Today we‘re continuing our message series called “Beyond Borders.” Our primary goal in this series is to open our eyes to a world of lost people, in America and far beyond. Not only to open our eyes to the lost, but to give us an opportunity to do something about it, by praying for and supporting one of the most effective missionary organizations in the world.
Today, we’re going to expand on this goal with the message “So All Can Hear.” So All Can Hear is the purpose of the church on the earth. Our purpose is to do everything we can so every person on the planet can hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Matthew 28:18-20 (ESV) And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Notice where we are to go and make disciples. Circle the phrase “all nations.” We are not to leave even a single nation or people group without a credible witness of the Gospel. Let’s look at this diagram of three areas of mission that we have. We have a responsibility as individuals and as a church family to do our part to reach our city of St. Louis with a bold, Spirit-filled witness. Then we support missionaries called to other areas of America and to the nations of the world.
Our church is privileged to be part of the Assemblies of God. The Assemblies of God was founded in 1914 with the primary objective of reaching the world for Jesus. The motto “So All Can Hear” is the purpose statement of Assemblies of God World Missions. We have thousands of missionaries located in 256 countries around the world. As the newest major denomination in the world, we have grown from a handful in 1914 to over 69 million believers today and are the largest Protestant denomination. Through our missions, we see 1 new believer saved every 37 second, one church planted every 95 minutes and one new minister released every 73 minutes. Yet there are still billions of lost people and thousands of unreached people groups.
The banners at the front of our church reflect the 4-fold mission of AG World Missions and of our church. Our mission is to Reach the Lost, Plant Churches, Train Leaders and Serve the Poor. God calls believers to go to foreign lands to spread the Gospel. So, how can we help reach the nations of the world? First of all, I have a vision that God will call some people from Life Church to be missionaries in the future. Secondly, we can all help now by prayer and sending missionaries through making faith promises. We’ll talk more about faith promises toward the end of the message. Today, we want to look at God’s Word to better understand “How All Can Hear” and our part in making God’s vision reality.
Romans 10:8 (ESV) But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim);
In the passage, God’s Word begins by explaining what the Gospel is all about. In order to be saved, you don’t have to go hear some famous preacher or attend a specific church. You don’t have to do all kinds of good works in order to be saved. A person is saved solely by faith. A faith that is confessed with the mouth and believed in the heart. So, once someone understands the basics of the Gospel, that Gospel must be received through faith. Everyone therefore has a heart and a mouth that can received the Gospel. So, let’s explore in more detail what it means to believe the Gospel or Good News about Jesus Christ.
Romans 10:9 (ESV) because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
In this short verse, we see the essence of the Gospel expressed in two conditions. The first condition to be saved is to confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord. To confess is to say something with your mouth that is based on a belief in your heart. The confession of believers in the NT is Jesus is Lord. To say Jesus is Lord implies a number of things. It means that Jesus is God. It means that Jesus has all power and all authority. It means that I am submitting my life to obey everything that my Lord Jesus commands me to do. It means that Jesus is alive and reigning in heaven today. Secondly, you must believe in your heart that Jesus is resurrected and alive today. You cannot be saved if you believe that Jesus is still dead. These two conditions go together. If you truly believe in a living Jesus in your heart, you will confess that Jesus is Lord to other people.
Romans 10:10 (ESV) For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.
This next verse expands on the previous verse. It says that when you believe with your heart, you are justified. To be justified is to have your sins forgiven through the blood of Jesus. When you believe and confess that Jesus is Lord, you are truly saved.
What we see in these simply verses is that the essence of the Gospel is that a person is saved through faith. And that faith expresses itself through confession and a life that follows Jesus as Lord. Every other religion on the planet teaches that people are saved through doing good things. Jesus is the only way to be saved, as He is the only one who can justify sinners and make them righteous. That is why, as we’ll see, we must go and make disciples of every nation. Even though every nation has their own religion, it is a false religion that cannot save them. So …
Romans 10:11 (ESV) For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.”
In this verse, Paul quotes a verse from Isaiah 28:16. This verse says that everyone who believes in Jesus will not be put to shame at the judgement. You see, salvation is fully revealed at the final judgement, where Jesus will be the judge. People’s lives will be examined and those with sin will be put to shame and sent to spend eternity in hell. However, those who have put their faith in Jesus will be able to stand in the judgement without shame and guilt. Why? Because all their sins have been forgiven and cleansed. They are righteous and no accusation against them has validity.
Romans 10:12 (ESV) For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him.
In Paul’s time, the big distinction was between Jews and Greeks or Gentiles. The Jews considered themselves the people of God and everyone else could only come to God by becoming a Jew. Yet, now that Jesus had come, Jesus was not just Lord of the Jews, He is Lord of everyone person, He is Lord of all. And who receives the benefits of Jesus being Lord? Those who call on Him.
Romans 10:13 (ESV) For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
What does it mean to call on the name of the Lord? It means for a sinner to pray, repenting of their sin, asking for forgiveness as they put their faith in Jesus Christ. Notice that everyone, with no exception, who calls on the Lord Jesus will be saved.
Does everyone who hears the Gospel call on the name of the Lord? The answer is No, many hear the Gospel and do not believe or call on the name of the Lord. They are not saved. A person is not saved simply by hearing the Gospel. What of those who have never heard the Gospel? I believe that God makes a way for those are seeking Him to put their faith in Jesus, but this is the exception not the rule. As we’ll see, the normal way that people hear the Gospel is through missionaries who are called to every nation. That is the concluding point of this passage.
Romans 10:14 (ESV) 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?
So here we see the sequence on someone being saved. First someone must preach the Gospel to the sinner. Then the sinner must hear the Gospel preaching and believe in Jesus. Finally, after believing in their hearts, the person calls on the Lord and is saved. Where does this sequence begin? It begins with someone preaching the Gospel to those who have never heard it before. Or perhaps, they have heard it, but they have not yet chosen to believe the message. So, who is going to preach the Gospel to the nations of the world?
Romans 10:15 (ESV) And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”
In order for missionaries to preach the Gospel to the lost, they must be sent. Missionaries are called by God but they must be supported by the people of God in order to have the funds to go to the mission field. In the Assemblies of God, missionaries who are called, travel to churches raising financial support for their mission’s budget. Only when their budget is complete can they go to the mission field. So, missionaries are sent by believers in local churches. In the Assemblies of God, we make monthly pledges to the missionaries we support. In this way, missionaries are called by God and sent by believers.
Romans 10:16-17 (ESV) But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?” So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.
Just because people hear the Gospel does not mean that all will accept and obey the Gospel. Yet it is our responsibility to send missionaries to preach the Gospel, so that all can hear. So that every person has an opportunity to believe or not believe the truth of the Gospel. Paul summarizes this passage in Romans 10 by saying that faith comes from hearing and hearing the word of Christ or the Gospel. People must hear the Gospel in order to believe and be saved.
Today, we want to talk in greater detail about faith promises. A faith promise is an agreement between you and God to give regularly to help send missionaries to the ends of the earth. A faith promise is an offering, above your tithe, 10% of your income, which goes to the local church. Next Sunday, we will give you an opportunity to make faith promises for the year 2018. A faith promise is not how much you think you can afford to give. You pray and ask God how much He wants you to give to missions in 2018. Most likely what He tells you will be more than you think you can afford to give. But when you obey God and commit to giving the faith promise amount He tells you to give, He will give you the finances to meet that promise in the next year.
Our Faith Promise goal for 2018 is $23,000, which is 10% of our General Fund giving for last year. I believe that if we each pray and obey what God tells us, we will meet our goal. In your bulletins is a brochure explaining more about faith promises and a faith promise card. Next Sunday, we’ll have a special Missions Service with Missionary Jason and his wife. At the end of the service, we’ll have a time of prayer and then collect your faith promises. The following Sunday, we’ll announce the total of the Faith Promises received. You’ll be able to keep track of your Faith Promise giving in your profile on the Realm. I believe as we step out in faith to intentionally give to missions in 2018, God will help us to increase our missions giving and will bless our church and all those who give in return.
As a church family, here at Life Church, we are committed to fulfilling our purpose So All Can Hear. Not only are we called to be witnesses right here in St. Louis, we are called to help send missionaries around the world. The Gospel message has the power to change lives and save the lost for Jesus is Lord of all. There is nothing closer to God’s heart than seeing the lost saved through missions. As each one of us steps out in faith through giving faith promises for 2018, God will honor that faith. Our finances will be used to see people saved around the world and God will bless us so that we an continue to grow and send even more missionaries.