Summary: Incentives to share the gospel with others.
I AM NOT ASHAMED OF THE GOSPEL
It seems possible that the church in Rome began as a spontaneous house church movement as pilgrims returned from Jerusalem after Pentecost. There is no Biblical account of an apostolic foundation.
In Romans 16, Paul greets twenty-six people by name, along with the “church” that is in the house of Priscilla and Aquila (Romans 16:5), the “household” of Aristobulus (Romans 16:10), the “household” of Narcissus (Romans 16:11), the “brethren” who are with the people listed in Romans 16:14, and the “saints” who are with those named in Romans 16:15.
Wherever the gospel was being preached, reports Paul (Romans 1:8), the faith of the Roman churches was being reported. The Apostle prayed constantly for them, just as we must pray consistently for those whom the Lord lays upon our hearts. Paul also prayed that he might see the Roman believers. He longed to share with them a spiritual gift - or rather (as he corrects himself in Romans 1:12) to share in the blessings of Christ in mutual fellowship together. Although Paul had not planted the church in Rome, yet he longed to “have fruit” there: to reap a harvest amongst them.
Incentives to share the gospel with others:
1. It is a debt (Romans 1:14)
As the Apostle to the Gentiles, Paul pronounced his indebtedness to people from all walks of life, and every level of education. We have been entrusted with the gospel not to keep it to ourselves, but to share it with others. Paul was so eager to discharge this debt that he felt ready to preach also at Rome.
2. It is something of which we need not be ashamed (Romans 1:16)
The fact is that the gospel raises the contempt and scorn of all sorts of people. Paul speaks of the preaching of the cross as “foolishness” (1 Corinthians 1:18), and the preaching of Christ crucified as a “stumbling block” to some, and “foolishness” to others (1 Corinthians 1:23). Yet despite the adverse reactions which we may receive, we are not to be ashamed of the gospel, nor of sharing our faith with others.
3. It is the power of God for salvation (Romans 1:16)
This is part of the reason why we need not be ashamed. When we share our testimony of God’s goodness in our lives, we are not proclaiming ourselves, but what the Lord has done. When we preach the results do not lie in our own hands, so we need not worry: one may plant, another water, “but it is God who gives the increase” (1 Corinthians 3:6).
And what an increase! The gospel is “the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believes!”
The word “salvation” presupposes the need for deliverance. Everyone has the need to be delivered from sin and its consequences, as emphasised throughout Romans 1:18-3:20. The gospel is the message of the power of God to accomplish salvation in those who will believe.
First, John 1:12 tells us that as many as received Jesus, to them gave He power (the Greek word is dunamos, from which we have the English words dynamite and dynamic) to become sons of God, “even to them that believe on His name.”