Romans 1:1-17 - Introduction to Romans
Intro : Tonight we are beginning or study in the book of Romans ! Awesome book / Powerful book !
A) Paul's letter to the Christians in Rome is actually a kind of "fifth gospel."
†† Been referred to as the Gospel according to grace !
B) The gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John bear witness to the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus,
1) †The gospel of Romans bears witness to the life-changing power of Jesus.
C) One early Church Father said concerning the book of Romans: When anyone gains a knowledge of this letter, he has an entrance to all the hidden treasures of Scripture."
D) The poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge called Romans "the most profound work in existence." & F. F. Bruce, the insightful Bible commentator noted† that Romans has liberated the minds of men & has , brought then back to an understanding of the essential Gospel of Christ, and started spiritual revolutions!
E) Another commentator noted wherever the message of Romans† is eagerly received, startling events take place. Hearts† are changed. Spiritual revivals explode. Whole churches, cities, and institutions are rocked on their foundations
Paul wrote the book of Romans in the Winter of A.D. 56 or 57 while he was in the city of Corinth !
A) As we begin our journey through the book of Romans† we should place this document in its cultural and historical context.
B) The world of the apostle Paul was a broken world, full of† misery immorality & injustice.
1) †The world was under the heel of Rome, and the Roman empire was ruled by Nero, cruel and insane king.
C) Nero was known not only for his political treachery, hut for his gross sexual immorality. The Roman historian Tacitus, in The Annals, observed, "Nero, who polluted himself by every lawful or lawless indulgence, had not omitted a single abomination which could heighten his depravity." D) Even more appalling than Nero's obscene debaucheries was his sadistic persecution of the early Christian church.
1) †For the followers of Jesus Christ, he had nothing but hatred.
E) Tacitus wrote, "Nero . . . inflicted the most intense† tortures on a class . . . called Christians .... Mockery of every sort was added to their deaths. Covered with the skins of beasts, they torn apart by dogs† or were nailed to crosses, or were doomed to the flames.'' in fact, hundreds of Christians were covered with pitch, hung on poles & burned in his garden / road naked screaming
This was the world of the Apostle Paul - a bloody† perilous, cruel world.
A) And yet it was just such a broken world that God, through his servant Paul, chose to penetrate with a new manifesto, a new gospel of wholeness.
B) And the Lord has been working through this epistle of Romans ever since to reach the lives of broken people in a broken World !
C) Three centuries after the writing of Romans, there lived a North Africa a Roman named Augustine.
1) †Like Paul's world in the first century, Augustine's world was a broken world. The Roman empire was crumbling
D) In his autobiography, The Confessions, Augustine describes the intense spiritual war that raged within him when he was a young man.
1) †Recognizing that he was powerless to live a sinless life by his own power, he was relentlessly haunted by the memory of past sins. "I was tossed about, and wasted, he wrote, I boiled over in my fornication
During this time of spiritual anguish, he went out into his garden He took with him a hand-copied volume of Romans given him by his mother.
A) Augustine wept bitterly for his lost soul, certain that his sins were beyond forgiveness. And while he poured out his tears, an unusual thing happened B)† From over the hedge of the garden, Augustine heard a child's voice chanting, "Take up and read; take up and read." Seeing the book at his feet,
1) †Augustine felt that God was using the child to speak to him, so† picked up the book of Romans, opened it, and began reading
C) In those moments, his life was forever changed. Suddenly he understood not only the crisis of his sin but its solution in Jesus Christ.
Like the fourth century world of Augustine, the sixteenth-century world of Martin Luther was a broken world.
A) The Christian church had hardened into an institution with enormous wealth and worldly power.
B) Instead of offering salvation by the preaching of God's Word, the corrupt institutional church had begun selling salvation and other spiritual privileges for money in the form of so-called "indulgences."
C) The church had also become involved in political intrigues and manipulation of European governments.
1) †But† The richer and more powerful it became, the more spiritually and morally bankrupt it became.
D) It was during this time that the Lord touched the heart of a young man by the name of Martin Luther as he meditated on the 17 v. of Ch. 1 The just shall live by faith !
E) Energized by this dynamic insight into spiritual reality, Luther took a bold stand against the corrupt church institution.
1) With Romans as his authority, Luther proclaimed that men and women are justified by grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone
F) And his proclamation set off a chain reaction of renewal and revival that spread around the world: Known as the Protestant Reformation.Like Lutherís world, eighteenth-century England was a broken world of rampant unemployment, homelessness, debtor's prisons, hunger, disease, and illiteracy.
A) These problems weighed heavily upon a young minister by the name of John Wesley
B) Wesley spent 5 yrs working himself to death trying to impact England mostly through reform ! Visited prisons , poorhouses , distributed cloths, medicine
1) †But after 5yrs and being totally exhausted he decided to go to America & try and minister to the Indians !
C) But he was ineffective in his efforts there & returned back to England in defeat, Feeling his whole world again crumbling around him
On May 24, 1738, this dejected young man stood in a crowd at an outdoor evangelistic meeting in Aldersgate Street, London.
A) On the wooden platform, a preacher stood and read from Martin Luther's preface to the book of Romans.
B) There, for the 1st† time, John Wesley grasped a truth from Romans that he had missed† throughout his years of ministry: Salvation is by grace through faith alone.
1) †Wesley later recalled, "My heart was strangely warmed. I trusted in Christ alone for salvation, and received the assurance that he had taken away my sins and saved me from the law of sin and death.'
C) Result was another Revival & Renewal that spread throughout England & across
†† the ocean to America !
It seems that whenever this book is studied that the Lord does radical things ! Let's Pray that he does so w/ in our own Hearts !
A) V. 1 Paul, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated to the gospel of God
B) Paul begins w/ an introduction he calls himself a bondservant or literally a bondslave of Jesus Christ !
1) †There were an estimated 60 million slaves in the Roman Empire; and a slave was looked on as a piece of property, not a person.
C) But the term that Paul used doulos †in the Greek meant on who willing chose to be a slave out of† loving devotion for his master !
1) †Ex. 21 gives some insight into how this worked . In is Israel a slave was only required to serve 6 yrs ! After that they were set free
D) But if a slave really liked his master / he could become a bondslave / one who willingly chose to serve his master forever / nail ear
1) †Paul had enslaved himself to Christ, to be His servant and obey His will.
So Paul first identifies himself as a bondslave & 2ndly as an Apostle
A) This word means ďone who is sent by authority with a commission.Ē It was applied in that day to the representatives of the emperor of a king.
B) In the N.T. there are 3 groups of Apostles :† God appointed one Apostle Jesus Christ / Heb. 3:1 Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, Christ Jesus,
D) Jesus appointed 12 apostles who traveled w/ Him / and later Paul was considered a part of that group
1) †One of the requirements for an apostle was the experience of seeing the risen Christ (1 Cor. 9:1-2).
E) Paul saw Christ when he was on the road to Damascus (Acts 9), and it was then that Christ called him to be His apostle to the Gentiles.
1) †But in the book of Acts Barnabas , Titus Junia & quite a few others are referred to as Apostles appointed by the H.S.
F) †And to this day the H.S. appoints apostles / missionaries who are sent out !
Note Paul said he was called an Apostle !† That is the Key ! Matter of calling
A) It is an awesome privilege to be called as a missionary or into to some form of ministry !
B) But a call to be a teacher / or a construction worker or a fireman is just as important if that is what God has called you too.
1) †The key thing is we want to all be doing what God has called us to the best of our ability & w/ all of our hearts !
C) Each one of us has a calling & a gifting in the body of Christ / in this particular Church family ! What is your calling !
1) †Maybe it is to do music w/ kids / maybe it is to teach in Jails / maybe it is to work w/ teens !† whatever it is it is special !
D) Here is the problem that we have sometimes have we think everyone should have our calling ! Missionary everyone should ÖÖ
1) †Not the way God has set up the body / not all legs / eyes /
E) Blessed here - abundance of gifted people ,† I went through a situation in Oregon where we have some great Deacons / No Elders
1) †Instead of just being happy to have these great Deacons I was trying to turn them into Elders / wasnít their calling / pressure / condemnation
F) †The point I am making is each one of us have a calling & a place & we need to
††††††††† make ourselves Bondservants to what ever God has called us to
So Paul is a bondslave of Jesus Christ; he is a called apostle; and he is "separated unto the gospel of God."
A) He was separated unto the gospel of God. Paul was a separated Christian, but he was separated to something, not just from something
B) In 2 Tim. 2:22 Paul shares this idea when he says to flee youthful lust by pursuing righteous !† Note Separate yourself from lust / separate to Christ !
1) †Sometimes people make the mistake of separating themselves from sin or something wrong their doing/ clean up their act / going to Church
C) But they are not separating themselves to Jesus ! Result is religion / not relationship !† Barrenness is the result ! / No life
D) The word separated is a marvelous word it is the Greek word aphorizo, the same word from which we get our word horizon.
1) †Ever notice how your Horizon expands when you are taking off in an airplane . See Airport then all S.D. /† Ocean/ Mts.
E) The higher you get the wider the horizon. It is wonderful to be separated unto Christ because He brings you to the place where your horizons are enlarged.
1) †Life of adventure in following the Lord - who knows what He has in store!
So Paul begins Bondservant / Apostle / separated unto the gospel of God ! Now he tells us about this gospel !
V. 2-4 2† which He promised before through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures,
3† concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh,4† and declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.
Jesus is at the Heart of the gospel message and Paul sets Him before us in a 3-fold way in these 3 verses
A) 1st He is the revealed one He promised before through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures,
B) Over 300 prophecies given concerning the 1st coming of Jesus ! You read the O.T. & get the picture / someone is coming / Genesis in May ! / O.T. picture book
C) 2ndly He is the Reigning One concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh,
D) The New Testament begins and ends with a reference to Jesus as the son of David (Matt. 1:1; Rev. 22:16). The Messianic line was exhausted in Him.
1) †Using the various genealogies of the Old Testament, both Matthew and Luke trace His rightful claim to the throne of David.
E) Paul states Christ's right to reign in two ways. Positionally He is "the seed of David." Personally He is "Jesus Christ our Lord."
1) †The world may deny Christ yet we are called to serve Him as our Lord
3rd aspect Paul reveals Christ as the Resurrected one ! †declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.
A) Easter once a year / everyday - Our faith is based on Fact Christ Rose! If He didnít our faith is in vain!
B) Some times people get excited about ministry or the Lord in spurts / excited one week / bummed out the next / why† is that ?
1) †Lose sight of the fact we serve a Risen Lord ! He is alive !
C) Why was Paul so separated / so dedicated / so radical / it wasnít because he had embraced some theological idea or Philosophy
1) †It was because he had a personal encounter w/ a Risen Lord !† /†† We need to remember to have that encounter on a daily basis !
D) Quote J. Maggee There is a Man in the glory, but the church has lost sight of Him. We need to recover our awareness of Him. Are you having personal contact with the living Christ today?
E) Good Question :Paul Wrote in Col. 3:1 set your mind on the things above where Christ is seated at the right hand of God !
So Paul presents Jesus to us as the Revealed one / reigning one / resurrected one !
V. 5,6 Through Him we have received grace and apostleship for obedience to the faith among all nations for His name,† 6† among whom you also are the called of Jesus Christ;
A) Notice grace comes before apostleship / because salvation comes before service !
B) Jesus says come unto me / before he says Go into all the world /† Commitment to the truth comes before commitment to the task
1) †Many well meaning people fail to see this / Wesley on his way to try & convert the Indians / before he himself was converted !
C) People still do that today trying to share w/ kids but their own life is a mess / living in compromise †Do what I say not what I do
I want you to notice that in these verses Paul gives us a 3-fold mandate for ministry !
A) 1st †Attitude† †Obedience to the faith
B) 2nd† Assignment - among all the nations
C) 3rd†† Authority† - His name
D) Affective ministry is as simple as that - Attitude that says through the empowering of the H.S. in my life I want to be obedient to go wherever / do whatever
1) †In your name & for your name !
The Next thing that Paul does in his intro is he addresses those whom he is writing v. 7 To all who are in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Note 3 things 1st they are beloved of God ! -† God loves you tonight ! I hope you never tire of hearing that !
A) 2nd Called Saints - to be †is not in the original text - Called Saints because a saint is not something you become / hard work / what you are - once receive Christ
B) Magee puts it this way you are either a Saint or an Ainít /†
1) †Saint = called out one - called out by the Lord to be His kids to live for him!
C) Boy in Church Saints are those who the light shines through !
D) 3rd Grace & peace - These 2 have been called the Siamese twins of the N.T. because they are always together & always in this order !† Reason?
1) †Grace (charis) was the gentile form of greeting, while peace (shalom) was the Jewish form of greeting
E) But I donít think the only reason why the H.S. inspired Paul to begin his letters this way was to cover both Greek & Hebrew greeting
1) †Statement - Grace is always before Peace / because there is no Peace w/ out Grace !
F) †Been said grace is who God is & Peace is the Result of knowing Him
Next we move to Paulís Prayer v.8-13 8† First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world.†
A) The church in Rome †had a great testimony / their faith was spoken of throughout the whole world !
B) This Church has a similar testimony / Your faith & love are known throughout the whole world !
1) †In Or. / Washington/ Virginia / Georgia/ Florida / Over seas /
C) I was asked yesterday by a neat sister what my vision for missions was !
1) †I have a big heart & vision for missions / see wide open Horizons / we are still very committed to Missions / big focus London
D) Trip to Hungary in June / Russia in Sept. /We are still seeking to send people out all over / in fact seeking to see people raised up in different Ways
E) Support people / average Calvary / Intern program & school of ministry
F) †But I also believe we need to not lose sight of the mission fields in our own back yard !†
If the person who lives next door to us is going to hell & we never share w/ them / let alone took the time to get to know them /
A) what does it matter that we took 2 weeks & went over seas to witness
B) There are 30,000 college age students who in the 3 schools in our area / many of them donít know Christ !† There is a mission Field .† Camp Pendleton
1) †High school & Jr. High campuses / your neighborhoods
C) Point / Equip / Send !
V.9† For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of His Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers,10† making request if, by some means, now at last I may find a way in the will of God to come to you.11† For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift, so that you may be established;12† that is, that I may be encouraged together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me.13† Now I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that I often planned to come to you (but was hindered until now), that I might have some fruit among you also, just as among the other Gentiles.
†Paul mentions here that he prays w/ out ceasing for these People / The Greek phrase w/out ceasing speaks of a tickle in the throat
A) In other words to pray w/out ceasing means to go through your day praying as often & reflexively a you would cough to suppress a tickle in your throat
B) Driving down street see someone in the fellowship / Lord brings someone to mind - shoot up a prayer Lord bless them today
1) †In doing so you are praying w/out ceasing ! Wonderful thing !
Move on to Paulís Passion ! V.14-17†† Looked at this in-depth on Sunday
I am a debtor both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to wise and to unwise.
15† So, as much as is in me, I am ready to preach the gospel to you who are in Rome also.16† 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.†† 17† For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, "The just shall live by faith."
†In v. 14-16 Paul makes 3 I am statement that reveal his burden, his boldness &the reason for his boldness †his belief .
A) His Burden - I am debtor to the World
B) His boldness -† I am ready to preach the gospel to you in Rome
1) †Paul was always ready to preach the gospel wherever he went/ he wasnít ashamed !†† why?
C) His Belief - it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes
1) †Gospel is a powerful message !†† Life changing / transforming !
Paulís absolute Confidence in the gospel message was based on 3 things
1st its †Supremacy He knew it to be far superior to any religion or philosophy ever known on earth.
A) The world of Paul's day was dominated by three lines of thoughtóthe Greek, the Roman, and the Hebrew;
1) †but Greek logic, Roman law and Hebrew light all† paled before the gospel.
††††† None could pull man out of the pit he was in !
2ndly Paul's confidence in the gospel was based on its sufficiency .It is the power of
God to salvation ! A) The world does not need a better system of education, more social reform, new ideas in religion. It needs the gospel. The gospel message grips the mind, stabs the conscience, warms the heart, saves the soul and sanctifies the life.
It can make drunken men sober, crooked men straight & perverted people pure.
B) It is a message sufficient to transform the life of any who believe.3rdly Paul's confidence in the gospel was based on its simplicity. It is the power of God unto salvation "to every ore that believes ."
A) Could anything be simpler than that? The gospel call is to a simple trust in God's Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, as your personal Savior from sin!
B)† Note v. 17 in closing For in it/ the gospel †††††††††††the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, "The just shall live by faith."
C) We will see as we go through this book where Paul makes it very plain that man has fallen short of the righteousness of God revealed in the Law
1) †Turn Ch. 3:21 But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22† even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe.
D) There is a righteousness of God that is apart from the law - through faith in the finished work of Jesus clothed in His righteousness
1) †Faith in his finished work !
Note It IS [from faith to faith." In other words, the righteousness of God is received by faith and reproduced by faith.††† W. E. Vine puts it this way: "'From faith' points to the initial act; 'to faith to the life of faith which issues from it.