That is why I am so eager to preach…
Romans 1:8-15 (Pastor Heo)
Welcome to new people, especially students. And welcome to Korea.
Acts 17:26 “From one man, God made all the nations that they should inherit the whole earth and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands…”
Today, the population of the world is around 7 billion (did you count?). From one man, God created all men.
Welcome in the name of Jesus Christ.
Paul’s Longing to Visit Rome
1:8 First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is being reported all over the world. 9 God, whom I serve in my spirit in preaching the gospel of his Son, is my witness how constantly I remember you 10 in my prayers at all times; and I pray that now at last by God’s will the way may be opened for me to come to you. 11 I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong— 12 that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith. 13 I do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, that I planned many times to come to you (but have been prevented from doing so until now) in order that I might have a harvest among you, just as I have had among the other Gentiles. 14 I am obligated both to Greeks and non-Greeks, both to the wise and the foolish. 15 **That is why I am so eager to preach the gospel** also to you who are in Rome [Jeonju].
Today is the third time to study Romans.
- Our identity in Christ (slaves of Christ) – this means “apostles sent by Christ into this world as his ambassadors with a great commission = we are set apart, sanctified, and ordained to preach the gospel”
- The core message of the gospel = Jesus’ substitutionary death and resurrection – Jesus died on the cross for our sins and rose again for our lives – to forgive our sins and grant us eternal life
- Today: 5 keywords that are related to the gospel – for/because of the gospel
- Thanksgiving (thankfulness)
- Debt (I don’t like this – so it’s difficult to pronounce)
All these 5 words are related to the gospel.
#1 Thankfulness (v. 8)
8 First, I **thank** my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is being reported all over the world.
This is a vital characteristic in the Christian life. It measures the degree of our spiritual and mental development.
- 1 Thess 5:18 “Give thanks in all circumstances.”
- Psalm 104 “Enter the gate of God with thanksgiving and praise”
Yes, we know this is actually very easy to give thanks for what we WANT: success, health, money. But the Bible says, “Give thanks in ALL circumstances” (i.e. even the HARD things). How is this possible?
- Assurance of salvation – if we have this, we can definitely give thanks in ALL situations. Salvation means “guarantee of the best” – even the worst of this world = the entrance to the BEST of God in the world to come.
- If we trust God and believe in his attributes: “good all the time, faithfulness to heaven” – then, yes, we can give thanks in all circumstances (“We know that in all things, God works all things together for the good of those who love him and are called according to his purposes” – Romans 8).
Paul gives thanks to God simply because he hears the news that is scattered, that the gospel is working among them. Actually, at that time, Paul had never been to Rome, and the church had not been planted. Most of the Christians were unknown to him in Rome. Personally, he had NO relationship with them personally. But he gave thanks to God because the gospel was working among them. This thankfulness is pure and acceptable to God.
May God bless all of us to be people of thanksgiving to the good / benefit of others.
If you pray? For what do you pray? (For ALL = correct answer)
9 God, whom I serve in my spirit in preaching the gospel of his Son, is my witness how constantly I remember you 10 in my prayers at all times; and I pray that now at last by God’s will the way may be opened for me to come to you.
They did not know of Paul’s prayer support – but God knew it and honored it. I wonder how many of us know of the people who pray for us. I wonder how many of us pray for others who do not know we pray for them.
Personally, I do not know how many pray for me. But I know there are some or many who pray for me. Honestly, I need your prayer support and we need each other’s prayer support.
Then, for what do we pray? 2 Supporters:
- Holy Spirit
- Jesus Christ
Romans 8:26 “In this way, the HS helps us in our weaknesses, and though we don’t know what to pray for, the HS intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.”
Also, at the same time, Jesus is interceding for us at the right hand of God.
Romans 8:40? “Yes, Jesus is at the right hand of God and is interceding for us. So, Christ is able to save completely all those who come to him…”
Paul’s prayer request #1 is “to preach the gospel”.
You have prayer requests, right? What is your #1 request? These can change. For example: “I pray for a better job.” If answered, then I will change my request.
Yet, in the Christian life, there is ONE overarching prayer request: “to preach the gospel.”
Yes, we may pray for daily things in our lives: bread to eat, clothes to wear, success, etc.
But ONE thing we should NOT miss = to pray for World Salvation, World Evangelization, World Mission.
We know how Paul suffered, simply because of the gospel, Paul received much suffering (40 lashes minus 1 twice), he was stoned, shipwrecked, danger from Jews, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, mountain, country, desert, many sleepless nights, days without food, without clothes, etc. Why? The gospel.
Simply because of the gospel, he was imprisoned. Imagine this. If I write a prayer letter with requests to my brothers and sisters outside of prison, I would write: “Please, pray for my release as soon as possible.” But Paul wrote: “Please, pray for me to ALWAYS preach the gospel fearlessly.”
Amazing Prayer request:
Ephesians 6:19-20 (personal prayer request)
19 Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.
Wow. What a prayer request. Remember, prayer is not merely preparation for some great work. This is also a great work. Remember, when we pray, GOD WORKS. Yes, talking to man is a great job, but also, talking to God FOR OTHERS is a great job.
God bless us all to be great people of prayer for others’ salvation.
Do you love?
11 I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong— 12 that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith.
Paul says: “I long to see you. I long to preach to you, to make you strong, to be blessed by blessing you. I long to bless you.” This is the loving heart (pastoral heart) of the Lord in Paul. It is an affectionate heart.
Yes, LOVE is the Greatest commandment.
- Jesus: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul, strength. And love your neighbors as you love yourself.” Is this possible?
- Jesus says: “Love your neighbor as yourself?” Is this possible? Amen. If so, you are great.
Paul says, (1 Cor 13):
1 If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
This love is agape love, unfailing love, sacrificial love. No one can love their neighbor like this, yet the Bible demands it.
- Love is sharing
- Love is giving
Bible asks us to love our neighbors as ourselves, but we have no power. God has provided one solution in which we can fulfill this divine love: By preaching the gospel. Why? Because in the gospel message is the FULL love of God. In this gospel, we can get the Best of the Best, salvation, eternal life, heirs / children of God, reconciliation with God, real joy/peace/freedom/victory, final glory.
All of this is found in the gospel. That’s why sharing the gospel is the great commission.
- Love is the greatest commandment.
- Gospel is the greatest commission.
These two ALWAYS go hand-in-hand. They are inseparable.
Do you have fruit?
13 I do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, that I planned many times to come to you (but have been prevented from doing so until now) in order that I might have a harvest among you, just as I have had among the other Gentiles.
The fruit Paul desires to bear = winning souls to Christ by preaching the gospel. Yes, fruit is very important.
- Do you have fruit as a Christian?
- If we have fruit, what kind of fruit do you have as a Christian?
Fruit is essential to SHOW that “I’m alive” and “I’m growing” and to show who I am (what kind of person), also necessary to receive reward – also that “I’m producing seed for the next generation without stop”. If there is no fruit for the next generation, then that is the end.
Non-living things have no fruit, no matter how huge and fantastic they look. If we have life (Jesus’ life), then it is very natural for us to produce fruit. “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit” (Jesus). “By their fruit, you will recognize them. Every good tree bears good fruit… good trees cannot bear bad fruit… every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.”
Also we are to be recognized by our fruit. So, what fruit should we bear?
There is only one kind.
Yes, we can produce much fruit, but there is only ONE kind on a tree.
- Apple trees only produce apples.
- Banana trees only produce bananas.
- Mango trees = mangoes.
- Coconut trees = coconuts.
- Cats = cats.
- Dogs = dogs.
- Tigers = tigers.
- Lions = lions.
- Humans = humans.
- Christians = Christians. New Christians. Another Christian who also has the ability to reproduce another Christian.
- Fruit of non-Christian = non-Christians.
That’s why Paul says, “13 I do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, that I planned many times to come to you (but have been prevented from doing so until now) in order that I might have a harvest among you, just as I have had among the other Gentiles.”
Do you have experience with debt? If you do not pay it back, you must go to jail.
14 I am obligated [a debtor] both to Greeks and non-Greeks, both to the wise and the foolish. 15 That is why I am so eager to preach the gospel also to you who are in Rome.
If we are born again Christians, we are debtors of the gospel. – We owe a debt we cannot pay back. – But Christ paid the debt he did not owe.
Are you Christians?
- We are debtors of the gospel to the Father God who so loved us he sent his only Son, Jesus, to die on the cross for us.
- We are debtors to Christ who died for us and rose again to pay the penalty for our sin
- We are debtors to the Holy Spirit who touched our hearts and opened our eyes to see and receive Jesus as our Savior
- We are debtors to the people who helped lead us to Christ
So, HOW can we repay these large debts?
Only by preaching the gospel to others.
Paul says, “When I preach the gospel, I cannot boast, because I am compelled to preach the gospel. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel.”
On our part, preaching the gospel = repayment. But God counts this as a GREAT reward – the greatest reward in this life.
God bless all of us so that we may become:
- People of thanksgiving for the gospel
- People of prayer through the message of the gospel
- People of love through preaching the gospel
- People of fruit through preaching the gospel
- People of (repayment of) debt by preaching the gospel