Summary: This sermon is intended to encourage church people to share their faith/story with others
Romans 1:16-17 – The Message for Outreach
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”
ALL of us have a story… one that matters. If you are a Christian, if you know Jesus personally - you have an important message people need to hear. One of forgiveness… new life ...hope.
Yours might have started long ago… when you were too young to remember all the details, but what Jesus did for you has shaped you into the person you are today - from the choices you’ve made - to the manner in which you’ve conducted business and raised your family… your character.
Yours might have begun only recently - and the memory of your radical transformation is still fresh. While you are FAR from perfect, you probably wonder… “WHAT was I WAITING for???”
If we had time, I’d bet we could hear some pretty awesome stories in this church.
Some could tell how their marriage was all but dead, but in a moment of complete and utter desperation, you invited God to take control… and He ⇒ changed your lives!
Some could tell of addiction and shame, and we’d be amazed at how far you’ve come in your walk with Christ. You are so CLEARLY not that person anymore!
ALL of us - have a story - a message.
One that must be SHARED
As Paul thought of what he’d say to a Church he had never met, the Church at Rome, I doubt his goal was writing the magnum opus of Christianity. Oh, I’m pretty confident he had an outline of the significant topics he wanted to address - but I doubt he understood that his letter to the Romans would become one of the most significant works on Biblical Christianity EVER written.
He just shared ⇒ his story.
And THIS is how he began:
“I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”
In just two short verses, Paul offers a summary of everything he would say in the following 433 verses - 7,111 words that make up the Book of Romans.
But these aren’t just words about HIS story… no, there are 3 truths here that we need to remember as we consider sharing our story with lost friends and loved ones:
1. First, Paul speaks of the Supremacy of the Gospel. The Gospel has NO rivals. He said, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ…” Though the Gospel be attacked by intellectuals and mocked by sinners, He was NOT ashamed.
Paul’s desire to share the gospel was met by three challenging cultural influences:
Jerusalem, representing religious dogma. Paul’s world was NOT anti-religion. To the contrary, it was inundated with it. They saw no need for another story.
Athens, with all its Philosophy, man and his wisdom, intellect and cultural refinement. To them, the whole premise of the gospel was flawed… they saw no need to follow a Savior with men like Socrates and Plato as their guides.
And Rome, with all its power and wealth. They scoffed at the very notion that a crucified carpenter could save the world when He couldn’t even save HIMSELF.
Though the Gospel was opposed by all these cultural influences, Paul could say with conviction, “I am not ashamed!” “I have no reason to feel embarrassed by the gospel or to be intimidated by other beliefs …the message of Christ is second to none!” Paul’s confidence in spite of those three powerful challenges, helps us see…
First, that the Gospel is superior to Man’s Righteousness. The Jewish religion, with all its rituals and sacrifices could never make a man right with God. Human righteousness has always failed to please the Lord – that’s why the prophet Isaiah wrote, “We are all like an unclean thing, and all our (righteous deeds) are as filthy rags.” In spite of man’s rigorous attempts to be moral, he remains fatally flawed - unable to save himself. That’s why Paul said, “I am NOT ashamed of the Gospel.” Man’s only hope of good standing before God is found in the Gospel.
Second, the Gospel is superior to Man’s Reason. Though the Greeks were great thinkers and often gathered to debate the complex social issues plaguing mankind, they could never contrive a way to handle man’s biggest foe - the problem of sin. Oh, they found many ways to make man COMFORTABLE in his sin, (blaming his failures on his environment or poverty or lack of education) but they never found a way to CLEANSE him of it.