Summary: Because of sin the whole human race (Jews and non-Jews) need to be put right with God, through Jesus Christ
Introduction to Romans (Themes) 1:1-17
INTRO: Paul wrote the letter to prepare the way for a visit he planned to make to Rome
Outlines his understanding of the Christian faith
Practical implications for the lives of Christians
Because of sin the whole human race (Jews and non-Jews) need to be put right with God
Through Jesus Christ
Not a popular message today: Discuss why this is
Illustration: A young woman once chewed out a preacher for preaching the cross of Jesus too vividly. It was alleged that such was causing her primary-age daughter to have nightmares. How horrible that someone, especially a child, would be bothered by our Lord’s crucifixion. Right? Or is it! We should be horror-struck and repulsed that such a thing happened on the face of the earth. God was! So much so that he turned His back on the appalling scene and the sun stopped shining. So terrible was this scene that the earth shook and the rocks split. Can we, then, preach the cross too much or too vividly? Crucifixion was an unspeakably horrible form of execution and punishment. There is no way that we can overstate its gruesome cruelty. But the true anguish of the cross of Christ was not the physical suffering which He endured; the atrocity of His execution was that the Righteous One, the holy and pure Son of God, bore our sins in his body on the accursed tree. Jesus endured the cruel death- blow of Satan for us. He suffered the penalty for sin and thus conquered and annihilated it.
A. The Gospel (Good News) of God (vv. 1-4)
i. Promised through God's prophets
ii. Regarding God's Son
iii. Descendent of David (Human)
iv. Resurrection from dead (Son of God/God)
B. Received grace and apostleship (vv. 5-6)
Grace -- Privilege and Responsibility
Apostle -- a messenger, one sent on a mission, an apostle
i. To call people from among the gentiles
ii. To obedience
iii. That comes from faith
C. Preach to all people (v. 14)
The people we like as well as the people we don’t
The people that look like us and the people who don’t
D. No shame in the Gospel (vv. 16-17)
The Gospel Reveals God’s Power for Salvation and His Righteousness
We feel like we deserve God’s gift
Or that our imperfections disqualify us from sharing the Good News
We think we are not good enough
STORY: The Cracked Pot
A water bearer in India had two large pots, each hung on each end of a pole which he carried across his neck.
One of the pots had a crack in it, and while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water at the end of the long walk from the stream to the master’s house, the cracked pot arrived only half full.
For a full two years this went on daily, with the bearer delivering only one and a half pots full of water in his master’s house.
Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments, perfect to the end for which it was made.
But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection, and miserable that it was able to accomplish only half of what it had been made to do.
After two years of what it perceived to be a bitter failure, it spoke to the water bearer one day by the stream.
"I am ashamed of myself, and I want to apologize to you."
"Why?" asked the bearer. "What are you ashamed of?"
"I have been able, for these past two years, to deliver only half my load
because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your master’s house.
Because of my flaws, you have to do all of this work, and you don’t get full value from your efforts," the pot said.
The water bearer felt sorry for the old cracked pot, and in his compassion he said, "As we return to the master’s house, I want you to notice the beautiful flowers along the path.
Indeed, as they went up the hill, the old cracked pot took notice of the
sun warming the beautiful wild flowers on the side of the path, and this cheered it some.
But at the end of the trail, it still felt bad because it had leaked out half its load, and so again it apologized to the bearer for its failure.
The bearer said to the pot, "Did you notice that there were flowers only on
your side of your path, but not on the other pot’s side?
That’s because I have always known about your flaw, and I took advantage of it.
I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back from the stream, you’ve watered them.