Romans- Week 14- Day 3- Romans 15:20-21

Yea, so have I strived to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build upon another man’s foundation:  (21)  But as it is written, To whom he was not spoken of, they shall see: and they that have not heard shall understand.   

Romans 15:20-21

Explanation:

Paul has been describing God’s calling on his life as a proclaimer of the Gospel to the gentiles as the rationale for writing this letter to a church he did not found and had not met.  As he writes these verses he declares his desire to preach the Gospel where Christ was previously unknown.  His desire and calling was to be a pioneer, proclaiming the Gospel where it had previously not been spoken.  He quotes Isaiah 52:15, which says,

So shall he sprinkle many nations; the kings shall shut their mouths at him: for that which had not been told them shall they see; and that which they had not heard shall they consider.

Isaiah 52:15 

This passage in Isaiah is speaking of the “suffering servant”, Jesus Christ, who will come and “sprinkle many nations”.  Just as the blood was sprinkled on the mercy seat of the ark of the covenant to cleanse the people of their sins, so the coming of Jesus would provide the opportunity for cleansing to the gentile nations of the earth.  Isaiah prophesied these gentile kings will see and consdier what had not been revealed to them before. 

We know that Paul had the opportunity to preach Christ to gentile kings.  Paul’s preaching to the gentiles had begun the fulfillment of this prophecy.  God’s intention to save the gentiles that had been prophecied was being fulfilled through Paul, and is being fulfilled by missionary efforts throughout the nations.

Application:

Paul’s responsibility and calling may be different than ours in scope, but not necessarily in substance.  God has called us to proclaim the Gospel to ever creature.  We have a responsibility to those who have never heard.

Response:

Are you involved in the missions program of your church, giving so that people who have never heard may have local, new testament, Gospel preaching churches established to disciple people in places where the Gospel has not been proclaimed?

Are you involved in shareing the Gospel where you are?  Who do you need to tell today?

Romans: Week 1- Day 4- Romans 1:16

16  For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

Rom 1:16

Explain:

This is one of the classic, most well known verses in Romans.  Paul proclaims his attitude towards the Gospel.  He was not ashamed.  He rooted his attitude about the Gospel to it’s power and it’s purpose.  The Gospel message, once received, is the message that brings God’s regenerating spiritual power to those that believe. It’s power is to save.  It’s purpose is to save everyone who believes.  It came through the Jews, not because they were more loved, but through revelation of God it came to them first.  But it is not only for the Jew or even primarily for the Jew.  It is for everyone.

Application:

What does it mean to be not ashamed of the Gospel?  I believe it means that there is no hinderance to identifying oneself with Christ’s message, mission, or person.  It is a forgetting of ones self by focusing on the purpose, power and person of the Gospel.  

Purpose– Eternal life for the person we are sharing the Gospel with is possible because of Christ.  If they don’t know Christ they’ll spend eternity separated from all that is good in the lake of fire.  It doesn’t matter who they are.  Their nationality, religious history, sinful habits, nor any other human distinction can make them ineligible from salvation.

Power– God’s power can change them from the inside out no matter how good or bad they may seem.  There is no one too far from God.  

Person– The creator of the universe became a man and lived a perfect life in our actual history!  This is incredible and worth sharing.  There are evidentiary realities that make it possible for us to believe because of the evidence and not in spite of the evidence.

If we focus on the potential cost to us by identifying ourselves with Christ we will be tempted to be ashamed, or even silent.  When our focus is right then our attitude will be right.

Response:

  • Are you ashamed of the Gospel?  What is your focus?  What is your attitude toward the Gospel?  
  • Who is someone you need to share the Gospel with this week?

Romans: Week 1- Day 3- Romans 1:13-15

13  Now I would not have you ignorant, brethren, that oftentimes I purposed to come unto you, (but was let hitherto,) that I might have some fruit among you also, even as among other Gentiles. 14  I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise. 15  So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also.

Rom 1:13-15

Explanation:

I purposed to come to you…

Paul wanted the Romans to know how much he desired to come to Rome.  Paul desired to get to them and meet them face to face.

But was let hitherto

Why was he prevented from coming?  Was it a move of the Holy Spirit in his life preventing him from coming?  Was it some circumstancial problem that kept him away?  Was it the demands of ministry that he had been performing that made it difficult to leave?  He did not want the Romans to think that His absence had anything to do with his desire to come.  He had purposed and planned to come to Rome but had been prevented.

That I have some fruit among you

Why did he want to go?  So that he would have some kind of fruit among them.  What did he mean by fruit?  The Bible sometimes refers to fruit as good works, growth in character or at times evangelistic impact.  Because he speaks of preaching the gospel in Rome I believe He is referring primarily to the fruit of evangelistic impact.  He wants to see people in Rome trust in Christ, just as he had seen “among other gentiles”.

I am a debtor…

Paul felt obligated to the Greeks and barbarians, to the wise and the unwise.  The Greeks were as a society more formally educated.  They were sophisticated in comparison to the barbarians.  The barbarians were those gentiles not part of the educated, upper class.  Why did he feel a debt to them?  Because He had been give both grace (salvation) and apostleship.  He was saved and called to them by the Lord.

So..ready to preach…at Rome also.

Paul had purposed to preach to them.  He had a message to preach to them.  He had an obligation to preach to them.  He was ready!

Application:

Those of us who know Christ as Savior have been given God’s grace through salvation.  Because we know Christ and are living on this earth we have an obligation as well.  A call to follow Jesus is a call to discipleship and disciplemaking.  Jesus called his disciples by saying follow me and I will make you fishers of men.  We ought to be ready to proclaim the gospel to those who don’t know.

Response:

  • Are you ready to share the gospel?
  • Are you actually sharing the gospel?
  • Do you feel a debt to those who don’t know?

Galatians Day 7- Fear and Hypocrisy

FEAR4-640x701Have you ever known (or been) someone who was one way with one crowd and then another way in another crowd? None of us like to see that in other people, and we all tend to have a difficult time seeing that in ourselves.
For those of us who know Christ as Savior this hypocrisy can be more than just a social problem. This can be a spiritual problem as well. How do we deal with it in ourselves and in others when we see it?

11    But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed.12    For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision.

Paul was willing to confront the leader of the church in Jerusalem because of what he was doing. Paul was confronting Peter because of Peter’s fear of man. Peter was acting in a way that was consistent with his theology when no jews were around. He would “eat with the gentiles”, which meant he wouldn’t be worried about the Old Testament dietary laws when no jews were around. But when people who believed that you had to believe in Jesus and keep the law to be saved, the judaizers, came around, Peter feared what they would say and think and withdrew himself from the gentiles with whom he had spent time. Instead of confronting the bad theology of the judaizers he feared them and avoided the gentiles.

13    And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation.

The problem is that Peter, as a leader, was setting an example. I see two big problems that came from Peter’s behavior.

1. The church’s relationship with the gentiles. Can you imagine how the gentiles felt when they began to be avoided by the church leaders? Do you think that it could have created racial, social, and theological tension in their church? We don’t know how far it had gotten before this time, but if left unchecked it could have made a negative impact on the church.
2. The toleration of harmful theology. The behavior of the leaders of the church meant that they were tolerating a theology that said that Jesus’ death and ressurection is not enough for salvation.

So Paul had to say something…

14    But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?

The only answer that Peter could give is, “Because I am more concerned about what these judaizer’s think.” Notice that it took a lack of fear of Peter on Paul’s part to confront Peter’s fear of the judaizers that was affecting the church and the gospel.

Now before we get to hard on Peter and the rest of the leaders there, have you and I ever behaved in a way that hindered the gospel?

  • Have we ever been scared to tell someone about Jesus even when we knew we should?
  • Have we ever failed to put time into our schedule to share the gospel with our church family?
  • Have we ever failed to be open to new people in our church by focusing on the comfortable group of friends that we already know?

Think about this- Every person that comes into our life has steps that they need to take toward Jesus. When God puts them in our path it means that we have a stewardship of that opportunity. Often our response is like Peter’s response- fear. Fear will cause us to deny what we know to be true. When we give into the fear and fail to act we say something about the gospel that is not true. This affects both the saved and the unsaved around us.

Don’t give in to fear today in you or in others!