Sermons

Summary: Sin is our condition, the Cross is the cure.

Introduction

The best carpenter in the county was asked, "Which is your best tool?" Instead of pointing to a costly power saw or drill, he picked up a simple square and said, "This is the best tool; it makes all the others work." Let us not overlook our best tool; the simple gospel (Rom. 1:16). In this verse, Paul gives four reasons why the gospel is our most effective weapon: First, it is power. The original word is similar to our word for dynamite [dynamos]. Second, it is of God. Though Rome with her imperial power was great, the power of God was greater. However sincere the motive, any alteration or substitution of that power only weakens it. Third, it is unto salvation. In addition to being a past event and a future hope, salvation is a present reality. It can turn hate into love, despair into hope, and defeat into triumph. Fourth, it is for everyone. The saving power of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ is for all! (E-Sword Sermon Illustrations)

Transition

That is what we will look at today: our lost condition (diagnoses) and the saving power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ (cure). For the next 16 weeks we will walk the Romans Road. We will examine each chapter of the book of Romans. That will bring us right up to Passion Sunday and Easter.

My hope is that this series of sermons will serve as a sort of extended primer for Resurrection Sunday, Easter. In the book of Romans the Apostle Paul tells why we need a savior and how we gain access to Him.

We are saved by God’s grace alone through faith alone. God makes the free offer of salvation in Christ by His gracious act alone, the Holy Spirit draws us to Himself, and we receive Christ not by works, deeds, or any other exercise other than faith.

Background

Key Themes of Romans: Ch. 1-11, Salvation by Faith. Ch. 12-16, Christian Duties.

The letter to the Romans was written by the Apostle Paul toward the end of his third missionary journey to a half Jew and half Gentile church, in about A.D. 57.

Rome was, of course, an important city in the ancient world. At this time in history, Rome was a bustling metropolis, boasting as many as 1 million inhabitants. It was the seat of power for the great Roman Empire and it was filled with impressive buildings such as the emperor’s palace, and the Circus Maximus.

The beauty of the city was marred by the slums in which so many of the city’s poor and slave class lived. The Romans Empire built the very roads which the Apostle’s used to deliver the Gospel message to the then known world.

Romans power played a crucial part in the plan of God. The time of the coming of Christ was foretold and orchestrated perfectly according to God’s design so as to use this unique time in history for the propagation of the Gospel.

According to tradition, Paul the Apostle, the author of Romans, was martyred outside of the city of Rome on the Ostian Way, during Nero’s reign.

Transition

It is here in a powerful and important city within the most powerful and important civilization of its day, that the Apostle Paul writes the letter to the Romans. This wondrous piece of biblical literature that tells us that God justifies ungodly sinners by grace alone through faith alone.

Paul is writing to a church that was probably started by some of the very people who had been converted on the day of Pentecost and had subsequently brought the Gospel back with them to Rome.

Here, in what was likely a fairly small church of the fledgling movement of Jesus followers, Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, writes the book that explains our lost state (diagnoses) and salvation by grace alone (cure).

Central Theme of the Text: God’s wrath has been uncured by all flesh (mankind) and is being poured out because of sin. Righteousness is found through faith, from beginning to end (Sola Fide): A Diagnoses, A Cure.

Salvation in Christ begins and ends with faith, according to grace. Christ’s blood alone atones for sin and the only way to access its purity is through faith.  

Exposition

What do you think of the Gospel? What do you really believe about the pure Gospel message that God alone saves in Christ because of His great love for us, by faith, according to grace? Do you believe that? Do you embrace that?

This text is that which God used to transform Martin Luther from a frustrated pietistic into a passionate reformer. It is said that when Luther read verse 17 of the first chapter of Romans, as he prepared his lectures for his students on the book of Romans, he was awakened to the reality that the Gospel of pure grace is received by faith alone; sola fide!

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