A series of sermons from the book of Romans and I'm titling that series on Romans gospel  power. And the theme of the book of Romans is really stated in Romans 1:16-17. I am not  ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God, for the salvation of everyone who  

believes first for the Jew, then for the Gentile, for in the Gospel, a righteousness from God is  revealed a righteousness that is by faith, from first to last, as it is written, The righteous shall  live by faith. The Gospel is the power of God, for salvation. I was reminded of that. Recently,  at a meeting, I came across somebody that I had met a number of years ago. His name is  Charlie. And Charlie was a man who grew up going to church. And at the age of 18, he ditched church, he left, he wanted nothing to do with it. And for the next 30 years, had absolutely zero to do with church or God, he lived a very wicked life. He did many things that he was  ashamed of later on, he got into alcohol, he got into drugs, and he just lived, in a way totally  opposed to God for years and years, and years. And he says that one day, he was in his yard,  with a bottle of booze in one hand, and a vial of drugs in the other. And suddenly, he was  thrown to his knees. And he knew that Jesus Christ was grabbing him. And that the Lord was  calling him out of his wickedness, and breaking the bonds of all the addictions that were in his life. And he never touched any of that, again, it was an extraordinary deliverance, and one  where he wasn't even looking for the Lord. And all of a sudden, God just came to him. And  Christ seized him. And about two years after that, after he had begun going to church again,  and living in a Christian way he sensed a call to preach the gospel. But he did not have the  money or the opportunity to get training as a preacher. And one day he was going to church.  And there was a guest preacher named David Feddes. And I was preaching in his church, and I mentioned something about Christian Leaders Institute, which I had just begun to work with  as provost, and professor and I mentioned that we provided free ministry training. And Charlie was curious. So he talked to me after the service, and he enrolled, and he was one of our  early students. And he completed a lot of his studies. And he kind of wondered where he  would have opportunities to preach. So he talked to his pastor about it. And his pastor said,  well, with your history, you're not probably going to be preaching in our church. And so  Charlie was kind of discouraged and wondered what he ought to do. And we talked to him a  little bit and said, Charlie, just preach wherever they'll have you. So he went to a place, he  lived near, Grand Rapids, Michigan, he went to Guiding Light Mission, a place for drunks and  alcoholics. And he started preaching there to people who needed to be set free from alcohol  and drugs, he started preaching in some nursing homes, because, you know, they didn't  object too much to his past, they didn't always know about it. And after a while, he was  preaching with such power and authority that the congregations kind of wanted to start  hearing him. So he would preach as a guest in many different churches. And about a year  ago, three different churches called him to be their pastor. And so he chose to be the pastor  of one of those churches, kind of a small and struggling church, but it's changing and people  are coming and he's seeing lives changed through his ministry, somebody whose life was a  mess a terrible mess, whom God is using, in a powerful way. The gospel is God's power for  salvation, the reality of Jesus Christ, when He comes into a life, it's amazing what he can pluck you out of, and turn you into. And that's what we see when we read the gospel as it's  revealed in the life of Jesus Christ, as you see it coming about in the book of Acts coming into  people's lives. And as you see it explained in the letters of the New Testament, Acts tells a lot  about Saul of Tarsus, and then his conversion into Paul. And the letters reveal the great mind  and heart of Paul, when when you get into the letter, though this letter to the Romans, be  careful that you don't just think that it's the great genius and this brilliant mind who's coming  with all these difficult terms that you have To get figured out, this is a man who was seized by  Christ, who knew the power of the gospel, who was called by Christ. And that's what I want to  focus on this morning with you the fact that he was called by Christ and that we are called by  Christ. He begins the letter by saying, Paul, a servant of Christ, Jesus, called to be an apostle,  and set apart for the gospel of God. The Gospel he promised beforehand, through His  prophets in the Holy Scriptures, regarding his son, who has to his human nature was a  descendant of David, and who, through the Spirit of holiness, was declared with power to be  the Son of God, by His resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ, our Lord, through him and for  his namesake, we received grace and apostleship, to call people from among all the Gentiles 

to the obedience that comes from faith. And you also are among those who are called to  belong to Christ Jesus, to all in Rome, who are loved by God and called to be saints, grace,  and peace to you, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ This ends the reading  of God's Word. And God always blesses His Word to those who listen, Paul, that's the first word of this letter. He's the man who's writing it. But that was not always his name. Who is Paul,  who is this guy, writing this letter? Well, he says, I'm a servant of Jesus Christ, and servant is  really the nice word really means slave, I am owned by him, I have to do whatever he says.  And for him, it's a privilege to be owned by Jesus and to do whatever he says, I am called to  be an apostle, and set apart for the gospel of God. Who is this man whom God called to be an  apostle and set apart for the gospel of God? Well, let's just hear a bit of it in Saul's own words, later on, when he's speaking to an audience, he speaks of what he was, as a young man. He  says, I'm a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, that was a Roman province, a Roman colony. And so  his birth there made him a Roman citizen, which had certain advantages. But he was always a Jew. But he says, I was born in Tarsus of Cilicia. But I was brought in this brought up in this  city, Jerusalem. So he's speaking to some people in Jerusalem. He says, I was actually brought up here, I studied under Gamaliel, who was the greatest teacher of the scriptures in Israel of  the time, and was thoroughly trained in the law of our ancestors. I persecuted the followers of this way to their death, arresting both men and women and throwing them into prison. Now,  these statements of Paul about the time when he was Saul tell us some important things. Saul was a young man during the time of Jesus life on Earth, a bit younger than Jesus. He was  probably 25, mid 20s, when he became a Christian. And Saul was brought up in Jerusalem  under Gamaliel. And that means that he wasn't just taught the ways of the Father's. That  means he also lived in Jerusalem during the time of Jesus ministry. He was in Jerusalem, when  Jesus went in, and threw all the money changers out of the temple. He was in Jerusalem,  when Jesus said, Woe to you scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. And he was a Pharisee. He was there. He was among the scholars. And so he knew very well what was going on with  Jesus Christ, and with his apostles. The only trouble was, he was against all of it. But this does tell us at least one thing, the teaching of Jesus was really quite familiar to him. The stories  about Jesus, and His miracles were quite familiar to him. He may very well have been there,  hearing Jesus in person at times, and witnessing Jesus being crucified and being among the  mockers, because after all, he was a Pharisee of Jerusalem during the ministry and death of  Jesus Christ. And his reaction was to kill as many Christians as he could, or throw them in jail,  because he was strongly opposed to it. And one of those that we read about in detail was  Stephen. Stephen was a man full of faith in the Holy Spirit, and he was preaching of Jesus  Christ in a way that people couldn't refute him. And so he was seized by the leaders and  charged with blaspheming against God. And speaking against Moses, Stephen gives a speech  explaining how the scriptures have showed the development of God's plan of salvation. And  then he says, You have always resisted God and His prophets, and you even killed the one  whom God sent the righteous one. So he got right in their face, and told them exactly what  they had done wrong. And that, of course, set the tempers really boiling. And then he said, I  see heaven opened, and Jesus at the right hand of God, he saw directly into heaven, he saw  Jesus, and the glory and power of Jesus. And that just infuriated his persecutors even more,  and they pelted him with rocks until he died, and the one who was in charge of the whole  operation, and who took care of the coats of those who were stoning Stephen was Saul. And  as Stephen was dying, he said, he saw Jesus. And then he said, Lord into your hands, I commit my spirit, do not hold this sin against them. Well, now, if you had been among those after the  murder of Jesus, you would have heard him say, Father, forgive them, for they know not what  they do. And you would have heard him say, father into your hands, I commit my spirit. what  a what a thing that must have been to, to hear Stephen say those things and have his face lit  up like an angel and seeing Christ at the right hand of God, and for Saul, it really troubled  him. And when you get troubled, you either change or you get nastier, and he got nastier. And so he went to the chief priest, and he started persecuting even more, because you know,  what happens when you kill people, some of them leave town. And that really was a problem,  because when they left town, they started telling people all over the place about Jesus. And  so it got harder to stifle and to wipe out the Christians because now they were going to other 

places. So Saul gets orders from the high priests to go to Damascus, and he's going to arrest  any Christians, he can find there. And so he travels on a road from Jerusalem to Damascus.  And there on that road. He's called out of being who he was, he hears a voice. And he sees a  blinding light from heaven, and he sees someone in a vision. And the voice says, Saul, Saul,  why do you persecute me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads. Goads are things that  use to jab oxygen along to keep them moving. And Jesus is saying, Saul, you are really kicking against the goads here, these goad I mean, he's heard the teaching of Jesus, he has seen the  Great Martyr Stephen, die with a vision of glory, and with prayer for forgiveness, for his killers, all these things, even though he doesn't want to admit it have been troubling him. And it's  hard for him to fight that. And finally, Jesus just breaks in and says, Okay, that's enough. It's  hard for you to kick against the goads. Why are you persecuting me? And Saul asks the  question, that is the question of all questions. Who are you, Lord, He knows that this vision  from Heaven and this glory, and this brightness has to be the Lord. But who is he? And the  answer is, I'm Jesus whom you are persecuting. Now, that is bad, bad news. When, when you  are the one who is going around killing Christians, and you find out that you are persecuting  the Lord of Glory, that the one you've been hating and trying to stop, and you've been his  worst enemy is the one who reigns on the throne of heaven. This is not a pleasant discovery.  And, and he is flattened. He can't see for three days he has this sight of Christ. But as a  simple man, it's just blinding for him. And so he finds out who Jesus is. And he finds out who  he is. He is the enemy of the Lord. And when you've prided yourself your whole life, on being  God's servant on being one of the best, and the holiest of men, a keeper of the law, a teacher  of others, and you find out you're an enemy of God. What a shattering experience, but where  God shatters, he also puts back together again, only into a brand new man. And when Jesus  calls he doesn't just Call Saul out of his wickedness or condemn him. He says, I have  something in mind for you. I have appeared to you to appoint you as a servant and as a  witness of what you have seen of me. And what I will show you well, there's some good news.  He's not just condemned. Christ has appeared to him to make him somebody and something  different I am sending you to them to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light  and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me. When Jesus calls, he brings this tremendous  grace of forgiveness. No matter who you've been, no matter what you've done. It can all just  be gone when Jesus says so. But he doesn't just bring forgiveness, he brings a new purpose, a new you. And so, from being the worst persecutor and killer of Christians, he is going to be  called to bring people from darkness to light from Satan to God, so that they too can be  forgiven. So they too, are among those set apart by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. If you've  been saved by Jesus, it's not just a matter of being forgiven, and not being on the hook  anymore for your sins. God has set you apart for something, he has his purposes for you.  Now, he's going to make you who he always intended you to be, for the first time you're going to be who you're really supposed to be. And Saul is called to serve and to bring the gospel.  Well, what shortly after Saul has this vision, a man in Damascus named Ananias, has a vision  and hears the Lord Jesus speaking to him. And Jesus says, I want you to go to a man named  Saul, for he's praying and Ananias says, Isn't that the guy I heard about? Isn't he the one who  was coming here to kill us? And you want me to go to him? And Jesus says, This man is my  chosen instrument to carry my name before the Gentiles and their kings, and before the  people of Israel. So he tells Ananias, that's what he was, you're right. That's what he was. But  don't worry. He's something else. Now I chose him to bring my name to the nations and even  to Kings. itself. And so, Ananias goes to Saul. And the first words out of his mouth are, though, I mean, the whole gospel in a sense is in those two words, Brother Saul, you know, yesterday,  you were a killer, a murderer, the worst enemy of the church. I'm calling you Brother Saul.  Now because Jesus says so. And Jesus has made you somebody different. And so we're  brothers now, Brother Saul the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road, as you were  coming here has sent me so that you may see again, and be filled with the Holy Spirit. Saul  has been baptized, he's filled with the Holy Spirit, He enjoys a meal together with Ananias.  And the first thing that he does is, he began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God. It didn't take him long to know that he knew what Jesus had been claiming all along. 

He may have been among those crowds that were furious when Jesus said before Abraham  was I AM, and who sought to pick up stones to kill him, because he knew Jesus claimed to be  the Son of God. But now he knew beyond a doubt that Jesus was telling the truth. He had  seen him as the exalted Son of God in glory. And so he goes straight out to the synagogues.  This man who had gone there to kill the Christians, goes into Jewish synagogues to announce  that Jesus is the Son of God. And he grew more and more powerful. And he baffled the Jews  living in Damascus, by proving that Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah. So now suddenly, Jesus is  Son of God and Messiah, and he's telling everybody in sight, who will listen to him, well, not  many of them want to listen. And there are people in Damascus who want to kill him. So the  Christians in Damascus hear about this plot, and the gates are being guarded by the ruler of  Damascus. So they get Saul in a basket and let him down in a basket through an opening in  the wall and Saul hightails it out of town. And he pretty much vanishes. He just goes away.  And the book of Acts doesn't tell us all of that, because it's telling its own story for its own  purposes. But when you're reading Acts 9 you won't read this. But there's a interval in there  where Paul tells us something in Galatians, he says, I didn't consult any man, nor did I go up  to Jerusalem, to see those who were apostles before I was, but I went immediately into  Arabia, and later returned to Damascus. And then after three years, I went up to Jerusalem to  get acquainted with Peter and stayed with him 15 days. So he spends a three year period in  Arabia. Now Arabia doesn't necessarily mean what we today call the Arabian Peninsula, but  there's all those desert areas throughout Syria, and what we call Arabia and Iraq and  somewhere in those desert areas, Paul spent quite a bit of time for three years We sometimes think of the apostles, as Peter, James, John and the others who spent three years with Jesus  watching him do his miracles, and hearing him preach. And so they're real apostles and, and  Paul is an apostle, who really didn't know Jesus the way those others did. Well, think, again, as I've mentioned already, he lived in Jerusalem as Jesus enemy, but he still saw and heard the  ministry of Jesus from an enemy's point of view. And now from a friend's point of view, he  spends three years in the desert, getting better acquainted with Jesus, and thinking through  what it means that he is the Son of God, what it means that he is the Messiah, what it means  that he can change his worst enemy into an apostle. So he is away in Arabia with Christ. In a  sense, the apostles that we often call the disciples of Jesus, get three years with Jesus before  his death and resurrection, Paul spent three years learning after his death and resurrection.  And then when he returns, he goes back, gets acquainted with Peter and learns more of what  the apostles have been up to. But Paul makes this point in Galatians, because he says, I  received my gospel directly from Jesus Christ. I am an apostle of Christ, and I received it  directly from him just as the other apostles did. At any rate, when he comes back from his  time in Arabia, and has spent a little bit of time back in Damascus again, then he went to  Jerusalem to meet with Peter and the other apostles. And it says in Acts 9, at first, when he  came to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples, but they were all afraid of him, not believing  that he really was a disciple. So he's been converted some time has gone by, he hasn't ever  been to Jerusalem before. But when he gets there, they have a pretty clear memory of this  man. If you have seen somebody murdered, you don't forget who the murderer is. And when  he comes back, they think he's just pretending to be a disciple so that he can find out who  they are and hunt them all down. But Barnabas took Paul and brought him to the apostles, he  told them how Saul on his journey had seen the Lord that the Lord had spoken to him and how in Damascus, he had preached fearlessly in the name of Jesus, good old Barnabas full of faith  in the Holy Spirit. His name means Joe encouragement, Joseph, the son of encouragement,  and he stands up for Saul and a lot of other people don't want anything to do with him. And  so the apostles welcome him, and they have conversations with him. And then Paul is  worshiping in the temple one day and like the prophet Isaiah of old, he again sees the Lord  high and lifted up. And in the temple. He says, When I returned to Jerusalem was praying at  the temple, I fell into a trance and saw the Lord speaking, quick he said to me, leave  Jerusalem immediately, because they will not accept your testimony about me. Then the Lord  said to me go, I will send you far away to the Gentiles. So he's gotten acquainted with the  apostles. But as soon as he starts preaching in Jerusalem, they are trying to kill him again, not the apostles, but the enemies of Jesus. And then Saul has this vision. So again, he has Jesus 

speaking to him directly about his call to preach the gospel to the nations. Another vision that Saul has around this time before he really launches his major missionary journeys. He tells  about it, 14 years later, when he's writing to the church in Corinth, he says, I know a man in  Christ, and here he's being modest, speaking about Himself. I know a man in Christ, who 14  years ago was caught up to the third heaven. The first heaven is kind of the atmosphere you  breathe. The second heaven is what we call space or the stars and all that the third heaven is  heaven, heaven, the abode of God and His angels. He says, that he was caught up to heaven,  whether it was in the body or out of the body, I don't know God knows. And I know that this  man was caught up to paradise. He heard inexpressible things, things that man is not  permitted to tell, because it was such a great vision, God sent him a thorn in the flesh, just to  keep them from getting too proud of all the visions he had. But the point I want to make here  is that Paul went to heaven and back. Some people wonder whether Paul really knows what  he's talking about when he's talking about Jesus. And when he's telling the gospel, he not only knows what he's talking about, he knows a lot more than he's allowed to talk about. That's,  that's the truth of the matter about Paul, when you hear some knuckleheads say, or I follow  Jesus, but not Paul. What in the world are they talking about? There is nobody that ever lived  on this earth who knew Jesus Christ, or who knew the things of heaven better than Paul did?  He had been to Heaven and back, literally. And so when he speaks, he knows what he's  talking about. And there are other things he knows that he doesn't even talk about, because  he's not allowed to. At any rate, these are some of the things that happened to Paul when he  says he was called by Christ. And after all of this, then he's back in Tarsus where he was born.  And he's ministering in a modest way there. But Barnabas has seen some great things  happening among Gentiles in Antioch, and he needs some help. So he goes to Tarsus to look  for Saul and when he found him he brought him to Antioch. And so they're ministering for a  year they're in Antioch and Saul and Barnabas are working together. And then once again, the Lord communicates while they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, set  apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them. So after they had  fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off. And that's the  launching of the great missionary journeys of the Apostle Paul. Now all of that took place, Paul had a real, his call, and then the developments that came afterward really prepared him for  his missionary journeys, and to write of the grace of God. When you hear by grace, we have  been saved through faith, and it is not of ourselves. It's the gift of God, when you read that in  to the Letter to the Ephesians. Is he just giving us a theologians definition of grace? No, he  knows by personal experience, I persecuted the church of God, and tried to destroy it, I am  the least of the apostles, and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I  persecuted the church of God, but by the grace of God, I am what I am. And his grace to me  was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them, yet, not I, but the grace of God  that was with me. Grace isn't some airy concept to be dissected. It was the love of God, the  undeserved love of God that had seized him and made him what he became by the grace of  God, I am what I am. If you're ever haunted by an ugly past, or by things you've done, it's not  an unhealthy thing to say, I don't deserve to belong at all. It is, in fact a healthy thing to  remember where you came from. But also remember, by the grace of God, I am what I am.  And his grace to me was not without effect. Even though I was once a blasphemer, and a  persecutor, and a violent man, I was shown mercy, because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. The grace of our God was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. So again, you're going to hear in the letter to the Romans a lot of talk about  grace, and faith, and love. And he received it all freely, because God gave it to him when he  didn't deserve it at all. Christ, Jesus came into the world to save sinners of whom I am the  worst. But for that very reason, I was shown mercy so that in me the worst of sinners, Christ,  Jesus might display His unlimited patience, as an example for those who would believe on  Him and receive eternal life. Why did God choose Paul, there may have been certain reasons  such as his great genius, and his tremendous energy, and all of that, that would let it later  really enhance his great mission. But the main reason Jesus chose Paul was to show what he  can do. And to show that nobody is too far gone. He took the man who was trying to wipe out  the Christian movement, and made him the greatest pioneer of the Christian movement. And 

he did that for a reason. Saul explains it or Paul explains it, that he might display his unlimited patience as an example. So that he was not just a great thinker of the church, but he was  item A in the exhibit of what God can do. The Gospel is the power of God for salvation, the  man who wrote that didn't just say it, he showed it because of what had happened in his own  life. So that's when when Paul starts his letter, Paul a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an  apostle and set apart for the gospel of God. There's a lot packed into those sentences. He was called, he was set apart. What went into that? Well, in the year 34, roughly there, these dates  could change by a year or two, depending on who's doing the estimating, but probably within  a year of Jesus, death and resurrection. He's converted and called by Jesus. He preaches in  Damascus, same year, he's a way in Arabia, he's, he's about if you want to go by his age, he's about 10 years younger than the number I have there. The number 34. So he's probably 24- 25 When he's converted, and that's about so it's probably 10 years born 10 years after Jesus.  And he preaches in Damascus. He's a way in Arabia, he meets the Apostles in Jerusalem. So  all of this he's had this tremendous vision of Christ, calling him the three years in the desert  with the Lord Jesus Christ. A personal acquaintance with the apostles. A vision of God to again the temple specifically again sending him to the Gentiles, his ministry in Tarsus, Cilicia, Syria  for a little while there, then his visit to heaven, and then his Antioch ministry with Barnabas,  and that's where the Holy Spirit has now set apart to me Saul and Barnabas, for the ministry  to which I've called him in any sent out to other nations. So he's called by Christ and prepared in amazing ways. And all of this. Is that just the fact that when you hear, Paul, don't do it I just mentioned earlier say, Well, that was Paul, I prefer Jesus. I know of a conversation where a  woman was trying to defend just the approval of all kinds of sexual sins in the church, and not to say anything about this. But look what it says here in Romans 1, and look what it says in I  Corinthians. And she said, but that was Paul, he was a man, I follow Jesus. Oh, so you have a  better pipeline to Jesus than the man who was to heaven and back, and who spent three  years just learning from Jesus Christ in the desert and had direct vision of the Lord Jesus  Christ speaking to him. He says, I want you to know, brothers, that the gospel I preached is  not something that man made up, I did not receive it from any man. Nor was I taught it.  Rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ. If you want to reject the words of Romans, or any other epistle of Paul, you are rejecting the words of Jesus Christ. You also need to know  this. Paul's letters were written before. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John were written, okay. They were actually written before those accounts of Jesus life. And as I said, Paul lived in Jerusalem, at the time of Jesus. So again, who was Paul? Well, he's a servant of Jesus Christ, he's a slave,  Jesus got him, Jesus bought him, Jesus paid for him. Now Jesus has got him working for him.  And so in humility, he's just a servant, a slave of Jesus Christ. But at the same time, he's  called to be an apostle, and set apart for the gospel of God. So he has this combination of  humility and authority, he knows that he doesn't deserve it. He knows how bad he was. But  he knows what he is now too. And he knows that he speaks with the authority of Jesus Christ  himself, because he received the word of God. And this is a model, even for leadership still  today not to think that we're in the same league as Paul, in terms of the directness of a  revelation we've received. But when you are bought by Jesus Christ, you ought to be humble.  At the same time, don't be ashamed. I'm not ashamed of the gospel, because it's the power of God, for the salvation of everyone who believes. So there is this humility, but also this  authority, the sense that I have discovered, that's one of the things that made Charlie the  man I mentioned at the beginning of the message so powerful. I mean, he didn't, he wasn't  the most articulate man, or the greatest intellect that ever was born. But when he spoke, he  spoke with authority, with the authority of a man who had been saved with the authority of a  man who knew Christ, and who could tell people on the authority of Jesus Christ, you too, can  believe and be saved. Who's Paul, a servant and apostle, set apart for God. And one of the  things about Paul he can say more and saying hi than you, and I can say in a sermon. So in  the process of saying hi, he says, Well, I'm an apostle set apart for the gospel of God, well,  not. While I'm saying, Hi, anyway, here's who Jesus is regarding his son, who as to his human  nature was a descendant of David, and who, through the Spirit of Holiness was declared with  power to be the Son of God, by His resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ, our Lord, quick  glance, just at that little sentence of saying, Hi, the Trinity is there. The gospel of God the 

Father, regarding his son, our Lord Jesus Christ, and it's the spirit of holiness, who raised him  from the dead. You have the career of Jesus there, his incarnation coming into the flesh, the  original Greek has, as to its human nature doesn't just say that it says, you know, according  to the flesh, the Word became flesh. So it's speaking of Jesus becoming flesh in the flesh. He  

was a descendant of David, that is, he was the one who was destined to be the one to fulfill  God's promises that David would always have a king on the throne, the Messiah. So in his  human nature, He's the Messiah, and his resurrection shows that He's the Son of God, as well. And the spirit of holiness is the instrument though that God used God the Father sent the  Spirit to raise the Lord Jesus Christ. from the dead, so, Jesus, human, one of us, Jesus, Son of  God, risen in power, Jesus Christ our Lord. That's who Jesus is. He's the image of the invisible  God, the firstborn of all creation. Paul says elsewhere by him all things were created in  heaven on earth, visible and invisible are the thrones, rulers, dominions, authorities, all things were created through Him. And for him, he's the for all things in him all things hold together.  He is the head of the body, the church, he's the beginning, the first born from the dead, so  that in everything he might be preeminent, I mean, that's Paul's heart that Jesus is  preeminent is first in everything. He says that Jesus emptied himself. In Philippians 2. He said, though he was equal with God, he did not consider equality with God something to be  grasped but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being found in human  likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself, and became  obedient to death, even death on a cross. Therefore, God exalted into the highest net place,  and gave the name that's above every name, that at the name of Jesus, every knee should  bow, in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father, this was what thrilled Paul to explain the unsearchable  riches of Christ to proclaim the one who had saved him. And as he had asked on the road,  who are you? The answer was, I am Jesus. And the rest of his life was spent exploring the  mystery of what that meant, of who Jesus is, and who He is as son of God, who he is, as Son  of David, who he is as Lord and member of the Holy Trinity with God, the Father and God, the  Holy Spirit. So I thought I'd just say hello. And while I'm saying, Hi, anyway, this is who Jesus  is. And while I'm saying hi, wouldn't want to leave out a few things about the gospel. So he  says, I was set apart for the gospel of God, he can't mention the gospel without going on a  riff, the gospel of God. And that right, there he's said a mouthful. It comes from God doesn't  come from us, did Saul decide that he wanted to be saved, and that he was gonna follow  Jesus. It was the gospel of God, God who chose him and set him apart and designed the whole gospel in the first place. So God is the source of the gospel. The gospel was promised  beforehand through the prophets in the Holy Scriptures. So one way to check out whether  what Paul saying is true is go back to your own scriptures. And again, and again, in Romans,  he's going to explain how in the faith of Abraham, in the forgiveness of David, in the  teachings of Moses, these things all point to the fact that the Gospel is true, that were saved  by faith and God's promised, Savior. So the scriptures are the proof of the gospel. And of  course, as we've already seen. It's regarding His Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord, and he unpacks  that at some length, and then through him and for his name's sake, what's the goal of the  gospel? The goal, the gospel is for his name's sake, for the glory of God, for the glory of Jesus  Christ, God gave him the name that's above every name. And so the gospel is to glorify and  honor the god who saved and through his name through him and for his namesake, we  receive grace and apostleship. It's all there. In a nutshell, he received grace because that's  the worst of sinners. God saved him anyway. And he received apostleship he was sent, that's  what Apostle means to be sent. And he was sent, he received grace and apostleship to call  people from among all the Gentiles. Oh, there's another thing about the gospel. I'm a Jew. But  I'm called to bring it to the Gentiles, people of every nation, the gospel is for the Jew first also  for the Gentile. And what's it for? What's the impact of the gospel? Well, among other things,  the obedience of faith, the obedience that comes from faith. There's a famous story about  that. French tightrope walker Blondin, who would do various dangerous feats on tightropes,  and one of his acts was to walk across a rope on the Niagra or cross the chasm at Niagara  Falls, with no net and you know, you slip off that rope, you are gone. So he walks across  Niagara a few times, and then he would walk across, you know, pushing a wheelbarrow. He 

would do various acrobatics while on the rope. And then he would go to the edge and ask the  crowd now who believes that I can walk across this rope on Niagra falls and they would all  agree obviously he believes and then he said and who would like me to carry you? And  suddenly the voices got a little thinner, because nobody really wanted to trust him that much. Well, with Jesus, it's not quite enough to say what I believe some marvelous things about  Jesus, the obedience that comes from faith means I'm in it with him, I'm going to follow him,  I'm going to go where he tells me to go, I'm going to do what he tells me to do. So the gospel  transforms who you are, and brings you to the obedience that comes from faith. Who are we?  Well, you also, he's explained who he is who Jesus is, what the gospel is, who are you? Well,  you also are among those who are called to belong to Christ Jesus, You're called the belong.  That's a tremendously he's a slave who belongs to Jesus. Well, so are you to all in Rome, and  to all of us, for whom this letter is preserved, who are loved by God? Do I even need to  comment that what a thing that is the man who was the worst enemy of God says, you're  loved by God. And you're called to be saints, you are the holy ones, you are the ones who are  set apart. The saints are not one or two people here are there who the church declares to be a saint. If God calls you, he declares you to be a saint, Grace and peace to you, from God our  Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. loved by God calls as saints set apart to be his holy  ones. That's who we are. Paul always starts his letters, not just by saying who he is or who  Jesus is, but he always tells us who we are. And you need to know that. You need to know that you are loved by God, no matter what has happened to you, no matter how you've been  wronged or violated, there is somebody who loves you. You are loved by God, and never  forget it. No matter what has made you feel dirty or polluted. You are a saint, when you are in  Christ. And this is why this man who had met Christ on the Damascus Road who had been to  Heaven and back, this is why he would always say, I want to know Christ and the power of his  resurrection, I want to know him better. I consider everything rubbish, compared to knowing  the Lord Jesus Christ. He said, I no longer live, but Christ lives in me in the life I now live, I live  by faith in the Son of God who loved me, and gave himself for me. And it wasn't just for him.  He said, Christ in you, the hope of glory, I pray that Christ will dwell in your hearts through  faith, and that you being rooted and established in love will have power to know how wide  and long and high and deep is the love of Christ. To be in Christ, that's what he says, You're  among those called to belong to Jesus Christ. Paul's favorite word for being a Christian is in  Christ. If anyone is in Christ, he has a new creation. And one of his second favorite words is  not with you're in Christ, but also Christ is in you. You belong to him. He belongs to you. Who  are we? We are Christians. We are people who are in Christ. And Christ is in us. Well, that's  how Paul says hi. And that is, you know, he just had the he had the gospel, he had Christ just  flowing from him, erupting from him. And when you know Christ, you will want him only  nothing else counts more. Dear Lord, we thank you for your amazing work in the lives of your  people through the centuries, we praise you for the great display of your grace in the apostle  Paul, and all the things you taught him and that you have to teach us as well through him and through the great words of God that were given to him. We pray, Father, that you will help us  to rejoice in Gospel power, that we will know that we are called by Christ called out of  wickedness and sin called into being sent by you commissioned by you to be your servants to  be full of Christ, to be at a whole new realm where we are in Christ. And so Father, fill us with  this joy and help us to be your ambassadors in everything we do through Jesus Christ our  Lord. Amen.

Última modificación: martes, 21 de diciembre de 2021, 13:05