Proclaim

How did this message impact you? Share your testimony

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Introduction:

This morning we conclude our Advent series called Caught In the Undertow. Advent is the 4 weeks leading up to the birth of Christ. It is a time of waiting in great expectation.

Tomorrow is the big day. Christmas is here.

According to the radio stations and the dollar store, Christmas has been here for a while and as soon as the sun goes down tomorrow it will be over.

But the great news of great joy is that Christmas is just arriving.

Have you ever wanted something really bad? You saved your money or had it on a Christmas and birthday list for a long time and then finally, you had enough money to buy it or someone graciously gave it to you? When we are forced to wait for something it tends to have more significance when we receive it.

We can easily get swept up into the undercurrent that is grasping at our feet to take us into the immediate, the “feel good”, the temporary. We can get so busy and caught up in our own selves that we miss out on the things that are more important. But how can we fight against this powerful force of culture?

Today, as we conclude this series, we are met with a message from the apostle Paul and his letter to the Romans.

If you have a bible or a bible app on your device, you can turn to Romans 16:25-27. The words will also be on the screen.

Movement 1:

Romans 16:25-27 (NLT)
25 Now all glory to God, who is able to make you strong, just as my Good News says. This message about Jesus Christ has revealed his plan for you Gentiles, a plan kept secret from the beginning of time. 26 But now as the prophets foretold and as the eternal God has commanded, this message is made known to all Gentiles everywhere, so that they too might believe and obey him. 27 All glory to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, forever. Amen.

The early spread of Christianity caused significant tension throughout the region. At the time that the apostle Paul wrote this letter to the Romans, Rome was an embattled world where Christian Gentiles were facing off with non- Christian Jews. Also during this time, Christian Gentiles and Christian Jews were figuring out how to coexist in the early church that had been established. These tensions were just within the church. Outside of it, the Jewish population had been forced out of Rome by Emperor Claudius. However, under the ruler Nero, this was reversed and the Jews were welcomed back into Rome. It is in this tense world that Paul was writing. His words speak to the truth that it is faith in Christ that matters and nothing else about a person’s make- up, ethnicity, race, socio-economic status, or background that matters.

Throughout Paul’s letter to Rome, he affirms that God is a God of power. In our passage this morning, verse 25 once again declares that God is a God of power and it is in His power that we are made strong. “Now all glory to God, who is able to make you strong.”

It is also this power that draws us, confirms, and strengthens us in our belief and obedience in the Gospel and compels us to share this gospel with others. “One of the rich pieces of this verse and letter is that humanity doesn’t find salvation by obeying the commands of God, but rather the message of salvation by faith is proclaimed so that all nations might believe and obey Jesus.” We should be compelled to share about this Jesus. We are untrusted by God to share this message of salvation. “26 But now as the prophets foretold and as the eternal God has commanded, this message is made known to all Gentiles everywhere, so that they too might believe and obey him.”

And this message of salvation is a mystery. “The mystery is of course that Christ lived, died, and was raised for us to enter into salvation by faith in him alone. That mystery was kept hidden through God’s relationship with God’s people up until this time of revelation in Christ, which of course is the proclamation that Christians claim!”

As Paul concludes his letter, he affirms that it “is to the only wise God through Jesus Christ that we have received the revelation (of the gospel) from, (and) that glory is due forever.27 All glory to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, forever. Amen.

In Rome, there was a strong polytheistic presence – the belief and acknowledgment of many gods. Paul is giving a powerful reminder that there is only one God and that God and Jesus are one and deserve our praise and glory.

Movement 2:

There are 4 things that I want us to draw from this passage today that are imperative for us in understanding faith and Christ.

1.It is by grace through faith that leads to obedience. Not “obey the law”.

a.Verse 26: “…this message is made known to all Gentiles everywhere so that they too might believe and obey him.” Right belief leads to obedience.

b.Ephesians 2:8 (NIV) 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—

c. Romans 5:1-2a – “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand.”

2.We are enabled to live a life of faith by the power of Christ within us.

a. Verse 25 – 25 Now all glory to God, who is able to make you strong 7

b.Philippians 3:7-11 –

But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8 What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in[a] Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. 10 I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.

3.We are compelled to share this gospel (Christ Himself) with others.

a.Verse 26…”and as the eternal God has commanded, this message is made known to all Gentiles everywhere…”

b. 2 Corinthians 5:14-15 –

For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. 15 And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.

c. “God is infinitely wise; even when we cannot trace His ways, we can trust His wisdom.”

4.We proclaim this gospel in thought, word, and deed.

a. We are communicating something every moment, whether it is with our bodies, our voices, or our actions.

b. Jesus came was born a baby and took on human flesh. He is God incarnate. He embodied God in human form. When we follow Him and embrace living by Kingdom principles, we become the hands and feet of Jesus. We become the Gospel in human form.

c. We proclaim that gospel in thought, word, and deed.

Conclusion:

How can we resist getting caught up into the undertow, the pressures of our world, and live as Christ desires for us to live?

First, we must fix our eyes on Jesus. Tonight, we will reflect on His birth as we gaze at the newborn babe, lying in a manger. If you have ever held a newborn baby, you can understand the emotions, the thoughts, and the fixation on this tiny wonder. But as we will hear in our new sermon series beginning, January 7 called Kingdom Culture, as we fix our eyes on Jesus, we keep our attention on Him and what His desires are for us in how we live our lives.

Second, we must strive to be obedient to His will and desires and live out a way of living that reflects Kingdom principles. Paul wrote this letter at a time when people were being kicked out of a place or area because of their beliefs and because of their ethnicity. The gospel declares in Galatians 3:28 – “There is no longer Jew or Gentile,

slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Translated to today – it does not matter what color of skin you have, where you were born, what religion your family is, what your sexual preference is, or what your politics are; Jesus was born, lived, was crucified, and raised to life so that you may have life.

Living out Kingdom principles is not based on location, it is based on faithfulness. We see a guide to this way of living found in the Sermon on the Mount where Christ declares that He desires us to live as people who are humble, honest, generous, a person of prayer, loving of others; even our enemies, sacrificial, simple, and holy.

Response:

When you think about your life this morning, do those words resonate with you? Do you believe that you are a person who is humble? Are you honest? Generous? Do you pray and read scripture? How are you at loving others, especially your enemies or people that you do not care for? Do you sacrifice for the sake of others? Do you live a life that reflects the simplicity of Christ? Do you strive to live a life that is holy and pleasing to God? Are your eyes fixed on Jesus? Do you spend time with Him? Do you allow Him to inform your life? Does your life proclaim the gospel of Jesus?

Of course, none of us are perfect and attain to all of these all of the time. But I believe that we can ask ourselves these questions and know where we stand this morning.

Pray

Benediction:

The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in deepest night, are lit up with a brilliant sight. Unto us a child is born, unto us, a son is given.

The spread of his influence and of his peace will never end. Therefore, go out into the world with great joy,
and the grace of Bethlehem’s matchless Child, the love of the God who never ceases to amaze, and the fellowship of the Spirit who never wearies, will be with you this day and evermore.

Caught In The Undertow Comfort And Joy In High Tide Or Low

Worship

Caught In The Undertow Comfort And Joy In High Tide Or Low

Receive

Caught In The Undertow Comfort And Joy In High Tide Or Low

Expect