Special Note: Join with me in sharing the gospel with someone this Thursday. If you have experienced God’s grace, I encourage you to be intentional and make a commitment to share Christ on October 15 along with our church family.
“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?” (Romans 10:14-15a)
Here we have a series of four questions in just two verses above that form a logical chain. The questions form a sequence. Only Paul gives this sequence in reverse order. So the result is given at the beginning while the first step is given last. So if you were to see this sequence fleshed out where a person comes to Christ as His Savior and Lord, it would work this way:
1. A Christian is sent (verse 15a);
2. This Christian is sent to tell the Gospel (verse 14c);
3. People hear the Gospel because of this Gospel-telling Christian (verse 14b);
4. People believe in the message they have heard (verse 14a);
5. The people who believe will then call upon the name of the Lord (verse 13).
If we put the five steps together in these verses together in reverse order, we see the Bible’s logic for evangelism and missions:
Christ sends evangelists;
And those who call are saved.
In fact, verse seventeen sums up Paul’s argument: “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” (Romans 10:17)
In these two verses, we are given five steps toward leading others to faith in this text. Each of these five steps outline the necessary progression that must happen before anyone can call upon the name of the Lord. Each step is described with a series of rhetorical questions. The culmination of the series of questions is expressed first in the list: “How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed?” (Romans 10:14a). While the last question, located at the beginning of verse fifteen, is the foundation of all the questions: “And how are they to preach unless they are sent?” (Romans 10:15a).
Your job description is tied up in these five steps. It is impossible for anyone to call upon the name of the Lord until a Christian is sent. They can only call upon the name of Christ, if they have already believed in Him. They can only believe in Him, if they have heard of Him. And they can only hear of Him, if a person proclaims the message. And the message can only be proclaimed, if a Christian is sent. And it is these steps… this logical chain is so highly important if people are going to call upon the name of the Lord.
Post Script: As you read this passage, do not confuse “preach” here with the modern Sunday morning sermon. Instead of thinking about a pulpit when you see this word “preach” here, I want you to think of the news media. The news media for the “Bible days” is town herald. In the fifth century BC when the Greeks were at war with the Persians, three great historic battles occurred. Among these three battles was the Battle of the Plain, so called because it occurred on the Marathon Plain, a man was commissioned as a runner. He took messages from the battlefield back to the city of Athens. He ran the entire distance, twenty-six miles, which is why we call races of that duration marathons. This runner ran all the way from the plain into the city of Athens to bring the gospel, Greek word that simply means good news, of the Greek victory at Marathon. So the herald would tell the townspeople of a military victory and then he would head to the next town to tell them as well. So preaching is much like journalism – only it’s telling good news.