Romans Chapter 1
First Baptist Church
Des Moines, NM
We are looking at Romans this week on the Ministerial Alliance. Yesterday, I covered the first part of chapter 1 and today, weíll move on thru verses 8 to 15. There is a tremendous amount of information in the book of Romans and it really rewards a careful study. Letís ask God to bless this message, pray that it glorifies Him, and ask for the light that is Jesus Christ to shine into hearts of darkness. Amen!
Our passage today reads:
Romans 1:8-15 First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world. (9) For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of His Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers, (10) making request if, by some means, now at last I may find a way in the will of God to come to you. (11) For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift, so that you may be established (12) that is, that I may be encouraged together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me. (13) Now I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that I often planned to come to you (but was hindered until now), that I might have some fruit among you also, just as among the other Gentiles. (14) I am a debtor both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to wise and to unwise. (15) So, as much as is in me, I am ready to preach the gospel to you who are in Rome also.
The general theme of this passage is the spreading of the gospel. Paul thanks God for the Romans that "your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world" and he finishes by saying that "I am ready to preach the gospel to you who are in Rome also." Preaching the gospel is Paulís #1 goal here. He truly is keeping the command which Christ gave in:
Matthew 28:19-20 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, (20) teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen.
A similar command is given in:
Mark 16:15-16 And He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. (16) He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.
This command is given and yet, how many of us obey it? I wish Christians were more aggressive in preaching and teaching the gospel, but sadly we are not. I include myself in this group and there are many, many times when I am not nearly as aggressive in preaching the gospel as I could or should be.
The day is coming and may already be here when preaching the gospel will result in persecution. Iím here on KLMX today preaching to you, but a missionary that we at First Baptist in Des Moines support was arrested just a few weeks ago for distributing gospel tracts at a public event in Hickory NC. You may remember Jesse Boyd from an interview I did with him, which I used as part of the Ministerial Alliance program last fall. Well, Jesse was arrested for trespassing during a public event held on the public square in Hickory, in spite of the fact that the city ordinance allows the distribution of religious literature (those are their words, not mine) during public events. Jesse should be visiting us at First Baptist Church next week, during the week of July 20 and heíll be bringing a disciple from India with him. If youíd like the dates and details on his visit, contact me at the church phone number of 575.278.2421 and Iíll keep you posted. If I can, Iíll get something set up here in Clayton. I think youíll find his experiences in taking the gospel to countries like India and in Southeast Asia to be both humbling and exciting.
I bring this up, because this is the kind of dedication, obedience, and boldness that Paul is describing here in Romans. Paulís over-riding concern is not his well-being, or his comfort, or even his own life, but the spreading of the gospel message. The gospel message is not something to keep to yourself- itís something to share and spread.
Also note, though, that heís concerned in strengthening the believers in Rome. He says "...for I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift, so that you may be established that is, that I may be encouraged together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me." Paul is seeking to be "encouraged together with you by the mutual faith of you and me." This passage shows up some of the value of getting together with people of like faith. If the apostle Paul was looking forward to fellowship with other believers, should we be any less? Too often I talk to people who claim to be Christians but donít go to church because "everyone there is a hypocrite." That makes me think of Jesus at the Sermon on the Mount when he said:
Matthew 7:3-5 And why do you look at the speck in your brother's eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? (4) Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me remove the speck from your eye'; and look, a plank is in your own eye? (5) Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye.
Jesus calls them hypocrites! Everyone has planks and beams in their eyes and the purpose of fellowship is, as Paul says, to "be encouraged together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me." The attitude that church is full of hypocrites smacks of the Pharisee and the tax collector:
Luke 18:9-14 Also He spoke this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: (10) "Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. (11) The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, 'God, I thank You that I am not like other menextortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. (12) I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.' (13) And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, 'God, be merciful to me a sinner!' (14) I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted."
Here again, itís the man who thinks heís better than the others who Jesus says is the Pharisee. And one more passage, from:
Hebrews 10:24-25 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, (25) not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.
In Hebrews we see that the purpose of gathering together is to stir up love and good works and to exhort one another. This goes right along with Paulís statement in Romans. Christians do not exist in a vacuum nor can they exist apart from each other. In fact, consider this passage:
1 Corinthians 12:4-27 There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. (5) There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. (6) And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all. (7) But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: (8) for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, (9) to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, (10) to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. (11) But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills. (12) For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ. (13) For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body- whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free- and have all been made to drink into one Spirit. (14) For in fact the body is not one member but many. (15) If the foot should say, "Because I am not a hand, I am not of the body," is it therefore not of the body? (16) And if the ear should say, "Because I am not an eye, I am not of the body," is it therefore not of the body? (17) If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where would be the smelling? (18) But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased. (19) And if they were all one member, where would the body be? (20) But now indeed there are many members, yet one body. (21) And the eye cannot say to the hand, "I have no need of you"; nor again the head to the feet, "I have no need of you." (22) No, much rather, those members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary. (23) And those members of the body which we think to be less honorable, on these we bestow greater honor; and our un-presentable parts have greater modesty, (24) but our presentable parts have no need. But God composed the body, having given greater honor to that part which lacks it, (25) that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another. (26) And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it. (27) Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually.
From the passage we see that every Christian is part of the body of Christ. If you call yourself a Christian and are not participating or youíre not involved in building up the body, then are you really a Christian? Verse 18 says that God has set the member in the body as He pleased. If you are not a member of the body of the Christ, then to whose body do you belong? Thatís our question, and Paul, in Romans 1, shows the kind of attitude we should have. Yes, the people in Rome had a lot of problems, they theological differences and misunderstandings, but Paulís desire is to visit with them, teach them, and exhort one another.
The last thing I want to point out in the Romans passage is that Paul awaits Godís will in this manner. He says "now at last I may find a way in the will of God to come to youÖ I often planned to come to you (but was hindered until now)." Paulís desires is to visit Rome (and indeed God had already shown him that he would not die until this was accomplished), but up to this point he was hindered. We must always seek and obey the will of God in our endeavors, including evangelism. Donít use this as an excuse to avoid evangelism, but rather always seek for God to open a door or make a path. When the opportunities arises, seize it and preach the gospel. Jesus gave the command and Paul is our example.
Well, weíd better wrap this up for today. To summarize quickly, in this passage of Romans 1 weíve seen Paulís desire to preach and teach to those in Rome, weíve seen the importance of being part of the body of Christ, and weíve seen the necessity of seeking Godís will. Again, contact me at 575.278.2421 for information on Jesse Boydís visit to our area. If thereís any interest, I will try to get him to Clayton so you wonít have to drive to Des Moines but I need to know if thereís interest. Visit the church website at www.fbcdesmoines.org for transcriptions of all the messages Iíve given on KLMX radio. And a big thanks to KLMX for allowing the Ministerial Alliance time on the airwaves. Iím Bryan Kimsey, 1st Baptist Church, Des MoinesÖmay God open hearts and eyes to his glory, through Jesus Christ, in whose name I ask. Amen.
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