Summary: A message to spark in our hearts the inspiration to broadcast our faith, so others can hear the good news of Jesus Christ.
Allow me to start our time by reading you a nifty story. It is called, “The First Radio Broadcast.” For their entire careers, wireless operators onboard US Navy and merchant ships had only heard Morse code coming through their headphones. However, a few days before Christmas in 1906, operators from the shore informed the ships’ crews to listen at 9 PM on Christmas Eve for something special.
With curiosity, the ships’ operators —affectionately known as “sparks” — tuned in as was suggested. Suddenly, they heard something that made them think they were dreaming. They heard singing, and a violin solo; then a man speaking. Some called their captain and ship's officers to come and listen along with them.
The genius responsible was Reginald Fessenden. He had succeeded in transmitting voice and music over the air. Fessenden played a violin solo of "O Holy Night" as he sang the last verse. He also read about the birth of Jesus from Luke chapter 2. Luke’s account of the angels' song "Glory to God in the Highest - and on Earth - Peace to Men of Goodwill” was heard as if by miracle. Fessenden concluded his broadcast by wishing all a Merry Christmas.
Isn’t it amazing that the first-ever, radio broadcast was one that proclaimed that Jesus Christ is Lord? I wonder, did anything spark in the hearts of the “sparks” as they heard the good news of the Gospel.
This morning, I pray this message sparks something in your heart, so that you too can be inspired to broadcast your faith, so others can hear the good news of Jesus Christ. So with that, let’s jump into the book of Romans and hear why it’s so crucial to transmit the good news of the Gospel for those whose ears might be tuning in. Please open your bibles to Romans 10.
RIGHTEOUSSNESS IN CHRIST
Now, before we move into the heart of our message, let’s focus on what Paul was saying to the church in Rome about Israel’s heart, because it serves as the foundation not only for what comes next, but also for the reasons that Martin Luther sought to reform the Roman Catholic church. Let’s begin by hearing vv 1-7. READ VV 1-7.
Okay, from vv 3-6, Paul contrasts the righteousness Israel sought through works, to the righteousness of Jesus. Now, within these 3 verses, Paul used the word “righteousness” five times, and the word “law” twice. Paul said that Israel “chose not to submit to God’s righteousness, but instead sought to establish their own.”
He argues that we cannot be made righteous through our efforts, because no matter how much we try, we’re all going to break both God’s laws and those enacted by humankind. Let’s put a contemporary spin on this to see what I mean.
The State of Idaho set a maximum speed limit on our portion of I-90 at 75 MPH. But how often do we suppose people obey that law? I’ll be honest, I try to drive at 75 mph, because I think it’s fast enough, but I don’t always do it. Consider this as well.
Between the Rose Lake exit and the Fourth of July Pass —heading west — the speed limit slows down to 65 MPH. Now, if we obey the law (of Idaho), we’d all slow down prior to the speed limit sign. However, most people (including me) —if they slow down at all —only do so after they’ve passed the sign. Technically, however, if we haven’t slowed-down to 65 mph by the time we’ve crossed the threshold of that sign, then we’re already in violation of law —and that’s just an ordinance created by human beings.
While we might think is no big deal, it is still the law — and for good reasons? Just the other day I went outside the office, and a person in white SUV flew down Mullan — a 25 mph speed zone — at about 45 mph. Thank goodness none of the neighborhood kids were outside in the streets playing, as they often do. It could have been ugly. The law is there for a reason: to keep everyone safe.
Still, that all being said, the vast-majority of people don’t’ obey the speed limit statues that our government established, which should be easy to follow. If that’s all true, then how do we think we can abide by the laws that God established? That’s kind of what Paul’s was saying, in a really technical kind of way.
It’s like the Apostle Paul was saying, “Israel didn’t want to abide within the laws that God established, so they created their own; however, they couldn’t even keep those.” Much is the same for us — Christians I mean. Most Christians in our nation today don’t want to abide by even the Ten Commandments, let alone those Jesus commanded us to obey, those such as “loving God and one another” and to go forth and “make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything [he commanded us].”