Summary: Paul relates his calling as an Apostle ... and our calling as "saints". This message is an introduction to a study in the book of Romans, and deals with chapter 1, verses 1-7.
“The Calling Of God” - ROMANS – Introduction, 1:1-7
INTRODUCTION: We are introducing a new study … the study of the Book of Romans.
1.- THE WRITER – The Apostle Paul. 1:1,7
Paul wrote this letter to the Christians at the church in Rome, in 57 AD, when he was in Corinth.
2.- THE READERS – The church in Rome.
Paul had never been to Rome. Who started the church in Rome? Actually, Paul did … by extension! It was founded by those whom Paul had led to the Lord … AND … by other Christians who had come to Rome and started the church.
Rome was the capital of the world. “All roads lead to Rome” … literally!
o On the Day of Pentecost, there were people from Rome (Acts 2:10). Perhaps they went back to Rome after hearing Peter preach. Acts 2:41 – “Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.”
Because of the persecution against Jews in Rome, they had to leave Rome, and they went to Corinth, where they met Paul. They eventually went back to Rome (when Nero came to power), and were there when Paul wrote this letter to the church.
o Paul had led many others to Christ … who eventually went to Rome. So … by extension … Paul had founded the Church in Rome, although he had never been there.
This letter was probably carried to the Christians in Rome by Phoebe, who had been with Paul in Corinth – Romans 16:1 – all turn. “Cenchrea” is a port, about 7 miles from Corinth.
o No other Apostle had been to Rome. Not even Peter, although the Roman Catholic Church holds to the opinion that the church in Rome was founded by the Apostle Peter. If Peter had started the church in Rome, Paul surely would have greeted him, too! Peter came later, after Paul finally came to Rome, as a Roman prisoner, in 60 AD … 3 years after this letter was written.
The Christians in Rome had a good reputation – Romans 1:8 – all turn. The Church in Rome was made up of both Jewish and Gentile Christians, although the Gentile Christians out-numbered the Jewish Christians.
3.- THE THEME – Romans deals with the “righteousness of God” – Romans 1:16-17 – all turn. It was the book of Romans that influenced Martin Luther to start the Protestant Reformation … that had an impact on the church that is felt even today. In the book of Romans, we find the great doctrines of the church.
1:1 – “servant” = literally, ‘a bond-slave’. Peter, James & Jude all refer to themselves as “servants, slaves” of Christ.
The Romans knew a lot about slavery. There were over 4 million inhabitants of Rome, and approximately half were slaves. The Romans didn’t want to do manual labor, so they imported slaves from around the world.
Paul considers himself a “slave” of Jesus Christ. We naturally cringe at the idea of being a “slave” to anyone. BUT … Paul was a WILLING slave to Christ.
What characteristics of a “slave” is Paul talking about?