Summary: Reformation Sunday Sermon
REFORMATION SUNDAY SERMON
Scripture: Romans 1:117, especially verse 16
I Am Not Ashamed
Introduction: Today is Reformation Sunday, the anniversary of the day
(October 31, 1517) when Martin Luther nailed his Ninety-Five Theses to the Cathedral door in Wittenberg, Germany. His action sprang from his theology. In1514, Luther had been studying the letter of Romans in his office, and as he worked his way through the first chapter, he came to verses 16 and 17. He began seeing a great truth of Scripture that had been lost to many in the church of that day: Keeping of the law cannot save us; not by observing of the sacraments or by trying to live a good life. We can never be declared righteous in God’s sight by our own efforts. We are saved by grace through faith--declared righteous in God’s sight by the merits of Christ alone: "I am not ashamed of the
gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes ... for in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, `The just shall live by faith.’" Today I’d like for us to study this same passage of Scripture, the prologue of Romans, and glean some insight.
1. Respond to Your Calling (vv. 17). The first paragraph of Paul’s prologue tells us we’re called to be conveyers of the gospel. He uses the word call four times. He goes on to say that through Christ he has received "grace and apostleship to call people from among all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith" (NIV). Then he says: "... among whom you also are the called of Jesus Christ; to all who are in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints." We are called; we are called to call others; we are the called of Jesus Christ; we are called to be saints (Rom. 1:6, 7 NKJV). It’s as though the Lord is leaning over the balustrades of heaven, calling down to you and me, saying, "Hey, you! Hey you over there. Go tell those people. I have someone for you to tell! That’s your assignment." You never know when God may use you to plant a life-changing seed in someone’s heart, for that’s our calling.
2. Pray and Plan for Open Doors (vv. 815). We need to be intentional about our witnessing, praying for open doors. Paul was strategic. From about 47 A.D. to A.D. 57, he evangelized the eastern half of the Roman Empire, during three great missionary tours. As he finished his last tour in Acts 20, he stopped in Corinth where, for three months, he rested in the villa of a friend named Gaius, and there he planned his next move. He dreamed of evangelizing the western half of the Empire. He devised a plan to go to Rome, and from there, to Spain. In Corinth, he composed the Book of Romans and sent it on its way. He was praying for open doors. He was asking God to send him to Rome, to Spain, to the West. He was pleading for more opportunities to share the gospel. What does this mean to us? If you’ve never shared Christ with another, let me suggest this prayer: "Lord, show me an open door. Lord, open my eyes to the person you want me to evangelize. Lord, give me a soul to do this." Pray for open doors. Make it an earnest, daily prayer. Begin thinking strategically. Begin planning. Who can I reach? Who can I win? How can I go about it?
3. Share the Gospel Without Shame (vv. 1417). It would have been easy for Christians in first-century Rome to feel embarrassed about the gospel, because they were such a strange little group. Just a few years later, in fact, Emperor Nero blamed them with burning down the city of Rome and they would be viciously persecuted. But Paul said, "It doesn’t matter what others think. I am a debtor. I have an obligation. I owe it to my Lord and to the world around me to share the gospel; and I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ because it is the power of God for everyone who believes."
So respond to your calling, plan and pray for opportunities to share the gospel without embarrassment. Be proud of the Lord; Boast in Him; Brag about Him; Tell others of Him. You never know what’s going to happen when you share the gospel.