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Rom. 1:1 THE CREDENTIALS OF PAUL THE APOSTLE Part 1
Intro: Tonight, we embark on a study of what is perhaps the greatest Book
of the New Testament. I know that is a big statement, however, Romans is,
without question, the greatest theological work of the Apostle Paul. This
book has been called "The Constitution Of Christianity"; "The Christian
Manifesto"; and "The Cathedral Of The Christian Faith". Without a doubt,
this book has been responsible for more change in the church than any
It was this book that in September of 386 AD touched the heart of a
North African native who was a professor in the city of Milan, Italy. As
Augustine sat weeping in the garden of a friend while contemplating the
wickedness of his life, he heard a child singing, "Tolle, lege. Tolle, lege."
These words from Latin mean, "Take up and read. Take up and read."
Beside of Augustine was an open scroll of the Book of Romans. He picked
it up and read the first verses that caught his eyes. They were Rom. 13:13-14. These verse brought about the conversion of Augustine and he
became, in the mind of many, one of the greatest theologians and leaders
in the history of the church.
1,000 years later, a Roman Catholic monk of the Augustinian Order
named Martin Luther, who was a professor at the University of Wittenburg
in Germany, was teaching his students the Book of Romans. As he studied
the text, his heart was arrested by the theme of justification by faith, Rom.
1:17. The Holy Spirit used this verse to bring Luther to Christ and the
Reformation to the world.
A few hundred years later, an ordained minister in the Church of
England named John Wesley was repairing to take the Gospel to America
as a missionary. However, even though Wesley was a preacher and was
going to cross the Atlantic as a missionary, he was confused about the
Gospel and was seeking a genuine conversion experience of his own.
Then, one Wednesday evening, he attended a Bible Study in London. While
there, he heard some of Luther's comments on Romans being read and this
brought about his conversion to Christ. Then John, along with his brother
Charles, would be the tolls God would use to bring the great Wesleyan
revivals to the world.
Over the next several months, as the Lord leads, I intend to preach
through this great book verse by verse. As I do, we will find that a great
many questions about God and what He has given us in Jesus will be
answered. This is a Book that is impossible to exhaust. It will captivate the
most brilliant of theological minds and will bring the humblest of God's
servants to tears.
Romans was written by Paul the Apostle between 56 and 58 A.D. from
the city of Corinth while Paul was on his third missionary journey. The Bible
tells us that after Paul was saved, he spent 3 years in Arabia, Gal. 1:17-18.
During this time he studies the Old Testament writings and how they speak
of Jesus. When he returned to Jerusalem, he came with this great epistle
burning in his heart. Let's join Paul tonight in these first 7 verses as he
discusses his credentials with the members of the Church in Rome.
As Paul discusses himself and his ministry, he also sheds some light on
our mission as we go through life. This is the longest introduction to any of
the New Testament epistles. It is also the richest in theological content.
Let's spend a few minutes here as we consider The Credentials Of The
I. V. 1 THE FACTS ABOUT THE MESSENGER
A. His Condition - As Paul begins his comments to the Roman
Christians, he doesn't begin boasting of his office. He begins by
proclaiming himself to be a "servant." The word means a "bond
slave." This calls to mind the "law of the bond slave" from the Old
Testament. According to this law, a slave could refuse his freedom
and could choose to remain with his master forever, Ex. 21:1-6.
Instead of exalting himself before the Romans, Paul chose to
humble himself. This was the secret of Paul's greatness! Paul
knew that like a slave, he had no personal rights. His life was
dictated to him by the master. He was totally sold out to the will of
God. There is no doubt that this is why the Lord used Paul so
(Ill. This is a lesson that the modern Christian needs to learn. We
have so many who feel that they are in control of their lives and that
they have the right to do as they please and make their own
decisions. We need to remember that when we were saved by
Jesus Christ, we became His bond servants! He bought us, and
now He owns us completely - 1 Cor. 6:19-20.)
(Ill. This image of slavery was commonplace to Paul's readers.
However, we don't understand it so well. Therefore, I would like to
take a moment to share a few facts about slaves and slavery with
you this evening. As I do, I want you to let the Lord speak to your
heart about your relationship with Jesus and about your own level
of surrender to Him.
1. The slave was totally owned by the Master. In the spiritual
sense, Jesus saw the wretched condition we were in and He
bought us unto Himself. He made us His possession, Rev. 5:9.
2. The slave existed for his Master. He had no other reason for his
existence. He had no rights of his own. The only rights he had
were those of the Master.
3. The slave existed to serve his Master. He had no other purpose
in life but to do what the Master wanted him to do. He was to
be at the Master's disposal any hour of the day or night. This
is how Paul felt. Does that describe your heart this evening?
Our lives should be lived for the glory of the Lord. We are to do
His will totally, and without question! (Ill. Eph. 6:6)
4. Even the slave's will belonged exclusively to his Master. He was
allowed no will or no ambition outside that which his Master
allowed him to have. In other words, there was to be a total
surrender of every part of the slaves being to the will of the
Master, 2 Cor. 10:5.
5. Note that when Paul mentions his Master, that it is none other
than the Lord Jesus. A slave's live, whether it was good or evil,
depended upon the character of his Master. In the case of the
believer, our Master is Jesus! Therefore instead of cringing
and cowering in fear before this One we call Lord, we are
servants who have been elevated to the status os priests and
kings. Our is a position of honor before the Lord. We are
perhaps the only slaves in history who are allowed to sit with
their Master in His throne, Eph. 2:6.
B. His Calling - Not only was Paul a slave to a new Master, he was also
an apostle. This word means an "ambassador". This word literally
means a "sent one." He was a person sent out into another country as
a representative of Heaven. Ambassadors usually carried with them all
the authority of the country and the king which sent them. Paul was no
exception. He was a representative of King Jesus and he operated
under His Divine authority. When Paul spoke, he spoke for the Lord.
When he acted, he acted as a representative of the throne of Heaven.
His authority was the very authority of God Himself.
(Ill. What does all this mean for us?
1. It is worthy of note that Paul was what he was by the will of God.
Notice that he had been "Called". Paul did not just decide to go
into the ministry, nor did friends and family persuade him that it
was what he should do. he was placed in the ministry by the
sovereign will of Almighty God, 1 Tim. 1:12-14. Paul became what
he did by the grace of God that was operating in his life, 1 Cor.
15:10. Just as God picked and placed Paul, He also does the
same for you and me. He places us in His kingdom work when
and where it pleases Him, 1 Cor. 12:11,18.
2. If He could take his worst enemy, 1 Tim. 1:15, and make him His
greatest messenger, then God can and will use your life for His
glory if you will yield to Him. Never let the Devil or any person tell
you that God cannot and will not use your life for His glory. He
saved you by His grace and He wants to use you to bring others
unto Him. He has a place of service for you and He will place you
there if you will yield to Him.
3. While we do not hold the office of Apostle, we are the ambassadors
of Heaven. God has commissioned us to be His spokespersons
to a lost an dying world. In fact, the Bible plainly tells us that we
are the very words of God written to speak to the peoples of the
world, 2 Cor. 3:2-3. When the world sees you and me, lets ever
let them see a people who are sold out and committed to the will
of God in the world. They need to see people who are living like
they are indeed the representatives of Heaven, Phil. 1:27. Like
salt in a bland world, we should flavor our lives with the glory of
God and create a thirst in others for the things of God, Matt. 5:13-16.)
C. His Commission - Paul's next statement tells us that he had been
"separated" unto the Gospel of God. There are some great blessings
contained in this little phrase.
1. Separated - This word has the idea of being "set apart." Paul is
telling us that his life has been set apart for the glory of God and
for the Lord Jesus Christ. This literally means that nothing else
mattered to Paul but the things that mattered to God.
(Ill. People are concerned with being separated from the world.
They will tell you that you have to stop doing this thing or the other
thing to be perfectly separated. Their whole life revolves around
what they can and cannot do. I personally believe that people like
this are missing the boat. Our job is not to separate from the
world, it is to separate unto Christ. If we are separated unto
Jesus, then we are automatically separated from the world. I
cannot be in Nebo and want to be separated unto Morganton
without first becoming separated from Nebo. Does that make
sense? If I am living in one area, then it is impossible for me to
dwell in another! So, if I really want to be separate from the world,
and I think that is what God wants, 2 Cor. 6:17, then the secret lies
in totally devoting my life the Lord Jesus Christ. If I live to please
Him, I will have no trouble with the world!)
2. The word translated "separated" is the same word from which we
get our word "horizon." The sense of this word is literally "off-horizoned". It tells us that Paul's horizons had changed. Before,
he was headed toward a religious hell, living a life of legalism and
rebellion against Christ. Now, his life has been changed and he is
headed towards a new horizon. His is a radically different life.
(Ill. So it is with every child of God who is in the world today. We
have been changed forever! We are headed toward a new
horizon. Before, our destiny was an eternity in Hell. Now, we have
been saved and are headed to Heaven to be with the Lord forever.
Before, our lives were filled with sin and rebellion. Now, we have
been called out as ambassadors of the kingdom of Heaven. The
very representatives of God in the world today.)
3. Paul then tells us that he has been separated to the "Gospel of
God." His commission is that of carrying the "good news" of Jesus
to a world trapped in sin and lostness. This Gospel is a special
message. Notice this:
a. It is the Gospel of God - This message did not originate in the
mind of man. It came from the heart of God. The plan that
would culminate with Jesus dying on the cross and then rising
from the dead was and is God's plan. It was devised long
before man ever stood on the earth, Rev. 13:8. Had man
developed the plan of salvation, it surely would have included
works and religious rituals. People love that sort of thing. Man
would have fixed it so that he got a little of the credit. God, on
the other hand, fixed it so that lost sinners could come to Him
freely, in faith and receive eternal salvation by the grace o God,
b. It is a Gospel born in the heart of God - Why would God
want to go to such great lengths to save the world and get His
message to the world? The answer is that God is love, 1 John
4:8 and that He does not want to see a single sinner die without
Him, 2 Pet. 3:9. His love is so great that He will stop at nothing
to get the message out. He will even use people like you and
(Ill. Just consider for a moment those people that God calls into
(Ill. This kind of love is illustrated by an old story from France.
It seems that there was a young Frenchman who was loved
very deeply by his mother. However, when this young man
reached adulthood, he fell in love with a very wicked young
woman who was able to gain his total devotion. When the
young man's mother tried to turn her son away from this wicked
and ungodly relationship, the young woman became extremely
angry. She told her lover that if he really loved her, he would
prove it by going to his mother's home, killing her and returning
with her heart to prove that he had done the deed. This young
man resisted, but his girlfriend continued to pressure him, until
one night in a drunken stupor he went to his mother's home,
killed her and cut out her heart. As he returned to his
girlfriend's home. As he entered the door, he stumbles and fell
to the floor. When he did, the heart is said to have cried out,
"Son, are you hurt?")
(Isn't that how things are between God and man? He created
us, He loves us and yet man rises up in rebellion against God,
ultimately participating in God's death at Calvary. Even with all
this against us, God still sees our hurt condition and reaches
out to make things right between us and Himself. When we
have done our best to keep the Lord out of our lives, He still
reminds us of His love and calls us to come unto Him. His
Gospel certainly is the Good News!)
c. It is the only Gospel that will save the lost - God only knows
of one plan that will save the lost soul - Acts 16:3; Acts 4:12;
d. We are the messengers of this Gospel in this present day -
Just as Paul was separated in the 1st Century to carry the
Gospel to the lost then, we are called to do the same in this
day. The message is juts as precious and the need just as
great. Our duty is to submit to the Lord's will for our lives and
be His ambassadors in the world. How are we doing in getting
the Gospel out?
Conc: As I bring this first message from Romans to a close, we haven't
covered much territory from the standpoint of verses covered. However, I
think you will agree with me that the things that have been said this evening
are of immense eternal and practical value. Paul considered him self to be
a slave to Jesus, an ambassador of God and a proclaimer of the good news
of salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ. Did you know that God holds the
same expectation for you and me? His will is that we go forth into this world
with His message, as His representatives in His Name and power and that
we tell His Good News to those who are perishing. When we lay ourselves
alongside of the great Apostle, how do we measure up? Is there more we
can do? Are we surrendered to the level we should be? Are we consumed
with a burden for the lost and with the need to get out the Gospel? If the
Lord has dealt with your heart through this message, I invite you to come to
the altar and do what the Lord would have you to do!