5/6/2016 LESSON 1
JOSIAH: A CATALYST OF REVIVAL
Quarter’s Theme: BASIC CHRISTIAN DOCTRINES
Unit 1 – God’s Plan For Our Salvation (Lessons 1-4)
Suggested Hymns: G.H.B. 6, 418
Devotional Reading: ACTS 9:1-15
Topic For Adults
WHO ARE YOU IN CHRIST?
Topic For Youths
DO YOU HAVE A GOOD TESTIMONY IN CHRIST?
Topic For Intermediates
WHAT IS YOUR EARNEST DESIRE?
ROM. 1:1-15; ACTS 9:15-16; 13:1-3
Paul, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated to the Gospel of God (Rom. 1:1) NKJV
DAILY DEVOTIONAL READING
Impact Others Positively For Christ
Since the day Paul heard about the believers in Rome, he had been praying for them. He also longed to see them so that he might impart some spiritual gifts to them. When he was hindered by circumstances, he decided to write to them the epistle to the Romans. Only God can evaluate the value of what that epistle did in the spiritual growth of the Roman believers. The same epistle is shaping the lives of many believers in this century. What a great impact for Christ. The great impact you can have in people’s lives is to impart them spiritually. That is what will last forever in their lives. If you buy clothes for people, it will only last for a moment, but spiritual impact will last till eternity.
Point of Emphasis: As much as in you, preach the gospel and mentor people for Christ (v. 15)
Prayer Point: Lord, help me to make positive impact for Christ in my generation.
The epistle of Romans is one of the undisputed New Testament epistles that have
been ascribed to Paul. It is believed to have been written in Corinth by Paul from
internal evidences in the Scriptures. It is also one of the most elaborate in theological contents. This week’s lesson examines Paul as the author of the book, his credentials, commission to the ministry and earnest desire for the Roman Christians.
NOTE ON THE TEXTS NOTES ON THE TEXT
PART 1: THE SPIRITUAL “CREDENTIALS” OF PAUL (ROM. 1:1-6)
The opening verse of this passage begins with the name Paul. Who is this Paul and why the mentioning of his name first? The original name of the author of this epistle was Saul (Acts 7:58; 8:1; 9:1, etc), which was the Hebrew name. However, in the course of preaching the gospel to the Gentiles, he had to change the name to Paul (Acts 13:9), and by this name he is generally known in the New Testament. In addressing an epistle to the Romans, he would naturally make use of the name Paul, which is the Roman version for Saul for acceptability. He needs to mention his name first because in the ancient world, letters customarily opened with the name of the sender, the sender’s title (if any was necessary), the name of the addressees and a greeting. This is important moreso that Paul had not met these Roman believers before. He therefore, needed to give a proper introduction of himself and that is why he started the epistle with his “credentials”.
The first on the list of his “credentials” was that he was a bondservant of Jesus Christ. This suggests surrenderedness, a slave, one who is the entire property of his master. This has taken for granted his being born-again and that he wholly belonged to his master, who is Jesus Christ. It means that he was no longer his own. He used the name servant to show to the Roman believers the genesis of that gospel which God promised through His holy prophets in the Scriptures about Jesus Christ’s birth and that it is through Him that people who believe in Him would be saved and his messengers would receive grace and apostleship (vv. 2-6). Paul knew Jesus intimately that he was able to describe Him perfectly and His mission on earth. What are your “credentials” in God? What is your testimony about Jesus?
PART 2: DIVINE CALL AS AN APOSTLE TO THE GENTILES (ACTS 9:15-16; 13:1-3)
While declaring his “credentials” above, Paul admitted that he was called to be an apostle. How did he become an apostle? He was not among the twelve disciples of Jesus, neither was he with them. The story of his conversion and his eventual commissioning as an apostle to the Gentiles is found in the book of Acts 9:15-16 and 13:1-3. Paul needed to state this to affirm to his readers that he had not taken this high office to himself, but that he had been called to it by the authority of Jesus Christ. He needed to state all the facts so that the believers in Rome, whom he had not met before would be able to understand the personality of the person writing the epistles to them. This would also go to a large extent to show what their disposition to the epistle would be.
As an apostle, though he was not the founder of the church in Rome, he felt obliged to encourage them through writing because they were a Gentiles’ church which came under his divine call and commission. Immediately after his commissioning, he went straight into the assignment. He spent and was spent for the gospel. He suffered so many persecutions and hardships in the course of executing his commission, yet because he saw himself as bondservants of Jesus, he endured to the end and even died for Christ’s cause. How do you handle the divine call in your life? Are you still on course of your commission or you have derailed? Take a cue from Paul today.
PART 3: EARNEST DESIRE FOR THE SAINTS IN ROME (ROM. 1:7-15)
Paul sent greetings of peace to the saints in Rome. He thanked God on their behalf for the good report about their faith that he had heard, though he had not seen them face-to-face. Can people give thanks for your faith though you are living in a distant place where it is hard to live out the gospel? What is people’s testimony about your faith in Christ?
Paul is an apostle to the Gentiles par excellence. He had not seen believers in Rome, yet he had been praying for them (v. 9). He called God to be his witness that since he heard about their faith, he had not ceased in making mention of them in his prayers always. No wonder he succeeded as an apostle. How often do you pray for people you see daily let alone those you have not seen?
Paul had not seen the Roman believers, but he longed to see them (v. 11). He had this earnest desire and longings so that he might impart some spiritual gifts in them and for them to be more established in the faith. Moreover, he also encouraged them so that he might receive encoura-gement from them (v. 12). Paul wanted to do this because, as a bondservant to Jesus (1:1), he saw himself as a debtor to Jesus to fulfil his divine mandate of an apostle to the Gentiles. He did not want to be like some people who only desire the title of an office without correspondingly carry-ing out the responsibilities attached to the office. What an apostle par excellence!
Paul was able to write an epistle to people he had not met because he was sure of his salvation and standing in Christ. Many cannot preach the gospel because they are not sure of their faith in Christ. How sure is your salvation in Christ? Can people accept you as a genuine Christian based on your testimony and conduct.
- What is the difference between the name Saul and Paul?
- Mention some of Paul’s spiritual “credentials” from the lesson.
- How did Paul become an apostle, despite that he was not one of the twelve disciples?
- Why did Paul desire to see the believers in Rome?
- What lessons have you learnt from Paul this week?