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Oct 13, 2019

The Power of the Gospel

Passage: Romans 1:8-17

Preacher: John Moody

Series: Romans

Keywords: grace, salvation, unity, obligation, powerful gospel

Summary:

Romans is really about the Gospel. But what do we think of when we think "Gospel" and is that the same thing that the Gospel really is according to the Word of God? The Gospel is also very powerful, according to Paul in chapter 1. This message looks at just how it is powerful and what it powerfully does to our hearts and lives.

Detail:

“The Power of the Gospel’

Romans 1:8-17

John Moody

October 13, 2019

  1. Introduction
    1. Jargon (or lingo)
      1. Pilot Jargon
        1. “flight one-niner-four” – “niner” is to avoid confusion
        2. 1420 Zulu – Greenwich Mean Time
        3. All-call and crosscheck – disarm the inflatable door slides
      2. Computer Programmer Jargon
        1. “rebase against master” (sync your work)
        2. “throwing an exception” (reporting an error)
  • Military Jargon
    1. I was going to list a few, but then found they were all inappropriate for use in church!
  1. Church Jargon?
    1. Fellowship (food)
    2. Praise and worship (singing)
    3. “Hedge of protection”
    4. Gospel…
      1. Genre of music to the outside world
    5. Romans is all about the gospel, and today’s text makes it clear.
    6. [Read the text]

 

  1. What do we mean by “gospel”?
    1. The word “gospel” simply means “good news” or “good message.”
      1. Not like “you get a 3 day weekend” or “look, there’s a $20 bill laying on the ground” good news
      2. More like “your cancer is gone”, or “you just inherited a hundred million dollars” good news.
  • This is SERIOUSLY good news!
  1. So what is this good news?
    1. Shorthand: Gospel = Jesus
      1. The gospel is the good news of who Jesus is and what he has done for sinners
      2. And if you’ve never heard this, let me share it with you!
    2. Though we have all sinned against God and traded his glory for lesser things, thus making God our enemy and eternal wrath in hell our future destination …
  • Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who is himself fully God, who has eternally existed and was one through whom everything was created…
  1. Whose coming was predicted and prefigured throughout the Old Testament…
  2. This same Jesus, very God of very God, took on a human nature and a body of flesh just like ours, and was born of a virgin woman…
  3. He lived and walked among us for just over 30 years on earth, teaching us about God, healing the sick, embracing the outcast, and doing all this without every committing any sin – not even one. He was perfectly obedient to His Father in heaven.
  • And by the predetermined plan of God, Jesus Christ was arrested, tried, beaten, flogged, and finally killed by being hung on a cross, experiencing not only the worst men could throw at him, but also suffering the outpoured wrath of God. He suffered the penalty not of his own sins – for he had none – but the penalty that sinners owed, in their place. He died and was buried…
  • And on the third day, Jesus Christ was raised from the dead, thus breaking the power of death itself and showing that God accepted his payment on the cross for sins.
  1. Jesus ascended to heaven, where he sits today as the Lord of the universe, where he will reign until the time of his return, when he will execute final judgment on all those who oppose him, raise the believing dead, and so it will be that all those who have trusted in him for salvation will live with him forever.
  2. This is what Jesus has done to deliver sinners from the wrath of God. He holds the deliverance out to you, with the promise that everyone who repents of their sins and embraces him as their Lord will not perish, but have eternal life.

 

  • 3 Ways in which the Gospel is Powerful
    1. The gospel has power to SAVE us
    2. The gospel has power to UNITE us
    3. The gospel has power to OBLIGATE us

 

  1. The gospel has power to SAVE us
    1. This is the obvious one, of course. (see verse 16!)
    2. But how is it that this message is the “power of God for salvation”?
      1. Verse 17: “In it [the gospel] the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith”
      2. This idea of “the righteousness of God” is at the core of the message of Romans
  • But what does it mean to say that this righteousness is “from faith for faith”? What does this quote from Habakkuk mean: “the righteous shall live by faith”?
  1. Martin Luther
    1. The Catholic Church taught that this righteousness was something that we achieve with God’s help.
    2. But Luther was reading Romans, and he realized that this righteousness from God is not something we achieve, but something we receive. It is a right standing before God, given as a gift to those who will receive it by faith.
    3. Luther: “When by the Spirit of God I understood these words, “The just shall live by faith”, then I felt born again like a new man. I entered through the open doors into the very paradise of God.”
  2. This is how the gospel has power to save us. Whenever the gospel is faithfully proclaimed, and a sinner responds to that message with faith, that person receives a new right standing before God. And that new right standing before God gives us a new life, a new Lord, a new eternal destination, and a new family.
  3. APPLICATION – If you’re not a Christian, Jesus invites you to come
  • APPLICATION – Christian, sometimes life hits you so hard that you wonder if God is judging you - is God for you or against you?
    1. But the gospel tells us that our standing before God is not based on our performance, but on his grace and mercy to us. We were not saved by our performance initally, but by God’s saving grace, received through faith.  And we will not maintain a right standing before God by our performance, but by God’s preserving grace, received through faith.
    2. So if life is kicking you in the teeth right now, TRUST CHRIST. Lean on him fully!  That’s what faith is!

 

  1. The gospel has power to UNITE us
    1. Who is the gospel for?
      1. Verse 16: “to the Jew first, and also to the Greek”
      2. Verse 14: “I am under obligation to Greeks and barbarians, to the wise and the foolish”
  • Verse 15: “I am eager to preach the gospel to you who are in Rome.”
  1. Answer: The gospel is for EVERYONE
    1. No regard for ethnicity
    2. No regard for culture
    3. No regard for intellect
  2. So what happens when people from these different cultures and races and intelligence levels and economic backgrounds are saved by the power of the Gospel?
    1. They become part of a new family – one that is tied together not by the blood flowing through their veins, but by the blood that was shed from our Savior’s veins.
      1. Look at the way Paul really, really wants to be with the church in Rome!
      2. There is a unity among believers around the world, even when we speak different languages, eat different foods, or wear different clothes.
      3. Our unity comes not from political views, not ethnic backgrounds, not economic class, not education level, not the same taste in music, but the gospel alone!
    2. Only the gospel has this power to unite us together in a family of believers that spans every line that the world says should divide us!
      1. Ephesians 2:13-14
      2. And in that family – in the church of Jesus Christ - there is no place for boasting, no place for preferential treatment, and no place for prejudice based on skin color, country of origin, economic status, employment status, citizenship, physical fitness, intellectual ability, past failures, or anything else!
    3. APPLICATION: We don’t always act like a good family should!
      1. What can I do this week to strengthen my ties with God’s family?

 

  1. The gospel has power to OBLIGATE us
    1. “Obligate” means to place us in someone’s debt to do something
      1. “I am under obligation” -> lit. “I am debtor”
    2. But how does Paul owe a debt to people he’s never met?
    3. Two ways to get into debt
      1. A lends B money, so B is in debt to A to pay it back.
      2. A gives B money to give to C, so B is in debt to C to deliver the money.
    4. Paul’s debt is of the second kind.
    5. Likewise, when we are changed by the Gospel, we are given a debt to give the Gospel to others who need to hear it.
      1. Matthew 28:19-20
      2. Mark 16:15
    6. Who needs to hear the gospel? EVERYONE, throughout the whole world!
    7. We as a church are debtors
      1. To the downtown community where God has placed us
      2. To the homeless, to the LC kids, to those who work and own businesses here, to the police and the social workers who labor here
    8. We are debtors to the nations, too – which is why we talk a lot about missions and missionaries so often here.
    9. We are debtors to the cities and neighborhoods we live in.
      1. That means that we have to be involved where we are
      2. Jesse – Ferris HS PTA
  • Naomi and me – Substitute teaching, robotics team
  1. Why? Because we want to develop opportunities to share the gospel with people who need to hear
  2. APPLICATION: How can I develop or deepen the relationships where I live, work and worship, with a view to sharing the gospel with them?

 

  • Conclusion: The “fear factor”
    1. Does that scare you? Does it make you get that queasy feeling in the pit of your stomach?
    2. Some people seem to be able to talk to anyone about the Gospel, with no fear at all. (Thank God for them!)
    3. But for most of us, including many of us in the room, you want to be obedient, but the thought of sharing the gospel with someone you don’t know scares the willies out of you!
      1. Especially if you’re an introvert!
      2. Example: Teenage John in the hospital elevator story
  • Every time I want to share the gospel with someone, my brain jumps back to that moment in the elevator, and the embarrassment I felt, and most of the time, that’s enough to keep me from doing what I know I should do!
  1. What’s even more scary than sharing the gospel with someone you don’t know? Sharing the gospel with someone you DO know!
    1. There might be consequences!
  2. So what do we do when the opportunity comes, and the fear hits?
    1. Remember that the results are God’s business, not yours.
      1. Your job is simply to “deliver the mail”.
    2. Don’t think that you have to be an expert at evangelism to evangelize!
      1. Remember that God can use a less-than-perfect presentation of the Gospel to change lives!
      2. Gospel = Jesus. Tell them about Jesus!
  • Fight fear with fear
    1. Fear of God
    2. Not fear of them, but fear for them - for their fate without Christ
  1. Pray!
    1. Boldness and wisdom for you
    2. That the Spirit will be at work in them
  2. Embrace the consequences with joy and determination
    1. This is not the first generation of Christians that have had to deal with negative consequences for evangelizing!
    2. Acts 5:40-42 – the example of the disciples
    3. “…when they had called in the apostles, they beat them and charged them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. Then they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name. And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they did not cease teaching and preaching that the Christ is Jesus.”
    4. Richard Wurmbrand – founder of Voice of the Martyrs
      1. Political prisoner in communist Romania
      2. Often chained standing naked and upright for days on end with their feet submerged in icy water.
      3. “It was strictly forbidden to preach to other prisoners. It was understood that whoever was caught doing this received a severe beating. A number of us decided to pay the price for the privilege of preaching, so we accepted their terms.  It was a deal; we preached and they beat us. We were happy preaching. They were happy beating us, so everyone was happy.”