Living in Grace and Faith
Introduction – In this Session, we explore Romans Chapter 1, verses 5-13, and progress deeper into Paul’s lengthy introduction to the Church at Rome whom he had never met. In the introduction in the last Session, we spent most of the time defining the context, the occasion, the history and the culture of the Church at Rome. In effort to save time, we will pick up the text in verse 5 and begin.
In verses 5-13, we see the following movements in the text.
1 – Grace empowers our ministries.
2 – Faith must produce transformation in our lives.
3 – We are loved and set apart as God’s people.
4 – The faith reputation of the Church at Rome was widely known.
5 – Pure ministry proceeds from being aligned with Christ.
6 – Spiritual gifts can be imparted to others.
7 – We should expect a spiritual harvest in our ministries.
a) In Paul’s introduction, he introduced himself as a servant of Christ first and then an apostle who was set apart for the Gospel. As we mentioned last week, the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the narrative of how God worked salvation for humanity through His Covenants, through the prophets and revealed and fulfilled in Jesus Christ. We preach the Gospel today through the Word with demonstrations of power that prove the Word. Now in verse 5, Paul tells the Church in Rome the purpose of his apostolic ministry, which is to call the Gentiles to the obedience in the faith.
b) Notice that Paul mentions grace before his apostolic ministry. This shows us that all our ministries begin by receiving grace from God. Grace is not only unmerited favor from God, but grace is empowerment from God to be able to things for Him that we could not do in our own strength.
c) The mission or purpose of Paul’s ministry was to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom with the fruit being obedience to Christ in the people who received the Gospel. See Luke 6:46-49. d) Faith in Christ must produce change in us, considering who we are in relationship with through faith, God.
a) Paul encourages this church by including them in God’s family. When we consider being called to belong to Christ, we should see understand this in the context of the Omniscience and Omnipresence of God, who knows beginning from end. God knows those who will receive Him and those who do not choose Him. God desires all to know Him, and God knows who will choose Him, the called. 2 Peter 3:9 – The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
b) Notice that we are loved by God. Greek – Loved – Agapētos – beloved, esteemed, dear, favorite, worthy of love.
c) Called to be God’s holy people, or people set apart for God. Many people focus on spiritual identities, like son, but avoid identities like disciple or holy people. d) Grace and peace – Grace will always proceed peace. When we find grace from God, our hearts become settled and we live in peace with Him and in Him. Peace in our lives is an evidence and an assurance of faith.
a) In our introduction, we learned that the Church of Rome had been started organically from Christians all over the Empire who first heard Peter’s message at Pentecost (Acts 2), and then by others who traveled to Rome from the east. Many of them would have been touched by Paul’s ministry, and as Paul equipped and released spiritual sons and daughters they ran with the Gospel and built the Church in Rome. This Church was perhaps the most diverse Body of Christ in the early apostolic era. They had been thriving for 20-25 years before they were touched by Paul or Peter’s ministry.
b) The Church at Rome had such an impact that their faith in Christ was known throughout the Roman Empire. Also note that Paul used the Greek word kosmos here for world indicating that they were known in the natural order, but also making impact spiritually as well. This Church suffered the first persecutions of the Empire at the hands of Nero, who was nicknamed the Beast, and their history is full of bravery, martyrdom and boldness in Christ. Archeologists believe that there were approximately 500,000 Christians martyred in Rome throughout the first 400 years of the Church.
a) Notice that Paul says that he serves God in his spirit, and not soul. 1 Thessalonians 5:23 – May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Humanity is a 3 part being, spirit, soul and body. When we come to Christ our spirit is made alive and should be the lead of our soul (thoughts and emotions) and our body (the expression of thoughts and emotions). Pure ministry is that which is influenced by the Holy Spirit, on our spirit, shaping the will, mind and emotions and expressed in our body. Ministry originating in the soul is devoid of purity and often expresses itself in religious posturing and works of man.
b) Paul prays for them without ceasing or “without an intermission”. We see the power of intercession in prospering and advancing God’s agenda in the world through the vehicle of prayer. Charles Spurgeon – “No wonder that they prospered so well when Paul always made mention of them in his prayers. Some churches would prosper better if some of you remembered them more in prayer.”
c) Notice that Paul is asking for God’s will and not his own. Paul did see this Church, but not on his terms, but under Roman custody as he waited an appeal
trial before Nero. See Acts 28:30.
a) Notice that spiritual gifts strengthen the Church. In 1 Corinthians 12:7, Paul says that spiritual gifts are for the common good of the Church. Spiritual gifts are the avenue by which God activates His people to serve one another, creating dependence and unity in His Church. These are supernatural abilities that are graces from God to enable to serve one another in powerful expressions. There are 20 spiritual gifts listed in Scripture. Notice that impartation is a method of transference.
b) Romans 12:6-8 – We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.
1 – Prophecy
2 – Service
3 – Teaching
4 – Encouragement/Exhortation – stimulating faith, stirring up faith
5 – Giving – supernaturally empowered generosity (not obedient generosity required by every believer)
6 – Leadership – spiritual authority to lead others/supernatural leadership (may be expressed in the marketplace or the Church)
7 – Mercy
c) 1 Corinthians 12:8-10 & 28 (not repeating any gift previously mentioned in Romans)
8 – Wisdom
9 – Knowledge
10 – Faith
11 – Healing
12 – Miracles
13 – Discerning of spirits
14 – Tongues
15 – Interpretation of Tongues
16 – Apostle
17 – Helps
18 – Administration
d) Ephesians 4:11 – So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, (not repeating any gift previously mentioned in Romans or Corinthians)
19 – Evangelist
20 – Pastor
a) Paul wanted the Romans to know that he was concerned, loved them and
desired to see them. Paul modeled a mature expression of apostolic fatherhood.
b) Paul wanted to see a spiritual harvest in Rome. Spiritual harvest is the focus when we consider the mission of the Church. See Matthew 28:18-20.