The Power of the Gospel - Romans 1:16
I am blessed to be a follower of Jesus Christ and a part of the family of God. It is so good to gather and give praise and worship to our God. Oh what peace we can find in the Savour of our lives, Jesus Christ, the Soon and Coming King. We are told in the Scriptures to “watch and pray” with regards to the Return of the King. We are living in the “last days” and need to keep our love hot for Jesus and not to be distracted by the world in which we live.
As I have looked at the news headlines from the last few weeks, I find myself disturbed about the society and culture in which we live. We live in a broken and sinful world. People lose their moral compass when they disconnect from God; good becomes evil and evil becomes good. In the midst of my spirit being concerned I can only remind myself that this world is passing away and Jesus will someday return for his bride. I hope and pray that we will be like the wise virgins, that Pastor Becky spoke about last week; that our lamps will be lit and we will have extra oil as we wait patiently for the groom.
There was another time in history when society and culture were at an all time low. The Roman Empire began to grow in power from around 200 B.C. through to the fourth century A.D. They expanded their power over an enormous variety of peoples outside Italy through “imperialism”; this would be like “colonialism” on steroids… Emperors were worshipped like gods. They empire became tolerant of conquered peoples, although the Christians faced persecution and torture. Nero literally set Christians on fire to light up his night parties. Sexual depravity was common place especially among the rich and elite. Murder was commonplace especially in the political arena as men vied for position.
The Apostle Paul writes his letter to the Romans most likely in the midst of his third missionary journey. He writes to the church hoping to bring unity in the church between the Jewish and Gentile believers. In doing so he also directs them as to how they should live in the midst of a cruel and hostile empire. He begins by boldly staring “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 human nature was a descendant of David, 4 and who through the Spirit of holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord. 5 Through him and for his name’s sake, we received grace and apostleship to call people from among all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith. 6 And you also are among those who are called to belong to Jesus Christ (Rom 1:1–6). The “Good News” or the gospel was the way Emperors were often announced when they entered conquered regions or cities for the first time. Paul speaks of another “king” who brings good news - Jesus Christ.
I want to share with us this morning five benefits of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Paul tells us, “I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes… (Rom 1:16). We must understand that the gospel is the announcement of another good “king” (the Kingdom of God) in contrast to emperors and imperialism. The power of God’s Kingdom is to be manifest morally and supernaturally. The result is salvation to everyone who believes. This salvation was and is to be experienced not just intellectualized. Here are five benefits of the gospel of Jesus.
Forgiveness is a foundational theme of both the Old and New Testaments. Biblically speaking, it is the release, on part of our Holy God, of any expectation that our debt of sin can or will ever be repaid. Our sins, past, present and future have been atoned for as a result of Jesus dying on the cross and his blood being shed; Ex 34:6-7; Psalm 103:3; Psalm 130:4; 1 John 1:9; Hebr 8:12.
Healing comes in many forms and fashions. There is spiritual healing (born-again) resulting in salvation, but there is also physical healing of the soul and body. Jesus Christ is our Healer and the gospel experience is a healing one. Over and over in the gospels Jesus heals the sick and down through history divine healing has been experienced. Psalm 103:3; Matt 9:35; Mark 16:18.
The Scriptures highlight an ongoing war between Satan and God’s creation. The Apostle John records, “The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work” (1 John 3:8–9). “Deliverance is like eating our daily bread.” We are told in the Lord’s Prayer (Matt 6:9-13) to pray this way… “but deliver us from the evil one.”
4. Baptism in the Holy Spirit
I am so grateful that Jesus did not leave us without his presence or Spirit. The baptism of the Spirit is the result of Jesus’ death on the cross, but even more so because the Spirit of God who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you (Rom 8:11). We are not orphans, we are not alone, we are empowered, gifted and transformed to be like Jesus.
5. Eternal life
Eternal life is hard to understand this side of heaven. As people we are fully aware of the physical life that we have been given. The concept of our spirits living forever in new glorified bodies seems to good to be true. “If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. 45 So it is written: “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit” (1 Cor 15:44–46). This life-giving spirit results in - John 17:3 - “Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.”
The writer of Hebrews reminds us to “throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. 2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart (Heb 12:1–3).
- The Lord wants some of us to throw off unforgiveness.
- The Lord wants us to receive the fullness of his healing, soul and body.
- The Lord wants us to remember that our battle is against not against flesh and blood. We need to be free from Satan’s power and oppression.
- The Lord wants us to be filled daily with his Holy Spirit…