Strengthen by the Gospel // Or My First Post-Undergrad Sermon

Intro:

Thank you all for coming and for allowing me to preach here this morning. I will briefly introduce myself to y\’all and then we\’ll get going. 

My name is Evan Griffey. I am a Lynchburg College 2018 graduate of Religious Studies and History; with the intent of going into full-time ministry. Since graduation, I have had the thorough pleasure of teaching the Young Adult bible study where we moved our way steadily, chapter by chapter, verse by verse through the Gospel of John, Ephesians, and we just concluded Paul\’s letter to the church in Rome. And that\’s where I\’ll be coming from today. 

So with that said please turn to Romans 16. 

I\’ll be preaching from Romans 16:25 but I\’ll be reading Romans 16:25-27 for context. 

Read Romans 16:25-27: 25 Now to him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages 26 but has now been disclosed and through the prophetic writings has been made known to all nations, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith— 27 to the only wise God be glory forevermore through Jesus Christ! Amen.

Sermon:

So here Paul is concluding his letter to the church at Rome with a final praise of God. Paul offers praise to God for all that He has done for us through Christ, by His Gospel, as seen in the prophetic writings, all according to the command of the eternal God for our obedience of faith. 

Throughout this letter, Paul has been showing the church at Rome, both Jew and Gentile, the sinfulness of man and our complete redemption in Christ.

Paul loved his brothers and sisters at Rome and he wanted them to know in their hearts and minds and apply the good news of God in Jesus Christ in their lives. He loved them so he wanted them to understand all that God has done for us in Christ. 

And that\’s exactly what I\’m going to do for us today. Insofar as I can, and insofar as time allows. I want us to see the goodness of God in the Gospel and how that strengthens us. 

So Paul says we are strengthened by 3 things: 

1) the Gospel 

2) the preaching of Jesus Christ 

3) the revelation of the mystery (which is the scriptures). 

Folks Paul is listing 3 separate things but all of them speak of the same thing; they all speak of Christ and His finished work. Which is where we find our strength. 

What is the revelation of the mystery? Paul tells us in v25-26 where he writes, \”…that was kept secret for long ages but has now been disclosed and through the prophetic writings has been made known to all nations…\” 

Paul says that the prophetic writings, or the scriptures, are the revelation of the mystery. And the mystery is this: how could the nations, both Jew and Gentile, be brought to an obedience of faith to God?

The mystery is revealed to us in Christ and the preaching thereof!

He is the one that the prophets spoke of as Christ taught in Luke 24:13-35, where He teaches to the men, “Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.” (Luke 24:26-27).

All of scripture speaks of Him; He is the one to bring the nations to obedience to God by His life, death, and resurrection. And this is done by the preaching, the joyous proclamation of who He is, what He has done. The Gospel is the preaching of Christ; not ourselves and our works, or testimonies. 

And what makes the gospel “good news”? What makes preaching Him joyous?

In the original Greek, the word \”gospel\” comes from the word “Evangelion” which means good news. It was used by various messengers of the Emperor, who would zealously run into the city and proclaim the victory of the Roman army over their enemies. The messenger was commanded, under pain of death, to proclaim exactly what was told to him- nothing added, nothing subtracted to the message of victory. 

The Gospel-all that God has done for you in Christ- is not for the unbeliever but moreover, the Christian needs the Gospel! For it is the very lifeblood of the body of Christ, the Church. 

Do not our own lives testify to our weakness, our frailty? We are weak but He is strong. He gives us His strength-He gives us the Gospel- for the Christian walk. 

Well, that begs the question of what is the Gospel? What did God do in Jesus Christ? 

Perhaps one could argue a better question is \”what didn\’t God do in Christ for me?\” 

The bright, beautiful and blessed diamond of the Gospel is only made precious to our hearts when we see the dark backdrop of our sin against the only wise, eternal, holy, just, perfect, God of all creation. 

The Gospel of God is sweet to our souls when we see God for who He is and who we really are. 

The Gospel of God is treasured when we see our own cosmic treason against Him 

The Gospel of God is precious when we see the penalty for our sin-the death of Christ.

The Good news is this: That God, for His own glory, chose to save you by sending His only Son to us in human flesh to take on all the wrath, all the just anger of God toward you, because of your sin against Him, so that by faith you might take hold of His mercy, His forgiveness of you and have eternal life with Him forever. 

God did, through His Son, that which we could not do in our own power, strength, might, works or will. 

He did all of this while we were still unworthy of it. The only thing we are worthy of eternal Hellfire. But God gave His grace to us anyway because He is gracious, He is loving, He is worthy of all glory, honor, and praise. 

Beloved, He saved you by Himself from Himself for Himself. 

Paul writes that our salvation is, \”…by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.\” (Ephesians 2:8-9).

All of our salvation is God\’s doing; not ours’ so that all the glory, honor and praise would be His and His alone. 

We are saved by God, from God, for God alone!

This is what strengthens us: The powerful grace of God working in our lives for His glory. You were made, you were saved to glorify God in all your life.

The Gospel is this: God saved you from His own wrath through the perfect work and sacrifice of Jesus Christ on your behalf that you would love, obey, and enjoy God forever! 

If your understanding of the Gospel is not this then your view of the Gospel and of God is far too small! 

This is the source of our strength in this life!

How does the Bible define \”strength\”? 

Biblically speaking, strength is paradoxical. Godly, or biblical, strength is defined by our own weakness and our reliance/faith in God in our weakness. If you were to rely on your own strength the Bible would say that you are actually weak; for you can do nothing apart from Christ.

Biblical strength is perseverance through our weakness or endurance through hardship.

As Paul writes in Philippians 3:12-13, \”I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things {facing plenty, hunger, abundance, need} through Him who strengthens {who preserves me in my weakness, who gives me endurance through hardship] me. 

The Gospel gives us strength in 3 ways: 1) Strength in salvation 2) Strength in security 3) Strength in supply. 

He bought us, He keeps us, He sustains us.

Strength in Salvation: Paul writes in chapter 5:6, \”For while we were still weak, {unable, without power or ability} at the right time, Christ died for the ungodly.\” 

Our strength in our Christian walk was never our own. We were weak, too powerless, to save ourselves from the wrath of God. Our strength was provided for us at the outset of our salvation. 

God saved you when you could not, indeed you cannot save yourself. 

God, in Christ, forgives all, fully, freely and forever. 

This leads to our next point:

Strength in Security. 

Not only did God by the work of Christ redeems us; bring us out of the world but He will also keep us.

As Christ tells the Jews of His day, \”…The works that I do in my Father\’s name bear witness about me, but you do not believe because you are not among my sheep. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father\’s hand. I and the Father are one.\” (John 10:25-30).

One time, I was teaching on the security of our salvation and one of my students said, \”Yeah it says no one will snatch us but it doesn\’t say we can\’t jump out.\”

Beloved, we\’re not strong enough to jump out of the Father\’s hand!

If the Father bought you He will have you and He will keep you. 

His grace brought us to God and His good grace will keep us to God.

At no point did you salvation rely on you or your work, nor will it ever rely on you and your work. It all relies on Him and His work on the Cross. 

By faith we trust, we believe with all our hearts, we lay hold of the grace of God given to us in Christ. 

Not Him plus my good works, not Him plus my own righteousness, not Him and plus my own strength. NO, Sola Christus-Christ alone! 

It is by His strength that we are saved and kept. It is also His strength that we are “conformed to the image of His Son” (Romans 8:29). 

The whole Christian life is the Father making us more and more like His Son. It is us being \”conformed to the image of Christ\”, as God works in us, by His strength and our will, to root out and kill sin within us. 

The whole Christian life is us becoming more holy, or as Paul puts it here, to bring us to \”obedience of faith\”.   

The Father brought you to salvation and He will keep you in it through all of sin’s snares.

Which brings me to my next point: 

Strength in Supply.

God is glorified in all our weaknesses when those weaknesses bring us closer to Him. 

If in our weaknesses we try to remain in our own strength we are going to fail every single time. We are not strong in our own strength but we are in God’s strength.

In God\’s strength, in His grace, our weakness provides a vessel for His glory to bring us to obedience to Him. 

You want to know how to grow in God? How to grow in obedience to Him?

Kill the sin in your life and seek Him. 

You want to know how to kill sin? Replace whatever lie you believe, whatever lies you have been deceived with, and replace that lie with the truth of the scriptures. 

Or to put it another way, repent of believing and acting on those lies and submit to the truth in God\’s word.

As Paul puts it, \”Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind…\” (Romans 12:2).

We replace the 8-track tape of sin in our minds and consciously replace it with the truth, with the promises of God’s word. 

Feed on the word of God, feast on the glorious grace of God, daily, hourly even and let God sustain you, let God supply you strength in the fight of faith to kill your sin and become more like His Son. 

Our struggle with sin brings us closer to the Savior; because our sin makes us more reliant on Him.

And ain\’t that the whole reason why we\’re Christians, why we go to Church is to be closer to Jesus?

Let that be our motive for our Christian life.

So the big takeaway is this: God strengthens us by saving us, keeping us, and sustaining us in the Christian life by all that Christ has done for us bring us in greater obedience to Him for His own glory forevermore. 

If this gospel indeed is your gospel then be at peace that the Lord of all is your Lord fight with and for you even now. 

If this Gospel is not yours then please feel free to come to me, or any of these deacons, and count the cost of following the glorious and gracious Savior.

Let us all go to the Father in prayer.

Prayer

God our Father, bless us, keep us and let your face shine upon us all the days of our lives. In Christ’s name, amen.

#RomansBibleStudy #Sermons

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