The gospel is the story of God's love to justify sinners so they can shamelessly live their faith. Pastor Jason shares from Romans 1:16-17. #ravnaz #thedirtpathsermonpodcast #thedirtpathpastor
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**not a word for word transcript, but the sermon manuscript**
POWER OF GOD
Text: Romans 1:16-17
The Bible is the word of God. We as Christians do not worship the Bible, but we believe it inerrantly contains the words that can provide life. And that is what makes this book dangerous.
While reading in the book of Romans, a German friar in the 1500s discovered the danger of the Bible. One phrase opened his eyes to the corruption around him and the truth about God’s power. That friar was Martin Luther, and the passage we are looking at today contains the truth which sparked the Protestant Reformation.
READING OF THE TEXT
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, first to the Jew, and also to the Greek. 17 For in the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith, just as it is written: The righteous will live by faith. (CSB)
(v16) Not ashamed
Romans is a letter written by the Apostle Paul to believers living in Rome. Ever since encountering the resurrected Jesus on the road to Damascus, Paul had dedicated his life to preaching the gospel. In his journeys, Paul had been thrown in prison, chased out of town, smuggled out of another town for safety reasons, laughed at, stoned, and beaten. One would think Paul would be cautious about presenting the message of Jesus in Rome, at the heart of the pagan politics, practices, and philosophies.
When Martin Luther encountered this passage, the Church was a major political power in the world At the time Paul writes these verses, the Church was an infant, powerless and at the mercy of Rome while also under attack from the Jews and the enemies of the Jews. Shame would be a normal reaction in this position of weakness. Paul was not ashamed.
Paul was not ashamed of the message of Jesus, “because it is the power of God.” God is all-powerful, no one or thing rivals Him. Not even Caesar. Whenever Paul preached the message, it was not his doing or words that had power, it was the power of God. Wherever Paul went and preached the message of Jesus, God’s power met the human hearts in those cities.
(v17) Righteousness of God
Paul writes in verse 17, “For in it the righteousness of God is revealed.” The righteousness of God is what stoked the hearts of people. Every person since Adam and Eve are born sinners, and God is against sin. Sin cannot survive in the presence of God, so sinners perish.
Because humanity is a bunch of sinners, it would be easy to get the mistaken idea that God hates people. God made humanity, He loves everyone. Jesus, the Son of God, God in the flesh, came and died on the cross to bride these paradoxical truths. Christ was crucified to satisfy God’s wrath against humanity’s sin. Why? Because God loves us that much.
(v17) Always the plan
Continuing in verse 17, Paul writes, “For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith.” Paul is wanting the Christians in Rome to know that Christianity is not a new faith, but a continuation of the faith given to the Jews. All the sacrifices, all the forefathers, and all the events in the Old Testament were setting up and pointing to Jesus.
Jesus is God’s love come down. He showed His faithfulness, even when those whom God loves are not. The all-powerful God, who is against sin, calls folks to righteousness and provides the power to live it out.
(v17) Just by faith
Paul finishes verse 17 by quoting the prophet Habakkuk. “It is written: the righteous will live by faith.” (Habakkuk 2:4) Habakkuk was in the dark about the overall meaning of his words. But his words were from God, given to the prophet when the Jews were surrounded by the Chaldeans. The only assurance God gave them was, “the righteous will live by faith.”
That meaning is applied by Paul to Christians living in Rome. Their salvation was based on faith in Jesus Christ. Not their effort, nor works, but faith. The power of God was in them through faith in Jesus. This power of God saved them from their sin, and also had the power to help them to live if they had faith.
What does this have to with you and me? In a world ruled by Caesar, Paul knew that “the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing.” (1 Corinthians 1:18) The message of Jesus was a direct challenge to Caesar’s claim to be lord. The Romans saw the might and power of Caesar, as did many others, because was ruling the world. A man dying on a cross would be difficult for them to understand.
Not only was Paul and the message of Jesus up against a man with a competing claim, but the Roman culture was also one that glorified sin. In the later part of Romans 1, Paul outlines the vulgarness of the culture. How could the message of Jesus be shared effectively in a culture like that?
Our culture today is not much different than that of Rome. The leaders or our country do not claim to be god, but if they are not in denial of His existence they mock Him. So in many ways, we find ourselves asking the same question, how can the message of Jesus be shared effectively in a culture like ours? Or another question could be how can Jesus help me in a world like this one?
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for salvation.” The gospel is not based on us or this world. It is good news not of this world. God’s power is the force behind salvation. And that power is available to you and me by faith.
It is important we stop and define faith, at least what Paul meant by it. Faith is admitting we cannot save ourselves and we are sinners in need of salvation through Jesus. But the definition does not stop there. Our lives then are immersed in our need of Jesus and God supplies us the power to live it out. Salvation is certainly being forgiven of our sins, but more than that is God’s power at work in us that trumps the power darkness, sin, and this world.
The gospel is the power of God through Christ Jesus to save you and empower you to live out faith in this faithless world. God’s power is greater than the world around you. God’s power is greater than sin that is in your life. God is greater and so is His salvation.
Are you living according to this truth? Do you believe His power in you is greater than the sin in your life? Do you believe the power in His message is greater than the culture and darkness in the world?