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Sermon #3260

Hearing of Faith

A Sermon on Romans 10:16-17


Romans 10:16-17 ESV KJV
But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?” So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. (ESV)

Sermon Description

How is a person saved? Is it through just hearing the gospel or is it through faith? The debate is a theological divide in the Christian church. In this sermon on Romans 10:16–17 titled “Hearing of Faith,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones gives firm biblical grounding in salvation that comes not just by hearing, but by faith in Christ and His sacrifice on the cross. Dr. Lloyd-Jones says that there are two types of hearing: hearing that falls on the ears and hearing that moves a person to believe. Quoting the words of Isaiah, he reveals that this has always been the case. Not every person who hears believes. It was the same in the Old Testament, the New Testament, and today. Dr. Lloyd-Jones points out that this is an example of divine inspiration in Scripture. In a relatable “church goer” example, Dr. Lloyd-Jones reviews the elements needed for a person to hear the gospel with faith. That person’s heart must be opened by God and they must then trust in Christ’s redeeming death on the cross. To convey this incredible truth, Dr. Lloyd-Jones draws on other examples from the New Testament that embody and proclaim this faith today.

Sermon Breakdown

  1. The apostle Paul is addressing the case of the Jews and their rejection of the gospel in Romans 10.
  2. Verses 16-17 constitute the second subsection of the passage from verses 14-17.
  3. Verses 14-15 discuss the general offer of the gospel and the commission to preach it.
  4. Verses 16-17 show that not all have believed the gospel, though it has been preached to all. This does not invalidate the way of salvation.
  5. The apostle quotes Isaiah 53:1 to show that the Jews' unbelief was prophesied and not surprising. The prophecy has a double reference, to Isaiah's day and the messianic age.
  6. The apostle uses scripture to make his points, as his audience revered scripture. This is an effective way to reason with them.
  7. Everything about the gospel was foretold in the Old Testament. The apostle and others showed the gospel fulfilled prophecy.
  8. Fulfilled prophecy proves the divine inspiration of scripture. Isaiah 53:1 shows the inspiration of the prophets.
  9. The apostle says "but" in verse 16 to continue his theme from a different angle. Not all have obeyed the gospel though it is preached to all.
  10. The gospel is offered to all but only believed by some. There is a difference between hearing and hearing in faith.
  11. Verse 17 says faith comes by hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. Hearing here means hearing in faith, not just hearing the words.
  12. The apostle quotes Isaiah 6:9-10, as Jesus did, to show the difference between hearing and understanding, and hearing without understanding. The gospel divides people.
  13. There are two types of hearing: mechanical hearing and hearing of faith. Hearing of faith leads to faith; mechanical hearing does not.
  14. Faith is what matters, not just hearing words. True hearing means paying attention and heeding the message as vital. It grips and lays hold of one.
  15. Lydia in Acts 16 is an example of one whose heart the Lord opened to pay attention to Paul's message. The natural man cannot receive spiritual things; God must open the heart.
  16. Faith comes from hearing in faith, which comes through the word of Christ, the message of salvation. Faith always relates to this message.
  17. There are two elements in producing faith: the Spirit's work and the word of Christ. There is no saving faith apart from Christ. Faith is not general but specific to Christ.
  18. The Holy Spirit only honors the word about Christ. When the Spirit applies this word powerfully, it results in faith.
  19. James 1:18 and 1 Peter 1:23 show that the word of God, applied by the Spirit, begets faith.
  20. 1 Thessalonians 1:5 shows that the gospel came not just in word but in power, the Holy Spirit, and assurance. This results in faith.
  21. Some believe and some don't because some hear the word with an opened heart, in power and the Spirit. Though the word is preached to all, faith comes by hearing in this way.

The Book of Romans

Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981) was a Welsh evangelical minister who preached and taught in the Reformed tradition. His principal ministry was at Westminster Chapel, in central London, from 1939-1968, where he delivered multi-year expositions on books of the bible such as Romans, Ephesians and the Gospel of John. In addition to the MLJ Trust’s collection of 1,600 of these sermons in audio format, most of these great sermon series are available in book form (including a 14 volume collection of the Romans sermons), as are other series such as "Spiritual Depression", "Studies in the Sermon on the Mount" and "Great Biblical Doctrines". He is considered by many evangelical leaders today to be an authority on biblical truth and the sufficiency of Scripture.