The Believer’s Evangelistic Privilege
November 17, 2019
The apostle Paul was a remarkable man.
- He was a prolific writer (13 letters in the NT) and an astute linguist
- He was a careful theologian (e.g., Romans)
- He was an effective and wise church planter and pastor
- He was a bold apologist (Acts 17) and defender of the faith
- He was unwavering in His love of Christ and defender of the purity of Christ’s church (1-2 Cor.)
But as you think about Paul, you also cannot help but think about his evangelistic zeal. He had a yearning for the salvation of those who were not yet redeemed by Christ (especially in Romans 9-11):
- “and pray on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in proclaiming it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak” (Eph. 6:19-20)
- “For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for I am under compulsion; for woe is me if I do not preach the gospel.” (1 Cor. 9:16)
- “Brethren, my heart’s desire and my prayer to God for them is for their salvation. For I testify about them that they have a zeal for God, but not in accordance with knowledge.” (Rom. 10:1-2)
- “…if somehow I might move to jealousy my fellow countrymen and save some of them.” (Rom. 11:14)
- “…that I have great sorrow and unceasing grief in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed, separated from Christ for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh…” (Rom. 9:2-3)
Here is a man with a deep longing for the salvation of those who were lost — especially his fellow Israelites. He was a committed evangelist. He understood the mandate to preach the gospel that he had been given, and he understood (as much as a man can) the infinite weight of the loss for those who do not believe. He was driven to speak the gospel because of the tragedy of rejection.
As Paul writes about the responsibility to believe the gospel in Romans 10, he also affirms the responsibility to preach the gospel. Paul’s message in vv. 14-15 is this:
Since all must believe the gospel, all who believe must also speak the gospel.
These verses are a call to evangelism. They remind us that while God is sovereign in salvation and God makes all people responsible for salvation, He also makes those who believe responsible to speak the gospel to those who do not yet believe. This is another evangelistic mandate.
But this passage and this message aren’t just another “you need to be more evangelistic” exhortations. It is filled with a longing for the lost, almost as if he has placed himself in their position. He pleads for vigor in evangelism by reminding us of our God-ordained role in people coming to salvation and with a reminder of his and our commission. He is constrained to declare the gospel to the lost because of their need and because of his God-decreed responsibility.
In these verses, Paul asks four rhetorical questions that remind us of four requirements for every evangelistic endeavor. As we work through the questions, notice that the second verb in each question becomes the first verb in the next question — so the questions build on each other. They are progressive. Or actually, as one commentator noted, they are regressive in that the chain of questions moves downward to a state of despair and hopelessness for the unbeliever.
What are the requirements of our evangelism?
- Evangelism Provides an Opportunity to Call on God for Salvation
- Evangelism Declares Christ
- Evangelism Speaks the Gospel
- Evangelism is Commissioned by God
Download the rest of this sermon on Romans 10:9-13.
The audio will be posted on the GBC website by tomorrow.