Summary: We must be willing to witness for the Lord… 1. Because God has given us a great call (vs. 1-6). 2. Because it will bring great comfort (vs. 7-12). 3. Because there are great consequences (vs. 13-15). 4. Because we have great confidence in the gospel (vs. 16-17).
Be Willing to Witness for Jesus Christ
The Book of Romans
Sermon by Rick Crandall
Grayson Baptist Church - March 6, 2016
(Revised August 17, 2020)
*Tonight, we begin a verse by verse study of Paul's letter to the Christians in Rome, and what a special book it is! William McDonald tells us that "Romans has always stood at the head of Paul's letters, and rightly so. It is certainly one of the most important books in the New Testament, because it contains the most complete discussion of Christian beliefs in the whole Bible.
*Down through the history of God's Church, Romans has had a powerful influence on key leaders. In 380 A.D. Augustine was saved after reading Romans 13:13-14. There God's Word says, 'Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in licentiousness and lewdness, not in strife and envy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.'
*Over a thousand years later, the Protestant Reformation was launched, when Martin Luther was enlightened by the truth of Romans 1:17, 'The just shall live by faith.' Then in the 1700s, God used John Wesley to help bring a mighty revival in England. But Wesley never had assurance of his salvation until he heard the opening words of Martin Luther's commentary on Romans." (1)
*The Book of Romans has an almost unique place in God's Word. William Barclay helped us understand why when he said, "With very few exceptions, all of Paul's letters were written to meet an immediate need. There was some threatening situation in Corinth, or Galatia, or Philippi, or Thessalonica. In almost all of his other letters Paul was dealing with some immediate trouble, some pressing situation, some current error, or some threatening danger, which was menacing the local church. And Paul wrote letters to meet those needs.
*For example, in Galatians 1:6-8, Paul had to tell those Christians, 'I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed.'
*Romans is different. And a big part of the difference is that in Romans, Paul was writing to a church that he did not start, and had never even visited." (2)
*Why then did Paul write this letter to the Romans? One huge reason was to request their prayers, and we will see this reason when we get to Romans 15. But Paul also wrote this letter, because he had a compelling desire to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ all over the world.
*Barclay explained that "it had always been one of Paul's dreams to preach at Rome. When he was in Ephesus, he was planning to go through the regions around Corinth and Philippi again. Then in Acts 19:21 came a sentence straight from Paul's heart: 'After I have been there, I must also see Rome.'
*Later on in Jerusalem, the situation was threatening, and the end seemed near. But in Acts 23:11, Paul's heart was lifted when 'the Lord stood by him and said, "Be of good cheer, Paul; for as you have testified for Me in Jerusalem, so you must also bear witness at Rome."'" (3)
*Rome was always on Paul's heart. But that's not all. Barclay noted "it has been said of Paul that he was 'always haunted by the regions beyond.' He never saw a ship at anchor without wishing to get on board and carry the good news to men across the sea. He never saw a range of mountains, without wanting to go over and take the story of the cross to men who had never heard it." (4)
*So, in Romans 15:23-24, as Paul neared the end of this letter he wrote, "But now no longer having a place in these parts, and having a great desire these many years to come to you, 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."
*Paul was willing to witness for Jesus everywhere he possibly could, and we should be willing too. Tonight's Scripture shows us why. Please think about that as we read Romans 1:1-17.
*Think about the faithful witnesses in your life. One of those people for me was Wesley Humphreys. When it came to being a Christian, he was the real thing, and he was most faithful to witness to me. No matter how much I argued with him, no matter how much I ridiculed him, he never gave up witnessing to me.