We have all seen the Japanese pictorial maxim, “Hear no evil, see no evil, and speak no evil.” Today, I want to take the same three monkeys and portray a different message. Envision them as an image of stubbornness to the Gospel (the “good news” concerning Christ and His salvation) – “I don’t want to hear it, see it, or talk about it.” What can we do when the ones we love will have no part of our endeavor to help them?
Last Sunday we examined the dire situation of those who refuse to have anything to do with Christ and Christianity. I’m thinking here of a Muslim, who thinks Christians are idolaters having three Gods, or of a Jewish person, who thinks the deity of Christ is blasphemy, or an atheist, or a “Christian” who does not think he needs any of that hell-fire damnation, sinner in need of salvation message as they are good people who follow Jesus’ teachings. In Romans chapters 9–11, Paul is focused upon the irresponsiveness to the Gospel by his fellow Jewish kinfolk whom he loved. They just do not want to hear it. What can Paul and Christians do?
The Lord tells us in the passage that we can make them envious. We can make they envious by the life we live that would make then say, “I want what they have.” Christians, because of their trust in God, should be characterized by such winsome and spirit-generated traits as “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. When we fail to live the way that God wants us to live, what we do speaks so loudly, that often people cannot hear what we say.
Today’s message is not designed to heap up guilt as to how we fall short. We all fail in many ways. Hopefully, those who hear this message will see what can be done on our part with respect to those who defy our best intentions for them.
Although we still have a couple of messages to go to finish up Romans chapters 9–11, this message will set the stage of what will follow in chapter 12 to the end of the book!