Text: Romans 1:14-17
A lady told of taking her grandsons, ages four and six, to spend the day at Disneyland. During the course of the day she bought each of them a little flag. On several occasions they stopped to watch the marching band of "toy" soldiers and each time the boys would be spellbound as the band marched by All at once, the grandmother realized that the four-year-old was gone. She searched all about, calling his name, and making her way through the crowd. As she sat down to catch her breath and try to determine what to do, she looked up to see the marching band of toy soldiers. There, at the end of the line, smiling merrily, and waving his flag, was little Mikey, having the time of his life, completely unaware that he was lost! How like the world, going on its merry way, unaware of a loving Father's concern for its lostness. But someday the band will stop playing. Then and only then will those unreached realize that they are lost.
The gospel is a message that carries life. Sudden and eternal death awaits those who have not applied it to their lives. The importance of the Gospel message is shown in this section in how Paul finds it impacting his own life.
First of all.
I. The Message of the Gospel Carries Universal Obligation
Paul was a debtor to others because He was the property of Christ by way of the gospel.
-- We say “Much Obliged”
-- accross the world, there has been traditions of owing a life for a life saved.
--To whom much is given, much will be required. Because of the gospel we have a universal obligation:
A. Irregardless of nation
- A comprehensive world-view.
-- Jesus said “I am the light of the World
B. Irregardless of station
-- It doesn’t take a philadelphia lawyer to figure it out.
-- Where the heart is willing it will find a thousand ways, but where it is unwilling it will find a thousand excuses.
II. The Message of the Gospel Sanctions No Hesitation
A. Give it all you’ve got.
Blunt common sense always characterized Mr. Moody. Once a man rose in one of his meetings to give his experience. "I have been for five years on the Mount of Transfiguration," he said.
Instantly Mr. Moody interrupted him by the sharp question, "How many souls did you lead to Christ last year?'
"Well, I don't know," answered the surprised man.
"Have you led any?" then came sternly from the preacher.
"I-ah-don't know that I have," said the man.
"Then," snapped Mr. Moody, still more sternly, "we don't want that kind of mountaintop experience. When a man gets so high that he can't reach down and save poor sinners, there is something wrong."
B. Hold no regrets
Paul says he is not ashamed of the gospel. To the extent we are ashamed to speak of the gospel, we are ashamed to own it. To that extent, we are not owned by it.
-- Jesus said “if you deny me before men, I will deny you before my father in heaven.
III. The Message of the Gospel Carries Life in Application
A. Everyone qualifies for salvation
--Whomsoever comes , I will in no wise cast out.
B. It takes faith to put it in operation
After hearing the gospel explained, people often say, "You mean there's nothing I can do to deserve it? That's too easy." It seems natural for people to object to the idea that God's unmerited favor can be given so freely to unworthy sinners. Many find it difficult to trust a God who offers salvation as a free gift.
Bible teacher G. Campbell Morgan told of a coal miner who came to him and said, "I would give anything to believe that God would forgive my sins, but I cannot believe that He will forgive them if I just ask Him. It is too cheap." Morgan said, "My dear friend, have you been working today?" "Yes, I was down in the mine." "How did you get out of the pit? Did you pay?" "Of course not. I just got into to cage and was pulled to the top." "Were you not afraid to entrust yourself to that cage? Was it not too cheap?" Morgan asked. "Oh no," said the miner, "it was cheap for me, but it cost the company a lot of money to sink the shaft." Suddenly the truth struck him. What had not cost him anything -- salvation -- had not come cheap to God. This miner had never thought of the great price God paid to send His Son so He could rescue fallen humanity. Now he realized that all anyone had to do was to "get into the cage" by faith.
Jesus Christ has loved us each as an individual person. People matter to him. He sees so many people down here on earth just walking along marching to the tune of their own drummer, not even knowing they are lost. We are given the job of reaching out to them.
There is a legend that recounts the return of Jesus to glory after His time on earth. Even in heaven He bore the marks of His earthly pilgrimage with its cruel cross and shameful death. The angel Gabriel approached Him and said, "Master, you must have suffered terribly for men down there." He replied that he did. Gabriel continued: "And do they know and appreciate how much you loved them and what you did for them?" Jesus replied, "Oh, no! Not yet. Right now only a handful of people in Palestine know." But Gabriel was perplexed. He asked, "Then what have you done to let everyone know about your love for them?" Jesus said, "I've asked Peter, James, John, and a few more friends to tell others about me. Those who are told will tell others, in turn, about me. And my story will be spread to the farthest reaches of the globe. Ultimately, all of mankind will have heard about my life and what I have done."
Gabriel frowned and looked rather skeptical. He well knew what poor stuff men were made of. He said, "Yes, but what if Peter and James and John grow weary? What if the people who come after them forget? What if way down in the twentieth-century people just don't tell others about you? Haven't you made any other plans?" And Jesus answered, "I haven't made any other plans. I'm counting on them." Twenty centuries later, He still has no other plan. He's counting on you and me. High on God's "To Do" list is the evangelization of the world. His early disciples adopted His priorities and devoted themselves to reaching the world. Christ counted on them, and they delivered. Have we done as well?
--James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988) pp. 70-71.