We're called to be fishers of men. We're not called to be keepers of the aquarium. And so often the church begins by fishing in the aquarium. Well now, if you're a fisherman, there's no big joy in casting a line into an aquarium and catching anything, is there?
No. But see, that's why we do things like tell the world. We go into rest homes and we reach out to people who don't know.
That's why we went down to South Miami Beach in the middle of spring break. Welcome to Cross the Bridge with David McGee. God did not call the church to stay inside. He's called the church to reach out to those who don't know Him and who have never heard the Gospel. Today Pastor David encourages us in evangelism with his teaching Reach Out from Romans 15. So we're in Romans chapter 15 verse 18 says, For I will not dare to speak of any of those things which Christ has not accomplished through me in word and deed to make the Gentiles obedient in mighty signs and wonders by the power of the Spirit of God. So that from Jerusalem and roundabout to a lycra, I have fully preached the Gospel of Christ.
Verse 19 talks about mighty signs and wonders talks about this place in lycra, which is outside of Italy. And so from Jerusalem to this place outside of Italy was about 1400 miles, which Paul would have covered probably walking sometimes on a horse or a donkey, sometimes maybe on a sailing ship, but he was committed to telling people about the good news. This was Paul pouring his life out the Gospel of Christ. What is the Gospel of Christ?
Well, the Gospel is the good news and the Greek evangelism where we get our word evangelism and it means to proclaim the good news, to declare, to bring, to preach. And what is the good news? The good news is not the bad news, but the bad news is in the good news.
Okay, here's what I mean by that. The bad news is that we are all falling short of the glory of God. We were all, we've all sinned according to Romans 3 10 3 23. We've all fallen short of the glory of God. There's no righteous, no not one, but so often we major on the bad news. And then we, we proclaim that to somebody and we run off or somebody with a megaphone at a stoplight is telling everybody how they're going to hell. That's not the good news. I mean, if somebody comes up to you and says, you're going to hell and then they run off, I don't know about you, but I don't have a warm fuzzy. Now, is that part of the good news?
It is. Well, how can the bad news be part of the good news? Because you've got to know the problem before you're curious about the solution. See, if you go to the doctor and he says, Hey, I want you to take this really nasty medicine. It's going to take, it's going to taste like you're swallowed a cotton ball or something.
You're not going to be interested in that medicine unless the doctor says you've got something that's really bad, but this medicine will help. So the bad news is we're all separated from God. The good news is Jesus Christ died for our sins that we can be forgiven as Jesus Christ. The only way we can be forgiven according to this book, he absolutely is. I understand there's people out there and say, well, there's many roads to God.
And, and I guess part of that is true. Many, you know, all roads do lead to God, but what happens when you get there doesn't depend on what you know, depends on who you know. If you know Jesus as your savior, you'll be allowed into heaven.
Not because of your merit or because you're a good person, but because you've accepted Jesus as your savior. Now, of course, there's only a select few individuals in the Bible and in life in general, who were supposed to be telling this good news, right? It's, it's pretty much up to the professional Christians who are in ministry, right? And, and, and so, um, the rest of us are kind of off the hook. It, it, in that, in my understanding of that, that's not, that's not how many people here in full-time ministry raise your hand. It's a trick question. Be careful.
Okay. How many people believe that Jesus is their savior? They've asked him to forgive you of your sins. Raise your hand.
Guess what? You're in ministry. If you just raised your hand, you are in full-time ministry. See, a lot of times we think, well, there's a, there's a select few people who are supposed to tell people the good news and the rest of us kind of, I don't know.
We, you know, we give a little in the box and we let the professionals take care of the business. No, no, no, no, no. If you know Jesus as your savior, you are in full-time ministry. Paul said this earlier in Romans chapter one verse 16. He says, for I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes for the Jew first and also for the Greek that word power of God power dunamis in the Greek where we get our word for dynamite. It's a powerful thing to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ. When we do it here, it's a powerful thing.
Lives are eternally changed as it goes out onto the airwaves, the radio, the television, the live stream. It has the power to change lives. Now is that just because I'm up here proclaiming it? No, there's power in the gospel. So as you, as you share it with your friends, with your family, with your coworkers, with people you go to school with, there's power in that proclamation. And again, is Jesus the only way to heaven?
According to this book, yes. Acts 4 12 says nor is there salvation in any other for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved. Sometimes people say, well, that's really narrow-minded to think your way is the only way. It's not my way. I didn't come up with this. I didn't think, well, I'm just going to say that this is the only way.
No, no, no. Jesus who I proclaimed to follow and listen to and worship and believe said, I am the only way. I'm the way, the truth of life.
Nobody comes with the father, but by me. And again, if you're at the doctor and the doctor says, Hey, got bad news, got good news, bad news is you're going to die in a couple of days. Now you're curious about the good news.
Aren't well, what's the good news? Well, there's actually a cure you can take and you'll be just fine. Well, gee, doc, you only got one cure.
It's kind of narrow-minded. It's kind of bigoted to think you're the only way. No, you're going to be grateful that there's a cure and there is a cure for sin.
There's a cure for the destruction in our lives, in the world. His name is Jesus. Verse 20 says, and so I've made it my aim to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named lest I should build on another man's foundation.
Now let's see, we're getting kind of a cool little glimpse into Paul's heart here. And he's saying, you know what? I, you know, I don't want to, I don't want to build on somebody else's foundation. I want to do a new thing.
I want to do a new thing. We have to be careful as Christians, not to just begin to, one of the phrases we use is preach to the choir. In other words, we just, Christians get together and just always share the gospel with one another. And that's great to get together, encourage one another, but friends, let's remember there's people out there that don't know Jesus. I get kind of tickled when occasionally somebody will leave here and start a new work and, and the first thing they do is begin inviting people from this fellowship. And that tells me their heart.
Why? Because there's so many lost people out there. There's so many people that aren't going to church here that need a church that we should focus on. I didn't, when we started this church, when I started this homebound study, I didn't start by inviting people from another church. I had attended a church. I left quietly. I went to two people in the church. One was a small group leader.
The other was a pastor. And I said, look, I'm leaving. I'm leaving quietly. I'm not going to invite anybody to what I'm doing.
This is what I'm doing. As a matter of fact, one time we were at the Y doing a baptism and it was my cousin who was at the Y and we were excited. And he said, Hey, baptism. Yeah, we were really stoked. You know, and so Nora's exciting.
We're talking. She goes, yeah, you really ought to come to the church. And I was like, Ooh, I said, I know you're a leader in another church. So, um, God bless you. Keep serving there. And then what I did is I called the pastor and I apologized and I said, I'm sorry.
We were excited. My wife spoke, I spoke to her about this. That's not appropriate. So be careful. And I understand many of you came from other churches and there are some good reasons to leave a church if they're not proclaiming the gospel, if they're not teaching the word of God, those are two great reasons to leave a church. But friend, if you ever leave a church, do it, do it quietly.
And especially if you ever start a church, don't begin by inviting everybody from the church you just went to that that's, that's a little weird. And again, you know, we're called to be fishers of men. We're not called to be keepers of the aquarium. And so often the church begins by fishing in the aquarium.
Well, now if you're a fisherman, there's no big joy in casting a line into an aquarium and catching anything. Is there no, but see, that's why we do things like tell the world we go into rest homes and we reach out to people who don't know. That's why we went down the South Miami beach in the middle of spring break to, to continue to, to reach out to people who don't know. And verse 21 says, but as it is written to whom he was not announced, they shall see. And those who have not heard shall understand.
Again, reaching out to those who don't know or haven't heard. And of course, one of the things we do here is we, we want to disciple people. We want to teach them the word of God. And, and it's sad that some people have not been taught the word of God.
They know Jesus as their savior, but they haven't really been, the word of God's not been explained to them. I was speaking to my last week and, um, you know, they were attending a church and they went to the pastor's wife and said, you know, I don't understand most of what the pastor says. And, uh, the wife said, well, you know, what he's doing is he's talking above you so that you can, you know, kind of be pulled up to his level. And I thought, well, that's really handy to help deal with life. Isn't it? I could stand up here and impress you with a bunch of theological terms, some of which I might not even understand myself or talk about Hebrew or talk about Greek, but I want you to understand the word of God and don't believe the lie of the enemy that, well, you can't really understand the word of God.
It's only for those trained professionals. And if you read it, you'll just going to get confused and start a new cult. So just don't, don't, don't pick up the Bible that that's a lie. The Bible can be understood. And I, I pledge to you guys to give you my life dedicated to walking you through this book, to being a partner on the journey, to understand these scriptures so you can follow the Lord. And as we do that, what would happen is we begin to understand God's passion for the lost. So we begin to reach out.
You'll be telling people about Jesus that I'll never meet. And this is what's happening in Paul's ministry. People are, you know, got saved through Paul are now reaching out to all these people. And let's remember that Jesus, the whole thing has always been a world wide outreach.
Always. That's not a new thing in the great commission, not the great omission, not the great suggestion, the great commission, Matthew 28, it says, and Jesus came and spoke to them saying, all authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing him in the name of the father and of the son of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I've commanded you. And lo, I'm with you always, even to the end of the age. Amen.
It's the great commission. And so from that, and from what Paul's sharing in here, we have our life lesson says the church should be reaching out to those who don't know and those who have never heard. The church should be reaching out to those who don't know and those who have never heard. We do stuff, TV, radio, the internet, all these things to reach people who don't know. So we need to remember these things.
Why? Because what can happen to any church, including this church, is we begin to be gazing inward and we forget to gaze outward and remember in the great commission. We always want to remember the great commission of God.
You've been listening to Cross the Bridge. We'll return to David's study in Romans in just a moment. But first I would like to let you know about a new product that we're excited about here at Cross the Bridge. Each year David McGee spends countless hours combing through the Bible in preparation to teach God's Word. This is clearly seen every week as he proclaims the amazing truths found in the Bible to his home church and through the radio ministry. That's why this month we want you to be blessed by some of our favorite teachings from this year with the Cross the Bridge Best of 2013.
These three powerful teachings will help you to live victoriously in Christ through a better understanding of who Jesus really is. The Best of 2013 is our gift to you this month when you give to Cross the Bridge. Your gift will be used to reach countless people with the Gospel while also encouraging other believers to stand firm in the faith. To help us take God's Word to the world, please contact us at 877-458-5508 or visit us online at crossthebridge.com. Friend, do you have a heart for the lost? I invite you to send us the first names of your lost loved ones and we will have hundreds of people praying for them. Just go to crossthebridge.com and click on the prayer button and you'll enter their name and if you put your name and email address in there, I'll send you free resources to equip you to pray and teach you how to reach your lost loved ones.
Please don't wait. This is so important. So please again, go to crossthebridge.com and click on the prayer button and send us the first names of lost loved ones. We'll send you some free information and together we can partner to deliver the good news of Jesus Christ to the whole world, the whole book for the whole world. Now let's return to David McGee's verse by verse teaching in the book of Romans.
Verse 22 says, for this reason, I've also been much hindered from coming to you. Paul is writing this book to the Romans, the church at Rome. Paul had not been to Rome yet. In the book of Acts, it ends with Paul being in Rome.
Okay, but these books are not necessarily in a chronological order, a timeline. And so this book would have been written during the book of Acts. He's not been to the church at Rome, but he's saying, I really want to come to him. He says, but I've been much hindered. Paul wanted to go to Rome, but God had his timing.
So understand sometimes you will want to do something and it may be something good. Maybe Paul going to Rome, good something, but God has a different timetable than you. What we have to do is say, okay, God, I believe you want me to do this. I don't know what your timetable is and allow God to open and close doors. But I also want you to understand it says, I've been much hindered from coming to you. We'll follow maybe today, maybe next week, but we'll follow what all Paul endured to get to the church at Rome.
It was not a cakewalk friend. He encountered a lot of resistance and yet God was drawing him to Rome. Why do I mention that? Because a lot of times when we begin to hit a little bit of resistance, we think, well, it must not be the Lord. Time out friend, because in my life, you know, one of the things I look for is when God tells me to do something or sends me to do something, I look for something coming against me.
And when I see that opposition, I'm like, oh, this is going to be good. See, when you're doing the right thing, you're going to hit some resistance. If you never hit resistance as a believer, as a Christian, that should concern you. Now I'm not saying everything needs to always go terribly and bad and woe is me and hope I get in and by the skin of my teeth sort of thing, but sometimes you're going to hit opposition and that's okay because sometimes when you do the right things, things still go wrong and you still can be hindered in what you're doing. Jesus spoke of all things going well. Luke 6 26 said, woe to you when all men speak well of you for so did their fathers to the false prophets. So if everybody's your friend and glowing reviews of you, you should be concerned.
Now, personally, I don't have that problem, but that's okay. Why? Because I know, you know what? I would, in sharing the gospel and doing what I would do, I want a reaction. I'm hoping for a good one, but I'll take any reaction. Why?
What I don't want is apathy. That's somebody going, yeah, whatever. I was years ago, sharing down on Tate street on a Friday night and talking down there, talking to people. And you know, I asked this guy, I said, man, have you heard the good news about Jesus Christ? He exploded. I mean, he started screaming, yelling, waving his arms around and his wife was trying to calm him down and get him to quit waving at me.
This guy's like 20 feet away, still yelling at me. And I turned to the guy beside me and I said, man, he's close. And why do I say that? Because if you'd have been like, yeah, whatever, the good news, heard it all my life, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, apathy. But the fact that, and friend, if you've got loved ones or friends or family that are really getting irritated by your Christianity, take a perverse form of encouragement in it because it's bothering them, which means they're thinking about it. They're thinking about what is making you different and how you're different.
And so they're getting closer. Verse 23, this is an interesting phrase he uses, but now no longer having a place in these parts and having a great desire these many years to come to you. Now, it's kind of an interesting phrase he says, but now no longer having a place in these parts. And we're really, we're not exactly sure what he, he might mean two different things and I'll throw these out.
This is kind of conjecture. Either means that he physically did not have a place to stay, but I believe what he was saying was spiritually I've covered the ground here. It's time for me to go somewhere where people haven't heard about Jesus Christ. And so again, we see this underscored that, you know, going to where people are and going to where people don't know Jesus or where the work is. If Paul hasn't been to Rome, how did the church in Rome start? If Paul is the big missionary to the Gentiles, how did the church in Rome start? We're told in the book of Acts chapter two, verse 10, this is Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya, adjoining Syrian visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes. What happened at the feast of Pentecost, one of the seven biblical Jewish feasts, there was three that they would go to Jerusalem for. One of those was Pentecost that happened in Acts chapter two. So people from all over the world came to Jerusalem, heard the good news, and then took it all over the world.
So that's how this church in Rome started. Verse 24, it says, whenever I journey to Spain, I shall come to you for I hope to see you on my journey and to be helped on my way there by you, if first I may enjoy your company for a while. So Paul's talking about going to Spain. Did he go to Spain? I believe he did. I believe he went to Spain. I believe he went to Britain.
I can't prove this scripturally, although I'll give you a little bit of the timeline. The book of Acts closes with Paul being in prison in Rome. What we believe happened is he was then released. He went on more missionary journeys, I believe at that time to Britain and Spain, and then came back and was arrested again in Rome.
This time Nero executed him through beheading. There's a couple of places mentioned later in an epistle that are not mentioned in the book of Acts, which makes us believe that Paul was released and then imprisoned again in Rome. So I believe he got to these places. But again, and this is interesting, who, now Paul was, if you will, in charge of this ministry, right? Yes, but who was really in charge? God was in charge. See, if you read through the book of Acts, you begin to think, well, you know, Paul just kind of wander around the world telling people about Jesus.
No, no, no, no, no, he didn't. He was being motivated and moved by the Holy Spirit. As a matter of fact, we find several references that Paul wanted to do something and God said, no. Paul said, I want to go share the gospel here. God said, no, I'll give you, I'll give you one.
Acts chapter 16 says, now when they had gone through Phrygia and the region of Galatia, they were forbidden by the Holy Spirit to preach the word in Asia. That's an interesting verse. Why? We can understand, you know, if you're watching TV programs or movies you shouldn't watch, you understand, you know, the Holy Spirit convicting you and don't, don't watch that, you know, or they're going somewhere or drinking something or doing something, you know, Holy Spirit, no, no, no, no, don't do that. But look at, of teaching, preaching the word.
Why? It was a good thing Paul wanted to do, but God was saying, not this place, not this time. And after they'd come to Mesia, they tried to go into Bithynia, but the spirit did not permit them. So passing by Mesia, they came down to Troas and a vision appeared to Paul in the night. The man of Macedonia, which I believe was Luke, stood and pleaded with him saying, come over to Macedonia and help us. Now, after he had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go to Macedonia, concluding that the Lord had called us to preach the gospel to them. This was at, uh, Macedonia was basically Greece and, and he goes in there and, and churches just exploded.
They just took off. What? Right place, right time. And so we need to understand that as God burrs something in us to do something, there's different aspects to it.
One is a sense of timing. Is this the right time? I know you want me to do this. Is this the right time? And that question, is it the right place? And the Lord, you know, it's not like he's playing a shell game with us.
Well, I don't know. I asked him, he won't tell me then, then you need to do whatever the last military, the last standing orders. What, what's the last thing God told you? He told you to be a part of this fellowship and stay in fellowship and serve. Then do that until God opens another door. And then when he opens that door, that's his sense of, of timing and perhaps his place. But understand Paul was motivated. He had a vision and he had a plan for reaching people. Next life lesson, have a vision and a plan for your life.
Have a flexible plan, but have a plan and friend, maybe you need to go home and jot some things down. It's been a couple times, a couple minutes in prayer today. God, what, what is it that you want me to do with my life? There's some things that you can absolutely know for certain. God wants to forgive you of your sins. God wants to fill you with the power of his Holy spirit and God wants to use you to reach others. Those things, every Christian, boom, boom, boom, boom. You can count on those.
Now how that works out. I don't know. Ask God, pray. You know, when somebody comes to me and says, Hey, you know, what am I supposed to do? I'm supposed to pray. You're supposed to pray.
That's what you're supposed to do. You know, it's not like I have little preacher pixie dust or something. And, uh, the old story, this guy comes to the pastor and says, pastor, somebody was praying for me last night and they pray. And while they were praying for me, they said, I was supposed to go to Africa, be a missionary. What should I do pastor? Should I go to Africa? Pastor said, well, have you ever thought you were supposed to go to Africa before? He said, no, no, never thought that. Well, should I go pastor? And he said, well, if you do go, you probably want to take this guy with you because you didn't know when it was time to go.
You're not going to know when it's time to come home. God wants to share his plan for your life with you. And friend, he's going to share it first and foremost with you. Friend, do you know for sure that your sins have been forgiven?
You can know right now. I want to lead you in a short, simple prayer, simply telling God you're sorry and asking him to help you to live for him. Please pray this prayer with me out loud right now. Dear Jesus, I believe you died for me that I could be forgiven. And I believe you were raised from the dead that I could have a new life and I've done wrong things. I have sinned and I'm sorry. Please forgive me of all those things. Please give me the power to live for you all of my days. In Jesus' name.
Amen. Friend, if you prayed that prayer according to the Bible, you've been forgiven. You've been born again. So congratulations friend.
You just made the greatest decision that you will ever make. God bless you. If this was your first time praying that prayer with Pastor David, we would love to hear from you. You can call us toll free at 877-458-5508 to receive our First Steps package with helpful resources to help you begin your walk with Christ. Also, if you contact us this month we will send you the Cross the Bridge Best of 2013 for your gift of any amount. If you've ever wondered how we can walk in the full power of God's Spirit, then this new product is just for you and we'll send it to you as a way of saying thanks for your donation.
You can give any time by calling us toll free at 877-458-5508. That's 877-458-5508 or go online to crossthebridge.com. While there, make sure to sign up for the free email devotional. That's just one more way we can bless you in your walk with Christ. Again, that website is crossthebridge.com. Thank you for listening and I pray you'll join us next time as we cross the bridge.
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