Saturday, May 20, 2017

When the Dust Settles


During the first year after God poured His Spirit out on Believers at Pentecost, things got a little crazy in Jerusalem. People were being healed by just the shadow of Peter touching them and large numbers of Jews were converting to Christianity. The Church was growing and the religious Jewish leaders were losing control. It was notably evident that these followers of Jesus had power and were gaining great popularity.

Acts 5
17 ¶  Then the high priest rose up, and all those who were with him (which is the sect of the Sadducees), and they were filled with indignation,
18  and laid their hands on the apostles and put them in the common prison.
19  But at night an angel of the Lord opened the prison doors and brought them out, and said,
20  “Go, stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this life.”
21  And when they heard that, they entered the temple early in the morning and taught. But the high priest and those with him came and called the council together, with all the elders of the children of Israel, and sent to the prison to have them brought.
22  But when the officers came and did not find them in the prison, they returned and reported,
23  saying, “Indeed we found the prison shut securely, and the guards standing outside before the doors; but when we opened them, we found no one inside!”
24  Now when the high priest, the captain of the temple, and the chief priests heard these things, they wondered what the outcome would be.
25  So one came and told them, saying, “Look, the men whom you put in prison are standing in the temple and teaching the people!”
26 ¶  Then the captain went with the officers and brought them without violence, for they feared the people, lest they should be stoned.
27  And when they had brought them, they set them before the council. And the high priest asked them,
28  saying, “Did we not strictly command you not to teach in this name? And look, you have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this Man’s blood on us!”
29  But Peter and the other apostles answered and said: “We ought to obey God rather than men.
30  “The God of our fathers raised up Jesus whom you murdered by hanging on a tree.
31  “Him God has exalted to His right hand to be Prince and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins.
32  “And we are His witnesses to these things, and so also is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey Him.”
33  When they heard this, they were furious and plotted to kill them.
34  Then one in the council stood up, a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law held in respect by all the people, and commanded them to put the apostles outside for a little while.
35  And he said to them: “Men of Israel, take heed to yourselves what you intend to do regarding these men.
36  “For some time ago Theudas rose up, claiming to be somebody. A number of men, about four hundred, joined him. He was slain, and all who obeyed him were scattered and came to nothing.
37  “After this man, Judas of Galilee rose up in the days of the census, and drew away many people after him. He also perished, and all who obeyed him were dispersed.
38  “And now I say to you, keep away from these men and let them alone; for if this plan or this work is of men, it will come to nothing;
39  “but if it is of God, you cannot overthrow it — lest you even be found to fight against God.”
40  And they agreed with him, and when they had called for the apostles and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go.
41  So they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name.
42  And daily in the temple, and in every house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ.

Peter and John were some characters to be reckoned with in those early days. They gave the established religious leaders fits. The High Priest and the Sanhedrin council in Jerusalem were enraged to see so much attention being poured out on these illiterate and unlearned leaders of this group of Believers in Jesus. Gamaliel, a well respected teacher of the law, gave good advice in Acts 5:39: “If this is not from God it will simply fade away in time and if it is of God, you don’t want to be found fighting against God!”

Meanwhile people were being healed and the numbers of converts to Christ were growing daily. Unexplainable miracles were commonplace and undeniable. There was such a rush of opposing passions in Jerusalem and God kept growing the Church in numbers and strength.  

Fast forward about 60 years to about AD90 - a lot had happened:
·        The Roman government had taken over the persecution of these Christians as a national affair. (AD64)
·        These Apostles which had been so exalted among the people and of whom the High Priest had complained had all been martyred for their faith. They died in various ways and in many countries spreading the Gospel … all that is except one … the Apostle John.
·        Not only were the initial leaders and followers of Christianity disbursed or dead and off the scene but also Jerusalem had been overrun by the Romans; the Temple had been destroyed, (AD70); the Jews taken captive and now there were no complaints and no complainers. The dust had settled a bit.
·        All of those things which were such irritants and so controversial in Acts 5 were now far from the thoughts or concerns of anyone who had been present in that council at Jerusalem …
·        They were all gone except the Apostle John …
·         60 years later, nearing the turn of the first century, around AD90, this elder Apostle John is the last living Disciple of Christ. He is a long way from the shores of the Galilee where he and his brother James decided to follow a man named Jesus. John lived to be an old man and lived in Ephesus, more than 1000 miles from Jerusalem and the Galilee where he was born and walked with Jesus. All that happened 60 years earlier in Acts 5 is but a memory. The dust had now settled.

It took a few years but when the dust settled and John was the only one left standing, he had something to say. John did not focus on healing, prosperity or world evangelism … John wanted to talk about relationships. John’s goal was to tell Christians how they could please their Father God.

1 John 1
1 ¶  That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life — 
2  the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us — 
3  that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.
4  And these things we write to you that your joy may be full.
5 ¶  This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.
6  If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.
7  But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.
8 ¶  If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
9  If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
10  If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.
1John 2
1 ¶  My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.
2  And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.
3 ¶  Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments.
4  He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.
5  But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him.
6  He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.

When the dust settles …
·        Everyone will know who was right and who was wrong.
·        Things which seem so important now may not be so important then.
·        The one question will be: “Did I please God?"
·        Every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord!

Perhaps we should refocus our priorities and realize what’s important before the dust settles! What’s important? Our relationship with the Father.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Great Power & Great Grace


On the day Jesus was arrested, beaten and crucified, His closest followers went into hiding. They were confused and afraid. The disciples expected something completely different than the death of their Messiah. After His resurrection, Jesus appeared to the 11 several times and caused them to understand the plan of God and their part in the continued work of reaching and teaching the lost.

Over the initial 40 days after the resurrection Jesus appeared to more than 500 people and proved Himself alive from the dead with power and glory. When the time came for Jesus to ascend to His throne to await the time of His second coming, He gave strict instructions to His disciples.

1.   Tarry in Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high.
2.   Go into all the world, evangelize and equip others to continue the work of God until I come again.
3.   Powerful signs, wonders and miracles will accompany those who believe in Me.

Jesus was raised from the dead on a Sunday. Jesus ascended to heaven on a Sunday. And on the next Sunday after His ascension, only 50 days after the crucifixion, God sent the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. This promise came upon all those who had obeyed Jesus’ initial instructions to wait together in Jerusalem until they were filled with the power of God.

While on earth Jesus told His disciples that He was with them but shortly He would live in them. Jesus spoke of the necessity for Him to go away so that the Father could send the Holy Spirit. Whatever ceremony took place in heaven when Jesus arrived to take His place on the throne we can’t tell but one thing we can tell, one week later, when the day of Pentecost had fully come, there were 120 men and women who believed in Jesus and were saved by the grace of God through their faith waiting in that upper room on Mount Zion. --- Well, let’s read from Acts 2:

Acts 2  NKJV
1 ¶  When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.
2  And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.
3  Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them.
4  And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

Note: Continue to give the account:
·        People were visiting Jerusalem from all around the known world.
·        Those 120 who were locked up for fear came out of that upper room with power!
·        3000 people were saved that day because they believed the Word which was preached by Peter concerning Jesus.
·        Many returned to their homes in other cities and countries and spread the Word giving birth to Churches and initially fulfilling the Great Commission.
·        Some no doubt remained in or returned to Jerusalem to become disciples of those Apostles of Christ who had walked with Jesus for 3½ years.
·        Acts 2:42 tells how the Church was growing and happy.
·        Things were going great as they often do in the initial startup of a new congregation. Such excitement and expectation permeated the Church and it must have seemed as if it would never end. (well it hasn’t ended yet, but it did get a little harder for some along the way…)

Acts 3
1 ¶  Now Peter and John went up together to the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour.
2  And a certain man lame from his mother’s womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms from those who entered the temple;
3  who, seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, asked for alms.
4  And fixing his eyes on him, with John, Peter said, “Look at us.”
5  So he gave them his attention, expecting to receive something from them.
6  Then Peter said, “Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.”
7  And he took him by the right hand and lifted him up, and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength.
8  So he, leaping up, stood and walked and entered the temple with them — walking, leaping, and praising God.
9  And all the people saw him walking and praising God.

Things just couldn’t have been better.
·        Because of this healing a very large crowd gathered to see the man and to hear Peter explain about this evident power as he preached on the Temple Mount that day.
·        This wasn’t done in secret but in the open and it got the attention of the Temple authorities.
·        Acts 4:4 says that about 5000 men were saved that day.
·        However, come evening Peter and John were arrested and the next day they were questioned about their doctrine.
·        Seeing that a notable miracle had been done the authorities could not do much only they threatened Peter and John and forbid them to preach or teach in the name of Jesus anymore.
·        Then they threatened them severely and let them go. (I like what the Bible has to say about these proceedings)

Acts 4
13  Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus.
14  And seeing the man who had been healed standing with them, they could say nothing against it.

When Peter and John were released from jail they immediately found the Believers gathered and they reported everything to them. Let’s read:

Acts 4
23 ¶  And being let go, they went to their own companions and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said to them.
24  So when they heard that, they raised their voice to God with one accord and said: “Lord, You are God, who made heaven and earth and the sea, and all that is in them,
25  “who by the mouth of Your servant David have said: ‘Why did the nations rage, And the people plot vain things?
26  The kings of the earth took their stand, And the rulers were gathered together Against the LORD and against His Christ.’
27  “For truly against Your holy Servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were gathered together
28  “to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose determined before to be done.
29  “Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word,
30  “by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus.”
31  And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.
32 ¶  Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common.
33  And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all.

The great Power of the Holy Spirit was evident among those Believers in the early Church and that same Power is available to Believers in the Church today.

We have only one example of how Church should be. The New Testament is a snapshot of only 40 years, one generation. Those first 40 years of evangelism and discipleship were accomplished by simple, ordinary, often uneducated and illiterate followers of Christ who believed the message and opened their heart in prayer to be filled with the Power of the Holy Spirit. Then, they went gave witness of the resurrection of Jesus with great power and great grace was upon them all. Go and do likewise!

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Mother’s Day


Today is a very special day in the good old USA, today is Mother’s Day.

In the beginning of time as we know it, God created the heavens and the earth from things which did not exist as far as our human understanding can imagine. After God spoke the world into order and created the sky and the dry ground, the mountains and streams, the animals and birds and fish, He then made man in His own image and placed them in a garden paradise which He had planted for them and established laws to govern the universe for all time.

Since Adam and Eve, God has limited life as we know it to only be possible through the process of birth. One living organism gives life to another. In as much as we can understand, life begins because some other life of like kind spawns it. Allow me to cut to the chase this morning and simply say that nothing is born of itself. Life begets life. Everything and every person born has a mother. This is the good law of life.

God gave further instructions to mankind concerning how we should honor those who gave us life. The pivotal commandment in the 10 Commandments says:

Honor your father and your mother that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God has given you.

2000 years ago Jesus made it a point to repeat this command saying that it was the first commandment to which God had attached a promised blessing. Jesus was well aware of this command for even He, the Son of Almighty God and ruler of the universe, was not born without a mother to whom He gave great honor and lifelong respect.

Today we are going to survey three passages in the New Testament which show some varying aspects of motherhood and a mother’s impact in the life of her children whether or not they are her biological offspring. Our first passage comes from the Gospel of Mark, chapter 1.

Note: (Provide the setting into which Mark 1:29-31 fits in story form so the congregation can understand this verse its implication and context.)

Mark 1 NKJV
29 ¶  Now as soon as they had come out of the synagogue, they entered the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John.
30  But Simon’s wife’s mother lay sick with a fever, and they told Him about her at once.
31  So He came and took her by the hand and lifted her up, and immediately the fever left her. And she served them.

Brief Commentary: (Note here that Peter was a married man when Jesus first called him to be a disciple. We aren’t told anything about Peter’s biological mother however we are told that Peter had a wife whose mother lived with them – or them with her as it may better be understood. When God first created Eve, Adam said, this is now flesh of my flesh and bone of my bone … for this cause a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife and they two shall be one flesh. In other words, all that we both are as two individuals, when we get married, we are made one together. This includes the embrace of parents and siblings. Peter’s wife’s mother was now as much to be honored and cared for by Peter as would if she had been his own biological mother. The honor and respect due Peter’s mother was the same respect now due his mother-in-law.)

The second mother we will consider this morning comes from a verse in the last chapter of the book of Romans. When the Apostle Paul was concluding this inspired letter he thought to include salutations to his dear friend Rufus. Carefully listen to what Paul says in respect to his mother.

Romans 16:13 Greet Rufus, chosen in the Lord, and his mother and mine.

Brief Commentary: (Rufus and Paul were not biological brothers and the mother of Rufus was not Paul’s biological mother. Nonetheless Paul counted this woman as a mother. Whether she adopted Paul or Paul adopted her, it is plain she played a critical role in the life of this Apostle of faith. Everyone needs a mother and it is of little doubt that this woman met the dynamic needs we all have in the life of Paul to be mothered and in turn Paul honored her.)

The third passage we will survey before concluding our Mother’s Day message today comes from Second Timothy. Paul writes Timothy to acknowledge the impact a mother and a grandmother has on children.

2 Timothy 1:5 When I call to remembrance the genuine faith that is in you, which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am persuaded is in you also.

It is clear from the scriptures that Peter, Paul and Timothy understood the crucial role mothers were designed and equipped to play in each of our lives. Mothers are mentioned by direct reference more than 300 times in the Bible. Some led their children in the right way and some in the wrong. Without respect as to whether these women were:
·        Biological mothers
·        Grandmothers
·        Adoptive mothers
·        Spiritual mothers
·        Mothers-in-law
They all, each and every one, had a greater influence on their children than other people in their lives.

Neither Mother’s Day nor the 6th Commandment however, is about how a mother should treat their child … Today and every day, according to the Bible, is about how each one of us should treat our mother.

Honoring your mother, without regard as to how she became your mother, is the measure of God in you.

I want to obey and please my Heavenly Father and I know that nothing pleases Him more than for me to honor those women who fill that special place in my life called motherhood. (Mother’s Day is not Lady’s Day – Women have mothers too!) Ladies – we thank you from the bottom of our hearts, just as you also thank your moms … God bless our mothers.

Won’t you stand for prayer …

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Scattering the Power

Scattering the Power

The deacons which were in the first Church at Jerusalem were all filled with the Power of the Holy Spirit and well equipped to handle the Word of God as a witness to their city. When that first Church in Jerusalem was about 3 years old persecution from the Jewish leadership in the city began to unsettle the whole congregation. This religious based persecution occurred several years before the great persecution later ordered by the Roman government towards Believers and the Church. This was often neighbor against neighbor. People in the Church were afraid of being targeted.

Persecution and threat of death began scattering the Believers. Christians fled Jerusalem and moved to other cities in hopes of escaping persecution.
* The devil loves to scatter the Church …
* However, these persecutions did not shake or scatter the Apostles …
* God does not cause unrest, discontentment, fear or division … God has better ways of leading us than by fear … however, God will use anything and everything to further the Gospel and save souls.

The New Testament Patterns of Evangelism, World Missions and Church Planting
* Pentecost Pattern – Event evangelism gathers people to the Church from the world, changes their lives and sends them back home filled with the power and witness of the Holy Spirit.
* Jerusalem Pattern – The Church evangelizes and equips those saved only to see the scattered or driven from their home Church.
* Antioch Pattern – Strong sending Churches filled with disciples who are full of the Holy Ghost send and support evangelists and missionaries to reach and the teach the world about Jesus.
* Ephesus Pattern – Holy Ghost filled servants who have been equipped by the Church are sent and supported by the world.
* Personal Word Pattern – Within each of these other patterns we find those who personally led by the Holy Spirit such as Phillip in Acts 8:26 or as with Paul and his Macedonian call of Acts 16:9.

Our theme for the Month of May is Power! This evening we are going to begin a Wednesday even series on the Power of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. In each of these New Testament Patterns we just discussed whether
through event driven evangelism or sent out by the Church people took their next step into the will of God because they were saved, water baptized, filled with the Holy Spirit and taught the Word and called to fulfill the Great Commission. God gives His children power to be a witness.

We begin our series with the account of a man named Philip who was one of the original deacons in that first Church in Jerusalem. Remember, the Church in Jerusalem was a rather large Church with an active congregation of over 8000 by this time we get to Acts 8. They were growing in numbers and had become somewhat of a threat to the religious establishment in the city of Jerusalem. In other words, those same people who crucified Christ were now faced with a bigger problem … they killed one and now they had 8000 to contend with. Each of these 8000 were filled with the Holy Spirit.

Acts 7 ends with some young Jewish zealots murdering one of the deacons of the Church named Stephen. Things had gotten rather serious … now these persecutors were killing Christians with rocks and putting them into prison for just believing in Jesus. This certainly scared some Believers and they began to leave Jerusalem hoping to escape the persecution which was only getting worse.

Acts 8
4 ¶ Therefore those who were scattered went everywhere preaching the word.
5 Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria and preached Christ to them.
6 And the multitudes with one accord heeded the things spoken by Philip, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did.
7 For unclean spirits, crying with a loud voice, came out of many who were possessed; and many who were paralyzed and lame were healed.
8 And there was great joy in that city.
9 But there was a certain man called Simon, who previously practiced sorcery in the city and astonished the people of Samaria, claiming that he was someone great,
10 to whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, “This man is the great power of God.”
11 And they heeded him because he had astonished them with his sorceries for a long time.
12 But when they believed Philip as he preached the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were baptized.
13 Then Simon himself also believed; and when he was baptized he continued with Philip, and was amazed, seeing the miracles and signs which were done.
14 ¶ Now when the apostles who were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them,
15 who, when they had come down, prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit.
16 For as yet He had fallen upon none of them. They had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
17 Then they laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.
18 And when Simon saw that through the laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Spirit was given, he offered them money,
19 saying, “Give me this power also, that anyone on whom I lay hands may receive the Holy Spirit.”
20 But Peter said to him, “Your money perish with you, because you thought that the gift of God could be purchased with money!
21 “You have neither part nor portion in this matter, for your heart is not right in the sight of God.
22 “Repent therefore of this your wickedness, and pray God if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you.
23 “For I see that you are poisoned by bitterness and bound by iniquity.”
24 Then Simon answered and said, “Pray to the Lord for me, that none of the things which you have spoken may come upon me.”
25 So when they had testified and preached the word of the Lord, they returned to Jerusalem, preaching the gospel in many villages of the Samaritans.

Persecution cannot stop the move of God or the preaching of the Gospel. All persecution can do is to scatter the power. Without respect as to how you got where you are in life I know for certain that God Almighty has a hope that you will use the Power of the Holy Spirit to spread the Good News and bring others to Christ. It is also the hope of our Father that we would encourage others to be water baptized; be filled with the Holy Spirit and become equipped to evangelize our generation and the world. Have you been baptized, filled, equipped and sent? You can be …

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Saving Power


Romans 1  NKJV
1  Paul, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated to the gospel of God
7  To all who are in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Our theme for the month of May 2017 is Power. Today we are going back in time to the year AD58 and try to imagine ourselves attending Church in Rome where this letter from the Apostle Paul is being read. At that time Rome was the center of the world. A very famous emperor named Nero was the ruler of the Roman Empire and Christianity was relatively new in the world. It had only been about 30 years since Jesus had been crucified.

Jews had maintained a growing presence in the capital city of Rome ever since they had been taken captive and brought there by the Emperor Pompey about 50 years before Christ. By AD41 there were about 4000 Jews living in Rome who had been liberated from their slavery and were working in the city. They stuck together and kept their religious practices intact and had established at least 4 different synagogues in the city. Historical records indicate that the Roman government began noticing some problems within the Jewish community. It seems that there were some divisions among them and this was causing trouble in the city.

Of course, we know what these divisions were all about. Acts 2:10 tells us that on the Day of Pentecost devout Jews from Rome were visiting Jerusalem and heard Peter preaching the Gospel. They were converted to become Believers in Jesus as Messiah, were filled with the Holy Spirit and began spreading the Gospel throughout the world.

It is certain that these newly Born Again Jews returned to Rome and shared the Good News that Messiah had come and that His name was Jesus! Even though these were ordinary nameless, faceless, common people of the day … yet because of their witness others began to accept Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior and the Church in Rome was birthed.

The division between the Jews who believed in Jesus and those who didn’t caused trouble and created division within the Jewish community. Both secular and Biblical historical records serve to confirm that in the year AD49 the Emperor Claudius expelled all Jews from Rome.

Acts 18: 2  And he found a certain Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla (because Claudius had commanded all the Jews to depart from Rome); and he came to them.

Nonetheless the Church in Rome continued to grow in numbers and diversity. Gentiles had been converted to Christ and added to the Church and several home Churches began meeting under one umbrella of general leadership. Paul heard about these Believers and wanted to help them.

Romans 16:3ff  Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus … and the Church that is in their house.

By the time the Apostle Paul wrote his letter to the Church in Rome in AD58 both the Emperor Claudius and his edict had expired and we find Aquila and Priscilla, who had once been exiled as Jews, back in the Rome pastoring a congregation of Believers in their home.

The Apostle Paul desired to visit Rome which indeed he did within a few years of writing this letter. In fact, he was imprisoned there and ended up having his head cut off by the Emperor Nero during the beginning of the great persecution of Christians by the Roman government. However, in AD58 when Paul felt led by the Holy Spirit to write his letter to the Church in Rome, he was hoping to strengthen their faith and encourage them to hold fast to the doctrines of grace which had been taught to him by Jesus.

Today we still read the Book of Romans to strengthen our faith and doctrine in Christ. The Romans Road to Salvation is the most widely used evangelistic tool around the world. It simply states that:
1.   Romans 3:23 – All have sinned …
2.   Romans 6:23 – The punishment for sin is death …
3.   Romans 10:13 – Whoever calls on the name of Jesus will be saved!

We can find no better treatise on salvation than the Book of Romans. Romans is often referred to by scholars and laymen alike as the heart of the Bible. I believe reading the Book of Romans will help any Believer to better understand the simple teachings of Christ.

That being said let’s turn our attention to our text for today: The Apostle Paul said …

Romans 1:16  For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

·        The Gospel of Christ is the Power to Save
·        The Good News Truth about Jesus contains the Ability to make any person completely whole, Spirit, Soul and Body.

Continuing throughout Romans Paul conveys God’s hope to strengthen Believers and to save them in every area of life. The Good News Truth of the message we find in Christ will save our soul from an eternity in hell while at the same time save us from the hell of this life. The Gospel Message is fully intended to positively impact your:
1.  Family
a.   Acts 10:24 – Cornelius gathered all of his relatives and friends
b.   Acts 16:34 – The jailer believed in Christ with all his household
c.   Deuteronomy 7:9 – Righteousness endures to a thousand generations.
2.  Finances
a.   Matthew 6:33 – Seek first the kingdom … all these things will be added to you …
b.   Luke 6:38 – Give and it will be given to you …
c.   2 Corinthians 9:7 – God loves a cheerful giver …
3.  Future
a.   2 Timothy 4:8  Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.
b.   John 14:3 – Jesus is preparing an eternal home for us and He will come again for everyone who believes in Him …

Do you believe?

The Gospel of Jesus Christ has the power to save…
·        Save your family
·        Save your finances
·        Save your future

Embrace the truth of the Gospel of Christ, call upon the name of the Lord and be saved!