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Good News (part 2) Sermon Discussion Questions

On Sunday, August 23, 2015 I preached a message at Wildwood Community Church based on Romans 1:8-17.  This message was part 2 of the “Good News” series.  To further our interaction and application of this passage, there are questions below for group discussion or personal reflection.

 

 

Questions:

  1. Read Romans 1:8-17
  2. Has there ever been a time that you acted in a way that appeared to be “ashamed” of the Gospel?
  3. Given what you know about Paul’s life and ministry, does it surprise you that he was “eager” to go to Rome to preach the Gospel (1:15)?  Why or why not?
  4. Throughout these verses, Paul indicates that a major reason for his interest in sharing the good news of Jesus in Rome is because he believed that ALL people are in need of the Gospel.  It is easy for us to lose sight of the fact that all the people in our world need Jesus.  Who are some people in your life that God is prompting you to share the Good News of Jesus with?
  5. In what sense are we “under obligation” (1:14) to share the Gospel with those who do not know Jesus?
  6. The righteousness people need to obtain salvation is a righteousness that is totally beyond human ability. It is “righteousness from God.”  For this righteousness to be credited to our account, the power of God must be manifest.  Many times we believe that our sin is too great for God to forgive . . . as if something we did was more powerful than God Himself!  Salvation is a product of God’s omnipotent power.  In what way does this truth encourage you to trust Christ for your salvation?
  7. Humans are saved NOT by earning salvation but by faith in Jesus Christ.  In what way does this make Christianity unique from other world religions?
  8. In the message, an alternative paraphrase of Romans 1:17 was offered, “the one who is made righteous by faith lives.”  Has there been a time in your life when you have trusted in Christ for the forgiveness of your sins?  If so, when?  If not, what is keeping you from trusting Him and experiencing the life offered in Christ?
  9. What stood out to you most about this message?

 

To access the entire Good News study, click here.

 

 

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The Power of God (Good News week 2 Devo)

The Power of God

By Stan Schuermann

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes,

What was the reason Paul was not ashamed of the gospel? Why was he so confident? Paul knew that the gospel is the power of God for salvation. He knew that the gospel has the power to change lives.

My grandchildren recently were amazed as they watched a tractor equipped with a loader bucket lift boulders and heavy tree stumps. The lifting of these giant loads seemed to them impossible. But each time a boulder or stump rose into the air, they gave a collective, “Wow!” as they marveled at the “awesome” power of the tractor. We are most impressed by power, when we see it displayed in doing what to us seems impossible.

To understand the power of God for salvation, consider what the prophet Jeremiah asked, “Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard its spots? The answer is certainly no. It is impossible. Jeremiah goes on to say, “Then may you also do good, who are accustomed to do evil.” (Jeremiah 13:23 NKJV) The prophet made his point – We have no ability to change ourselves.  Yet everywhere the gospel is preached we see the power of God displayed in the changed lives of people who believe.

Corinth, like Rome, was a place of commerce, wealth and luxury. At the same time, Corinth abounded in every evil and vice. A church had been established there through the preaching of the gospel and Paul wrote to encourage and instruct them –

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. (1 Corinthians 6:9-11 ESV)

Notice what Paul is saying. The people in the church in Corinth were no longer identified by their old sinful habits. They had been washed clean by God’s free pardon of their sins. And by His Spirit, He had given them a new nature so that they can now aim at holiness.

What hope this gives to all of us with sinful habits! The power of the gospel comes to us in Christ. It is by faith that we receive Christ, and have his graces applied to us.

I will close with a wonderful quote by Charles Spurgeon, from a portion of his June 28 morning entry of is devotion Morning and Evening, titled Looking to Jesus.

“It is always the Holy Spirit’s work to turn out eyes away from self to Jesus. But Satan’s work is just the opposite; he is constantly trying to make us look at ourselves instead of Christ. He insinuates, ‘Your sins are too great for pardon; you have no faith; you do not repent enough; you will never be able to continue to the end; you do not have the joy of His children; you have such a wavering hold on Jesus.’ All these are thoughts about self, and we will never find comfort or assurance by looking within… If we are to overcome Satan and have peace with God, it must be by “looking to Jesus.” Keep your eye simply on Him; let His death, His sufferings, His merits, His glories, His intercession be fresh upon your mind… Do not let your hopes or fears come between you and Jesus; follow hard after Him, and He will never fail you.”

Amen!

 

To access the entire “Good News” Study, click here.

 

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Romans 1:15-17 Questions (Good News Study)

NOTE:  The questions and devotional for this week’s study were written by Stan Schuermann.

1. Take a moment to pray.  Praise God for His Word and ask Him to teach you its truth, just as the psalmist prayed in Psalm 119:12-16, “Praise be to You, O Lord; teach me Your decrees.  With my lips I recount all the laws that come from Your mouth.  I rejoice in following Your statutes as one rejoices in great riches.  I meditate on Your precepts and consider Your ways.  I delight in Your decrees; I will not neglect Your Word.”

2.   Read Romans 1:15-17

3.  STUDY NOTE:  In Romans 1:16-17, Paul says “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”  The two leading doctrines of this great letter to the Romans are stated in these verses.  First: Salvation is by faith alone.  Second: The free offer of salvation is to all without distinction – Jew and Gentile alike.  The Gospel, which Paul will systematically explain in the rest of his letter, can be summarized as Good News offered to a people who hear and understand the Bad News about their condition. The Bad News is that in order to be loved by God, we must first become righteous, since God regards unrighteousness with hatred.  The Good News is that the righteousness which God requires, He also provides. In His Son, God offers to all, without distinction, His own righteousness that we might be saved from the condemnation and the power of sin.  The gospel of God’s righteousness is offered feely in His Son and that is why it can only be apprehended by faith.

4. Paul is also preparing the Romans for bearing the reproach of the cross of Christ. Calvin writes, “Lest they should esteem the gospel of less value by finding it exposed to the scoffs and reproaches of the ungodly; and, on the other hand, he shows how valuable it was to the faithful. If, in the first place, the power of God ought to be extolled by us, that power shines forth in the gospel; if, again, the goodness of God deserves to be sought and loved by us, the gospel is a display of his goodness. It ought then to be reverenced and honored, since veneration is due to God’s power; and as it avails to our salvation, it ought to be loved by us.”

  • Since the gospel is such Good News, why would Paul, an Apostle, be tempted to be ashamed of it?
  • Why are we tempted to be ashamed of the gospel, rather than extoll it and love it?
  • How do we overcome this temptation?
  • How can we increase our love for the gospel of Christ?

5. In 1:16, Paul says, “for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek” – of this John Calvin writes, “The gospel invites all to partake of salvation without any difference.”   He goes on to say, “Everywhere in Scripture the word salvation is simply set in opposition to the word destruction…  Since the gospel delivers from ruin and the curse of endless death, the salvation which the gospel brings to us is eternal life.”

  • What is required of us to receive the benefit of this power?
  • According to John’s Gospel (John 1:12-13), how does someone become a child of God?

 

  • Is this sufficient proof that everything pertaining to our salvation has already been done?

6. 1:17 references the “righteousness of God.”  To the best of your understanding, what is the righteousness of God?

7. STUDY NOTE:  John Stott summarizes the righteousness of God, as Paul has used it, in this way: “It is a righteous status which God requires if we are ever to stand before Him, which He achieves through the atoning sacrifice of the cross, which He reveals in the gospel, and which He bestows freely on all who trust in Jesus Christ… It seems legitimate to affirm, therefore, that ‘the righteousness of God’ is God’s righteous initiative in putting sinners right with Himself, by bestowing on them a righteousness which is not their own, but His.”

8. We have received the rich benefits of the Reformation of the 16th Century. The Reformation began when Martin Luther, a lawyer turned monk, for the first time understood the gospel as Paul declares it in Romans 1:16-17.   R. C. Sproul describes from Luther’s writings his response to Romans 1:16-17 “Luther was looking now at the Greek word that was in the New Testament… the word which didn’t mean to make righteous, but rather to regard as righteous, to count as righteous, to declare as righteous. And this was the moment of awakening for Luther. He understood that here Paul was not talking about the righteousness by which God Himself is righteous, but a righteousness that God gives freely by His grace to people who don’t have righteousness of their own.”  Luther then understood that the righteousness by which he must be saved, is not his! It’s what he called a justitia alienum, an alien righteousness; a righteousness that belongs properly to somebody else. It’s a righteousness that is extra nos, outside of us. Namely, the righteousness of Christ. And Luther said, “When I discovered that, I was born again of the Holy Ghost. And the doors of paradise swung open, and I walked through.”

  • Have you experienced the gospel’s saving power in your life?
  • How does the righteous man live by faith?

9. STUDY NOTE: John Stott is helpful in understanding this: “Righteousness and life are both by faith. Those who are righteous by faith also live by faith. Having begun in faith, they continue in the same path.”

To access the entire “Good News” study, click here.

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Romans 1:9-14 Questions (Good News Study)

NOTE:  The questions and devotional for this week’s study were written by Stan Schuermann.

1.   As you prepare your heart for study, know that God desires to reveal Himself to you, and He has given you His Holy Spirit to guide you into truth.  Before you open in prayer, consider Jeremiah 9:23-24.  “This is what the Lord declares: ‘Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches, but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,’ declares the Lord.”  Pray for this understanding and knowledge of God with the Holy Spirit as your guide.

2.   Read Romans 1:9-14

3.  STUDY NOTE:  In 1:11, we see Paul’s desire to visit the Roman Christians (“For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you . . .”).  It is clear that Paul sees great benefit in being in fellowship with other believers  Of this, Calvin writes, “He has here strikingly pointed out the use of gifts by the word, imparting: for different gifts are distributed to each individual, that all may in kindness mutually assist one another, and transfer to others what each one possesses.”

4. In 1:12 Paul says,  “That is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine.”  It is amazing to see how Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles, was willing to learn from unexperienced Christian “beginners.” From the youngest to the oldest, each one in the Church has gifts which they are able to contribute to others. We can sometimes be hindered from benefiting from this blessing of Christian fellowship by our high-mindedness and our belief that we possess all that we need and are sufficient of ourselves. (See 1 Corinthians 12)

  • When have you been eager to fellowship with other believers, so that you may “impart” to them what they may lack and thus encourage their faith?
  • What gifts do you impart to other believers?
  • Since by God’s design, we are not sufficient by ourselves, what gifts do you receive from other believers?

5. This mutual giving and the resulting encouragement is also true of the believers in our own household.

  • For those who are married, do you have this desire to “impart” your gifts to your husband or wife?
  • Are you thankful for and eagerly receive the gifts your spouse gives to you?
  • How do you encourage your spouse to impart his/her gifts to you?

6. In 1:14, Paul says, “I am under obligation both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish.”   John Stott, in his commentary on Romans, gives a helpful illustration of this obligation or indebtedness. “There are two possible ways of getting into debt. The first is to borrow money from someone; the second is to be given money for someone by a third party… It is in this second sense that Paul is in debt. He has not borrowed anything from the Romans which he must repay. But Jesus Christ has entrusted him with the gospel for them.”

  • Do you consider yourself, like Paul, having received the Gospel, to now be indebted to others?
  • How are you discharging this debt?

7. In offering the gospel to the wise of this world, every kind of science and philosophy and the arts will be brought under the Lordship of Christ and under the simplicity of the gospel. By declaring himself to be a debtor to the unlearned and foolish Paul is committing to be patient with their ignorance so they too might enjoy the benefits of the gospel.

  • Are we patient in teaching the gospel to those who consider themselves wise in this world?
  • Are we also patient in teaching the gospel with those whom we would consider foolish or unlearned?

 

To access the entire “Good News” study, click here.

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Romans 1:8 Questions (Good News Study)

NOTE:  The questions and devotional for this week’s study were written by Stan Schuermann.

1. As you pray for your study today, ask God to use His Word in your life as the writer of Hebrews prayed in Hebrews 13:20-21: “May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing His will, and may He work in us what is pleasing to Him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever.  Amen.”

2. Read Romans 1:8

3. In Romans 1:8, Paul says, “First, I thank my God” – Paul begins this section by commending the faith of the Roman’s and he implies that their faith had been received from God. In his commentary on Romans, John Calvin writes, “We are taught that faith is God’s gift; for thanksgiving is an acknowledgment of a benefit. He who gives thanks to God for faith, confesses that it comes from Him.” (NOTE: Paul often directs those to whom he is writing to know that their faith is a gift from God; see 1 Corinthians 1:4-9, Ephesians 2:4-9 and 1 Thessalonians 1:1-4.)

  • Do you understand that the faith you have to believe in Christ is a gift from God?
  • Do you often give thanks to God for your own faith?
  • Do you give thanks for the faith you see in others?

4. Paul goes on to say, “I thank my God through Jesus Christ” – We should remember that all of our blessings are God’s free gifts. We see in Paul’s example that thanks should be given through Christ because it is in His name we seek and obtain mercy from the Father.  What does it mean to you to give thanks through Jesus Christ?

5. Paul continues and says, “I thank my God” – We also observe that Paul addresses God as His God. Calvin writes, “This is the faithful’s special privilege, and on them alone God bestows this honor. There is indeed implied in this a mutual relationship, which is expressed in this promise.”  We see in Paul’s prayer the example that Christ Himself taught – That we have the special privilege of coming to God as our God and our Father, continually.

  • Do you think of the eternal creator as my God?
  • What comfort and confidence does this give to you as you pray?

6. STUDY NOTE: Our God invites us to acknowledge that all of our blessings are His free gifts and they come to us because of Christ.

 

To access the entire “Good News” study, click here.

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Good News (week 1) Sermon Audio/Video

On Sunday, August 16, 2015 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a sermon based on Romans 1:1-7.  This message was part 1 in the “Good News” series.  Below you will find the sermon audio/video to watch or share.

 

To download the message to listen to later, click on the link below:

Good News #1

 

To listen to the message online use the embedded media player below:

 

To watch the video of the sermon, use the Vimeo video posted below:

 

 

To access the entire “Good News” study, click here.

 

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Good News (week 1) Sermon Questions

On Sunday, August 16, 2015 I preached a message at Wildwood Community Church based out of Romans 1:1-7.  This message was part one in the “Good News” series.  Below are a set of questions for personal reflection or group discussion related to the message.

 

Questions:

  1. Read Romans 1:1-7
  2. Think of the last time you had bad news to share with someone.  Now think of the last time you got to share good news with someone.  Compare the two experiences.  What was similar about them?  What was different?
  3. When you think about your faith in Christ, do you typically think of that as “Good News” or “Bad News” that you get to share with others?
  4. In Romans 1:1, 5-6, Paul introduces himself to the Romans (a group of people he had never met in person).  What are some of the things Paul says about himself that most stand out to you?
  5. Paul described himself as a “servant” of Christ Jesus.  Do you view yourself as a “servant” of Jesus, or merely as someone with a loose connection to Him?  What would it look like if we were truly sold out to Jesus Christ?
  6. What about your life makes you feel unqualified to share the Good News of Jesus with others?  How does Paul answer this question in Romans 1:5?
  7. In the message, I comment that the Good News of Jesus is sometimes seen as merely “Good Thoughts” or “Good Advice.”  Did any of those comparisons resonate with you?  What is the difference about Good News, as opposed to advice or thoughts?
  8. In your best understanding, what is the Good News of Jesus Christ?  (If you don’t fully know now, don’t worry!  The rest of our study will flesh this out in detail.)
  9. Who in your life does God want to reach with the Good News of Jesus Christ?  How might God use you to share this message with them?  Is there a person you might invite back to church during this series to hear more of the Good News of Jesus?
  10. What are some of the applications/takeaways you have from this morning’s message?

 

To access the entire “Good News” Study, click here.

 

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Where are YOU From? (Good News wk 1 Devo)

In the summer of 2000, I found myself in paradise.  Some people are beach people.  Paradise for them is under an umbrella watching the tide roll in. Other people are mountain people . . . loving life most at elevations over 5,000 feet.  I am more of a mountain man myself, so when I had the chance to go to Banff National Park in Canada in June 2000, I jumped at the chance.

A man in our church gave my wife and I some frequent flyer tickets for a graduation present from seminary, and Kimberly’s sister was stationed in Calgary for the summer by her employer – so we had free transportation and a free place to stay about an hour’s drive from Canada’s most beautiful National Park.

After a few days exploring the high country, we ended up back in Calgary and at dinner with Kimberly’s sister and her (then boyfriend, now husband).  At this point, I had been in Canada for nearly a week and I had begun to think that I “fit in” north of the border.  I had learned the lingo, wore similar clothes to the locals, and adored their mountains.  Though Canada is a different country, there are many similarities in appearance to my home back in the states.  However, any thought that I could pass as a Canadian evaporated as the waitress took our drink orders.

The orders started with my brother-in-law then moved around to my sister-in-law, then wife.  They all ordered without issue.  However, when I ordered my drink, the waitress stopped in her tracks and said, “Where are YOU from?”

Honestly, I do not think I have an accent.  I sound “normal” to me.  However, as time has gone on, I realize that my southern drawl tethers me to my Oklahoma home.  All 4 of us around the table that night were from the same hometown, yet it was my voice that blew our cover.

We live in a world where most of the time Christians “fit in.”  As American Christians we know the lingo, wear fashionable clothing, and enjoy much of the same local entertainment as our non-Christian friends.  Sure, we have unique beliefs and a different moral compass, but generally we look the part of American locals.

However, our home is not here.  Our citizenship is in heaven.  Eventually, the world will find this out, and one of the ways the world finds out who we really are is when we open our mouths and speak.  When Christians talk, our “spiritual accent” should come through, showing our connection to our Savior.

We clearly see this from the Apostle Paul.  In Romans 1:1-7, Paul begins a letter to the church in Rome.  In this introductory paragraph Paul introduces himself.  When he does, his connection to Jesus is clearly heard.  Paul here describes himself as a “servant of Christ Jesus” (1:1).  Bible Scholar W.H. Griffith Thomas described Paul’s connection to Christ this way, “He regarded himself as the purchased possession of his Lord and Master.  The two ideas of property and service are suggested.  There was no serfdom or servility, and yet there was an absolute loyalty in the consciousness of absolute possession.  The bond-servant owned nothing, and was nothing apart from his master.  His time, his strength, everything belonged altogether to another.  There was nothing nobler to St. Paul than to be a slave of the Lord Jesus.  He desired to be nothing, to do nothing, to own nothing apart from Him.”

Paul saw his entire life and purpose tied up in Jesus Christ.  He could not talk without pointing people back to Him.  When Paul spoke, I believe people said things like, “where is this guy from?”  not because of his Jewish complexion or Greek dialect.  I think they said that because His self-descriptions pointed people to His Lord and Savior.

How about you?  When you describe who you are and what is important to you, do you reference the person of Jesus Christ and His redeeming work in your life?  For Paul, this was the most important thing about himself, so he led with that identity.  Paul did not lead off with his human education (which was excellent) or his earthly accomplishments (which were also stout.)  He led off with His Savior, showing not where he was from but where He was going.  Does your speech reveal a similar story?

I am challenged by this.  As someone who is a “vocational Christian,” people quickly ascertain that I am a part of the Christian religion.  However, I am not a follower of Christ because I get paid by a church or went through graduate school at a seminary.  The most important thing about me is not my vocation or my schooling.  The most important thing about me is what Jesus has done for me, and what He wants to offer you.  When I speak, I want people to know where I am going (following Christ) more than where I am from.  After all, it is not important that we all sound like we are from Northeast Oklahoma, but I pray God uses me (and my words) to help many follow Christ.

Join us this Sunday, August 16, 2015 as we kick off our “Good News” sermon series in our 9:30 and 10:50 worship services at Wildwood Community Church.  This Sunday’s message will focus on Romans 1:1-7.

To access the entire “Good News” study, click here

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Romans 1:5-6 Questions (Good News Study)

  1.  Take a moment to pray.  Praise God for His Word and ask Him to teach you its truth, just as the psalmist prayed in Psalm 119:12-16, “Praise be to You, O Lord; teach me Your decrees.  With my lips I recount all the laws that come from Your mouth.  I rejoice in following Your statutes as one rejoices in great riches.  I meditate on Your precepts and consider Your ways.  I delight in Your decrees; I will not neglect Your Word.”
  2. Read Romans 1:5-6
  3. Citizens of Rome were not people most Jews wanted to convert in the first century.  They were people they wanted to defeat.  Rome was an occupying force in Israel, making them an enemy to many.  Most first century Jews had little compassion for their oppressors.  Yet Paul desires to minister among this group of people.  Why do you think that is?  What happened in Paul’s life that would have him so interested in ministering to the Roman Gentiles?  How does Romans 1:5 help you answer this question?
  4. The clear implication of Romans 1:5 is that Paul had been given both grace and a calling.  Paul was forgiven and set free from his sin, but also commissioned to take this same message to the Gentile people, including the people of Rome.  Like Paul, all Christians, have been given both grace and a calling.  In your own words how would you describe your “grace and calling” given by God to you in this life?
  5. The power of the Gospel will ultimately lead to a changed life (“obedience of faith” in verse 6).  While Christians are not saved by their good works (something that Paul will explain in great detail in Romans 1-3), the Christian who is saved by grace is also saved and equipped with the expectation and hope of an obedient (to God) life.  If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, God has called you to follow Him in obedience.  What are some areas of your life today where you struggle to obey God in faith?
  6. People long to belong.  We are wired to be together.  Paul writes to the Roman followers of Christ, and encourages them that they have been called to belong to Jesus Christ.  In Christ, there are no longer divisions between Jews (like Paul) and Gentiles (like the Romans).  There are just people saved by grace and united by Jesus Christ.  What are some of the ways you are tempted to divide the church today (rich/poor, black/white, etc.)?  How does this encouragement by Paul that we can all “belong in Christ” encourage you?
  7. Scan back over Paul’s introduction to his letter to the Romans in 1:1-7.  What most stands out to you about how he describes himself?  About how he describes the Gospel?

 

To access the entire “Good News” study, click here.

 

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Romans 1:2-4 Questions (Good News Study)

  1. As you prepare your heart for study, know that God desires to reveal Himself to you, and He has given you His Holy Spirit to guide you into truth.  Before you open in prayer, consider Jeremiah 9:23-24.  “This is what the Lord declares: ‘Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches, but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,’ declares the Lord.”  Pray for this understanding and knowledge of God with the Holy Spirit as your guide.
  2. Read Romans 1:2-4
  3. According to Romans 1:2, the Gospel was something that God had promised and spoke about through the prophets throughout the Old Testament.  Based on what you know about the Old Testament, what are some of the things God said to the world through the prophets about the coming of Jesus?
  4. Read Isaiah 53:1-12.  This passage is most likely one of the passages of Scripture Paul was thinking of as he talked about the Gospel spoken of by the Old Testament prophets.  Though Isaiah wrote hundreds of years before Jesus was born on the earth, it refers to the coming of the Savior who would one day make atonement for the sins of His people.  Scan this passage and make a list of all the references you see that Jesus fulfilled in His time on this earth.
  5. What does it tell you about the heart of God for His people that He had planned Jesus arrival and ministry many years before Jesus actually came to the earth?
  6. STUDY NOTE:  In the opening paragraph to his letter to the Romans, Paul makes it clear that this book is about the Gospel (or good news) in 1:1b (Paul was “set apart for the Gospel.”) In 1:3, we see that the Gospel is concerning the Son (Jesus).  In verses 3-4, Paul gives a couple of reasons why Jesus is someone we should take seriously.
  7. The first reason Paul mentions for why we should take Jesus seriously is because He is the Son of (or descendant) of David (1:3).  What is the significance that Jesus was a descendent of David? (NOTE:  If you need help, revisit 2 Samuel 7:8-17 and read the promises that God made to David and his descendants.)
  8. The second reason Paul mentions for why we should take Jesus seriously is because of Jesus’ divine identity.  Romans 1:4 is full of references to Jesus being God. What are some of the things you see in this verse that point to Jesus’ deity?
  9. In 1:4, Paul references Jesus’ resurrection from the dead.  Paul wrote this just 25 years after Jesus’ resurrection.  This made the original recipients of the letter people who could have somewhat easily verified the historical veracity of the empty tomb.  If Jesus had NOT risen from the dead, it would have been fairly easy to disprove in 57 AD.  Eye witnesses to his death were still alive and accessible.  The grave site was still easy to find, and several people could have taken you there.  However, Paul boldly proclaims the resurrection as a fact.  Bolstered by the eye witness accounts of many who had also seen Jesus resurrected (including Paul himself who saw Jesus on the road to Damascus), Paul boldly proclaimed the authenticity of the good news by linking it to the empty tomb.  What does this tell you about what Paul thought about the historicity of Jesus’ death and resurrection and its importance for the Christian life?
  10. Have you ever stopped to realize that your faith in God is not based on fairy tales but on history?  Jesus indeed came to the earth.  He really lived a perfect life.  He really died on the cross for your sins.  He really rose from the dead.  If Jesus did not really do these things, then our faith is built on a myth or a lie.  Have you ever stopped to consider that our faith is founded on truth God revealed in history?

 

To access the entire “Good News” study, click here.

 

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