Letter to Christians in Rome: Chapter 16 (pt 9 of 15)

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Paul goes on to give us three things that God will use during that process: First he says, “Now to him who is able to establish you by my gospel . . .” Now don’t get all weirded-out or misunderstand that little phrase. Paul isn’t saying that he has a unique gospel. Unfortunately, some think that Paul was giving a special revelation that no one else possessed—one that Peter, James and John and all of the other writers of Scripture did not know. That is not what Paul means. In fact, in I Corinthians he answers that accusation. He said, “Some of you are following me; some are following Apollos; some are following Cephas, and this is wrong. We are not different; we all have the same gospel. You are making too much of men. The message is always the same” (1 Corinthians 1:11). He rebuked them for trying to divide and to follow certain leaders and teachers. We do that today. There are all kinds of distinctions being made of teachers and doctrines.

Paul is saying that he was given a unique revelation of this gospel, which the others understood, as well. You find that in Chapter 11 of First Corinthians: “For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, ‘This is my body, which is for you . . .” (1 Corinthians 11:23-24). Paul was saying, “I was not there at the Lord’s supper. I wasn’t even a Christian back then. I haven’t talked with Peter or James or John about this, and none of the men who were present there told me what happened in that room. I know what happened because Jesus himself appeared to me and told me. I only told you what I received from the Lord himself.” The Lord taught Paul the same gospel that the other apostles believed and that is what Paul meant when he wrote, “According to my gospel . . .”

Now what that means to us is that the test of all true Christian messages is that they be in line with the Scriptures. If the teaching is contrary to the Scriptures you need to dump it and move on. That is why we have to always check what we hear today that claims to be Christian and see if it fits with what the Scriptures teach. That’s what the Bereans did. In Acts 17:11 it says, “the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, because they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.”  Some of us hear a teaching that “wows” us, and never compare it with the Scriptures. I always encourage you to search the Scriptures with my teachings. It not only cements what I have taught in your spirit, if I have missed something, I want to know. Paul says that is what the Lord will use to establish you: “My gospel—that which was given to me.”

The second element Paul gives us is, “the proclamation of Jesus Christ.” Paul is unfolding to us the heart of his gospel. Paul was an excellent theologian. I sometimes I am tempted to go to a seminary and tell the young men and women studying there, “Why are you wasting your time with these fourth-rate theologians, when you could be spending your time with the first-rate theologians: Peter, James, John and Paul.” Theology, or Bible knowledge was not the heart of Paul’s gospel. The heart of his gospel was the revelation of a Person, Jesus himself. All the way through this letter Paul has been emphasizing that fact again and again—everything centers in Christ! Yeshua is the heart of it all. Any gospel that leaves out Christ is a phony gospel and you need to spit it out.

Jesus himself said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man comes to the Father except by me” (John 14:6). Jesus declared the uniqueness of his position. In the whole realm of theology there is no one like Jesus the Christ. In all the history of the religions of the world, there is no one that is equal to him, or that can be remotely compared to him. Any gospel that minimizes Christ, or puts him on the level of other names, is a perversion of the true gospel of Jesus Christ. Christ is the central figure of all history, of all time, of all faith. Amen!

If interested, you can download the entire study of The Letter to Christians at Rome

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