Summary: The third in a series of messages on the letter to Romans...
Romans – God’s Glorious Gospel
The Release of the Gospel
* It matters not which statistics you quote or whose research you recite, one thing is certain; the moral climate in this nation is changing and NOT for the better. We are seemingly on the slippery slope of moral decay that will not be checked. It’s killing our country, our communities, our culture and especially our kids.
* In 2003 (Kaiser Family Foundation) 62% of seniors in High School had had sex before marriage, and no surprise, is that 4 million teenagers every year contract AIDS.
* Why is this happening? On Wednesday evening, Men’s Fraternity saw a chart not too many weeks ago that serve as an eye-opener about why we are where we are. (Show chart on Screen). IN 1960, over 80% of children in America lived with their biological father compared to 1990, less than 40% have that influence. I make no apologies for saying this; the moral decay, the changing culture, as well as the violent nature of our society can be traced back to the disintegrating home and the disappearing “dad”. It is sad to say but some homes have a resident dad but not a “present father.” The results of these truths are far-reaching. One (and I only mention one) of these results is a generation or a culture that has lost her way, her step, and her direction. The modern day thinking goes something like this; “I have to watch out for me, take care of me, and be concerned for me, because we all have to take care of ourselves. I owe no one anything, I have no obligation to anyone or anything, as long as life fits in my plan, runs by my schedule, and I am in control, them it’s okay.”
* By the way, this can well be the reason we have a generation of teenagers that are only concerned about getting the coolest, latest, and greatest widget available. You see, they have been conditioned to believe that “if’ they get the latest and greatest it will eventually bring them happiness and personal satisfaction and because such genuinely flawed, we have a culture of searching & miserable people. (TEXT)
1. The Principle in the Gospel – (Verse 13). There IS more than one principle taught in scripture, but we must never forget this principle which Paul is teaching us in his opening words. He says to the Romans, “I long to come to you to have some “FRUIT” among you.”
* Let’s begin with the bad part of this truth. The truth is that over the past years there has been a “mistruth” taught and seemingly taught systematically. Here is the lie: “as believers, we are only called to be faithful, not fruitful.” The only problem with this teaching is, “it is NOT biblical”. We are called to be “BOTH!!” We will never be fruitful without being faithful and we cannot be faithful without becoming fruitful. Never forget, being fruitful is an integral theme in the gospel.
* Hear the voice of John the Baptist in Matthew 3:7-10. Not only is the believer to produce “fruit”, but it to be “fruit in keeping with repentance.” Additionally, if we don’t produce “good fruit” consequences will follow.
* Be reminded of our Lord Jesus himself in Matthew 21:18-19. He went to a tree expecting to get some fruit off of that tree and when He found the tree not producing good fruit, He cursed the tree. Scriptures record that the tree withered and died. Furthermore, Jesus reserved His harshest criticism for those who are unfruitful.
* It take no stretch of my imagination to comprehend this truth; that ONE OF THE REASONS we see our culture on the slippery slope to decay is the lack of fruit within the lives of individual believers. Christ has issued a call for us to be “salt and light”. Could it be that in the comfort of our padded cushions, air conditioned building, and a battery of programs which is all about us that we have lost our flavor and our ability to spiritually illuminate the way. This principle is entrenched in the gifts & callings of the believer. If you are a believer, this resonates in you.
2. The Pressure from the Gospel – Seeing the word “pressure” and “gospel” in the same phrase evokes two distinct responses. First, there are those who remember the days of the “high pressure” tent revivals & invitations while for others, you cannot imagine any commonality.
* Yet, there IS pressure for the believer. Let’s see it through Paul’s eyes. He says, “I want to come see you to produce some fruit among you and the reason I do this is because I am OBLIGATED or I owe a DEBT.” If you will consider this with me, very few things apply pressure in our lives like a debt.