This week I am going to pause from our series, God’s Story from Beginning to End as I feel compelled to share a message that is simple, familiar, and imperative aptly titled “A Gospel Message”. The Gospel is the central topic, message, and hope for all believers. It is important for us to not only KNOW the Gospel, but also to live it, and share it. In fact, Jesus commissions his disciples at the conclusion of his earthly ministry in Matthew 28:19 to, “go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” This commission applies to us today. We have a job or responsibility to go out and share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with the unbelieving world. For many of us knowing the Gospel is simple. Living out the gospel daily is challenging but doable. But, sharing the Gospel can be scary, cause anxiety, or feel intimidating, yet this is one of our most important callings as followers of Jesus Christ.
I was struggling this week as I was praying about what to preach and thinking about the events of this past week with the horrendous shooting at the supermarket in Buffalo, NY, the controversial, and potential reality of overturning Roe v. Wade, and the spiritual state of the church at large with all her divisions and scandals among the people; I began to have a sense of hopelessness. This was a short-lived hopelessness albeit real for a moment. I was quickly reminded that as believers’ that we have hope. The Gospel is our hope and regardless the state of the world today we have hope in Jesus Christ. This hope is real, and it is something we can share with the world.
So, in response I would like to pause and park in Romans 1:8 -17 today and talk about the hope of the world… The gospel of Jesus Christ, and having the boldness to share it, proclaim it, and live in it.
Romans 1:8 - 17
Vs 8 - 9: The Apostle Paul shares with his readers that he has been praying for them. He first and foremost gives thanks to God for their faithfulness. He also lets them know he is interceding on their behalf. He thanks God for the believers in Rome and how their faith is gaining the attention of the world around them. He notes that their faith is being talked about throughout the known world. Now, their faith was not an extraordinary or even an unusual faith, it was simple a kind of faith that was drawing men and women to Christ in Rome and it was making a splash in the Gentile world. The reality that people were coming to faith in Jesus Christ in this pagan city was giving legitimacy to the reality of this new and radical faith called Christianity.
Let’s pause here for a moment and imagine what this church would look like if we, West Bradenton Southside, became world renown for our faith in God that draws people to Jesus Christ? I am not talking about us “doing something” outrageous like manifestations of the Spirit (gold dust falling from the ceiling, laughing in the Spirit, or exorcising demons) unusual behavior (protesting mandates, being arrested for standing up for truth or speaking out against the governmental) or even the programming of our church (charismatic preacher, entertaining praise band, and general positive vibe of the Church) but rather God Himself moved mightily among his people through the Spirit of God and people were coming to faith in Jesus Christ. Imagine people coming to Christ in this small city through His Spirit and men and women from all over the Gulf Coast came to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. Can you imagine this? I hope and I pray that this is something we can and do pray for regularly
My prayer for Southside is for a mighty movement of God in our church, in our neighborhood, and in our city. Let’s pray for individuals to come to know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and commit to living obedient lives for Him and His glroy. This is what happened in Rome, and it could just as easily happen in West Bradenton. Not for our renown but for the glory of God.
Paul also intercedes (without ceasing) for the Roman believers. He prays for them to stay strong in their faith because with increased exposure could potentially bring great apostasy and heretical teaching.
Vs 10: Paul prays for a way for him to come visit the believers in Rome. God had hindered Paul from going to Rome on a few occasions, yet he firmly believed that God wanted him to go there to visit his fellow believers.
Vs 11 – 15: Why did Paul want to visit Rome?
To see the spiritual fruit among them. Paul desired to see the fruits of his labors. He may not have been directly involved in establishing this body but because he brought this Gospel message to the Gentile world Paul was indirectly involved in building this body and he desired to see what fruits were coming from it.
Paul is indebted to the Gentiles (Greek and barbarian) to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This most likely refers to Gentile and possibly more specific the people of Spain. This body was probably made up of Christians, so Paul most likely referred to the ongoing work of teaching God’s word and discipling fellow believers.
Vs 16: Paul writes, “I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ.” Paul was secure in, proud of and boastful of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The cross of Christ and the Gospel were considered by many outsiders as offensive and foolish. It was considered a crutch, a superstition, a fairy tale or just plain senseless. Those who followed the way of the cross were considered fools as well.
The word Gospel is derived from the Greek word Euaggeleion (Yoo-ang-ghel-ee-on) which means good tidings or good news. These are the glad tidings of the kingdom of God that is at hand and still to come and it is also the good news of Jesus the Messiah dying for our sins and resurrecting for our justification. The Central theme of the Gospel is salvation is available to all who believe because of the work of Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary. This work is…
Why is Paul so bold and confident in the Gospel and why is it for us as well? Because it is the power of salvation. It is the mighty work of God to deliver, preserve and keep in Christ those who believe in Jesus Christ in faith. It is our current and future salvation; this means we are saved and redeemed for life here on earth and when we pass from this life to eternity. Theologian A.W. Pink writes, “We are saved from the penalty of sin, saved from the power (influence) of sin, and the pleasure of sin” (no true believer can find pleasure in sinful acts without guilt to follow). Professor Douglas Moo writes in his extensive commentary on Romans “(Salvation) can denote generally God’s provision for a person’s spiritual needs… It must also include the restoration of the sinner to share in God’s glory.”
Many Christians have the idea of salvation wrong. They think that the Gospel is a “get out of hell free” card or is a “fire protection” policy. Salvation is more than being saved from eternal death. It is the guarantee of a fruitful and abundant life on earth and the inheritance of future glory (eternal life). Salvation is for everyone who believes. It is the saving faith or complete faith and trust in God who justifies sinners through Jesus Christ.
The Gospel and the Righteousness of God
Vs 17: The Gospel not only shows the power of God unto salvation, but it also reveals the righteousness of God. Righteousness is an attribute that means all that is right. The Gospel brings light to or uncovers the faithfulness, goodness, kindness, grace, mercy, justice, and proper(ness) of God. There is no wrong, evil or injustice in Him. God’s righteousness is unveiled from faith for faith.
So, what is our takeaway for today? It is threefold…
 Moo, Douglas: The Epistle to the Romans. Grand Rapids, MI/Cambridge UK: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1996, p. 67
Jeff has been in full-time ministry for thirty years. He currently serves as Executive Director at Anchor House Ministry at SeaPort Manatee in Palmetto, FL and he is a part-time Campus Pastor at West Bradenton Southside in Bradenton, Florida.
Jeff Has authored A Lent Devotional (A Spiritual Journey to Lent) an Advent Devotional (The Advent of Jesus) and a devotional on the book of James (James: Where Faith and Life Meet). All three are available on Amazon.
He is married to Carrie and they have four children, Micaiah, Gabe, Simon, and Berea.
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