Text: Romans 10:13-17
Now we will explore the last identity that we have as Christians. Understanding ourselves, our core identity, makes us realize that we have a purpose. This purpose, first and foremost, is to glorify God in Christ by the Spirit. It is my purpose to shake our comfort and remind you all of our duty as Christians.
Providentially, we are not just called to sit around the church nor to enjoy having fellowship with each other. (Ilustration: Johannah Arceno) We clap our hands every time there are special numbers, talents but never have I heard that we clapped our hands for those who have evangelized or bring someone to Christ.
Verse 13 alludes to Joel 2:32 which is also related to verses 9 to 10. This verse, also, encapsulates the major theme of the book of Romans which can be found in (1:17b), “…But the righteous man shall live by faith,” and (5:1), “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Verses 14-15 are rhetorical questions by Paul emphasizing the significance of proclaiming the gospel. In reverse order, for a person to be saved is to have (1) a preacher sent from God, (2) proclamation of the message, (3) hearing the message, (4) believing the message.
1. The Preacher
In the context of the ministry of proclaiming, we are all called to go and make disciples (Matt 28:19-20). Evangelism is not another department or an isolated ministry only for those who are gifted. But this duty is given to all Christians. Ultimately, as conformers of Christ, we ought to follow the ultimate preacher—Jesus himself. He proclaimed His life, purpose, and promise to His people, and even after His resurrection (with the disciples in Emmaus road). Even, prior to His ascension, He commanded us to preach.
2. Proclaiming the Message
The word “preach or proclaim” in Greek is “kerusso.” In literal meaning, it means, “to herald” or to announce publicly. In the Biblical time, the disciples preached the gospel about Christ on a public platform. There were no microphones, nor megaphones, hence the need to proclaim it aloud so others will hear the message.
You are the most pitiful person if your entire purpose in life only of this world. Material things, money, success, leisure, comfort, and even family. I’m not saying there are not important, but if these are only your goal in life then you’re truly wrong.
3. Hearing the Message
Why the gospel message? The term “gospel” literally means good news. It is as if someone already discovered the 100% cure—take note, not just a vaccine—but the ultimate cure against the Covid-19 virus. So that is the good news, however, it is not yet “fully” good news to everyone until it is announced publicly. Because it can be kept in secret, and people are ignorant about this cure. Hence, the significance to proclaim this cure so everyone can give them hope and see that there is a future. In the same way, having this hope is not fully applied unless people believe the message.
4. Believing the message (John 3:16)
Remember John 3:16, “for those whosoever believe in Him” shall be saved. Those who only believe can fully enjoy the benefits of the gospel message. Returning to our illustration, take note—this is not the vaccine alone but the ultimate cure—only those who will willingly receive the cure will be cured and be protected in his or her entire life.
But the Christian good news is more than physical illnesses, and way beyond cure from Covid-19. Our good news is that our sins will be forgiven, made justified, righteous, holy, and pure that gives us the benefit to be in the presence of God, the grace to stand in front of the gates of heaven, and live an eternal life without pain, suffering, trials: no more anxieties, no more sleep deprivation, no more crying, no more depression, and no more sin. That is our good news, and this gospel is grounded in Christ.
Verse 16 explains that it is not our duty to convert a person but rather to focus on proclaiming God’s word. Do not be mistaken that you can change someone’s heart. You cannot. Hence, do not be impatient nor be disappointed if a person did not respond positively to your witnessing. Let the Holy Spirit work in their hearts, not you. Your main calling is to bring the message of God to them, then pray to God for the rest of it. It is God who makes a seed in one’s heart grow, but we are the instruments to plant these seeds—which is the Word of God—in their hearts through proclamation. Again, it is the Spirit that converts and transforms a soul.
Therefore, in verse 17, the proclamation is significant in equipping one’s hope. And this hope is in the words of Christ—known as the gospel about Christ. But if taken literally, these words are still being spoken by Christ through His messengers, that is us—Christians. The only time that you can tell that “Christ has spoken to you,” is only when it is through His Word. And we know that is true because it is the Spirit that applies these words into our hearts as an illuminating power transforming our lives both inward and outward.
When was the last time you share Christ with someone?
When was the last time the church added a new member through evangelism and not through a change of membership?
When was the last time the church baptized?
When was the last time you asked for prayers for courage to share the Word of God?
by Ptr. John Paul Arceno
UCBC New Jersey
April 11, 2021
*This section is an excerpt only; download the full manuscript here.