The Communication and Goal of the Gospel of God (Romans Sermon 2 of 120)
January 09, 2000 | Andy Davis
Joy, Glory of God
Good morning, please take your Bibles and open to Romans, Chapter One. This morning, we're going to be looking at verses 1-7. There are, in the universe, two great passions that explain everything. There are two great passions in this universe that explain it all. The first and greatest passion is God's passion for the glory of His own name. I'll say that again. The first and greatest passion in this Universe is God's passion for the glory of His own name. And any of you who are familiar with scripture language know how much of a theme this is. All that God does for the glory of His name.
Well, what is the second passion? The second passion is the passion that human beings have, to be happy, to be joyful, to be at peace, to be content. And not only that, but eternally so, changelessly so. Wouldn't you say that the drive for happiness motivates everything you do? When you stop and think about it, you wake up in the morning and everything you choose to do, you do because you think that it will bring you joy or happiness, in one way or the other. And it's true of the unbeliever as well. And what's so beautiful about the Gospel is that these two great passions come together in this message.
The passion for the glory of God's name and our passion to be eternally happy, come together in the Gospel message. Now that's a powerful message, isn't it? If we understand the Gospel properly, everything in it brings glory to His name. And if we understand and believe the Gospel, we will have eternal life and pleasures at His right hand forevermore. Now, that's a powerful message. Last week, we took an overview of the whole 16 chapters, and this week, we're going to begin actually looking verse by verse through it. When I was child, I used to like to go up to New Hampshire on trips with my parents, and one of the things that we did early on, was go in to some of the confection stores up there.
One of the things they sell is maple sugar candy. Have any of you ever had maple sugar candy? Well, maple sugar candy may be the sweetest thing on the face of the earth. And I didn't realize it, but it came in medallions about this size, or even smaller, with little crystallized sugar on it. And I'd never had it before. And I asked my mother if I could buy some. It was a dollar for this little medallion, and I said, "Well, it's kind of small." My mother said, "It'll be plenty, you'll see." And so we bought the maple sugar candy, and I treated it the way I treated any other candy bar I'd ever had in my life.
I took a big bite out of it, and chewed it, and swallowed it, and was sick for the next hour-and-a-half from the sweetness. And my mother said, "Well, now you've learned a valuable lesson. You just break off a piece and put it in your mouth, and let it melt, and it will fill your mouth with sweetness." That's the way it is with Romans. If you were to take it all and try to swallow it in, there's just too much truth. You've got to take it in bite sized pieces and understand every phrase. Understand the sweetness that comes, even in these first seven verses of Romans.
Listen to them. Verse 1-7, "Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus called to be an apostle, and set apart for the gospel of God. The gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets and the Holy Scriptures, regarding his Son who as to his human nature, was a descendant of David, 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. Through Him, and for His name's sake, we receive grace and apostleship, to call people from among all the Gentiles, to the obedience that comes from faith. And you also are among those who are called to belong to Jesus Christ. To all in Rome, who are loved by God, and called to be saints, grace and peace to you from God, our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ."
I. The Gospel of God
Now, last time, we looked a little carefully at just one verse, Verse 1. We met Paul, the author of this letter, humanly speaking. We saw that he was a bondslave of Jesus Christ. We saw that he was an apostle, called to be an apostle, and that he was set apart for the gospel of God. I want to begin with that final phrase, "gospel of God." The gospel of God. God is the central actor in the Book of Romans. This is God's story. It is God's gospel, and therefore, in every line, and every chapter, and every doctrine, God is at the center. This is a God-centered message. This is the gospel of God. God's absolute sovereignty in the gospel is established in the Book of Romans. He is sovereign and this gospel, the gospel of God, produces two outcomes, brings two outcomes to everyone who hears its message, and both of those outcomes come from God. In Verse 17, it refers to a righteousness from God, that is by faith. So you can receive from this gospel message righteousness, the cloaking or the clothing of the righteousness of God. We'll get to that in due time.
In Verse 18, it says that the wrath of God is being revealed, against all the godlessness and wickedness of men, who suppress the truth by their wickedness. So the gospel message brings forth the wrath as well, both the righteousness and the wrath are from God. This is the gospel of God. Now, when you look at that little word "of," when you're talking about gospel of God, makes you wonder what it means. "Of" is a complicated word in English. We use the word "of" to speak of a point of origin. For example, the people of North Carolina. We come from North Carolina, it's our home.
Or for example, the novels of Ernest Hemingway, he is the author of the them. And so if we were speaking of the gospel of God, we could say that God is the originator or the author of the gospel message. It comes from Him and that is true. We also use the word "of" in terms of ownership, "the books of the boy" means the books that belong to the boy. He owns them, they're his, or, "the possessions of the family were destroyed in the flood." It means that family's possessions, they own them, and we use the word "of" in that respect. The gospel is owned by God, It's His possession. He owns it, it belongs to Him and He can therefore teach it and interpret it whatever way He chooses, it is His message. We also use the word "of" to speak of content, "Well, what did he speak of?" Or, "Of what were you speaking as you walked along the road? What was the content of your discussion?" And the content of the gospel is God, primarily.
We tend to think the other way around these days about the gospel, "The gospel is about me, it's about meeting my needs. It's about a way that I can have this or a way I can have that." It is not primarily that, it is first and foremost a message about the glory and the majesty of God. And if understood that way, it's understood properly. We tend to focus all the time on what I need or what the gospel can do for me. And, of course, the gospel is the power of salvation for you if you believe its message, but it is, first and foremost, the gospel of God. It is God's and therefore it is the story about Him, a story about His actions in history, about His wisdom, about His power, about His purposes, about His nature. It is the gospel of God, and therefore, because it's of God and all three senses, it is gospel.
Well, what does the word "gospel" mean? It means "good news." There is good news here because it's from God. There's good news to speak to you today because God has something to say to you. If it were only me speaking to you, I wouldn't waste the time, I'd encourage all of you to go home. There may be something better to watch on TV. But if you have a message from God, now that's worth listening to. If God has something to say, you should want to hear it, and praise be, there is good news from God. This is the gospel of God. Romans, the book, with all of its richness, with all of its complexity, is good news because it is straight from God and when you read this you should read it that way, that God is speaking to me when I read this, God is saying this to me, God is saying that to me when I read it, for it is true.
This message has the power to take someone from Hell to Heaven, now that's a powerful message. And God alone has that power, so we should, when we come to this, when we break off that piece of maple sugar candy and feel the sweetness in our mouth, we should realize that in every line and every word, God is speaking to us. And as we move across, I can change the image a little bit and say that there's going to be meat here for us to chew. There's going to be some deep things. There's going to be some complicated doctrines, some ideas that are a challenge. May God give us the teeth to chew in, may He give us the ability to understand what He's speaking in this message.
II. God’s Gospel Communication (verses 2-5)
Now, in verses 2-5 God speaks to us of His gospel communication. The gospel is a message to be communicated and it is communicated from God because it is God's message. We see in verses 2-5 three ways that He communicates or that He has communicated in history the gospel message. The gospel message was, 1) predicted through scripture, 2) performed through the Son, and 3) proclaimed through the sent ones, the apostles. Let's look at each of those.
God’s Gospel: 1) Predicted Through the Scripture
First, predicted through the scripture. In verse 2, it says, "The gospel that He promised, that as God promised beforehand through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures." This gospel is a promised gospel. It's a long-expected message, "Come, thou long expected Jesus." For a long time, people waited for its full revelation. It is a promised message.
God is a God who makes promises. Now, every week, I think about you. I really do. I pray about you, and I think about you, and I think about applying the message to the various situations there may be in your lives. And if we would have each person come up and speak into the microphone what you're going through, whether you're rejoicing, or whether you're grieving, whether you're it's just in the middle or it's average, what message could possibly apply to each person? What message could possibly speak in a direct way to each soul? Well, the gospel message. The message of a God who is glorious, who is powerful, and who makes promises for the future.
When you look ahead to the future, what can you see? Do you know the future? Do you know what you're going to face? You can guess, if it's anything like the past, that there's going to be some challenges. The only thing that you have to cling to about the future comes in the form of promises from God. Our God is a future-looking God. He is a promise-making God, and more than that, He is a promise-keeping God. The gospel is a long expected promised message, and therefore, Christianity is a religion of promise, a religion, really, a fulfillment, the fulfillment of the Old Testament, Judaism, and all that God had done. It is a fulfillment religion. All of history lays open before God. We've talked about that before, haven't we? There are no surprises, no unexpected turns in history, the book of Revelation speaks of Jesus Christ as having been slain before the foundation of the world. That this gospel message was worked out before anything came to be. This is a promised message and it is God's unique glory to know the future and to proclaim it.
There's a beautiful section of scripture, 10 of the most marvelous chapters you'll find in the Old Testament, Isaiah 40 through 49, somewhere in there, in which God is wrestling with the idolatry of the people of Israel, struggling with it, challenging them out of it. And at one point, He says, "I want to have a contest. Bring in your idols and let's have a contest, and let's have a contest specifically on the issue of foretelling the future and let's see what they can do." Isaiah 41:21-22, "'Present your case,' says the Lord. 'Set forth your arguments,' says Jacob's king. 'Bring in your idols to tell us what is going to happen.'" Isn't that great? Let's listen to them. Let's set them up here right in the front of the building and let's just listen to what they have to say about the future. Do you hear that stony silence? The idols cannot speak. They have no knowledge of the future. "Or tell us what the former things were so that we may can consider them and know their final outcome. Declare to us the things to come. Tell us what the future holds, so that we may know that you are gods." It is God's unique glory to know the future and to proclaim it. And he boasts about it in Isaiah 41, "I'm the only one who knows the future." And the reason for that is that God is sovereign. Even if we were to speak of the future, we have to pass it by God's desk for approval because God rules, doesn't He?
And therefore, since He has absolute sovereignty, He can make pronouncements about what will happen and then has the power to bring it to pass. Our gospel, our message is a promised message because God said it would happen and nothing could stop it from happening. He promised it and fulfilled that promise. And it was predicted through the prophets, this long promised message. God spoke this message through the prophets. The ability that God has to communicate His truth perfectly to human beings through prophets is the core of our revelation, isn't it? It's the way we understand anything about the future, about our salvation in Christ. This message here we take as being from God, as I spoke to you earlier. Paul was a prophet, he was writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Well, the same was true in the old covenant. And I spoke these verses to you before, but they're so important, you must understand them. 2 Peter 1:20-21, "Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of scripture ever had its origin in the will of man. But men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit."
When God filled the prophet Isaiah, Jeremiah, Zechariah, Zephaniah, any of them, when He filled them, they spoke the Word of God, unerringly so. And in this way, He was able to predict the future to give a promised message. Well, where do we find the promise? In verse 2, it says, "The gospel He promised beforehand through the prophets." In the what? The Holy Scriptures. Take the Bible that you're looking at and turn and look at the binder. As far as I know, every scripture, every copy I've ever, ever looked at said the same thing, "Holy Bible." Is that what yours says? Holy Bible. Well, that comes from Romans 1:2. The Holy Scriptures, this is a holy book. What does the word "holy" means? It means set apart, utterly unique, utterly different, free from all blemish, free from anything evil. The Holy Bible, the Holy Scriptures. In the Old Testament, it was the Old Testament that the prophets spoke, they were holy, they're set apart, they're unique. There is not another book on the face of the earth like this book. It's a holy book. It's unique and God speaks to us.
Now, what kind of predictions were they? They were predictions about your salvation. Predictions about how you would be able to enjoy fellowship with Him forever in Heaven. It says in Hebrews 1:1, "In the past, God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways." God was creative. You ever look at the prophets and the different ways that they spoke? The different strange things that they did? Creative, imaginative, all of it inspired by the Holy Spirit, the prophets spoke. What was the topic? The topic was salvation in the name of the Son of God, Jesus Christ. Now, the first predictive prophecy we saw way, way back in Genesis 3:15, you remember that. When God, speaking to the serpent, uttering his curses, both to the serpent, and to the woman, and to the man. He spoke to the serpent first in verse 15 of Genesis 3, "I'll put enmity between you and the woman and between your seed and her seed. He will crush your head and you will strike his heel." First predictive prophecy of the coming of Christ. And the whole thing gets unfolded since then. Predictive prophecy.
There's also a typical prophecy in which salvation is pictured. We have pictures of salvation in the Old Testament, don't we? Noah's ark is a beautiful picture of salvation. If you're on the boat, you're saved from the wrath of God and from the judgment of God if you're on that boat. If you're not, you will perish. There's so many pictures. You run through them. The bronze serpent. If you look to the bronze serpent, you'll be saved from the bite of the snake. But if you will not believe and look, you will die. So many pictures of salvation. The whole Exodus was a picture of salvation. All of those sacrifices offered a picture of the death of Jesus Christ to forgive sins. Beautiful.
Remember the five sermons I preached from Isaiah and how each one of them gave a different aspect of the predictions that God had given? What was dim and not very clearly seen early on became more and more clear in Isaiah. Isaiah 1, The sacrificial system, how every animal sacrifice was to point to a Savior who is to come later. Isaiah 2, A temple established as chief among the mountains raised above the hills, nations streaming to it. Isaiah 11, A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse. From his roots, a branch will bear fruit and the Spirit of the Lord will be on him and he will proclaim justice to the nations. The branch of Jesse is Jesus Christ. Isaiah 7, That message, that sign given to Ahaz. "The virgin will be with child and give birth to a son and you will give him the name Immanuel which means God with us." It's been predicted years, centuries in advance. And then Isaiah 9, "Unto us a Son is given. Unto us a child is born, and the government will be on His shoulders and He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." It's all been predicted. Ours is a religion of fulfillment, prediction and fulfillment. How did God know? And why did He do it this way? It's so that all of you who are believers in Christ might know the certainty of your salvation. How it had all been predicted and how God with His sovereign power worked it out. Are you encouraged? If you're a child of God, you should be saying, "Amen. Ours is predicted. The gospel's predicted through the Holy Scriptures through the prophets." Amen. And it give us a sense of assurance.
God’s Gospel: 2) Performed Through the Son
Second form of communication, God performed the predictions through his Son. Verse 3 it says that this gospel or the predictions "Regarded His son, who as to His human nature was a descendant of David, 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." Oh my goodness. How in the world, Paul, could you get so much doctrine into one sentence? You look through here and you see all the major points of doctrine that we are trying to communicate in the gospel. It says that it's regarding His Son.
Well, whose son? The Son of God, or I prefer, especially in talking to Jehovah's witnesses say, "God, the Son." The second person of the Trinity. The deity of Jesus Christ established right here at the start. But not only that, His humanity, physically descended from David, He had a great, great, great, great, great, etcetera, ancestor named David. He was in the house and lineage of David. Descended from Jesse, He is that shoot from the stump of Jesse. He was dead for sin. You say, "Where is that in verse 3? In Verse Four? Can you find the death of Jesus Christ?" Well, it's hard to be resurrected from the dead if you didn't die.
Obviously, Jesus had to die in order to be resurrected, so there's the death of Christ right there, but not just the death, but the powerful resurrection of Jesus Christ, the very act in history that sets Him apart from every other religious claimer in history. The resurrection of Jesus Christ declared with power to be the Son of God by that resurrection. And not only that, He is Jesus Christ, our Lord. That's how he sums it up in verse 4. He's seated at the right hand of God, high and lifted up. He has received the name that is above every name, He is ruling over history now, and He is your Lord if you're a believer. Total submission of your life to His Lordship, the final outcome of the gospel.
It's all there. Isn't that incredible? I told you, it's like maple sugar candy. How can you do this? I can see why someone could spend 11 years in this book. It's remarkable. May I say to you that each one of those headings of doctrine, you must believe in order to be saved? None of them is negotiable. You can't say, "Well, I believe in the humanity of Christ, but I'm going to reject His deity. Or, I'll believe in the deity of Christ, but maybe He wasn't truly a man, maybe He just seemed to be a man. Or, I'm going to reject the fact that He died on the cross. Or, I'm going to reject His resurrection, it's not important whether He was raised from the dead or not, what matters is how I feel about it. I'm going to reject this, I'm going to reject that." Reject any of it and you reject salvation for yourself.
It's all the center, the core, the doctrinal message we're trying to communicate. And all of it was lived out by Jesus Christ. He came to Earth to live out the promises that had been made, to live out and to earn, to buy your salvation, physically by dying on a cross and being raised from the dead. And I love how it says He was declared with power to be the Son of God, or you could say even better translation, declared to be the Son of God with power. He has power for salvation and He wants to give it to you. The power He came, He came to give to you who believe, to take you from a hell-bound sinner all the way to perfect and holy, blameless in His sight, that's the power of the Son of God.
God’s Gospel: 3) Proclaimed Through the Sent Ones
The third communication is the proclamation through the sent ones. Now, the word "apostle" means sent one, somebody sent out with a mission. Who sent the apostles out? We've covered that last time. Who sent Paul? It was Jesus Christ Himself who sent the apostles to take this message, the message I just summarized for you, of the God man who lived on earth, who did certain things, spoke certain words, who was crucified, dead and buried, raised from the dead on the third day, and now sits at the right hand of the Father in glory to take that message and bring it out to the nations, proclaimed through the sent ones.
Verse 5, "Through him," that is through Christ, "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." This is the next and the final stage of God's gospel communication, proclamation through the sent ones. Now, through Christ, Paul and the other apostles had a message to give. He (Jesus) lived it, He earned it, He bought it, it happened. Now, they go out and proclaim it. And Jesus called 12 around Him, you remember? He called them and set them apart to be apostles, and they were to be what? They were to be eyewitnesses of His glory, eyewitnesses of His life.
They were like little camcorders all the time. Just taking it in, absorbing it, observing. Did they understand? No. They frequently had no clue, but later they would understand because the Holy Spirit would come and make it all clear. But they were recording, they were there when it happened, they were eyewitnesses, all except one of them, and I'm speaking about Paul. He said, "I was as one untimely born. I wasn't there, I didn't observe His life. I was an abnormally born apostle, but I did observe him in the flesh resurrected in glory and I was sent out with a message for the Gentiles."
But all the others, the other apostles, they observed, they're eye witnesses of His majesty and they gave us the gospels Matthew, Mark, Luke, John. And we, now today, 20 centuries later interact with the apostles and the prophets in one place, the Holy Scriptures. This is the foundation of the church. Ephesians 2:20, it says that the church is built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, that's another way to say the scriptures, the apostles and prophets with Christ Jesus Himself as the chief cornerstone. This gospel message is proclaimed through the sent ones. Now, Paul, in verse 5 says, "Through Him and for His name's sake, we received grace and apostleship." I spent a lot of time thinking about that phrase, "grace and apostleship." He said, "I didn't just receive apostleship, I received grace and apostleship," or I would even say grace for apostleship. I don't believe that Paul is here speaking of the grace that saved him from going to Hell, that saved him and brought him to Heaven. I think he's speaking of an unfolding of another grace which enabled him to be an apostle.
It was a daily grace that gave him strength for his apostleship. Now, when you think of the word "grace," what do you think of? Well, your church people, so you maybe have a... If you were to get a man or woman on the street and say, "Grace. Tell me the first that pops your mind if I say grace." What will they say? Maybe they'd talk about a beautiful princess who died in 1982, was married to the prince of Monaco, you remember? Grace Kelly. Or maybe they would speak of the grace of a ballerina or of a female ice skater, figure skater, and she moves across the ice. Or maybe it's one of those quick little prayers you say before the food gets too cold and you eat. Maybe that's what it is. But this is talking about something else. And may I say to you that the understanding of grace is the center to understand this message? If you don't understand grace, you won't understand Romans, you will stumble after one stumbling block, one after the other, you will stumble through Romans if you don't understand grace. Grace is more than just God's unmerited favor, it is God's lavish generosity to people who deserve His wrath. That is grace. And therefore everything we get in life, everything good thing comes to us from grace.
That promotes what? Thankfulness. It promotes a sense of, "Oh, God, I didn't deserve this, but thank you." I'm in the ministry, so many times I hear, "I didn't deserve this," and were speaking of something harsh, something negative. Oh, that they would say, "I didn't deserve this," when something good happens. The grace of God. What do we deserve? We deserve judgment. But instead, we receive good things. And Paul considers his apostleship to be among those good things. Remember in Romans 12:6, it says, "But to each one of us grace has been given," the grace of spiritual gifts. Paul's spiritual gift was apostleship and he considered it a grace from God. We have different gifts according to the grace given us. But it's more than that, Paul said every day, in effect, "I get up and I say, 'God, give me what I need today to be an apostle for Your glory.'" Did he need that? Oh yes. How many times was he beaten down? Even physically beaten down. And without that grace, he would never have been able to continue on in his ministry. I look at myself that way. Every day, I begin my day the same way, I get out of bed and I get down on my face before God. I literally physically do it. And I say, "I am Your servant. Whatever You want me to do today, I will do. Only give me the grace to do it."
And so I see myself like a spiritual beggar. I'm lifting my arms and I'm saying, "God, give me what I need to do today to fulfill my ministry for You. Give it to me." And He does, He just feeds it to me, passes it to me. This is the grace and apostleship Paul's talking about here. I Corinthians 15:9, says, "I am the least of all the apostles and I don't even deserve to be called an apostle because I persecuted the Church of God." Verse 10, "But by the grace of God, I am what I am and His grace was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God which was working inside me." Do you see that grace? Can I say that it works in you, too? Each of you have spiritual gifts. You've been given a gift by God. You can only use that gift energetically by His grace. You have to come to Him and say, "God, you gave me the gift of being a Sunday school teacher. You gave me the gift of being in this ministry or in that ministry. You gave me the gift of intercessory prayer. God, first give me the grace I need to carry on that ministry, then I will use it for Your glory. You give me the help, I get the joy and You get the glory."
That's a fair exchange. And that's the way Paul did his life, that's the way he did his ministry. Grace and apostleship. Well, that's the gospel communication. It was predicted through the scripture, it was performed through the Son, and it was proclaimed through the sent ones.
III. God’s Gospel Goal (verses 5-7)
Well, what was the purpose? What was the goal of all that gospel communication? What is he getting at? Why the gospel of God? Why did He send His Son? To what end? Number one, for the glad submission of the nations, but even more for the glory of His name. For the glory of His name, through Him and what? For His name's sake, we receive grace and apostleship. Now, the glad submission of the nations Paul talks about in verse 5 where you receive grace and apostleship to call people from along all the Gentiles to the what? "Obedience of faith" is a straight translation. We receive grace to call them.
Now, the call comes this way, somebody gets up and speaks. They move air through their vocal cords and noise goes off into the air in the form of pressure waves. And the pressure waves move through the air and they cause your ear drum to vibrate. After that, what happens? Well, now, it's interesting, isn't it? The call comes out that way, now, I'm using modern technology, transition and all that, so it sounds booming. Back in the old days, they didn't have these things, they had to speak from here. They gave voice lessons to preachers. Either way, it's sound going out, right? Or the reading of the Word as well, but there's a call that comes through the understanding of the gospel message, the universal call, "All the Gentiles," he says. Okay, but then there's a special call, there's a regenerating call. We'll talk more about this when we get to its proper place, in Romans Eight, it's clearly explained, but there is a regenerating call that comes in. It's a call similar to this one, "Lazarus, come forth." Now, that's a call. You see, it's a call with power to transform, to change, it's more than just the vibration of air, it's a transforming, resurrecting power. That's the call, a call from God, and it causes dead people to live. The power of God for salvation. And it's a call to what? A call to the obedience of faith.
Faith comes from hearing that message. As the sound goes out, you hear and you believe. If you're a believer, you're saying, "Oh God, what a great message we have predicted through the prophets centuries before it ever came about and it reaches right to my heart and it tells me that I'm forgiven for all my sins. Oh, what a message it is. Thank You, Lord." Faith comes from hearing, faith comes out of hearing and out of that, out of saving faith comes obedience every single time. It doesn't mean you obey every single time, I mean in someone's life saving faith always produces obedience every time. There's no such thing as accepting Jesus as Savior, but not Lord. We already covered that didn't we, in verse 4? "Jesus Christ our Lord," it says. "He is our Lord," and so we obey Him, we follow Him. Paul's going to really focus on this and Roman 6. You were the slaves to the one you obey, whether it is sin which leads to death or to obedience which leads to righteousness. It's just that simple. We'll get to that in due time, but the obedience comes from faith and if you're having a disobedience problem, can I suggest you that it's a faith problem?
Ask, "Would I be doing any differently if Jesus were in the flesh right in front of me, right now?" Just ask that and if the answer is yes, then you have a faith problem. You're not seeing Him properly, you're not understanding His Holiness and His call in your life. You have a disobedience problem, you have a faith problem. What kind of obedience does God want out of you? He wants glad obedience, glad submission, not reluctant, foot-dragging submission. He gets that already. He's the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. He gets reluctant, foot-dragging obedience from the kings that don't even know His name. He compels them, He moves them. The king's heart is like a water course in the hands of Lord, He directs it whatever way He pleases, they don't do it gladly, they don't even know Him and if they did, they'd reject Him. No, but His people, now, they were they submit to Him gladly, they do it joyfully. Why? Because they are submitting to a loving Father. A loving Father. Look what it says, "And you also among," verse Six, "You're also among those who are called to belong to Jesus Christ." You're a treasured possession. Jesus speaks of you this way, "My sheep, hear My voice, you're Mine. I bought you, I love you. You're my treasured possession." And then verse 7, "To all who know Him who are loved by God and called to be Saints."
There's a lot of weak teaching these days on the love of God. And it goes something like this, "God loves the whole world. I'm part of the whole world, therefore, God loves me." Is that going to stand up in the day of trial? God does love the whole world in this sense, Matthew Chapter 5, "He causes his Son to rise on the evil and the wicked and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous." God did both this morning, did you see? The sunshine, the rain. And He did both, whether we are righteous or not. That's the love of God for the sinful world, but now there's a different kind of love. Suppose my wife said, "Well, Andy loves people. I'm a person, so Andy loves me." There's a special kind of love that comes between a husband and wife. It's a covenant love, it's a promise-making and promise-keeping love and that's the love of verse 7, loved by God. You're called to be loved in a way that you can't even imagine. A strong love, a love that will take you from the pit of Hell and bring you into glory. A strong love, which will not let you go. Now, that love will stand with you no matter what is going on in your life. However imaginative I can be to think of what's going on in your life, that love will take you right through it all, the love of God.
All right, so that's what God wants to accomplish, but that's not the primary thing He wants to accomplish. Your glad submission to Him and that He might bring you all the way into glory, yes, He wants to accomplish that. Yes, He wants to bring you joy. Yes, He wants you as His treasured possession. Yes, He wants to love you, but His primary reason is for the praise of His own glory, for His name's sake He does it. For my name's sake, I will do this, through Him and for His name's sake we receive grace and apostleship, for His name's sake, for the glory of God. Now, you may ask a question, you may say... I was reading John Piper, he says, "Is God's passion for His own glory loving?" Suppose you met a person that just were living all the time for their own glory, it seems a little bit strange. But we see in scripture that's the case. Can I say to you that we can't unravel it all right now? But it produces salvation for you.
Suppose God were to go humble with His glory. Alright? Kind of pull it in. Alright? Romans 10:13 says, "Everyone who calls," on the what? "Name of the Lord, will be saved." Your salvation depends on God proclaiming His greatness, spreading it through the Universe, so that you may see it in the stars, you may read in this book, you may understand it in the gospel message and be saved by it. God can't go humble and quiet on this. He's got to proclaim His glory, His greatness, so that you may be saved. Second of all, what you do you think you're going to be doing in Heaven? Gazing at the greatness, and the majesty, and the glory of God. And enjoying every moment of it. Eternal pleasures at God's right hand, that's what you'll get, the glory and the greatness of God. That's what this gospel message produces. Why the gospel communication? Very plainly, glad submission among the Gentiles, among all the peoples glad submission, but even more, the glory and greatness of His own name for His own name's sake.
IV. Summary and Application
Now, what have we seen today? We've talked about the gospel of God. You can see how God-centered this message is. God is sovereign in salvation, it's His, He thought it up. He proclaimed it long before it ever came to be. He established it as a promise, and that gospel is powerful, guaranteeing salvation to all who'll believe in its message and that, brothers and sisters, is incredibly good news, isn't it? The gospel of God and gospel is communicated. God has communicated His gospel, He's predicted it through the scriptures, He performed it through the Son, proclaimed it through the sent ones like Paul. Paul got grace and apostleship to proclaim it, and he has been proclaiming it. And he proclaimed it to us again today, didn't he? Praise God. He continues to proclaim by the power of the Spirit and what was his goal?
We just covered it. The obedience that comes from faith. Glad submission on the one hand, but the glory and the majesty of His own name, primarily. That's what we've seen. Well, how should we live? First of all, let's not take this gospel message and start to twist it. Let's just read it and understand it. Let's submit ourselves to it and let it teach us how we were saved. And let's realize also that this gospel message has come to promote two things. Are they being promoted in your life? Can you look at your life and see the obedience of faith? Do you see it? Do you see a lifestyle, a pattern of obedience to the commands of God? And even more, would you say that you are living, moment by moment, for the glory of the name of Jesus Christ? If not, my prayer is that you may be, that you will saturate yourself with this message until it is true. The obedience that comes from faith is true of you and the living moment by moment for the glory of God may be true of you as well. Please join me in prayer.