Monday, January 15, 2024

2024.01.15 Hopewell @Home ▫ Romans 10:14–17

Read Romans 10:14–17

Questions from the Scripture text: What does Romans 10:14 begin by asking about Jews and Greeks? Why do they need to call upon Him? What do they need to do in order to call upon Him? From Whom do they need to hear in order to believe in Him? By what method has He appointed for them to hear Him? From where do these preachers come (Romans 10:15)? Where can we find out about these preachers? What did Isaiah 52:7 say were beautiful? What do they come to preach? What do they bring with them? What is not guaranteed merely by being in the presence of preaching (Romans 10:16)? How does verse 16b imply that this unbelieving response is actually very common (cf. Isaiah 53:1; John 12:37–38)? How does faith come (Romans 10:17)? How does hearing come?

How can Jews and Greeks come to believe in Jesus and call upon the name of the Lord Jesus? Romans 10:14–17 prepares us for the sermon in the midweek prayer meeting. In these four verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that the Lord sends preachers, whose message He accompanies by His own calling in the heart, through which He gives saving faith. 

Calling upon the Name of the Lord. How great is the privilege that we have to call upon YHWH, by crying out to Jesus! How wonderful to know that those who do so will be saved! Jesus is that glorious Name by which YHWH has given to us to call upon Him (Romans 10:9Romans 10:13; cf. Joel 2:32). But many Jews and Greeks (Romans 10:12) are not calling upon the Name of the Lord Jesus. They are not confessing the Lord Jesus with their mouth. But how could they? They haven’t believed into Him. And how can they call on Him into Whom they have not believed?

Hearing the Lord Himself. At this point Romans 10:14 asks a question that is not translated well in the NKJ. Literally, it reads, “How shall they believe Whom they have not heard?” It is Christ Himself Whom we hear and respond to in saving faith. This is how the apostle could remind the Ephesians that they had heard Christ preaching to them (cf. Ephesians 2:17) and teaching them (cf. Ephesians 4:20–21). There is no faith without hearing Christ Himself!

How We Hear Jesus: Preachers. Perhaps, like their author, my dear readers have heard people say that “Jesus spoke to them”—meaning a voice or a feeling inside their heads. But the Bible doesn’t teach us to expect to hear Him this way. In fact, this verse teaches us to expect the very opposite, when it says, “How shall they hear, without a preacher?” In other words: the real Jesus, Who really gives saving faith by hearing Him, gives that hearing of Him not by a still small voice in our head but by the audible voice of a preacher whom He has sent!

How We Get Preachers: Jesus. Romans 10:15 quotes Isaiah 52:7 to compliment the attractiveness of preachers’ feet. Doesn’t that seem odd to us! But the point is that the beauty of the preacher is not just what comes from his lips. The beauty of the preacher is from whence he has been sent. Jesus has sent him, so his feat are beautiful, because we see him coming to us as from our Redeemer. 

The Preaching and Hearing that Saves. Of course, there is more to hearing Jesus than hearing, in a merely outward way, the preacher that He sends us. The quote from Isaiah 53:1, in Romans 10:16, reminds us that Israel’s rejection of Christ and His Word was rampant long before His incarnation and acts of redemption. They heard Isaiah addressing their ears, but they did not hear the Spirit of Christ addressing their hearts with those words (cf. 1 Peter 1:11). In the same way, many Jews and Greeks had heard Paul addressing their ears, but they did not hear Christ addressing their hearts with those words. So faith comes by hearing (Romans 10:17) not the voice of the preacher in our ear, but those same words by which God addresses our heart. “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.”

O, dear reader, get yourself to a church where the Scriptures are preached. And look to His Spirit to address your heart with those words. Seek from God that faith that comes by hearing Him, as He uses the preacher He has sent to you for that purpose. And, as you come more and more to know Him Whom you have heard, and into Whom you have believed, you will ever more naturally call upon Him in your distresses, knowing that He will save you out of them all.

In the difficulties of every day, how naturally does your heart (and mouth) call upon the Lord Jesus? How is this a gauge of whether you are believing in Him? What has He done for you to give you faith and to increase that faith? In what way, by His grace, should you listen to preaching in order to grow in faith?

Sample prayer:  Lord, we thank You for giving to us Your own Son as our faith-giving Preacher. And thank You for those human preachers whom Jesus sends, as He gives us His Word by their lips. Grant unto them the ministry of Your Spirit, that they may preach faithfully, and it may be Your Word that we hear. And grant unto us the ministry of Your Spirit, that Your Word would do its work in our hearts, which we ask through Christ, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP119W “Lord, Let My Cry Before You Come” or TPH172 “Speak, O Lord”

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