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Thursday, September 21st, 2023
the Week of Proper 19 / Ordinary 24
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Bible Commentaries
Romans 10

Bell's Commentary on the BibleBell's Commentary

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Verses 1-21

  1. Intro:
    1. During the presidency of Andrew Jackson, George Wilson, a postal clerk, robbed a federal payroll from a train and in the process killed a guard. The court convicted him and sentenced him to hang. Because of public sentiment against capital punishment, however, a movement began to secure a presidential pardon for Wilson (first offense), and eventually Jackson intervened with a pardon. Amazingly, Wilson refused it. Since this had never happened before, the Supreme Court was asked to rule on whether someone could indeed refuse a presidential pardon. Chief Justice John Marshall handed down the court's decision: "A pardon is a parchment whose only value must be determined by the receiver of the pardon. It has no value apart from that which the receiver gives to it. George Wilson has refused to accept the pardon. We cannot conceive why he would do so, but he has. Therefore, George Wilson must die."
      1. George Wilson, as punishment for his crime, was hanged. Pardon, declared the Supreme Court, must not only be granted, it must be accepted.
    2. Ch.9 Israel’s Past Election; Ch.10 Israel’s Present Rejection; Ch.11 Israel’s Future Reception.
    3. Title: The Roman’s Road To Salvation!
    4. Outline: Salvations...Prayer; Source; Availability; Reception; Scope; Presentation; Reception.
  2. PRAYER! (1-3)
    1. The Prayer! (1): Paul prays for Israel’s salvation.
      1. Evangelism is our privilege & Gods burden, don’t get those mixed up.
        1. Preach as Richard Baxter used to say, “as a dying man to dying men”.
    2. The Problem! (2,3): Israel possesses...Zeal without knowledge.
      1. “Zeal without knowledge is a runaway horse.” [we call this person a religious fanatic]
        1. The definition of a fanatic: "A fanatic is a person who, having lost sight of his goal, redoubles his effort to get there."
      2. In his book, The Prodigal God, Timothy Keller writes, “…religious people commonly live very moral lives, but their goal is to get leverage over God, to control him, to put him in a position where they think He owes them. Therefore, despite all their ethical fastidiousness and piety, they are actually rebelling against his authority.” (The Prodigal God, P. 38 Illustration by Jim L. Wilson)
    3. Works without faith! (3b)
      1. They didn’t understand the kind of righteousness God wanted or how to get it.
      2. Caution on trying to establish your own righteousness – it can happen here at CM!
        1. You could be proud of yourself because you’re a Double-Dipper (you go to church twice a week!)
  3. SOURCE! (4,5)
    1. Righteousness is found in Christ (4)
    2. (4) Christ is the end of the law – in the sense of its aim rather than its termination. (Shepherdʼs Notes; pg.62)
      1. Phillip’s Translation, “For Christ means the end of the struggle for righteousness-by-the-law for everyone who believes in Him.”
      2. Jesus brought an end to our futile attempts to become righteous through law-keeping
      3. Sometimes those who seem most religious, the most passionate about keeping all the rules, need the gospel the most & often reject it most fiercely.
    3. Righteousness was foretold by Moses (5) (quotes Lev. 18:5)
  4. AVAILABILITY! (of God’s Righteousness) (6-8)
    1. See contrast rt. of Law(5), vs. rt. via Faith(6)!
      1. No one but Christ could make the Incarnation & Resurrection happen, so no one can construct salvation from their own means, apart from Christ.
      2. Righteousness is something done for us, not something we do for ourselves.
    2. Negative (6,7) - One need not search the heavens or descend into the deep to find this rt.
    3. Positive (8) - It is, through Christ, as near as one’s mouth and heart!
      1. Moses predicted this back in Deut.30:12-14.
    4. (8) Near you – Let’s distinguish between what is possible in theory & realized in practice.
      1. Christ is potentially near you, but is only realized in practice when you confess & believe!
      2. “It is as close as a decision of the heart & a declaration of the mouth!”
  5. RECEPTION! (9,10)
    1. Both one’s heart and mouth are involved.
    2. It is conceived in the heart (9b-10a).
      1. Heart always means the center of our moral being & it includes the intellect, feeling, & will.
      2. i.e. Saving faith dominates our entire being, mind, feelings, & will, & as a consequence, this faith will express itself in confession.
    3. It is confirmed by the mouth (9a,10b).
    4. (9,10) This is one of the most helpful portions of scripture for pointing the way of salvation.
      1. My Story: 1st verse I remember memorizing [Rom10.9] lic. plate (Colima/Whittier Blv)
        1. But again as we learned last week about God’s side in choosing a people for Himself…He also has arranged the way to come to faith, through hearing the gospel & responding to it.
    5. Heart & Mouth – the beautiful harmony of 2 voices.
      1. It comes down, not to “Hoof-n-Mouth”, not “Foot-in-Mouth”, but Heart & Mouth!
        1. Notice nothing else is added here in the recipe for salvation (not baptism, serving, tithing, etc)
      2. This belief is not mere verbal assent but “staking one’s entire being on this truth.”
        1. Spurgeon said, "We believe everything which the Lord Jesus has taught, but we must go a step further, and trust him. It is not even enough to believe in him, as being the Son of God, and the anointed of the Lord; but we must believe on him...The faith that saves is not believing certain truths, nor even believing that Jesus is a Savior; but it is resting on him, depending on him, lying with all your weight on Christ as the foundation of your hope. Believe that he can save you; believe that he will save you; at any rate leave the whole matter of your salvation with him in unquestioning confidence. Depend upon him without fear as to your present & eternal salvation. This is the faith which saves the soul."
  6. SCOPE! (11-13)
    1. It is Impartial! (11-12) - It does not distinguish between Jews and Gentiles.
    2. He draws on the OT again probably to show this salvation by faith has always been God’s plan. It is nothing new.
    3. Illustration: Let’s say you become very ill & it comes time to take your medicine. You ask me to get it for you…& then I take it for you??? [No!...Obviously you must take it on your own]
      1. You must seek salvation for yourself. And repent, & believe, & obey, for yourself.
    4. Many people live in the Show Me state, Missouri(a), but when it comes to living in Christ it’s not “show me & I’ll believe”, it’s “believe, & I’ll show you”!
    5. (12) There is no distinction between Jew & Greek in sinfulness; and so there is none between them in salvation!
    6. In Christianity all men are equal like all pennies are equal.
      1. Wait! They have different dates; different letters, from where they were minted. Some are more scarred then the others. Some are brighter & newer then the others.
        1. Yes, a coin collector may give you more for a rare one, but bring it into any store & its worth 1 cent.
      2. Why then are they equal? - because the only value in any of them is that they “bear the image”. [did you know they bear the image of Lincoln sitting center in the Memorial?]
        1. Both Jew & Gentile that have come to Christ, both bear Christ's image in their life!
    7. It is Universal! (13) - Anyone calling on the name of the Lord will be saved.
    8. (13) Whoever – I’m glad it didn’t say, If Brian Bell calls upon the name of the Lord he shall be saved.
      1. For there are other Brian Bell’s (3 in our area) & I wouldn’t be sure He meant me!
        1. But since He says, “whoever” I know I’m in that grouping!
  7. PRESENTATION! (14,15)
    1. ​​​​​​​Paul presents a compelling case for faithful witnessing.
      1. Paul shifts from acceptance or rejection to its delivery.
    2. One doesn’t just call on the name of the Lord - A messenger is first needed, he must proclaim the Good News. Then, one must hear, have faith, & then call on the name of the Lord!
      1. This is the process God has ordained for scattering the seed of the Gospel.
      2. This charge is given to the church to take up the task of evangelism deliberately & passionately!
    3. How shall they hear without a preacher? Conceivably, God could have chosen any means for the message of salvation to come, such as angelic messengers or directly working without a human preacher. Nevertheless God's "normal" way of bringing people to Jesus Christ is through the preaching of the gospel.
    4. (15) God’s looking for people with beautiful feet! (How are your feet looking?)
      1. ​​​​​​​God’s looking for people w/beautiful feet…to carry the gospel to the lost!
        1. These beautiful feet speak of activity, motion, and progress, and those who are active & moving in the work of preaching the gospel!
      2. This ought to ignite our hearts for the unreached people around us & the unreached people groups left in our world!
        1. Honey Bees share their wonderful find whenever they come across sweet nectar. They immediately go tell the other bees w/enthusiasm, w/a buzz, even w/a little dance, a little Bee Boogie!
          1. Can’t we do the same with Christ’s sweet nectar?
          2. Ps.119:103 How sweet are Your words to my taste, Sweeter than honey to my mouth!
        2. Evangelism is...allowing Christ to so live in & through us that who we are, what we do, & what we say become the very expression of who He is, what He did, & what He said.
    5. Oh & one more thing! Note it is Glad tidings, not sad tidings! [i.e. it should be joyous news that we are bringing!]
      1. Jesus forgives sins, & gives eternal life to all who will turn to Him!
  8. RECEPTION! (16-21)
    1. (16) Yet, not all are going to believe this wonderful message. :(
    2. (17) This is how my faith came. [CCBellflower, I heard it & I owned it!]
      1. D.L.Moody said, “I prayed for Faith, and thought that some day Faith would come down and strike me like lightening. But Faith did not seem to come. One day I read in the 10th chapter of Romans, "Now Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God." I had closed my Bible, and prayed for Faith. I now opened my Bible, and began to study, and Faith has been growing ever since.”
        1. “Faith is not a contract. Faith is surrender.”
    3. What did we learn from Paul so far about winning the lost?
      1. Caring! (1a) – Yearn! Beg/Beseech! Plead!
      2. Praying! (1b) – The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.
      3. Sharing! (17) – They say, The fire of God in your heart will melt the lead in your feet.
        1. Who would you like to share with in your everyday sphere of family, work, or social life? What could you use for a springboard into a discussion about Christ? What might pique his/her interest?
        2. What thought provoking question can you ask them? What scripture passage would it be helpful to have memorized?
        3. Do you have a Christian worldview/perspective on current events? What tough questions can you anticipate from that person that you can do some thinking ahead of time?
        4. What reading materials, audiobooks, or other resources can you give that person to keep the dialogue going over time? (Don’t feel the pressure to make them pray the prayer the 1st time you bring up the subject)
        5. If Salvation is God’s work & not ours, how does that relieve the pressure for you when sharing the truth about Jesus? :)
          1. Oh saints, Keep your ears attentive. Keep your discussions about your faith clear & competent. And, Keep your feet beautiful!!!
    4. Israel heard & knew! (18,19)
    5. (18) Israel was responsible for rejecting their Messiah.
    6. (19) Jealousy…more next week in ch.11.
    7. The Gentiles didn’t Seek, yet Found! (20,21)
    8. Despite Paul’s broken heart in vs.1, & God’s outstretched hands …Israel did not believe!
      1. What a picture! God holding out his hands! (all day)
      2. What does it mean when you hold out your hand to someone?
        1. Helping someone up; giving them something; grabbing them; to give them a warm hug; an invitation to come to them?
      3. Though the Jews didn’t grab His nailed scarred hands, the Gentiles did...& God saved them.
    9. George Wilson, as punishment for his crime, was hanged. Pardon, declared the Supreme Court, must not only be granted, it must be accepted.
      1. ​​​​​​​Will you accept it today?
Bibliographical Information
Bell, Brian. "Commentary on Romans 10". "Bell's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/cbb/romans-10.html. 2017.
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