Monday, 23 September 2013
And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, Who bring glad tidings of good things!” Romans 10:15
Paul’s progression of thought concerning the transmission of the gospel continues with, “And how shall they preach unless they are sent?” Everyone who is a saved believer should be a voice and a witness for the good news. However, the truth is that just as not everyone has plumbing skills, not everyone has sound communication skills. Because of this, certain people are more effective at relaying the message than others. Even though this is so, there is also the axiom that “You can preach with your person or you can preach with your purse.”
Everyone who believes the truth of the gospel certainly has some ability to promote the gospel, even the poor widow who can give but two mites. A preacher can’t preach unless he is sent and someone has to be willing to send him. It is difficult to comprehend those who attend church, week after week, and who don’t support their preacher and the ministry. They are benefitting from his schooling, preparation, and life-blood and yet they take without giving. Missions cannot go forward without missionary funding. Teachers who teach should be supported for their time and effort. These are obvious truths which are often simply disregarded.
In today’s world, there are means of spreading instruction to even wider audiences – Websites, email, You Tube, Facebook, etc. are all means of sharing and receiving instruction. How many sit and absorb volumes of information by these avenues and yet never return with a gift of gratitude to the one who put forth the effort, time, and expense of preparation and transmission?
Paul notes the needed care for teachers several times. In Galatians 6:6, he states, “Let him who is taught the word share in all good things with him who teaches.” In 1 Timothy 5:18, while citing the law, he repeats, “The laborer is worthy of his wages.” And Jesus, using the same thought said this to the disciples He had sent out, “…a worker is worthy of his food.” Matthew 10:10
One final thought on being “sent.” There must be a divine commission on the sender. There are many preachers and teachers and yet their doctrine doesn’t correspond with, or properly handle, God’s word. A divine commission will be seen for what it is when it rightly divides the word of truth. It must be centered on the Person and work of Jesus Christ and it must cling to and boast in His cross. The cross is the central point of the faith and yet it is often dismissed in an attempt to not offend. But the resurrection wasn’t possible without His death. When evaluating preachers and teachers, never fail to evaluate them based on the message of the cross.
After communicating the need for preachers to be sent, and in support of this thought, Paul cites Isaiah 52:7 (and which is also a verse found in Nahum 1:15). “As it is written” shows that what he is saying finds its support within the Hebrew Scriptures and will now find its fulfillment in the New Testament church. “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace…”
Paul equates Isaiah’s words directly to the good news of the gospel. Isaiah was speaking of the affliction and bondage of the people during their times of captivity. But he spoke of a time of release from those things, a time when the Lord would comfort His people. After his introduction, Isaiah moved into His “suffering Servant” passage which spans 52:13 – 53:12. These verses detail the coming abasement and exaltation of the Lord Jesus, the good news.
It is those feet which proclaim this wondrous message with are termed “beautiful.” It is the faithful preacher of the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord who truly brings “glad tidings of good things!” It should be noted that a bearer of news in his day would have traveled long distances carrying his message. For example, if he were at a battle line, he would be instructed to run to the king or to the high priest with how things were going.
Such a herald would wear the lightest shoes possible, probably open sandals. He may even run barefoot if his feet were calloused enough. By the time he reached the one he was heading for, the herald’s feet would be filthy. They would bear the dust and possibly even the open wounds of the run. But the beauty of the feet was in the message, not the feet themselves. The feet which labored so vigorously would be considered as lovely as a spring flower to the one who received the good news.
And such is the case with the preachers and missionaries who rightly profess the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Their feet would appear as precious as the finest gold, and even more so.
Life application: A showy message by a fashionably dressed orator is worthless when placed side by side with a herald of the gospel who is dressed in old clothes and worn out shoes. Be sure to tend to those who instruct you with gifts and notes of appreciation. The Word of God is the most precious treasure we have; don’t withhold your gratitude for those who transmit it.
Glorious Lord, today I want to thank You for those who give me instruction into Your word. Please provide them with Your peace and with Your hand of comfort as they work, preparing sermons, studies, and classes which then are provided to me. Thank You for raising up such men of God and directing their ways for the benefit of those they instruct. How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace! Amen.