Thesis:The "problem" does not consist in the lack of hearing.
Introduction:In our last few studies we have been looking at the divine process involved in the sharing of the Life of God. We have seen that Paul has worked backwards from a key "result" to a prior key "activity". But, if we reverse his order, what we see is that the Life of God is shared by Him with men through a process from "beautiful feet" to "beautiful feet". The "beautiful feet" thesis is that, when there is a sufficiently significant perception of difficulty, and there is a timely arrival of one who announces what God has done/will do to address that difficulty, those who "hear" the good news consider the arrival of the announcer to be "beautiful" in its timeliness. In the "Life-sharing" of God, the process involves multiple stages: the first is an intiation by God in an external-to-the-needy setting wherein He addresses the problem; then there is a "sending" of a proclaimer who, being sent, arrives and announces what God has done/will do; then there is the actual "hearing" by those in the need; then there is their reaction of "faith" in the heart; then the response of the mouth in calling upon the Lord of the Solution; then the response of God in an actual deliverance from the need; and then the inclusion by God of the "saved" into the process that begins all over again so that he/she gets actively involved in either the "sending" or the "proclaiming" so that others may obtain the "Life".
This evening we are going to look into the question that Paul raises in 10:18: Is the "problem" of participation in the Life one that exists at the "non-proclamation" point? Do men fail to get into the Life because they have not heard because there was a failure of the provision of a proclaimer? Paul's answer is emphatic: No.
I. What is Paul's Point?
A. On the face of it, he declares that there is no one who has not "heard".
1. His proof is two-fold.
a. At the Psalm 19:1-6 level, he says that the announcement has gone unto the very ends of the world.
1) Both "earth" and "world" have been covered with the sound of the announcement.
a) "Earth" is physical creation.
b) "World" is inhabited land.
2) The issue in Psalm 19 is why the "revelation" moves from creation impact to specific verbal content.
a) Most everyone, with a tad of thought, realizes that there is a large matter of "degree of specificity" involved here.
b) However, most everyone who has had any experience at all also realizes that all processes move from general to specific with one basic reality: a failure at any point of the process shuts the process down.
c) In the Grand Plan, there is a complete provision that moves from the very general and minimally helpful to the very specific and extraordinarily helpful.
d) God's movement from pretty general stuff to very specific words fits the nature of "process".
b. He points out that in the historical reality of both Moses and Isaiah, the "revelation" had gone from extremely general to highly specific and it was met all along the way with rejection, not "faith".
2. His point, then, is that there is no one who does not "hear".
B. His larger point, then, is that the "problem" with the breakdown of the process has never been a failure on God's side of the issue in not providing the "hearing".
1. The biblical reality has always been 1 Corinthians 10:13: God has always made a "way of escape"; it is not a "fault" on His side of the issue that has "caused" the breakdown.
2. That men do not wish to hear this simply proves the point: men are the ones with the problem.
II. Why Does He Attempt to Make it Here?
A. The "big" issue of the larger context is 9:6 -- Is the word of God trustworthy? -- and this issue has been in the mix since 3:3.
B. An integrated part of this larger issue is the question of why Israel, the most privileged of all the nations, rejected what they "heard".
C. All of chapter ten is about why Israel is not "saved" and the answer is not that they did not get to hear what they needed to hear.
D. Therefore, Paul's "point" at this point is that participation in the Life of God is not rooted in whether people have access to the details.
1. This is an involved issue.
2. It is not the "root" issue.
E. Thus, Paul's "point" is that participation in the Life is directly tied to "faith" as the response that God has made absolutely necessary to any relationship.