Current Sermon Series

Romans Sermon Series Plan

“Not Ashamed of the Gospel”

 Fall 2018 – Spring 2019

THE PURPOSE AND MESSAGE OF ROMANS
While all of Paul’s other epistles are “occasional” (i.e. written for a specific occasion), there’s a belief among some that the book of Romans not occasional, that it is just Paul’s general explanation of the gospel as a whole, a comprehensive summary of his theology. But if that is true, why send it to the Romans, why include so many personal greetings, and why leave out certain theological emphases usually important to Paul, like the church as the “body of Christ,” the end times, and more emphasis on the person of Christ? Romans is a letter like all the epistles, and we must understand it as occasional. The question we struggle with is what was the occasion that prompted Paul to write this letter in this manner. At times the letter seems directed at Gentile believers, and at other times it seems directed at Jewish believers.  
 
There is a question about how the church in Rome was founded, and by whom. Some traditions say Peter founded it, but knowing what we know about Peter’s other activities, it is unlikely that Peter could have been in Rome early enough to have founded the church. Also, in this letter Paul says that he would “not build on another person’s foundation” (15:20). So it is unlikely that Paul would have written this kind of letter, and planned such a visit, to a church founded by Peter. It seems most likely that Roman Jews who were converted on the day of Pentecost in Jerusalem took their faith in Jesus back to their synagogues in Rome. The Gentile Christians in Rome, then, would have been “God-fearers” who heard the gospel in a Jewish synagogue. When the Jews (including Jewish Christians) were expelled from Rome by Emperor Claudius in 49 A.D., the Gentile Christians would have been allowed to stay in Rome, which would not have been good for the unity of the church there. When Jews were allowed to return to Rome a few years later, quite a division probably existed between the Jewish and Gentile Christians there.  
 
Paul wrote Romans at the end of his 3rd missionary journey, probably from Corinth, just as he was beginning his trip back to Jerusalem to deliver the offering to the suffering Jewish Christians there. His hope was that the offering from the Asian Gentile Christians would help heal the rift between the Jewish and Gentile Christians. From Jerusalem, Paul planned to sail to Spain, stopping at Rome for a brief visit. So in this letter, says Douglas Moo, Paul has “carefully rehearsed his understanding of the gospel, especially as it related to the salvation-historical questions of Jew and Gentile and the continuity of the plan of salvation.” Both in Jerusalem and Rome, Paul was contending both with Jewish Christians who were still tied to the Law and with Gentile Christians who scorned everything Jewish. It is correct to say the theme of the book is “the Gospel,” but with special attention given to the implications of this gospel for Jews and Gentiles now and in the future.  
 
So Paul seems to have written this letter as preparation for his coming confrontation in Jerusalem, but also for the situation between Christians in Rome, and in preparation for his new ministry in Spain. While it is Paul’s most general letter, there is an emphasis on the relationship between Jews and Gentiles, and especially the place of the Law and the future of Israel. The treatise of chapter 1-11supplies the theological basis for Paul’s appeal for unity in chapters 14-15.  
 
THE BENEFIT OF A SERMON SERIES ON ROMANS FOR OUR CONGREGATION Our people will gain a greater understanding of the gospel, especially justification by faith. There will also be teaching on the place of Israel and the Law. Beyond that, there is teaching on the importance of unity between groups in the church. For the church in Rome, the groups were the Jews and Gentiles, but here it could be people who hold differing views of religious holidays, eschatology, legal practices, and theological views.      
 
Sept 9             Romans 1:1-7,   An Introduction to the Gospel The Gospel has finally come in Jesus, and Paul has been given the authority to let the Roman Gentiles know that it is also offered to them.  
 
Sept 16           Romans 1:8-17, Not Ashamed of the Gospel Paul has a great desire to share the Gospel with the Romans. He’s not ashamed of the Gospel because it is the only way that God has provided for people to know Him.  
 
Sept 23           Romans 1:18-32, The Sinfulness of All People The reason that righteousness through the Gospel is needed is because all people are depraved and unrighteous and have offended God’s righteousness, so His wrath lies upon them.  
 
Sept 30           Romans 2:1-16, We Are Rightly Under God’s Judgment Because of our sin, we are rightly under God’s righteous judgment. This is true of both Jews and Gentiles.  
 
Oct 7               Romans 2:17-29, The Jews and the Law Just because Jews have the Law doesn’t mean they keep it. A person is part of God’s people not because they are a Jew physically, but because their heart is circumcised by the Holy Spirit, through faith in Christ.  
 
Oct 14             Romans 3:1-8. The Advantage of Being a Jew Since we are all condemned as sinners, some would ask, “What good is it being a Jew?” It is still a good thing, as Jews received the Word of God and God’s promises. He will still be faithful to his promises.  
 
Oct 21             Romans 3:9-20, No One Is Righteous Although Jews received the Law, both Jews and Gentiles are guilty of sin. They may have arrived thee different ways, but both groups are unrighteous before God.  
 
Oct 28             Romans 3:21-31, Righteousness Through Faith Paul has proven that righteousness is not accomplished through obeying the Law. The only way to be righteous is through faith in Jesus Christ. This is true for both Jews and Gentiles. So there’s no room for boasting. You’re not saved because of your good works. This does not nullify the Law, it actually upholds it.  
 
Nov 4              Romans 4:1-25, Abraham was Justified by Faith Abraham, whom we all admire, is an example of a person who was justified by faith. He wasn’t justified because he was circumcised. He was actually saved before he was circumcised. We say that Abraham is the father of us all, but he is actually the father of all those who have faith, including people from all nations.  
 
Nov 11            Romans 5:1-11, Peace with God  The Gospel allows us to have peace with God. Through faith we are justified, and this allows us to be reconciled to God.  
 
Nov 18            Romans 5:12-21, Death Through Adam, Life Through Christ Adam’s sin resulted in every human becoming guilty of sin. Jesus’ gift of salvation is similar, but greater. His gift, even though so many people had sinned, is available to all people.  
 
Nov 25            Romans 6:1-14, Dead to Sin, Alive in Christ Since we’re made righteous by grace through faith, one could argue that we could just keep on sinning, because our lack of sinning is not what saves us. But when we were baptized into Christ, we died to sin. Now we are “alive in Christ,” which means we no longer have to live as slaves to sin.    
 
Jan 6              Romans 6:15-23, Slaves to Righteousness You could easily make the argument that since we’re under grace and not law, we should be free to sin as much as we want. But Paul points out that this would make us slaves of sin. Instead, being under grace leads us to be voluntary “slaves” of holiness.  
 
Jan 13             Romans 7:1-6, An Illustration from Marriage (Released from the Law) When a woman is married, she is bound to that man. If she was to have sexual relations with another man, it would be adultery. But if/when he dies, then she is no longer bound to him, no longer obligated to keep that bond. She would be fee to marry someone else and have sexual relations with him. It is the same with Christians and the Law. Now that we are under Christ, and our salvation is by grace, we are not required to satisfy the exacting requirements of the OT Law.  
 
Jan 20             Romans 7:7-25, Struggling with Sin The question naturally arises whether the Law actually somehow causes us to sin. The answer is clearly no. But the commandments did make us aware of sin. Verses 14-20 are a difficult section, as we are not sure if Paul is talking about his struggle with sin before he became a Christian, or the struggle with sin a Christian experiences even after he is saved and filled with the Holy Spirit.  
 
Jan 27             Romans 8:1-17, Life Through the Spirit Every person on earth lives either “according to the flesh” or “according to the Spirit,” depending on what they have done with Christ. If we have the Spirit, we will not live according to the flesh. If we are living according to the flesh, it is most likely an indication that we do not have the Spirit, and are not in Christ.  
 
Feb 3               Romans 8:18-25, Creation is Groaning Not just humans were affected by sin. The earth was affected by mankind’s sin, and it is now “groaning” and in “frustration.” But when God sets all things right, the earth also will be “liberated” from it’s bondage to decay.” Its similar to us as Christians. We have the “first fruits” of the Spirit, but we’re still waiting for our full adoption and redemption. When we are saved we don’t yet possess this final redemption, but we do possess the hope that it is coming.  
 
Feb 10             Romans 8: 26-27 The Spirit Intercedes for Us Paul says that sometimes when we are weak, the Holy Spirit “helps us.” When we do not know what to pray for, the Spirit himself “intercedes for us” through “wordless groans.” God knows both our hearts and the mind of the Spirit, so when the Holy Spirit intercedes for us, it is completely in accordance with God’s will.  
 
Feb 17             Romans 8: 28-30 We Were Predestined The promise that God works things for the good of the “called” leads to teaching on the efficacy of God’s work and plan—those He foreknew He predestined, those He predestined He called, those He called He justified, and those He justified He glorified. He has worked his plan. There is no mention of human response or responsibility.  
 
Feb 24             Romans 8:31-39, More Than Conquerors There are those who would “bring a charge” against a Christian—from Satan, unbelievers to fellow Christians. But this passage assures us that because of Christ, no one can bring a charge or condemn us, because God has chosen and justified us. Jesus is our defender, and he is at God’s right hand interceding for us. None of the troubles that we face on this earth can separate us from God’s love that comes through Christ.  
 
Mar 3              Romans 9:1-29, A Desire for Israel to be Saved—though God Decides to Whom He’ll Show Mercy Paul agonizes over the fact that most of his fellow Jews do not trust Christ. But its not because God is powerless. He has already said in the past that not everyone who is a descendent of Abraham is actually a child of God. Instead, God chooses to whom He will give faith, and to whom he will show mercy. Isaiah said long ago that only a remnant of Jews would actually be saved.  
 
Mar 10            Romans 9:30-33, 10:1-21, God’s Desire Is that All Jews Would Be Saved—But There’s Only One Way Paul wished that all his fellow Jews would be saved. They are zealous for God, but they are trying to do it their own way—by good works. But no one can perfectly keep the Law, so salvation is only by faith in Christ. It’s the same for both Jews and Gentiles. And its not like the Jews just didn’t hear or know this. They have heard it but have chosen not to believe it.  
 
Mar 17            Romans 11:1-10, It Has Always Only Been a Remnant of Israel Who Believed Since most Jews have not believed and been saved, we might ask if God has actually rejected his people. But no, He hasn’t, because some Jews, like Paul, do believe and are saved. But it’s always only been a remnant of Jews who were “elect” and truly believed and were saved.  
 
Mar 24            Romans 11:11-24, Ingrafted Branches If God’s salvation is like a tree, the Jews were the natural branches. But now, some of their branches have been “broken off,” while some Gentiles have been “grafted in.” But if a Jew believes in Christ, he can be “grafted in” again.  
 
Mar 31            Romans 11:25-36, All Israel Will Be Saved Paul has pointed out that most Jews have not put their faith in Christ. This has served as an opportunity for Gentiles to hear the Gospel and be saved. Here he seems to say that after this “time of the Gentiles,” a greater number (or “all”) Jews will be saved. They have been loved and “called,” and God’s call is irrevocable. Jews will receive mercy just as believing Gentiles have.  
 
Apr 7               Romans 12:1-2, Offer Yourself as a Living Sacrifice to God The OT system of sacrifices is over. Christians are to present themselves as “living sacrifices,” which are holy and pleasing to God. This is how we worship God today. We will be transformed this way as our minds are “renewed.” This will then enable us to know God’s will for both our lives and the world.  
 
Apr 14             (PALM SUNDAY) Romans 12:3-8, Be a Humble Member of the Body of Christ Paul’s comments about Gentiles being allowed into the church leads him to now admonish Christians not to think too highly of themselves. (The “self-esteem” emphasis of our day is overdone.) The church needs all its members performing different functions. We belong to each other. The only unacceptable position is for a Christian to not be fully involved in the church.  
 
April 21           RESURRECTION SUNDAY  
 
April 28           Romans 12:9-21, How to Love Christianly This passage could be made into two sermons. There is a wealth of personal ethical direction, from the need for Christians to be devoted to one another to the exhortation to never take revenge.  
 
May 5             Romans 13:1-7, Submission to the Authorities All Christians are to respect and submit to human governments and authorities over us, because all authorities that exist have been put in place by God. People should not fear human government, because it has been put in place to assure order, safety and justice. So we are to pay our taxes and honor those over us.  
 
May 12           Romans 13:8-14, Love, for the Day Is Near All of the commandments are fulfilled in this one: “Love your neighbor a yourself.” This is more important everyday as the fulfillment of our salvation draws ever nearer. It should result in greatly changed behavior for the Christian.  
 
May 19           Romans 14:1-15:13, The Strong and the Weak Because of people’s varying backgrounds, some Christians find certain actions offensive while others think they are OK. Under the Old Covenant, certain things were called “unclean,” but now under Christ there is nothing that is “unclean” before God. But some Christians may still find those matters offensive. In those cases, the stronger Christian is to forego that action. This is not to say that mature Christians must give in to the demands of immature, critical Christians. But when a Christians is truly “weak,” the stronger Christian is to take steps not to judge or be a stumbling block to the other.  
 
May 26           Romans 15:14-22, Glory in Your Service to God Paul was assigned by God to be an apostle to the Gentiles, and he found great fulfillment in doing the ministry God asked him to do—taking the Gospel to places where it was not yet known. We must ask ourselves what service have we been asked to do for God, and are we “glorying” in it as we perform that ministry?  
 
June 2             Romans 15:23-33, Paul’s Desire to Visit the Roman Christians Even though Paul wrote this theologically deep letter to the Christians in Rome, he had never been there or met them personally. So his plan was that he would first take the offering to Jerusalem and then head to Spain, visiting Rome on the way. There is some tension and uncertainty in this passage, as Paul seems uncertain if the believers in Jerusalem and/or Rome will receive him favorably, and he asks for prayer for that matter.  
 
June 9             Romans 16:1-27, The Church as the Family of God In this closing chapter, Paul greets many, many individuals, some of whose names are just hard to read! The feel you get from reading the chapter is what affection he feels for them, and the bond between Christians even of other local churches. There is an important section is this chapter about watching out for those among them who cause “divisions” and “put obstacles” in others way. This is a beautiful chapter, but with a warning not to be naïve about the people in the local church.