THE POWER OF THE GOSPEL
ROMANS 1:8-17 03 December 2023
A young man was trained by his father in the use of a crossbow.
At first, he was given a small crossbow, adapted to his own strength. As he grew bigger and stronger, bigger bows were given to him.
Eventually, he was able to manage a man’s weapon capably.
In the same way, a scholar of the Bible is trained with a series of lessons suited to his own capacity and capability.
Soon, he will be able to do greater amounts of work with ease. He is much improved from when, at first, one simple task required a great deal of effort.
God has adjusted our obligations or duties in the same way. All are not laid upon us all at one time.
First, He gives us the simple things to do, then the greater as we grow in the knowledge of the Word.
Having done the little duties of the Christian life faithfully, we can be more prepared for the great ones when they come.
That is what Paul is speaking about as he writes to the Christians in Rome in Romans 1:8-17.
READ – Romans 1:8-17
First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, because your faith is being proclaimed throughout the whole world. For God, whom I serve in my spirit in the preaching of the gospel of His Son, is my witness as to how unceasingly I make mention of you, always in my prayers making request, if perhaps now at last by the will of God I may succeed in coming to you. For I long to see you so that I may impart some spiritual gift to you, that you may be established; that is, that I may be encouraged together with you while among you, each of us by the other’s faith, both yours and mine. I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that often I have planned to come to you (and have been prevented so far) so that I may obtain some fruit among you also, even as among the rest of the Gentiles. I am under obligation both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish. So, for my part, I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome. For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “But the righteous man shall live by faith.”
I am a debtor – a person who is under an obligation; a person who has a responsibility to another – vs 14
I am obligated to preach the Gospel to all nations. Paul owes this to them.
For the assurance of those already saved
For the Conversion of those not yet saved
Both the Greeks and the Barbarians (a foreigner who was ignorant of the Greek language and culture; people who had a behavior of rudeness and brutality). These were neither Greeks nor Jews.
This indicates that the indebtedness Paul talks about is universal. He has a debt to preach the Gospel to ALL people.
There were three all-inclusive languages in the world at that time.
Interesting note: The inscription above Jesus’ head on the cross was in those three languages: Hebrew, Greek, and Latin.
This denotes that every man, in every language of the world, is guilty of crucifying Christ.
It also shows our debt to them – to point them to Christ and to a new life in Him.
The Gospel message is for the wise and the unwise.
It is available to all, and within the reach of all without respect to culture or intellect.
The Gospel can reach all people – those who are wise and those who are not so wise, those who are learned or intelligent, and those whose education is lacking. It doesn’t matter if you are refined or crude. It doesn’t matter if you are uncivilized or civilized.
The Gospel has the power to reach all – wise/foolish, intelligent/uneducated, crude/refined, civilized/ uncivilized.
What is our debt? What are our obligations to those worldly people we come into contact with every day and everywhere?
Our debt is to make every attempt to teach them through the Gospel message to turn from their dependence on their worldly wisdom or their ignorance of the Gospel to come to know Jesus Christ as the only means of help --- to help them realize that to know Jesus Christ is to have eternal life.
John 17:3 – “This is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.”
Just as Paul believes in his own ministry, we owe it to the lost to give them what we have in Christ. We must not hold what we have in Christ so closely that we are unwilling to share that Good News with those who do not know Him.
Paul sees his responsibility regarding the Gospel to be an enormous debt – an enormous debt that must be paid.
It is a reality that not every lost person will accept the message of Christ. But as far as it is possible, Paul determined that his accomplishment would measure up to his goal.
We must have that same determination as well – that our work will measure up to our goal of winning those living without Christ.
Paul says, “I am ready!” He is eager (vs.15). He possesses a willingness to accomplish what God has prepared him to accomplish.
This describes a man who is angry, distressed, or eager – a man who breathes violently and pants heavily and rapidly.
Think of how a parent will react when he or she finds their child in danger. That parent has some time of short, rapid, heavy breathing, and they are eager to do everything they can to save that child.
That should also describe our eagerness to share the good news of Jesus Christ with others.
To be truthful, sharing the Good News of the Gospel with the lost can be intimidating. It may cause some heavy breathing and nervous feelings. In most cases, those nervous feelings and heavy breathing come from anticipation that the person we are sharing Christ with will reject your message.
When we read of Paul’s approach to sharing the Gospel with all these different groups of heathens, we find that in him, there was no hesitation in preaching Jesus to these groups – whether they were of high nobility or the lowest slave.
We have the latest and the final word concerning salvation.
We have available to us and to all the people of the world a Gospel – Good News – that comes with authority.
That Gospel – that Good News – must be taught with that same authority.
We must be ready. We must be eager – and willing – to share the Good News with the lost and dying world.
The Holy Spirit brings to us the opportunities to speak to others about our Lord and Savior. He allows us to speak it.
WE MUST BE READY to speak.
Look again at verse 16: Paul says: “For I am not ashamed of the Gospel.”
He doesn’t stop there, saying he is not ashamed. He goes on to tell us why he is not ashamed of the Gospel.
He says: “for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.”
Again, he is speaking about the Gospel – the fact that Jesus died. He was buried. Three days later, the tomb was found empty. Jesus was raised to a new life.
Paul was not ashamed of these facts anywhere, at any time, and with anyone. It didn’t matter to Paul who they were – beggar or chief, rich, or poor, Greek or Jew.
Now, Paul was probably a bit like many speakers – preachers, and teachers - in that he may have been previously unsure of his own capabilities in the area of public speaking.
He surely knew that his life could have been in danger speaking so boldly. But, if he was, I am convinced he overcame any fear or uncertainty he might have had about his public speaking abilities.
And just as Paul spoke with authority as he preached and instructed the people, we too must speak boldly. We must speak with confidence.
Why? How? What gives us the confidence we need?
It is the power of the Gospel that provides us with the confidence and the boldness we need to accomplish the task.
Paul says the Gospel is God’s power for salvation.
It contains His provision for us.
Our salvation is so difficult to accomplish. There is nothing we can do to provide salvation. We have no power to accomplish salvation for ourselves or for anyone else. It is only by the power of God that salvation is accomplished.
The Gospel overcomes the three great powers that antagonize Christians and their relationship with Christ and separates them from that relationship with Christ.
Those three great powers are these:
1. The World 2. The Flesh 3. The Devil – Satan
God’s power does it. Power comes from Him. And His power is more powerful than the world, the flesh, and the devil.
Every fact of the Gospel is based upon the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
The Gospel’s power is limited by only one thing: Man’s Unbelief.
The Gospel – the Good News – the way to salvation – is available to everyone who believes.
But, you know, the Gospel doesn’t save everyone just because it exists. It only saves those who are obedient. It only saves when it is believed and accepted.
To all others – those who will not believe – those who will not accept - those who will not be obedient to the Gospel - it is condemnation, not salvation.
The Gospel only saves those who believe and are obedient to know that Jesus Christ is alive – dead, buried, and resurrected.
The Gospel saves those who are repentant of their sins and are buried in water where their sins are washed away, and they are saved to begin living a life in the pattern and manner of the Word of Christ.