When I was in elementary school the teachers tried very hard
to give us a little culture. One of the ways that they tried was to make us
memorize small parts or whole poems. We learned poems by Elizabeth Barrett
Browning, Shel Silverstein, Emily Dickinson, and Walt Whitman. You know 30
years later, there are some poems I have long forgotten, some of them I
remember every line, and some of them I only remember bits and pieces. I am
sure that if you have the chance to memorize poems in school, you share the same
experience that I had.
I mention the poems because as I was reading our text for this
morning I remembered the beginning to a poem written by Henry Wadsworth
Longfellow, entitled Paul Revere’s Ride. I am sure you have at least heard how
it begins “Listen my children and you shall hear, Of the midnight ride of Paul
Paul Revere is one of those characters in American History that
is covered more in myth than in actual fact. For example we have all heard that
on Paul Revere’s ride he warned the people by shouting, “The British are
coming, The British are coming.” What a great story. Here you have a man who
risked his life riding through the streets at midnight warning the people of
the impending danger.
That story endears itself to us, because we all long to have
someone who will help us out in times of difficulty and trial. We all long for
someone to put their hand on our shoulder and say, “Be careful, it’s about to
get pretty bad.”
Now I want you to think for a moment, what would you think
about someone today who could help us out by warning us of upcoming danger? Or
better yet, what if they could not only warn you of the upcoming danger, but
they could help you avoid it. Would they endear themselves to you? Of course
Ok look at the other side, what if you were the one who
could help someone else? What if you could not only tell someone of upcoming
danger, but also tell them how to avoid the pain, would you?
Well if you would then I want you listen today, because I
believe that I can help you. Because I believe that’s what every child of God
is called to do. If you will just glance thorough the Bible you will see that
the message of Christ’s coming is on every page. Throughout the Old Testament
you hear that: Someone is coming. In Gospels you can read: That Someone has
come. In the Epistles we hear: Someone has not only come, but that He is coming
again and we are called to tell everyone we know that Jesus is coming.
I am sure that you have heard the old fable about a
conversation between God and his angels. Jesus had just risen from the dead and
ascended into heaven. The angels were curious about this new thing that Jesus
had died and risen from the dead to establish, the church. And they asked all
kinds of questions about how God was going to get it started.
In the course of the conversation, it became obvious that
the success of this new venture depended heavily upon the men that had walked
with Jesus and had been His disciples.
One of the angels laughed and said “You’ve got to be
kidding! It depends on these guys? These men are not well educated, they’re not
particularly brave, they’ve been misfits and failures all their lives. And
you’re telling us that these men are the key to whether the church survives or
not. What happens if they fail? What’s plan B?”
And looking steadily at the angel, Jesus replied “There is
no plan B. They are my only plan. Today I want to let you know that you are
God’s only plan. You are the only plan to tell the folks you know that Jesus
has come to save them from their sins and that He will come again to take His
children home with Him.
Our text this morning is found in the book of Romans. It is
just three verses, but it carries a lot punch. Look with me at our text that is
found in Romans 10:13-15.
Paul makes it pretty clear that you and I are plan “A.” And
there is no other plan. God has done His part in making salvation a possibility
and now it’s our turn to do our part in spreading the message to others. In
fact, He’s gone so far as to tell us that people cannot believe in Jesus if
they’ve not heard of Him, from people like us. The salvation of others might
just hinge on whether they hear about Jesus from us.
Essentially, that’s what Paul is saying “How can they believe in Jesus if they’ve not heard of Him thru us.” I
hope that you understand the significance of the fact that God declares that
the very feet of those who tell others about Jesus are beautiful.
Have any of you ever taken part in a “foot washing?” It is
not something that we participate in very often. In the youth group I grew up in the seniors
would wash the feet of the in coming freshmen as a sign that they would not
only serve us but teach us how to serve God. Now, you would automatically think
that it was humbling to have to wash someone else’s feet, but if you have ever
had your feet washed then you understand why Peter had such a hard time with
Jesus washing his feet. I mean it’s just hard it is to take your shoes off.
Some people say that it is because they are uncomfortable
having you see or smell their feet. But there is another reason, and a bigger
reason, we don’t think of our feet as pretty, let alone beautiful! It seems
that the farther from the face we go the less attractive we believe we
are. But did you notice what God says:
If you and I share the message of Jesus with others, even our feet are
beautiful to Him.
I really believe that there are a few things that we need to
understand if we are going to realize what God is thinking here.
First, Do you know
that God believes in us?
God believes that we are capable of telling others about
Jesus. He believes we are capable of telling others good news. He isn’t asking
us to recite all the books of the Bible, or to give the theological
implications of sanctification and justification. All we have to talk about is
the good news. In other words, tell folks what has Jesus done for you.
The infamous skeptic, atheist, and enemy of the church,
Fredrick Nietzsche once said: “Show me that you are redeemed, and I will
believe in your Redeemer.” Now, I don’t know if he was being honest or not. But
it is nonetheless true: If we can show others that it works, if we can tell
others how Jesus has made a difference in our lives, then maybe they will
Now I have heard the excuse 1,000 times: “But Jeremy, I’m
not sure I could tell someone enough about Jesus to help them.” I believe
that’s ok. But until you can find a way to tell others about what Jesus has
done in your life, you might have to become a little inventive. You might have
to find a “creative” way to share Jesus.
D.L. Moody told the story of a wealthy London banker who
loved Jesus deeply but couldn’t tell others about his faith in a way that he
felt was convincing. So, what he did instead, was hire all of the carriage
drivers he could on the days of a Revival and then sent the drivers in while he
held the reins of the horses.
So if you haven’t figured out yet how to talk to others yet
you can still find a way to get the message to them, if you want to. Every
member of this body has been smart enough to come up with reasons why we
couldn’t or shouldn’t share the good news, now we just have to use some of that
same reasoning to come up with ways to share the good news. We must be reminded
that God believes you can do it.
Second, Do you
know that you don’t have to do this alone?
Most of us are not afraid of hard work, or taking on
difficult tasks we are just afraid that we will have to do it all by ourselves.
Jesus tells us that the Spirit of God is working behind the scenes. When Jesus
walked upon the earth, He said that, when the Spirit came, His job was to “…convict the world of guilt in regard to
sin and righteousness and judgment:” John 16:8
When you talk to others about Jesus, remember that the Holy Spirit
has been softening them up well ahead of time. He’s been convicting them of
their sins, He’s been convicting them of their need for righteousness, and He’s
been convicting them, that there is time of judgment coming and they need to
It’s a wonderful thing to know that we are not alone. I
truly believe that the reason we don’t share Christ like we should is because
we are afraid that we are stuck on an island all by ourselves. The comfort that we have, the promise that
God has made to us, is that He will never leave us alone. That’s what God says
in Hebrews 13:5, “I will never leave you
nor forsake you.” And if God says that He never leaves us, that includes
the time we spend doing His will.
As we close today I want to mention one more thought about
why I believe that God uses the imagery of feet here in Romans 10. Have you
ever wondered what’s so significant about our feet? I mean, it’s not our feet
that tells about Jesus, that would be our head and our mouth. But I believe
that there is three very good reasons why God talked our feet in this passage.
First, Many people
talk a good talk but they don’t walk a good walk.
The message has no power, if the messenger doesn’t walk with
Jesus. If a person talks the talk but doesn’t walk the walk, well we have a
special name for them. What do we call people who talk a good talk, but don’t
walk the walk? Hypocrites! We’ve got to walk the walk for our talk to have any
You cannot tell people about the Prince of Peace if your
life is lived in constant turmoil.
You cannot share the forgiveness offered by Christ, if you
are hard, cold, and calloused.
And you cannot tell people about the Joy of the Lord, is you
are the most miserable person they know.
If we are going to be taken seriously then our walk must
reflect our talk. How serious do you take an insurance salesman who doesn’t use
his own company? How seriously do you
take a Grocery Story Manager who shops at another store? How seriously would someone take you if your
life does not reflect what you claim to believe?
Secondly, It is my
feet that determine my direction.
I can turn my head to the left or the right and still go
straight ahead, and I’ve seen some of you drive looking out the side window of
your cars so I know I am not alone. The direction of my head doesn’t determine
where I’m going. But once my feet are
set on a path, that’s where I’m going. My feet determine what direction I’m
When you ask one of our high school students what they want
to be when they grow up, you might get a well though out answer, or they might
just as well tell you, “I don’t know.”
That’s because they have never set a goal. They know that
they can do anything so they are still trying to figure out what direction they
want to take. They have not set out on a path yet. But, eventually they will
make up their mind, some sooner than later, and once that becomes the focus of
what they want to do they’ll pursue that goal no matter what the obstacle, no
matter what barrier they might face. Why? Because once their feet are set on
the path, they can attain their goal.
Likewise, if our feet are set on the path of sharing with
others about Jesus if that is truly the goal that is set in our hearts, then
we’ll strain for that objective no matter what barrier or objection or obstacle
we may face.
Lastly, Feet are
I can’t send my feet somewhere that I can’t go myself. I
have to go where my feet go. Notice, God doesn’t say: “How beautiful is the
tract that you hand out” even though tracts may be very effective.
Or “How beautiful is the door hanger that you leave” though
those door hangers might influence some people.
Or “How beautiful is the bible that you put in the coat you
gave to the needy”, even though I believe that a Bible is one the best gifts
you can give someone.
What God does say is “How
beautiful are your feet.” What does that mean? It means that people are won
to Christ because we are willing to be where they are.
A couple of years ago Newsweek had an article on Religion
and Street Gangs. They interviewed a Pentecostal preacher named Rivers. When he
first moved into this neighborhood, Rivers sought out a local drug dealer named
Selvin... and that drug dealer gave Rivers a lesson in why God was losing to
gangs in the battle for the souls of inner city kids.
“Selvin explained, ‘I’m there when Johnny goes out for a
loaf of bread for Mama. I’m there, you’re not. I win, you lose, It’s all about
When Jesus sought to save mankind, He walked with them. He walked with the prostitutes and the tax
collectors and the dregs of society because they were the ones that would best
understand the need for His message. He spent time with them. He didn’t join in
with their sinful behavior, but He showed His love for them in being with them.
And today that’s still the only way to show you care.
What is the gospel?
What is evangelism?
If God is in control, then why do we need to share the
No amount of study, prayer, or worship will make up for a
lack of evangelism in our lives. Why is evangelism so important to our walk
Read a few passages:
28:18-20 (The What)
1:1-4 (The Why)
What do these verses tell us that we should be engaged in?
How do these passages apply to you personally?