Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ. Romans 10:17
Habakkuk 2:4; Romans 1:17, 2:5-11; 3:9-26; 5:12-21; 8:1-17; 10:9-17; 12; 16:25-27
What is the thesis statement of your life and church?
Key point: The Church must be rooted in God and not in our ideas and expectations or anything else. Make sure your church is rooted in Christ alone, not in our motivations or pride. Our sense of obligation will certainly affect all that we do, so we have to make sure we lead and manage from God's Word with a sense of prayerfulness, gratitude and indebtedness to Christ (Rom. 11:13-14; (1 Cor. 6:19-20; Eph. 1:15; 3:1-8; Phil. 1:6-9)!
The thesis statement of Romans is that Paul is not ashamed of the Gospel, "for it is the power of God unto salvation" (1:16). No speculative systematizing here! What follows from 1:17 on is the unfolding and unpacking of that power.
The Gospel is good news!
It is the promise of fulfillment from the Old Testament and centered upon what Christ did on our behalf: That all of humanity is guilty before God and in danger of His judgment. Christ came to earth as a man (Jew), lived a perfect life on our behalf and died in God's wrath and punishment, which He did not deserve, on our behalf (which we do deserve). He rose again to purchase our salvation, "the power of God to salvation." Jesus Christ made us righteous before God, thus we need not fear God's judgment when we have faith in our Lord (Rom. 1:16-17).
The Gospel showcases the reason and purpose of faith!
Habakkuk 2:4, 14 for the foundation of Romans and a prelude to the Gospel, the reason and purpose of faith! Simply know it, believe it, love it, and enjoy it. Salvation is impossible, knowledge of God is unattainable, eternal life is unthinkable, and covenant fellowship is indefinable without Christ.
When we are "not ashamed of the Gospel" we not only honor our call, we come against the attacks of the false teachers and those who are antagonistic. Our comfort is that we are saved by Christ alone, by faith alone, that will be demonstrated if it has taken root in us (James 2: 14-26).
- The Gospel is the revelation of the righteousness of God, the lightning rod that conducts God's creative power, because it reveals the justice of God in the justification of the ungodly (Rom. 1-4)
- The Gospel is the operation of divine power, our induction into the domain of the Holy Spirit, because it is the means by which those who place all their faith in Jesus Christ are transferred from the realm of sin and death into the realm of the Spirit and life (Rom. 5-8).
- The Gospel is a powerful demonstration of God's saving action, because it is through faith in Christ that a New, Eschatological Israel, composed of Jew and Gentile, is constituted in fulfillment of the promises made to the fathers (Rom. 9-11).
- The Gospel as the Transformation of Social Relationships by the life-changing power of God, because it transforms social relationships by virtue of the dynamic of love, which is the fulfillment of the law (Rom. 12-15).
- The Gospel a lifestyle of worship. This motive continues and refers to the fact that we belong solely to God, not to ourselves or anything else (Rom. 3:25; 6:12-17; 8:13; John 15:13-15; 37-38; 1 John 3:16), His shed blood paid for us! That you truly have dedicated your right to yourself to Christ! That we give Him are all. It is easy to die for a cause, but are you willing to live for Him? In perfect obedience, so your life is poured out, that your strength is gone and you rely on Him?
This is how we must live, because the Gospel is the transforming and the converting power of God.
The Gospel transforms fallen social relationships by virtue of the dynamics of love, which is the fulfillment of the law! Paul lays out the truth of what Christ has done. It must affect our lives and attitudes and the people around us. Christianity is an offering to others in gratitude, by what Christ has done. Pleasing ourselves is not the goal of the Christian life as so many pursue. We are to follow Christ and be imitators of His character, so it transforms our character. We are doing this through love and acceptance of others as Christ did with us that we did not deserve.
We need to remember that theology is about Who God is and we honor Him in our church!
We are called to theological reflection, which is to know God, in the most profound way designed to show us how God works and in our ability to understand and comprehend. This begs a response in our life. All four sections involve those who have faith in Jesus in an existential exploration of the meaning of life (the Gospel) as God's power in our lives, that we too may join Paul in proclaiming, "I am not ashamed of theology, for this theology is the power of God unto salvation to all who believe!"
So beware not to distinguish theology from practical application! It is a common complaint amongst Christians that theology is boring and dry and speculative; some would you have believe that theology is useless with no real meaning. That is because they do not want to know God. To put down or deny theology is to say that we are ashamed of the Gospel of Christ!
Our Christian walk is ALL about God working through us.
Thus, theology is our boot camp and the army is our duty in application. Yet, it is the least thing considered by the average Christian's pursuit, especially those who never take ownership of their faith, who grew up in a church and see it as cultural and duty, and not devotion and lifestyle. The danger is for the Christian to sit in a pew, learn all that they can, and take comfort in that knowledge, but never do anything with it. It is the church that refuses to evangelize, the Christian that refuses to share their faith, or model Christ (Hos.6: 6; Mica. 6:6-8; Matt. 12 9-14; James 1:21-27)! The proof test is if you use people, or serve them? Have you just gathered information, or do you apply it?
We can either say God, your will be done, or He will say, I will let your will be done; us and our congregation will live with the consequences!
The church leadership is called to real, spiritual growth and to facilitate the improvement comes from surrendering our will--not opposing or imposing upon His will. We are always called to keep Christ-centered for the Glory of God. Pointing to ourselves is not Christ-centered. Keeping Christ-centered leads the people in our care in the will of God. This is our learning about Christ as LORD, worshiping and following His decrees, and building fruit and character with and to one another. In seeking that, we can make good decisions and not be false teachers. Seeking to place Jesus first and foremost, so to follow only Him, and thus love, trust, and obey Christ is a mindset and lifestyle (Matt. 6:33; Col. 3:16; Eph. 5:17; 1 Thess. 4:3; 5:18; 1 Tim. 2:4; 1 Pet. 2:13-15; 4:19).
© 2016 R.J. Krejcir, Ph.D., Francis A. Schaeffer Institute of Church Leadership Development www.churchleadership.org/