The Gospel

Romans 1:1-4

Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God— the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures regarding his Son, who as to his earthly life was a descendant of David, and who through the Spirit of holiness was appointed the Son of God in power by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord.

“All Roads Lead to Rome”

The letter of Apostle Paul to the Romans was written to Christians in the city of Rome. You may have heard this: “All roads lead to Rome.” It testifies to the importance and accessibility of Rome in previous millennium. Believers who were converted in Asia may have traveled and started the church in Rome.

Bible scholars suggest that Paul dictated his letter to the Romans. Tertius wrote it. Was he blind? As former Pharisee, Paul didn’t recognize the high priest in Acts 23. In Gal. 4:15, he wrote that believers in Galatia would have given their own eyes to him if it were possible. In 2 Cor. 12:7, he cited his “thorn in the flesh” that may refer to a physical ailment that could have affected his eyesight.

Paul’s letter to the Romans was written in the city of Corinth, at AD 56.

He discussed in his letter to the Romans about the Doctrine of Salvation, doctrine of soteriology (study of deliverance) through Jesus Christ.

Salvation in Christ is the same gospel that we preach. We have received eternal life in Christ, and we are mandated to tell and testify of what the Lord has done in our life. The Lord Jesus instructed all disciples in Matthew 28:19-20, 19Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.

In his letter to the Romans, Paul provides essential information about the gospel. Have you sensed an assurance of the presence of Christ in you? If so, it signals the active work of His Spirit in your life. Then, go and make disciples.

For this special purpose—“to make disciples,” Christ has set us apart.

1. Set Apart

Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God.

Paul introduced himself at the beginning of the Book of Romans. It proves Paul authored, and Tertius wrote the book of Romans for him. He didn’t hesitate. Paul clearly said that he was set apart, specifically for the gospel of God. To be set apart is to be consecrated, to be holy or assigned for God’s special purpose.

The Lord had set apart all believers. He mandated us to share His gospel.

Paul considered himself an apostle. The term “apostle” has evolved from the Greek word “apostolos” which is properly interpreted as “messenger sent on mission. It also pertains to envoy or delegates commissioned by an authority to represent him in some way, especially those sent out by Christ to preach the Gospel.” Why did Christ commission apostles? It features His authority as the Lord. He calls, commissions, and sends His messengers.

Paul teaches in Galatians 2:8, For God, who was at work in Peter as an apostle to the circumcised, was also at work in me as an apostle to the Gentiles.

The term “circumcised” pertains to the Jewish people, and all other people who are not Jewish are called Gentiles. The term “Gentiles” pertains to races or nations, ethnic or cultural groups of people. The Greek word translated Gentiles is ethnē. In the Great Commission (Go and make disciples of all nations), the term nations was translated from the same Greek word ethnē. It implies what?

As apostle to the Gentiles or nations, Paul exemplified believer’s mandate to reach out and make disciples of all nations or particular cultural, ethnic groups of people that the Lord has already assigned for us individually and as a church.

What cultural group does Christ want us to reach out and make disciple?

We’ve got to pray and seek to listen and know from the Lord. Individually, the Lord has already prepared the person He wants us to disciple. As a church, we’ve got to be unified praying together to know the cultural ethnic group that He wants to add as members of His local church, The Maples Evangelical Church.

Individually, we are mandated to make disciple. Collectively as member of the Body of Christ, His church, we have responsibility to get involved. For sure, if not all, most of us wish that as church, we grow spiritually and numerically, right?

Have you heard that one most neglected duty of Christians is to pray?

Prophet Samuel testified in 1 Samuel 12:23, As for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by failing to pray for you.

Prophet Samuel didn’t want to sin by failing to pray for his fellow Israelites.

Pray that God help you keep on praying for potential disciples and for fellow church members to have opportunity to make disciples. Pray for desire and opportunity to pray together with fellow believers. You can add similar prayer items to your prayer time with your love ones, friends or church members.

When we come to that point of our spiritual life when we are consistent in our prayer time, it shows that the Lord is actively at work in our life. In preparation to making disciples, the enthusiasm of reading the Scripture is amplified.

2. Scripture

the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures regarding his Son, who as to his earthly life was a descendant of David.

The term gospel has evolved from the Greek term euaggelion, which was properly translated as the good news of the coming of the Messiah,

And the term gospel in the Scriptures has evolved from an Old English word gōdspell, which was a combination of the words good and spell.

The term good is properly interpreted as morally excellent and righteous.

And, the term spell pertains to word, announcement, or irresistible influence.

Is simple language, the gospel of Christ is good news because it is morally excellent and righteous announcement with irresistible influence to all believers. Meaning, there is powerful effect of the gospel in our life. If you’d accept it, the good news won’t keep our experience in Christ silent. It can’t be privately secret.

So, have you sensed an irresistible influence of the gospel of Christ to tell others about it, yet? The gospel of Christ was prophesied in the Old Testament. Those prophets may have wished to see the realization of God’s promised of the Messiah. They believed it even if Christ didn’t come in their generation.

Eventually, Christ has come, died, resurrected, and promised to return and consummate the glorification of all believers. The Scripture is very significant to our knowledge of Christ because we are reminded of what we need to prepare for, and how we may explain His coming again to all interested listeners.

It says in 1 Peter 3:15-16, 15But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 16 keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. 

So, how do we revere Christ as Lord and prepare ourselves? What should we practice or exercise as preparation? We pray and read the Scripture. Not a few people adhere to the saying that says, “Action speaks louder than words.” And, observers want also to know if we really practise what we preach.

Has the gospel practically manifested in our life? When we trusted in Christ as our Savior, are there practical changes in our mindset and lifestyle?

The Parable of the Ten Virgins

The Lord Jesus compared the kingdom of God to the ten virgins who were waiting to meet the bridegroom. He narrated in Matthew 25:1-5, 1 “At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep.

“At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’  “Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’ “‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’

10 “But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut. 11 “Later the others also came. ‘Lord, Lord,’ they said, ‘open the door for us!’ 12 “But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I don’t know you.’ 13 “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.

Two different kinds of people are represented in the ten virgins waiting for the bride groom. Some people are not prepared for the coming of Christ because they follow a cultural practice when the bride groom waits for the bride. If they want the Lord to wait for them instead of waiting for the Lord, it’s not biblical!

It says in 1 Peter 3:20, To those who were disobedient long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built.

Listen: The Lord waited patiently for unbelievers to believe His good news.

Have you ever read that it says in the Scripture, “Let the Lord wait for believers?”

Why would the Lord have no need to wait for genuine believers?

After we have accepted Christ as Lord, and His Spirit becomes active in our life, we can sense some kind of embarrassment to let the Lord wait for us.

The Holy Spirit gives us realization how awesome and worthy is the Lord for us to be quick in obeying Him so that we don’t want to delay our obedience.

Just imagine! Christ, the King of kings is surrounded with powerful army, His angels, who are ready to obey, and who are we to tell Him, “Hold on, Lord. I’ve got to answer this phone. My client is more important than your command!”

The proud heart says, “Hold on a second! I’ve got to do this. You are not very important to me.” So, to let Him wait is disrespectful to the King of kings.

King David has exemplified how believers should behave before the Lord.

In Psalm 40:1, I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry.

And in Psalm 37:7, Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes.

Rightfully, Christ’s human ancestry was traced to David’s lineage. He was blessed waiting patiently for the Lord. We’re not king like him we can wait, right?

In the Parable of the 10 Virgins, the 5 foolish virgins had missed their only chance to join the Wedding Banquet. We all don’t want that tragedy, do we?

So, we pray that the Lord helps us to be spiritually prepared and eager to wait for the Lord just like those 5 wise virgins who joined the Wedding Banquet.

We pray that Christ’s Spirit inspires us to sense urgency to live a holy life.

3. Spirit

and who through the Spirit of holiness was appointed the Son of God in power by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord.

The term holiness or to be “holy” is properly interpreted as “set apart, sacred, pure, morally blameless, consecrated or saint.” Genuine believers are called saints because we have in us the “likeness of nature with the Lord” which is to be “different from the worldly nature.”

What lifestyle do we have as sacred saints when the Spirit of holiness sets apart and consecrates us? Like Christ’s lifestyle, it’s pure and morally blameless.

It says in Philippians 2:5-11, 5Have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

How could we become humble like Christ? We cannot become humble on our own effort. That’s for certain. Why? Humility is the fruit of the Holy Spirit. Meaning: We’ve got to seek the Lord to fill and empower us with His Holy Spirit.

Hebrews 4:15-16 says, 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. 16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

Christ understood and experienced temptation that we encounter everyday and by His grace, He will help us to overcome temptations, if we seek His help.

In a little while, our BOT Chairman will report our activities as a church. Many of you have been actively involved, and may we all continue to seek the special purpose that the Lord has designed for us and obey Him enthusiastically.

And as we celebrate the Lord’s Supper, we are reminded of Christ’s obedience, even to His death on the cross. The Obedient Spirit of Christ can empower us to be obedient in our mandate to proclaim the gospel of Christ.

Pray that the Lord will inspire and empower us to live a lifestyle that would practically prove that the gospel of Christ has taken effect in us personally.

><((‘> … ><(((‘> tmec\2020 <‘)))>< … <‘))><


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