Summary: God’s press conference to the world is good news about His Son that is intended for all people.
If God were to call a press conference and issue a news release for the world today, what do you think he would say?
Some people think they know what God would say, but do we really know? Some think God would say, "I’m really mad at you guys, and if you don’t knock it off I’m going to send judgment." Others think God would say, "Don’t worry, be happy."
Two years ago an anonymous Fort Lauderdale resident tried to answer the question of what God would say. This person hired the Smith advertising agency in Fort Lauderdale to create an ad campaign to get people thinking about God. Maybe you’ve seen some of their billboards that purport to be messages from God.
"Let’s meet at my house on Sunday before the Game" -God.
"We need to talk."
"I loved the wedding, now invite me to the marriage."
"Don’t make me come down there."
"I don’t question your existence."
I like these ads; they’re very clever, but is that really what God would say in a press conference?
A few years ago a Viet Nam veteran named Neale Walsch has also tried to answer our question. In 1992 Walsch’s life was falling apart, so wrote an angry letter to God, asking God all kinds of hard questions. According to Walsch, right after he finished writing his letter, with the pen still in his hand, his hand suddenly started writing on its own and through an ancient occultic technique called automatic writing God supposedly answered all his questions. That started a regular dialog with this being Walsch claims is God, where Walsch would ask a question, and through automatic writing God would allegedly answer. Walsch used this experience write the 1996 bestseller "Conversations With God: An Uncommon Dialogue."
According to Walsch, everything is acceptable to God and nothing is offensive in God’s eyes (135, 61). According to Walsch, "God’s greatest moment is the moment you realize you need no God" (114). Walsch’s God says, "I do not want your worship…and it is not necessary for you to serve Me…My purpose for you is that you should know yourself as Me" (64, 26).
Is that true? That God just wants us to know that everything’s fine and we need to get in touch with our own godhood?If God were to issue a press release, what would he say? Well fortunately we don’t have to guess about it. God has given us everything he wants us to know in his book, the 66 books of the Bible. And in the Bible, the most comprehensive explanation of God’s press release to the world is found in the New Testament book of Romans. Today we start a new series through this incredible letter to the Romans called GOOD NEWS FOR OUR TIMES.
Romans is a letter written by the apostle Paul, who wrote 13 of the 27 books found in the New Testament. Paul had once been an angry, bitter enemy of the Christian faith, but all that changed when Jesus Christ appeared to Paul. Paul’s transformation was a radical one, from an anti-Christian bigot to a passionate Christian missionary. Romans is the longest of Paul’s 13 New Testament letters, and it’s probably the most complex as well.
In the 2,000 years since Paul wrote this letter, Romans has had an incredible impact on our world. It was Paul’s letter to the Romans that brought an out of control party animal named Augustine to faith in Christ, and Augustine went on to become one of the most prolific and influential Christian thinkers of his generation. It was Romans that sparked the Protestant Reformation, as a monk named Martin Luther discovered forgiveness of his sins in the message of Romans. In fact Luther said every Christian memorize Romans and meditate on it every day (Schreiner 1). The French Reformer John Calvin claimed that understanding Romans opens the door to understanding the rest of the Bible (Schreiner 1). It was Romans that brought a young Anglican pastor named John Wesley into a life changing relationship with Christ. John Wesley and his brother Charles went on to lead a movement that would change England forever. Slavery was abolished in England and the Methodist church was born because of the impact of Romans on John Wesley.
The apostle Paul wrote Romans while he was in the Greek city of Corinth. His plan at the time was to travel from Corinth to Jerusalem to drop off a sum of money he’d been raising from the churches he’d started. After that he was planning to travel from Jerusalem to the capital city of Rome, to visit the church there. Finally, his ultimate goal was to sail from Rome to Spain. Since Paul had never been to Rome, one of his reasons for writing this letter was to introduce himself to the church there and pave the way for his eventual visit. If you’re interested in the background to Romans, click this link.