Unashamed of the Gospel

The Book Of Romans Reminds Us Not To Be Ashamed Of Sharing The Gospel

Tim Lundy
Jan 9, 2022    47m
The Book of Romans challenges us, as Christians, to not be ashamed of sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ. There is so much to be learned by the way the Apostle Paul lived his life and modeled sharing the good news of Jesus. Video recorded at Los Gatos, California.

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This is a transcription of the sermon. People speak differently than they write, and there are common colloquialisms in this transcript that sound good when spoken, and look like bad grammar when written.

Tim Lundy: [00:00:54] Hey, Venture. I'm excited as we start this year in the Book of Romans, we're going to take this important book of the Bible and walk through it chapter by chapter. In fact, this is a series that'll probably take us most of the year. That doesn't mean that every sermon is going to be in Romans, we'll take some breaks, look at some other topics along the way. But this is an important series, I think, for us as a church, and I think it's a really important book.

Tim Lundy: [00:01:21] In fact, I want to encourage you, if you don't have a Bible with you. go ahead and get one now, make sure you have one out. And I'd encourage you to get a Bible that you can take some notes in, maybe underline, we're going to really digest some parts of it because I think it's really important that we spend this time in this book, in God's Word.

Tim Lundy: [00:01:42] And when we say that today, we're kind of kicking off this series that's written by the Apostle Paul. written around '57 '58 A.D. It's a little bit later in his life as a missionary, he was on his third missionary journey, and he's writing it to a group of believers, to the church, that's in Rome. So that's why we call it the Book of Romans because it was a letter written to the Christians in Rome. And if you know anything about the Roman world, Rome was the capital, not only of the Roman Empire, really of the world. And so this is such an important church, and because of that, Paul writes a really important book.

Tim Lundy: [00:02:23] And so this week, as we kick it off, we're going to look at the first half of chapter one, and it's the setup for the book. And for our study, and for our sake, we're just going to answer a few questions.

Tim Lundy: [00:02:34] The first question I would say, just for us, is why Romans? Why did I think this book, we should spend this time, and really go through it at this level? Well, two reasons jump out to me. The first one is, the impact this book has on Christian history. You know, I've had the opportunity over the last decade or so, I go once a year and I teach at this discipleship institute, they bring in different teachers or speakers. And so for the last, I think I've done it probably up to 10 times now, I go in for one week and I get to teach through the whole Book of Romans, it's kind of a blitz for the week. And I'm always surprised as I get prepared for it each year, I have to dive back into this book and spend the time with it, the impact it has on me and my appreciation for it grows.

Tim Lundy: [00:03:25] You may not realize how much the Book of Romans has shaped church history, Christian history as we know it. I think of a guy like Augustine back in 386. Augustine, who's one of the fathers of the church, one of the greatest writers, greatest thinkers, he wrote confessions, so much of his theology with it. But as a young man, he was in the middle of an affair, living just a terrible lifestyle, and found himself miserable one day sitting in a garden when he heard a child's voice, kind of a singsong voice, say these words, take up and read. And he looked down, and there was a scroll next to him, and he picked it up and as part of the Book of Romans. And as he describes it, as he began to read through the text, it totally changed his life. He came to understand the Gospel, the good news, in a new way.

Tim Lundy: [00:04:20] I think of Martin Luther, the father of the Protestant Reformation, Martin Luther, who was a Catholic priest, he taught at the University of Erfurt, and he found himself resenting God because as he understood it, he would never be good enough to be up to the standard that God called us to. And then he started reading through Romans and studying it as he was teaching it to his students, and he understood the Gospel, he understood righteousness in a new way. I love how Luther puts it, he says these words, he says," Romans is worthy, not only that every Christian should know it word for word by heart, but occupy themselves with it every day as the daily bread of the soul. It can never be read or thought about too much. And the more it's dealt with, the more precious it becomes and the better it tastes."

Tim Lundy: [00:05:16] I think a John Bunyan, this pastor who is imprisoned for his beliefs, and while he was there, he kept reading through the Book of Romans, and as he looked at it, he started thinking about a story that he could tell that could tell this story of Romans and tell the story of the Gospel, and he came up with the book, The Pilgrim's Progress. Which, by the way, after the Bible, is the second most sold book on the planet.

Tim Lundy: [00:05:42] John Calvin, the Book of Romans absolutely shaped his theology. John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, who, even after he had been a missionary, he had still not discovered the Gospel. And one day he was invited to a Bible study at Aldersgate, and he didn't want to go. And he's sitting in the Bible study, he's so discouraged about his life, and as he's sitting there, somebody starts reading Luther's commentary on the Book of Romans. And he starts hearing it, and hearing it for the first time. He describes it, his whole body warmed up as he realized there was this new discovery, that even though he had been a pastor and a missionary, he'd never discovered the Gospel.

Tim Lundy: [00:06:27] Guys, I can go on and on and on, but right there, I've been throwing out some of the heavyweights of the church, so some of the founders of Presbyterianism, of Lutheranism, of Methodism, of Church as we know it. I mean, these instrumental people, who all of them go back to this book, and they go. It changed them, it shaped them, it has had such an impact.

Tim Lundy: [00:06:55] But with that, I would say it's not just what it's been in history, we have a tremendous need for it today. And I think we have a need for it in the church, I think we have a need for it in our culture, to really understand, as Luther said, how do we know it more so that it's shaping our lives? And so part of my goal is we go through this book in this series, I think this is an unbelievable study if you're someone who is known Jesus for years. Like Luther said, the more you study it, the sweeter it is, the more precious it is, and it will deepen your faith.

Tim Lundy: [00:07:34] I think this is a great study if you're somebody who's new in the faith, I can't think of a better book that I'd want you to get established in in the Bible. Maybe you're somebody, that you haven't come to faith yet, you're wrestling with Christianity, you're curious about it. You're going to find as we go through it, few people explain it better than the Apostle Paul. His mind is like a steel trap, and so any question you have about Christianity, he'll actually bring up in this book. He asked himself the hard questions so that he can provide the kind of answers, maybe for somebody like you, that you're wrestling with it and you want to understand it more.

Tim Lundy: [00:08:14] I think the one group, more than any other, that I'm hoping really grasp this, and really take some time to go through this, would be the next generation. And I'm addressing specifically those of you who are in middle school, in high school, and are college students. I can't think of a better study, a better book, for you to have established in your life right now.

Tim Lundy: [00:08:38] Now it's going to take something of you. I would encourage you, you're going to need a Bible, you're going to need your own Bible. You're going to need to have it out in front of you, underline it and look at it. You're going to need to take some time to invest in it, and really think during these messages, and maybe use your brain in a new way, and really try to engage the Bible in a new way. It's going to take, and let's just be frank, you're going to either need to watch these messages regularly or be a part of the services regularly, but you need to hear this.

Tim Lundy: [00:09:10] And parents, this is where I'm really looking to you because I think it's so important that you're setting that tone and as you're hearing this, and I would just challenge for some of you because some of you as parents, you're watching this message, but you don't require your students to, or they don't come to church with you. And hear me, I love what we have on Tuesday night, but Tuesday night's not enough. I said it in the fall, and every study that I went through with it, what a student does and engaging in worship, especially with their parents, especially where it's an activity with you, see the problem with our Tuesday night ministry, you're not there. And Christian Smith and the others, the sociologists at Notre Dame that have said, the greatest impact on shaping the belief system and the faith of students, is their parents. In fact, he describes it, you're the glass ceiling, they'll never go higher than you and what you value. So I really want to challenge, as we're going into this year, I want to challenge you as a parent that your students need to be engaging these messages, they need to engage it with you.

Tim Lundy: [00:10:21] Now I know what some of you say, you go, yeah, but Tim, they don't want to, they don't really like it, they don't want to watch it. I hear you, and here's my response, of course they don't want to, of course they don't. It takes spiritual training, it takes spiritual training to know how to sit in church, to know how to engage in worship, to know how to open your mind to God's word, to hear it taught in that way. I have no illusions that they just suddenly, magically love it, it's part of a spiritual training in your life, and this is where parenting comes in. This is where, and you've done it their whole life, you've called them to do things they didn't want to do because you valued it for them, that's what you've done their whole life, you can go all the way back. I mean, for all of us, our kids, we had to train them to use the toilet, they were perfectly happy pooping in their pants. And when you train them, you went and showed them a toilet, and I bet the first time you showed them a toilet, none of them looked at and said, oh, this makes so much more sense, I want to do that. No, you had to go through a rigorous process, and that's why we call it potty training, because we value it for them. Brushing their teeth, I can think with my kids, some of them when they were young, I'd have to smell their breath because they didn't value brushing their teeth twice a day, but I did, so I made them do it. Going to school, think about it right now, you make them go to school for hours at a time and I promise you they don't like it and they're bored in a lot of it. Why do you do it? Because you value it for them.

Tim Lundy: [00:12:07] And I'm just being this direct because I see the falloff that is happening, and if our students are not engaging in worship, if our students are not engaging in God's word, if they're not listening and being a part of these messages, it's not because they don't like it, it's because you don't value it enough for them to force it, and they're taking their cues off of your values. And I promise you, as much as we'd love to say, well, when they become an adult, they'll value it one day, it doesn't work that way. Now is the time that you train them.

Tim Lundy: [00:12:43] And I know him being pretty direct in this, but I feel passionate about it. And the reason I do is, one day you are going to stand in front of Jesus, and one of the core things he's going to hold you accountable for is what did you do in training your kids? And one day I'm going to stand in front of Jesus, you know, one of the core things he's going to hold me accountable for? Is what did I do in speaking to you and then leading you? And so I think for all of our sakes, it's better that we're direct, and this is a perfect time for us to engage together. And so I'm going to ask you, if you're a parent or if you're a student, will you make a commitment with me this year, that let's really dive in this together? Let's dive in in a way that I'm not just going to church, I'm not just hearing something, I'm actually going to engage God's word because I want to be shaped by it in the same way that leaders all throughout church history have been shaped by it. And I can't think of anything more powerful than if we had a next generation who is shaped by this gospel book in a way that it changes the way they see themselves and the way they see their world. See, that's why Romans, that's why we're studying it.

Tim Lundy: [00:13:55] In fact, why don't we do this, why don't you take your Bible, let's open it up, and I want to just read through our passage today. And I want you to read through it with me, if you go ahead and turn to the Book of Romans, and we're going to read through the first 17 verses together and just hear it. And I'll break it down in just a moment, but let's just read through the text together.

Tim Lundy: [00:14:13] Verse 1, "Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, 2which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, 3concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh 4and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord, 5through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations, 6including you who are called to belong to Jesus Christ,

Tim Lundy: [00:14:13] 7To all those in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Tim Lundy: [00:14:13] 8First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed in all the world. 9For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I mention you 10always in my prayers, asking that somehow by God’s will I may now at last succeed in coming to you. 11For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you— 12that is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine. 13I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that I have often intended to come to you (but thus far have been prevented), in order that I may reap some harvest among you as well as among the rest of the Gentiles. 14I am under obligation both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish. 15So I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome.

Tim Lundy: [00:14:13] 16For 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. 17For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”

Tim Lundy: [00:16:28] Now, in that you may have missed a lot of the context around it. Just to give you overall context, Paul's writing a letter to this church in Rome. And he says in the letter, man, I pray for you guys, I'm excited about you guys, I have been dying to come see you. Paul loved going to the front edge of where God was moving, and Rome was the capital of the world. And so he says it, man, I want to go there, I want to be there, I want to see you. But at this point in his journey, in his missionary career, he'd not been able to yet.

Tim Lundy: [00:17:02] And so he's writing them this letter, and we don't know a lot about this church in Rome, we know it's a mix of Jews and gentiles. We know some of the leaders in it, in fact, later in the book will see he'll list different people that he knows there. We know this church is struggling with how do you live out of Christianity in the middle of this Roman capital? How does a Church of Jews and Gentiles come together in this new thing called the church and Christianity, the way? How do you live with those who are strong and weak in the faith? How do you do so many things? He's going to answer all these questions, but first and foremost, he wants to answer for them in his longest and clearest letter, what is the Gospel?

Tim Lundy: [00:17:50] In fact, I would say for us, I mean, which gospel, which gospel would be the question? Now, as I say that, we use that term so much gospel, that we go, what are you talking about which gospel, Tim, there's only one Gospel? I want to remind you, we talked about this during our Christmas series, but in this time period, when Paul's writing it, it wasn't Christians that used this term gospel as much, if anything, it was the Roman emperors who used the term. That word gospel, Euangelion, it literally just means good news or an announcement.

Tim Lundy: [00:18:25] That's why we saw in Luke chapter 2, this gospel announcement of good news to the world. In Luke 2, when the angels came, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people." And so when the angel declared to the shepherd, he says, I'm making an announcement, I've got an Euangelion, I've got a gospel, I've got good news for all people. And as we talked about in that series, if you weren't a part of it, the shepherds were used to hearing that, the world was used to hearing that, because frankly, it was the emperors who would make these declarations. And so there would be a Euangelion, there's a gospel, there's good news about Caesar Augustus and what he's done, there's good news about Caesar Nero and what he's accomplished in the armies. These kinds of declarations were made all the time.

Tim Lundy: [00:19:19] And so when Paul's using this term, he says, hey, I want to tell you a gospel, I want to tell you a good news, but it's unlike any other gospel, it's unlike any other announcement you've ever heard. In fact, it's such a dominant good news, that by the time, here we are, 2000 years later, when we use the term gospel, we don't think about Caesar's at all, we don't think about anybody else's announcement because of the announcement that Paul's unpacking in this book.

Tim Lundy: [00:19:54] He tells us in that first paragraph, and there were so many terms in it. I want to just highlight a few because the rest of this letter is going to really unpack all of it. But as you look at it, look at these first six verses when he says, what gospel is he talking about? Well, he declares, first of all, it's the Gospel of God. This isn't the gospel of Caesar, this isn't the gospel of Nero who is the emperor, this isn't the gospel of anybody else, it's no one else's announcement, this is the Gospel that God came up with, he's the originator of everything that you're about to read in the rest of this letter. And I think it's important for us, because it's not something that we came up with to understand God, it's not a plan or a religion that we came up with, that's what makes Christianity so different, this is a plan that God came up with. In fact, as we go through this letter, we're going to find out this is a plan he came up with before time, when it was only God. So Paul says, I'm declaring that Gospel.

Tim Lundy: [00:20:57] He says, now it was promised beforehand through his prophets and the Holy Scripture, and so he wants to make sure it's clear as well. This isn't just something that started when Jesus was born, this goes all the way back, and what he calls it Holy Scriptures, he's talking about what we would call the Old Testament. And so he says this Gospel plan that God had, man, everything in the Old Testament, everything in the Scriptures was pointing toward, it was prophesied. That's what you need to realize, that everything in the Bible is pointing to Jesus, and so all of the Old Testament, all those books, all that story, is a story that's unfolding this Gospel that's ultimately revealed in Jesus.

Tim Lundy: [00:21:39] And you see this, who's the center of the Gospel? Well, it's his Son, it's all about his Son. And look at the phrases he uses to describe Jesus here. He was descended from David, and so he was the true Earthly King. Jesus was of the Davidic line, and so he was the rightful king of Israel. He came in the flesh, he was a real human being, he wasn't a phantom, he wasn't a ghost. Some people would teach that to agnostics that Paul would come up against, they would teach that Jesus wasn't a real person. He said, uh ah, no, he came in a real human body. But, he was declared the Son of God in power, he was divine, that's a divine statement. So he's human, and he's divine. And how do we know that he was divine? Well, by his resurrection from the dead, he did what nobody else could do. And in that power, we then know in this phrase kind of summarizes all of it, he's Jesus Christ our Lord. He's Jesus, the human King, that came through the line of David. He's Christ, he's the Anointed One, he's the Messiah that even the Jews were looking for. So this isn't just a Gentile thing, it's Jews and Gentiles.

Tim Lundy: [00:22:50] And he's the Lord, he really is God, because of that, he's brought this message of grace, which brings about the obedience of faith. And I love the phrasing of this, the obedience of faith. It's not the obedience that comes from that produces faith, it's the obedience that comes from faith. Let me say that again, it's not obedience that produces faith, it's obedience that comes from faith. And what do I highlight that? Well, this was the key line for Martin Luther. Remember, I told you Luther struggled, he was a priest, but he found himself hating God. And here was the core struggle that he had, I can never be obedient enough to be good enough for God, and he started to resent God over that. Until he discovered, wait a second, as I read through this Book of Romans, everything goes back to faith first that then produces obedience. So instead of, I've got to do enough, and I've got to do enough, and do enough, and hope that I'm right with God. What if God gave this righteousness to me, and through faith, I receive it, and then it produces that kind of obedience of my life? You say, Tim, how does that happen? Paul is going to explain it in this letter.

Tim Lundy: [00:24:10] I love this line, he says, for the sake of his name among all the nations. Why did God do this whole gospel? Because he wanted it to be worldwide to all nations for the sake of his name, for his glory? So when I put all that together, here's what we have. which gospel is it? The Gospel, and when you hear that term and when we're talking to it, it's God's unfolding plan centered on the person and work of Jesus in order to bring life change to people worldwide for his glory. It's an unfolding plan, it goes all the way back from Genesis on, it's what God's been unfolding with it. All of it is always centered on both the person and the work of Jesus, it brings life change, it literally takes people who are dead and makes them alive. It changes them not just legally before God, but actually, actively in their life with him, and we'll see how that takes place in this letter. And it's going to be done worldwide, ultimately, all of it, for the glory of God. So that's the Gospel we're talking about, and you're going to hear that term over and over in this.

Tim Lundy: [00:25:18] But one thing I want to highlight here at the beginning, of the next question is, why Paul? Out of all the people to share this, all the people to write it, why did God choose Paul as the one to write, what I would consider the most formative, the best illustrated, the best explained letter, of what the Gospel is all about? Well, a couple of reasons.

Tim Lundy: [00:25:40] One, he was extremely gifted to explain this good news. Look how he describes himself in verse 1. He says, "Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God." Look at these three terms, this first one, servant, that literally means bondservant. that's somebody that's been purchased. So if you had a bondservant back then, and they could come, you could sell yourself to someone for a price, and it's what you did individually in most cases. And so Paul says, man, that's how I view my life, I've been purchased by Christ, I'm his servant. Now, I'm uniquely called to be an apostle, the apostles were those, these are these gifts given to the church, sometimes we use this term, but this is a very specific calling. In fact, Paul was the last of the apostles, the original apostles. And so Paul, who was called directly by Jesus, remember Paul hated Jesus. Paul was trained, he was a Pharisee, he'd given his whole life to that form of Judaism, and he saw Jesus as everything against what he believed in stood for. So he became a persecuted of the church, he hated Jesus, he hated anybody that followed Jesus. And yet, on the road to Damascus, Jesus appeared to him personally and called him personally as an apostle, and it totally revolutionized and changed his world. I mean, you talk about a 180, of someone who went from against, to realizing, oh no, he's the way. and he was called as an apostle with that.

Tim Lundy: [00:27:14] And then I love this phrase, he said, I was at that point, I was literally set apart for the Gospel, my whole life was put apart for this one purpose. And this word, set apart, the root of this word is the same word for Pharisee, that the Pharisees were people that were set apart for the law. And so Paul's describing himself, he says, I used to be this guy that my whole life was set apart for the law, for our understanding of it. and then I came face to face with Jesus Christ and my whole life got set apart, but for the Gospel, everything changed about him. That's why I think when it comes to the Gospel, Paul's the Goat. you know, you talk about the greatest of all time, G.O.A.T. And I love sports, you guys know I love sports, and I love, especially, people that you just look at them and you go, they're the greatest. We can argue about it all the time, who's the greatest quarterback, who's the greatest player? I mean, I love watching Steph Curry right now, because you look at it and he's the greatest shooter I think of all time. Now, I'm not saying he's the greatest player, Jordan is still probably the goat for me of all players, but just a pure shooter and his handle with the ball, I just love watching Curry do this and watching him play. In the same way, there's nobody more gifted, more prepared, the Apostle Paul, he's got a legal mind like a lawyer because he was trained in the law, he's got the mind of a theologian because he understood the deep things of God, he's got the passion and the zeal that goes with it. I mean, he's this unique combination that God brought together, and because of that, it told you that Romans is a very logical book.

Tim Lundy: [00:28:57] You know, in fact, Harvard Law School, Harvard was founded as a Christian University. The first hundred years of Harvard Law School, they would have the law students actually study the Book of Romans, not for the biblical content, but they wanted to study how Paul, as a good lawyer, would not only present something, but then he started questioning it, he'd pick out his own argument. And in doing so, he could lay it out in a way that you go, man, this is so logically tight, you're going to see this through the Book of Romans because Paul was uniquely gifted for this.

Tim Lundy: [00:29:32] But then you look at it as well, he was extraordinarily motivated to share the good news, he's not just gifted, he's also motivated. Now look how he puts it in verses 14 through 16, he says, "I am under obligation both to Greeks and to barbarians." This word, literally, means I have a debt, I have to share this, I'm obligated to share this, I have a debt to these people in the world that don't know about it. And here's the concept in his mind, what Paul is talking about is, it'd be like if I came to you and I said, hey, I'm going to work out a deal with you, I want to give you literally hundreds of millions of dollars, I'm going to keep pouring it, but I want you to give it away to people in need, I want you to share it with this many people as you can. I've got a limitless supply, but I need you to share it. If we worked that agreement and you received that treasure, you received that amount, you would then have this sense of responsibility wouldn't you of, man, this is why I received this, I've got to share it. That's how Paul viewed the Gospel. But he looks at it and he goes, man, this is a treasure that's been given to me, I have to give it away, they desperately need this, I'm under obligation, I've got this debt. But I loved it as well, though, but I'm also eager, it's not just the have to, I want to. I've got this debt, but I also have this desire, and it's just wells out of me, I want to share this with people.

Tim Lundy: [00:31:05] And then I love this, he's got a debt and a desire, and then the third part of it, because I've made a decision that I'm not ashamed of the Gospel, I'm not ashamed of it in my life. And what he's talking about there is, man, I have chosen to make this my identity, I've chosen, I'm just identifying. If you know anything about Jesus, you know anything about the Gospel, then that's me, that's what my life's about.

Tim Lundy: [00:31:31] And if we look at it in scripture, let's be honest, it's easy to get ashamed of the Gospel, it's easy to pull back from it, Jesus warned against it. Jesus said, if you're ashamed of me here, man, don't expect me to stand up for you up there if you don't stand up for me here. Peter was ashamed of Jesus, he didn't want his identity to be known as with Jesus, that's why he denied him three times. I mean, look what Paul says to Timothy, this always stands out to me because Timothy was Paul's protege, Timothy is a pastor at this point, and Paul writes to him and he says, "Do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord." In other words, don't be ashamed of the Gospel, Timothy, nor of me his prisoner. I love that he lumps the two together, if you're going to be ashamed of the Gospel, you're going to be ashamed of me too because we go hand in hand.

Tim Lundy: [00:32:18] And I think this is a critical point, that Paul's whole life, he says, man, I've got this debt, I got to give it away. I got this desire. But here's a fundamental part that we need to grasp, he says. I've made this decision that my life is identified by this message of the good news, and I'm never going to hide it, and I'm never going to shrink back from it. Because I know it's not just good news, it's God's news, and people desperately need it. I think for many of us, especially, we live in the Bay Area, we live in a time where, man, the tide is turning in a lot of ways. We would do well to look at Paul's decision and go, man, is that my decision too, that I'm literally unashamed, that this is my identity, this is my life.

Tim Lundy: [00:33:09] You know, Eastman Curtis was a youth pastor, and he loved sharing the Gospel, and he loved sharing, especially when he had some of his students with him. One time he was in a convenience store and he noticed the girl behind the counter and she's crying. And he asked her, he said, are you doing OK? And she said I'm really going through a hard time right now. And he just stopped for a moment, he looked at her and said, I don't know what you're going through, but I hope you know how much God loved you, he loved you so much that he sent his son Jesus. And at that moment, the student that was with him, Jeff, got this kind of panicked look on his face and ran out of the store and got back in the car and waited for him. Eastman kept talking to her, and she shared what was going on in her life. And he explained the Gospel, and she came to Christ right there in the store. He said, man, you wouldn't believe the smile that was on her face. And he went back out to the car, and as soon as he got in the car, Jeff looked at him, his student, he said, don't ever do that to me again. He said, Do what? He said, did you see how embarrassed she was? Man, to embarrass me and to embarrass her like that, don't do that to me. And Eastman looked at him and he said, come on, get out of the car. He said, what? He goes, we're going back in. He said I'm not going in there. He said that woman just came to Christ, and you need to go and realize how important it is, and how life-changing it is, when we take those opportunities to share that message. Jeff went back in the store and he's kind of chagrined, and as they walked in, man, she lit up because she was so excited with what Jesus had done.

Tim Lundy: [00:34:49] Guys, this is what Paul is talking about when he shares this gospel, this is why he's so passionate about it, this is why he's unashamed in it. He shares the Gospel.

Tim Lundy: [00:35:01] The final question we want to answer, we'll just go through it quickly. What's the point? And if you're taking notes in your Bible, you might want to mark verses 16 and 17 because they're the point of the whole book, this is the theme of the whole book right there. And the rest of the book we're going to be unpacking and looking at what this theme means, but just so that we get some categories in our mind, I want us to look at it. He says in verses 16 and 17, "I am not ashamed of the gospel." Now, why is he not ashamed? Why? "For it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”.

Tim Lundy: [00:35:45] Now look at this first line, he says, "I'm not ashamed of the Gospel." I've identified with the Gospel. Why? Because it's literally the power of God for salvation. This word power is dunamis in the Greek, it's the word we get dynamic from or dynamite from. So, it's so powerful, and so what he says is the Gospel is God's power unleashed for our salvation. And so think about that for a moment, it's the power of God that is unleashed on this planet. Out of all the ways God could unleash his power, we serve a God who's omnipotent, in other words, he's all powerful. Every single day he could unleash his power in different ways. If he wanted to do a miracle every day, if he wanted to split open a mountain range, if he wanted to create something out there, I mean, he's got all these different ways he could show his power. He could heal everybody in every hospital if he thought that was the best thing to do, if their physical body was the most important thing.

Tim Lundy: [00:36:46] Now think, when Paul says, he goes, here's why my life is so wrapped up with the Gospel. Here's why I talk about this all the time. Here's why I love explaining it because it's the tool, it's the mechanism, it's the message that God's power shows up on this planet. It is the most consistent, most powerful thing because people's lives are changed by it. And I don't care what miracle you did, what mountain you split, what other act of power you could do, I'm going to tell you right now there's nothing more powerful than when somebody's life is changed. And Paul goes, man, I know what my life was like before, and it radically changed. And I've been taking this message all over the planet, and I've been sharing it with people, and it's changing people, and it's changing their marriages, and it's changing their lives, it's changing countries, it's literally changed human history over the last 2000 years, this is the power of God.

Tim Lundy: [00:37:44] I mean, when I think of power, you know, my kids are all into the, you know, the Marvel, we did the whole Marvel Cinematic Universe. If you watched all those movies, they were culminating toward this evil villain Thanos, who is trying to collect the Infinity Stones, these six stones of power. And then he puts them all in a glove so that in one act of power, he can wipe out half of humanity, half of the people that exist because he thinks that's the best thing to do in it. Long story, you have to watch a few movies to catch up if you haven't. I just think of it, though, that one glove and all the stones, and that power, and that moment. And then, you know, Iron Man, when he gets the glove and he uses the power for good, that power unleashed in it, it's that physical symbol of it.

Tim Lundy: [00:38:34] Guys, that pales in comparison to the power that Paul is talking about here because unlike a fictional world, he's talking about our world, real-world, real people, real power, that we have the opportunity to be a part of unleashing when we share this good news. This is why Paul is so excited about it, this is why he spent every day in it, this is why he talked about it all the time, because he literally saw the power unleashed through it. He says, "It's the power of God to everyone who believes." And I love this because what he's showing in it, is the Gospel is universal, it's for everybody in scope, but it's limited to those who believe.

Tim Lundy: [00:39:21] And we're going to see what that looks like, and maybe your first question is, yeah, but Tim, what about people who have never heard the Gospel? How is that fair? Paul will answer that question. What about people who have other religions? I mean, isn't it enough that they have their religion? Paul will answer that question. How can this gospel be universal, how is God's sovereignty fit with it, with this human free will? Paul will answer that question. I know these raise questions, he's not going to dodge any of them, we'll walk through it in this series.

Tim Lundy: [00:39:52] He says, "For in it the righteousness of God is revealed." Here's what he's saying, the Gospel reveals how we can be made right with God, it shows us, how does God's standard become our lives when we can never measure up? And that's what Luther, I told you, he was wrestling with that because he recognized, here's God's standard, here's where we are, and we'll never get there. And so Paul's going to show us, in fact, we'll start next week, I hate to break it to you, this gospel is good news, but he's going to start with the bad news. Because if we don't know the bad news about ourselves, we don't realize that we don't measure up, we can talk ourselves into thinking we're OK. I remember that book, I'm OK, You're OK. In fact, it's the kind of the theme of humanity, just embrace who you are and you'll be OK. And Paul goes, man, I hate to tell you, that's not the good news, you're not OK. And over the next couple of weeks, he's going to walk us through in the next couple of chapters, man, you're really not OK, that's why you need God's righteousness, that's why you need a righteousness that doesn't come from us, it can only come from God.

Tim Lundy: [00:41:04] The final thing he says about it is, "The righteous shall live by faith." All of it comes back to faith. the Gospel is only experienced through faith, and I love that it's from faith for faith. It's not just a one-time faith experience, it's going to be a lifetime faith experience. And so he's going to explain to us in this book, OK, what does it look like when you say that prayer, and at that moment, what's going on there when man, before God, you get justified, that that event? But then he's going to spend a lot of this book going, yeah, but what does that mean every day after that? How do we live? How do we walk in this? This powerful good news for all people who believe.

Tim Lundy: [00:41:48] So here's my question for you, do you know this gospel? Do you know this good news to be true for you? Have you experienced it personally? And if you haven't, here's what I'd encourage, stick with me in this series. I can't think of a book of the Bible that's going to explain it more thoroughly and more clearly than the Book of Romans. So I'd encourage you to stick with me. And then, maybe if you're here, or you're listening to this, and you would say, yeah, I know the good news, are you living it like Paul did? And you living an unashamed life, do you have an eagerness to share it? Do you feel a sense of obligation, man, Jesus changed my life and I got to get this good news out there. Folks, it changes lives.

Tim Lundy: [00:42:41] In fact, I'll close with the story of one of those life changes, it's told by a man named Alan Emory. Alan, who the day after Pearl Harbor went and enlisted, enlisted in the Coast Guard. And like most young men in this country, they went into the armed forces. He was assigned to duty in Bostom, his main job was guard duty of a wharf. And one night he had late guard duty, and he went to bed to take a nap. And as he was going to bed because he was going to get up in the middle of the night, he saw one of his friends, Joseph Wysocki, and Joseph came in and he had his dress blues on his hat, his shoes were shined. And he asked him, he said, what's the occasion? And Joseph whistled, he said, I met a girl last night at the USO. She's a rich socialite here from Boston. She's got an apartment up on Beacon Hill. We're going to the opera tonight, and then she invited me to stay with her all weekend and she's got a full liquor cabinet and a lot of records and a lot of time that we're going to be all alone, and he kind of snickered as he said it. And Alan just looked at him and he said, OK, we'll just know I'll be praying for you. And Joseph was walking out the door as he said, and he stopped and he said, Wait, what? Praying for me. Didn't you just hear, I'm about to have the best weekend of my life? Why are you praying for me? And Alan said, well, here's all I know, when you come back on Monday morning, you're not going to be the same person, sin always leaves a mark on life, it will mark you too. And with those words, Joseph looked at him and cussed him out, and walked out the door. Alan prayed for his friend, took a nap, went out to guard duty and he was standing out there, he looked at the edge of the floodlights and there was somebody standing there. And it was Joseph, he called out, he said it took you long enough to come on duty, I've been waiting out here for you. He goes, you know how to ruin a guy's weekend, don't you? Do you know how hard it is to go out and have fun, like I was going to have fun, when you know somebody's praying for you? I ended up standing up my date, I'm here because you need to tell me about God and how to have a relationship with him. That night, Joseph heard the Gospel, Alan just shared what Jesus had done in his life, and his life was changed too. I mean, it was a radical change, he immediately plugged into Park City's church. He plugged into the church there, he became disciples by the senior pastor, Harold Kinga. And in that time period, over the next couple of years, Joseph became one of the key guys to share the Gospel with others. Until a fateful night in 1943, and as he was on a minesweeper headed toward Iceland, a German U-boat shot a torpedo, and the torpedo sunk his boat, and Joseph was killed. In fact, you go to Park Street Church, there's a little marker there, and it's got his name, it's got his service, like many of the servicemen who gave their lives during that time. You can go to that marker today, and Alan talks about seeing the marker and losing his friend. But he also talks about the joy that he had that, that night, instead of pulling back ashamed, instead of not saying anything, he loved his friend enough to share the good news.

Tim Lundy: [00:46:32] Folks, I'm excited about this series because it gives me the opportunity, over the course of this year, to talk about the Gospel, to talk about every facet of it, of this good news that frankly has changed my life, and I hope it's changed yours. And if you've not discovered it, man, dig into it. If you have discovered it, embrace it, be unashamed. Let it not only be your profession of faith, let it be the identity of your life. Because we live in a world that doesn't just need good news, they need God's news of what he's done for us.

Tim Lundy: [00:47:16] Let's pray together. Father, I thank you, I thank you for this Book of Romans, I thank you for Paul and how you uniquely gifted and wired him. Lord, I thank you for the opportunity we have to go through this together, and I pray for anybody who's hearing this, I pray that if you've called them to maybe take a step of faith for the first time, they would trust you and embrace this good news of Jesus. Lord, I pray for those of us who call ourselves Christians, I pray that our lives would be shaped by the Gospel, I pray we would live unashamed. We live in a world that needs to hear this today, and we pray that we would be the ones to share your powerful message. We pray these things in Christ's name. Amen.

Recorded in Los Gatos, California.
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Venture Christian Church
16845 Hicks Road
Los Gatos, California 95032