Did you have company over the summer? Summer is often when friends, family visit
Years ago when we first moved to Florida an hour from Disney and we had company all the time. Joke. Cartoon- woman on the phone, how nice you’d like to plan a visit come see us, but I’m so sorry, whenever you come, I know we’re going to be out of town. Company coming can stir up all kinds of feelings: depending on who is coming we can feel anything from dread to great excitement.
I wonder what the believers in Rome felt when they got a letter saying Paul was coming? How would you feel? We really don’t know, but we do know what the letter - that’s our study this fall.
I. Background of Romans
II. Book of Romans
A. Salutation Romans 1:1-17
B. Sin Romans 1:18-3:20
C. Salvation Romans 3:21-5:21
D. Sanctification Romans 6-8
E. Sovereignty Romans 9-11
F. Service Romans 12-16
III. Blessings of Romans
A. WHO? (Romans 1:1) Paul was author. Dictated letter to his secretary, Tertius (TUR shihuhs) (Romans 16:22). Common to many of his letters. To WHOM (Romans 1:7) group of believers=those that love God called “saints” in Rome= church, made up of Jew and Gentiles. HOW did the church get started? If Paul had never traveled there, how? ONE tradition is that Peter founded it. Another possibility is that according to Acts 2:10 there were pilgrims from Rome present in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost, perhaps some of them were part of the 3000 that believed and when they returned to Rome they started gathering together. A third possibility is that they were Christians from other cities that had moved to Rome, perhaps even some of Paul’s converts from other churches.
Even though Paul has not yet traveled to Rome he knows a lot of believers in Rome, something we need to remember as we read this letter, personal letter in many aspects. Romans 16. (read names)
B. WHAT? “Masterpiece” Uniqueness is not for telling a different gospel or new teaching but for spelling out the ABCs of the faith is a clear, logical understandable manner.
C. WHEN? WHERE? Less easy to answer. Clues from Romans 16, Acts 18. Reasonably sure he wrote from city of Corinth during his 3 month stay on 3rd missionary journey (MAP). If that’s true it’s probably sometime between 55-58AD.
D. WHY? Many
1. Personal - eager to preach (Romans 13,15) longing for many years (Romans 15:23). Acts 19:21 “I must see Rome” but never been to Rome, this would introduce him to them.
2. Theological - Great desire to systematically explain the gospel of Jesus Christ. Growing opposition to Paul’s ministry. Holy Spirit had been warning him that in every city he would face prison and hardship (Acts 20:23). He must have seen danger in his future and perhaps wanted to compile this while he could. In Romans we see pieces of Galatians, parts of letters to the Corinthians, Thessalonians, in Romans all laid out in order. Paul’s life message, his doctoral thesis.
3. Financial - Paul’s vision for Christ was world-wide, challenged to bring the gospel to Spain (end of known world) Romans 15:24. Hoped to arouse an interest in supporting his next missionary trip.
4. Instructional - Paul doesn’t deal with local church problems like in other letters but he does include some very practical aspects of Christian living Romans 12-16.
Conclusion: we’ve answered some questions regarding the background of this book and you may be asking at this point..SO WHAT
Why should we bother with background stuff? Why important, let’s just get into the book. Wrestled with that question Two reasons:
Credibility – knowing that Paul is the author immediately gave this letter credibility with the early church and is the reason it was included in the canon
(Council of Carthage 397AD one test=authority of writer, apostle/have apostle backing)
Interpretation - background information is invaluable because of our hermeneutic = the method or way we interpret the meaning of Scripture. Our hermeneutic, our way = literal, grammatical, historical= what did this letter mean to the original audience, how would they have understood it? Knowing who, what, where, why all help us interpret and understand this letter. Seek to determine what was cultural for that time and what is timeless for all times, what does it mean to us today.
QUESTION I need to ask you, good question at the start of a new study.
What’s your opinion of this book? Do you think it’s true? All of it? Parts of it? Is it reliable? Can you trust it? Do you believe it?
No matter how you answered this question, listen, you are welcome here. You are welcome to study, ask questions, express doubts, confusion or frustration. Our hope is that everyone that is here will feel safe and welcome to express differences of opinion and belief. However I think it’s fair to tell you where I stand. I believe this bible is truth, its truths are to teach us how to live in right relationship with God. What do you believe?
3 weeks ago Plane flying 30,000 ft, weeks ahead ground level walking thru verse by verse 16 chapters today brief overview…
JEWS AND GENTILES IN THE AUDIENCE….. (world divided in 2, either a Jew or a Gentile)
Paul having a conversation with himself: Game of Jeopardy: given the answer and you have to ask the question. Evident that Paul at times is answering questions that you his readers might have or ones that he has been asked before from other people.
Greetings (Romans 1:1-7) verse one “gospel of God” God has good news. He promised in Old Testament send a Messiah, Redeemer for sins of mankind, promise fulfilled in Jesus Christ who came to earth as a
Jew, died, rose again, saves all who trust in Him. Romans 1:8-15 Thanksgiving for you and your faith, praying for you and want to come see you. I feel an obligation to come and preach in Rome (READ Romans 1:16,17) Paul was gripped by the gospel, whole life was committed to it. Has the gospel in gripped you? Do you ever feel ashamed to be known as a Christian? Paul’s single focus on the gospel is going to challenge all of us.
Gospel is “righteousness of God” but Paul shifts to the “unrighteousness of man” because until one knows that he/she is a sinner, she cannot appreciate her need of a Savior. The rest of this section makes 3 statements that together prove all people are sinners and need Jesus Christ.
Gentile World is Guilty (Romans 1:18-32) Wrath of God poured out. Why? Paul explains. Human history begins with mankind knowing God but then turning away from truth and rejecting God. Paul says “your problem is you’ve distorted things. What things? First you’ve distorted conscience (Romans 1:19). Second distorted creation (Romans 1:20). You began to worship the created things instead of the Creator – all around you is proof that a powerful being took nothing and made something where did this begin? Anthropology shows that people groups all over the world have worshiped created beings, sun, moon stars instead of the one true God. Consequence= third, distorted your own person, your own sexuality (Romans 1:24-28). Truth, often the greatest judgment God can inflict on us is to let us have our own way.
Jewish World is Guilty (Romans 2:1-3:8) Jews have been clapping. You’re not any better than they are. You’ve had the law but have you kept it? Judging others but what about your own life? You’ve been well instructed but trusting in rituals to save you instead of the promises of God.
Whole World is Guilty (Romans 3:9-20)
Paul takes an X ray of typical person, sin from head to feet. Sin with your throat, tongue, mouth, all the way to your feet that are swift to shed blood. Romans 3:23 ALL sinned come short of the glory of God. Everyone who has ever lived has sinned and needs Jesus.
Application: in our culture we don’t even like this word sin much less being told we are all sinners. I think it’s much more politically correct to say I’m a good person who occasionally makes mistakes. Paul says all have sinned=Have you ever confessed that you’re a sinner? bad news but he pushes on to tell us the good news: Romans 3:22
Righteousness by faith? Not works, not the law, not rituals, in fact Paul says righteousness has always been by faith, gives perfect example = Abraham. Even the father of the Jews was declared righteous by his faith, before circumcision, before the law was given. Results: believers have priceless spiritual blessings: peace with God, access to Him, joy, hope love, His Spirit within us.
Some of you are sitting out there thinking:
If my sin has been taken care of by God’s grace, now it really doesn’t matter how I live, keep on sinning, grace can keep on covering it right?
Romans 6: NO WAY (Romans 6:2) If you think that way you haven’t understood your baptism or your conversion. Trusting Jesus means a whole new way of living. You’ve died to sin, we have a new allegiance, we can deliberately and consciously choose to free ourselves from sin, it is no longer our master, we have given ourselves to God, He is our new master. Dead to sin and alive to Christ (Romans 6:11).
Romans 7: OK Paul that raises some questions about the law. Are you for it or against it? Paul says “yes and no” If you think it’s a legal system of good works to gain acceptance by God like the Galatian church= NO. But if you understand its purpose was to reveal sin (Romans 7:7), lead us to a savior, show us God’s holiness, give us a moral standard of living=YES. To tell you the truth, this new allegiance to God through Jesus has created quite a struggle in my own life (Romans 7:15-20 READ) can anyone here relate to this? Truthful reality so glad Paul shared. I’m a Christian, but I’m still in this human body living in a fallen world, I struggle to do right. When I choose to live for myself (walking in the flesh) I do want I don’t want to do. I don’t really like that part - I want a perfectly sinless life - not going to happen here on planet earth. God has promised us grace not perfection. Here we are going to struggle to live this new life but there is more good news
Romans 8: It is possible to live a righteous, godly life by the power of the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:1-5). In Christ, we have help in our struggles, in surrendering our self-centeredness. The rest of the chapter Paul tells us there isn’t anything that God has made that in the last day will fail to fulfill its intended purpose except those rebellious to His call. God loves his world - not just people - all of creation, all creation is waiting for Christ’s return = Cosmic redemption (Romans 8:21). Paul encourages us, says there is purpose for everything that happens in our lives. God is working everything for good, for those that love him, called to his purposes. Nothing absolutely nothing can ever separate us from His love.
Application: Probably several here that are feeling like life is just too much, a struggle to keep going. Trying to do the right thing and the opposite is happening. Paul would say, don’t give up, consider giving in. Lay everything down, let Holy Spirit take control and pray “Lord I give up trying to work this out, I’m tired of failure after failure, teach me how to be controlled by the Spirit and not myself and Lord, do whatever you want with this situation. We acknowledge we have this help when we sing “The same power that conquered the grave, lives in me” Do you believe that? Would you trust God to help?
Believers are secure with God, what about the Jewish nation, the people of God, all the promises God made to them? As a whole, the nation has not accepted Jesus as Messiah, so what happens to them? How does the God’s acceptance of Gentile believers fit into God’s plan?
OK I’ll tell you. Romans 9 - God is not obligated to anyone, but He sovereignly chose Israel because of His grace and love (Deut 7:6-8). Chosen for a purpose=reveal God to a pagan world. Why did they reject Christ? Romans 10:2 my brothers, the Jews, have a zeal for God, but they stumbled over Messiah (Romans 9:33) Why? Interested in keeping the Law, good works blind to see God’s goodness in Christ, did not hear, did not seek. What about the future? Romans 11 - Gentiles, be assured that there’s always been a remnant that has truly loved God, even though the nation has rejected Messiah this rejection is temporary (READ Romans 11:25-26) What all Israel will be saved. YES WHEN? Silence, doesn’t tell us.
APPLICATION: something here we need to remember amidst the Tension in Middle east, probably will be until Messiah come back, not making a political statement, but a theological one= Romans teaches that GOD has not forgotten Israel, one day, all Israel will be saved.
Therefore (transition) in light of all the doctrinal truths, all that we believe, now how to we live it out? What does the righteousness of God look like on a daily basis? How am I to be different from the world I live in? Paul answers by looking at our relationships: ourself; others; in the church; enemies; government; those who disagree with us. Wraps it up the guiding principle: Live as Jesus, imitate Him, look like Him, love like Him, be Christ to others.
What kind of blessing are we talking about? Next 9 wks.
Historical letter=Romans 1st century, some that provide academic interest
Doctrinal letter- masterpiece, tool to understand the Christian faith
Personal letter=to you and me expounding truths, giving abundant application transforming us I believe that’s how God planned it to be. PRAY Romans 16:25-27.