Study Through Romans: Lesson 2 :: By Sean Gooding

Chapter 1:16-17

Why a Study in Romans?

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, ‘The just shall live by faith.'”

Why would we be looking at the book of Romans on a Prophecy site like Rapture Ready?

Some may think this weird. The book of Romans is one of the doctrinal books that I love to study as it covers a lot of topics that we should take note of. In Matthew 24 when the disciples asked Jesus what would be the sign of the end, He reminded them multiple times not to be deceived. In Matthew 24:4-5, 11, 23-25, Jesus is careful to mention that deception will be the thing to really be worried about as we get closer and closer to the end.

Right here in the first chapter, Paul confronts us with the ‘will of God.’ Verse 15 tells us that Paul wanted to come to them in Rome often, but was hindered. But he was ready to preach the Gospel. All of us men, especially men who are in the ministry, have plans and dreams. Pastors, missionaries and leaders all have dreams and desires, but we are to temper everything with the ‘will of God.’ He must lead, and we must never get out ahead and expect God to play ‘catch-up.’ He won’t, and you and I will lose.

Paul learned early in his ministry to listen to God as the Holy Spirit led. In Acts 16:8-10, we see this encounter that Paul had. “So, they passed by Mysia and went down to Troas. During the night, Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and pleading with him, ‘Come over to Macedonia and help us.’ As soon as Paul had seen the vision, we got ready to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.”

Paul had not intended to go to Macedonia, but he listened to the will of God and went there immediately. Waiting on God can be hard; it can seem as if you are wasting time and not getting the job done. But deception and haste go hand in hand; you do not take the time to discern the right way; you just plow ahead. Remember this: just because you are busy does not mean you are doing God’s work.

In Romans 1:18-32 Paul lays out for us what happens when a society, people decide that the creation and not the Creator is to be worshiped. What follows is the growth of sexual sins, the hatred for God, the disregard for right and wrong, and the removal of any shame at all when indulging in the grossest of sexual sins. In Romans 1:32 we see this verse: “who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.”

There is no more shame to overt sexual sin; to the contrary, it is promoted and approved by the powers that be, including both the government and church trickling down to society. And now we have openly gay and lesbian couples everywhere. We have pedophilia being pushed like a normal sexual desire because, like homosexuals, they are ‘born this way.’ Then it is not long until now we have elevated the creation to the point that we are our own gods, deciding that God made us wrong. God made a mistake and we know better.

We have children ruling their parents, and broken homes, failed marriages and busted lives. But we know better than God; He is wrong about everything and, in fact, He really does not exist. Only idiots, even well-educated scholars (educated idiots) believe in God, in right and wrong and in standards. And, if you opposed them, you are a hater, intolerant and divisive. Everybody is wrong except me, of course. And, if you think I am wrong, then you are a bad person. Paul would not have tolerated these fools for very long.

In Romans 3 we have the sinfulness of man. We are not okay; none of us are. We are rotten to the core (Romans 3:10). In chapter 4 we are saved by faith, just like Abraham who believed God (Romans 4:16-22), and it was accounted to him for righteousness. We are saved the same way; by faith, we believe God (Romans 10:9-10). In Romans 5 we are justified; in Romans 6-7 we find the battle between the flesh and the Holy Spirit living in us. In chapter 8 we have security in Jesus.

In chapter 9-11 we see God’s plan for Israel. In chapter 12 the transformation of our old man into the image of Jesus. We are called not to live as hypocrites. This is one of the biggest complaints against the Lord’s churches and people today. We are hypocrites; we say one thing and do another. We are double-minded, torn between the flesh and the Spirit. We are also not real about our faults; we make ourselves out to be more than we are.

We are just sinners saved by grace. We struggle with the flesh; and as such, we need to have rules in place to minimize temptation. Men should not be in rooms alone with women who are not their wives or daughters. Be careful what we watch, what we listen too, what we say and to whom and how we say it. Think before speaking; think the best of others until the worst is proven, and be ready and willing to forgive to the point the world thinks we are insane.

In chapter 13 we learn about civil responsibilities to our governments. Our Prime Minister in Canada, Barbados (where I was born), the President in the US, the PM in The United Kingdom, and on and on we can go, are put there by God. Some are good leaders and some are not so good. We learn that the police are there for our protection. God’s people should not be part of insurrections. But we should also avail ourselves of all the legal freedoms that we have. Paul did. Acts 25:8-12,

“But Festus, wanting to do the Jews a favour, answered Paul and said, ‘Are you willing to go up to Jerusalem and there be judged before me concerning these things?’ So Paul said, ‘I stand at Caesar’s judgment seat, where I ought to be judged. To the Jews I have done no wrong, as you very well know. For if I am an offender, or have committed anything deserving of death, I do not object to dying; but if there is nothing in these things of which these men accuse me, no one can deliver me to them. I appeal to Caesar.’ Then Festus, when he had conferred with the council, answered, ‘You have appealed to Caesar? To Caesar you shall go!'”

Even though Paul was from the tribe of Benjamin and a Jew, he was born a Roman and was a citizen. As such, when arrested he had the right to appeal his case all the way to Caesar. He took advantage of all of his legal freedoms under the law of Rome. Modern Christians have done the same thing lately, taking cases all the way to the SCOTUS, the modern version of Caesar, to get justice. There is nothing wrong with that. In chapter 14 we explore the laws of Liberty and Love, and we find that there must be a balance between personal freedoms and our love for others, especially weaker brothers and sisters in the faith. In chapter 15 we learn to bear each other`s burdens and seek to glorify God together in all things. Then we have Paul greeting the people in Rome and commending others.

The Book of Romans covers every aspect of the Christian walk; from the realization that we are rotten sinners to the Holy Spirit changing us to be servants, simply living to glorify God in all aspects. The book of Romans is raw and at times polished. It does not pull punches either when speaking to the individual or the collective. It confronts sin and promotes grace. It warns the unrepentant sinner of God`s wrath and offers the humbled sinner God`s security and God`s love. Romans empowers us to deal with deception; it gives us clear teachings that provide us with simple and clear understandings of the truth, thus equipping us to recognize lies and deceptions.

Lastly, chapters 9-11 help us to be prepared for the lies about Israel and that very common belief, even amongst supposed conservative Bible teachers, that God has replaced Israel with the local church and He has finished his work with Israel. They say this even when we have the revived Israel right in our midst. There are none so blind as those that refuse to see.

Deception is killing the modern church; too many want to be culturally relevant and not Biblically right. Too many want to appeal to the masses and not glorify God. Too many use the Bible as a springboard to whatever the current flavor is and refuse to do expository and exegetical teaching that makes them ask who is speaking, why are they speaking, to whom are they speaking, when are they speaking, and what did they say? They do not understand that the Bible, though it can be applied to 2020, must be interpreted as it was intended in 2500 BC or 40 AD or 90-AD and then applied here.

We need Romans in these last days; it is truth, it is blunt, and it is eye-opening. It offers us a gauge to measure things we hear and see against its clarity. This will be a deliberate journey that I pray the Lord will open our eyes and hearts to.

Let us finish with the very verses we began with. We do not need to water down the Gospel, we do not need to temper its message, we do not need to alter the message in any way, shape, or form; it is the ONLY hope for ALL mankind. Paul was beholden to the Law of Moses for a large part of his life. He lived it and breathed it. But when he found the Gospel, rather when the Gospel found him on the Damascus road, he let the Law go. He applied the same zeal to the Gospel of peace that he gave to the Law of sin and death.

We should not be ashamed of the truth, even an unpopular truth like the Gospel.

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, ‘The just shall live by faith.’ This one truth will help us to weed out a lot of deception in the last days. It will help you to find out where people stand very quickly and very clearly. It is like a tuning fork that will help you to hear when others are out of tune with God’s Holy Word.

See you along the Roman road in the weeks to come.

God bless you,

Pastor Sean Gooding

Mississauga Missionary Baptist Church

Missionarybaptistchurch76@yahoo.ca

 

 

Study Through Romans :: By Sean Gooding

Lesson 1: Chapter 1: 1-7

A Greeting

“Paul, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated to the gospel of God 2 which He promised before through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures, 3 concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh, 4 and declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead. 5 Through Him we have received grace and apostleship for obedience to the faith among all nations for His name, 6 among whom you also are the called of Jesus Christ; 7 To all who are in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”

What a greeting Paul opens with. I want to open our study for 2020 with a look at this greeting. This a greeting filled with hope, confidence and truth. A greeting that resonates with us even to this day some 2,000 years later. A greeting that tells us a lot about the man and makes us check ourselves as well. We recall Paul was once named Saul of Tarsus, a Pharisee he tells us in Philippians 3:4-7,

“Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more: Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.”

Paul once had confidence in his fleshly place. He was a Jew who followed the Law to the letter, or so he thought. He was a Pharisee, one very zealous for the Law, and he was blameless in his righteousness, not sinless, but he was blameless as far as following the law. He took his commitment to Judaism and the Law so far that he hated Christians and hated the local churches. He actually presided over the murder of Stephen, the first martyr, whose death is recorded in Acts 7. We find Saul in Acts 7:58 overseeing his murder. But here in this letter to the believers and churches in Rome, we see Saul of Tarsus, now Paul, writing about the grace of God in Romans 1:7; he is calling himself a ‘bondservant’ to Christ and he is an apostle sent by God to teach about the person of Jesus Christ.

Paul now has no confidence in his flesh, no confidence in himself or his self-discipline, no confidence in the Law, and only confidence in Jesus. What could have brought this type of change? What could have facilitated this complete turnaround? What would have made the hunter choose to become the hunted?

As we explore the lessons of the Book of Romans, we will find all these answers and more. But for today, let us look at the greeting that met all who would read this letter, including us here in 2020.

  1. A Bondservant, verse 1.

In the book of Deuteronomy, we find Moses giving instructions to the people of Israel as they are about the enter the Promised Land. He is addressing the children of those who had once been slaves in Egypt. Their parents died because of rebellion, and so Moses has to give the children a bit of a history lesson. He reminds them that they too were once slaves and he tells them that if a Hebrew brother or sister becomes poor and needy and becomes one of their slaves, they can only be slaves until the 7th year, and then they must be freed. But if the slave begins to love his or her master and family, then they can choose to stay; and once they do, it is a lifetime commitment. See Deuteronomy 15: 16-17, 

“And it shall be, if he says unto thee, I will not go away from thee; because he loveth thee and thine house because he is well with thee; Then thou shalt take an awl and thrust it through his ear unto the door, and he shall be thy servant for ever. And also, unto thy maidservant thou shalt do likewise.”

This servant would be marked for life by boring their ear with an awl, then putting an earring in, usually the sign of the family. They were becoming bondservants; they did it out of love. They could have been freed from their debts and free to leave, but they chose to stay of their own free will.

Paul calls himself a bondservant of Jesus Christ here in verse 1. A servant because of love; not compulsion, not coercion, but love. He was a slave to the Law, but now he is free in Jesus. This is what true Christianity is all about. We love Jesus. You and I, mere humans, love the God of gods, the King of kings, and we choose to serve Him. The longer we serve Him, the more we love Him. The longer we serve Him, the more we understand and stand in awe of His love for us. There is trust and confidence that transcends the ups and downs of life, and we are secure in Him. This is no mere infatuation; Paul would die for this Savior. He was a hunted man from the day that He was saved in Damascus; finally, the hunters would catch up with the hunted, and they would take his life. Paul loved Jesus enough to die for Him.

Just this past week we can check the news and see that Christians in Nigeria and other places are being executed for the name of Jesus. Though we have not come to death yet, make no mistake the tides have turned in North America, and the cost of Christianity is becoming more and more expensive. I don’t know if executions will come to us, but we should not be surprised if they do.

Are we, like Paul, in love with Jesus enough to die for His Holy Name?

  1. Separated, verse 1.

Paul is not only a bondservant, but he is separated unto the Gospel of God. If you are a husband or a wife, you are separated from all others unto your spouse. Because of your love for them, you have chosen to be separated from all other men or women in an intimate way for the bond that you have. Paul understood that you cannot be ‘halfway’ in as a Christian. Jesus pretty much said the same thing in the Gospels. See Matthew 6:24, 

“No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.”

The principle is that you cannot be a bondservant to two people at once. You cannot be a bondservant of Jesus and anyone or anything else at the same time. You and I must be separated unto the Gospel of God. Elijah made the same call to the nation of Israel in 1 Kings 18:20, and Joshua made the same call in Joshua 24:15. If we truly are bondservants to Jesus Christ, then we must be separated to the Gospel of God.

What is the Gospel of God? Paul explains this to us in the next few lines of Romans 1: 2-4,

“which He promised before through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures, concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh, and declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.”

Jesus came as fulfillment of the scriptures in the Old Testament, like Genesis 3:15, Genesis 22:8, Isaiah 53, Isaiah 7:14, Micah 5:2, Hosea 11:1, Psalm 40:6-8, Isaiah 9:1-2, Isaiah 35:5-6, Isaiah 40: 3-4, Zechariah 9:9, and on and on I can go. There are some 300 prophecies about the first coming of Jesus in the Old Testament; and Paul, as a former Pharisee, would most likely have known all of them, but probably saw and understood them for the first time when he met Jesus.

Here then is the Gospel: that Jesus is God in the flesh, that He died for our sins, and God raised Him up on the third day, and that one has to believe and place one’s trust in this death, burial and resurrection for the complete removal of one’s sins. Paul would later put it this way in Romans 10:8-10,

“But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart, man believeth unto righteousness, and with the mouth, confession is made unto salvation.”

This Gospel is good among all nations. It is all the Gospel, all the Good News they have. This is why we must be separated unto God. There is no other name for salvation to any man anywhere but Jesus. This is it; we must be committed to this no matter what. This is why it is so important that we love Jesus. Only a fervent love for our Saviour will bind us to Him, His Gospel and His promises. Paul was all in; he did not waver. He committed to Christianity with the same passion that he had for the Pharisaical order. He was all in. He pursued the doctrine if life, the Gospel, with the same intensity that he has pursued the doctrine of death.

  1. Grace and Peace, verse 7

The Law did not know grace and it offered no peace. Paul knew this. The Law drove him to beat, imprison and at times kill Christians. The Gospel drove him to become all things to all men; the Gospel drove him to teach to Gentiles, those whom, in the Law, he would have shunned. In Galatians 3:21, Paul tells us that the Law could not bring righteousness, it only reminded us how sinful we were and in need of a Saviour.

Is the law then against the promises of God? Certainly not! For if there had been a law given which could have given life, truly righteousness would have been by the law.

Nothing has changed in the almost 2,000 years since. Jesus is still the only Savior and the Law; other philosophies cannot save. Jesus and Jesus alone. We, like Paul, are to preach Christ and Him crucified. We too, like Paul, can offer grace and peace to all men. The grace of God in that He is willing in Jesus to save us and bring us into His family and that we can have the peace of and with God; once we are saved and our sins washed away by the blood of Jesus, we are no longer the enemies of God and we have true eternal peace. The peace that is eternal and surpasses all the trials and troubles of life.

Many of us wonder if we will ever attain the level of the apostle Paul. But here in the very opening verses, Paul gives us a simple formula to be like him for Jesus. Be so in love with Jesus that you serve Him willingly; be separated to the Gospel, don’t mix it, don’t dilute it, don’t change it and don’t be quiet about it; and finally, tell others the Gospel; tell them about Jesus, His death, burial and resurrection and offer them grace and peace. This offer is good for all people, in all nations. This is what Paul did.

As we enter a New Year, let us seek to be in love with Jesus and give ourselves to be His bondservants, and let us be separated unto the Gospel of God.

Grace and peace to you all.

God bless you,

Pastor Sean Gooding

Mississauga Missionary Baptist Church

missionarybaptistchurch76@yahoo.ca