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Romans Series #5
Title: God’s Church
and God’s Preacher
Text: Romans 1:6-17
Subject: God’s People and God’s Servants
Date: Sunday Morning — March 2, 2014
Reading: 1 Corinthians 1:17-2:2
The title of my message today is God’s Church and God’s Preacher. — God’s Church and God’s Preacher. That’s my subject. The world is full of churches; and the world is full of preachers. I have no idea how many churches and preachers there are in Danville, Kentucky; but right here in our little town we’ve got scads of them. Churches everywhere and preachers everywhere. But how do you know which ones are God’s? Does the Word of God identify God’s Church and God’s preacher? It does indeed. Open your Bibles with me to Romans chapter one. Here, in verses 6-17, God the Holy Spirit very clearly identifies God’s Church and God’s preacher. — Romans 1:6-17.
That by which he identifies God’s Church in this text identifies God’s Church in all ages and in all places. That by which the Holy Ghost here identifies God’s preacher identifies God’s preacher in all ages and in all places.
In the opening verses of this chapter the Apostle Paul, writing by Divine inspiration, clearly identified the Gospel. The Gospel is unmistakably identified as…
(Romans 1:1-5) (1) Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God, (2) (Which he had promised afore by his prophets in the holy scriptures,) (3) Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made 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) By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name:
Now, let’s pick up in verse 6 — Romans 1:6-15.
Proposition: God’s Church, wherever you find it, is made up of sinners saved by the grace of God; and God’s preacher, wherever you find him, is a man who faithfully serves God’s Church by the Gospel. —— Let’s see if that is how God the Holy Ghost identifies God’s Church and God’s preacher. — Romans 1:6-15.
(Romans 1:6-15) (6) Among whom are ye also the called of Jesus Christ: (7) To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ. (8) First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world. (9) For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers; (10) Making request, if by any means now at length I might have a prosperous journey by the will of God to come unto you. (11) For I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end ye may be established; (12) That is, that I may be comforted together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me. (13) Now I would not have you ignorant, brethren, that oftentimes I purposed to come unto you, (but was let hitherto,) that I might have some fruit among you also, even as among other Gentiles. (14) I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise. (15) So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also.
(Romans 1:16) For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. (17) For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.
First, in verses 6 through 8 we are given a fivefold description of God’s Church.
1. God’s Church is comprised of those who are “the called of Jesus Christ” (v. 7).
The calling here spoken of is not a call to an office in the Church, a call to some sphere of service, or the mere external call that goes forth to all by the preaching of the Gospel. Those who are “the called of Jesus Christ” are sinners separated from all others by the almighty, efficacious, saving call of God. This is not an external call heard by the ear of the body, but an internal call of grace heard by the ear of the soul. — “Blessed are your ears, for they hear!” This high, holy, heavenly calling brings sinners…
Those who are “the called of Jesus Christ” are God’s elect, preserved in Christ, redeemed by Christ, and saved by Christ. What a blessed description this is of God’s Church! — “The Called of Jesus Christ!” The Lord Jesus says to his Church, — “Hearken unto me, O Jacob and Israel, my called; I am he; I am the first, I also am the last” (Isaiah 48:12).
2. God’s Church is “in Rome” (v. 7).
Rome was a rich, pagan, city, a place utterly void of decency, completely given over to debauchery, without the knowledge of God. — That is precisely where you always find the Church of God!
Paul addressed his Epistle to all the believers in Rome without any distinction, as one body and one people, possessing one “mutual faith,” “the common faith” of God’s elect.
3. The Church is “beloved of God” (v. 8).
Those who comprise the Church of the living God are sinners loved of God with an everlasting love, chosen in everlasting love to everlasting salvation in and by Christ Jesus. God’s Church is made up of…
· Divinely Loved Sinners!
· Distinctly Loved Sinners!
· Savingly Loved Sinners!
It is the love of God, the Triune Jehovah, for us that is the source and spring of all grace and all the blessings of grace and salvation that flow to us through the blood and righteousness of our dear Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.
4. God’s Church is a congregation, a family, of blood-bought sinners “called to be saints” (v. 7).
We are not called to make ourselves saints, but are “called to be saints,” called with a calling that makes us saints! What a contrast that is to all the religions of men. All false religion calls sinners and puts them to work to make themselves holy. The God of all grace of God calls sinners with a calling that makes them holy.
· New Creatures
· Partakers of the Divine Nature
· Created in Righteousness and True Holiness
He who called us to grace called us to holiness (1 Thessalonians 4:7).
Joseph Irons put it this way: — “In all nations the living Church of God consists of such, and such only as stand interested in the sovereign covenant love of Jehovah — adopted by the paternal love of God the Father — betrothed by the unchanging love of God the Son — and registered in the book of life, as a family, by the concurring love of God the Holy Ghost; all which is made manifest in their effectual calling out of darkness into light (1 Peter 2:9) — from uncleanness to holiness (1 Thessalonians 4:7) — to liberty (Galatians 5:13) — to fellowship with Christ (1 Corinthians 1:9) — to the kingdom and glory of God (1 Thessalonians 2:12), separated from the world, sanctified by the Holy Ghost, distinguished by spirituality, and set apart for God, to show forth his praise in holiness, happiness, and usefulness.”
5. God’s Church is a people blessed of God with all the blessings of grace and peace in Christ. — “Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ” (v. 7).
This benediction of mercy was not merely a wish or desire that Paul had for God’s saints, but an assured blessedness heaped upon God’s saints, by the will and purpose of God our Father through the merits and mediation of our Lord Jesus Christ. — God’s Church is a blessed people!
· Blessed with all the blessings of grace in eternity (Ephesians 1:3-6).
· Blessed with all the goodness and grace of Divine providence day by day (Romans 8:28).
· Blessed with sufficient grace all the days of our lives (2 Corinthians 12:9).
All grace is ours in Christ, in all its properties, original and eternal, from the first manifestations of it in this time world unto the last breath of our lives in this vale of tears. All grace flows to us from the unceasing Fountain of Grace — Christ our Mediator! Electing Grace — Regenerating Grace — Calling Grace — Redeeming Grace — Justifying Grace — Adopting Grace — Sanctifying Grace — Renewing Grace — Confirming Grace — Strengthening Grace — Sufficient Grace! — All Grace!
Grace in all its infinite varieties is ours, laid up in store in Christ for our benefit and our use. The Lord God our Savior knows what each of us will need during the whole of our time-state here below. He lays it up for us, for each his portion, and keeps it for us to the moment of need. In the time it is needed, he gives it out with such a sweetness of the joy of love and wisdom such as he alone possesses, making his grace effectual to our souls continually, as makes it doubly blessed, coming immediately from the Lord's own hand, and coming with his love marked on it, in the very time of need (Genesis 22:11-14; Psalm 59:10; 2 Corinthians 12:8-9; Philippians 4:19; Hebrews 4:14-16).
(Genesis 22:11-14) (11) And the angel of the LORD called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I. (12) And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me. (13) And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son. (14) And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovahjireh: as it is said to this day, In the mount of the LORD it shall be seen.
(Psalm 59:10) The God of my mercy shall prevent me: God shall let me see my desire upon mine enemies.
(2 Corinthians 12:8-9) (8) For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. (9) And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
(Philippians 4:19) But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
(Hebrews 4:14-16) (14) Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. (15) For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. (16) Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
Peace is ours, too, in Christ Jesus. Indeed, our peace is Christ himself. It is written of him, “This Man shall be the Peace” (Micah 5:5). He is our peace, having made peace through the blood of his cross (Ephesians 2:14; Colossians 1:20).
That is how God the Holy Ghost identifies God’s Church.
· “The Called of Jesus Christ”
· “In Rome”
· “Beloved of God”
· “Called to be Saints”
· Blessed of God with Grace and Peace
Second, in verses 8-17 God’s preacher is identified. Wherever you find one of God’s preachers, this is the man you will find.
1. He rejoices in God’s work, wherever it is made manifest (v. 8).
(Romans 1:8) First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world.
2. He serves God sincerely (v. 9).
(Romans 1:9) For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers.
· God’s preacher serves God with his spirit. — Wholeheartedly!
· He serves God and his people in the Gospel, laboring in the Gospel.
· He serves God and his people on his knees.
3. He seeks the will of God (vv. 10-13).
(Romans 1:10-13) (10) Making request, if by any means now at length I might have a prosperous journey by the will of God to come unto you. (11) For I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end ye may be established; (12) That is, that I may be comforted together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me. (13) Now I would not have you ignorant, brethren, that oftentimes I purposed to come unto you, (but was let hitherto,) that I might have some fruit among you also, even as among other Gentiles.
4. His motive in his labor is the benefit of your soul (v. 11).
(Romans 1:11) For I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end ye may be established.
It was not Paul’s desire to travel the world and see sites. He did not desire to come to Rome to see the great city of Rome, or to behold the riches, grandeur, and historical sites. He desired to minister to the souls of men, to give spiritual light, knowledge, peace, and comfort through the Word of God. God had given Paul the ability to preach the Gospel, teach the Word, and establish churches in the Truth (Isaiah 40:1-2; Ephesians 4:11-14; Hebrews 3:13). He wanted to do what he could for the saints at Rome to confirm and establish them in the faith.
5. God’s preacher is a man whose comfort and joy is found in the comfort, joy, salvation, and edification of God’s elect (v. 12).
(Romans 1:12) That is, that I may be comforted together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me.
6. God’s preacher is a man who looks upon himself as a debtor (v. 14).
(Romans 1:14) I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise.
Because of the mercy, love, and grace of God upon me and by his Divine call gifting me to preach the Word and putting me in the ministry, I have an obligation to fulfil, a duty to perform, and a debt to pay to all men, learned and unlearned, wise and unwise. The Gospel is the same for all men and is to be preached to all. It is the same Gospel to those who are learned and wise, with respect to human wisdom and knowledge, and to those who are unlearned and untaught in natural things (1 Corinthians 1:26-31; Matthew 11:25). — I am obliged by the gift and call of God upon me to devote my life to this blessed work!
7. God’s preacher is a man who is “ready to preach the Gospel,” wherever God opens the door, under any circumstances, to any people (v. 15).
(Romans 1:15) So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also.
Paul was willing and ready to preach the Gospel in the headquarters of the Roman Empire, the very seat of Satan, where the heat of persecution was. He was anxious to fulfil God’s calling. He was ready to preach the Gospel with his dying breath and ready to give his life in doing so, because he knew the Gospel.
(Romans 1:16-17) (16) For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. (17) For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.