Romans: The Gospel (Pastor Heo)
Romans 1:1-7, 1 Cor 15:1-4
Romans 1:1 Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God— 2 the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures 3 regarding his Son, who as to his earthly life was a descendant of David, 4 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. 5 Through him we received grace and apostleship to call all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith for his name’s sake. 6 And you also are among those Gentiles who are called to belong to Jesus Christ. 7 To all in Rome who are loved by God and called to be his holy people: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Cor 15:1 Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. 2 By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. 3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance : that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,
These verses are the CORE message of the gospel. We know (we recently studied) that ALL the books in the Bible are “All About Jesus”. Also, this book, Romans, is focused on the gospel. Romans is the gospel of gospels – and it is focused on the gospel from first to last. The full, pure, clear, direct gospel – the essence of the gospel.
The word “gospel” appears 12 times. This is more than in any other book than the whole Bible. Interestingly, even more often than in the first 4 books of the New Testament (these are referred to as the “Gospels”: Matthew, Mark, Luke, John). So, in this way, Romans is “The Gospel according to Paul.”
We know this gospel is not a new story, but a very, very old story. This is not invented by men, but originates from God – it is always unchangeable – the same message forever.
The Christian Truth is a paradox = something that appears wrong/strange but it true.
- Jesus: “He who wants to save his life, will lose it.”
- “He who wants to be first, will be last.” – To be a leader, you must serve.
- Last week: “True freedom is found in slavery (to Christ).”
This morning’s paradox: “The gospel is an OLD story, but it is NEWS. It should be proclaimed everyday, even today. It is the story of Death (but we call it ‘Good News of Great Joy’). The gospel is an unchangeable story, but it changes you and me – from death to life, purposeless to purposeful, defeat to victory.”
Romans 1:1-7, 1 Corinthians 1:1-4 are the BEST and MOST CLEAR messages of the Gospel in the whole Bible.
“…according to the Scriptures” = according to Old Testament prophecy.
- fully Man (proven by his physical birth – Romans 1:3), and
- fully God (proven by his resurrection – Romans 1:4)
So, in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4, the core message of the gospel = the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. “What I received I pass on to you as of first importance…” The gospel message = that Jesus died for the sins of the whole world and rose again from the dead for our complete salvation and he is able to save completely those who trust in him.
This is the miraculous story of the substitutionary death of Jesus for us.
The core message of the gospel is: the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Today’s sermon title: “Gospel”
Today in our sermon, I want all of us to focus on the core message of the gospel (the death and resurrection of Christ). Let me share 6 characteristics of this core message:
Core: Jesus Died on the cross for you sin (my sin) and rose again from the dead, and is now able to save completely from death those who trust in Him. This message is begun from before Genesis. Yet, this is “news” that should be announced and known and revealed today as “good news.”
Characteristics of the Death & Resurrection:
#1 These are MAIN prophecies in the OT
This was promised and preached even in the OT, long ago – even though they didn’t realize what they were writing.
Genesis 3:15 “And I will put enmity between you [the serpent] and the woman [Eve], and between your offspring [devil, evil spirits] and hers [the Messiah]; he [Jesus] will crush your head [Satan’s – first prophesy of Jesus’ resurrection], and you [Satan] will strike his heel [his suffering, crucifixion, and death on the cross].” Literally, this is a curse given to the serpent – the first curse.
This verse, in the very first curse in the world, the gospel is included. So, this verse is called the “Primitive Gospel” (원시복음) – Euangelion = gospel (Greek)
We can trace the path of blood through the whole Old Testament.
- Genesis 4: Able,
- Ram on the mountain (Isaac),
- sacrifices throughout Israel’s history
- David, Isaiah, Hezekiah, Jeremiah, etc…
ALL these offerings point to ONE offering that will be offered on the cross by Jesus.
Isaiah prophesied: “He was crushed for our iniquities…”
#2: The pages that mark the story of the gospel take up more pages in the NT than any others – this is remarkable.
Jesus lived on earth for 33 years, but the gospel message (death and resurrection) = 1/5 of all the Gospel books. Even in the OT, this event was marked as supreme importance (focus of prophecies).
#3: The death and resurrection is the MAIN PURPOSE of The Incarnation (God becoming Man)
There are several purposes of The Incarnation:
- To teach us doctrine
- To show an example
- To become our High Priest
- To die (the MAIN purpose) and rise (for our salvation)
Actually, God cannot die – but he became a Man to die. That’s why Jesus says, “The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve and give his life as a ransom for many.” John “If a kernel of wheat does not die, it does not produce a crop, but if it dies, it produces MANY.”
This is the direct purpose and connection with the Incarnation (the redemption of the lost). The Incarnation is not an “end” in itself, but it is a “means to an end” – to save the lost.
#4: Essential for our forgiveness, salvation, and eternal life
John 3:14-15 “Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.”
Yes, this gospel is absolutely necessary for our eternal life.
Hebrews 4:2 “Jesus Christ has appeared once for all at the end of the age to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself.”
Question: how can we be saved from our sin?
We need forgiveness everyday, every moment. Just like we need to wash our hands everyday, every night and morning. So, how can we receive this forgiveness from God? By repentance – Yes and No.
- God is a righteous God, so he cannot pardon sin ONLY on the ground of the sinner’s repentance.
- God can forgive a sinner ONLY when the penalty is first PAID. He is a holy and righteous God.
In order to forgive sinners, and still remain a holy and righteous God, Jesus first PAID the penalty for us in our place. Now, if we believe in him, there is no condemnation against us and God can forgive our sins and welcome us back into his kingdom.
“The blood of Christ purifies us from all sins.”
The root of all disease, sickness, suffering is sin. There is only one remedy for sin: the blood of Christ.
#5: These are Vital elements in Christianity
Honestly speaking, Christianity is NOT a religion, but it is called a religion – because in this world there are many religions. Actually, Christianity is LIFE itself. So, what is the difference between Christianity and other religions?
Other religions base their claims on the teaching of their founders (Muhammad, Buddha, etc).
But Christianity assigns all its importance on the DEATH of its founder. If we remove the death of Christ from Christianity, then it becomes the same as a religion of the world. This is the heart of Christianity.
Other religions do not even mention the death of their founders. Why? Because they are dead and gone (and they have massive, beautiful tombs enshrining them that many take pilgrimages to visit). But, Christianity’s founder? Where is his tomb? There is none.
Jesus’ resurrection is called the “First Fruits” of human resurrection. Only Christ has the power and authority to say, “I am the Resurrection and the Life and no one comes to the Father except by Me.”
- He died for our sins,
- he is living for our salvation, and
- he is coming again soon for our eternal glorification.
The founders of other religions are dead, gone, entombed, and leave only a memory.
But Christ is risen from the dead and gives us a power and love and life through his resurrection.
#6: This is of supreme interest even in heaven
In the Kingdom of Heaven, this is the first concern. For example, do you know the story of the Transfiguration on the Mountain? Jesus, Peter, and John met Elijah (the Prophets) and Moses (the Law). (This is repeated in Matthew and Luke). They spoke with Jesus on the mountain about his “departure” (i.e. death and resurrection) which he was about to accomplish in Jerusalem soon. This indicates that the main concern of heaven is this event. You know, even in Revelation, the elders and choir sang a song about the redemption accomplished by the death and resurrection of Christ. Rev 5:11 “thousands upon thousands and ten thousands upon ten thousands of angels joined in the chorus…” – to sing a song of the redemption accomplished by Jesus Christ.
This indicates that this event is the #1 concern even in heaven.
So, those who have the veil of humanity removed from their eyes and can see the kingdom of heaven, fully praise and exalt the death and resurrection of Christ. So, we also must study this.
Romans 1:1-7 we can see “called” 4 times:
1 Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, *called* to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God— 2 the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures 3 regarding his Son, who as to his earthly life was a descendant of David, 4 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. 5 Through him we received grace and apostleship *to call* all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith for his name’s sake. 6 And you also are among those Gentiles who are *called* to belong to Jesus Christ. 7 To all in Rome who are loved by God and *called* to be his holy people: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
What does this mean?
We are called by God to call others to God through the message of the gospel.
Who were the great men in the OT? The men who HEARD the call of God and ANSWERED. (Abraham, Samuel, Jeremiah, Isaiah, David, Joshua, Moses)
Even today, this is the same.
- We are CALLED. Did you hear? Are you hearing?
- We are called to call others to God through the message of the gospel.
God bless all of us so that we may hear and respond to the call of God.
God is calling me to call others to God through the message of the gospel, the message of salvation.