The Gospel according to Paul - more than that: "the Gospel of God" (Romans 1:1)
Good News, promised in the Old Testament, centred on the risen Christ (Romans 1:3-4)
Paul speaks as "a slave of Christ, called as an apostle, singled out for God's Good News" (Romans 1:1).In love, God has given us Jesus, the Gospel, the Scriptures.
He shows us our sin. He shows us our Saviour. He leads us into a new life of salvation, holiness, service and eternal life. At the heart of all this, there is faith in Christ.
How do we come to faith in Christ? How do we find this new life in Him? We read the Scriptures, beginning with the Old Testament and reading on into the New Testament. In the Scriptures, we find the Gospel. It's Good News - not good advice. Christ is the Good News. "We have heard a joyful sound - Jesus saves."
This is for today. It's for us. The Saviour came for us. He died for us. He rose for us. He lives in us - He's more than our example. He will come again for us. This Gospel has power - to save us, now and for eternity. This is for everyone - everyone who believes. Each of us must make our personal response - faith in Christ.
We live in the present. We are shaped by the past. We plan for the future. The Gospel speaks to us in the whole of our life - past, present and future. It speaks of peace, grace and glory (Romans 5:1-2).
Each of these blessings are given to us through our Saviour.
* Peace comes with forgiveness.
* Standing in grace - Jesus' words about the wise man (Matthew 7:24); standing against Satan, with the sword of the Spirit (Ephesians 6:10-11,17).
* Glory - eternal life (in Romans 6:23 - note the contrast between "wages" and "gift." It's not so mush 'glory for me.' It's sharing in the glory of God. It's giving glory to God.
At the heart of this Gospel of peace, grace and glory, there is God's love and Christ's death (Romans 5:8). This is Good News!
The Gospel tells us about the triumph of Christ for us. Here, we must not go straight to His resurrection. we must also speak of His crucifixion. Without his crucifixion, His resurrection has no meaning.
The Gospel also tells us about His triumph in us. This is the ongoing work of the Lord in our hearts and lives. This work continues throughout our life.
What will it mean to be "more than conquerors through him who loved us" (Romans 8:37)?
* First, it means that the victory is Christ's, and He gives it to us.
* Second, His victory is complete, but we need to grow into His victory.
* Third, we need to learn to stand upon the fact of His victory, and not our changeable feelings.
In Romans 8:38-39, we read about many enemies. They will always be with us, they will not go away - but there is something else that will always be with us: "the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." We must never forget this.
God's way of salvation is so different from man's attempt to put himself right with God (Romans 10:3).
Christ is our Saviour (Romans 10:4). What is "the message" (Romans 10:8)? - Christ. Everything is centred on Him. Without him, there is no Gospel.
* Confess Him as Lord - He is Lord, He's my Lord.
* Believe in your heart - The resurrection: the heart of our faith. Without the resurrection, we may have admiration for Jesus - the man, the example, the teacher, but we'll never have anything more than that. Jesus is more than our example and our teacher. He's our Saviour and Lord.
"How welcome..." (Romans 10:15) - We should give thanks to God for those who have preached the Gospel to us. When God's Word is preached, God is at work (Romans 10:17). There is power in God's Word. It's the power of the Holy Spirit.
God's Word and God's Spirit - This is what creates our response, our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Jesus died for us. We must live for Him - "this is your spiritual worship" (Romans 12:1).
The changing of our way of living begins with the changing of our way of thinking (Romans 12:2). this changing of our way of living isn't something that we do by ourselves. It's the "mercy" and "grace" of God that changes us (Romans 12:1,3).
How does He change us?
* He brings us into fellowship with other believers - "one body in Christ" (Romans 12:4-5).
* He gives us opportunities to serve Him (Romans 12:6-8).
How are we to serve the Lord?
We don't begin with the things that we do. We begin with the people that we are (Romans 12:9).
We're reminded of the Sermon on the Mount. This is more than Jesus' teaching. It's a description of Jesus. we are to become more like Jesus. It's Jesus living in us and through us. We look beyond Jesus' life - to His death and resurrection.
* Romans 12:19-20 - Jesus didn't defend Himself. He stood in the place of sinners.
* Romans 12:21 - Evil did not triumph over good. Jesus rose from the dead.