. Second, Paul quotes Isaiah 65:1. a. “And Isaiah is very bold and says, ‘I was found by those who sought me not, I became manifest to those who did not ask for Me’” (v. 20). b. He was bold to speak against his own people in this way. c. Again, we see that people don’t often like to hear the truth and to speak it is a bold undertaking. d. But notice the Gentiles, who were not even seeking, found. (i) Usually we need to look for something before we find it. But the Gentiles weren’t looking, but found salvation. (ii) God’s grace is His own, and He gives it to whom He wills. The Gentiles were worshiping idols; they weren’t even looking for salvation, but in His grace, He brought them to the truth; He saved them. (iii) God’s purposes are His own. 4. But again, what about Israel? Paul quotes Isaiah 65:2, “But as for Israel He says, ‘All the day long I have stretched out my hands to a disobedient and obstinate people” (v. 21). a. Israel was sleeping in the light. They had the law, the ceremonies, the sacrifices through which they were to find God, but they were stiff-necked and hardhearted. b. God was so gracious: He extended His hand to them offering life and salvation. c. God was so patient: He kept His hand extended all day long. His patience is called day, the day of His grace. But it doesn’t last forever. Night eventually comes. d. But they didn’t receive it: They were obstinate and disobedient. More than that, they fought against it and blasphemed God. III. Application. A. What are some of the lessons here for us? 1. Most people will not believe. a. The road to destruction is broad, many go in to the broad gate. b. The road to life is narrow, few enter the straight gate. c. Make sure that you are on the narrow road, the highway of holiness. d. Do what you can to get others on the narrow road. 2. Sometimes the Lord provokes to jealousy to save. a. God used jealousy to bring some Jews to Himself, but He does it with others. b. Sometimes He makes the world jealous of what we have as Christians: love, comfort, assurance, courage, etc. c. Let’s pray that God will make these things abound in our lives, that He might provoke some to jealousy and salvation.

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3. Sometimes we must be bold if we are to honor God. a. Isaiah spoke boldly against His own people who didn’t want to hear it. b. Sometimes the truth must be spoken boldly to a people who don’t want to hear. c. Let’s pray that the Lord will make us bold with the Gospel. 4. Sometimes the Lord saves those who aren’t even looking. a. There are those He awakens first, sets on the path of knowledge, who look in many different places, even in Christianity, before they find. b. But others, He saves right away, as we have many examples in Scripture. c. Tell the Gospel to those who don’t express any interest in religion: God may yet save them. 5. Sometimes He keeps His hand extended towards those who won’t receive Him. a. The day of God’s mercy is not over. Keep spreading the Gospel. b. But make sure that you are not like the Jews: asleep in the light. c. Make sure that as long as there’s hope, you’re telling the Gospel to others. B. For those of you who have embraced it, Christ has prepared a meal for you this morning. 1. It is a memorial of His death. 2. It is a means to communicate His life, to strengthen you in His service. 3. Let’s prepare to participate to His glory and our blessing in Christ. Amen.