Unashamed of the Gospel (Romans 1:16-17)

Here’s the notes from my sermon on Romans 1:16-17, preached at Cross of Christ Fellowship (our church in Naperville). You can here the audio here.

“Unashamed of the GOSPEL” Rom 1:16-17                                                                                       

INTRO: The passage we are considering today changed the life of a man named Martin Luther. Martin was a Roman Catholic monk, and very zealous to be right with God. He worked harder, prayer longer, and confessed more than any of the other monks around him. But he never had peace. He saw the holiness of God and his own sinful state, and he was in despair and anguish over ever being able to do enough to be declared righteous before. Then, one day, Luther came to understand the amazing truth of the gospel as expressed in Romans 1:16-17: a person may become right with God through faith in Jesus Christ. Luther says that at the moment he understood this, he ‘was born again,’ and it was like ‘the gates of heaven were opened up to him.’
Today, we too consider the amazing truth of Romans 1:16-17: the gospel teaches us that through faith in Christ we might become right with God and experience salvation, not by any works we do, but by faith alone.
REVIEW: As a church we are working our way through Paul’s letter to the church at Rome. So far, we have only made it through the introduction of the letter. We learned that the gospel transforms lives, can be known and ought to be shared. It is good news for everyone and (unbelievers & believers). The GOSPEL is the GOOD NEWS from God about what God has done in Jesus Christ to reconcile us to Himself.
Paul is eager to get to Rome and preach this gospel message there, before he heads out to Spain and shares the gospel.
Here, in 1:16-17 we learn about Paul’s unashamed attitude toward the gospel, and why Paul is not ashamed of it.  Commentators believe that here Paul is formally introducing to us the theme of his letter, which is the gospel. This like the opening notes of Beethoven’s 5th symphony. They sound out in these verses, and then are unpacked and expanded for the rest of the letter.
***Friends, I hope you will see this truth with me today: the gospel is not something to be ashamed of, but to rejoice in.
HERE’S HOW PAUL LEADS US TO SEE THIS:
Three parts that fit together: First, Paul gives us his attitude toward the gospel (he is unashamed of the gospel); Second, Paul tells us why he is unashamed; Third, he explains how this is true, that we also may rejoice in the gospel and not be ashamed of it.

1. The gospel is not something to be ashamed of (16a)
In this opening clause, we learn about Paul’s attitude toward the gospel: Paul is “not ashamed of the gospel”
-Christians were tempted to be ashamed of the gospel in the 1st century.
                  –1 Cor 1:18-23 (it looked foolish and weak, but actually is the wisdom and power of God)
                              -Consider Paul’s own background
: Jewish believer who persecuted Christians.
STORY FROM MY LIFE: The SHAME I felt when as a teenage boy who messed up and exposed in front of the whole class.
-Christians are tempted to be ashamed of the gospel today because of accusations from the culture:
       -anti-science
       -homophobic
       -intolerant and not inclusive enough
      -Comfortable SUBURBIA, don’t bring up religion-mind set
-Paul shows us that the gospel is not something to be ashamed of, regardless of the pressures of our culture, or family, or friends.

2. Why Have This View of the Gospel? Why should we not be ASHAMED of the Gospel? (16b)
The answer is the GOSPEL is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes
-The POWER OF GOD FOR SALVATION
       -GOSPEL IS THE POWER OF GOD
                  -God worked his power in the gospel.
                              -NO ONE HAS POWER LIKE GOD
       -Power of God FOR salvation.
                  -SALVATION from what?
                              -OUR GUILTY VERDICT BEFORE GOD (We have all broken God’s law, we are guilty before Him)
                              -OUR SIN, WHICH ENSLAVES US
                              -THE WRATH OF GOD AND AN ETERNITY IN HELL.
                                          -Our good works cannot save us, our religious obedience, being in a Christian family.
      CAR BATTERY: A double AA will not work, it does not have the power. Our good works or religion will not work to save us, we need the power of God to be saved, and that is what we have in the gospel.
-TO EVERYONE WHO BELIEVES
       -Everyone who believes the gospel experiences salvation.
                  -This is why Paul is not ashamed of the gospel, he understands that EVERYONE who believes it will be saved.
                              -Jews who believe, Greeks who believe, Educated and uneducated, everyone!
*CHILDREN: Having Christian parents will not get you into heaven, and it does not make you a Christian. To become a Christian is a personal decision, and it is for everyone who believes. We so want you to believe.
-TO THE JEW FIRST AND ALSO TO THE GREEK
      -Church at Rome had both Jewish and Greek Christians, and Paul will address this more later.
                  -Here Paul reminds us that the gospel came first to the Jews, then to the non-Jews.

APP: Why should we not be ashamed of the gospel? Because the gospel is the POWER OF GOD for SALVATION FOR EVERYONE WHO BELIEVES!
      -There is nothing like. And it is extraordinarily great news.  It is relevant to EVERYONE for everyone needs salvation.CONSIDER: Your neighbor, your family member, your co-worker, your friend who does not know Christ. They can be experience the power of God for salvation if they believe the gospel. We don’t need to be ashamed of the gospel.

3. How is this So? (17)
Gospel is power of God for salvation for everyone believes because, in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith
-In the GOSPEL, a REVEALING takes placeis revealed
      (Gender reveal parties, cakes, gender reveal watermelon in FL)
                  -In the gospel a REVEALING happens.
-What is Revealed? The RIGHTEOUSNESS of GOD
      -RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD=God’s righteous verdict given to a sinner who stands before Him: Right status before God.
                  -How can we have right standing before God? In the gospel this is revealed.EXAMPLE: Someone from the congregation committing crime, and then being acquitted.
      -In Gospel, we are acquitted of our sin and declared righteous before God, because we are covered with Christ’s righteousness
-THIS HAPPENS NOT BY OUR WORKS, BUT BY FAITH: from faith for faith
                 
-This phrase means it starts and ends in faith.
FAITH=open hand that lays hold of Christ in the gospel.
                              -WE are justified by FAITH in Jesus Christ, NOT by our WORKS or ACCOMPLISHMENTS, or EFFORTS
                                          -See Phil 3:9
POSSIBLE OBJECTION: Paul is just invented a new concept.
ANSWER: This doctrine of being justified by faith is rooted in the OT      -Rooted in the OT (17b): Hab 2:4 as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”
                  -We see it Gen 15:6 as well.
                              -Jesus states it the same in John 5:24

IMPLICATIONS FOR US:
1. If you are not a Christian, we proclaim to you the gospel this morning.
Jesus Christ died for sinners. Believe on him and experience the salvation of God.

2. If you are a Christian, remember that the gospel is not something to be ashamed of
     
-We will be tempted to feel ashamed of the gospel. Recognize this and prepare yourself beforehand.
      -We don’t need to be ashamed of the gospel. It really is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes.
                  -There is nothing like the gospel, it is relevant to every person we ever meet,
                              -Here we see God’s love and grace toward sinners like us.

3. If you are a Christian, remember that the gospel is not only something not to be ashamed of, but to REJOICE in.
     
-Because of Jesus, you have a RIGHT STANDING with God.
                  -You cannot become more righteous, because you have Jesus’ infinite righteousness covering you.
                   (You can grow in holiness and maturity, but no right standing with God: you have been gifted Jesus’ righteousness)
      -No place for self-righteousness or looking down on others
      -No need no despair over our sin and failings, but look to Jesus.

CONCLUSION: The GOSPEL is not something to be ashamed of, but to rejoice in. May the Lord give us His grace not to be ashamed of the gospel this week, but share it with others and preach it to ourselves.

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