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:
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.
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 …
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