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Romans 1:1-4

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Verse by verse study through Romans

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Romans 1:1–4 ESV
Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord,
Romans 1:1–7 ESV
Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord, through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations, including you who are called to belong to Jesus Christ, To all those in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Intro:
slide 3 - handout

The book of Romans is a rich commentary on the Gospel: The Good News of Jesus Christ.

If you knew nothing of doctrine. If you only knew about Jesus and have experienced salvation in Him…
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Then Romans would be the book, where that salvation is fully explained.
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Romans is the book that defines your desperate need for salvation.
Romans is the book that teaches us grace, and sets us free from the burden of works and legalism.
Romans teaches us the importance of faith over law.
Romans defines sin and death and pronounces our victory over them.
Romans explains how a life submitted to Jesus produces a transformed character.
Romans defines our responsibility as citizens, to our ruling authorities.
And finally, Romans shows us a new kind of law to live our lives according to: The law of love.
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Romans is unique from many of Paul’s other letters, because, he’s not writing as a reaction to sin in the church
-He has not heard that they are giving themselves over to sexual sin.
-He has not heard that they are abandoning grace for legalism.
-He doesn’t feel compelled to give correction or rebuke.
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He is simply letting them know… that their new life in Jesus, is going to be rich… liberating… fulfilling… peaceful… joyful… and more fulfilling than any lifestyle they’ve left behind.
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The Roman church was not founded by Paul. He has never been there. He is only acquainted to a few of their members.
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-And yet… even as a stranger from afar, Paul shows us what it means to have true Christian love and concern for the members of Christ’s body.. who are far off.
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God placed a burden on Paul’s heart for the church in Rome. We saw this come to fruition in his life from our study in the book of Acts.
-He was intent of going to Rome.
-He spoke of it… he wrote of it… he planned his travels accordingly..
-And yes, God did bring it to pass..
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But not in any way that Paul expected.
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It took a while.... but Paul’s journey to Rome did come to pass… but not as a passenger… not as a free man.. not on his own terms…
-But rather… Paul came into Rome as a prisoner… through years and months of detainment and shipwreck.
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When he wrote this letter, he had no idea what was in store for himself.
-This letter was written… most likely, from Corinth, on his way to Jerusalem.
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While there, he considered the state of this church, where the Gospel had brought new life..
++and yet, they had received little to no instruction on how that new life was supposed to be lived.
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The content of this letter is rich. Due to the very nature of it, there is little room for fluff. Paul has to be very precise and direct with his topic.
-For this reason, I imagine we will be spending a long time studying through this letter.
-In fact… today… we will only be covering Paul’s initial greeting.
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In fact… most of this study, will be focused on verse 1 alone.
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slide five
Romans 1:1 ESV
Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God,
In Paul’s day, letters began and ended quite differently than they do now.
-We start out a letter by addressing the recipient..
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-And we end a letter with our own name.
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In Paul’s day, it was the other way around. - You began a letter with a greeting which explained who you, the writer of the letter was..
-At the end of the letter, the recipients were named.
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As we read through Paul’s letters, we often see that he is either defining himself as a servant, or as and Apostle.
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-Generally speaking, if he’s writing to a people who are in need of correction, he declares his calling as an apostle.
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The Galatians were confronted because they were abandoning grace for law… so Paul declared to them, that he was an Apostle.
The Galatians were confronted because they were abandoning grace for law… so Paul declared to them, that he was an Apostle.
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The Ephesians needed instruction on unity, marriage, family life, and spiritual warfare. They needed to receive this instruction, so Paul declared to them, that he was an Apostle.
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The Philippians received a letter of encouragement. Paul was thrilled to hear of their work, and said many things to bolster their faith… so to them, he was a servant.
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Sometimes he wrote as the Apostle, and sometimes he wrote as the servant.
-If he’s speaking to a people who
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To the Roman church, he was both apostle and servant
To the Roman church, he was both apostle and servant.
To the Roman church, he was both apostle and servant.
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The very first thing that Paul identifies himself as, is a servant… But the word ‘servant’ does not do this work justice.
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A more accurate word to use here, would be: slave.
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Paul is literally saying, …that he is a slave of Jesus Christ.
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And to our modern culture… this might seem like a strange thing to say… but Paul lived in a world where slavery was normal...
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Paul lived in a world where slavery had been a norm, uninterrupted, for thousands of years..
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And ironically, Paul was was a profound leader in a movement, called The Church, that would play a leading role in bringing an end to slavery in many parts of the world.
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I know it seems strange that people would culturally accept something so horrible as slavery and consider it the norm… -But humanity IS in fact capable calling something that is evil, good.
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I pray that one day we will look back upon things like abortion and internet porn with the same kind of horror that we look back upon slavery with now.
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There were different kinds of slavery throughout history,
--but to the Jewish people, there was a form of slavery provided for in the law… that looked quite different that we we read about in our history as Americans.
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In , Moses gives instructions on this matter.
-If a person was is in debt, instead of being arrested and put in a debtors prison with their family… -they had a chance to work it off.
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They weren’t made slaves against their wills… but rather, they chose to do it. They made themselves available to be purchased.
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The term of their slavery, was to be six years. At the end of which, their debts were considered paid, and they were set free.
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However, there was a provision made for the slave, if they did not want to be set free.
slide eight
Exodus 21.
Exodus 21:5–6 ESV
But if the slave plainly says, ‘I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out free,’ then his master shall bring him to God, and he shall bring him to the door or the doorpost. And his master shall bore his ear through with an awl, and he shall be his slave forever.
If a slave determined… that it was better to remain in the service of their master, than to be set free… out of love and devotion for their master- then they were given the option to be a ‘slave forever’.
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This meant… that the slave had a master who was loving… who was compassionate… who looked out for the welfare of the slave… who had admirable character… Who probably came off as being more like a family member than a master...
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So, if the slave decided to stay, out of love… there would be some kind of a ceremony… their ear would be pierced… and they would be that master’s slave for life.
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When Paul calls himself a “servant of Christ”, this is what he’s saying: “I have chosen to be a slave for life to Christ Jesus.”
When Paul calls himself a “servant of Christ”, this is what he’s saying: “I have chosen to be a slave for life to Christ Jesus.”
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A slave for six years, working off a debt… is always looking forward to the day that he is set free.
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-Paul is not this kind of a slave. He is not working off a debt. His master paid his debt in full. He is not looking to be set free. His freedom is only found in Christ.
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In other cultures, you were a slave, if you were a member of a conquered race. You were a slave if you were born into the wrong family. You were a slave, because your parents were slaves.
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-You were property, and you had no choice. You worked because you had to. There was no guarantee that you would be treated well. There was no law protecting you.
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But, when Paul says, that he’s a slave of Christ Jesus… -He is not referring to this kind of a slavery.
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slide ten
-We who belong to Christ are not His against our will. We came willingly.
slide eleven
-We who are Christs are not slaves because of our birth or nationality. He makes no distinction of race, gender or position.
We came willingly. We who are Christs
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-We who are Christs are NOT forced to labor for His benefit. Instead, we serve freely, because He is worthy of it.
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THIS IS WHAT IT MEANS TO BE A SERVANT OF JESUS.
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Paul revisits this concept in chapter six.
slide 13
Romans 6:15-
Romans 6:15–18 ESV
What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness.
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Biblically speaking: something owns you.
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Either we serve sin… THAT IS: we serve our desires… we serve our pride… we serve our lust… our greed… our anger.. our fear… our addiction… we serve the parts in our minds and bodies that are broken… we serve the pressure that our culture puts upon us. - Sin tells people what to do… THEY DO IT…
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And in the end… it leads to death.
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But… if we serve Christ… if we serve righteousness… we do it, because we realize… that Jesus is worthy of it.
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slide 14
If you don’t think Jesus is worthy of being served, then you don’t understand who Jesus is.
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slides 15-17
1 Corinthians 6:20 ESV
for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.
1 Peter 1:19 ESV
but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.
1 Peter 1:18–19 ESV
knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.
Galatians 3:13–14 ESV
Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”— so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith.
We belong to Jesus. He is the kind of master, that… if we truly understood the grace, love, and compassion that resides in him… We would fully and immediately… give ourselves to Him completely.
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The problem though… however… is that sometimes, over time… we slowly and subtly, replace Jesus as the King of our life.
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We can sing it. We just did a little bit ago… We declared Him King… But… is it true?
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Our lives will reflect the reality. Our motives… our activity calendars… our bank accounts… our treatment of others… our worship… our knowledge of the scriptures… the things we place our priorities in… our ability to walk in forgiveness…
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We know what a servant looks like.
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You see, Paul understood… that being a slave of Jesus… was not a restriction on his life.. - it was not an obligatory burden. It was not a loss in respect to the worldly things he could have been doing…
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Paul understood… that the only place a person can truly find freedom… is by knowing, loving, receiving from, following, and serving: JESUS.
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We need to move on… We are coming to the end of this message, and we are only six words into the book of Romans..
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Paul said that he was a servant… who was:
Think about those things? Ar
slide 18

…called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God

The term APOSTLE has taken on new meaning in the church. A pastor once told me he wanted to get into more of an Apostolic ministry...
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So I asked, “Oh, do you want to go into church planting… or into the mission field?”
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The term Apostle means: “One sent with a message, or, one sent with a mission.”
Jesus sent out the disciples with a mission and a message… it was called: The Great Commission…
-Therefore… as those who were sent by Jesus… they were Apostles of Jesus.
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Paul also had a personal encounter with Jesus and he too was sent out with a mission and a message by Jesus..
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Therefore Paul… was also an Apostle of Jesus.
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But in the modern day sense… in the church… and APOSTLE… is something different. -When I pressed this pastor who spoke of an APOSTOLIC MINISTRY…
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He defined it as a ministerial leadership. An apostle is one who oversees and trains other ministers.
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Did the Apostles in the Bible do that? Yes they did. BUT THE CONTENT OF YOUR MISSION AND YOUR MESSAGE, does not define Apostleship.
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Slide 20
Apostleship is defined in the recognition that you have been sent, and in the determination to carry out the mission that you have been given.
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So here’s what Paul is saying… as he is seeking to get the attention of the Roman believers…
-He wants them to hear and receive his instruction...
-So he’s letting them know… that they can and should listen to him.
-They can trust him.
Why?
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Because Jesus called his willing slave for life, sent him out, and gave him a mission.
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Paul’s life as a Christian… his 20 or so years of ministry… they are a testimony of his faithfulness to carry his calling… as both: slave, and apostle....
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-He knows what he’s talking about. It’s been his all and all.
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He’s a slave for Jesus… he’s sent out with a mission… and thirdly… he is set apart for the gospel.
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The Gospel.... a word that means: “Good News”…
-If we try to turn the Gk work into an English word, we get the word “Evangelical”
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A word that has been hijacked in some sense by modern day church culture..
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But in spite of what it means to some… and in spite of how it is interpreted culturally or politically..
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The word means gospel… the word means ‘good news’… and in the true sense of the word: I am 110% EVANGELICAL…
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I believe… 110% in the good news… of the prophesied life of Jesus… of His message… His ministry… HIs death, His resurrection… and His gift of salvation.
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That is the EVANGELICAL PLATFORM… and there is no room for anything else on that platform, except for JESUS.
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Paul was set apart to be an evangelical… and in the following verses… we confirm… that the only thing on his platform: WAS JESUS:
SLIDE 21
ROMANS 1:2
Romans 1:2–4 ESV
which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord,
And there you have it… in verses 2-4, Paul gives us a summary of the Gospel.
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This is the message that Paul was sent out with. This is the message that inspires his devotion as a slave. This is the message that he has been set apart to.
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CONCLUSION:
Folks… the Gospel is not a self help message. It’s not something that is intended to make you feel better. It is not mere inspiration. It’s not a Sunday contemplation.
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It is not really the Gospel in our hearts and in our minds… - unless we are fully given to it. .. completely surrendered.
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Paul wasn’t bragging on himself in verse one. He was merely telling his readers who he was, because of the Gospel.
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The Good news of Jesus was worthy of his complete devotion… It was such a worthy message, that he was willing to carry it all over the known world, no matter what the hardship.
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Today, I want to leave you with this challenge… and it’s a big challenge for me too… -It’s a simple question:
If I cannot say, that I am a sold out servant of Jesus… then, what happened to the Gospel in my life?
WHAT HAVE I REDUCED IT TOO? Is Jesus still wonderful? Is grace still amazing? Is the redemption that I’ve been given freely, still an enormous gift?
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If not… if it’s become a hum-drum thing… if it’s taken a back seat to all of my other ‘life stuff’. If I have usurped the throne of my life, and evicted Jesus… then why?
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And if we can ask these questions honestly… then we can also repent of them honestly… and walk out of here, without the guilt… we can be set free, and put things back in the order that is fitting.
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Let’s ponder these things as we close today. Don’t let it pass. We need to be servants… in more than word only. We need to be separated from the world, and separated unto the Gospel, in more than words only.
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pray.
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