2020 - Romans
Gentiles Bringing Glory
This morning we continue going backwards in Romans.
We began in Romans 16 where we discovered Real People are important enough to remember their names. I met Daniel. He looked like a lion… Daniel in the lion’s den.
--Someone share… Who remembered a name?
Then, we discovered that Real people have a Real voice. When we commend people, we give them a voice. We had another assignment… If you have watched a sporting event with me, you know I hate refs. In spite of that. Last Saturday I commended a ref. I hope he will continue to use his voice, as a ref, for the good of mankind, or at least Y ball for 5th& 6th graders in Los Alamos.
--Someone else share… Who have you commended?
When we get to the road in each sermon, I expect you to do your assignment. Otherwise, there will be consequences! Well, actually, nothing is going to happen. But if you want Romans to transform you… these assignments might help.
If we had been moving forward through Romans, instead of backwards, we would have worked through chapters 9-11. Here is where Paul reveals God’s relationship with the Jews. Paul talks about the blessings of being a Jew. We would have already read…
Romans 9:4-5 They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises. To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen.
But we are going backwards so we will discover the blessings of being Gentiles, before we learn the blessings of being a Jew.
FYI, the word translated as Gentiles in the Greek is “ethnos”. It is the others, other people groups; non-Jews. Us. We are the ethnos. We are the “others”. We are the different ones. We are the outsiders. We are the “weirdos”.
Anyway, crawdadding back into chapter 15 we find four blessings of being a Gentile. Since most of us are Gentiles, this is going to be a good sermon for us.
Blessing #1 - Gentiles can glorify God.
Let’s begin in Romans 15:8…
Romans 15:8-9 For I tell you that Christ became a servant to the circumcised to show God's truthfulness, in order to confirm the promises given to the patriarchs, and in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy.
Let’s park here a moment. Christ Jesus came to this world as a Jews. Jesus could have been born to anyone. But God had prepared a people for the birth of his son; the Jews. That is one of their blessings. Jesus came to offer the Gospel to the Jews first.
Jesus came to offer the Jews the fulfillment of the Abraham Covenant. That’s what we studied last year. Our God is a Covenant God who keeps his promises. God made promises to Abraham; the patriarch. Remember… Genesis 12
Genesis 12:1-3 Now the LORD said to Abram, "Go from your country and your kindred and your father's house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed."
God keeps his covenants. Jesus came, born as a Jew, a descendant of Abraham to keep God’s promise! Through his family all the earth would be blessed.
God’s intention, from the beginning, was for all people to bring him glory! This is transformational. From the creation, God wanted all the ethnos of the cosmos to be under his mercy! God is love. God is mercy. God’s loving mercy is for all races; all peoples, all ethnos!
God wants us, the ethnos to bring him glory. That is a huge blessing! God desires us to bring him glory because of his mercy!
Let’s do it… “We, the ethnos, glorify you, LORD, for your loving mercy.”
Blessing #1… We glorify God!
Blessing #2 - Gentiles may abound in hope.
Let’s keep reading…
Romans 15:9-13 As it is written, "Therefore I will praise you among the Gentiles, and sing to your name." And again it is said, "Rejoice, O Gentiles, with his people." And again, "Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles, and let all the peoples extol him." And again Isaiah says, "The root of Jesse will come, even he who arises to rule the Gentiles; in him will the Gentiles hope." May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.
We, the ethnos, have hope! God, who keeps his promises, all through Scripture, by the power of the Holy Spirit… gives us, the ethnos, hope!
--Hope is a powerful thing!
--Hope keeps us going, when it gets tough.
--Hope is stronger than fear.
Listen to hope…
Romans 5:2-5 Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
Because we live in grace… tragedy turns to shameless hope! What a blessing!
Romans 8:20-24 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved.
We live in hope of a new life in a freed creation!
Let’s do it… What if you took evil and death from our world…
We have hope in this life. We have hope in the next!
That’s two blessings… glory and hope. I can’t wait for the third thing. Let’s keep reading.
Blessing #3 - Gentiles can be an acceptable offering.
Romans 15:13-16 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. I myself am satisfied about you, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able to instruct one another. But on some points I have written to you very boldly by way of reminder, because of the grace given me by God to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles in the priestly service of the gospel of God, so that the offering of the Gentiles may be acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit.
The picture here is amazing. Paul is a priest in the temple of the gospel. He goes into the temple of the Gospel and there is an altar. Paul gently lays down the ethnos on the altar. This ethnos is like a lamb without blemish. It is set apart by the Set Apart Spirit to be an acceptable offering. Paul carefully cuts the ethnos’s throat as a sacrifice to God. Paul lights the fire. The smell rises to God in beauty. Wow, what a powerful scene.
Paul considers us, the ethnos, to be holy offerings to YHWH!
We, the ethnos, are acceptable sacrifices to God!
We all long to be accepted. Acceptance is powerful.
--“Dad I got accepted into college…”
--“Look, look, I got accepted into that new job…”
--“I have a best friend. He accepts me…”
--“I popped the question. She said, ‘Yes’…”
--"I am accepted by the creator of the universe…”
Let’s do it…
Say it… “I am an acceptable sacrifice to God! I am set apart by the Spirit! I am approved by God!”
We, the ethnos, are acceptable offerings to God.
Blessings… glory, hope, acceptance!
Blessing #4 - Gentiles can share.
Romans 15:23-28 But now, since I no longer have any room for work in these regions, and since I have longed for many years to come to you, I hope to see you in passing as I go to Spain, and to be helped on my journey there by you, once I have enjoyed your company for a while… For if the Gentiles have come to share in their spiritual blessings, they ought also to be of service to them in material blessings. When therefore I have completed this and have delivered to them what has been collected, I will leave for Spain by way of you.
Giving for Paul is significant. In Paul’s world, a gift offered and a gift accepted creates a bond between the giver and the receiver. If the ethnos in Rome offer Paul money to continue his mission in Spain they join in his fellowship. We experience some of the same sentiment.
--"I don’t accept charity.” Why? Creates bonds. It creates obligations. It acknowledges help and helpers!
--“I can’t accept this, it’s too much.”
--“How can I repay you?
--“I owe you…”
I have a list of life principles I attempt to live by. #1 is… If it’s stupid don’t do it. But #16 is what I call… Dad’s principle: If someone wants to help you, let them. This is the essence of Paul’s challenge to the Gentiles in Rome. God has given them the blessings of Glory and Hope and Acceptance, so they can share in return. Sharing in God’s mission is another blessing; another advantage.
Let’s do it… Here is where we take our sermon to the road. We who have shared in the spiritual blessings… glorifying, hoping, being accepted… ought to share in material blessings. Those who have been blessed by God spiritually should give materially.
Your assignment is to give money to help someone or some organization. It can be a person, an organization, your favorite preacher… Give some money.
My son Tony, has an odd practice. He used to preach for different churches in town before he became the preacher of Grace Vineyard. Every time he would get paid for preaching, he would go out for lunch and give whatever he made to his waitress. Often times, several hundred dollars.
I don’t think he would care about me sharing this habit. He understands my dad’s principle. Giving and receiving creates a bond. I wonder about “anonymous giving”. I know Jesus said don’t let your left and know what your right hand is giving. That is dealing with a different problem; arrogance in giving. But genuine giving creates fellowship. The ethnos in Rome giving to Paul’s mission work created a bond of workers in spreading the Gospel.
So, in completing your assignment, consider the fellowship created in genuine generosity.
On our banner I could choose serval sayings for our lesson this morning…
--Laugh out Loud… glorifying God
--Dream big – hope
--Do your best – being offering acceptable to God
--Here is the banner saying of the day… Share. Share in God’s glory. Share in the hope he gives us. Share in being an acceptable sacrifice. Just share!
We began in Romans 15:7… Let’s crawdad to the two verses before that…
Let’s laugh out loud… Let’s dream big… Let’s do our best. Let’s share, so that…
Romans 15:5-6 The God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Los Alamos Church of Christ
January 26, 2019