The Gospel of God

By Bobby Blakey on April 10, 2022

Romans 1:1-3

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The Gospel of God

By Bobby Blakey on April 10, 2022

Romans 1:1-3

And I invite you to open your Bible with me and turn to the book of Romans. Who was excited to get into this book here? Some of you are very excited, you've been telling me about it. Well, this is our chance to open up to Romans chapter 1, verses 1 to 7. And we want to take this special week, traditionally called the Passion Week, it starts with Palm Sunday, and it goes through to Good Friday when we remember Jesus's death on the cross. And then Easter Sunday or Resurrection Sunday, where he rose up from the grave. And so, we want to take this unique week on the calendar to introduce the book of Romans here at our church. So, it's just the seven verses, and we're going to do half of it today. And the next half, will fit in great for Easter Sunday, next week. So out of respect for God's word, I'm going to ask if we would all stand up for the public reading of Scripture. I'm even going to invite anybody watching this on TV here on campus or online at home, will you stand up out of respect for the reading of God's word, this is Paul's introduction. In Verses 1 to 7, please follow along as I read.

“Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh and 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, through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations, including you who are called to belong to Jesus Christ, To 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.”

That's the reading of God's word, go ahead and have your seat. That's basically all one sentence right there, those seven verses, as Paul, and you could see, it begins with his name as he's introducing himself and this letter that's going to go on for 16 chapters of intense doctrine and sound theology. So, we're probably going to be studying the book of Romans for the rest of our lives here together at this church. And we're just going to get through three verses here today. But for some reason, the book of Romans is number one out of all of Paul's 13 letters, not only is it number one, and that it's the first of Paul's 13 letters, but when I talk about Romans, and we're going to go through it as a church, there's a level of excitement about Romans, that is number one about all of Paul's letters. The first letter that Paul actually wrote was 1 Thessalonians. And that's the first letter we went through, the first book we went through together here at our church. We went through Ephesians here, which was exciting. We've been through Philippians, people rejoiced when we went through Philippians. But there is already this excitement about Romans. And so, I want to ask you that question just to get us thinking: Why do church-going folks like us get more excited about Romans than any other letter of Paul's, sometimes than any other book of the Bible? People get excited about Romans. And why is it put here? First.

We've been studying Paul in Acts, and he's on his way to Rome. And that's how the book of Acts ends, is him in Rome. Is that why they put Romans here? Well, it's not just because of that. There's something about Romans that is unique about all of Paul's letters. What is it? I want you to turn with me to Romans 15. Let's just jump to the end. And we can get an answer. And the first question we can answer here is, When did Paul write Romans? And we learn this in Acts, and I want to make sure that everybody knows this as we begin, Romans, in some ways, going straight from Acts into Romans is really going to help us understand the context. And from Acts chapter 19, verse 21, Paul had a clear resolve in the Spirit that He was going to go to Jerusalem, and then he was going to go to Rome, and nothing's going to be able to stop him from getting there. He's like a ship in a bottle.

If you've been here, we've been going through those sermons. Last week, he was in a shipwreck, and everybody survived because Jesus said he's going to Rome. Well, here's what he says in Romans 15:25. He says “At present,” so this is when he's writing this letter. “At present, however, I am going to Jerusalem bringing aid to the saints.” So, we know that Paul writes Romans on his way to Jerusalem, he gets the resolve in Acts 19:21. And he gets there in acts 21:17. So somewhere in those two chapters from halfway through Acts 19 to halfway through Acts 21, that's when Paul writes Roman. So, if you've got our handout in the bulletin, and you want to take some notes, you could write down when was Romans written. Well, Romans 15:25 says it's on the way to Jerusalem. And that's like Acts 19:21 to 21:17. So we've already studied the part of Acts, and somewhere in there on the Apostle Paul's encouragement tour, when he's going back around to encourage the churches and get a collection from the churches to take to Jerusalem, that's when he writes Romans. Look at the prayer requests he has here in Romans 15, verse 30. He says, I appeal to you brothers, by our Lord Jesus Christ, and by the love of the Spirit to strive together with me, in your prayers to God on my behalf, I really need you guys praying for me, and that I may be delivered from the unbelievers in Judea, and that my service for Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints, so that by God's will, I may come to you with joy, and be refreshed in your company. So, you can see this is right in the middle of his plan to go to Jerusalem. And then he wants to go to Rome. And so, he's praying, you need to pray that I'll get delivered from those who want to persecute me, and do me harm in Jerusalem so I can get to you guys. And if you really read through Romans 15, his plan is to go to Rome, and to use them as a new supporting church so that he would go even to Spain and spread the gospel in a place maybe where the gospel hasn't really been preached. So that's the “When” there in Romans 15, we can clearly identify when he wrote Romans, but why is Romans the number one most beloved, most famous letter of Paul?

Well, the answer is really, maybe you've never thought about it before, but once you do, it's quite simple. It's because every other letter that Paul writes, is a follow-up letter. And this is the letter that he writes, where he's introducing himself, and his teaching to the Christians in Rome. See, most of the places that he writes to, he's already been to; in fact, a lot of them, he already planted the church there. So, he did most of his teaching in person. And now he's writing a letter to follow up on his teaching even in the book of Colossians, where Paul hadn't been there himself, his traveling companion Epaphras was there, and he planted the church. And so, Paul is writing a follow-up in Colossians, to the church that he planted. So, all these other letters, they're following up on teaching that has already happened. But in this letter, Paul puts his teaching in the letter. That's why people love the book of Romans more than any other because this is like the fullest dose you can get of Paul's teaching, and he's not giving it in person. He's writing it in an introductory, I'm going to come and see you. So, I want to start teaching you, here's the teaching that I have to give.

So go back to Romans chapter 1, verse 1, and let's begin verse by verse, line by line to start an in-depth study of Paul's teaching. And Paul is going to introduce himself in three ways here in verse one. And we got to really get into his mind. Why does he introduce himself? Paul was the guy who was a Jewish Pharisee, and he was persecuting the church, he was known as Saul. Then he meets Jesus on the road to Damascus, and he becomes the ultimate Christian missionary. We know he's a Roman citizen. So, you might expect him to say that he grew up as a as a Jew, a Pharisee of Pharisees, or he's a Roman citizen, or he's some kind of famous missionary at this point. But notice, that's not how Paul introduces himself. He doesn't give his resume. He gives his relationship. Look at this here in verse 1, he says, “a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God.” So he says, hey, if there's something you need to know about me, it's that I serve Jesus Christ. Four times in the seven verses, he says, Jesus Christ or, like, Jesus is the Christ. I'm just a servant of Jesus, who is the Christ. I've got called to be an apostle. The Apostle means sent one, Jesus is the one who sent me and I got set apart for the gospel of God. So, when you have one verse to describe yourself, he finds three ways to make it not about him, but about Jesus and God. That's how Paul is, Paul's not trying to impress everybody with his resume. He's trying to impress upon everybody his relationship that he has with Jesus. And we saw this in Acts 26. It's just a couple of pages to the left, Acts 26:16. If you can turn there with me. We just studied this a few weeks ago, about what Jesus said to Paul when he stopped him there on the road to Damascus and the way that Paul saw Jesus was unique. We might say that we saw Jesus when our eyes were open to believe in Jesus. But Paul actually saw the glory, the light shining of Jesus. He actually heard the voice of Jesus and he fell over down to the ground. And he was temporarily blinded by this vision of Jesus that he had on the road to Damascus. And one of the things that Jesus said to him is here in Acts 26:16, “but rise and stand upon your feet, for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you as a…” What does it say?... “There everybody is a servant and witness to the things in which you have seen me and to those in which I will appear to you.”

So, when he says, I'm a servant of Jesus, he's not making up a name for himself. That's literally the title that Jesus gives him right here. Jesus says, I'm appearing to you because you're going to be my servant. And then he says this in verse 17, delivering you from your people and from the Gentiles to whom I am sending you. That's what it means to be an apostle, to be a sent one. So, Jesus says, I'm appearing to you because you're going to be my servant, and I'm going to send you to your people and to the Gentiles. So, when he now introduces himself, he's just saying, what Jesus said about him. I'm a servant of Jesus, I've been sent, he called me to be one of his sent ones. So, this is not Paul's idea about himself. This is Paul's identity in Jesus, who is the Christ. And in fact, what we're going to see is Paul's just identifying himself as one in a long line of men who have served Jesus or served by bringing the Gospel of God. Go back with me to Isaiah 49. I want to take you to some prophecies together here today. And so we're going to go into the Hebrew Bible in Isaiah 49. Hopefully, you can grab a Bible and turn there with me.

Because this idea of being a servant of the Lord, it's not original, even with Paul, this is a way that many men have identified as a servant of the Lord. And you'll see it goes back to a prophetic passage like this here in Isaiah 49. There are many kinds of songs or prophecies in Isaiah 40s and 50s, about the suffering servant who is coming and this is one of those passages. Are you there with me? Isaiah 49 verse 1, have you found it? It says, listen to me.

“Oh, coastlands” – I love that line. Because it makes me think it's talking to us here in Huntington Beach right here. Do you live in Long Beach? Do you live in one of the beach cities? Do you live in the coastlands? Well, listen up everybody. Give attention you people's from afar. That's us the opposite side of the Earth from Israel from Jerusalem. So, this prophecy perfect for us. “The Lord called me from the womb. From the body of my mother, he named my name. He made my mouth like a sharp sword. And the shadow of his hand, he hit me, he made me a polished arrow in his quiver, he hid me away. And he said to me, You are my servant, Israel, in whom I will be glorified. But I said, I have labored in vain. I have spent my strength for nothing and vanity, yet surely my right is with the Lord, my recompense with my God. And now the Lord says, He who formed me from the womb, to be his servant, to bring Jacob back to him, and that Israel might be gathered to Him, for I am honored in the eyes of the Lord, and my God has become my strength. He says, it is too light of thing that you should be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to bring back the preserved of Israel, I will make you as a light for the nations that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth. Thus says the Lord the Redeemer of Israel, and His Holy One, to one deeply despite abhorred by the nation, the servant of rulers, king shall see and arise, princes, and they shall prostrate themselves because of the Lord who is faithful, the Holy One of Israel, who has chosen you.” So, we get a really detailed description of this survey and it says it multiple times, look at verse 3, when he says, “You are my servant.” He's referring there to Israel. We know that God chose the nation of Israel to be a light to the nations, to be His people. That would show who he is to all peoples well, but clearly here he's not just referring to Israel, because in verse 5, he's forming from the womb someone to be his servant who's going to bring Israel back to him, in fact this servant that God's going to run, He's up. And it's the sharp sword, this arrow that God is preparing who's going to serve him. He's not even just going to restore the nation of Israel. He's going to be a light to all nations. He's going to be overall kings, and all princes, like this servant of the Lord. He's going to reign over all things. Who is this a prophecy about, everybody?

So, Jesus is the ultimate servant of the Lord. And now Paul is saying, and I am a servant of him, just like God raised up Israel, or God raised up the prophets, or God is always raised up those who will serve him, Paul he is saying, yeah, he’s saying if Jesus is the ultimate servant of God, well, I'm just now the servant of Jesus, who is the Christ. And so Paul's really owning this identity as a servant of the Lord. And he's even saying that he was set apart to that idea of separated, he's acting like, and God has made me to be his servant, not from when I just met Jesus on the road to Damascus, but God made me to be his servant from before I was born, when He created me in my mother's womb, let me show you that I know, that's what Paul's thinking about.

Go with me to Galatians 1:15. Because in Romans 1, he says, he set apart for the gospel of God, that idea of being separated, set apart this word, it's, it's not the usual word that you think of separated, made holy. This is chórizó. In the Greek, this is a more seldom used word. It's the idea of kind of separated. And you'll see it's this idea of being separated from birth here in Galatians 1:15. That's the way that Paul uses it, when he's describing his whole conversion and how he was a Jewish Pharisee. And then he met Jesus. Look what he says, though, here in Galatians, 1:15, “but when he who had set me apart before I was born, and who called me by His grace, was pleased to reveal his son to me, in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles.” I find this to be absolutely fascinating here that Paul is not saying, he got called or he became a servant, or that he got set apart. When he met Jesus on the road to Damascus, he sang Yeah, that's when I met him. That's when he revealed his Son to me. But he's claiming that he got set apart from before he was born, that in his mother's womb God formed him for the purpose of being one of his servants.

I don't know if you've ever really spent some time to think about that. But think we have hopefully a testimony, hopefully, you have a story of how you met Jesus. And this is who I was before I met Jesus in my sin. This is how God opened my eyes, to see Jesus who died for my sin and rose again. And here's my new life that I now have by faith in Jesus Christ. And you think, Wow, I'm so glad that Jesus saved me. Have you ever thought about the fact that even before Jesus saved you, he already formed you in your mother's womb to be who you would be for His purpose, he already set you apart? Like this is one of the most intimate thoughts you can have of how God’s Hand Crafted you inside your mother's womb to be his unique creation that you are. And one of the things that God was already seeing when he made you was how he was going to save you. And what he was going to speak through you, or how he's going to use you as his servant, like you are already set apart from birth for the purpose of being a servant of the Lord.

That's what Paul's meaning when he says, I'm set apart for the gospel of God, like, this is my life's calling. This is my purpose. I'm doing what I was born to do, when I come to you and tell you the gospel. That's why God made me so I could spread his message of good news to anyone who will listen, that's a profound thing. When he's saying I'm set apart, he's going back to before I was born, God had this purpose for me. So, you can see that Paul is a man who finds his identity in his relationship to God through Jesus Christ. And go back to Romans 1. Now with me, after we get through those three lines, a servant and apostle and set apart, then he has this phrase, and this is the title of our first sermon from Romans. He says, I've been set apart for the gospel and whose gospel does he say it is, everybody? He says the gospel of God. Okay. So, what he's claiming from the very first verse, In the letter, he is claiming that the good news, the message, the teaching, that he is about to give to us is not his own teaching, but he is giving to us good news from heaven, not his own coming up with, here's what I think, here's my slant, here's my personal apostle expert opinion. That's not what Paul's saying. He's saying, I'm here to give you good news that comes straight from God Himself. That is, I am not the original source on what I'm about to tell you. God is the original source of good news. And I'm here to tell you, not my message, but God's message. Let's get that down for verse 1.

If you are taking notes here, God sent you the good news, however, you heard it, whoever told you the good news. Maybe you heard it from Paul in the book of Romans. But wherever, whatever messenger, God sends, whatever servant and whatever Apostle, whoever was set apart to bring you the message. Don't be deceived. You aren't hearing a message that comes from some person, you're hearing God's good news. It is heaven sent, and it is straight for you so that you could know how to be safe. God is the one that's going to speak to us through the book of Romans. Yes, he used Paul as his servant to write it. But Paul wants to make it clear from the get go, not my message, This news comes straight from God. And this is so important that we understand this. Okay? It's a really good Bible teacher. If you've ever heard somebody who's really good at preaching the Word, you end up not following that person, you end up following Jesus Christ. That's what makes him a good Bible teacher.

The whole point of teaching the Bible is that you cut it straight, that you don't have a slant or a personal opinion on it. That is the whole point. So many people around here like, what does Compass Bible Church think about something? I hear this all the time. What does Compass say about this? I'm like, Hey, I hate to break it to you. But Compass doesn't even exist. It's just like a name on the sign up there. Like I've never heard Compass speak once since I'm here. Like every day, it's never said anything to me. Like, I don't know what you're thinking, like, if you're like, Oh, well, let's see what this guy's take on the book of Romans is. If I have a take on the book of Romans, we got a big problem here at our church. The whole point is not to have a Compass Bible Church slant, or my personal opinion about something. A whole point is God has spoken his message; he's done it through men. And when we hear the message, we're not just hearing good news of Paul, in Romans, were hearing the gospel of God in the book of Romans.

That's the point. There's this amazing thing that happens that you hear one of the Lord servants speaking. And it's like, you're not even listening to some person, say their expert opinion, you're actually hearing from God. This guy is a good teacher, because in one verse, he can get us thinking more about a verse that starts with his name, we end up thinking more about Jesus and God than we do about him. That's his whole point. I have a message from heaven. He actually had a heavenly vision where he saw Jesus in all of his glory. That's why he has something to say to us. Because God has given him a message, not because he has some really smart thoughts, or new ways to take on things. No, we don't want to have a slant. We just want to find out what God is saying through Paul in the book of Romans. Now, I don't know how well you know me, I know we have some new people here today. Some of you know this about me that when I was growing up, and I was in college, this was a while ago, now, I really needed to get a job. I needed a job and I needed it bad. Because I had a lady that I was in love with. And we needed to get married. I don't know if anybody else has been there before. And you find out, hey, if we're going to get married, I got to be able to support my wife, I got to be able to support a family. Where's that salary? Where's those benefits? I’ve got to get a job in my plan. This was my plan. Okay. My plan was I was going to be a newspaper reporter at the Orange County Register. That was my big idea, which you can see now, that was not a very good plan. You know what I mean? Newspapers, what are those? What was that, the time when dinosaurs roamed the earth? I mean, why what are newspapers about, right? Like, like, that seems like a really long time ago. The Orange County Register. Anybody ever remember that building they had off the five freeway? Anybody remember driving by? See, I used to like intern in that building? In the newsroom when I was like, Yeah, this is exciting stuff. They're like making the graphics for tomorrow's paper over here. And here's the editors in the middle of the newsroom. And all the articles are coming to them. And they're laying out tomorrow's paper. And here's the reporters over here. We're breaking news. I don't know what I thought, like really big news was going to get broken at the Orange County Register. But I was all in for it. Right? And I was like, Oh, this is the plan. I'm going to learn how to be a reporter. I'm going to do journalism; I'm going to get a job. I'm going to get married, like that's what I was thinking. And so, I remember a day I walked into that building and I was so excited to be in the newsroom. And I knew this guy. I'd been working with him taking pictures, writing stories. I was shadowing him and he's like today we're going to do some real deal journalism. And I'm like, All right, let's break some news. Right. And I'll never forget that day because what we did was, he had this report of one of the worst possible things you could ever report about, which was a heinous abuse done to children is basically what he was working on. A baseball coach had been arrested for things he had done. And he somehow had the roster of the Little League team. And so, we were going to start calling all the families on this little league team to ask them if they'd ever seen anything suspicious about their coach. I don't know if you've ever had the moment where you realize that this world is so full of bad news. And it's even way worse than you thought it was. But I had that moment that day. And there was a thought, this thought that came into my mind that day. Well, I'm sitting there, listening to this guy call people on the baseball team. The thought that came into mind from that day that changed the course of my life was, Do I want to report the bad news? Or do I want to preach the good news? That was the thought, because the good news doesn't come from around here. Good news doesn't come from anywhere on planet Earth. There's no Dateline Jerusalem or Dateline Ukraine or, or hey, here from Orange County, here's some good news coming out. No, the good news comes from a place not of this world that comes from the Heavenly Kingdom. It comes from God Himself. And so I don't have to break any news. I'm just here to give you the good news, that’s straight from God.

And that's what Paul's saying, what he's doing in the book of Romans. I'm just telling you the heavenly message. In fact, and this might surprise you. Look at what he says in verse 2. He says, I'm going to give you the gospel, the good news that comes from God, which he promised beforehand, through His prophets in the holy, what does he say there, everybody? Scriptures. Now, here's something you may not have really thought through. So, let's talk about this. Okay. When people think about Romans, one of the main themes that they know about the book of Romans is that Paul is against the law. And we're going to get into it, that Paul is going to make it very clear that no one can be righteous or justified. That's a big idea. How do you get the righteousness of God? How do you get made right before God? Well, no one's getting made right before God through the works of the law. The only way that anybody's getting justified is through what everybody? Faith. Faith in Jesus. That's what the book of Romans is famous for. We're going to really dive into that. But the conclusion that a lot of people who go to church today, a lot of people that are Christians today, the conclusion they've come to is if Paul's against the law, then we don't need the law anymore. And what they mean by that is, we don't need the Old Testament anymore. We don't need the law of Moses anymore. Oh, look how Paul's against the law. Oh, that's great. We don't have to worry about that part of the Bible. We'll just focus on what we call the New Testament.

Well, if that's what you've believed about the book of Romans, we're going to realize that that is absolutely not true at all. In fact, Paul is quoting the law of Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms in the writings throughout the book of Romans as an authoritative source for what he is teaching. That's why here in the second verse, He reaffirms that all that God promised through the prophets in the Holy Scriptures, he says, Hey, I'm going to share with you the gospel, the same exact gospel that's in the Law of Moses that all the prophets were telling us. God made all of these promises in the Hebrew Bible. And I'm here to tell you that those same promises that same gospel, here's what maybe you haven't really thought through when you read the word scriptures. In the New Testament, what is it referring to? What Scriptures is it talking about everybody? It's talking about what we call today, the Old Testament, what they knew as the Hebrew Bible, that it was actually three parts in their mind, law, prophets and writings, that's the Hebrew Tanakh. Like when it says scriptures here, he says, I'm just going to tell you the gospel of God, like all the holy scriptures have it. He's referring to the Hebrew Bible. He's saying, that's where the Gospel comes from. The way that God revealed his gospel was through the prophecies. The prophecies are how we got the good news before God even sent Jesus. He told us who Jesus was going to be. And what Jesus was going to do through the prophets going all the way back to Moses is that's when it began. And so, Paul says, I'm a servant of the gospel of God, in a long line of men, and I might be an apostle, but I'm still in the line of the Prophet. So, if you think that we don't need the Old Testament, because Paul said, we don't need it in the book of Romans. Verse 2 is already teaching you something new right now, that he's actually saying what he's going to teach is flowing from all the prophets, all the promises that God already made beforehand, because before God sent Jesus to us in the gospel, he told us what Jesus was going to do through the prophets.

And if you've got your bulletin, if you could look at it, there's a handout in there, the prophecies of Jesus Christ, if you could pull that out, I would like to go over some of these prophecies that he's referring to. He's expecting the people that he's writing to hear the believers in Rome, he's expecting them to know some of these prophecies, because they didn't have this idea of throwing the Old Testament out back in that day. They thought it was the Scriptures, the holy writings. And so, they knew these prophecies and we've seen something happen here at our church, where we have done this thing called scripture of the day. And even just this last week, we finished reading through the entire Bible together here at this church. It was very exciting. We had times we had hundreds of people here together, reading through the Bible and talking about it. And for some people, this was the first time they've ever read through the entire Bible in their life, it was really exciting for me to get to share it and be a part of it with many of you. And so we have gone through now a lot of these prophecies and they now means something to us. In fact, we even went through the law of Moses, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy, we went through all of those books together. And you know what we found in those five books of the Law of Moses, we found a whole lot of Jesus. Can I get an amen from anyone?

There are people who will claim at this church that day got saved by hearing the gospel in Genesis, or Leviticus or numbers, or Deuteronomy. And so, we've got just a few of our greatest hits here that we have studied, and these are not now new ideas. These are things we know and love. We preached here at this church, that as soon as Eve was deceived, and there was the fall into sin, and God came to pronounce the curse on Satan, the Serpent, God said that from the offspring of the woman that from her seed would come one who would crush the head of the serpent god gives the gospel of Jesus in Genesis 3:15. We call it the first gospel. It's famously called the proto Evangélio, which is the Greek word for first gospel. We preach that we have got to get baptized. At this service last week, we had someone saying that's the day he got saved. And where did he hear the Gospel from? Genesis 3:15.

We just did this men's retreat last year. Any of my brothers at that men's retreat we did last year? Where one of the things we talked about was Genesis 22, how God asked Abraham to sacrifice Isaac, his one and only son whom he loved, on Mount Moriah. And we found out that story is not just really about Abraham and Isaac, that's about God sacrificing his only one, one and only Son, whom he loves, on Mount Moriah, which we found out is Jerusalem where Jesus died on the cross. We're like, wow, this is really a picture of what God's going to do with his son. For us. We looked at the picture of the Passover lamb and how they would bring the lamb into their house. This was the Israelites right before they left Egypt, and how they sacrificed the lamb and they put the blood of the lamb over the doorposts. And how Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. And he's the one that is the spotless, pure sacrifice. It's his blood on the cross that pays for our sin. And we're seeing the gospel of Jesus promised by God 1400 years before Jesus was born, Moses is writing it down. And then we started going through the prophets.

And I want you to turn with me to 2 Samuel chapter 7, because this specific prophecy is going to be important for our text here in Romans 1. So, if you could find 2 Samuel chapter 7, starting in verse 13. This is one of God's covenants. There are a few covenants that we've been able to study in the Hebrew Bible, and one of them is the Davidic Covenant. So, if you've been going here for a while, I would expect at this point that you know this. If you're new, Hey, we'd love for you to learn these prophecies with us. We've actually used these prophecies to share the gospel with people through our church. I know some men at this church who started Bible studies in their workplaces, to go through some of these prophecies with their coworkers. And so, we've been really impacted by these prophecies as a compelling reason to believe that Jesus is the Christ. And one of the ones we should all know is the covenant, the promise that God made to King David here in 2 Samuel 7:13. It'll start out by talking about Solomon, but then you'll see it's more than just him. This is God speaking to His servant, King David, and he's talking about Solomon. “He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be to him a father and show he shall be to me a son. When he commits iniquity, I will discipline him with the rod of men, with the stripes of the sons of men. But my steadfast love will not depart from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away from before you, and your house, and your kingdom shall be made sure for ever before me, your throne shall be established for ever.” If God says to David, he's going to do something forever. Is it still applying to us here today? Okay, so when God says that David, King David will have a house, he'll have a throne, that in the line of King David there will be a king who will reign forever. See, that's a prophecy about Jesus, that is a famous prophecy that all the Jews knew. And they were waiting for this King of the Jews to come and overthrow the Romans and deliver them. Well, that's coming from what God said here to David. Now, there are many more prophets. Unfortunately, I don't know how this happened. But there's a typo on the last one there. I don't know why it says Genesis 22 Again, but it should be Isaiah 7:14. It’s the prophecy that he will be born of a virgin; Emmanuel, God with us. And Isaiah 7:14 is where that prophecy is. In fact, if you flipped your handout over, you'll see Micah chapter 5, verse 2 tells us the city that it'll be born, we know that he's going to be born in this city, the city of David, and he's going to be born of a virgin who's in the line of David, and then in Isaiah we have one of the ultimate prophecies that he will be pierced for our transgressions, He will be crushed for our iniquities. Upon him will be the punishment, the chastisement that will bring us peace. I mean, this is a prophecy in Isaiah 53 of Jesus dying on the cross 700 years before Jesus was born, before they were even crucifying anyone on a cross, we're talking about someone being pierced for our sins.

So, God is trying to say through all of this, that he can tell you the future, that he can tell you the end, from the beginning. One of the ways that God speaks from heaven to earth is he tells you the future before it happens. And God, when he tells you the future, he's right every single time, unlike when some of us try to predict the future. Can anybody know what I'm talking about right there? Have you ever tried to tell your family, like, you have this really genius idea? And you're like, I'll tell you what's going to happen. And the funny thing about your family is they remember that you said that, you know what I mean? And they bring it up later. And then one time you get so excited, because you do accurately predict what's going to happen. And you're like, I called my shot, nailed it. And you're like, Yeah, I got that one. Never mind the 99 previous ones that you blew. Hey, I got this one. See, this is what's going on in these prophecies is God is giving us so many details. So, I mean, he's calling his shots hundreds of years before Jesus is going to come and do it. And this is a way that God is speaking to us in the gospel. The good news is through these prophecies. I mean, I just put three from the Psalms, three that King David himself wrote. David lived 1000 years before Jesus. Okay? So Moses wrote some of these, he's 400 years before David. And then from David to Isaiah, that's three. I mean, these guys weren't even alive at the same time. And yet they're all writing the gospel. They're all making these promises from God.

David says that there will be a holy one who won't see corruption in Psalm 16:10. Both Peter and Paul in the book of Acts preach that verse. Like that's a prophecy that Jesus would die but not stay dead. They preach the resurrection from Psalm 16:10. But David wrote that 1000 years before there was ever Easter, before Jesus rose. Psalm 22, some of us really studied this. Our young people just studied this, the high schoolers at their winter camp. And we studied this idea about the pierced hands and feet where, hey, there's like a scene on the cross there. There's like a scene where there's mockers mocking this one, and there's soldiers dividing garments, and they pierced his hands and his feet. The cross is accurately described in Psalm 22 1000 years before Jesus died on a cross. It was written down by David before anyone had ever been crucified on a cross David's describing it in Psalm 22. And in Psalm 110, David describes the father, the Lord saying to his Lord Jesus, come and sit at my right hand until I make your enemies your footstool. I mean, he's describing the exaltation of the risen Lord Jesus, who's now at the right hand of God until it's time for him to reign.

These are just some of the prophecies that we have learned. Some of the promises that God made, and they are all about Jesus. So, if Paul is going to tell us the gospel that comes from God, he wants to start by saying, and God's already been telling us the gospel, a long time through all of the prophets. If you think here today that the Hebrew Bible is not about Jesus, you need to change your mind, because all scripture is one collection. And it can all be called the Jesus book from cover to cover, from Genesis to Revelation, it is all about him. Let's get this down for verse 2, God nailed it before Jesus was nailed. God nailed it before Jesus was nailed 1400, with Moses 1000, with David 700, with Isaiah, and other prophets around that time, I mean, hundreds of years beforehand, we are getting accurate, detailed descriptions of who Jesus will be and what he will do. And God wants you to know that he called his shot, and he nailed it down to the details of pierced hands and feet, and that you should believe in Jesus to be the Christ, the Son of the living God, because God told you so before it happened. Can I get an amen from anybody on that? So, we have to fully embraced the Hebrew Bible and all of its prophecies about Jesus. And so, we want to study this whole scripture. And we want to know what God has said to us. And we really tried to do that in two ways here at the church. If you're just joining us, we take preaching God's word very seriously. In fact, not only do we gather together to hear the preaching of the word, but we have these things called fellowship groups. And they're smaller groups where we break up and we talk about the sermon that we heard, we talk about how we're going to do what we learned, we talk about how we can encourage one another, to apply the Scripture. And so, if you're not in one of these fellowship groups, if you're new to our church, we have a foundations class coming up in two weeks from today, right after this service, in two weeks, there will be a class you can go to, and that'll help bring you into our church and help you get into one of these fellowship groups.

And so, we take the preaching, like if we're going to go through Romans, we just want to put everybody on notice, we take this very seriously, we're going to go through line in line, and then we're going to go and talk about it in a small group and talk about what it really means, what we're really going to go do in our lives and encourage one another towards love and good deeds. But that's not the only way we study the Scripture. We do this thing called scripture of the day. And we encourage people, hey, yeah, we do once-a-week sermons, but we want to read the Bible Monday to Friday. And so, flip your handout over, and you'll see that this week, we're going to invite everybody here, let's all go read through the book of Romans together. Does that sound like a good idea? If we're going to spend who knows how long studying through every single line of 16 chapters of this letter, other than when we should probably read it and get the big picture, get the overview of what it is. So, we're going to do this over three weeks, just a chapter a day is all we're asking, Hey, would you read Romans with us? And would you like, reach out to a friend and share with them? Hey, I read Romans 1, I read Romans 2, here's what I thought about it. Maybe you could get together and talk about it with somebody else. But if we could all go and read Romans, and get the big picture, that would be awesome. And so those are two ways.

We're trying to get the word out through the preaching of the Word through the sermons, we're going to go through Romans and through the reading of the word. So, we invite everybody to read through Romans with us. But please go back with me to Romans chapter 1, verse 3, that's kind of our review of the prophecies of Jesus as the Christ. And so that's where Paul says, he says, I'm going to bring you God's gospel, just like he said it through the prophets. Well, I'm now an apostle saying that same message and then in verse 3, we get more specific about what that message is, here in Romans 1:3, we say that the gospel of God is concerning or about his son, who was descended from David according to the flesh.

So, Paul now is going to give us the gospel, same gospel of the prophets. And the first thing he wants to say about Jesus in the gospel is Jesus is the one who's in the line of David. That's what he wants us to know right away. Okay, so this is so important, because in the mind of the Jews, they knew that there was a promised King who was coming. The reason a lot of Jews, even to this very day … it was happening in Paul's day. It's happening in our day. If you get to talk to somebody who's a Jew, many of them they don't all think the same, but many of them have rejected Jesus as the Christ as the Messiah, because when Jesus came, He did not act like a king. He did not overthrow the Romans. And they're, like, the Messiah is going to be in the line of David. He's going to be like King David, he's going to restore the nation of Israel. It's going to be times of great victories over our enemies, times of great worship and celebration. That didn't happen when Jesus came. And so therefore, Jesus is not the Christ.

So, when Paul is preaching the gospel of Jesus, he wants to first thing identify Jesus is the one in the line of David, Jesus is the King, because that's a big point of confusion, especially among the Jews. So, he goes right there to it. Hey, first thing we're going to say about the gospel, he descended from David, according to the flesh, but that may not be the first thing you go to about Jesus. But if you're going to sit under the teaching of the apostle Paul, and you're going to him Hear, hear him bring the message from heaven, he's going to say to you right away, do you know Jesus is the one in the line of David, because this was all of their expectation. This is what they were waiting for. Where is the Return of the King? Where is the King who is coming? We're so tired of all these other rulers. Who is the one who will bring justice, who will care about the poor and downtrodden? Where is the king we can actually root for and believe in, while Jesus, he died on a cross? And then he ascended into heaven. I mean, he wasn't the king. Where's the king? That's what they're waiting for. And Paul says, No, he's the one in the line of David. Go to one prophecy we never got to really study.

Turn with me back to Isaiah, chapter 11. Everybody grab your Bible, and go back to Isaiah 11. There's a prophecy of the branch and it kept coming up as we were reading through the Hebrew Bible, but we never really did a sermon on it. We never really fully dove deep into it. You could write that down. The prophecy of the branch. And you can find it here in Isaiah 11, verse 1, you can find it in Jeremiah 23:5, it's in Zechariah multiple times, this idea that if we're thinking about the family tree of King David, that are still, even though maybe the tree has fallen, and there's not like the continual succession of kings in the line of David, well, there’s still a branch on that family tree that is yet to come. You see that here in Isaiah 11, verse 1, there shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse. Now if you don't know who Jesse is, Jesse is the father of King David. Maybe you know the story where Samuel went to Jesse's house to anoint one of his sons. And they didn't even have David there because he was the youngest out of all the sons. Well, so, from the stump of Jesse, from Jesse's tree there's going to come a shoot or the next phrase, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit. So, there's this prophecy that was echoing through different prophets. God keeps saying, Hey, if you're going back through the family tree of David, there's going to come still a future branch off of this tree. And here's the description of who this branch is going to be. Verse 2, “and the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord and His delight shall be in the fear of the Lord, He shall not judge by what his eyes see, or decide disputes by what his ears hear, but with righteousness He shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth.” I mean, who would like to have a king like that? Anybody here want to have a king like that?

Now, I know, the whole idea of a king is very un-American, you know. We're not very … no man should have absolute power. We should not be giving anybody in our government total authority. That's what we think as Americans. We believe strongly in a system of checks and balances. Am I right about that, everybody? We don't want some man who's corrupt, doing everything for him. We want leaders who are about justice. We want leaders who actually care about people. What if there was one that you can have so much confidence in, you can have so much trust in that when you met him, you actually wanted him to have absolute authority because you thought he will make sure there is equity for all people? And if anybody's poor or downtrodden, he will be for their cause. Like he will actually care about his people. And he will actually do the right thing every time. Who would like to have a king like that? Who'd like to have a government like that? We'd like to have a judge who knows what a woman is because he created women to be woman. Would anybody like to have a judge like that? Those days are coming. Those days are coming when Jesus is the king in the line of David. He is the one who's going to reign. And when Jesus reigns, people will be like, I'll bow the knee for him. I'm okay if he's my king. I'll call him Lord. Like we will see what justice and righteousness was really meant to be and what it really means to give equity for all, to really care about everybody when Jesus is reigning, when the branch comes from the stump of Jesse watch when he's … See what happens when he is the king? See, that's the expectation. That's what people got excited about, like people have been going through from nation to nation from century to century, people have been constantly disappointed by their leaders and their governing authorities. And if only somebody could lead who really cared about doing what was right, and really cared about the people. Wouldn't that be awesome?

Jesus is that promise. And see, that's what Paul wants you to know, Hey, don't just because he came and suffered and died, and just because he rose and went up to the right hand of the Father. Don't you count Jesus out as the Christ, he is the one in the line of David. That's what Paul wants you to know. If you got to sit under Paul's teaching, if you've got to hear Paul in his synagogue, if you got a letter sent to you from Paul, in this the first time you ever got to hear Paul teach the famous apostle, what is he going to say? One of the first things that is going to come out of his mouth is, you better believe that Jesus is the one in the line of David, that Jesus is the King. You’ve got to know that. In fact, turn with me to Acts 13, and let's look at when Paul taught in his synagogue. We’re given an example of it here in Acts 13. We studied this. It was a while ago now. We called it Paul, the guest preacher. And we went through an example of his teaching in the synagogue. So, like, if Paul was here preaching a sermon, and you got to hear him live, one of the first things he would get to, in his teaching is right here in Acts 13:22 and 23. And then he's going through the history of Israel. He's talking about the first king, King Saul. He says that Saul was originally named after from the tribe of Benjamin. And when this king the first king when he had removed him, he raised up David to be their king, of whom he testified and said, this is Acts 13:22. And said, “I have found in David, the son of Jesse, a man after my heart, who will do all my will, of this man's offspring.” God has brought to Israel a savior, Jesus, as he promised, boom, there it is. Okay, originally, the prophecy from God was from the seed of the woman. Well, later on, it got clarified. It's of the seed or the offspring in the line of David in Romans 1:3, it's translated descendant of David here, it's translated this man's offspring, but it's the same word here. It says that idea of like in David's line, his descendants, through his seed, or through his offspring, there is going to come a king, and Paul, he wants you to know Jesus is that King. The first specific thing we learn about Jesus is he is the one in the line of David, you could write down 2 Timothy chapter 2, verse 8, Paul says this, in his last letter, when he's writing to Timothy as the true son in the faith.

Paul puts it like this: Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in my gospel. So here, Paul calls it my gospel, and he says, if you've ever heard me give the good news of God, you know, one of the things I'm always saying is that this Jesus, who rose from the dead, He is the offspring of David. That's one of his key thoughts. So, when you think about Jesus, maybe not one of the first thoughts that comes to your mind is he's the king in the line of David. But in Paul's mind, that's what he was going to first and he wanted everybody else to know that do not count Jesus out because he didn't reign as king. When he first came, he's coming back, and he will reign as king and every eye is going to see him. He fulfills all the prophecies in the line of David. That's why Matthew starts his gospel with a genealogy, because he wants to show you that Joseph, Jesus's earthly father, he's in the line of David. That's why Luke has a genealogy in his Gospel, because he wants to show you, we think, through Mary, that even the virgin who gave birth in the city of Bethlehem, that she's in the kingly line of David, that both Joseph and Mary are in the line of David; therefore, Jesus, He is the prophesied one that we've been waiting for. And he wants everybody here to know that like Jesus is the one that God always intended to be your king. If you've been waiting for someone to lead you in your life, if you've been waiting for someone that you could really follow and trust that you knew had your best interest at heart, someone you could really call Lord or Master, Jesus is the one and all the promises, all in the line of David, they're all leading up to him.

Paul goes right there. He says, this is the one to send it according to the flesh. He is the son of David. Now, if you come back next week, he's going to say and he was declared to be the Son of God through His resurrection. That'll be preached on Easter Sunday. We'll get to the second half of the introduction of Romans next week, but go back to Romans chapter 1, verse 3, because there's something here that's so simple, and yet so profound, I'm afraid that we might miss it. Because we're learning that we're going to hear the gospel, not just Paul's version of it, but we're going to hear the gospel straight from God. The same gospel is going to come through the apostle Paul, that came through the prophets beforehand. And then in verse 3, right there, it says that this gospel, whether it's through Paul as the apostle, or whether it's through the prophets before this gospel, verse 3 is concerning, or you could translate it there about his son. The gospel is Jesus. That's what he's saying. I'm here to share with you the gospel of God, the gospel of the prophets, the gospel in the line of David, but don't miss that phrase concerning, it is about his son.

The point of hearing the good news from Heaven is that you would know Jesus, not that you would know something about Jesus, the gospel is not just information for you to believe in. The gospel is not just some points that you need to have, where you believe them. And you understand No, the point here of the gospel is a person. It is not something to know. The gospel is someone to know.

Let's get that down for verse 3, the point is a person. The point is not that you would know about Jesus and what he did 2000 years ago on Good Friday and Easter. The point is that you would know Jesus as you sit here today, that you would have a relationship with Him. That by faith by your eyes, being open through the Scriptures, you would see who Jesus is. And Jesus would be someone that you trust with all of your heart, you believe in Him, you love him, you want to worship Him. And Jesus is now who you identify with. He is your Lord and Savior. We are not just here, we're going to preach Romans, Romans has some deep doctrine, Romans has some profound theology, and it is going to help you not at all in your life if you don't know Jesus Christ in a personal way. So, a lot of people they come to church and they want to know a lot of intense things about the spiritual realm and they don't even know Jesus. Please don't be one of those people.

Okay, I'm asking you, I'm not talking to anybody else. Right now. I'm talking to you. don't think about? Well, I hope so and so listen to this sermon, you need to listen to this sermon. Did you wake up today and think about Jesus before you came here to church? Do you talk to him? Do you believe that God is speaking to you through the Scripture? And this is what people say all these snarky things? Well, if God really wants to reach people, why doesn't he start a YouTube channel? People say stuff like this. Why? Like, why is God writing through these ancient scrolls? Who's even reading books anymore? Why doesn't God make movies? My favorite one is when people say, Why doesn't God write a sign in the sky? So everybody will believe in him? And I just want to say, Have you ever seen a rainbow before? Like, what do you think that is? You know, like, the whole sky is his sign. Like, are you kidding me right now, you know? But, see, so people that people can have a hard time with like the Hebrew Bible, or people even have a hard time with Paul. There are all these people out there saying bad things about Paul, I don't really want to study Paul, I just want to study Jesus. But here's the thing, God is the one sending the gospel. And God is speaking to us not just through ancient writings, God is speaking to us through His Son, Jesus. The gospel is Jesus. The way that God is showing you through he is, is he gave his one and only son and his son put on flesh and became a human being and we beheld Him the glory as of the Father full of grace and truth. Like God dwelt among us, God with us, God became one of us to show us who he is. This is the way that God ultimately speaks.

Oh, in long times ago, he spoke through the prophets, but in this time, he has spoken to us through His Son who stands at the right hand of majesty, and Jesus is the Word of God. He's the exact representation of God. He is the image of God. When you see Jesus, you are seeing God because Jesus is God. This is how God wants to show you who he is. It's through His Son, Jesus. If you're telling me you believe the gospel, don't tell me you believe a set of facts from the past, telling me you believe in the person of Jesus Christ. He is the gospel. And so, if you're telling me you believe in the gospel of Jesus, and you're a Christian, but you don't have a relationship with Jesus, I'm asking you a question right now. Do you really know Jesus? Because so many people who go to church in Southern California today are lukewarm, and lukewarm is not a real option when it comes to Jesus. You know what Jesus said he wanted to do with people who are lukewarm about him? He wanted to vomit them. You make Jesus sick if you are lukewarm about him. That's what he is saying. When Jesus was here, when Jesus was walking among us, during the teachings, doing the amazing miracles, people were not like, Hey, you know that Jesus got, what do you think about it? Oh, yeah, he's all right. Are there doughnuts after maybe I'll go check it out, you know? Is there a trolley ride? Like, okay? Like, people weren't like, oh, yeah, I guess Yeah, I'm a kind of ambivalent about Jesus. I'm kind of in the middle. Nobody was saying that. They were shouting crucify him, or they were believing in Him for eternal life. Those were the only two options. You're either for Jesus, or you're against Jesus. And I'm asking you, which one are you? It's a real question. And there's, there's going to be a test at the end of it, not a test that I'm giving.

Go with me to John 7, and let's just get a glimpse of what it would have been like to interact with Jesus, while he was here, if maybe you saw him at a feast, and he's here in John seven at this feast. And they have this water ceremony at this feast there in Jerusalem. Everybody's there. And on the last day of the feast, the high priest carries this water through the streets of the city. And as the high priest is doing this, Jesus gets up and he says, Hey, “I am a living water. Everybody who comes to Me, you will never thirst” like the Scriptures say, I will put a living water in your soul, out of your heart will flow rivers of living water. So, here's Jesus saying that he can give you more than physical water, he can satisfy your innermost heart desires that Jesus can give you live on who you really are not just in physical life, but life in your soul and who you are on the inside. And he's quoting the scriptures, he's referring to the Holy Spirit that he's going to give to his people. So, he makes this big statement about living water inside of their souls. And he kind of takes over the feast there. And he does this profound teaching. And nobody's like, well, that was kind of interesting, I guess. Nobody, after Jesus speaks, and you go ask somebody, what did you think about Jesus? Nobody's like, it was good. Nobody's saying that. Look at what people are saying when they hear Jesus. This is John, chapter 7, verse 40. “When they heard these words, some of the people said, ‘this really is the prophet’,” like this guy is speaking from God. But others were like, No, No, this is the Christ. These are just one of the prophets. This is the one the prophets were prophesying about, like he is the Christ, and listen to how the people on the street in Jerusalem are trying to figure this out. But some said, is the Christ to come from Galilee, this guy, he comes from Nazareth, this guy hangs out with fishermen from the Sea of Galilee. Has not the Scripture said that the Christ comes from the offspring of David and comes from Bethlehem, the village where David was, see everybody on the street, they know? Oh, yeah, he's coming in the line of David. Well, could it be Jesus? I thought he was from up north. Is he the Christ, like people are trying to figure out who he is? Verse 43. So, there was a division among the people over him. Do you see how it works with Jesus, he's polarizing, you're either for him or you're against him? Lukewarm is not an option when it comes to Jesus.

And there's a division and some of them wanted to arrest him, like some of them, are they I don't want this guy to be my king. How dare this guy say, he's going to be my king. I'm over here living life my way. I'm not going to go like he's the way, I'm going over here my way, but then they don't arrest him. No one laid hands on him, because other people are so for him. They don't want to stir it up. And I love what happens next, the officers, so some soldiers were there. And the officers that then came to the chief priests and the Pharisees, who said to them, “Why did you not bring him here? We sent you to arrest Jesus. Why did you not arrest Jesus? And the officers answered, this is John 7:46. The officers answered, “No one ever spoke like this man.” That's a true statement right there. No one ever spoke like Jesus, because Jesus is God speaking. And when you hear God speak to you through Jesus, you either repent of your sin and believe in Him and you follow Him with all of your heart, no turning back. Or you are against him. And if you think today that you're somewhere in the middle, I'm just telling you, we're starting the book of Romans. We're going to learn amazing things about Jesus, and they will help you zero in your life if you don't know Jesus. And so, I'm asking you, if God is speaking to you, and he's speaking to you through the Apostle Paul and through the prophets, and he's telling you who Jesus is the King in the line have David, I'm asking you, Do you know him? Like, does he mean anything to you? I mean, do you hear him speak to you? Do you speak to him? Like when you have a hard day? Do you go to Jesus? Do you share things with Jesus that you don't share with anybody else because you're closer to Jesus than you are to anybody else? But actually, as you grow in knowing Jesus, this really interesting thing happens, where you do share your secrets with Jesus and then somehow you feel free to share those with other people because you can see that they know Jesus too.

And so not only do you have a relationship with Jesus, but he opens you up to all these other relationships. Because you know, other people know Jesus and knowing that they know Jesus, and you have that in common makes you feel closer to them than even some of your own family members who you love, but they don't know Jesus. Then you meet complete strangers at church, and you love them like family. Why? Because we both know Jesus. That's how much it means. Like, I'm asking you, are we just going through the motions here at church? Or are we here for Jesus? Do you know him? Have you heard God speak to you through who Jesus is? Jonathan Edwards. He was a famous preacher back in the day before it was America. In the 1700s, we had a time that was known as the Great Awakening. I don't know if you've ever studied Jonathan Edwards, George Whitfield. But before we were a nation, we were a land where there was a great revival. And Jonathan Edwards preached probably the most famous sermon in the history of America, Sinners in the Hands of An Angry God. He was a part of that movement that God did to save many people. Before we became a nation, and Jonathan Edwards, a man who spent most of his life studying and preaching the Bible. It's reported that on his deathbed his last words, his final statement, were “Where is Jesus, my never-failing friend?” Like if it's all taken away from you, all the health, all the wealth, all the family, all the things to do, and it's just you lying in a bed, breathe in your last breaths? Would you know that you know, Jesus? What do you think Jesus is your one friend, you're leaving this world with your one friend who can see you through to the other side? Do you know Jesus, as your never-failing friend, that he is with you. He will never leave you nor forsake? Like, I'm asking you a real question. Do you know the gospel of God? Because it's not just what Paul wrote? It's not just what the prophets wrote, It is Jesus Himself. Do you know Jesus?

Let me pray for us. Father in heaven, we want to thank you for speaking. We want to thank you for sharing your gospel through Paul through the prophets. But Father, we want to thank you that we could know your son that you could speak to us through your Son, the one who came in the line of David, the one who was raised from the dead, and he was declared to be the Son of God. So Father, I pray that you would put this on our hearts for everybody here today. I pray that this Easter would not be a day on a calendar. But this Easter would be Jesus on our hearts, that we would worship Jesus because we know him. And that you would stir us up. Let us not just be excited about studying the book of Romans, but Father, let us be excited to grow in our faith in Jesus. Because we want to know not just Romans, we want to know Him. And so I pray for my brothers and sisters, that you would stir us up through your gospel, and that we would worship Jesus even here today, even right now. And I pray for those who don't know, Jesus, that after this service, they would go talk to somebody about that they would come find me up front, they'd go find somebody at the Compass Connect table, I pray that they would say, Hey, I'm not going to keep being lukewarm. I'm not going to keep going through the motions. I'm not going to act like Jesus is all right, I'm going to really come to believe in Him because no one ever spoke like this man. So, Father, please help us to see what the prophets have been writing about for thousands of years, what the apostles were preaching about, what you have been telling us from heaven, that there is good news of great joy for all people, that there has been born a savior in the city of David. He is the Christ. He is the king. And his name is Jesus. Father, thank you for giving us your message. So that we can know your son We pray this in His name. Amen.

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