Summary: We have been given a message for the world. We are a company of believers set apart from the rest of the world in order to share this message with them. We are called to a stewardship of the Gospel.
The Gospel, Our Message Romans 1:1-7
Romans Series (Part 1)
Sermon by Don Emmitte, Grace Restoration Ministries
Today we begin a study one of the most important books in the Bible. In the prologue of the 1534 edition of his English New Testament, William Tyndale calls the letter to the Romans “the principal and most excellent part of the New Testament” and “an introduction unto all the Old Testament.” There are two reasons for such a broad statement. First, Romans is the most thorough statement of the gospel that God has given us; and, second, it draws together the whole intent of the Old Testament.
Tyndale goes on to say, “No man verily can read it too oft or study it too well: for the more groundly it is searched the preciouser things are found in it, so great treasure of spiritual things lieth hid therein.” Our beginning this exposition will be a journey taking us into the depths of the heart of the Apostle Paul and the mind of God. It is a book with tremendous application for all Christians everywhere!
Take Your Bibles Please…
Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord, through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations, including you who are called to belong to Jesus Christ, to all those in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. (Romans 1:1-7 ESV).
Paul Harvey once was quoted as saying: “Too many Churches have become keepers of the aquarium instead of fishermen.” We have been given a message for the world. We are a company of believers set apart from the rest of the world in order to share this message with them. We are called to a stewardship of the Gospel. That Gospel is the news that while we are worse than we ever dared to believe; Jesus is better than we ever dared to hope!
Paul understood this stewardship in a very personal way. He begins his letter to the Church at Rome introducing himself as “a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, set apart for the Gospel of God.” The verb translated “separated” is a word that literally means “to mark off from a boundary.” God is the subject of the verb which means this is an act of God’s sovereign will. He had set Paul aside, marked him out from mankind permanently so that he might share the gospel with others. He was given a task of great importance, an appointment with great responsibility. The message is of vital importance to the world. In these first verses of the letter, the Apostle Paul points out to the Roman Church the importance of understanding this message.
It is interesting to note that in this day of incredible emphasis on reaching others through every means and method, renaming our denomination to become known as “Great Commission Baptists,” I fear we may have missed the motivation for these missions and programs. I am absolutely convinced we don’t need more programs. We need the One who calls us to those programs. We don’t need more ministries as much as we need the One who calls us to those ministries. We need Jesus Christ to fill and empower our churches. Then we will see real awakening and revival as the Holy Spirit moves among His people.
Since the Gospel is the message in this work, the Apostle Paul outlines three essential truths about the Gospel.
First, the Gospel Originated With God (v. 1).
Paul specifically calls it “the Gospel of God.” In fact, it is only rarely that he calls it his gospel; and, then only being his because he has the privilege of proclaiming it. Most of the religious messages of the world originate with man. The world’s great religious leaders like Mohammed, Confucius, and Buddha never claimed to be more than men. Our Gospel is different. It found its beginning in the activity of God among me. From beginning to end, from start to finish, the gospel is of God. Since this is true, it still belongs to God. While God gives this message so that we may proclaim it, it is still the Gospel of God. Jesus illustrated truth with the Parable of the Pounds:
As they heard these things, he proceeded to tell a parable, because he was near to Jerusalem, and because they supposed that the kingdom of God was to appear immediately. He said therefore, “A nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and then return. Calling ten of his servants, he gave them ten minas, and said to them, ‘Engage in business until I come.’ But his citizens hated him and sent a delegation after him, saying, ‘We do not want this man to reign over us.’ When he returned, having received the kingdom, he ordered these servants to whom he had given the money to be called to him, that he might know what they had gained by doing business. The first came before him, saying, ‘Lord, your mina has made ten minas more.’ And he said to him, ‘Well done, good servant! Because you have been faithful in a very little, you shall have authority over ten cities.’ And the second came, saying, ‘Lord, your mina has made five minas.’ And he said to him, ‘And you are to be over five cities.’ Then another came, saying, ‘Lord, here is your mina, which I kept laid away in a handkerchief; for I was afraid of you, because you are a severe man. You take what you did not deposit, and reap what you did not sow.’ He said to him, ‘I will condemn you with your own words, you wicked servant! You knew that I was a severe man, taking what I did not deposit and reaping what I did not sow? Why then did you not put my money in the bank, and at my coming I might have collected it with interest?’ And he said to those who stood by, ‘Take the mina from him, and give it to the one who has the ten minas.’ And they said to him, ‘Lord, he has ten minas!’ ‘I tell you that to everyone who has, more will be given, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. But as for these enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, bring them here and slaughter them before me.’” (Luke 19:11-27 ESV).