They Have Not All Obeyed The Gospel

They Have Not All Obeyed The Gospel

They Have Not All Obeyed The Gospel

16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?

(Rom 10:16)

I remember when I was a boy watching the television series Get Smart (It was the original show with Don Adams not the new one with Steve Carell).  There was always a secret envelope for the mission that Smart was commanded to undertake. 

He had to ensure he understood the message properly, that he got all the information, all the content out of that message he needed and he needed to do it relatively quickly because there always loomed that inevitable time-bound warning “this message will self-destruct in 5 seconds”.

People in the 1st world live their lives today in a similar manner. They command themselves to get everything they can get out of life as quickly as possible, the famous scripture which has become a modern cliché, that we need to ‘Eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die’ has become the personal mission statement behind everything they do. They need to do it quickly because they know that there is to be an inevitable end, sadly we don’t often get even a five-second warning. 

Unlike a life that we cannot know how the journey or the outcome goes, imagine being commanded to receive a life of unimaginable joy in a body of unimaginable ability and health, sharing it with like people with whom love is the natural relationship.

I adore my wife, I love her more than anything else on this earth, and to think that this same deep love that I have for her could be shared with a multitude of people in heaven astounds me. 

But imagine that you are commanded to receive this, Imagine also you can enjoy this sort of life forever! 

And imagine you will also share it with another person who is unimaginable in glory, such glory that you will always be in absolute awe.

But there is a time limit to receive it. If it’s not received in that time frame, you will receive the exact opposite life for all eternity, when it self destructs, it will eternally affect you. As wonderful as heaven is, hell is miserable. 

Seriously, you would think this is a no brainer. You’d think there could not possibly be a logical person on earth who would not take that opportunity. Especially seeing that they don’t need to do anything for it, it’s a gift. It’s a gift but its commanded to be received. 

Who would pass this up?


The Gospel Is A Universal Opportunity

16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?

(Rom 10:16)

But they have not ALL.

  • The command of Christ was for the Gospel to be preached to every creature (Mrk 16:15)
  • The passage we dealt with last week shows the infinite value of the preacher respecting the value of the Gospel being universally preached.
  • Verse 13 says simply “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved”


Jesus died for ALL and not for some. Though few will believe the Gospel, the atoning sacrifice of the blood of Christ was sufficient for all people in history to claim, it was not LIMITED to a few.

On a side note: 

There are teachings out there that give the impression that the Atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ was only for a few. That it was never intended to save all.  The extreme part of that view teaches that since all who are saved are predestined to salvation or elected, that therefore the balance was predestined to hell. 

Sadly, there is a ‘many-century’ Old confusion among some denominations between what I referred to a couple of weeks ago as Outcome and Opportunity.  They see the limitation in the response for the Gospel and conclude, because of Gods sovereignty, it was Outcome-based rather than Opportunity rejected. 

God is indeed sovereign over all things, but do not negate scripture also teaching man is free and accountable.  The confusion between two distinct positions for centuries respecting Gods Sovereignty on the one hand and man’s free will on the other has long been clear in the scriptures as a paradox clearly taught.  There is no LIMIT to the atoning work of Christ on the Cross, the Gospel is a universal and equal opportunity, but it will not result in a universal and equal outcome. It will be an equal outcome ONLY to all who believe.

Repeating verse 13: For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved

Jesus died for ALL, THE GOSPEL IS A UNIVERSAL OPPORTUNITY. Our passage here makes it clear when it says But they have not all obeyed the gospel.

For him to make such a claim it is evident that the opportunity was made available for ALL to obey!

A negative condemnation like this does not stand to reason if there was never an expectation for ALL TO BELIEVE. The Gospel simply is a UNIVERSAL OPPORTUNITY.

Paul quotes the first verse of Isaiah 53, an old Testament passage that lays out the Gospel and the Messiah to the Jews. It laments their disbelief and lays out all that Messiah would accomplish when he came some 700 years later.




But they have not all obeyed the gospel

The passage logically presents the OPPORTUNITY OF THE GOSPEL IS UNIVERSAL, but the practical response to the Gospel is limited.

Are you guilty of ever thinking that the opportunity of the Gospel is limited rather than universal?

An example might be simply thinking a person won’t believe the Gospel?

Seeing the evil in their lives, how they behave, their occupation etc

  • It does not matter what it is that you might see on the outside, most likely the most wicked looking individual will be the most responsive to the Gospel. 
  • Most likely the person that seems to have it all together and is a ‘good person’ is the least responsive!

Well, perhaps Jesus himself did limit the Gospel. Perhaps he did! 

Turn to Mark 2:16

1And when the scribes and Pharisees saw him eat with publicans and sinners, they said unto his disciples, How is it that he eateth and drinketh with publicans and sinners? 17 When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

Mark 2:16-18

The Gospel seems to be only for the expected response of sinners.

  1. Liars
  2. Thieves
  3. Blasphemers
  4. The covetous, those who look and lust.
  5. Those who don’t love their neighbours
    1. The frightening thought is not just a lack of love for your neighbours, what about the lack of love towards those we are naturally expected to love;
      1. Our Parents
      1. Our Brothers or sisters
      1. Our Children
      1. Wives do you love your husbands?
      1. Husbands, do you love your wife?
    1. Truly, if we can’t even love those we are expected to love naturally, how are we to love our neighbours?

Yes, the Gospel is for SINNERS and indeed, those described above ARE SINNERS, but only if they know it.

The Gospel is not for the righteous;

It’s not for those who have got it all together.

For those who love themselves more than others

Those who think their way is just and right and true.

These have made their plans well; they have weighed themselves and found themselves NOT wanting.  These are perfect people, at least in their own eyes. 

All they do is just in their own eyes. These are those who can see the fault in others because they themselves have no faults they see.  Being blind to their own sin, they feel well equipped to judge sin in others. There are many like that. 

These are those who have yet to ever have been wrong…O they might have been mistaken every now and again, but never wrong!

Jesus did not die for them, he only died for sinners.

YET we know the Bible says; “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Rom 3:23)

There is a passage in the Bible that teaches of the UNIVERSAL OPPORTUNITY of salvation better than any other passage in scripture.  In fact, this passage not only presents the broadness of the opportunity so clearly, it also gives tells of the conditions for its acceptance, and then it tells you the reason why some will not believe it.

This passage alone destroys both the LIMITED ATONEMENT DOCTRINE of Calvinism, and the FALL FROM GRACE DOCTRINE of Arminianism. In short, it tells why Jesus died for all people, and that the moment people believe the Gospel they are eternally saved. You might be surprised on where such a clear passage is found. It is found in the deepest part of the Bible. 

John 3:15-20

A universal opportunity in the first verse of that passage saying that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.

And again in the second verse of that passage For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

And even gives its purpose for the universal declaration in verse 17; For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

Now he brings the security and the condition for that universal opportunity in verse 18 saying; 18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God

It is only for those who believe, any who believes the Gospel, whosoever!

Verse 19 to 20 brings with it the evidence that the response will be limited to some, even though the opportunity is for all;

19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.

Beloved, I hope I have made this first point clear, that this small portion of the text plainly teaches that THE GOSPEL IS A UNIVERSAL OPPORTUNITY.

The Gospel Is A Universal Command

16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?

(Rom 10:16)

An interesting consideration in this point. I am sure we have not really thought of the Gospel the way it is presented in this passage.  We “evangelists” almost plead with people that they might “accept” the Gospel. Rarely do we think it is something that is to be “obeyed”.

Now the word ‘Obey’ appears 113 times in the Bible. I looked it up so that I might get to know what it actually means, to get its ‘deeper’, meaning. And what I found might surprise you, or it might not. 

Take one guess what the word ‘Obey’ actually means.

Yes, OBEY!

It is the response expected to a COMMAND.


16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?

The Gospel is not a ‘request’, it is not a ‘suggestion’, nor is the Gospel a plea or a preference. 

My Lord did not die for the sins of the world that they might sacrifice their own souls to personal preference!

God did not send his only begotten Son into the world to suffer and die for the sins of the world so that people would forsake their own mercy.

The Gospel is commanded to be preached and commanded to be obeyed. 

Turn to 2 Thessalonians 1:6-10

Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you; 7And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: 

Notice the force of the words in verse 8, Jesus will be revealed from heaven, and verse 8 says In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:

The Gospel is not a ‘request’, a ‘suggestion’, a plea or a preference. The Gospel is a Command to be obeyed.

And as such, there are consequences against those who are disobedient to this invaluable command, verse 9, consider it;

Speaking of the same ones that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:

Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; 10 When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day. (2 Thess 1:6-10)

A reference here to his second coming, and most clear because of the force through which the Gospel will be witnessed during the tribulation period that precedes his coming.


Beloved, there are two things that I want you to be able to understand;

  1. Obedience naturally requires a preceding command.

There cannot be an expectation of obedience unless there was clarity in the proceeding command. The Gospel must be seen to be a command.  This is the complete opposite as to how we have thought of sharing the Gospel, and yet it is the example set for us in the scriptures;

Turn to the single greatest example of the Gospel preached to the heathen in Acts 17:22-31

22 Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. 23 For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you. 24 God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; 25 Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; 26 And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; 27 That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us: 28 For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring. 29 Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device. 30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: 31 Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.

Was there any hint of pleading in Pauls words as he preached the Gospel to these people?

Did he indicate it as a personal preference or a suggestion?

God now commandeth all men everywhere to repent

Why is this important? 31 Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained;

So, as mentioned in that first item I desired you would consider, Obedience naturally requires a preceding command.

  • The negative nature of disobedience is relative to the clarity and severity of the command to be obeyed.

This is the same with everything. 

Here we are not speaking of negligence or forgetfulness, we are referring to disobedience, our passage begins But they have not all obeyed the gospel, and the point I am making is that;

The negative nature of disobedience is relative to the clarity and severity of the command to be obeyed.

There are so many examples in the scriptures that confirm this point;

  1. Israel commanded to keep the sabbath day, to remain with their tents and do no work, and a man was found gathering sticks on the Sabbath day and executed.
  2. Acan became known as ‘The troubler of Israel’ because he took of the ‘Accursed thing’ which he was commanded not to take. He and his family were executed as a result.
  3. Moses had lived in Egypt for forty years, went into the wilderness for forty years, brought the Children of Israel out of the Iron Furnace and led them through the wilderness for forty years but was not permitted to enter the promised land because he did not sanctify the Lord when he struck the rock he was commanded to speak to. Why did that matter? 

Because the Spiritual Rock that followed them was Christ (1 Cor 10:4), it was a picture of the coming Mesiah and his work.

 Moses smote the first rock to bring forth water unto the people, he was commanded to speak to the Rock the second time it was to bring forth water. 

Christ was smitten once to bring forth salvation for all, and now he is petitioned for it. Moses broke the shadow God desire to manifest to the people.

You get the point; 

The negative nature of disobedience is relative to the clarity and severity of the command to be obeyed.

Turn to 1 Pet 4:16-18

16 Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf. 17 For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? 18 And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear? (1 Pet 4:16-18)

The righteous are saved only by the Gospel, if that is so, what of the ungodly and the sinner that obey not the gospel of God, what shall the end of them be?

The book of Romans has brought out with the greatest clarity the state of man. 

It has confirmed the words of Isaiah so long before that ‘we all like sheep have gone astray, we have turned everyone to his own way (Isa 53:6). And this is the very reason why “the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all”.

The Gospel should be the most pleasant words in the world to the ears of the sinner. 

With it he has hope, with it he has his sins…all his sins, all of them, forgiven. They are cast as far as the East is from the west (Ps 103:12), indeed blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute (charge with) sin (Ps 32:2/Rom 4:8).

But do not let the sweetness of the Gospel and its incredible ‘good’ to those who trust it, distract you from recognising that it is a command to all people. It is a UNIVERSAL COMMAND.

The Gospel Will Be Believed By Few.

16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?

(Rom 10:16)

Paul quotes from Isaiah here, from a passage we are all familiar with, introducing the famous 53rd Chapter of Isaiah that speaks both of the Gospel and of the coming Messiah who suffers and dies to enact it. 

Who hath believed our report?

The same question was asked of the disciples to Jesus in another way, “are there few that be saved?

Will only some believe the Gospel of Christ, will the Gospel be believed by few?

In comparison to all the people of the world who have ever lived, will the hope of everlasting life be on large part, rejected?

Will most people of the world disobey the Gospel?

Who hath believed our report? 

Turn to Matthew 7:13-14 Jesus said 

Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: 14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.”

A part of the great sermon on the mount that the Lord had given to a multitude who heard him. A passage that seems to stand alone in the midst of his great discourse.

He speaks of the way that leadeth unto life, a way that is ‘narrow’, through a gate that is ‘strait’ (tight, like a Strait jacket). 

He confirms the understanding that the broad way that leads to destruction, will be attended to by ‘many’.

The comparison is inescapable no matter how much we hate to think of it, there will be comparatively few that be saved. It will be a difference that is clearly recognisable according to the words of Christ.

We read in John 3 earlier to discover the general state of men is also described by Jesus as hating the light, “light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.” (Jn 3:19).

We just read a portion from Matthew 7, there is a text in the same chapter a little later in verse 21, it is what I have often described as the most frightening passage in all of the Bible.

 21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. (Mt 7:21-23)

The conclusion here is also inescapable, there will be “many”, that will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord…. And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.


For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? Who Lord? Who? Of the multitudes in all the earth who have heard the Gospel preached to them, for their sound went into all the world, of them all, WHO HATH BELIEVED OUR REPORT?

Jesus asked a rhetorical question in Luke 18:8 saying “Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth? Yet again a strong indication of the GOSPEL BELIEVED BY FEW and not many.

BUT: Beloved the Bible tells us that there will be a multitude greater that we can number that will praise and glorify God.  Greater than the stars of heaven will be the spiritual children of Abraham at the end of the Millennium. More than the dust of the earth.

Is this an amount comparable to the many who enter the broad way to destruction? Does that mean many more than this are lost? Or is it a number that is totaled ONLY AFTER THE MILLENIUM?

This is a legitimate question that I am not too confident I know the answer of.

There is no doubt the passages that I have addressed respecting the few being saved relates to the time prior to the second coming of the Lord.  As to what occurs during the one thousand years reign of Christ in earth during the Millennium, the scriptures do not give much detail.

I desire more than anything that there will be many more saved than lost. But that does not make me feel better that EVEN ONE IS LOST!!!!!

All we know is that a number greater than can be numbered will be in heaven at the end of time.

Are there few that be saved? The question we then ask may be limited respecting time, nevertheless it was a question asked by his disciples also. 

Turn to Luke 13:22-27

22 And he went through the cities and villages, teaching, and journeying toward Jerusalem. 

23 Then said one unto him, Lord, are there few that be saved? And he said unto them, 24Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able. 25 When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; and he shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence ye are: 26 Then shall ye begin to say, We have eaten and drunk in thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streets. 27 But he shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity

They have not all Obeyed the Gospel.

Jesus here making very clear that there will be a time that many will seek to enter in, and shall not be able. 25 When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door.

No doubt there are those who will hear even this sermon and think to themselves that they have all the time in the world to believe the Gospel, but Jesus stating with clarity that they will indeed desire to enter in, but shall not be able.

When Noah entered the Ark and the Lord had shut the door and the water fell from the sky for the first time in history, there is no doubt that many sought to enter in. I might imagine what went through the mind of some man who felt the very first drop of water land on him from the sky.

For 120 years Noah, a preacher of righteousness says the scriptures (2 Pet 2:5), was building the Ark as a testimony against the world. 

The fountains of the great deep broke up, the sky opened and the deluge began. How many sought to enter in.

Are there few that be saved?

They have not all obeyed the Gospel.

King Agrippa was an “Almost Christian”

Felix excused for a more convenient season.

Death will put an end to all hope for those who are lost, but Jesus speaks of a time when it will be practically too late.

The Gospel is for today. 

Beloved now is the only time guaranteed for you. 



Will you? Will you now?

The choice is yours. 

Obey the Gospel before you can’t!


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