The book of Romans is said to be the “the most important and profound theological work ever written.” Augustine was convicted of his sin after reading from the thirteenth chapter; Martin Luther recovered the doctrine of salvation by faith from his study of Romans 1:17; John Wesley felt his heart “strangely warmed” and transformed while listening to the reading of Luther’s preface to the book of Romans; and John Bunyan was so inspired as he studied the great themes of Romans that he wrote the immortal Pilgrim’s Progress. In this message we take our first step as we embark on our journey through Romans. Hear and experience the glory of the gospel from this marvelous book!
Romans: The Glory of the Gospel Part 1
Introduction – Romans 1:1-7
Mosaic Rockford – Dave Spooner – Aug. 27th, 2017
- This morning, we will be taking our first step as we embark on our journey through the book of Romans.
- This book has had a deeply profound, transformational and lasting impact on individuals and the entire worldwide church since it was written. Samuel Coleridge, speaking for many, said, “I think that the Epistle to the Romans is the most profound work in existence”(Table Talk, p. 232). And John Knox said that it is “unquestionably the most important theological work ever written” (The Interpreter’s Bible, Vol. 9 p. 355). This 22-page, 7100-word letter “century after century . . . has been the flame at which one great Christian leader after another . . . has kindled his own torch to the revival of the church and the enrichment of Christendom” (A. M. Hunter, Introducing the New Testament, p. 94)
- Augustine was convicted of his sin after reading some verses from the thirteenth chapter; Martin Luther recovered the doctrine of salvation by faith from his study of Romans 1:17; John Wesley felt his heart “strangely warmed” and transformed while listening to the reading of Luther’s preface to the book of Romans; and John Bunyan was so inspired as he studied the great themes of Romans that he wrote the immortal Pilgrim’s Progress. (Preaching the Word: Romans R. Kent Hughes p. 15)
- I think the book of Romans captures what Paul would have initially taught as he came to new places in the world for the first time. The other letters we have from Paul were to places he had already been and people he already knew. This book is written to a place that he had not yet been, to people he did not yet know. It is a foundational and panoramic development of the glory of the Gospel though God’s revealed plan for the world.
- This book systematically covers major theological themes and Christian doctrine: sin, salvation, grace, faith, righteousness, judgment, justification, sanctification, salvation, redemption and resurrection. It talks about sovereignty, calling, election, wrath, creation, the law, the role and work of Christ, the ministry of the Holy Spirit, the Christian hope, the nature of the church, the place of Jew and Gentile in God’s purposes, the meaning and message of the Old Testament, the significance of baptism, the principles of personal devotion, ethics, and Christian fellowship and that is not all. These thoughts are developed and tied together with one leading into the other, beautifully conveying God’s work in the world and the Glory of the Gospel. It is magnificent!
- I have never preached through it before and I am very excited to do so. Perhaps, it would be best taught in seminar form for eight hours a day for a month because of the inner-connected thoughts and themes. Some have taken as little at 8 weeks to preach through it, while one of my favorite preachers of all time, John Piper, took 8 years to preach through it. (You can listen to all those messages by downloading them through audible – 154 hours of glorious preaching) https://www.audible.com/pd/Religion-Spirituality/Romans-The-Greatest-Letter-Ever-Written-Audiobook/B00403YYU0/ref=a_search_c4_1_1_srTtl?qid=1503591378&sr=1-1
- For our purposes here at Mosaic, I am going to prepare and serve it up like a large and scrumptious meal that you can digest the rest of the week. I am planning to take us to next summer and perhaps beyond.
The person of Paul
Rom 1:1-5a ESV
Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God,
- The most important thing that I want you to notice about these three phrases is not who Paul is, but whose Paul is. Not who he is, but who has This is what makes your life significant or not – not who you are, but whose you are.
- First, Paul says he is “A servant of Christ Jesus” or a “bond-servant” (one who choses to give himself as a slave to another). He first identifies himself as one who is bought and owned and ruled by the one who died and rose from the dead – Christ Jesus. Paul utterly submitted himself to Christ, to do His will, and no one else’s.
- In the book of Romans, we are not dealing with a man and his genius. We are dealing with a man and his Owner, Ruler and God. Paul’s significance is not first or primarily what he has done, but what has been done to him – he has been bought; he has been owned; he has been called and he has been set apart. Someone else is the primary actor here, not Paul. We are not dealing in this book merely with the work of a man, but with the work of God in a man.
- “…called to be an apostle…” God choose him for this role. Paul did not choose the role for himself. It is the role of an apostle. An apostle was a person who had been commissioned and authorized by Christ to represent him and speak for him and provide a foundation for his church through true and authoritative teaching. First, he calls himself “a servant to Christ Jesus,” second, one “called to be an apostle,” and third, “set apart for the gospel of God.”
- When did God “set him apart?” “God, who from my mother’s womb set me apart and called me by His grace” (Gal 1:15). Paul was set apart from his mother’s womb. Before he could choose and before he knew anything, God chose him. It was not that suddenly God needed another apostle and looked around to see who available, but God had sovereignly set apart and prepared Paul for this role, which included being strictly trained as a zealous Jewish Pharisee, persecuting Jesus and destroying the church. You can run, but you can’t hide. What He has called you to he will bring you to and prepare you for.
Rom 1:1-5a ESV
Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, 2 which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, 3 concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh 4 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, 5 through whom we have received grace and apostleship
- For the Gospel of God
- Promised beforehand through the prophets in the Holy Scriptures (OT)
- The NT and Christianity is not a new religion but the fulfillment of an old religion. The God of the Old Testament is the God of the New Testament. What He was preparing and promising then, He fulfilled in the coming of Jesus.
- God keeps His promises that are found in scripture; He can be trusted.
- The holy scriptures are set apart from all other writings because they were written by God through His prophets, not by His prophets. God is the author working through His prophets. His book should be reverenced, received, believed and obeyed.
- Concerning His Son – the Gospel is about the Son – Christ Jesus and His work in the world.
- The son of God became a Man who descended from the line of David. God did not choose a man and make him his son; he chose to make his eternal, one-and-only Son a man.
- Declared to be the Son of God – not “a son of God” but “The Son of God”. How was this declared (proven to all)? In power though the Spirit of holiness by His resurrection for the dead! This is the final “proof.” He was resurrected, not resuscitated . . . His is the only one, the “first fruit of all creation.” He is Jesus Christ our Lord. Through him we have received grace – a gift we have not and cannot earn – and apostleship – the authority of those who God has written His word through.
- Promised beforehand through the prophets in the Holy Scriptures (OT)
The reason for writing
Rom 1:5b-6 ESV
to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations, 6 including you who are called to belong to Jesus Christ,
- This is the goal of this book. This is what God wants the end result to be. Because of God’s grace, this book is written to bring about the obedience of faith. Faith is not a belief, it is an obedience. It is not something that you know, it is something that you live. Jesus did not come to give us more information, but to give us a new life and a new way of living.
- Why are we to be obedient because of our faith? For the sake of His name: for His kingdom, for His majesty, for His will. For His glory: for His name to be reverenced, revered, worshiped and praised.
- Where should this be done? “Among all the nations.” To everyone, everywhere!! This includes us who are called to belong to Jesus Christ. This is our first and most important calling . . . to belong to Jesus Christ. He don’t belong to us, but we belong to him.
The recipients of Romans
Rom 1:7 ESV
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.
- Those in Rome – an important strategic place
- Who are loved by God – these are those who are followers of Christ Jesus.
- Called to be saints – Holy, pure and blameless
- Grace to you and Peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
- My hope is that your faith in the sovereign God who fulfills his promises is strengthened, and your worship and love for Him has grown.
- It is also my hope that your mind has been fully convinced of who Jesus is and why the word of God is to be honored and obeyed.
- My prayer for you is that you will fully give yourself over to be a “bond-servant” of Jesus Christ.
Questions for the Ride Home
- What things stand out to you from today’s passage?
- How are these things going to make a difference in your life?