Summary: EXPLORATION OF THE THEM OF THE POWER OF THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST
Romans Theme Verses – Romans 1:16-17
16. For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
17. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.”
Paul was not ashamed of the glorious Gospel of Christ!
Paul was......Imprisoned in Philippi, chased out of Thessalonica, smuggled out of Damascus and Berea, laughed at in Athens, considered a fool at Corinth, and declared a blasphemer and lawbreaker in Jerusalem. He was stoned and left for dead at Lystra...He was never intimidated...ready and eager to preach at Rome, the capital of sin and paganism, and he was not ashamed of the Gospel.
It was dark, it was cold – he had been in these cramped quarters for quit some time. He wasn’t sure whether it was day or night. Nor was he sure just how long he had been there. Now he had always wanted to come back to this city, but he had hoped it would be under different circumstances.
AND – as Paul struggled to find comfort, while wearing shackles on his hands and feet…occasionally, having to flick off from his body, a crawling creature, whose identity was hidden by the darkness of his prison cell… He thought about his life, where he had been what he had seen, what he had been through.
NOW – Paul knew that before too long the sound of jailers keys and prison bars would break the silence, Paul knew that at any moment the would be coming - to take him to his death. The year was 67 AD, and the apostle Paul after fighting the good fight, after keeping the faith – was in Rome awaiting his death, at the edge of an axe, by the command of Nero. Paul was in prison, and he was about to be executed for one reason and one reason only – preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ…
AND as the torch flickered, Paul wrote his final recorded words. They are found in 2 Timothy. PICTURE – in your mind the great apostle Paul weary, tired, worn out, leaning against the damp walls of a Roman prison…put yourself there…
QUESTION - What would your final words be if you were him?
“My life is being given as an offering to God, and the time has come for me to leave this life. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now, a crown is being held for me – crown of being right with God. The Lord, the judge who judges rightly, will give the crown to me on that day – not only to me but to all those who have awaited with love for him to come again….The first time I defended myself, no one helped, everyone left me. May they be forgiven. But the Lord stayed with me and gave me strength so I could tell the Good News to all those who are not Jews. So I was saved from the lion’s mouth. The Lord will save me when anyone tries to hurt me, and he will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. Glory forever and ever be the Lord’s. Amen. The Lord be with your spirit, grace be with you: 2 Tim 4:6-8,16-18
And perhaps, it was when he wrote those final words, “The Lord be with your spirit, grace be with you” that he heard the soldiers walking, that he saw the flickering torches, perhaps it was then that Paul went so confidently to his death – knowing that the Lord would bring him safely into his heavenly kingdom…
We know that the gospel is repulsive to the lost man, unattractive, intimidating. It exposes his sin, wickedness, and depravity. Many have turned to the health and wealth gospel that is not so intimidating and not so politically incorrect.
Geoffrey Wilson wrote. "The unpopularity of a crucified Christ has prompted many to present a message which is more palatable to the unbeliever, but the removal of the offense of the cross always renders the message ineffective. An inoffensive gospel is also an inoperative gospel. Thus Christianity is wounded most in the house of its friends."
I. PERSONAL STATEMENT - "I"
A. Fiercely personal commitment that cannot be made in the "kumbaya" of the brotherhood.
B. You must make this commitment as an "I" not a "we".
C. There are times when you must make this commitment alone, when everyone else disagrees, dissents, disgusts.
II. PRESENT STATEMENT - "AM"
A. Forgetting those things which are behind, uncertain of those things that are before.
B. This moment in time, where conviction and grace collide to ignite in me the fires of an emboldened testimony.