Introduction to Romans: The Righteous Shall Live By Faith 1-14-18

Sunday Morning Service @ 10:45 series on the book of Romans

We don’t have to search for the thesis statement of the book of Romans; it’s found in chapter 1,  verse 17: The righteous shall live by faith.

But we’ll need to define biblical faith as opposed to a common definition of faith, and we need to understand something right away, that we learn in chapter 1 of Romans: While some people reject the Truth outright, most people suppress Truth, and the enemy’s role is to muddle it.

Sunday Morning Service @ 10:45 series on the book of Romans

A Little Background Information

When Paul wrote the book of Romans, he was looking to Rome as a home base to use as he would make missionary journeys to modern day Spain. He’d also use his ministry partners in Rome to go with him. But, as there were several house churches, most likely separated into slightly varying beliefs, he first needed to unify them with solid theology.

So Romans is Paul’s most systematic book. He’s writing to unify the churches with one overarching point: The righteous shall live by faith.

In Habbakkuk 2:4, God says he’ll send Babylon to punish Judah for sin. Habakkuk says that Babylon is worse, so how can God use her as a tool to punish? God answers that the proud person has a puffed up soul that is not upright, but “the righteous shall live by faith.”

Judah expected that God would just take care of them no matter what they did – that’s their version of trust. But they rejected the character of God and did whatever they wanted. This is how the proud live.

The righteous put their trust in the character of God and then lives accordingly. Saving faith trusts that God’s character has mended a broken relationship. We’re then transformed by that character. It’s not earned righteousness, but right relationship.

So biblical faith, then, is not blind and not hopeful without knowledge. It’s Hebrews 11, verse 1: “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. ” But Hebrews goes on to show men of faith who then lived their lives God’s way, no matter the results.

The righteous shall live by faith, and faith is trusting in God’s character and living it out. The righteous put their trust in God and live rightly, regardless of circumstances and results.

Head Knowledge and Heart Knowledge

I’ve heard it said that the 18 inches from the head to the heart are the longest distance in the human experience. There’s this distinction made between head knowledge and heart knowledge, but we need to be careful how we use those terms.

Head knowledge IS NOT a necessary evil. Tim Challies puts it this way: “I believe we need to affirm the importance of believing what is true without disparaging the facts and knowledge necessary to even know what is true. Head knowledge is good; heart knowledge is good. More head knowledge is better than less head knowledge and more heart knowledge is better than less heart knowledge. Head knowledge is good because heart knowledge is impossible without it. Christianity is and must be a faith that involves the mind just as it is and must be a faith that involves the heart. The problem comes when there is a radical disconnect between the two.”

Paul understood this well, so as he writes Romans he starts with head knowledge that will then affect the heart. To believe in the sense that we live according to God’s character, we first have to believe something is true. Heart knowledge is impossible without head knowledge.

The goal of the Christian life, then, and the goal of this book, is to grow in head knowledge – which begins as a concept understood in the mind – and then grow in heart knowledge, or live out that knowledge.

Woe to us if that knowledge doesn’t change who we are! Understanding must lead to transforming.

A Brief Outline of Romans

  • Chapters 1-3: Everyone has sinned. All are hopeless.
  • Chapters 4-5: Salvation is through Christ
  • Chapters 6-8: What living in Christ looks like (and nothing can separate us!)
  • Chapters 9-11: Israel is still in God’s plan
  • Chapters 12 – 15: Transformation
  • Chapters 15-16: Closing greetings and remarks

Romans 1. The world is sinful not because of a lack of knowledge but because they suppress it. (Sidenote: if we have knowledge but don’t live it out, we’re in the same boat!) Paul gives details about how sinful the world gets as a result of this suppression.

Romans 2. Some live by moral law…and they’re as hopeless as the wicked. The moral person condemns themself because they know there’s right and wrong and they do wrong.

Romans 3. Religious people try to get to heaven with religion or earn their way there. Paul references the Jews who had the Old Testament law and tried to earn their way to heaven through it.

There is no way to earn salvation. You can live sinfully, morally, or religiously and you’ll never be able to earn heaven.

No matter how you live, sinfully, morally, or religiously, you'll never be able to earn salvation.

Romans 4. Abraham was an Old Testament saint who tried to earn or bring about God’s promise. Every time he did, he made things worse.  Finally, he trusted in God’s character and God brought about His promises. Verses 21-22 tell us that this is what is credited to him as righteousness.

Romans 5. Jesus died for the immoral, moral, and religious. Verse 20 says that for believers, where sin increases grace increases all the more. What brings more grace, is more sin. Your life, your “goodness” cannot equal salvation.

Romans 6. So do we increase sin to see more grace? Never! Don’t trample on the grace of God that is there because it has to be for our salvation. We live according to God’s character because it’s His character that saves.

Romans 7. The reality of “the righteous shall live by faith” is that we struggle with sin.

Romans 8. It’s amazing to be transformed. Creation longs to be transformed! Our growth is God and His work in us. Romans 8 is His process and nothing can separate us from the Love of God.

Romans 9, 10, 11. Israel is under judgment for their lack of faith. God hasn’t abandoned them. He’s working on them.

Romans 12. Be a living sacrifice. Be transformed by a renewing of your mind. Take all the head knowledge and live it out. We need the knowledge but it doesn’t end there.

Romans 13. Being subject to our government is one way to live it out.

Romans 14-15. Gray areas in Christianity exist as we live according to His character. How do we live out our faith when the Bible doesn’t speak specifically to all issues? Answer: We loves our brothers as He does. We show them respect even when we disagree.

Romans 16. Paul’s concluding thoughts and greetings.

The righteous shall live by faith! We get to explore this fully as we study Romans over the next year… or more.







Paul’s Desire for Team Ministry: Colossians 4: 7 – 18

Christianity is a Team Sport. Paul's Desire for Team Ministry in Colossians.

The hero mentality in today’s culture isn’t the Biblical model of church or church leadership. Jesus, Paul, and Scripture as a whole take a team ministry approach to leadership.

In 1 Corinthians 3, Paul rebukes those who are drawing lines and claiming to follow Paul or Apollos showing how they work together and God is responsible for any growth.  Paul deeply desires a team approach to ministry, not an award ceremony. The people who have partnered with him in ministry are so intertwined that he cannot talk about his ministry without mentioning them.

To Paul, Christianity is always a team sport.

Christianity is a Team Sport. Paul's desire for Team Ministry in Colossians 4.

Paul Desires Team Ministry

There are two recorded times Paul is alone in ministry (Acts 17 when Timothy and Titus minister in places Paul isn’t welcome, and 2 Timothy 4 when he asks Timothy to come to him), and he’s bothered by it, which often surprises those who see Paul as lone-wolf type. As amazing as Paul was, he didn’t want to be alone. He knew God worked through him in a team effort.

Paul is going to close this letter to the church as Colossae talking about the men who are ministering with him and those who are ministering in Colossae. His desire for team ministry is evident as he shows his gratitude and high opinion of these faithful servants.

Colossians 4: 7-8 – Tychicus’s Unique Role in Ministry

Tychicus is mentioned 5 times in the New Testament:

Here in Colossians 4,  Ephesians 6:21 in a similar way, Acts 20:4 as part of Paul’s team, 2 Timothy 4 when Paul sent him to Ephesus, and Titus 3 where Paul has sent him to take over Titus’s ministry so Titus can come to him.

Tychicus delivers letters and replaces Titus and Timothy in their ministries when Paul needs them to come help him. As a messenger, he’s more than a delivery boy – he read the letter and explained it, answered their questions and encouraged their hearts (see Colossians 2:2 – not nice words but Truth that leads to a full assurance and knitting together of the church in solid theology).

Paul considered Tychicus a “beloved brother, faithful servant, and fellow slave,” and he saw and utilized his unique gifting powerfully.

Colossians 4: 9 – Onesimus the Former Slave

Paul tells the Colossians “They will tell you of everything that has taken place here,” which happens in the letter he sends along to Philemon. Onesimus was a runaway slave who is saved while in Rome. Paul sends him back, hoping he can rejoin him someday, but desiring to do things right. Though Onesimus is new in faith, he is a faithful and beloved brother.

Colossians 4: 10 – Aristarchus, Mark, and Justus –  Jewish Brothers on the Team

Aristarchus is Paul’s traveling partner during his 2nd missionary journey. He’s seized and thrown in prison, and goes with Paul from Jerusalem to Rome where Paul will stand trial. He continues to serve with Paul in Rome and is a faithful member of the team.

Mark, who penned the Gospel of Mark from Peter’s teaching, was on Paul’s 1st missionary journey with him and Barnabus. Mark was young and abandoned them along the way. On the 2nd journey, Barnabus wants to bring Mark along again, but Paul won’t. It’s clear that Paul takes someone leaving his team seriously and was hurt by it. Barnanus and Paul go separate ways, Barnabus taking Mark and Paul assembling a new team.

But Mark becomes an important friend to Paul (see the end of 2 Timothy) and here Paul is correcting anyone’s possible poor perception of Mark.

Justus is the Latin form of the Greek name Jesus, which in Hebrew is Joshua, meaning YAHWEH is salvation.  It says much about his character that he would take on a Latin name for the sake of the ministry in Rome. Paul says simply that Justus and the others have “proven to be a comfort to” him.

Colossians 4: 12 – 13 – Epaphras – “One of them”

Epaphras ministered to the Colossian church, and it’s possible he was saved Paul’s ministry in Ephesus. He appears to have left Colossae and gone to Rome to speak with Paul, perhaps concerned about the false teachings he’s seeing in the church. He has stayed with Paul but prays faithfully for the church.

Colossians 4: 14 – Luke and Demas

This is the Luke who wrote the Gospel of Luke. He talked to eyewitnesses who saw Jesus so his record of His life would be accurate. He also wrote Acts, mostly following Paul’s ministry, again as an eyewitness or speaking to eyewitnesses. Demas is mentioned in 2 Timothy 4 as having left Paul to do other work, and Paul appears to be annoyed with him then. Both Luke and Demas are with Paul in Rome and greet the church.

This is a powerful group of men gathered in Rome to be part of Paul’s team ministry. The authors or recipients of the books of Mark through Philemon (minus John) are working together!

Colossians 4: 15 – 18 – The Team Ministering in Colossae and Closing

Paul reminds them to share the letters with Laodicea and read the letters sent there, and greet Nympha who lets the church meet at her home. He greets Archippas, who is probably leading the church in Colossae at this time.  He encourages him to preach the Truth he’s received – the whole Gospel.

The men with him, the men he sent to them, and the men in Colossae are all a team working together for the Gospel.

Someone writes the words for Paul but he signs it himself to authenticate the message.

Other sermons in this series: 

Colossians 4: 2 -6 Paul’s Instructions on How to Speak

Welcome to Bethel Baptist Church

Bethel Baptist Church Welcomes You!

Hi, Friend! We’re so glad you’ve found us. If you’re new to Goshen County or looking for a church to call home, we’d like to take a minute to introduce Bethel Baptist Church to you.

Bethel Baptist Church Welcomes You!

Who We Are:

  • We worship the God of the Bible. That means we take time to know Him accurately and to love Him fully. That’s why every week at Bethel you’ll hear expository preaching:  we’ll go verse-by-verse, unpacking the Truth of the Scriptures in context.
  • We are committed to one another. At Bethel, we pray for one another, care for one another, and fellowship together. We believe the church is a body and we are better when we work together.
  • We love our pastor…even though he is originally from California. Pastor Daniel was trained at The Master’s College (BA in Bible Exposition) and The Master’s Seminary (MDiv). He faithfully shepherds us through teaching the Word of God faithfully, protecting us from false teachings, and praying for us. He brought his wife and 3 children to Bethel (and Wyoming!) in fall of 2014.
  • We value children. That’s why they join us in the main service each Sunday. We believe that children and parents and grandparents can and should worship alongside each other. It also means we welcome their noises as their parents faithfully instruct and correct them. We do have a nursery for kids under 3, and Sunday School for the little guys too.
  • We prioritize learning together through 3 opportunities every Sunday to hear God’s Word: Sunday School, Worship Service, and Sunday Evenings, plus Bible Studies during the week.
  • We love our community. Our members have unique ways of serving Goshen County. We thank God for our community and desire that Bethel would be a light in our town.
  • We invite you to join us. There’s so much more to tell you! Come join us on Sunday mornings at 10:45 AM (or for Sunday School at 9:30).

Need more information?

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