Summary: An overview of the book of Romans with background given. Application to life given in the fact that this church was founded by laymen, not apostles. Truly, God can use the base things of this world to confound the mighty!
Salvation: Why? and How?
or, SALVATION: ITS NEED AND PROVISION
Romans Chapters One to Five
Calvary Baptist Church
Series Begins Sunday, September 30, 2012
Paul's Conversion: Around A.D. 36 or 37. Romans written late A.D. 56 or early 57.
OPEN: As he sat in a large and busy city, he thought about how different his life had become in these 20 years since he came to know Christ. He thought about it over and over. He wanted to visit another large city that was fairly close by. But other business would keep him from going there. He had friends in the other city that were expecting him. He didn't want them to think that they were not important to him. If only he could find someone to take a message to them. He found the person, a travelling business woman. He put into her hands a letter, and she carried it to the church in Rome. They would be glad to hear from Paul.
Unlike many of the first Gentile churches, the church at Rome had not been founded by the apostle Paul. It would seem that no other apostle had visited the city, for in 15:20 Paul indicates that he wants to go where he will not be building on another man's foundation. Rome was a congregation that contained both Jews and Gentiles, though the Gentiles were the majority by far. As Paul writes, he does so to the saints in Rome, not the church. Certainly there was a church in Rome, for 16:4,5 tells us of a church that met in the home of Priscilla and Aquila. (cf. Also, 1 Cor. 16:19) It is possible that there were many churches in Rome.
As Paul writes to Rome, he is on his third missionary journey. This has been his most expansive journey by far! On this journey he has spent three years in Ephesus, and recently three months in Corinth. (Acts 20:3) In Romans 15:9, Paul tells the Roman church that he has travelled from Jerusalem all the way to Illyricum. This is the area also called Dalmatia. On modern maps, we would look for Croatia and Slovenia (formerly Yugoslavia). Many maps do not show this part of Paul's third journey because we do not know much about it. Many suggest that Paul went there while he had been in Macedonia waiting on news from his 2nd letter to the Corinthians. After this, he travelled to Corinth, and so Illyricum is fresh on his mind as he writes to Rome. BKC From the shore of Illyricum to the shore of Italy it was a journey of some 100 miles across the Adriatic Sea. So close! From there it would have been another 75 miles or so by land to the great city of Rome.
Wow, did Paul ever want to see Rome! But Paul, though geographically close, could not go on the Rome. How divided must have been his heart. But he had a job to do. He had to take the offerings for the saints in Jerusalem that had been given by the people of Macedonia and Achaia. (15:25,26) Paul tells the believers in Rome that, having delivered the relief money to Jerusalem, he will come to them and from their go on to Spain. (15:28) You can read some of the details that relate to this time in Paul's life in Acts 19 and 20.
Paul wanted to write for at least two reasons. (There are more of course.) First, he wanted to share with them his love and make sure that they understood that his delay in coming was providential. Secondly, he knew that a church that had been organized by laymen needed to be grounded in doctrine. The letter that he wrote to them has been called the charter of the Christian faith. Yes, Paul helped to ground the church at Rome in the faith, but in so doing he laid the foundation that would teach generations the greatest doctrine of all, justification by faith.
OUTLINE OF ROMANS
I do not know who first outlined Romans in this way, but it is the outline of the book that I have used for as long as I can remember.
I. Salutation (1:1-17)
II. Sin (1:18 - 3)
III. Salvation (4-5)
IV. Sanctification (6-8)
V. Sovereignty (9-11)
VI. Service (12-16)
In this first section, the Salutation, we will look at three division:
I. Salutaiton (1:1-17)
A. Paul and His Calling (1:1-7)
B. Paul and the Church (1:8-15)
C. Paul and His Commission (1:16-17)
APPLICATION FOR INTRODUCTION
How could there be a church at Rome when no apostle had visited? Paul in his letter asked the question, "How can they hear without a preacher?" Yet, so far as we can tell, no vocational minister had arrived in Rome. So, how did the church come about? How did Paul manage to have the letter delivered to them? The answer to these questions is that God uses ordinary believers!