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Leader Guide Sunday, Sept. 9, 2018
Go Sermon Text: Matthew 28:16-20 Study Texts: Romans 10:9-17 Sermon Recap: In Matthew 28, we find the last earthly words of Jesus to His disciples and ultimately to the newly established Church. The disciples have seen Jesus beaten, crucified, buried and now stand with Him in His resurrected glory. As He is preparing to ascend back into Heaven, Jesus reminds His disciples of Who He is, of what they possess in Him, and of the mission to which He has called them. His Great Commission to the disciples was to go into all the world preaching the gospel, baptizing new Christians, teaching and discipling the Church and establishing His glory around the world, all with the confidence that He in Whom all power resides was with them. The same call continues to go out to the Church today. We bear the responsibility that Jesus gave to that group of disciples on the mountain, and by His Spirit, gives to us today: The Church of Christ goes with the gospel to all people(s). Sermon Connection: Matthew 28:16-20 is one of the most well-known biblical texts, especially among evangelical Christians. The command to go with the gospel is not a new development in the biblical story but is a reflection of the missionary heart of God that has always existed. In Romans 10, we find Paul instructing the Christians in Rome to go with the gospel to those who do not know. He reminds them and reminds us that the gospel is a message that must be heard and responded to, and this demands that we go with the gospel.
Lesson Plan Lesson Goal: To understand the command to go with the gospel as the primary work of Christ’s Church. Lesson Points: Point 1: The Process of Salvation (vv. 9-11) Point 2: Salvation is Open to All (vv. 12-13) Point 3: The Need to Go with the Gospel (vv. 14-17)
The Context: At this point in the letter to the Roman Church, Paul is explaining how the gospel is not confined to the Jews, but that Christ came for all people. In chapter 9, Paul overviews how God has dealt with the Jews and how God has sovereign purpose with them. But the mission of God extends far beyond the Jewish people to include the whole world, and because the mission is vastly more expansive, the Church must go with the gospel. Opening Question: Have you ever freely talked about something you love, perhaps a hobby, a sports team, a child’s accomplishment? Why was it easy to talk about these things even when not asked? Transition Statement: We talk about the things we love. They motivate us to action, and we are okay with that. If we love to exercise, we freely exercise; if we love sports, we willingly pay money to attend sporting events. In the same way, Christians love the gospel more than anything else and should be willing to both freely speak about and engage in its work. Point 1- The Process of Salvation (vv. 9-11) What two steps does Paul identify in verse 9 concerning salvation? Can either be missing from a true confession? Paul says that for a non-Christian to become a Christian he/she must confess that Christ is Lord with their mouths, and they must believe this truth in their hearts. We must realize that these two components of salvation go together; they work together. As we seek to determine what true salvation is, with Paul, we must recognize that both true confession of Christ and true belief in Christ are necessary. In a sense, they are two sides of the same coin. What does it mean to confess Christ with our mouths? To confess with the mouth, in the context of verse 9, means to give verbal affirmation of what is truly in the heart. The ESV Study Bible explains confessing with the mouth in this way, it “...does not mean that a spoken affirmation of one’s faith is a ‘work’ that merits justification, but such a confession does give outward evidence of inward faith and often confirms that faith of the speaker himself.”1 In other words, simply saying special words does not earn salvation. We cannot say a specific prayer/confession (such as the commonly used “sinner’s prayer”) that somehow makes God save us. True confession of Christ, as Paul refers to here, is evidence of a changed heart. What does it mean to “believe in our hearts”? As with confession, we must understand that Paul’s idea of believing is a bit deeper than what we often think. In our modern culture, the “believe” often means something like, “I agree with that idea; I believe it.” But Paul is pressing deeper than that; he is pressing us to see that true Christian belief is a way of life. Again, the ESV Study Bible is helpful, “Paul does not 1
ESV Study Bible, 2007 Text Edition, 2175.
mean that people need to believe only this individual event with no understanding of Christ’s death, but rather they need to believe in the resurrection…” along with everything else the Bible teaches about Jesus. If the Bible is telling the truth about Jesus, and we believe that it is, then we must understand that believing “God raised Christ from the dead” has implications for every aspect of our lives, not just our minds. What does v. 11 mean in saying, “Everyone who believes in Him will not be put to shame”? We must keep in mind that Paul is always undoing the Jewish way of thinking, that good works can somehow gain salvation. In this verse, Paul is referencing Isaiah 28:16 where God reminds the people of the assuredness of His salvation. Salvation cannot come from us; it is not through our confession, nor through our belief. Salvation is through God (Who gives belief), and therefore, no true faith will be put to shame. Transition Statement: Having looked at how salvation occurs, Paul now turns his attention to who God saves... Point 2 - Salvation is Open to All (vv. 12-13) To whom is the gospel available? Why is this so important for us to remember? Paul is concerned that the Church recognizes the gospel’s availability to all. Paul writes, “...for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing His riches on all who call on Him. ” For us, this means that God saves all kinds of people from all kinds of places with all kinds of backgrounds and all kinds of problems. There is no person who doesn't fit the requirements of the gospel; God is the God of all. There are so many implications that come from this, but a major one is the need to be on mission with the gospel all the time with everybody. How does this reality propel us to gospel mission in every area of life? This truth—that God saves all kinds of people and all the kinds of people—reminds us of the world’s need for the gospel. Paul writes in v. 13, “For ‘everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”’ Therefore, knowing that God saves any and all people who truly call on His Name, and knowing that salvation comes no other way, we proclaim the gospel to all! Point 3 - The Need to Go with the Gospel (vv. 14-17) What is the point that v. 14 is driving home for the Church? Paul has gotten us to see that the gospel is for everyone, and that the salvation of the gospel comes only through true belief and confession. But now, he asks the practical question of “How?” How will the people of the world believe the gospel they have never heard and never will hear without being told? Paul is using questioning as a teaching method here (Socratic). He answers his own question in how it's asked. What point is he driving home for the Church? His point is this: If the Church does not go with the gospel to the unreached, they will never confess and believe. We must go. 3
What kind of work does v. 15 demand of the Church? The work of proclamation. The gospel message demands that we share it with others; it demands that we open our mouths and share the news of salvation in and through Jesus Christ alone. When Paul uses the word “preach,” he is not just referring to professional church pastors. Rather, he is giving every Christian his/her job description. To be a Christian, according to Paul, is to be one who shares the gospel. Thus, this verse is calling our attention to our job of proclaiming the gospel widely and broadly—everywhere we find ourselves is prime gospel environment. What aspect of salvation is highlighted in v. 16? What is the connection with v. 10? Obedience. Paul is highlighting that, although many hear the gospel as it is proclaimed around the world, there will be many who do not obey the gospel. It is not enough for us to simply agree in our minds that Christ is Lord. The truth that He is Lord demands our obedience in our lives. This is Paul’s idea in v. 10 when he says “...believes and is justified...” When we truly believe that Jesus Christ is the King, our lives change to reflect that belief. If our lives remain unchanged, then we give evidence that we do not truly believe it. To what action(s) does v. 17 call the Church? Just as in vv. 14-15, Paul is calling the Church to take up Her work of missions, Her work of going with the gospel. He is reminding us of the need of the gospel around the world. Therefore, his call to the Church is to go with the gospel. The Big Picture In his helpful book, Missions, How the Local Church Goes Global, Andy Johnson writes these words, “The Bible tells us how the mission [of God] will go forward: through prayerful dependence, gospel proclamation, biblical discipling, and church planting.”2 This is Paul’s heart in Romans 10. The gospel is the only hope for the salvation of mankind. Paul reminds us that, apart from true belief in the gospel of God, evidenced in true confession, there is no hope for salvation from sin. But, Paul goes further and calls us to reckon with the fact that, unless we go with this gospel to the people of the world, they will never hear, never believe and thus, never confess. God has appointed us, His Church, to take up this gospel and go into all the world with His power, His presence, and His commission. Application Questions ● How am I daily going with the gospel in my life? ● How am/can I lead my family in going with the gospel? ● How is our growth group going with the gospel? ● What are ways our growth group can go with the gospel locally? ● What are ways our growth group can go with the gospel globally? 2
Andy Johnson, Missions, How the Local Church Goes Global (Crossway Books, 2017), 28.