Summary: An introductory sermon on Romans and grace (4 fears and misunderstandings comes from Ron Forseth [http://www.sermoncentral.com/document_extras/RonForseth_09_11_06.asp] and 4 appropraite responses comes from Richard Beam in the Lookout Magazine)
Genelle Guzman McMillan wanted a change from her home in Trinidad, so she moved to New York in 1998. In order to stay in New York, McMillan knew she needed to get a good, steady job. She couldn’t believe it when she was hired at one of the World Trade Towers and was excited as she began her first day there on January 19, 2001. She made many friends through work—including live-in boyfriend, Roger—and spent each weekend partying.
On the morning of 9/11 she went to her job on the 64th floor. She and her coworkers hear a loud crash and the building move. They stayed on the 64th floor until it became known what had happened. Genelle and a coworker started down one of the stairwells and made it to the 13th floor. That is when the whole building collapsed. Amazingly, steel and concrete had pinned her where she was and she was injured, but she was alive. She lay there unable to move, rethinking her life. 27 hours after the building collapsed she was able to push her hand through a few inches of rubble above her head and felt someone’s warm hand close around hers. Then she heard a male voice say to her: “I’ve got you, Genelle. My name is Paul,” he told her. “You’re going to be okay. They’re going to get you out soon.” She heard other voices, sirens and a light. “They’re here,” Paul said. “I’m going to go and let them do their jobs and get you out.” Genelle was the last survivor pulled from the World Trade Center. There were three things she promised God she would do as soon as she got out of the hospital: get baptized, marry her boyfriend Roger and find Paul, the one who first held her hand. On November 7, after 6 weeks in the hospital, 4 surgeries and hours of physical therapy and rehabilitation, she kept two promises she made while trapped under the rubble. She and Roger got married at City Hall and Genelle was baptized that evening into Jesus Christ. But Paul? She never found him. Who was he? No one knew, no one had ever heard of him. She called her preacher and asked him. They discussed another Paul, the one in the Bible who was totally in the dark, like Genelle, and fought against God until he saw the light. She never found Paul but may we find the Paul from the Bible this morning
Grace is a favorite word of the apostle Paul. He uses it 100 times in his letters. At the beginning and the end of each of his letters he mentions grace. Vs. 7
On Sunday night I mentioned that we are beginning a series on grace.
More specifically we will be discussing it over the book of Romans ch. 1-8. A couple of years ago I was asked to speak on grace by a deacon. I took up the idea from Ephesians. It is true that Ephesians mentions the word grace more proportionately than Romans, but Romans explains and discusses it in much more detail.
Grace is a gift that brings joy. This can describe many things. For this study, more specifically we are talking about the gift that is given when wrath is owed. Salvation.
Paul, or Saul, was one who could relate to that concept. If anyone deserved God’s wrath, it was Saul. He went from house to house and place to place persecuting and killing Christians. On his way to Damascus, the Lord appeared to him. Tell the story from Acts 9.
Acts 9:15: But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! This man is my chosen instrument to carry my name before the Gentiles and their kings and before the people of Israel.
I Corinthians 15:9: For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.
Paul was called the Apostle to the Gentiles. Ironic that he was a devout Jew. Vs. 5- we received grace and apostleship to call people from among all the Gentiles
To whom is this letter written? To the Romans. The city of Rome could arguably be the most influential in the whole world at that time. The missionary strategy was to go to the largest and most influential cities at that time.
Why was this letter written? Up to this point Paul had been unable to go there and preach the gospel. A church was there and he was unsure if he would ever be able to go, so he preached there through this letter.
Preaching grace fills some with fears and gives people some misunderstandings.
Thesis: Let’s talk about 4 fears and misunderstandings that can come through grace and then talk about 4 appropriate responses to grace.