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The Missionary Task of the Church

socialmedia@cityrise.org July 6, 2021 sermons, Good News, Roger Patterson, romans, sermons, west u baptist church,

The following is a manuscript of the sermon presented by Roger Patterson on Sunday July 4th, at our West U Baptist Church campus. To view the sermon in full, please visit our YouTubpage.

 

Matthew 28:18-20

18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Luke 24:47-49

“…and that repentance for the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. 49 And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.”

Acts 1:8

18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Romans 1:16-17

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”

These scriptures are key texts from which the church receives the missionary mandate to go into the world to proclaim the gospel. The task of the church is to be carriers of this good news to our communities, our cities, our nation and the world.  And the photos I have shown you are just glimpses into how we strive to stay mission focused on sharing the good news of Jesus Christ every single day.

Now, I want us to look at our portion today, as Paul asks four rhetorical questions that keep the task of the Great Commission of Jesus before us.

Romans 10:14-15

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?  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!” 

Now, I want you to see something here that is laid out before us. It’s the structure of this portion.

  • Verses 14 and 15, Paul asks 4 rhetorical questions. These questions lay out a process before us.
  • Verse 15b, there is a declaration about this beautiful process.
  • Verse 16, a statement about not all believing
  • Verse 17, the desired outcome and how the outcome takes place.

The Structure of this Passage

  • Verses 14 & 15 – 4 Rhetorical Questions
  • Verse 15b – The Beauty of this Process
  • Verse 16 – Not all will believe
  • Verse 17 – Faith through hearing the word of Christ

As is my custom, I wanted to share an outline with you.  Now, you know, this is as much for me as it is for you. I like to show you where I’m headed and come back to these principles.  But I also need this framework to keep me moving in the right direction.

The Missionary Task of the Church

  1. The Aim is Faith
  2. It’s beautiful, but not everyone buys in
  3. It’s the task of the faithful

Let’s look at this first point of this outline.

I. The Aim is Faith – V. 17

Now, notice this. I’m starting with the end in mind. I want us to see what the goal or aim is and how it is accomplished.

What is the outcome Paul says is needed?  It’s FAITH.

Definition of Faith: Faith is to believe in or trust in Jesus as contained in the content of the GOSPEL.

This isn’t the first time he has said it. As a matter of fact, it is all throughout this letter.  Note with me this theme of salvation faith with me in Romans.

Let’s first put this verse, Romans 10:17 alongside Romans 1:17.

Romans 1:17 and Romans 10:17

For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”

So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.

In chapter 1, we see a righteousness of God revealed from faith, for what?  For faith! And in God’s kingdom, the righteous shall live by faith!”

In chapter 10, the aim of the preaching of the gospel is so that faith might be birthed in hearts unto salvation.  Why?  Because the justified…those that are declared not guilty…those who are righteous before God…they live by FAITH.

A few weeks ago, we saw the burden Paul had for his fellow Jew. We talked about the partial hardening of the heart of the Jewish people so that the Gentiles might be grafted in.  Notice how Paul explains why the Gentiles are recipients of the amazing grace of Jesus while the Jews are not.

Romans 9:30-32

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…

In Romans 4, we see that Paul declares that Abraham and David were both justified by faith. And notice how he speaks of the Jews and Gentiles.

Romans 4:9

Is this blessing then only for the circumcised, or also for the uncircumcised? For we say that faith was counted to Abraham as righteousness. 

Faith was counted to Abraham as righteousness.  You see, Abraham believed God!

Then, as he opens chapter 5, he declares:

Romans 5:1-2

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

What do we see? We are justified by faith. We are declared not guilty before a Holy God by faith.  And we stand in this grace through faith!

Is that enough to convey the point that the aim of our preaching is faith – to believe in and trust in Jesus for salvation as conveyed in the gospel?

If not, I can share with you a bit more from chapter 3.

Romans 3:21-22a

But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— 22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. 

Once again, we see that the righteousness of God comes to us THROUGH FAITH in Jesus Christ.

As it says in verse 28…

Romans 3:28

For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law. 

The aim of the missionary task of the church is faith that is produced in people’s hearts.

And how is this produced?

It’s produced by hearing the word of Christ.

Warren Wiersbe says…

“In order to believe, they must hear the Word, for it is the Word that creates faith in the heart of the hearer.”

Now, you all are going to like this. I shouldn’t tell you this.  But my wife especially is going to like this.  Here is how the conversation goes some Sunday afternoons…

  • Hey hun…how was the preacher today?
  • She replies …pretty good. He’d be better if he were 5 minutes shorter.

And do you know what?

I shouldn’t tell you this…but that’s biblical.

This phrase… “word of Christ” – conveys with it the idea of being a brief statement.

I hate to say this, but she is once again, right!!!

But the content that produces faith is the simple gospel.  It’s the good news that…

  • God so loved the world that He gave his one and only son so that whoever believes in him will not perish but have everlasting life.

That’s the good news:

  • God loves you
  • Man rebelled against God and sinned
  • In God’s love, to rescue us from the consequences of our sin and to satisfy his justice, he gave to us His son.
  • Jesus, the son, lived a perfect life. He was charged with crimes he did not commit. He was crucified as a criminal and died as a sin offering unto God.
  • But he didn’t stay dead. No, he was resurrected from the dead!
  • And this gospel message is to be believed by faith.

As we saw last week:

Romans 10:9-11

…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.

For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved!

Application: My friends, this is what we must proclaim. This is what we must preach. This is what we must herald.

The aim of our preaching is faith…belief in Jesus as revealed in the gospel.

And if you are hear today, and you have never believed in Jesus as revealed in the gospel, if you have never trusted him for your sins, please consider His word to you:

  • You are a sinner in need of a savior.
  • God loves you and has sent Jesus to rescue you.
  • Call on him today for your salvation. Place your faith in him and his work on the cross for your salvation and you will be saved!

The aim is saving faith!

Let’s look at this second point in our outline today.

The Missionary Task of the Church

  1. The Aim is Faith
  2. It’s beautiful, but not everyone buys in
  3. It’s the task of the faithful

II. It’s Beautiful, but not everyone buys in

Notice Romans 10:15-16.

Romans 10:15-16

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?” 

Here, in this part of the passage, Paul quotes Isaiah 52:7 when he speaks of the beautiful feet that bring good news.  It’s similar to Nahum 1:15. In both places, the picture is that of the marathon runner, who ran and ran and ran until he arrived in that place to declare victory.

In Isaiah 52:7, we see one coming through the hills and mountains bringing good news, publishing peace.  It is placed right before the 53rd chapter which speaks of the Suffering Servant Messiah.

Those who carry the gospel carry out a beautiful function.  This isn’t about how gorgeous feet are, for feet aren’t very gorgeous.  No, this is about how beauty functions.  The herald appears, running and running, to announce the victory that is at hand.  And this herald’s function is a thing of beauty. Let me see if I can illustrate it from a story told by Donald Grey Barnhouse.

Donald Grey Barnhouse tells the story of a man with Elephantiasis who, in his West African village, was converted by a missionary doctor who was caring for him.

In this disease, the skin becomes thick and hard, and the limbs of the victim become enormously enlarged, much like the leg of an elephant.  Sometimes the leg for the kneed down to the foot can become as large as twelve to fifteen inches in diameter. This is very restricting and very painful.

This man became a radiant Christian and he could do nothing other than tell people of the grace of God which he had shown in sending his son Jesus Christ to dies for them.  HE lived in a small village and was determined that every soul in the village should hear the good news of salvation.  He would get up, go to his neighbors and share his testimony and the good news of salvation being made available through Jesus.

He was faithful to this task and he shared the gospel with every person in the village.

Later that night, the man thought about the village just two miles away.  He knew it would be a challenging walk for him, but he felt compelled to attempt it.

As you can imagine, there was great pain and trouble in walking that two miles.  But he made the trip anyway.  And he was faithful to share the good news. He went from hut to hut telling the people his testimony and sharing the gospel of Jesus with them.  And many gave their lives to Christ.

That evening, he lay down, in pain, but also very satisfied that he had shared the good news, just as the missionary had shared with him.  As he prepared to fall asleep, the thought off the village ten miles into the jungle came across his heart and mind.

He felt a burden, a longing, a calling even, to go and share the story of God’s love and forgiveness to them. But he wondered if he could really make the journey.

The next morning, that thought of that village 10 miles away came to his mind once again.  He knew he would need to recover from the previous day’s walk to even attempt this one. So, he gave himself a few days.

Then, one morning before the sun came up, his family heard some stirring and then noise outside. They didn’t think much of it, because it wasn’t unusual. But when the sun came up and when they got up, this man with legs like the elephants, was gone.

He had taken the trail deep into that jungle and he struggled nearly every step of the way. He was still sore from that 2 mile journey but he pressed on, believing that God was sending him to tell of the love of  Jesus.

It wasn’t until afternoon that this man arrived at this much bigger village and he began immediately to go hut by hut to tell of the love of God found in Jesus Christ and how Jesus died and rose again. He spoke of the forgiveness of sin and the joy and peace that entered into his life when he, in faith took Christ as his savior.

He faithfully shared, one by one, hut by hut to as many as would listen.  There was no place for him to stay that night, and he knew that it was late.  So, just before sun down, feeling accomplished that he had set out to do what he was sent to do, this man began to make his way home through that dense jungle.

His fear of the night and his sense of satisfaction of fulfilling his mission led him one, dragging his stump like legs forward.

Around midnight, the missionary doctor heard some noise outside his clinic compound and he got up.  It was his friend who had elephantiasis.  He was beaten down and exhausted and he needed immediate medical attention.

As he attented to him, he asked him where he had been, and the man told him – “through the jungle to share Jesus with our neighbors.”

As the missionary doctor got to the mans lower extremeties, he began to ache deep in his soul. He saw the devastation those 20 miles had on his friends legs and he began to care for them and treat them.  This moved the missionary to tears. The doctor had never seen such a frightful sight as he looked upon those bleeding feet which had come back from such an errand of love and mercy.

Barnhouse says…

Unashamedly, the doctor told how he had bent over those feet to minister to them, and as he cleaned and dressed them, he told how his own tears had fallen with the ointment upon.

He said, ‘In all my life, I do not know when my heart was more drawn out to another Christian believer. All I could think of was the verse in the Word of God, “how beautiful are the feet of them that bring glad tidings, that publish peace.’”

That’s a beautiful story. But again, we see verse 16 and realize that not everybody buys in.  Here, Paul quotes Isaiah 53:1, which introduces us to the Suffering Servant.  As we read Paul’s message here, I can’t help but think of the way Paul was chased out of many cities, how he was beaten, how we was imprisoned.

I think of Jesus with the rich young ruler who walked away sad, because he did not want to receive the message Jesus proclaimed.

I think of the large crowds who stopped following Jesus in John 6 because the message became too hard.  And I think of the disciples who scattered when Jesus was being tried for crimes he did not commit.

Application: Your responsibility in sharing the good news is not the results. It’s in heralding the message.  The results are up to God.  Remember, Jesus described four soils of the heart in the parable of the soils.  And in three of those soils, there wouldn’t be lasting fruit.

But be faithful. Faithful to proclaim the gospel to those in your circle of influence and those you encounter.

Let’s look at this last principle today.

The Missionary Task of the Church

  1. The Aim is Faith
  2. It’s beautiful, but not everyone buys in
  3. It’s the task of the faithful

III. It’s the task of the Faithful

Look at verses 14-15a.

Romans 10:14-15a

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?

These four questions flow from the declaration in verse 13 that says, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Paul then comes to us very logically essentially declaring to us all that we each have a role to play in getting the gospel to the nations.

His logic flows like this:

  1. People must have faith in order to be saved.
  2. How can they have faith if they have never heard of Jesus.
  3. And how can they hear about Jesus unless someone goes to them and preaches to them.
  4. And how can that preaching happen unless the church sends them as missionaries.

His logic flows like this…

  1. People must have faith in order to be saved.
  2. How can they have faith if they have never heard of Jesus.
  3. And how can they hear about Jesus unless someone goes to them and preaches to them.
  4. And how can that preaching happen unless the church sends them as missionaries.

This is the task of the faithful…that we go and tell and that we prepare, commission, send and continue to provide for those sent out from us.

And healthy, strong, faithful churches are sending churches…to other parts of the:

  • city
  • state
  • nation
  • and to other parts of the world.

You can say what you will about Baptists.  We get a bad wrap everywhere we turn, and we don’t always help ourselves. But here is what I know: The way we cooperate together to get the gospel to all of the nations is second to none.  And this church gives 6 cents of very dollar to our Cooperative Baptist Efforts called the Cooperative Program.  And 11 cents of every dollar (including those 6 cents) are used to fund mission efforts of our church and our partners around the city and globe.

Application: You see, the faithful church and church member sees this world with all of its problems and realizes that our only hope is the gospel that changes a person’s heart. It’s the gospel that changes lives. It’s the proclaimed word of God accompanied by the Spirit of God that convicts the world of sin and righteousness and judgment.

And faithful followers of Jesus position themselves to walk in faith and stretch in faith and sacrifice in faith in order for good news to go out in faith that many will hear and some will believe.  And that’s why we are doing what we are doing to reach into this community and into this city and into various parts of the world.

We carry good news and we are called to be faithful with the good news.

Conclusion:  Are you being faithful with the good news?  Are you telling others about Jesus?  Are you helping resource the good news of Jesus?

Remember, you are not responsible for the results. But you can participate in the beauty of heralding the gospel.

The aim is faith as we proclaim the word of Christ.

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