Summary: The Promise of and the Proclimation of the Gospel of God.
The Gospel of God
If you were going to write a letter to a young congregation to encourage them to live righteous lives, what would you write? Suppose this congregation was having a hard time keeping unity and peace among brethren, where would you start?
These were the situations the church in Rome was facing. The church in Rome was unique. We don’t know for sure who established this congregation but it may have been Jewish Christians who were converted in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost when the first gospel sermon was preached.
The fact remains that a church was established in Rome and it was a landmark for Christians. As Paul said, their faith was being proclaimed throughout the entire world (1:8). As all of the churches during the first century, Paul really wanted to see this church succeed. From Romans 1:9–15 Paul wrote of his desire to come to them and encourage them and preach to them, but for now he would have to settle for a letter. So where would he start in writing this letter? Where would you start?
Paul started with the Gospel of God. It is the unifying theme for all Christians in all places, whether it be Rome or middle Tennessee. The gospel is what Christians stand upon and it is by the gospel that we are saved. Paul strategically started his letter with the gospel of God and built his case upon it. By a careful look at Paul’s introduction to this letter we can learn a lot about the Gospel of God.
Paul identifies himself as a slave of Christ, as a called apostle, and as set apart. Set apart for what, though? The same things we all are set apart for, the gospel of God. So what about this gospel of God? What is so special about it? Why should Jews pay attention to it? Why should anyone pay attention to it? Why should you pay attention to it?
I. God Promised it Beforehand. Romans 1:2–It was not something unexpected.
A. God had planned this gospel before the foundation of the world.
1. This was not some “Johnny come lately” religion.
2. This was especially important for the Jews because God promised it in the Scriptures.
a. The Jews were proud of the fact that they had been entrusted with the oracles of God.
b. Paul seems to be reminding the Jewish brethren that their Scriptures promised the gospel that they live by.
B. The gospel was Anticipated because it was promised.
1. This made the gospel more believable.
a. The Jews should have been anticipating the gospel of God: Prophets, John the Baptist, Jesus. By hearing and seeing these things they should have realized that this was the fulfillment of that promise.
b. When people hear unexpected news, they have a tendency to disbelieve or question what they’ve heard. Expected news is more believable and less questioned.
c. Imagine how Abraham, who was 100 years old, would have reacted to the news that his wife was pregnant had God not promised him a son 25 years earlier.
C. The gospel was promised through the prophets.
1. They could look in the Old Testament scrolls and see that this gospel was promised.
a. Isaiah 2:2–4
b. Joel 2:28, 32
2. The Jews were expecting the Messiah
a. A descendant of David according to the flesh. Isa. 11:1–2 "1A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. 2The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of power, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD”
b. Without these promises beforehand the gospel would just seem like a neat story. But the fact that it was promised makes it much more believable.
c. Illustration: It is like calling your shot in pool. I may luck up and knock three balls in the pocket and claim, “I meant to do that!” But would you believe me? What if I called the shot beforehand? Then you would know. That is what the gospel is. It is a called shot, promised beforehand. It is totally believable and knowable.
God did not leave us to just see Christ through the prophecies of Him in scripture but He was also Declared to be the Son of God with Power!
II. Declared with Power Romans 1:4
A. Many people make claims that they can’t back up. This is not true of Jesus.
B. The originator of the gospel was declared the Son of God with power.
1. He was not raised from the dead and then confined to bed rest for 40 days. No man came to his grave to resuscitate Him. He didn’t come out of the grave limping on His pierced feet or holding His side. Jesus was raised and declared the Son of God with power!