Summary: Introduction to the central truths of the gospel of Christ in order to maintain the ministry of the word of God among everyday believers.
Sustaining the Ministry: Introduction to the Book of ROMANS
Rom 1:1 “Paul, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated to the gospel of God 2 which He promised before through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures, 3 concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh, 4 and declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.
5 Through Him we have received grace and apostleship for obedience to the faith among all nations for His name, 6 among whom you also are the called of Jesus Christ…”
Rev John Piper writes in his introduction to a series on the letter of the Apostle Paul to the Romans (I am reading from a paragraph he calls: Sustaining the Ministry)
“And though I have never preached through Romans, it has been the great truths of Romans 8:28 and 8:32 that have sustained the ministry here these 18 years. And I can say with John Stott that I have heralded the final triumphant verses of Romans 8 at innumerable funerals and "never lost the thrill of them" (Romans: God’s Good News for the World [Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1994], p. 10).
"For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 8:38-39).
So I have a personal history with this book. And so do many, many people. I will be telling you some of their stories in the weeks - and years - to come (for instance, Augustine, Martin Luther, John Wesley, Karl Barth and some of you in this congregation).”
JOHN PIPER, The Author of the Greatest Letter Ever Written, Sermon in Romans series:
This book is the bedrock of the Christian faith.
Bedrock..it is the place builders like to build on where possible. Why bedrock? What is bedrock?
Builders know that it is important to set down solid foundations and when looking for a place to build there is nothing better than bedrock.
Bedrock does not move. Bedrock is therefore a reliable and good place to build a valuable asset on.
But we are not building a house or any physical building. We are building a life together. A life together with God…
First, you have to have a good solid foundation for life to begin and be sustained.
Then you need new life, you need new spiritual life to come into being; what Jesus calls being ‘born again’ or ‘born from above’ or ‘born from heaven.’
Then you can start to build a life.
There is absolutely no use in starting to train people for ministry until you have evidence that they are spiritually alive.
I am not talking about training ministers and elders. I am talking about making the everyday Christian a useful person for God.
This is where the Bible comes in. Particularly the Book of Romans because it is the one book you can find all you need as a Christian in an understandable and well set out fashion.
Romans is like Mount Everest. It begins with a fabulous footing, broad based, unflinching. It soars up through the skies and beyond into the clouds well above everything else.
As John Piper says: “there is no greater exposition of the Gospel of God than the book of Romans.”
I say there is no greater EXPEDITION than a study of the Book of Romans.
As I get older I see things differently and know that to answer the questions the world sets us every day is important but the more important questions are those God asks.
What are you doing with your life?
Do you have life?
Where are you going when you die?
What are you doing about sharing the gospel with others?
The book we are beginning to study deals with all these questions and much more.
Once again I agree with John Piper when he says:
“I have a deep confidence that the best way to be lastingly relevant is to stand on rock-solid, durable old truths, rather than jumping from one pragmatic bandwagon to another. Romans is as solid and durable and reliable and unshakable and thorough as the truth can get.”
So it will not matter if during this year disaster strikes you or your loved ones or that because it’s election year your circumstances change, or you lose your job or your income or both.
A Point of Inspiration
Cutting lawns has little to do with sermon preparation, Buzzzz !!! Wrong!!