To Whom He Was Not Spoken Of, They Shall See
Pr Edi Giudetti
17 I have therefore whereof I may glory through Jesus Christ in those things which pertain to God. 18 For I will not dare to speak of any of those things which Christ hath not wrought by me, to make the Gentiles obedient, by word and deed, 19 Through mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God; so that from Jerusalem, and round about unto Illyricum, I have fully preached the gospel of Christ. 20 Yea, so have I strived to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build upon another man’s foundation: 21 But as it is written, To whom he was not spoken of, they shall see: and they that have not heard shall understand.
We have near two thousand years of the Gospel of Christ before us, and at times we may have a tendency to forget that the Gospel itself did not pertain to us originally.
We are as the Bible refers to, a wild branch grafted into the vine, we are not the natural branches, we were not the ones for whom Christ had originally come. (See Rom 11:17-24)
11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not.
We were those to whom Christ was not spoken of, we are those who Paul refers to in this text. Recall he is speaking to the Roman gentile churches, it was to them that he came and preached the Gospel of Christ.
But as he makes clear to us in the passage above, he did not even do this in his own strength, this was of the power of God.
Now, give some consideration to that just for a moment. The Gospel was not for you at the first, but for Israel. Christ is their messiah, he came for the Children, and not for the dogs that eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters table (Mt 15:27), he (Jesus) is the Children’s bread!
We know the story, we know that they were blinded, Israel were made blind for they Crucified their King.
But God had seen to it, that those to whom he was not spoken of they shall see, that’s you and me.
And not only so, but God had blessed the effort, in fact he went before Paul and in many ways he gave them (The gentiles) eyes to see, ears to hear, a heart to know and a will to obey the Gospel.
And so this is what we have before us this morning, we have a sermon titled “To whom he was not spoken of, they shall see” it’s a sermon about you and me, it’s a sermon about a privilege that, had the jews not turned as it were there faces from him, the day of Gods wrath upon the heathen world may well have been next, as is evident in the Old Testament.
The Church is not seen in the Old Testament, Messiah comes and the world comes to a close with the millennium being ushered in.
But there are some hints and we will see those shortly
We will also learn other things here, those that pertain to the power of God unto salvation and what that means to us for the Gospel.
The Power of God That They May Obey (v17-18)
17 I have therefore whereof I may glory through Jesus Christ in those things which pertain to God. 18 For I will not dare to speak of any of those things which Christ hath not wrought by me, to make the Gentiles obedient, by word and deed,
Paul understood that the preaching of the Cross was to come with the power of God unto salvation. He was called of God to do the work of God for the ministry of God to the salvation of the gentiles.
Nothing Paul did was in his own power, his glory is to “glory through Jesus Christ in those things which pertain to God”, in fact he did not even see a point to speaking of anything that was not done through Christ in him (v18).
We all have a tendency to boast of vain things, things that has nothing to do with the power of God. Nothing to do with the Lord’s doing…our doing that’s what we like to boast of. Not Paul, however.
He sees that anything good in him is of no value….even worse than no value;
4 Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more: 5 Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; 6 Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. 7 But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. 8 Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,
No, it was never in Paul’s strength to make the Gentiles obedient to the Gospel. Nor was it ever Paul’s desire to boast of things that he did apart from Christ.
One of the greatest joys is to share what the Lord has done through you. Yes, it’s a boast, but it’s not a boast about you, it’s one of Christ, it’s a boast about the wonderful 31Pmiracles the Lord is doing in your life and through you for the sake of the Gospel.
And yet there are times when Paul was even reluctant to do that. You can read more about that in 2 Corinthians 10 & 12, as I don’t want to distract too far from the main point here.
God gave to the gentiles the power to obey the Gospel.
18 For I will not dare to speak of any of those things which Christ hath not wrought by me, to make the Gentiles obedient, by word and deed,
Beloved, this is surprising to some people, that the Gospel is not a feeling, it is not a personal preference, we are not supposed to wait for some mystical experience to arise and then believe, no, the Gospel is presented also a command to obey, and many don’t think of it that way.
16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?
2 Thessalonians 1:7–8
7 And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, 8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:
1 Peter 4:17
17 For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it firstbegin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?
You see, the Gospel is a command to be obeyed, not just something to pleasantly decline or wave away, or accept.
THERE IS NO SALVATION APART from the Gospel.
This is the ONLY hope for the Lost. Yes, the Lord gives them the power to obey, so a large part of the effort is also to pray.
I wonder how many of us who’s desire is to share the Gospel so wonderfully, spend just as much time in prayer that the Lord might prosper their way?
Prayer moves the Lord to act, he longs for the prayers of his saints, and we are called to stand in the gap, to intercede on behalf of those who cannot intercede for themselves, we do so trusting that the word of God will have the power to press a conscious decision, to obey or not to obey the Gospel.
God will do the work through you for the Gospels sake.
The Signs Through God That They Might Know (v19)
19 Through mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God; so that from Jerusalem, and round about unto Illyricum, I have fully preached the gospel of Christ.
The Mighty signs and wonders spoken of here are those wrought by Paul (v18), so that from Jerusalem, and round about unto Illyricum, I have fully preached the gospel of Christ.
Paul had healed many, he had a greater ability to speak in more tongues than most, and he had seen Christ.
He speaks of his abundance of revelations, and the thorn in his flesh given him to keep him humble.
We recall at the first that Paul’s ministry was attended to directly for the Jews, he makes mention of it here saying so that from Jerusalem, and round about unto Illyricum, I have fully preached the gospel of Christ.
We all know Jerusalem; Illyricum was an ancient Roman province taken up in recent years by the old nation of Yugoslavia.
In each place Paul had attended, he preached to the Jews and then the Gentiles, as such signs and wonders preceded the Gospel to the Jews.
It was the Jews who required a sign, but not the gentiles.
1 Corinthians 1:22
22 For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom:
We recall Moses at the first when he was before the burning bush and desire to know who it would be that the people would believe him that God had appeared to him and to call his son out of Egypt.
1 And Moses answered and said, But, behold, they will not believe me, nor hearken unto my voice: for they will say, The LORD hath not appeared unto thee. 2 And the LORD said unto him, What is that in thine hand? And he said, A rod. 3 And he said, Cast it on the ground. And he cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent; and Moses fled from before it. 4 And the LORD said unto Moses, Put forth thine hand, and take it by the tail. And he put forth his hand, and caught it, and it became a rod in his hand: 5 That they may believe that the LORD God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath appeared unto thee. 6 And the LORD said furthermore unto him, Put now thine hand into thy bosom. And he put his hand into his bosom: and when he took it out, behold, his hand was leprous as snow. 7 And he said, Put thine hand into thy bosom again. And he put his hand into his bosom again; and plucked it out of his bosom, and, behold, it was turned again as his other flesh. 8 And it shall come to pass, if they will not believe thee, neither hearken to the voice of the first sign, that they will believe the voice of the latter sign.
This was why signs and wonders followed the apostles when they preached particulalry to the Jews, for that was that which they sought.
Even Jesus was asked for a sign, but what was his response?
A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign (Matt 16:4)
Beloved, something else often happens today when we share the Gospel of Christ, especially when we have well sought the Lord in prayer, and that is miracles happen.
People have long testified to the Lord opening hearts and minds after the Gospel is shared, and signs or wonders have attracted their attention.
I spoke a number of times of my own story with the train that was delayed, to me at the time, as an unbelieving Gentile, the Lord had opened my mind to give it consideration, this was no accident, this was a sign from God, and I knew it.
What is your story?
Beloved, if this is true, why don’t you go out and share the gospel of Christ that someone else may have a story to tell? a miracle that preceded their salvation? a trigger that God used to open their eyes that they might believe?
so that from Jerusalem, and round about unto Illyricum, I have fully preached the gospel of Christ.
The Gospel is that wonderful work of Christ for sinners and ONLY for sinners. Remember, Luke 5:32
32 I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.
Those who believe themselves worthy of eternal life, those who have not brought forth fruit worthy of repentance (Lk 3:8), these cannot be saved. Those however who know they are sinners, these are those for whom Christ came.
And so, Paul testifies to have fully preached the Gospel of Christ.
Turn to Acts 20:24–27
24 But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God. 25 And now, behold, I know that ye all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, shall see my face no more. 26 Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men. 27 For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.
How do you preach your Gospel beloved? How have you shared it?
I have heard too many pastors unwilling to “fully preach the Gospel of Christ”, I have been a part of many ecumenical church functions in my early years, functions where a captive secular audience was present;
- Easter time on the Village Green here in Sunbury,
- Christmas time in Church services,
- Funerals and weddings
and I have waited with bated breath for them to fully preach the Gospel, but nothing more than a half-baked “Jesus is a nice guy” sermon comes from their lips.
What is the full Gospel?
The full gospel is the death, burial and resurrection of Christ for the payment of the sins of all who believe. That is as simple as it gets, and yet it must contain those elements.
- That Jesus Christ is come to seek and to save that which is lost (Lk 19:10).
- That there is none righteous, no not one (Rom 3:10). That all have sinned and come short of the Glory of God (Rom 3:23).
- That the wages of sin is death (Rom 6:23), and that it is appointed unto men once to die and after this the judgement (Heb 9:27).
- that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: (1 Cor 15:3-4)
- That being justified by faith we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (Rom 5:1)
If the Gospel preached does not contain elements of all five of these, it is difficult to know whether you have “fully preached the Gospel of Christ”.
Beloved, give consideration to them, write them in your heart, memorize the seven verses noted here and employ them as the Sword of the Spirit of God for the work of the Gospel of Christ.
The Gospel of God That They Might Hear (v20)
20 Yea, so have I strived to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build upon another man’s foundation:
Paul dedicated his entire life to the gospel of Christ, there was nothing he did not give up for the sake of the truth of Christ. He strove that all who could hear and would hear, and he did all he could to ensure the word went out into all the world.
There is a natural passion that should precede the Gospel, a natural love and desire for the people around us to be saved, and there should follow in our hearts a zeal for the Lord and for the sake of the truth.
Each of us have our gift of God, and each of us SHOULD have the desire to fulfill that gift for the glory of God, to spend and be spent for the sake of facilitating his work.
The work of the Gospel is NOT only the work of the evangelist or the work of the Pastor, God has given to the world the entire Church, and all members work together for the blessing of the people of the nations.
The Church is a fully functioning body, with each and every part functioning in accord.
It is the greatest blessing for a Pastor to see each member having a zeal and striving to do the best they can do in their own role for the sake of the Gospel.
Charles Spurgeon used to boast of the many people who spent their time, while he was preaching to the congregation, praying for the sake of the Gospel. These were mostly women who had dedicated that specific time simply to pray, separated from the service itself.
Now let me ask you beloved, who would it be that gained that greater reward eternally for the Gospel being preached, Spurgeon or those in Prayer?
None have anything they were not given them; Charles Spurgeon was given a gift to preach, and he was expected by the Lord to exercise that gift fully, those people who set themselves to pray were also gifted and blessed the work of the ministry by undergirding its foundation in prayer.
The reward is based on the exercise of that which you are given.
Paul strove for the sake of the Gospel, O that there would be many from this congregation that might do so also.
20 Yea, so have I strived to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build upon another man’s foundation:
Paul took care respecting the Church of God and the Gospel he preached, yes he preached everywhere he went, and began at the first to preach unto the Jews, but his calling was to the gentiles, and that is what this passage refers to as we shall see in the next verse;
To Whom He Was Not Spoken of, They Shall See (v21)
21 But as it is written, To whom he was not spoken of, they shall see: and they that have not heard shall understand.
A fascinating portion of the Scriptures here where there is a quotation Paul is giving lifted directly out of the Old testament, we can always know this when the quote begins with “But as it is written”.
Paul is lifting a passage out of the Bible and he does so to bring an explanation to all that has gone before and for the wonderful encouragement of the Roman Churches.
Turn to Isaiah 52:13–15
Now take one guess what chapter comes after Isaiah 52?
Did you know that that pertaining specifically to Christ actually begins in chapter 52?
13 Behold, my servant shall deal prudently, he shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high. 14 As many were astonied at thee; his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men: 15 So shall he sprinkle many nations; the kings shall shut their mouths at him: for that which had not been told them shall they see; and that which they had not heard shall they consider.
An incredible passage of the Bible that sets us up perfectly for that which is to be demonstrated so clearly respecting Jesus in the very next chapter, chapter 53.
He tells us in this passage that the one who would come to give his life as a ransom for many, the one that would come to pay for the sins of the world, would be one who deals prudently, he would be exalted, extolled, lifted up on high by many peoples of the world.
But he would also be a marred man. A man whose visage, who’s appearance, was marred more than any man, so much so that many would be astonished (v14).
There are many things we are not able to know to the full extent, and perhaps the Lord had made it this way that we do not glory in the grotesque image of Christ so brutally dealt with by the kings men.
We know he was crucified, we know about the piercing of his hands and his feet, we know of the spear thrust into his side, we know his body was given to the Roman scourge, a vile weapon of cord and bone or metal fragments, lashed across his body.
But his visage appertains to more than his body…
Turn back a couple of chapters to
6 I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting.
There are times when I give consideration to those who reject the glorious Gospel of Christ, who fail to understand the vileness of their sin, who will not see how the very fury of hell that seemed to be unleashed on the Saviour in this life, and all of that before he went to the Cross.
I was misrepresented by an old friend this week, and the pain it caused me amazed even me. I had not been spoken to like that since I was in high school and it came out of nowhere. She has simply read into a text that which was not written nor possible to have interpreted, and she reacted with verbal violence that cut me to the quick.
How much more pain had Jesus endured?
I can never be perfectly innocent, but Jesus is.
The world sees a polished image of Jesus, they fail to see him sweat blood for their sakes.
I was one of them.
I was the same.
I never considered all Jesus did until after I was saved, I was blind to it all and I had to be made to see it.
15 So shall he sprinkle many nations; the kings shall shut their mouths at him: forthat which had not been told them shall they see; and that which they had not heard shall they consider.
By far the most miraculous thing in the world is the salvation of the Gentiles.
Never having had ANY expectation of a coming Saviour.
Never giving a second thought to a suffering Messiah.
Never even being made aware of the sin so separating them from God, their need of salvation.
To whom he was not spoken of, they shall see: and they that have not heard shall understand.
1 I am sought of them that asked not for me; I am found of them that sought me not: I said, Behold me, behold me, unto a nation that was not called by my name.
We certainly find some hints in the Bible of a people distinct from Israel who would come to the Lord of Sabaoth.
43 Thou hast delivered me from the strivings of the people; and thou hast made me the head of the heathen: a people whom I have not known shall serve me.
The greatest miracle that I see in this passage is that, a people whom the Lord testifies to having no careful knowledge of, would serve him.
That’s you and me.
Do you have any idea how blessed you are?
Think for a minute; if the very people of God, the nation of Isreal, who knew God, who were told again and again of Christ, who were given some 300 very specific propehcies concerning Christ when he first came, who were told the exact day he would make his entry presenting himself as the King of kings and Lord of lords to his people, and THEY MISSED IT;
But we, who knew nothing of Christ, because of the power of God to open the eyes of the Blind, were made to see, to hear, to know and to finally obey the Gospel.
Beloved, your desire is to save souls then pray the Lord, who blessed the Gospel to the gentiles, would open their eyes.
After Israel first being wilfully blinded, and the gentiles having the power of God through the Gospel, to see, hear, understand and obey it…I don’t believe a single person can be saved without God being interceded to on their behalf.
But you, who sit in your seat and are now this moment pricked in your heart for the hope that is laid before you, you may never get another chance.
And you, who are so used to hearing the gospel, and remain resolute that you will with confidence hear it again, I pray the Lord put the fear of death in you so deeply that you may run to him now.
That you have no confidence of another week.
Of another day..
No, even of another hour.
That you don’t at this very moment fear falling down into hell for you presumption, despising the cross of Christ, rather than embracing it.
No, I do not plead with you to believe the Gospel, his salvation is too precious a gift to beg away. You have today, you have this moment.
For those of you who look for him, the time is nearer than when you first believed.