Receive & Declare - Romans 10

June 13, 2021 Series: Romans

Topic: Sunday Sermons Passage: Romans 10:1–21

Romans 9 teaches initiation on God’s part of divine election—chapter 10 teaches the reality of human responsibility in receiving... really, romans 9-11 give us a similar arc that we see throughout the grand narrative of scripture: God’s sovereignty in choosing (9), man’s responsibility in accepting or rejecting (10) and a future reception in glory for those who believe because God’s ways are not our ways (11).

We should understand that it is possible to get just enough of the vertical theology of chapter 9 to make us horizontally irresponsible. Becoming derelict in duty because we miss things about our calling as ambassadors, ministers of reconciliation because we get so narrowly focused on the doctrine of election, and some unbelievers have remained frozen in their unbelief because they have been told that they can do nothing about it. 

In verses 8, 11, 12, 16, and 21 the responsibility of the Jewish people is implicitly emphasized, concluding with the poignant plea of verse 21: “But of Israel he [God] says, ‘All day long I have held out my hands to a disobedient and contrary people.’” - we’ll come back to this at the close of the message today…

Even last week we saw at the close of the message that we can ask according to scripture (and I believe it is the spirit of God that gives us any inclination to ask, seek or knock in the first place)

For today: it’s helpful to remember at the start that there is a thought still lingering on the table that Paul asked back in Chapter 9 - That is - is it possible for the word of God to fail?

OPENING ILLUS: During the presidency of Andrew Jackson, George Wilson, a postal clerk at the time, robbed a federal payroll from a train and in the process killed a guard. He was convicted in court and sentenced to hang. Because of public sentiment against capital punishment, however, a movement began to secure a presidential pardon for Wilson (it was his first offense), and eventually President 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."

George Wilson, as punishment for his crime, was hanged. Pardon, declared the Supreme Court, must not only be granted, it must be accepted. (this has been upheld by two other cases before the supreme court since…)

As we examine chapter 10 we want to see what the Jews (God’s privileged people) need to know if they are to have salvation. 

We want to know this because this truth is also for us, we too are an immensely privileged people and the call of salvation is all around us.

As Paul starts into this section of Romans, he again reminds us of his heart for those who are lost kinsmen in verse 1

Romans 10:1 - Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved.

this is the second of three affirmations of Paul's heart for his Jewish brothers and sisters,  but he does not stay on this affirmation for long; he gets right to the heart of the matter for the Jewish people in the church in Rome beginning in verse 2-5 where he points out that they are zealous, but Lost.

Zealous, but Lost (v.2-5)


Romans 10:2–4 - [2] For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. [3] For, being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. [4] For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.

one of the things that we come to realize in this section is that Israel was seeking righteousness, not from Christ but through keeping of the law. They were very zealous for this,  they gave their time and attention to it very closely. But in their zeal or the things of the law, they had no knowledge of the truth sound in Jesus Christ. 

This reminds us that religious excitement, interest, activity, even a genuine sincerity does not mean that someone has found the truth. 

Verse 3 even tells us that they sought to establish their own ways for righteousness based on the keeping of the law, not submitting to the righteousness that God had provided in Jesus Christ.

In saying that Christ is the end of the law for righteousness for everyone who believes, Paul is not saying that the law does not still have a role -it does in teaching and training our hearts-  he is saying that the saving power that people thought came through the law does not.  Faith in the law does not lead to life, faith in Christ Jesus does.This section challenges us to consider the things that we are zealous about, are we creating some new form of self-righteousness? Do we show a religious or even a spiritual Zeal and fervor but our hopes lie in our efforts or end results -often called fruit- more than they do in the saving power of Jesus Christ?

We Remember that Paul is writing to the church in Rome and he is addressing the specific people group of Israel but there are implications and application for us today as a church. 

We should carefully weigh the things that we are given to, based on our god-given, image bearing personality and talents or, Spirit given giftedness.

These things (personality, talents, gifts, vocation, etc.) should never become the source of our salvation, the things that we are most zealous for.

At the same time, our salvation, through Christ alone, should produce being zealous for the things of God, representing his Kingdom and reign over creation. We understand that when we believe, Christ's own righteousness is ‘imputed’ to us and that the gospels emphasize his righteousness as the only way that we are acceptable before God the Father.

 Paul does not leave his Jewish brothers and sisters Without hope oh, he does present them with a remedy let's look on 2 verses 6 through 13 together where the people of God are told to receive from the word of God where righteousness truly comes from... 



Receive (v.6-13)


Romans 10:5–13 [The Message of Salvation to All] - [5] For Moses writes about the righteousness that is based on the law, that the person who does the commandments shall live by them. [6] But the righteousness based on faith says, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’” (that is, to bring Christ down) [7] “or ‘Who will descend into the abyss?’” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). [8] 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); [9] 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. [10] For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. [11] For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” [12] 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. [13] For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

isn't it wonderful to consider - As we are directed to in versus 6 and 7-  that we do not have to try to climb or Ascend into heaven somehow to attain or accomplish salvation on our own - Christ has come down to us!

Nor do we need to descend into the depths of Hell to attain our salvation do some victory - through the cross oh, Jesus perfect life oh, his death, his resurrection and Ascension … we realize that Christ has been raised up on our behalf already!

so our Salvation from sin is not something that we can accomplish on our own - how is it then that we are to receive this gift of Grace?

Salvation from our sinfulness - that is justification by faith - is actually quite simple as verses 8 through 11 help us to understand by showing us a few things...

It describes the source of our faith: when it says “the word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” - there is a direct connection of our heart and mouth throughout scripture, the thing that drives us through the engine of our heart will come out through the words we speak (words, tone… back in the day - parchments, for today’s communication methods - even thumbs?!)

the nature of our faith is described in verse 9: “believe in your heart” is what we are told to do as the expression of our faith - That we are to believe in our heart 

Jesus is himself the object of our faith, not the law, not our zealous nature or spiritual fervor -or even more frightening, our own self-righteousness- Jesus Christ, as Paul says in verse 9: that [Jesus] is Lord and that God raised him from the dead!

Verse 10 has that heart-and-mouth connection again:  for with the heart One Believes and is Justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.

As I've been studying this past few weeks I came across Ray Ortlund, Jr.’s book “A Passion for God” again, we've used it a few times throughout the study and my understanding is that it's now only available in print but, he includes in it A Confession of Personal Faith that I think is helpful for us to consider:

I confess that Jesus is Lord.

I confess that Jesus shares the name and the nature, the Holiness, The Authority, power, majesty and eternality of the one and only true God.

I confess that Jesus died and was raised, opening Heaven up to unworthy Sinners. I am such a sinner, and I gladly Embrace his atonement for me.

I confess that Jesus rightfully owns me, every part of me, every moment of my time, every dollar in my possession, every opportunity granted me, every responsibility thrust upon me, every hope I cherish, every person whom I love and treasure. I am the personal property of the Lord Jesus Christ. He deserves my allegiance, loyalty and trust 24 hours a day, in all places, in all aspects of my life, both public and private. He is worthy of my obedience. He is worthy of my utmost. He is worthy of my very blood.

I confess that Jesus is Lord. 

Isn’t that a challenging summary for us to consider today?  Here’s what is amazing and why we need the church, community together, equipping, reminders, etc. - because, as verses 12-13 go on to remind us - he bestows his riches on all who call on Him!  The way of salvation is the same for us all - a common confession of our need, His Lordship, His Victory over sin and the grave!  

The offer of the good news of the gospel is the same for everyone… “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (v.12)

How then should we live in light of this gift we’ve received?  We are told to declare this good news to all in verses 14-17



Declare (v.14-17)


Romans 10:14–17 - [14] 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? [15] 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!” [16] But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?” [17] So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.

At first read, this may seem like this is directed to me, as a preacher.  I’ve certainly got a role to play here but the word used here is one who is a herald, someone heralding the good news of their king… that’s me and it’s you.  Have you considered that you take the Gospel into spaces, places, conference rooms, loading docks that I’d never be able to get to… but you’re already there!  You may say, but Chris, I don’t know what to do… can I remind you of this; you have God’s own Words in your Bible (physical or app) and it can be in your heart and mind as well.  More than that, you have the Holy Spirit with you, leading and guiding you… we can trust him, we can rely on him more than our own understanding!  Also, it’s not just about saving, Paul is focused on declaring

Paul is making the case here for faithful witness, not as much about acceptance or rejection - this is about the delivery of the good news we have received!

There is a phrase that is popularly although I believe wrongly attributed to Francis of Assisi I'm at goes like this: Preach the Gospel at all times. Use words if necessary.

While our lives are being changed from one degree of glory to another to align with God’s design and purpose for us, and our actions are called to be self-controlled as a fruit of the spirit at work in us, Paul rejects the idea of sharing the truth of God without using our words… we’re to declare this good news and our hope for glory!

ILLUS: May I play this a little bit more for us as a church? Perhaps in a bit of an unexpected way...

Confessing that Jesus is Lord is not reserved for this hour and a half that we gather together on Sunday.  confessing that Jesus is Lord is not reserved for just at our kitchen table as We Gather in our homes with our family or roommates. Confessing that Jesus is Lord is not reserved for when we are at community group, grow classes, men's or women's meetings, excetera

Confessing that Jesus is Lord is a constant confession of our faith and dependent need of a savior - we’ll often refer to this as ‘preaching the gospel to ourselves’.  It’s a state-of-mind, a posture-of-heart, a disposition animated by the fruit of the spirit, it’s a communication of hope for a world that so desperately seeks it in so many temporary ways that will often lead to more brokenness and sin to have to try to escape.  Our hearts confess, our lives declare… and our lips (or, thumbs) should be as well

I was talking with our comms team some time ago, asking what they thought about how we talk about social media as a church.  

The comment back was that they understand the concerns, but how can we, as a church who even uses social media as a communication tool, be equipped to engage with social media in a helpful way?  

Well, here you go, I believe there are two verses (for today’s sermon) that can help equip us for everyday interactions as well as what we post online...

[6] do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. [7] And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. [8] Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. [9] What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. - Philippians 4:6–9

kneading what we’ve heard into everyday, every-way practice, this means we’re equipped for engaging with social media

[14] But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, [15] but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, - 1 Peter 3:14–15

be ready to offer a reason for your hope // In the gospel we have been promised an unfathomable inheritance, ours freely for the taking, all because of the grace of God. This is “the hope that is in [us]” (v. 15), through which we can quietly endure all things. We await an eternal glory that will make the hardships of this life, though genuinely painful - we can post in hope, we can reply in hope, we can take the focus from ourselves and place it directly on the hope that we have in Jesus Christ!]

God could have chosen so many ways to get the message of his good news and his kingdom, our salvation to all.  He chose us, his people, his church as the method of delivery - good news for all declared by all who have received this great salvation!  And wee have so many tools at our disposal to communicate his heart for his creation and his people… let’s look at our final verses beginning in verse 18



Revelation of Good News (v.18-21)


Romans 10:18–21 - [18] But I ask, have they not heard? Indeed they have, for

“Their voice has gone out to all the earth,

and their words to the ends of the world.”

[19] But I ask, did Israel not understand? First Moses says,

“I will make you jealous of those who are not a nation;

with a foolish nation I will make you angry.”

[20] Then Isaiah is so bold as to say

“I have been found by those who did not seek me;

I have shown myself to those who did not ask for me.”

[21] But of Israel he says, “All day long I have held out my hands to a disobedient and contrary people.” 

Paul seems to really pack it in here at the close as he takes us back into what we know as the Old Testament inciting psalm, Deuteronomy and Isaiah. Let's look briefly at each because Paul is talking about the ways that God reveals himself through creation (oft referred to as general revelation), covenants and the cross (we see these throughout scripture in the grand narrative known as special revelation)… these are all tools that we can use, be quipped with to share who God is.

Creation (v.18)

The beauty and design of creation points our imaginations and our hearts longing to one who was the master-designer-Creator behind it all.  Psalm 19 is a familiar verse talking about creation revealing, in general, who God is.  But he still calls us to herald his truth!  Just consider these words:

Psalm 19

[1] The heavens declare the glory of God,

and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.

[2] Day to day pours out speech,

and night to night reveals knowledge.

[3] There is no speech, nor are there words,

whose voice is not heard.

[4] Their voice goes out through all the earth,

and their words to the end of the world.

In them he has set a tent for the sun,

[5] which comes out like a bridegroom leaving his chamber,

and, like a strong man, runs its course with joy.

[6] Its rising is from the end of the heavens,

and its circuit to the end of them,

and there is nothing hidden from its heat.

[7] The law of the LORD is perfect,

reviving the soul;

the testimony of the LORD is sure,

making wise the simple;

[8] the precepts of the LORD are right,

rejoicing the heart;

the commandment of the LORD is pure,

enlightening the eyes;

[9] the fear of the LORD is clean,

enduring forever;

the rules of the LORD are true,

and righteous altogether.

[10] More to be desired are they than gold,

even much fine gold;

sweeter also than honey

and drippings of the honeycomb.

[11] Moreover, by them is your servant warned;

in keeping them there is great reward.

[12] Who can discern his errors?

Declare me innocent from hidden faults.

[13] Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins;

let them not have dominion over me!

Then I shall be blameless,

and innocent of great transgression.

[14] Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart

be acceptable in your sight,

O LORD, my rock and my redeemer. 

Covenants (v.19)

Here Paul quotes  the song of Moses as captured in Deuteronomy chapter 32 - while this ”song” has a predominantly negative tone and speaking of Israel sinned against the backdrop of God's goodness. We find at the heart of the song The Compassion of God that saves his people when he sees that they are helpless.

this is the same compassion but those who are helpless that we see Jesus giving in his instructions to us to not only pray but to be the ones who are sent into the Harvest

Cross (v.20-21)

Finally, in Romans chapter 10 verses 20-21 Paul quotes Isaiah 65 two different times. 

Isaiah 65 reveals two different outcomes for people: 1 group seeking the Lord and another his arrogance leads to dissatisfaction in shame. Let there not be a lingering self-righteous hardness toward God in our hearts, let us realize The God Who reveals himself with his arms outstretched for his people in this Old Testament prophecy, manifest himself as our savior with arms outstretched on a cross.

His nail-scarred hands stretch toward us today. for those who I've never called on the name of the Lord to be saved hear this, his nail-scarred hands are stretched toward you.

For those who believe, his nail-scarred hands secure you so you can declare his goodness to others 

The summary of these points; creation, covenants, cross - is that God's word is faithful, his revelation of himself is true and it is enough. it also points to the heartbreaking rejection of those who do not believe in or call on his name alone for salvation.

RETURN TO OPENING ILLUS: George Wilson, as punishment for his crime, was hanged. Pardon, declared the Supreme Court, must not only be granted, it must be accepted.

Will you accept your responsibility today?

To the unbeliever, this passage today calls you to one simple act of believing: RECEIVE!

To the believer, encompassing all of your God-given personality, traits, talents and gifts, this passage calls you to one simple act of obedience: DECLARE!