I apologize for not finishing this sooner. Remember the we are looking at the mission/vision of Southside Baptist Church, and all of this is taken from a sermon preached in May 2015.
Everyone in the Bible touched by God’s grace had one thing on their minds – telling people what God had done for them. Isaiah in the O.T. The demon-possessed man from the gospels. The Apostle Paul in the Book of Acts. The first words out of Paul’s mouth after he met Jesus on the road to Damascus was, “Lord what would you have me to do?” Friend, grace produces within us a desire to do the Lord’s work. That is the Purpose of God’s Grace. Look with me at Romans 10:13-15.
13 For “whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.”
14 How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? 15 And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, Who bring glad tidings of good things!”
Why is this so important? Because Lostness is extensive. Christians have been sharing God’s grace for 2000 years, and yet billions remain in bondage to sin and Satan. Romans 10:13 tells us that whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved, but multitudes remain in bondage. So why have literally billions throughout the world not confessed their faith in Jesus Christ? Why then does the 3.8 billion people that make up these unreached people groups continue to live and die in spiritual darkness?
Because hearing is essential. While these verses tell us that salvation is available for people of all nations and races, that all they need to do is call on the name of the Lord, recognizing that Jesus is the one who died for their sins, there is something missing. John Stott, a great Bible scholar, says that four things are necessary for salvation. First, is the fact of the historic Jesus – that He lived, died, and rose again so that we could have life everlasting. Second, the word of faith which is the gospel that makes Christ known. Third is simple trust and confession on the part of the lost. Fourth is the evangelist – someone willing to share God’s grace. If you want to know why lostness is extensive and multitudes remain in bondage, it is because hearing is essential. The evangelist is imperative. The word “evangelist” itself comes from the same Greek word for “gospel,” or good news. So in essence, the evangelist is really a “gospelizer” or a good news spreader.
Romans 10:14 poses the question of how can they call upon Him in whom they have not believed and how can they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? Hearing is essential for everyone to understand and respond to the Gospel. While many who hear reject the Gospel, multitudes have never heard of God’s love. Most of the lost have not even heard. More than 3,000 unreached people groups have no church in their midst, no Bibles in their language and no missionaries working among them. They have never heard of God’s love and that a Savior died for them. They have never heard because we are not sharing God’s grace.
Telling is effective. Romans 1:16 tells us the Gospel is the power of God unto salvation for all who believe. When people live in poverty, suffering, hopelessness and despair, the multitudes respond to someone who offers them a message of hope. The Bible tells us that there is no salvation apart from a clear presentation of the gospel. Salvation comes to those who hear and believe its truth. Having reminded you that lostness is extensive and that multitudes remain in bondage; that hearing is essential but that multitudes have never heard of God’s love; and that telling is effective because multitudes will respond to a message of hope, we need to understand one more thing.
Going is expected. Romans 10:15 asks, “How can they tell unless they are sent?” Here is the biblical pattern. Christ sends evangelists. Evangelists share God’s grace. People hear. Hearers believe. Believers call on the name of the Lord. Those who call are saved. It’s that simple. Let me surprise you just a little. Jesus did not command us to go. We are commanded in the Great Commission to make disciples of all nations. But hear me, my friends. The only way we can do that and be His witnesses “to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8) is by going. Matthew 28:19 is translated, literally, “as you are going” – it was expected we would go. But sadly, many never go. Going to tell the Gospel to those who have not heard is not a command for an elite few but an expectation of the church and God’s people.
So this is where we stand. We live in a world where lostness is extensive, hearing is essential, telling is effective, and going is expected. You know as well as I do that all of these statements are true. The question is, “What are you going to do about it?” First, would you realize that lostness extends right here to Decatur, Alabama, but just because that is home doesn’t mean that hearing is not essential. People right here need to hear you tell the gospel, too. So you might not be able to go to one of these unreached people groups, but you can go and tell an unreached person somewhere that God loved them so much that He sent His only begotten Son to die on Calvary’s cross as the sacrifice for their sin, be buried and resurrected so that they could escape hell and live eternally in heaven.