Faithlife Sermons

The Powerful Gospel

Romans  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Dismiss children from the worship center to the children’s ministry.
Good morning church! It is great to see each and everyone of you here. If you have your Bibles please open with me to Romans 1. We are continuing in our series through the first two chapters of Romans.
As you are turning there, I am reminded this morning of the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ. I know that in my own life there are many things to be ashamed of. I am sure that you can relate. I have been ashamed of things that I have said in the past that were not polite. I can think of moments in which I responded to situations in a manner that was not Christlike. Many of us can relate to one another in these aspects. These are things that cause us to feel shame and be ashamed.
Yet, in today’s passage of Scripture, Paul reveals the fact that he is unashamed of one thing and that is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Look with me at Romans 1:16-17
Romans 1:16–17 ESV
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”
Paul continues in his letter to the Romans closing up his greeting to them. In doing so, Paul reveals to us several key truths for our Christian walk.
Main idea: The Gospel is the power of God for salvation.
From this passage of Scripture, we will draw out three realities of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

The Gospel proclaimed saves sinners.

Paul has opened this letter to the Roman believers. In doing so, he has explained his apostleship, the Gospel, and explained his longing to be with these believers. Paul then offers this two verse extension to his greeting. Remember, he closed out the last section of verses by stating that he longed to come to the Romans in order to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ to them and to those in the area. Now, Paul explains why.
Romans 1:16 ESV
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
As Paul longs to come to preach the Gospel to them, he explains that he is first and foremost unashamed of the Gospel. This is quite a statement from Paul. The former persecutor of Christians is now the one proclaiming that he is unashamed of the Gospel that he so diligently opposed. This reveals the absolute power of the Gospel. The Gospel is a powerful message.
The greek word euongelion is translated Gospel or good news. The Gospel is good news indeed. The Gospel proclaims the redemptions story of sinners through Jesus Christ. The Gospel explains to us that every single person has sinned against a holy and righteous God. As God had created the entire universe, He place mankind within the Garden in order that they would have dominion over the earth. In giving mankind such authority, God gave out one command to not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. With that command in place, Adam and Eve were to exercise dominion or authority over the creation. However, satan was in the garden in the form of a serpent. He tempted Adam and Eve to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Upon that temptation, Adam and Eve fell by taking and eating the fruit of the tree resulting in immediate spiritual death that would be passed down to all mankind as descendants of Adam and Eve.
Though sin had entered the world, God ensured a plan for salvation from sin. This plan was in place from eternity past before he ever even formed the universe. God had a gracious and loving plan. He sent His very own Son, His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus was sent to earth being born of a virgin by the Holy Spirit in order that He would not be from the lineage of Adam. He is the second Adam. What Adam got wrong in the Garden of Eden, Jesus Christ got right in the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus lived a holy and perfect life. He never once sinned. As God would have it in His sovereign will, Jesus would be killed as a sacrifice for our sins. He lived up to God’s holy standard that we could not live up to. Then, He went to the cross of Calvary where He hung in agonizing death having His blood poured out for us. His blood purified us as He took our sins upon Himself and paid the price we deserve for our sin. He took God’s wrath upon Himself for us. He was then buried in a borrowed tomb, dead. However, He rose up from the grave after three days victoriously defeating sin, death, and satan. He did all of this to accomplish our salvation. It is God’s divine plan to save sinners, to save a people for His possession.
This is the Gospel. This is Good News. This is the message that Paul was unashamed of and we should be too. Not only is it a message that we should be unashamed of, it is the message that has the power to save.
Paul points out that this Gospel is the power of God for salvation. The Gospel is God’s message. He is the One who carried out this plan and orchestrated it. Mankind could not craft or carryout such a plan. God alone could carryout such a plan to save sinners. If mankind had of designed a plan of salvation, he would have designed something in which he could earn it. This is why the false religions are all works based. In Islam, you follow the five pillars. In Hinduism, you must practice asceticism or extreme self-denial in order to gain a better life after death. In Buddhism, we must follow the way set forth in meditation in order to earn nirvana. Each one of these false religions advocates for human accomplishment or earning salvation. This is because they were designed by man.
The true faith of Christianity outlines that humanity cannot earn salvation. Jesus Christ has earned it for them. God gave up His own Son to work in the lives of sinner to draw them to salvation by His Holy Spirit giving them the gift of faith in order to repent and believe in Christ Jesus for salvation. None of this is the work of man. It is all a work of God.
Ephesians 2:1–10 ESV
1 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
The sinner gets to boast in nothing as he contributed nothing to his or her salvation. It is all a work of Christ Jesus. He has done it all. It is by grace that we have been saved. It is not of our own doing. We cannot boast in earning it. We boast in Christ Jesus and the fact that He earned it for us.
You may have hear the analogy before that our salvation is like the drowning man in the middle of the ocean. God throws out the life saver, and the drowning man has to grab it to save his life. We forget as Voddie Baucham points out, we were spiritually dead. Dead people do not grab. They are lifeless, dead. We were spiritually dead and could do nothing to save ourselves. Christ did everything to save us.
This is the Gospel that Jesus Christ has done everything to save us from our sin. It should cause us to be unashamed of the Gospel as we recognize that the God who created the entire universe decided to pursue us in salvation. He loves us so much so that He sent His only Son to die in order to save us. This is the Gospel! It is the saving message.
Sinful humanity responds to the Gospel in one of two ways. The Gospel is either the power to save or is considered foolishness.
1 Corinthians 1:18 ESV
18 For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
1 Corinthians 1:24 ESV
24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.
The Gospel is the power of God for salvation to those that are called effectually to salvation in Christ Jesus. What I mean is that the Gospel has the power to save. Upon hearing the Gospel proclaimed, those who respond with repentance and faith do so by the inner working of God to bring them to salvation. Those who reject the Gospel are those that are perishing without Christ Jesus.
Understand that no other message has the power to save, only the Gospel.
Thomas Schreiner states, “The preaching of the word does not merely make salvation possible but also effects salvation in those who are called.”
1 Thessalonians 1:4–5 ESV
4 For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, 5 because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction. You know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake.
The Gospel is universal in its reach, yet limited in its effect. The Gospel is for every single person on the face of the earth. It is the only saving message for all of mankind. Yet, it is only effective for those who repent and believe in Christ Jesus. Only those who hear the Gospel with ears to hear and call upon the name of Jesus Christ will be saved. The Gospel is the power of God for the salvation of sinners. It should beckon us to be unashamed just as Paul was.

The Gospel reveals God’s righteousness.

Paul has detailed how he is unashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Now, he furthers his explanation in the first part of verse 17.
Romans 1:17 (ESV)
17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith,
Paul states that in the Gospel the righteousness of God is revealed. The word righteousness means in right standing or to be right. God is righteous. He is right in all things and just. Yet, Paul states that the Gospel reveals the righteousness of God.
You may ask, how does the Gospel reveal His righteousness? That is a stellar question.
God’s righteousness is revealed in His saving of sinners. This is a saving righteousness. God in His righteousness chose to save sinners. God declares for sinners to be right because of the Gospel. The Gospel reveals that God is a righteous God. He is right and just in all His way.
Paul outlines that this righteousness is revealed to us in the Gospel. God graciously reveals Himself to us in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Moreover, He reveals it by faith. It is our faith in Christ Jesus that declares us righteous.
By our faith in Christ Jesus, we are declared righteous before God. We are sinners apart from Christ Jesus and declared to be righteous by our faith in Christ Jesus. The Gospel reveals the saving righteousness of God as it declares us righteous before God through faith.
Thomas Schreiner writes, “When Paul speaks of God’s righteousness in declaring sinners to be in the right before him by faith in Christ, he has in mind the gift of righteousness - God’s declaration of not guilty.”
Paul is calling for these Roman believers to understand that through faith in Christ they stand before God not guilty for their sins. This is because they have been paid for by Jesus Christ. He paid the penalty for our sin.
2 Corinthians 5:21 ESV
21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
We are made righteous by Christ Jesus. He knew no sin, yet became sin in order that we would be declared righteous in God’s sight. When we belong to Christ Jesus, He takes care of us. Paul is making this known to the Roman believers and to us. We are righteous before God because of Jesus Christ. This again solidifies the fact that Christ has done all of the work in saving us. Likewise, it is His righteousness imparted to us.
Philippians 3:8–9 ESV
8 Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith—
Application: Paul knows that his righteousness is purely from Jesus Christ based upon faith. Our righteousness is just like Paul’s it is rubbish. It is worthless. Paul had every reason to boast in his works. In Judaism, Paul would have been considered superior in righteousness. However, he recognized the reality that apart from Jesus Christ he is totally unrighteous. Every amount of good works does nothing to gain him right standing before God. Every good work that we do does not merit us righteousness. Nor does it merit us salvation. We need Christ’s righteousness. Only through faith in Him can we be declared righteous before God.
The Gospel reveals the righteousness of God in the salvation of sinners.

The Gospel calls for right living.

Paul concludes this greeting with a quotation of Old Testament Scripture.
Romans 1:17 (ESV)
as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”
Paul is quoting Habbakuk 2:4.
Paul seemingly closes out these two verses with a command from the Old Testament. Those who have been purchased by the blood of Jesus Christ are called to live by their faith in Him.
Our lives must be characterized by our faith in Christ Jesus. This calls for our lives to be like Jesus’s life. This is a life of faith in Him that causes us to bear fruit. We have the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ and faith in Him. We should live unashamed of the Gospel.
Because we have this glorious Gospel, we should be like Paul. We should be unashamed to the point of living by faith in the One who has saved us!
Sometimes, we live like we are ashamed of the Gospel.
You may say, “How do we live ashamed of the Gospel?”
We live ashamed of the Gospel whenever we say we trust in Christ without living in total submission to Christ. We live ashamed of the Gospel whenever we come to church on Sunday to check it off of our list of things to do this week. We live ashamed of the Gospel whenever we haven’t thought about it during the week through reading God’s Word and prayer. We live ashamed of the Gospel whenever we have uttered its truth from our lips to another person. We live ashamed of the Gospel whenever we change our terminology for the terminology of the world allowing for the world to define things instead of the Word. We live ashamed of the Gospel whenever we seek to be politically correct sacrificing biblical correctness.
We do these things all the time. An even sadder reality is that there are churches that are ashamed of the Gospel so much so that they do not preach it. They are fearful they may offend someone. Please understand, the Gospel is offensive. It is offensive because it is truth and goes against our sin-nature. Regardless of what the world thinks, the church must cling to the offensive Gospel. May we, The Church at River Mills, never compromise on the Word of God and the true Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Gospel is not social justice. Jesus did not come to save us from oppression. He came to save us from our sin. The Gospel is not Jesus loves me how I am. The Gospel is Jesus loves me despite what I am, a sinner. The Gospel is not health and wealth. The Gospel is self-denial and carrying our cross for the cause of Jesus Christ.
May we be a church that is rooted, built, and grounded upon the true Gospel of Jesus Christ crucified and resurrected.
How do we apply this to everyday life?
Teachers in the room, live our your faith in front of your students. Encourage them and display a Christlike attitude that they will notice.
If you work in the factory or on the farm, know that your work is for God’s glory. Don’t be ashamed to take about your church and Jesus’s work in your life around others. Look for the opportunity to talk about your faith as you work.
Retirees, Living unashamed of the Gospel calls for prayer. We oftentimes forget how important prayer is. I would encourage retirees to pray often. Pray for your church family individually. Pray for lost souls to be saved at The Church at River Mills. Pray for our community to be reached. Pray for those in the hospital.
Living lives unashamed of the Gospel calls for us to display Christ at all times and let the chips fall where they may. Do not shy away from the faith stand firm upon the foundation that is Christ Jesus.
Collectively, we as a church will be unashamed of the Gospel whenever we devote ourselves to it.
This begins with the pulpit. This pulpit must never be shy about proclaiming Jesus Christ’s finished work for us. We will devote ourselves to preaching the Word as long as I am your pastor. We will never shy away and we will never waver in our biblical devotion.
Discipleship must be centered upon God’s Word and commitment to the local church. The Gospel must be taught in our small groups and Sunday School classes started in January. We will be unashamed of the Gospel whenever we are studying it together.
Fellowship will help us be unashamed of the Gospel whenever our time together is that of building one another up and not tearing one another down. Whenever our time is monopolized by praying for one another instead of pestering and provoking one another with disagreement and disparagement.
May we be a church unashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ that has the power to save and has saved us.
Share the Gospel with unbelievers.
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