Read the series so far.
Paul wrote that the gospel is a message that must be proclaimed. It must be verbally shared. Believers must feel the tug of God and be sent. Now look again at the excuse people gave—even in the first century: some felt it wouldn’t be believed.
How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news of good things!” However, they did not all heed the good news; for Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our report?” So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ. (Rom. 10:14-17)
Jesus promised that if you faithfully and lovingly gave it, the message would not return without use. A biblical world view (faith) comes by hearing the message of the Word and having that hearing energized by the Savior within.
Our lesson closes with an admission, though. There will be resistance. Some won’t listen. Some are hardened by life, others by blindness in the Spirit. Paul’s own countrymen were experiencing that blindness:
But I say, surely they have never heard, have they? Indeed they have; “Their voice has gone out into all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world.” But I say, surely Israel did not know, did they? First Moses says, “I will make you jealous by that which is not a nation, by a nation without understanding will i anger you.” And Isaiah is very bold and says, “I was found by those who did not seek me, I became manifest to those who did not ask for me.” But as for Israel He says, “all the day long i have stretched out my hands to a disobedient and obstinate people.” (Rom. 10:18)
Do You See What God Promised about the Gospel’s Reach?
He said the message of the Gospel would go around the globe. Have you ever considered that truth as one of the great evidences of the faith—that a small and backward people would bear a child in a stable who was executed under the auspices of Roman power, but His story would become the backbone of western history’s energizing belief? It would give birth to European nations and eventually to our own country.
Atheists are quick to point out that not all the founding fathers of our nation were Theists—and it is true that Jefferson and some others were Deists. What they were NOT was a large group of atheists. They believed in moral truth. They believed in Divine purpose and destiny. They believed in human dignity, and inalienable rights of human beings as the basis of our legal framework and rights. The current teaching of some of our best modern minds have left little so powerful as their ideas, rooted in Scriptural language and thought.
We end this lesson with a word about Divinely-promised jealousy. Israel was passing into a time when their Scriptures would be launched to the nations—but not by them. This was being done in the name of One their leaders publicly despised. That could not have been easy to stomach.
Here is the point: God is working a plan. Religious behavior won’t tunnel beneath the wall around God. Good works cannot vault across the deep divide between God and man. Pedigree won’t get you into a relationship.
No one intrudes into a relationship with God. By His grace, there is a door, but that is the only way in. His name is Jesus.
There’s a website called museumofhoaxes.com that lists “The Top 100 April Fool’s Day Hoaxes of All Time.”
One was called the “Swiss Spaghetti Harvest.” In 1957, the respected BBC news show Panorama announced that thanks to a very mild winter and the virtual elimination of the dreaded spaghetti weevil, Swiss farmers were enjoying a bumper spaghetti crop. It accompanied this announcement with footage of Swiss peasants pulling strands of spaghetti down from trees. Huge numbers of viewers were taken in, and many called up wanting to know how they could grow their own spaghetti trees. To this question, the BBC diplomatically replied that they should “place a sprig of spaghetti in a tin of tomato sauce and hope for the best.”
Another great was “Smellovision.” In 1965, the BBC featured an interview with a professor who had just invented a device called “smellovision.” This miraculous technology allowed viewers to experience directly in their own home aromas produced in the television studio. The professor offered a demonstration by cutting some onions and brewing coffee. A number of viewers called in to confirm that they distinctly experienced these scents as if they were there in the studio with him. Since no aromas were being transmitted, whatever these viewers thought they smelled coming out of their TV sets must be chalked up to the power of suggestion.
A generation later came the “Left-Handed Whopper.” In 1998, Burger King published a full-page advertisement in USA Today announcing the introduction of a new item to their menu: a “Left-Handed Whopper” specially designed for the 32 million left-handed Americans. According to the advertisement, the new whopper included the same ingredients as the original Whopper, but all the condiments were rotated 180 degrees for the benefit of their left-handed customer. The following day Burger King issued a follow-up release revealing that although the Left-Handed Whopper was a hoax. Thousands of customers had gone into restaurants to request the new sandwich. Simultaneously, according to the press release, “many others requested their own ‘right-handed’ version.” (Original source unknown).
Yes, people can be trained to believe almost anything, and sadly they are being trained that way. But the truth is alive and well. Salvation is available—but there is only one door. That isn’t myth. It isn’t urban legend—it is the Word of the Savior Himself.