Summary: A look at how the Apostle Paul's book of Romans is the Good News we need to hear today.
The Good News (Part 1)
“God promised this Good News long ago through his prophets in the holy Scriptures.” Romans 1:2
Intro: He was pacing the floor back and forth. Thoughtful, intense, clearly expecting someone at any time. Physically, he was not a very impressive man. 2 Corinthians 10:10 describes him as a writer that was very demanding and forceful in his writing but in person appeared weak and his speeches were really bad.
Galatians 4:14 describes a sickness he had suffered that was quiet revolting. He had scars on his face and arms. He had blemishes all over his body from his various beatings and stonings. His body was weathered and worn from the many years of hardship and suffering. 2 Corinthians 11:23-27 says he lived in weariness and pain and had many sleepless nights. But whatever his physical condition was, he was filled with holy joy. He had a blessed assurance. He worshiped when mocked and scorned. He had a clear understanding of his connection and relationship and purpose with God.
There are a couple of jokes about talking to yourself. 1. If you talk to yourself at least you know someone is listening. (Bata Bing) It is o.k. to talk to yourself but you know you are in trouble when you start answering yourself.
So here he is pacing the floor back and forth. Talking to himself. “Where is he?” he asked himself out loud.
And right on cue, there was a loud knock at the door. “Ah! Tertius!” he greeted his visitor. “Come in. It is so good to see you! Thank you for coming today.” He offered him all the normal courtesies and hospitalities. Then the two men walked into a little room we might think of as an office or study in the large home of Gaius of Corinth. Tertius sat down at the little writing desk and prepared himself for the dictation he was about to receive. “I’m ready whenever you are,” he said.
The older man, pacing the floor once again, began to speak while Tertius wrote down what he said: “I Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God— 2 the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures 3 regarding his Son, who as to his human nature was a descendant of David, 4 and who through the Spirit of holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord. 5 Through him and for his name’s sake, we received grace and apostleship to call people from among all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith. 6 And you also are among those who are called to belong to Jesus Christ. 7 To all in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.”(Romans 1:1-7)
And so began the greatest letter of Good News ever to be written, “The book of Romans.”
A noted Presbyterian pastor once undertook preaching on the book of Romans. He concluded that it would take at least 100 expository sermons to exegete and interpret the most basic level of teaching on Romans to a student.
I don’t know how fast or how many sermons I will take on Romans. But I will let you in on a little secret. I generally preach faster and shorter the more “Amen’s” I get. Amen?
I believe Romans is the “The Good News of God.” I also want to be sensitive to the work of the Holy Spirit in among us. Truthfully if we studied only one word of God’s Word at a time and the Holy Spirit is with us and we are connecting with God, then the number of verses or books we get through really doesn’t matter. It is not the program or the time that we spend on any one verse but the presence. It is the power. It is the understanding. It is the heart warming. It is the blinded eye that comes open. It is the deaf ear that begins to hear. It is the cold heart that warms that really makes the difference. [The only limit that is placed on the “Word of God” is the limit that we ourselves place upon it.]
Furthermore we know that when studying the word of God that we as individuals never know precisely where it is going or when it is going to end up. For example I preach the same sermon each Sunday at two different churches. There is almost always a response from someone at one or both of the church services. Thus while it is preached to the many God’s Word always speaks to the one or the many who God intends for it to speak to. So with that in mind, let us ask ourselves a couple of questions.