Sabbath, July 8, 2006
“The gospel is the power of God and the wisdom of God. The character of Christ on earth revealed divinity, and the gospel which He has given is to be the study of His human heritage…” –Selected Messages, vol. 1, p. 245.
1. How was Paul connected to the church in Rome before his visit?
Romans 1:9 For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers;
2. What did Paul want to achieve in Rome? What do we discover about his humbleness?
Romans 1:11, 12 For I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end ye may be established; That is, that I may be comforted together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me.
3. Why did a visit to Rome fit into Paul’s long-term plans?
Romans 15:24 Whensoever I take my journey into Spain, I will come to you: for I trust to see you in my journey, and to be brought on my way thitherward by you, if first I be somewhat filled with your company.
“To see the Christian faith firmly established at the great center of the known world was one of his dearest hopes and most cherished plans. A church had already been established in Rome, and the apostle desired to secure the co-operation of the believers there in the work to be accomplished in Italy and in other countries. To prepare the way for his labors among these brethren, many of whom were as yet strangers to him, he sent them a letter announcing his purpose of visiting Rome and his hope of planting the standard of the cross in Spain.” –The Acts of the Apostles, p. 373.
NO REASON TO BE ASHAMED
4. What did it mean for a Christian at that time to preach Christ in the public centers of the world?
1 Corinthians 1:23, 24 But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.
“But in Paul’s day the cross was regarded with feelings of repulsion and horror. To uphold as the Saviour of mankind one who had met death on the cross, would naturally call forth ridicule and opposition.” –The Acts of the Apostles, p. 245.
5. What position would some Christians tend to take under these conditions?
Mark 8:38 Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.
“Never hide your colours, never put your light under a bushel or under a bed, but set it on a candlestick, that it may give light to all that are in the house. Did you and the teachers who were with you at – watch for opportunities to enlighten others? Did you seek in wisdom to do all the good you possibly could? Did you try to call the attention of those whose acquaintance you formed, to Bible truths? Did you not drag your colours behind you because you were ashamed to be regarded as God’s peculiar people? ‘Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of Me and of My words; . . . of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when He cometh in the glory of His Father.’” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, p. 588.
THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST
6. How did Paul proclaim the gospel? Why was he able to spread the message with such conviction?
Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek
“The disciples were to carry their work forward in Christ’s name. Their every word and act was to fasten attention on His name, as possessing that vital power by which sinners may be saved. Their faith was to center in Him who is the source of mercy and power. In His name they were to present their petitions to the Father, and they would receive
answer. They were to baptize in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Christ’s name was to be their watchword, their badge of distinction, their bond of union, the authority for their course of action, and the source of their success. Nothing was to be recognized in His kingdom that did not bear His name and superscription.” –The Acts of the Apostles, p. 28.
7. What can man contribute to his salvation?
Ephesians 2:8, 9 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.
“We must learn in the school of Christ. Nothing but his righteousness can entitle us to one of the blessings of the covenant of grace. We have long desired and tried to obtain these blessings, but have not received them, because we have cherished the idea that we could do something to make ourselves worthy of them. We have not looked away from ourselves, believing that Jesus is a living Saviour. We must not think that our own grace and merits will save us; the grace of Christ is our only hope of salvation. Through his prophet the Lord promises, ‘Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon’ (Isa. 55:7). We must believe the naked promise, and not accept feeling for faith. When we trust God fully, when we rely upon the merits of Jesus as a sin-pardoning, Saviour, we shall receive all the help that we can desire.” –Selected Messages, vol. 1, p. 351.
• What does it mean to me to be a Christian?
• Why am I ashamed to admit my belief in the gospel to other people?
• How have I experienced the power of God in my life?