Culture Matters

Notes from a sermon preached by Dr. Greg Sloop at the Kannapolis Church of God on Sunday, February 4, 2018 in the 10:30 am service.  For video of service, go to the church website, http://www.kcog.org, and click on the livestream link for a replay of the service.  For audio of the service, go the the website and click on the media page.

Romans 1:13–17 (NKJV)

13 Now I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that I often planned to come to you (but was hindered until now), that I might have some fruit among you also, just as among the other Gentiles. 14 I am a debtor both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to wise and to unwise. 15 So, as much as is in me, I am ready to preach the gospel to you who are in Rome also.

The Jew/Gentile Distinction
The Debt of the Redeemed
Going to Rome

16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.”

Salvation is Available to All
Faith: Gift or Commodity

The Jew/Gentile Distinction

13 Now I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that I often planned to come to you (but was hindered until now), that I might have some fruit among you also, just as among the other Gentiles.

At the time of the writing of this passage, Gentiles had only been a part of the accepted salvation scheme for less than 30 years.  There was still a very heated debate over their acceptance into the body of Christ, and what that acceptance would look like.  In Acts 15, the church finally came to an understanding of how the Gentiles would be brought into the body.  Before that, though, the Gentiles were considered lesser and unworthy by many to receive the gift of salvation.  Paul is a pioneer in reaching out to the unacceptable with the gift of salvation and the powerful message of the gospel.

The Debt of the Redeemed

14 I am a debtor both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to wise and to unwise.

We are recipients of the greatest gift ever, salvation and forgiveness of sins. 

We cannot sit on the gift and horde His blessings. 

We have a debt to pay.  We must spread the gospel and share His love with the wise and the unwise, the Greeks and the Barbarians!

Going to Rome

15 So, as much as is in me, I am ready to preach the gospel to you who are in Rome also.

Rome was the center of the Gentile World

Paul was a Roman citizen, but also a Jew, then a Christian as well.

He said in 1 Corinthians 9:19–23 (NKJV),

19 For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win the more; 20 and to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews; to those who are under the law, as under the law, that I might win those who are under the law; 21 to those who are without law, as without law (not being without law toward God, but under law toward Christ), that I might win those who are without law; 22 to the weak I became as weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. 23 Now this I do for the gospel’s sake, that I may be partaker of it with you.

He even appealed to Caesar, putting his life in peril, to take the gospel to a heathen people.

Salvation is Available to All

16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.

Salvation is for everyone.

2 Peter 3:8–9 (NKJV)

8 But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 9 The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.

Faith: Gift or Commodity?

17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.”

Faith is not a commodity, or a possession to be horded.

Faith is a gift from God.

Engaging the Culture for Change

Jesus Engaged the Culture

Publicans and Sinners (Mark 2)
Zaccheus (Luke 19)
The Woman at the Well (John 4)
The Woman Caught in the Act of Adultery (John 8)

jesus_eats_with_publicans

Jesus Changed the Culture

He challenged the church norms (Matthew 5 – adultery, murder, divorce and remarriage)
He spoke with authority (Luke 4)
He reached the unreached (Canaanite Woman, Matthew 15; Blind Bartimaeus, Mark 10)
He created excitement and drew the multitudes toward the kingdom (Mark 5, the throngs followed Him)

Takeaway Thoughts

We were once all sinners
We owe a debt to win others
We cannot win others unless we engage the culture
Make sure your culture is holy, then transform the culture around you!

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