All Heard The Gospel
18 But I say, Have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world.Romans 10:18
All heard the Gospel in Israel, they heard it over and over during the millennia before Christ came. They heard it again when he walked the shores of Galilee and climbed the mountains of Judea. They heard it yet again during the lifetime of the Apostles of the Lord in the first century. and you have heard it if you have listened to this message. All heard the Gospel, the most incredible hope for all the world.
All Israel Heard The Gospel
All Israel Know The Glory Of God
This verse gives to us two passages of scripture to expound, one is the very present passage before us, but the other is one that is drawn directly from the passage the Apostle Paul quotes from in Psalm 19. On the surface there would seem to be no link other than the linking of the verses.
Paul begins the question related specifically to Israel at the very beginning of the chapter which says
“Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.”
They are the people in focus here, chapters 9-11 are related specifically to Israel but they contain truths within them that are so vital for all people.
He goes on to the way of salvation, how a person may be saved! (v9) “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved” (v9)
He goes on to say that there is no Jew nor Greek, and that “whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved”.
Clearly here Paul draws ALL people into this same salvation, this same hope that Israel have as their inheritance.
But then Paul goes on to question the practical truth of the Gospel, most importantly, how it is that people might come to believe it;
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, except they be sent?
These are practical truths and they relate specifically to the practical aspect of the Gospel of Christ. They are reasonable, they are beyond refutation. They are the simple questions asked by the majority of people around the world. Indeed, if such news is true and such news is so good, how shall the person who has never heard of Christ be saved? Paul affirms this to be the case.
Jesus himself gives to it the value and purpose of the mission of the Church,
“Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature” (Mrk 16:15)
Jesus also spoke of making disciples to propagate the work;
“Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you” (Mat 28:20)
These two verses taken together is what we have come referred to as The Great Commission “To preach the Gospel and to Make Disciples of Men”.
Mark 16:15 and Matthew 28:20 is the great commission.
The GREAT COMMISSION answers the rhetorical questions put forward by the Apostle Paul in verses 14 and 15
… 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, except they be sent?
And then he gives the wonderful conclusion of the work at the end of verse 15 saying “How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!”
Indeed, they are! The Gospel is the most wonderful news to all people in all the world, it discriminates against no one, all people have the opportunity to come to the Saviour, to believe the Gospel, to repent and inherit everlasting life. It is the greatest liberty, the greatest assurance and the greatest hope of all.
- It frees man from the bondage of sin
- It justifies man from the penalty of sin
- And it forgives man for the offence of sin
The gospel ensures that NEVER AGAIN does anyone need to deal with the guilt of sin. When the Gospel is believed, that which was told Israel long ago would come true
“…though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool” (Isa 1:18)
“As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us” (Ps 103:12)
“Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered” (Ps 32:1)
He and she is free.
- Free from fear because perfect love has cast out all fear.
- Free from the condemnation of the law, because Christ is the fulfilment of the law.
- And ultimately, free from the sting of death. “o death where is thy sting, o grave where is thy victory?” (1 Cor 15:55).
- Then and ONLY THEN, can a person be justified in saying they do not fear death.
- And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: (Heb 9:27)
- It is ONLY when that judgment is taken away, when our transgressions are removed as far as the east is from the west, that we can take comfort in death BUT NOT UNTIL THEN.
Yet as wonderful as all that is, and as impossible it is to think of why any would reject such an opportunity, Paul goes on to confirm;
16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?
The word has been heard but it has not been obeyed by all people. Nevertheless, the answers to those rhetorical questions remain, that
17 … faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God (v17) This is what occurs When The Word is Heard
Paul’s heart’s desire is that all Israel would be saved (v1), but before they are saved, they need to call on him in whom they have believed, but this can only be done when they hear it. And even then SOME will not all obey the Gospel. Nevertheless 17 … faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
All Israel Heard The Gospel
18 But I say, Have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world.Romans 10:18
Well, have they not heard? Is the gospel a secret to Israel, have they not heard the gospel?
And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself. (Lk 24:27).
Jesus walked the Emmaus road, found two distraught disciples. His likeness was hidden from them and he expounded unto them all things that were written in the word of God concerning himself.
Have they not heard?
Did not Israel know the Gospel?
For over one thousand years they have had the words of God.
To follow that up they have had the God of the word with them,
- he tabernacled with his people.
- He spoke to them, he spoke to Moses like a friend speaks to a friend.
He led them through the wilderness, he was with them in battle, he gave them charges, he gave them governing principals that were coveted through all the Earth. He protected them and he fought for them. He told them of the way everlasting. AND He wrote it in a book.
From the first chapters of Genesis, the Gospel is given to them. From Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.
Yes, all Israel heard the Gospel.
The Lord delivered the nation out of the Iron Furnace. Egypt was a mighty nation and had them in bondage, they served them four hundred years until finally they let them go and THEY WERE FREE TO serve their God. But not without a humbling work being done on the hearts of the captives and the hearts of their keepers. It would not be but “by a mighty hand” that they would be delivered from the house of bondage.
Wonders would need to be done. We have seen this as we considered all that occurred during the Exodus. Things never seen would need to be achieved. Miraculous and hard things that put devastation throughout the land and even then Pharaoh, King of Egypt harden his heart. Pharaohs own servants speaking against him saying, “let the men go, that they may serve the LORD their God: knowest thou not yet that Egypt is destroyed?” (Exo 10:7) Not even the destruction of the nation would humble the heart of Pharaoh, King of Egypt. It would be the death of the first born that would deliver the people.
A real historical occurrence that would signify the way of deliverance for all people of the world from their own bondage to sin. Those who even in this day remain bound in that iron furnace of sin.
Sin makes it impossible to serve the Lord. Just like Israel had to leave the house of bondage in order to serve the lord, so too does man need to leave their service to sin to serve the Lord.
Israel needed to be free of Egypt to serve God
Man needs to be free of sin to serve Christ
The scriptures relate to Egypt in just such a way as this. Egypt is a picture of the world of sin.
It was the death of the first born that did it.
Every first born of man or beast not covered by the blood of the lamb and sheltered in the entrance of it in their homes, would die. It was the death of the first born that freed the people from their bonds, where they would be free to worship the Lord.
It is the death of the first born that frees us from the bondage of sin today. The death of Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God. It’s his blood, as the spotless lamb of God, that was shed for our sin.
But have they not heard? Yes verily…
Israel heard the Gospel. The question this morning is do you hear it? Do you hear the gospel this morning as it calls your name?
It took the destruction of the nation of Egypt to bring it to its knees before the death of the first born made any difference. Jesus is the first born who has already given his life for you, will you wait until the destruction of your own life before your will is given to him?
It may take that my friend. Many have testified that their lives were destroyed before they came to Christ. Brother Cody gave his testimony several months ago, beloved he was saved under a rope. But not all need to have it this way, they can simply obey the Gospel. My own life was not destroyed, I fought against the Lord and did so often. I had my troubles also, but my life was not destroyed. But I would much rather have my life destroyed this side of eternity and come to the Saviour, than have both it and my soul destroyed in hell “where their worm dieth not and the fire is not quenched” says Jesus in Mark 9:44,46 & 48
There is an iron furnace to which you are in bondage, what holds you there is your will. You look about you and you see the miracle of life and you know that it is of the Lord, you know it instinctively. Have you heard the Gospel?
All Israel Know The Glory
Not only have all Israel heard the gospel, but ALL ISRAEL KNOW THE GLORY OF GOD. Turning back to our passage, Paul wrote;
18 But I say, Have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world.
Paul draws in one of the most identifiable and famous passages of the Old testament to give greater light to the broadcasting of the Gospel to Israel. That passage is found in Psalm 19:1-6
1 The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork. 2 Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge. 3 There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard. 4 Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun, 5 Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race. 6 His going forth is from the end of the heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it: and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof.(Ps 19:1-6)
Just as the sun basks the earth in its rays and in its warmth, so too do the heavens declare the glory of God.
It’s a reality, not only for the nation of Israel but also, for the Gentiles of the world. Psalm 19, quoted by Paul in this passage, is the old testament version of Romans 1 in the New Testament.
The psalm says The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork (Ps 19:1)
The invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made. Says Paul in Rom 1:20.
It’s an incredible use of the passage by Paul in this passage in chapter ten respecting the effect of the Gospel to Israel.
All of creation declares the glory of God, 2 Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge.
Because of the clarity of creation in testifying of its creator, Romans 1:20 sums it all up by saying “so that they are without excuse”.
There is not a person alive today who can look at the world and be justified believing there is no God, “the fool [alone] hath said in his heart there is no God” (Ps 14:1).
During the writing of the book of Romans by Paul, the Gospel had been throughout the land. Persecution in Jerusalem had forced the disciples away from the comforts of home and spread them around the known world. So evident was this that the Thessalonian Jews complained “These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also” (Acts 17:6).
Paul was historically killed under the reign of Emperor Nero, who blamed the burning of Rome on the Christians, so much was the influence of them in the world and so many had their numbers grown. And GROWN SO MUCH IN ONE MANS LIFETIME. Day unto day and night unto night was the Gospel preached and taught.
Sometimes in the streets, many times in private homes. There were times on street corners and other times in private. Whether the light shone, or the shadows covered was no concern, “for this was not done in a corner” said Paul to the king who has come to be known to us as “the Almost Christian”, King Agrippa (Acts 26:26).
Though they were persecuted for their faith, they did not hide the truth of the Gospel from anyone, and the Gospel spread throughout the world, not by sword like Islam, not by coercion of government or the threat of death, but by the hope of everlasting life. In fact, the Gospel spread far and wide AGAINST GOVERNMENT laws that forced all people to worship the emperor and pagan deities. Was there a cost?
Yes, great was the cost. It came at the cost of many.
Maria and I took a guided tour of the Coliseum in Rome, and it’s interesting how you go on some of these tours and there is almost always a guide or an historian that wants to change history as it has been taught in the years earlier.
Well this guide astounded me when he said that there are no historical records that tell of Christians being fed to wild beasts in the Roman Arena. Now, I’m not sure what sort of records he was hoping to secure, but whatever it was, he was giving the impression that the historical accounts we have regarding the persecution of Christians in Rome are false.
He said that ‘they might have been killed in other arenas around the world but not there. The people who were used to entertain the crowds by being fed to hungry beasts were criminals and not Christians.’ Yet immediately underneath the city of Rome are miles and miles of catacombs.
These are underground tombs where the bodies of broken, maimed and consumed remains of people are found.
There are pagans and Christians there.
How do we know their religious beliefs? We know them because of the multitude of inscriptions that are written on their tombs. No, its nothing like, “I’m a Christian” and “I’m a pagan”, but it does not take long to identify them. It is the contrasts between the inscriptions that identify them. You can easily see the evidence of those who had hope, and those who had none.
When it came to the Christians and the Church of the Lord, according to John Foxe who wrote the 14 volume Acts and Monuments of the Christian Church, also known as Foxe’s Book of Martyrs, (Abridged to one small 300 page book today) he notes that it was said
“that the lives of the early Christians consisted of “Persecution above ground and prayer below ground”
It would be in these underground tombs where they would gather during the most difficult of the persecutions that came their way.
Beneath Rome are the excavations which we call the catacombs, which were at once temples and tombs. The early Church of Rome might well be called the Church of the Catacombs. There are some sixty catacombs near Rome, in which some six hundred miles of galleries have been traced, and these are not all. These galleries are about eight feet high and from three to five feet wide, containing on either side several rows of long, low, horizontal recesses, one above another like berths in a ship. In these the dead bodies were placed and the front closed, either by a single marble slab or several great tiles laid in mortar. On these slabs or tiles, epitaphs or symbols are graved or painted. Both pagans and Christians buried their dead in these catacombs. When the Christian graves have been opened the skeletons tell their own terrible tale. Heads are found severed from the body, ribs and shoulder blades are broken, bones are often calcined from fire. But despite the awful story of persecution that we may read here, the inscriptions breathe forth peace and joy and triumph. Here are a few:
Here lies Marcia, put to rest in a dream of peace.
Lawrence to his sweetest son, borne away of angels.
Victorious in peace and in Christ.
Being called away, he went in peace.
Remember when reading these inscriptions the story the skeletons tell of persecution, of torture, and of fire.
Others from another resource wrote of more along the same lines;
PRIMITIUS, IN PEACE, AFTER MANY TORMENTS,
A MOST VALIANT MARTYR.
HE LIVED ABOUT THIRTY-EIGHT YEARS.
PAULUS WAS PUT TO DEATH IN TORTURES,
IN ORDER THAT HE MIGHT LIVE IN ETERNAL BLISS
CLEMENTIA, TORTURED, DEAD, SLEEPS, WILL RISE
THE SLEEPING PLACE OF ELPIS.
ZOTICUS LAID HERE TO SLEEP.
ASELUS SLEEPS IN CHRIST.
MARTYRIA IN PEACE.
VIDALIA IN THE PEACE OF CHRIST.
NICEPHORUS, A SWEET SOUL, IN THE PLACE OF REFRESHMENT.
Foxe notes: But the full force of these epitaphs is seen when we contrast them with the pagan epitaphs, such as:
Live for the present hour, since we are sure of nothing else.
I lift my hands against the gods who took me away
at the age of twenty though I had done no harm.
Once I was not. Now I am not. I know nothing
about it, and it is no concern of mine.
Traveler, curse me not as you pass, for I am
in darkness and cannot answer.
The guides of these places are willfully ignorant even by the testimony of truth that is literally right under their feet. Many people today are willfully ignorant of the truth that surrounds them each and every day. Israel became ignorant of the truth that was told them, words that they heard concerning the hope of the Christ they so longed for. ‘for they have not all obeyed the gospel’. The Gospel is the glory of God made evident to man. Israel have long known the glory of God, but they denied him when he walked beside them.
God tabernacled with Israel in the wilderness, and there was one promised to come who’s name would be called Emanuel, that is, ‘God with us’.
Have you not heard the Gospel? You have recognized the glory of God all around you? The heavens declare it, they cry out for you to see the glory of God, ‘day unto day uttereth speech, night unto night showeth knowledge” and even this is attested to by astronomers each and every night who look at the heavens to find knowledge. The STARS OF THE NIGHT SKY ARE WITNESSES OF GOD.
And There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard. 4 Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world.
And you KNOW THIS IS TRUe. Israel knew it, but would not obey it, what about you?
Enslaved to sin, bounded by fear. You know nothing about what tomorrow is going to bring, and nothing about the day of your death. No concept of eternity comes to your mind and yet it is that very reality to which you will pass, that you can secure this day.
You have a chance to escape this iron furnace. Your ‘Egypt’ is a world of sin, anxiety is the king that keeps you bound. The Pharaoh that keeps you in fear is none other than your own will.
What will it take?
The death of Christ, the first born, was for your sin.
The resurrection of Christ was for your salvation.
Will you believe it?
When you hear the Gospel you know is true, then decide upon that which is good for you.
What a wonderful hope you and I have who know Christ. It is a joy that is beyond compare.
No matter what it is that life brings us, we have the most sure hope of all, knowing that heaven is home, and whenever I get there two things I am certain of;
- I will not get there too late,
- Nor will I arrive too early.
18 But I say, Have they not heard? Yes verily…..