Here’s the notes for my sermon on Romans 1:8-15 “The EVERYONE Gospel,” preached at Cross of Christ Fellowship, our church in Naperville. You can find the audio here.
Romans 1:8-15 “The Everyone Gospel”
Intro: The gospel is the good news of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. It is good news from God about God. It shows how we sinners might be reconciled to a holy God, delivered from the power and penalty of sin, and have eternal life through Jesus Christ. But who is it for? Who needs to hear it? Surely, we would agree that those who are non-Christians need to hear it. But today we learn that it is not just something we believe at conversion and move on from, but it something we keep coming back to. The gospel is for EVERYONE: Christians and non-Christians. It is the EVERYONE Gospel.
Let’s remember the CONTEXT together. Romans is the apostle Paul’s letter to the church at Rome. Paul, at this point, had never been to Rome; but his hope is to come soon and then to be sent by them to carry out missionary work in Spain. He is writing to prepare the Romans for his visit. Paul especially wants them to understand the GOSPEL, which is the main theme of Romans. Last week, we saw this about the gospel: it can be known, it is meant to go out into the world, and it changes lives. Today, we see that the GOSPEL is for everyone, including Christians.
Our passage, 1:8-15, is still in the introductory portion of the letter. Here, Paul is shares his heart toward the Romans, his prayers for them, and his intention to come and strengthen them in the faith. A key word Paul mentions twice in this paragraph is faith. We learn that Christians are a people united by faith, and that this faith can be strengthened. We also hear of Paul’s eagerness to preach the gospel in Rome, and are reminded that the gospel is for everyone. See this with me today: Christians are a people united by faith, a faith that can be strengthened and is shaped by the gospel.
I. Christians are a people united by FAITH (8)8 First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed in all the world.
This section is known as “thanksgiving.”
It is common in Paul’s letters, where he gives thanks to God for the readers.
-Thanksgiving THROUGH Jesus Christ.
-Jesus is the mediator between God and man.
-Jesus is the way to God, (1 Tim 2:2-6)
–REASON FOR THANKSGIVING: “your faith is proclaimed in all the world.”
-Paul is a man of many travels, and he is hearing everywhere about this faith of the Christians in Rome.
-Paul is GRATEFUL for the faith of the Roman Christians.
“YOUR FAITH”=The Roman Christians’ faith in Jesus Christ, the Lord and Savior.
*NOTE: There is a lot of confusion today about the nature of FAITH and what Faith is.
-Mark Twain “Having faith is believing in something you just know ain’t true”
-or faith is a leap in the dark.
-Faith definition: BELIEVING THE TRUTH that Jesus died for our sins, and TRUSTING in Jesus as Lord & Savior
-BELIEVING it is true.
-It is not merely believing in what we want. It is believing what God has told us in His Word about Jesus.
-Hebrews 11:1, 6
-TRUSTING in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Not mere intellectual belief.
-Trusting our souls and eternity and present lives to Jesus, who is our Lord and Savior.
-Trusting that his death on the cross paid for our sins.
APP: What truly unites us as Christians is our faith in Jesus Christ, not other things (politics, school, education).
-Remembering this helps love each other in the church who different from us in other ways.
-Remembering this keeps us focused on Jesus, rather than other things.
II. The Faith of a Christian Can Be STRENGTHENED (9-12)
In verses 9-12, Paul shares about his frequent prayers for the Roman Christians, and his desire to see their faith strengthened. We are reminded here that a Christian’s faith can be strengthened, and in particular it is strengthened in TWO ways: through the ministry of the apostles and other Christians.
-Paul’s prayer (9-10)
-Paul frequently prays for them (without ceasing I mention you always in my prayers)
-Paul has been praying that he would come to them.
-This is a good reminder to be frequent in prayer for each other.
-TIME looking at screens (13 hours). What is we spent half that time in prayer? Or even ¼ of it?
-Paul wants to strengthen the faith of the Roman Christians (11) (“may impart some…to strengthen you”)-
-He believes this will take place as he “imparts some spiritual gift”
-This most likely just refers to the preaching/teaching ministry of the apostle, helping the Romans
understand how to follow Christ.
-Paul’s heart was to see unbelievers come to faith in Jesus and believers become mature in Jesus.
APP: ONE WAY OUR FAITH IS STRENGTHENED IS BY HEARING THE APOSTLES’ TEACHING.
-We hear the teaching of the apostles by reading the NT.
-Take in it, memorize it, meditate on it, pray of it, see your faith strengthened.
-My OWN Experience: I can be discouraged, or tempted, or weak, but God’s Word strengthens me.
-Another way our faith is strengthened is through each other’s faith in Christ (12) –MUTUAL encouragement that comes from being in fellowship with other Christians.
-Faith is strengthened in Christian community
-Importance of real community, sharing your life with others.
-CG, DG, Men’s Fellowship
-My OWN Experience: I am comforted and strengthened by other Christians.
III. A Christian’s Faith is Especially SHAPED BY THE GOSPEL (13-15)
Here, Paul speaks about his intention to visit the Christians at Rome, his desire to see lives transformed by Christ and the vital role of the gospel. We learn that our faith in Christ is especially shaped by the gospel.
-Paul’s desire to see lives transformed by Christ (13)
–Harvest language=fruit and life that comes from believing the gospel and growing in the gospel.
–See Col 1:3-6; Gal 5:22-23
-REMEMBER: The Gospel TRANSFORMS lives!
-The GOSPEL IS FOR EVERYONE (14-15)
-Paul wants all kinds of people to hear and believe the gospel (14)
-Everyone needs the gospel: educated, uneducated, rich, poor, all nations, all ages, all cultures.
-Paul is eager to preach the gospel to the Christians at Rome (15)
THIS IS THE SURPRISE in the TEXT. Most of tend to think the gospel is just for non-Christians to hear and believe. And it certainly is that, but is far more than that it. It is good news for Christians to hear again and again and to grow into.
How is the gospel for Christians? How is it relevant for us? It is so in many ways.
1. It reminds us who we really are in Christ: we are a new creation, united to Christ.
2. It tells us the truth who God is toward us: God loves us and He has acted in grace toward us.
3. It stirs fresh love and affection for God: we see again how amazing God is.
4. It instructs me that I do not need to fear death, or trials or ruin in this life: Jesus defeated death at the cross.
5. It points me to the real LOVE of God, who in love sent His Son to die for me: defeats my doubts about God’s kindness.
6. It reorients me when I am in the pit of discouragement and tempted with despair: I have hope in Christ!
APPLYING THE GOSPEL TO OUR CONTINUED STRUGGLES
–JEALOUSY. In the gospel I’m reminded that only God can satisfy my heart, and that Jesus died for covetous sins and acts. He has freed me and leads me back to find my joy in God and to pray for our my neighbor.
-SELFISHNESS: In the gospel I see the one who deserved to be worshipped, humble himself out of love for us. Jesus died on the cross for my sins. Now I am helped to love my spouse, children, others selflessly.
-WORTHLESS CONTENT ON OUR PHONES (including PORNOGRAPHY): In the gospel I see how heinous my sin actually is, the sinless Son of God died on the cross of my sins. His death washes me clean, he leads me in holiness.
-SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS: In the gospel I see that I have no place to boast in myself before God, I am saved by God’s grace. This leads me to humble myself and not look down on others.
GOSPEL IS FOR NON-CHRISTIANS. God has made you and you were made for Him. But you have turned from God in your sins. God in his love sent His Son to die on the cross for your sins. If you turn from your sins and trust in Christ you will be forgiven and reconciled to God. You will begin the new life of actually knowing God and walking close to Him.