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Sermon 1 Romans 1 verses 1 thru 7 Laying the groundwork

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Bible Text: Romans 1:1-7

Subject: Groundwork

Title: Laying The Groundwork For Study


Biblical Orientation:

There are a couple of ways we could approach our study of this book, commonly called the greatest of all Paul's writings. It has been called his theological treatise. While the average epistle is 1,300 words, this one is over 7,100. It surely comprises much of the theology and phrases we use to describe faith

We could just begin in the very first lesson, start word-by-word, verse-by-verse, chapter by chapter, and work our way through. Or, we could take an overview of this great letter, why it was written, to whom, and where the author is headed or what he had in mind

It is convincing that without at least some understanding of the general purpose and dir­ection of the letter, without first getting an overview, that our study would not benefit us as much as we can benefit by spending a lesson or two to lay the groundwork

One theologian and scholar of Scotland said that the letter to the Romans is different than any of Paul's other church letters. It is different in the following ways:

1. Paul had absolutely nothing to do with the founding of the church at Rome. He had at this point, never been to Rome. This is a big contrast to his letters to Ephesus, Corinth, and Thessalonica. He had spent time in each of those cities

2. Since he had not been to Rome and had never preached to the congregation (or congregations) he was not dealing with them as he was with almost every other church letter. Rather, he is establishing doctrine. Another author says: “Romans is the nearest approach to a systematic exposition of Paul's own' theological position”

Sermon Orientation:

Now, let us get somewhat of a background, first of the church at Rome and of the letter itself. It is a letter of considerable worth, Martin Luther and John Wesley attribute their faith to its pages



A. Rome

1. Known as the “city of seven hills”

2. The center of the known world: “all roads lead to Rome”

B. Some Easy Eliminations

1. It surely was not Peter

a. In spite of Catholicism's claim that Peter was the Bishop of Rome and the “first pope,” there is no evidence in Scripture nor in history that Peter ever set foot in Rome

b. If he was the first bishop, he would have been in Rome

c. For Peter to have been at Rome and not have any mention in this letter, especially with 26 other people named in chapter 16, is totally unthinkable

2. It was not Paul

a. Paul had never made it to Rome

b. He had only expressed desire to go to Rome

C. The Probable Origin Of The Church At Rome

1. Acts 2:8-10 - Jews and Proselytes were in Jerusalem for the feast of Pentecost

a. Remember what happened at and immediately following Pentecost?

b. The gospel was preached and the first day about 3.000 souls were saved and thousands more in the days following

c. The time was 30 AD

2. Those Jewish converts and Gentile proselytes who got saved went back to Rome eventually

a. When they went back to Rome, they started churches

b. It would be obvious that Judaism and Christianity were not compatible; no doubt, they assembled separately from the unbelieving Jews

c. They, assembled in houses and carried on the teaching and preaching ministry in that way

ü Read Romans 16:3-5

3. Now whether or not the believers at Rome maintained several assemblies around the city or whether they congregated together, we do not know. It appears that the church is, however, the fruit of the Pentecost

4. Chapter 16 - How did Paul know so many at Rome if he had never been there and he was saved later than Pentecost?

a. Claudius, the Emperor of Rome, expelled all Jews from Rome in AD 49-50

b. They scattered from there back to Greece and Asia and there in the various churches, no doubt, Paul met them and apparently made many close friends

c. By AD 54 the situation in Rome had relaxed and the Jews who had been expelled, went back

d. Paul probably wrote this epistle in about 55 AD

5. We can imagine that those Jews who met Paul while they were in exile told him all about the hub city of the greatest empire in history and Paul had a great desire to preach in Rome, though he had never seen the place


Note: Seemingly better than any apostle, Paul understood that Jesus intended the gospel to go to the world. (Mark 16:15 & Acts 1:8) Is it not strange that the other apostles were there to hear Jesus give the Great Commission and Paul was not even saved, yet, he did more to get the gospel to the world than any of the others? Just notice further…

A. Paul Saw Rome As The Key To Reaching The Western World

1. Barclay: “Paul was ‘always haunted by the regions beyond.’ He never saw a ship at anchor but he wished to board her and carry the good news to man across the sea. He never saw a range of mountains but he wished to cross them and to bring the story of the Cross to men who had never heard it”

2. Notice 15:24 – Paul had not yet made it to Rome and he had his eyes set on Spain

3. This is amazing: the man had preached all over Asia Minor and Greece

a. However, cultural, and religious center of the world was Rome

b. Paul reasoned (led by the Spirit of God) that to get the gospel to the world, he must establish a good base at Rome

c. His desire was much farther than Rome

B. So Why Did Paul Fail To Go On To Rome?

1. Read 15:24-25 he had one more mission he felt he must complete before going to Rome

2. He collected and offerings from the churches of Greece, for the poor, famine, and drought stricken saints of Jerusalem

3. He thought that Gentiles giving to poor Jews would heal the breach between them

a. Paul felt that he must personally deliver that offering to Jerusalem

b. Then he would be ready to go to Rome

4. Therefore, until he could go to Rome himself, he took some time while in Corinth to write this letter

a. He sent it with Phebe, 16:1-2 who was headed to Rome

ü Cenchrea was just south of Corinth

b. That would have to do until he could go himself


A.  Paul Was Sending His Thoughts And Positions On Vital Doctrinal Matters

1.  Paul had enemies that would say his teachings were false

2.  He wrote so that they would know his positions

3.  Since they were written, there would not be any doubt as to what he said

4. Some of the things that we will study in the book of Romans

ü 1:18-32 The perversion of the revelation of God in nature

ü 2:1-16 The faulty condition of conscience as a moral guide

ü 3:9-23 The total depravity of man

ü 5:12-21 Man’s moral relationship to Adam

ü 6:1-11 The believer’s identification with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection

ü 7:7-25 The struggle of the two natures

ü 8:28-39 The plan of redemption

ü 9:1-11:36 The explanation of Israel’s unbelief

ü  12:1-2 The necessity of dedication

ü 13:1-7 The relationship of the believer to the government

ü 14:1-15:3 the principles of Christian liberty

B. Paul Also Wrote Because He Sincerely Wanted Them To Pray For Him 15:30-31

1.  He knew that his trip to Jerusalem with the offerings, would endanger his life

2.  Though he really wanted to go to Rome, he felt that he must first go to Jerusalem

3. Paul asks them to pray for his safety

4. Sure enough, he became a prisoner at Jerusalem and when he did get to go to Rome, it was not as he hoped, he was a prisoner there also


Our Purposes In Studying The Book Of Romans

To better know the theology we claim to guide our lives

To better know the Christ of the our salvation

To better live a God honoring life


Here is a division of the book:

Chapters 1 - 8 - Sin and Salvation

Chapters 9 - 11 – God and Israel

Chapters 12 - 15 - Practical Christianity

Chapter 16 - Personal Greetings

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