14: How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? 15: And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! 16: But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? 17: So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. 18: But I say, Have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world. 19: But I say, Did not Israel know? First Moses saith, I will provoke you to jealousy by them that are no people, and by a foolish nation I will anger you. 20: But Esaias is very bold, and saith, I was found of them that sought me not; I was made manifest unto them that asked not after me. 21: But to Israel he saith, All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people.
Paul continues his theme regarding the future purpose of God for Israel. He says, How will Israel call on the Lord if they do not believe in him? And how will they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how are they going to hear without a preacher being sent to them? This passage must warm the heart of every Gospel preacher. The really exciting thing is that the preacher only preaches the Gospel but the sinner hears and in hearing believes and is saved. WOW what a great responsibility and great honour. Then Paul says how will the preacher go if he is not sent by God? So the first qualification of a preacher of the Gospel is a commission from the Lord to go. I said to a young man recently; don’t go unless you must go, because you are called of the Lord. Paul quotes scripture, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! There is no greater joy and no more beautiful thing that to be a herald of the glad tidings. Then Paul comes down to earth. He says But they have not all obeyed the gospel. The gospel had gone out to every synagogue of the Roman Empire but the Jews did not always obey the command to repent and return unto the God of their Fathers. Because Isaiah also said, who has believed our report? Isaiah prophesied of unbelief in Israel. Paul summarises before he moves on - faith comes by hearing, and what do they hear? - The word of God. The phrase 'word of God' is used here to describe the message of the Gospel. So Paul asks the question, have they (the Jews) not heard? And the answer is, Yes in truth, the sound of the Gospel went out into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world. Then Paul goes on to ask, didn’t Israel know about Jesus and the Christians who believed in him? Firstly Moses said, I will provoke you to jealousy by them that are no people, and by a foolish nation I will anger you. Moses here is predicting the coming of the Church. The church is a people that is no people. In other words they are an assembly of people from every ethnic group including Israel and the Jews have looked on in Jealousy of Gods blessing shed abroad on the church. And their Jealousy led to anger and persecution of Christians (see Paul life) Isaiah said, of the gentile believers in Jesus - I was found of them that sought me not; I was made manifest unto them that asked not after me. Yet to Israel the Lord said, All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people. How sad that Israel who knew the Lord were disobedient and rejected Christ but how glorious that Gentiles who did not know the Lord turned to believe in Christ in their millions.
- How does Paul describe the stages of development in preaching and responding to the Gospel?
- How does Paul sumarise the whole of the Acts period here?
- How does he sumarise Israels response the the Gospel of the kingdom?