Sunday, March 22, 2015

God's Perfect Plan (Part 1)

SERMON:             GM15-051

SERIES:              Renewal Through Romans: The Gospel Defined, Explained &           Applied

SETTING:          North Kelso Baptist Church

SERVICE:          Sunday AM (March 22, 2015)

SECTION:          The Prologue to Righteousness (Romans 1:1-17)

SUBTITLE:        God's Perfect Plan (Part 1)

SCRIPTURE:     Romans1:16a

SUBJECT:          It is good to experience confidence

SUMMARY:       You must believe in the Gospel’s ability to deliver you from your                              sins.

SCHEME:           That each member of NKBC fully trusts in the gospel for its sanctifying work

Our theme is: It is good to experience confidence        

This is a good reminder for us all to remember that the gospel is designed to more than simply save people from their sins. The gospel is the means by which the HS uses in your daily sanctification.

 Proposition:  You must understand the ability of God to deliver His people from their sin and how he sanctifies his people.         

Interrogatory Sentence:  What does the text reveal to us about confidence in the gospel?

Transitional Sentence: From our passage we learn two very important truths about Paul’s confidence in the gospel:

·        …the gospel produces saving faith in sinners
·        …the gospel produces sanctifying faith in saints

God's Perfect Plan
 Romans 1:16a
(Part 1)

3A    The Theme of Romans

Objective:  That each member of NKBC fully understands the ability, or the capability of God to deliver His people from their sins.


“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation for all who are believing, Jew first and Greeks. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith unto faith; as it is written the righteous by faith shall live.” (Romans 1:16-17, GDM)


George Whitfield said, “The righteousness of Jesus Christ is one of those great mysteries, which the angels desire to look into, and seems to be one of the first lessons that God taught men after the fall.”

Johnathan Edwards once said, “If there be ground for you to trust in your own righteousness, then, all that Christ did to purchase salvation, and all that God did to prepare the way for it is in vain.”

[Please, allow me to give you a…]

Definition of Righteousness Righteousness is the moral state of perfection that God, because of His own righteous character and nature demands of any who would exist within His immediate presence.

IOW, because God is absolutely sinless and absolutely perfect any being, or any person that comes into His presence must also be absolutely sinless and absolutely perfect.
But, there is a problem, man is not sinless nor is man perfect. Therefore there exists…

 Dilemma of Man

The bible clearly states that human beings cannot achieve righteousness through their own efforts:

“Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin.” (Romans 3:20, NIV)

The Law of God or the Ten Commandments shows us how far we fall short of God’s standards. The only solution to the dilemma is God’s plan of salvation, the gospel!

Our theme today is: It is good to experience confidence       

This is a good reminder for us all to examine the intensity of Paul’s desire to visit Rome in order to clearly explain the ability of God to deliver his people from their sins.

Proposition:  You must understand the ability of God to deliver His people from their sin.   

Interrogatory Sentence:  What does the text reveal to us about Paul’s confidence in the gospel?

Transitional Sentence: From our passage we learn two very important truths about Paul’s confidence in the gospel:

·        …the gospel produces saving faith in sinners
·        …the gospel produces sanctifying faith in saints

Paul has waited until now, until what we call or know as our 16th verse to inform his readers what his specific theme was in writing to them. We know come to the great theme of this magnificent and powerful letter:  the ability of God to save his people from their sins through the gospel of Jesus Christ and the ability of God to sanctify his people as his saints.

[Before we dig in to Paul’s theme, let’s take a minute and…]


[Last week we took a good look at the first clue in determining…]

Paul’s Argument for Visiting Rome (14-15)               

Paul seems to be perfectly clear in what his argument was for was for visiting this church. Last week we saw that Paul is very confident about the gospel. He knows exactly what the gospel is and what the gospel can do.

We began to discover Paul’s argument in verses 14-15. This first clue begins to tell us what the teaching of this letter really is.

So, we asked ourselves what does Paul’s argument actually prove. Last week we began looking at the first aspect of Paul’s argument that he wanted to make to this church. We began looking at:

The Gospel Produces Saving Faith for Sinners (14-16)
Paul is confident about the gospel. He knows exactly what the gospel is and what God can do through the gospel. [We saw the first way that the gospel produces saving faith for sinners by looking at its’…]

Demand to be preached

“I am a debtor…” (14a)

Paul says I am a debtor. I am under a necessity. I am under an obligation. This obligation on Paul fell on Paul when he was converted by God and commissioned to be an ambassador of God to the Gentiles. We saw that in Acts 9.

When we looked at this phrase we saw that at least five major things became very evident.

First – Paul is stating, or really asserting, that he is the possessor of something that he can give.

He has something that he can give to others. Paul has the gospel. He has firsthand knowledge of the gospel. Paul has the gospel to give. So do you.

Second – Paul states, or asserts that he is able to give this give to everybody or anyone.

Look again at what he says, “…both to Greeks and to barbarians…” and “…both to wise, and to unwise.”

Third – Paul states or asserts that he has something he is able to give.

Everybody needs the gospel. And Paul says I can give it to everybody. This seems similar but it is different. Paul could preach in the palace, the university but also in the slums, the jails, and streets. It didn’t matter to him, he had a message and he was ready and able to impart it. To the cultured and to the uncultured, to the educated or uneducated, Paul was able to get on their level and share his message.

Fourth – Paul states or asserts that he has something to give and that all people need it.

You cannot read the scriptures, particularly Romans chapter 3 and not come to the same conclusion that Paul did; everybody needs the gospel.

“So, as much as is in me, I am ready to preach the gospel to you who are in Rome also.”

In the church, out of the church, in the community, educated, the uneducated, the Greek or a barbarian, people need the Lord.

Fifth – Paul states or asserts that he must give it. - “I am a debtor…”

Paul feels compelled to preach this gospel. Remember what he told the Corinthians? “Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel?” (1 Cor 9:16b)

Why did Paul feel that he had a debt or was under obligation to give or preach this gospel?

·        He was commissioned to preach the gospel.
·        Paul was well aware of the tremendous need of sinners.
·        The gospel itself placed an obligation of Paul.
·        Paul had been a persecutor of those who had become believers.

[And so, we looked carefully at the first way that the gospel produces saving faith for sinners and that was by its demand to be preached…]

[Let’s move to our…]


Before we begin taking a deep look at this first, let’s make a few observations:

First observation – Paul’s primary objective is preach the gospel to the believers in the Roman congregation.
Why? He is eager to preach the gospel because of the content of the gospel. Contained in the gospel is the saving power of God. Paul explains the gospel in great detail so that the Roman congregation will understand why he is so anxious to preach the gospel in Spain, and in the West, and why he wants to enlist their help.
It is the content of the gospel that gives Paul the extraordinary confidence and boldness to preach the gospel in places where it has not been known.
The righteousness of God and the righteous requirements of God pertaining to salvation are found in the gospel.
How is one justified and enabled to live in the presence of God? The answer is clearly revealed in the gospel.
Second observation – Verse 16 marks the beginning of a new section in chapter one. Paul has come to an end of his personal references to himself and his calling in verse 15.
Remember in verses 1-7 Paul utilizes the typical greeting of his day as he begin his letter. In verse 8-15 Paul makes some general statements about himself.
Now, Paul finishes his thoughts about his desire to visit this congregation and his relationship to them. Now he moves to a new unit of thought.
This new unit of thought is actually the theme or the subject of the entire letter. This verse is an extremely important transition.
Third observation we make is that there is no fan-fare. Someone once said, “Paul glides from one theme to another theme.” There is no, “Now hear this.” This theme is simply stated. No flourish – no drum roll if you please – just a natural movement in his thought. 
[Now, the second way that the gospel produces saving faith for sinners is seen in its’…]

Demonstration of God’s Power.

God power is demonstrated for all to clearly see in two (2) different ways: The Gospel Produces Saving Faith for Sinners, and secondly, the Gospel Produces Sanctifying Faith for Saints.

[To see the fact that the gospel produces saving faith for sinners, let’s begin with…]


Look at the extraordinary way Paul introduced his statement:

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of God…”

Why did Paul say, “I am not ashamed of the gospel?
First of all, the word “not” is an adverb. It modifies the verb ashamed.    
Second, the word not is a primary word which when used causes the meaning of “absolutely negative.”   
In other words, Paul is absolutely, positively, and completely unashamed of the gospel of Christ. As a matter of fact this is actually what we know as “a negative of a contrary assertion.”
IOW, to say that Paul is not ashamed means that he is really saying that he glories or boasts in the gospel. He brags about it.     
Let me illustrate:
In Acts 21:39 (ESV) we read, “Paul replied, I am a Jew, from Tarsus in Cilicia, a citizen of no mean city.” What did he mean “no mean city?”
He meant he was from a very important city. The statement actually asserts the opposite. Paul boasts in the gospel rather than is ashamed by it.
Paul wrote, “…I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ…”
Before we look at verse in detail, I think we have to ask ourselves, why would anyone be ashamed of the gospel? I think that there are at least two (2) reasons.
[The first reason is that:]
The World Ridicules the Gospel
The unsaved sees the gospel as absolutely foolish. The gospel is contemptible.
Paul is helping the Romans to bear the reproach of the gospel
·        The Jews rejected the gospel
·        The Greeks thought it was foolish
·        The Pharisees & religious crowd hated it
So, the world ridicules the gospel.
[The second reason is that…]
The world rejects the gospel
Why does the world hate the gospel?
Let me give you five (5) reasons why the world hates the gospel. The world hates the gospel…
·        Because of its message
The gospel proclaims that men are under the condemnation of God. This is the first thing a sinner needs to be told. They were condemned in Adam and were condemned as they were born. We can’t give the good news until we have established the bad news. The message of the gospel is that men are condemned, judged, and they are doomed.                  
The gospel proclaims that men are sinners in need of salvation. Men are sinners but men also possess a sin nature. Man’s very being is encased in sin. Men must understand that not only do their actions and attitudes offend God, but their very being offends God.
The gospel proclaims Jesus was crucified on a cross as a criminal and claimed to be king and a savior. The message of death is rejected by almost everyone and anyone.
The very essence of the gospel produces hatred, ridicule and shame!
[The second reason the world hates the gospel is…]
·        Because of its meaning
The heart of the gospel is that it is a statement of fact. The gospel is not theory, it is not philosophy. The gospel is not merely an idea among ideas. It is a statement of fact about a real savior who came to save real sinners. Men are sinners in reality not in theory!
[The third reason the world hates the gospel is…]
·        Because of its misalignment
What I mean by that is that the gospel is opposite of all that the world holds to be true. Think about it:
World – look out for #1/take care of #1
Christ – deny self/die to self
World – find yourself, find your life
Christ – lose yourself, lose your life
World – accumulate everything/grab all you can
Christ – give it away, hang on to nothing, to be rich is to be poor
You know, the way up is down, the way to be first is to be last, the way to live is to die. And so on and so on it goes. Do you get it? Christianity and the gospel is the exact opposite of the world and all that it holds near and dear. The world hates that.
Let’s stop and make an observation:
When you think about it, the ridicule, rejection, and ranting against the gospel can serve as a test. These negative things can be a test to see what you really understand the gospel to be.
Here is the test!
The gospel is always offensive to the unsaved or the natural man. The gospel is always ridiculed and held in contempt.
The test is what do you believe the gospel to be –is your gospel offensive to the world? Does the wicked and the unsaved hate your gospel?
Does the world hate your gospel?
If properly preached or shared they will hate it! If the world does not hate our gospel, your gospel, your message, and your faith, then there is something wrong.
Martyn Lloyd-Jones used to say, “If you find the world, the unsaved man praising the preaching or the message then I say you had better examine that preaching and that preacher very carefully.”
Geoffrey Wilson wrote: “The unpopularity of a crucified Christ has prompted many to present a message which is more palatable to the unbeliever, but the removal of the offense of the cross always renders the message ineffective. An inoffensive gospel is also an inoperative gospel. Thus Christianity is wounded most in the house of its friends.”

John MacArthur said, “If the truth offends, then let I offend. People have lived their whole lives in offense to God; let them be offended for a while.”

[Well, there is a fourth (4th) reason that men ridicule, reject, and rant against the gospel, and that is…]

Because of its mission
The gospel condemns a man, it tells he needs to be saved, and that he cannot save himself.
If you present Christ as a hero men will love him! No one is offended by that. Tell them he is a great example and they will applaud him.
Tell a sinner that Christ condemns him and he will hate you. Tell them that God demands perfection, righteousness for salvation and they will turn on you.
The world hates the gospel because it condemns them, its mission is to show their lostness and then how God will use it to demonstrate his power to save them.
Present Jesus as someone who wants to help them, make them happy, healthy, and wealthy and they will love you. Tell them God hates the wicked and is at enmity with them and they will hate you.
The world will not sing Charles Wesley’s song that says Vile and full of sin I am.
The world hates the gospel and is ashamed of it because it condemns the world.
But Paul was not ashamed of the gospel. He knew that it was made to show that man is vile and full of sin. As a matter of fact, as we have already said, Paul boasted in the gospel.
Paul did not, nor can we preach the gospel to the lost simply as “a beautiful teaching.” If we do, the gospel will never cut and offend them.
 How is the gospel preached to day?
·        Jesus can solve all your problems
·        Jesus loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life
·        Have trouble? Let Jesus take them all away

Well, people are ashamed of the gospel because the world sees the gospel as a ridiculous thing, because the gospel is a statement of fact and not a philosophy or a choice among many, because it is opposite of all that world loves, because it heavily convicts, and because it condemns the sinner.
[Finally, the world hates the gospel and men are ashamed of it…]
The gospel emanates from God and not the world
Therefore the gospel is
·        Supreme – it trumps any “plan” of man
·        Sufficient – nothing else is needed
·        Simplistic – it is not a complicated system of hoops, mazes, and mystery.
The world, the lost, the unsaved are God-haters and hate anything that comes from God.
For example:
John 3:19 says, “And this is the condemnation that the light has come into the world and men loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil.”
Romans 1 gives a pretty ugly description of unsaved men, and includes in verse 30 that the unsaved are, “…haters of God…”      

Well, Paul is making two very strong arguments:

·        The Gospel demands to be preached  (14-15)
·        The Gospel demonstrates God’s power (16-17)

The gospel demonstrates God’s power in the fact that it produces saving faith in sinners. We barely scratched the surface of this powerful statement as we looked at Paul’s extraordinary statement; “For I am not ashamed of the gospel…”

The World ridicules and rejects the gospel. The world ridicules and rejects the gospel because of its message, its meaning, its misalignment, its mission, and its origin.
Next, week Lord willing we will take a close look at Paul’s Explanatory Statement.

Our theme today has been: It is good to experience confidence     

I think this is a good reminder for us all to examine the intensity of Paul’s desire to visit Rome in order to clearly explain the ability of God to deliver his people from their sins.

Proposition:  You must understand the ability of God to deliver His people from their sin through the gospel.

[But for now, let’s wrap this up, shall we?]

Let’s conclude with a humorous story from former NFL coach John McKay.

He tells a story illustrating the supreme and absolute confidence of University of Alabama football coach Bear Bryant:

"We were out shooting ducks, and finally, after about three hours, here comes one lonely duck. The Bear fires. And that duck is still flying today.

But Bear watched the duck flap away, looked at me and said, 'John, you are witnessing a genuine miracle. There flies a dead duck!'" We was so confident that he hit his target.

Our confidence is not in our own abilities that can sometimes hit or miss the target. Our confidence is in the gospel which demonstrates the power of God to save those who trust in it.

  And So, I exhort you as genuine believers to:

·        Examine your understanding of the gospel – do you really know that the gospel is and why it is so crucial?

·        Examine the message, meaning, and the mission of the gospel meditate on the gospel, absorb the gospel, let it soak into you in order for you to fully appreciate the gospel of Christ.

·        Examine whether you are ashamed of the gospel or not – If you are ashamed, ask God to reveal to you why you are ashamed. Are there aspects of the gospel that embarrass you? If there is fix it. Stop it!

·        Examine how not being ashamed of the gospel affects your life personally and your walk with God - make a list!

Remember Simon Peter wrote in 1 Peter 2:6

“Therefore it is also contained in the Scripture, “Behold, I lay in Zion a chief cornerstone, elect, precious, and he who believes on Him will by no means be put to shame.”  (1 Peter 2:6, NKJV)

Let’s pray! J

Benediction Blessing:

“The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen. (Philippians 4:23, NKJV)

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