Year 3 Day 160
Read — Romans 1:1
Message - Alan Burke
This week we are starting a new series and will be focusing on the opening verse of Romans. I’m trying to avoid the temptation to do a Martyn Lloyd Jones and if you are wondering who he is or what that is check out the Wikipedia entry concerning him and read under the heading ‘Later life’. Today you’re getting the opening verse, or rather a bit of the opening verse, actually you’re getting one word and we will spend the rest of the week working through this one verse, well some of it anyway.
The book of Romans opens with the same word in the Hebrew as is in our English translations or rather an anglicised version of the word in our English translations which is Paul. We all know who Paul was, we are familiar with him because of what we are told in the book of Acts. Hiram over the past few weeks in Lissara has been taking us through some of his background and the transformation that there was in him, but suffice to say for now the same Paul who wrote this letter once instilled fear in believers. Paul was a man who hated christians, who went from house to house dragging men and women and putting them in prison. But one day while on the way to destroy the church in Damascus, the resurrected Jesus Christ spoke to him. In short Paul turned from his sin and trusted in Christ, Paul was once an enemy of Christ was now a follower of Christ. After his conversion we learn of the fear that the church had of him coming, yet the Lord had transformed his heart.
It is here we start the study of Romans, because God used Paul, led him to write this letter to the church in Rome carried along but the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:21). This man who was once the enemy of God, became a man whose life and experiences were used by God for his glory and became one of the greatest missionaries that there has every been. This letter as it begins Paul introduces himself to the church and tells of the message of God, the gospel of God that he had preached throughout his travels. This letter is filled with such rich theology, such wonderful theology that comes from God, teaches us about God and leads us to God. Before we dive into it we are introduced first to Paul a sinner who was saved by grace!
The conversion of Paul was a dramatic one, and people love to hear of the dramatic, the life that has been transformed dramatically by the gospel, who have been saved from a life of scandalous sin. More often than not though how the Lord called us to himself is not like that, we haven’t had a Damascus road experience, instead we have experienced God’s covenant promise like Timothy (2 Tim 1:1-5) who always knew the scriptures.
For our children our hope and desire, our prayer should be that they will never know a day that they did not know and love the Lord our God and that they will be spared from a life of such flagrant sin, that even if they do not know the day and hour that they were saved that they would know Christ and what He has done for them. When God calls us to himself, no matter what age it is a testimony to God’s loving and compassion, that while we were still sinners Christ died for us, that we who are His enemies by nature, would be His children. Paul, this one die hard fanatical Jew, well educated, who once thought Jesus deserved to be crucified for such blatant blasphemy against the Lord God, who desired to see his followers wiped out, happy to torture and kill them died calling himself a servant! He was changed by the power of the Gospel and so should we be, each one of us it should be evident in our lives as we live for the risen Jesus Christ.
Q38 What benefits do believers receive from Christ at the resurrection?
At the resurrection, believers being raised up in glory, (1 Cor. 15:43) shall be openly acknowledged and acquitted in the day of judgment, (Matt. 25:23, Matt. 10:32) and made perfectly blessed in the full enjoying of God, (1 John 3:2, 1 Cor. 13:12) to all eternity. (1 Thess. 4:17–18)