Summary: This message examines Paul's view of the Gospel message.
Have you forgotten something this week? Would you agree with this statement, “Human beings are quite forgetful?” Consider these words from William Doane’s classic hymn: “Tell me the story often, for I forget so soon.” One early childhood educator puts it this way: “Repetition is the mother of learning and is an essential key to the physical development of a child’s brain.” Children love repetition, think of all the times that children want the same story read to them over and over. Unfortunately, as adults we often resist repetition because we are just sick and tired of hearing the same thing over and over again. If you think about it, repetition is required to sharpen any skill. Perhaps, this was way Jesus said to enter the Kingdom of Heaven one must become like a little child. Repetition was the main method of teaching people of all ages in the ancient Hebrew culture. This is evident when you look closely at the way Paul teaches. As Paul opens his letter to the Roman Christians, he proudly takes them back to the very beginning. You might say that he begins by introducing his readers to the Gospel once again. As he proclaims the simple message of the Gospel, he also introduces his readers to the different themes that will be woven throughout the entire letter. Today, as we hear the Gospel once again I would like us to listen like we are hearing it again for the first time. If we approach it in this manner, I believe that we might just gain some new insights if not a new perspective. Romans is the most theologically rich book in the New Testament so let’s begin our journey by getting more acquainted with the power of the Gospel message.
I. Understanding how the Gospel relates to us.
A. Paul demonstrated that God has the power to turn our perceived liabilities into assets.
1. Paul has never personally visited Rome at this point, so he provides a very detailed introduction.
2. Paul describes him as a servant of Christ using the Greek word “doulos” which is better translated slave.
a. There were over 60 million slaves in the Roman Empire in the first century.
b. Slaves were viewed as property rather than people.
c. Paul shows that he became a slave by choice out of his loving devotion for Christ.
3. Paul showed that he was handpicked as an apostle by Jesus.
a. Other places Paul stated that he did not deserve this call because of his past.
b. When you link the calling to him viewing himself as a slave you see Paul’s view that this calling was inescapable.
4. Paul believed that God had set him apart from birth for the work of proclaiming the Gospel.
B. Paul shows that the Gospel was not an afterthought but a part of God’s plan from the very beginning.
1. The Gospel is rooted in the way that he dealt with mankind throughout history.
2. The Old Testament clearly points to a time where it would be fulfilled.
a. Jeremiah spoke of a new covenant that God would make with His people.
b. From the book of Genesis through the prophets one can clearly see God preparing the way for this new covenant.
3. This Gospel that Paul proclaims is available and made a reality through Jesus Christ.
4. Paul focuses on the unique dual nature of Jesus.
a. He was fully human as a descendant of David.
b. He was divine because of being God’s Son from the very beginning.
C. Paul examines the call that God has put on the believer’s life.
1. God’s love mankind caused Him to call us to be saints.
2. When God extends this call to people, they have the choice of whether or not they will respond and accept the call.
3. The word “holy” or “saint” refers to the fact that a person has been set apart by God for a special relationship with Him.
4. We have been purchased by Jesus Christ. So like Paul we are His slaves because we have chosen to accept the call.
II. Understanding how the Gospel relates to the world.
A. The proclamation of the Gospel has a profound effect on the world around us.
1. Like the Greek civilization the Romans Empire was known for its lack of moral restraint and for the promotion of immorality.
2. The Roman Christians living their faith out in the capital of the empire would have a very profound effect.
a. Their faith and behavior would clearly be in opposition to the way the culture lived.
b. They would serve as encouragement to other Christians because of the fact they were a thriving congregation in the heart of the enemies territory.
3. Paul prayed constantly for the Christians in Rome and the reports of their strong faith were an answer to his prayers.