J. Gordon Duncan

Culture, Business, Fitness, Etc.

God’s Pedicure – Sermon Notes from Romans 10:14-21

Sermon audio can be found at http://www.sermoncloud.com/sovereign-king-church/ later this week.

Every since I’ve begun training for the marathon, I’ve had to pay attention to something in which I’ve never even given much of a thought:  my feet.  You just can’t throw on any old shoes and go running.  That might work in the short term, but in the long run (sorry for the pun), you’re feet are going to kill you in you are wearing the wrong shoes.  When I started my training a few months ago, I just put on an old pair of running shoes, and I quickly realized that I was going to have some serious injuries if I didn’t get some new kick.  The new shoes worked but the first week was like running on razor blades.  I took them off from a run, and I had two pretty wicked blisters.  Then I realized that certain socks prevented blisters, so I had to change my socks.  All of a sudden, my feet, to which I barely had given a thought most of my life, were taking up a lot of my attention.

Now forgive me for taking up so much time discussing feet.  For some folks, feet are pretty disgusting, and I must admit, when I those toenail fungus commercials are on TV, I get a little queasy.  I cannot even begin to imagine how dirty and disgusting feet were back in Jesus’ day.  They clearly wore shoes back in Rome, and they even called them an early version of the word “sock” but they really were just loose fitting sandals.  We don’t get socks as we know until the late 1800’s and Nike didn’t produce shoes until 1964, so feet in Jesus’ day were pretty sore, filthy, and probably petty disgusting.  Yet, in this week’s passage, God is going to call those feet, that were dirty and bruised and who knew what their toenails looked like without clippers, beautiful.

They are not beautiful because of any outward appearance, which is always the case in scripture.  Beauty in scripture always comes from within as something lives out the purpose for which it was created.  No, feet are beautiful because of the wonderful and grand mission in which they fulfill.  In fact, they fulfill the mission that God gives to the His people, the church.  So this week, as we continue in our series in Romans, let’s ask this Big Picture Question:

Big Picture Question:  What grand and beautiful mission does God give the church?

Romans 10:14 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?

There is a reverse engineering nature to this verse and it details both how people have faith in Jesus and how the church is to help them have faith in Jesus.  First of how, how do people have faith in Jesus?  A person calls out to Jesus because they believe in Jesus because they heard about Jesus because someone preached about Jesus because that person who preached Jesus was sent by someone.  You see the progression?  People can’t call out Jesus unless they believe in Him.  They can’t believe in Him unless they have heard about Him.  They can’t hear about Him unless someone preaches Jesus to them.  And no one can preach to them unless someone, namely the church, sends them.

Secondly, how does the church help people have faith in Jesus? The church sends someone out with the mission of preaching Jesus.  That person goes out to preach.  Someone hears about Jesus.  That person then believes in Jesus.  Then that changed renewed person calls out to Jesus.

Now amazingly, these are lines upon a continuum.  They are not two separate straight lines, but instead, they are actually a circle.  Let me explain.  You see the church sends out ministers to preach just like Redeemer Church sent me to Garner to preach and start SK.  But the church also sends out its members to proclaim the Gospel.  Any church that is not a sending church is not a church at all.  A church that does not send its people out or does not equip them to send is more of a club than a church.  Churches send their folks.  Here, we prepare and send folks into Garner and the surrounding areas to serve and proclaim and Jesus and hopefully one day, we will send out a church planter to start another church.

So now, I preach and the people of SK proclaim Jesus Christ as the hope for this world’s sin and sorrow.  Someone, somewhere hears that message proclaimed whether it be the coffee shop, the school, the work place, wherever you are.  That person hears the hope of Jesus, the Gospel, and find faith in Him.  Then they call out Jesus to save them.  Guess what happens next?  They become part of God’s people, the church and then they are cared for, trained, and the sent out by the church.  It is continual circle and cycle of the Gospel going forward.  It is consistent with Jesus making and training the 12 disciples and then commanding them at the end of the book of Matthew for them to go out and make out disciples themselves.

That is how we see the mission of the church worldwide as well as SK encapsulated in these verses.  We create community in CE Groups, Fight Club, Project Runway, so we can engage community caring for the EMS, the police, and at the Watering Hole and Sweet Monday, so folks will be brought into create community and start the whole process over again.  This mission must always be protected as the foot soldiers if you will go out on the mission.  And hear is where God calls them and their feet beautiful.  Look at verse 15.

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

Paul’s choosing of image of both the feet of the Gospel and the preaching of the Gospel is not random.  The task of preaching the good news is about going.  It is about putting feet to the message of the Gospel.  You can stand all day in your pantry and yell to the walls that people need to have faith in Jesus but God’s design is that someone has to hear the scriptures for them to believe it.  You can foolishly assume that you live such a virtuous life that people want to ask how you became so Godly, but that rarely happens.  And yes, you can stand on the street corner and yell at people to repent and maybe people are going to respond to the Gospel.  However, putting on the feet of the Gospel is proclaiming the truths of Jesus in word and deed.

It is becoming part of people’s lives, loving with the agenda with grace and change, so that they not hear the preaching of the good news, but the see it.  You have to purposefully place yourself in the lives of people so that you have an audience for the preached word.  Now if you have ever purposefully set out to either tell people about Jesus or to serve them with the hope of telling them about Jesus, you know that just because you do that, that doesn’t mean people are necessarily going to believe.  Because of this, many people give up or never even try to actively proclaim Jesus Christ.  If that has been discouraging to you, you are in good company.

In verse 16, Paul quotes the prophet Isaiah who asked, “Has anyone ever believed from our preaching?”  Isaiah was looking around at the many Jews who didn’t truly have faith in God and wondered if his preaching of repentance was useless.  That might be the feeling some of you have or have had after tirelessly serving Garner these past few years.  You might look around and think, “3 years of hard work and there are maybe 60 people here?  Is this worth even trying?”  I can relate.  There have been days when I wondered if I was just wasting my time.  I’ve wondered if any one has ever believed because I’ve preached.  Isaiah wondered the very same thing.

And God’s response?  17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.  God’s response is, “People come to faith when they hear the preached word of Christ.”  The job of the believer is to proclaim Jesus and the bringing of people to Jesus is the responsibility of God who declares, “I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion and I will have mercy on whom I have mercy.”  Look at verse 18.

18 But I ask, have they not heard? Indeed they have, for “Their voice has gone out to all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world.”

This is the context of the beautiful feet that go with the gospel.  The gospel is proclaimed, Jesus’ name is lifted up and the voice of hope goes out to the ends of the earth.  That’s what we do here.  We proclaim Jesus by serving this community and we will keep on doing it until Garner and the surrounding areas until everyone has heard the Gospel.  Think of it practically.  If this room decided right now that there was nothing that would keep you rrom serving your neighbors and proclaiming Jesus in humility and truth, then if you each did that every day, then the community of Garner would know and hear about Jesus in less than one year.  Would everyone believe?  Nope.  But our job is to reflect the love of Christ in the proclaiming of Jesus to the ends of the earth.  Let’s start with Garner and the surrounding areas.

Paul reminds us of the difficult task at hand in verses 19-21.

19 But I ask, did Israel not understand? First Moses says, “I will make you jealous of those who are not a nation; with a foolish nation I will make you angry.”

20 Then Isaiah is so bold as to say, “I have been found by those who did not seek me; I have shown myself to those who did not ask for me.”  21 But of Israel he says, “All day long I have held out my hands to a disobedient and contrary people.”

Paul tells us a little story by speaking of Israel’s rejection of God and God’s subsequent bringing in of Gentiles.  Israel did not believe or respond to the prophets calls of repentance.  God then too His grace and truth and gave it to…us…not Jewish folks.  Israel got mad.  They thought that God was their property by birthright.  Through Isaiah, God told them in response, “Um I’m hanging with some different folks now.  Folks that don’t take the grace of God for granted.

You want to know why the Gentiles, and again remember that is us, why we shouldn’t take God for granted?  Look at verse 20.  We didn’t ask God to show Himself to us when we didn’t believe.  God showed Himself to us by His own will.  God controls the revealing of Himself and He chooses to do that through the preached word like Isaiah’s and yours.  Now that is the beautiful message of the Gospel.  The fact that God would use you and me to proclaim Jesus to the world makes you beautiful as well.  The feet of those who bring good news are beautiful.  Now, folks struggle with this.  I know many of you struggle to think that anything about yourself is beautiful.  But here is what makes you and the message of the Gospel beautiful.  Let me read from John 13.

13:1 Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. 2 During supper, when the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him,

3 Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, 4 rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. 5 Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him.

6 He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, do you wash my feet?” 7 Jesus answered him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.” 8 Peter said to him, “You shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.” 9 Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!” 10 Jesus said to him, “The one who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet, but is completely clean. And you are clean, but not every one of you.” 11 For he knew who was to betray him; that was why he said, “Not all of you are clean.”

12 When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you?

13 You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. 14 If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15 For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. 16 Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.

18 I am not speaking of all of you; I know whom I have chosen. But the Scripture will be fulfilled, ‘He who ate my bread has lifted his heel against me.’ 19 I am telling you this now, before it takes place, that when it does take place you may believe that I am he. 20 Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever receives the one I send receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.”

31 When he had gone out, Jesus said, “Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him. 32 If God is glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself, and glorify him at once. 33 Little children, yet a little while I am with you. You will seek me, and just as I said to the Jews, so now I also say to you, ‘Where I am going you cannot come.’ 34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. 35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

This article also appears at the Raleigh Examiner.  Read the article there and help me earn a penny.

November 22, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , ,

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