Summary: This book, The Epistle to the Romans, offers us, through the revelation of the Spirit of God, a plethora of knowledge, an overabundance of wisdom, and a wealth of information. What knowledge, what wisdom, and what information might that be? It offers us a
Romans: The Line in the Sand
Message Title: The Serving Line, Part I
Scripture: Romans 1:1
In Matthew 16, we see this familiar discourse between Jesus and His disciple Peter:
13 When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, "Who do people say the Son of Man is?" 14 They replied, "Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets." 15 "But what about you?" he asked. "Who do you say I am?" 16 Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."
Only through revelation by the Spirit of God was Peter able to say those words. This book, The Epistle to the Romans, offers us, through the revelation of the Spirit of God, a plethora of knowledge, an overabundance of wisdom, and a wealth of information. What knowledge, what wisdom, and what information might that be? It offers us a diagnosis. If offers man healing for a heart that God has said is deceitful above all things and beyond cure (Jeremiah 17:9). Paul, in his epistle to the Romans, puts his finger on the exact need that man has, a need that can only be put right by what is right before Him that is right above all.
Ministries come and go with men and women, but some remain long after the initial founder is dead and gone. Some ministries have survived through generations, even spanning centuries. Those that come and go were based on personality; those that remain long after find their roots and nourishment in God.
7 "But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him. 8 He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit." 9 The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? 10 "I the LORD search the heart and examine the mind, to reward a man according to his conduct, according to what his deeds deserve."
An expository study on the book of Romans requires diligence and much prayer, on everyone’s part. This study of Romans needs to be an experience, because without fully experiencing this epistle and the depths to which it reaches, you’re going to quickly grow tired of this study and you’re going to long to move on to something else; something less personal and more superficial.
If we’re not putting forth the effort and the prayer required to fully appreciate and experience this epistle privately and corporately we won’t grow as a church. If you want something topical and shallow to feed your soul, then you’re not going to see the very remedy needed for that self-exalting heart that is beating in your chest.
Only through the Spirit of God will we be able to recognize the things of God.
The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. 2 Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron.
The very teachings that are contained within Romans are the same teachings that today’s society has given up. We need to go back to Romans, back to the wholesome nourishment that it contains. We need to go back to Romans, back to the sweet spiritual sustenance that it contains, and we need to drink deeply from the satisfying waters of its doctrinal fountain.
The Swiss commentator, Godet, pointed out that every movement of revival in the history of the Christian church has been connected with the teachings set forth in Romans. He says:
The Reformation was certainly the work of the epistle to the Romans and that to the Galatians, and it is probable that every great spiritual renovation in the Church will always be linked, both in cause and in effect, to a deeper knowledge of this book.
But history doesn’t stop there…
Martin Luther, when he came across the verse, "The righteous will live by faith." (Romans 1:17b), underwent a complete transformation in his life. Martin Luther had this to say about the Book of Romans:
"The epistle to the Romans is the true masterpiece of the New Testament and the very purest gospel, which is well worth and deserving that a Christian man should not only learn it by heart, word for word, but also that he should daily deal with it as the daily bread of men’s souls. It can never be too much or too well read or studied, and the more it is handled the more precious it becomes, and the better it tastes."