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Jack Graham - For The Glory

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    Jack Graham - For The Glory
TOPICS: Essential Gospel

Take your Bibles and turn one last time to the book of Romans. At least at this one last time because we are concluding or wrapping up after 15 months. We could go 15 months more. But after 15 months we are concluding this series of studies in the Essential Gospel which is the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. When you say Gospel, you say Jesus because Jesus is the Gospel. There is no other Gospel apart from Him. Any Gospel apart from Jesus Christ is not an essential Gospel, but it is an erroneous gospel. So we preach the Gospel and proclaim Christ who died and rose again that we could have hope not only now, but forever. And this is our message to the world.

And so in signing off, the Apostle Paul concludes with a great doxology. Because theology, what we have learned in the letter to the Romans, theology, great truth, always turns to doxology. The more you know about Jesus, the more you know about who God is and what He is like, the more you praise Him; the more you love Him! And so throughout the Scripture we are admonished to glorify God and to praise Him. And in pouring out our praise, we are exalting Him and elevating Him and esteeming Him to bring glory to God. The title of this message from the sixteenth chapter of Romans, these last 3 verses, is "For the Glory". In Latin Soli Deo Gloria. For the glory of God. You were made for His glory. You were created, made by Him even knitted in your mother's womb to give glory to God all the days of your life.

In fact, the Westminster Catechisms confession of faith puts it this way: "The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever". We have a saying here at Prestonwood. We repeat it again and again and that is: Excellence in all things (all that we do, excellence) and all things to the glory of God. For His Glory. It's all about Him and to the praise of His name. Everything that we do in life. The scriptures tell us that "Whatever you do in word and deed, do it all for the glory of God". Your life is to be lived as an act of worship. All of us! Worship is not something we do when we stand together and sing alone, but it is the way of life for the Christian. We all always at all times are to glorify God, in good days and bad days. In pain there is still praise. And the worship of our God who is all wise and all knowing.

The great preacher of Britain, Charles Spurgeon put it this way: That "God is too good to be unkind and He is too wise to be mistaken. And when you cannot trace His hand, trust His heart". We glorify God in all things. And so after all these words given to us the word of truth, Paul concludes, beginning in verse 25, "Now to him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages, but has now been disclosed and through the prophetic writings has been made known to all nations, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith — to the only wise God be glory forevermore through Jesus Christ! Amen". Which means "Yes"! Amen!

I believe it! And so after all these days and months that we have shared together in the book of Romans we are pouring out our praise because of all that He is and all that He has done. Remember in Romans chapter 12 and verse 1 he says that in view of these things, because of these mercies, it is the logical, reasonable thing to do, to offer your life as a living sacrifice to God who is your reasonable service or your reasonable worship. My prayer is that after this time that we have shared together in these studies of Romans that we will never be the same; we will never be the same. And our praise of God and our proclamation of this good news, this Gospel of Jesus Christ will be more effervescent, more infused with spiritual power than ever before.

The last time we were together the words of Paul in 16 said, "May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you". And it is my prayer that God’s grace will be with us always. And he moves from grace to glory because grace produces glory for God in our hearts. May God strengthen you and establish you, he says in verse 25. And this is always my desire as a preacher of Christ and a teacher of God's Word, that we would be always established in our faith. That's the word stay-rid'-zo which means strengthen in faith. That to the very core we would be firm and strong. You know, it's very important for an athlete, really all of us, to take care of our core physically. For the strength is in the core. An athlete will make sure that there is core strength because that's where the balance is, that's where the speed is, that's where the strength is.

And so Paul is saying that we would all be at the core, strong and powerful in Jesus Christ. And that we would be established in Him, firm on the foundation which is in Christ so that we will not be blown away when tragedy comes, when trouble strikes; so that we will stand firm when there are questions that we cannot answer; and yet our faith is founded not upon men, but upon Christ! Men will let you down! But when we place our faith upon Christ and Christ alone, when we are established in Him. Again, we are stable; we are strengthened in the inner-person. Soli Deo Gloria, to the glory of God! So let us be established in this. The psalmist said, "Whoever offers praise (what?) glorifies Me". Whoever praises God, glorifies God. Our lives should be one perpendicular powerful praise unto God.

And this praise, this doxology that we read here is a crescendo and it is in effect in closing this great letter to the Romans, it is a reprise of all the lyrics of life that the apostle has been giving us here. That we would be established on Christ our Lord, His strength is our stability. And there's no way to be strong and established, stable, sane in an insane world, stable in a world that is being rocked, is the word of God. The only perfect thing on earth is this Book! Did you know that? The only perfect thing on earth is the Word of God. And we have God's pure and perfect Word, and this is how we are strengthened and established. This is why we gather each week, to open God's Word. We get in small groups to share God's Word together. We open God's Word and we are established; we are strengthened. And therefore, this beautiful testimony of the Gospel, this truth of Jesus Christ we want the whole world to know.

And this is what Paul is saying here when he speaks of my Gospel. When Paul said this is my Gospel, he was not saying that this is my Gospel as compared to Peter's Gospel or the Apostle John's Gospel or certainly not the Gospel of Jesus. He's saying my Gospel is the Gospel of Jesus Christ but it is mine, in that I have believed it and have received it. This message of hope. And when we look at the book of Romans, if I could just give you a bit of a reprise as Paul is giving us here at the end, remember, there are primarily three sections in the letter to the Romans. There is what you would call first chapters 1,2 and 3, guilt. That all the world is guilty before God.

And then the next chapters chapter 5, or chapters 4 through 9 is all about grace and God's grace. And then with an interlude describing God's working in history, that God is not finished and through with the Jew; that God is working a plan, ultimate plan of consummating the ages through both Jews and Gentiles. And then in chapters 12 through 16, this is all about growth. So you have guilt; you have grace; you have growth. You have, as someone put it, you have bad news, you have good news and then you have news you can use! How you live out and grow up in this grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. There's sin, chapters 1 through 3; there is salvation, chapters 4 through 9; and there is service and sanctification and growing in your faith in the chapters that we've been covering since chapter 12.

There is a cosmic spiritual battle raging! Behind what happened in Buffalo, behind what happened in Uvalde, what happens in the streets of America in homes and families and around the world. What is happening around the world began before time began when one of the created beings of God Lucifer, the son of the morning, sought to steal the glory of God and before there was ever rebellion on earth, there was revolt in heaven! Because Satan said, "I will exalt myself above the throne of God", stealing the glory of God. He thought he was bigger than God, greater than God, more glorious than God. As a result, Satan and one third of the heavenly host who joined this war against the Most High God, were cast out of heaven, but not yet to hell. Because now Satan is "like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour". Roaring.

And so the battle that was in heaven moved to earth. And what we see in these first chapters of Romans, my Gospel, Paul says, is the world wrecked by sin and brokenness! And the result is fear and anger and loneliness, both among godless people, pagan, if you will; and religious people. And Paul makes the case that "All have sinned and come short of the glory of God". The entire world is cursed by this sin! "And the wages of sin is death", but then he says, and this is Romans 6:23: "The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus our Lord". There are consequences in the world and in our lives because of bad behavior, sinful behavior, and it impacts us all. But Paul says my Gospel brings salvation in Christ. What did God do? God was not caught off-guard in the sinfulness and the wickedness of man. The man and women that He made. He was not surprised. God had a plan.

"The Lamb of God Jesus was slain before the foundation of the world". So in the infinite heart and mind of God, God in His glory, as He reigns in glory, in his providential and sovereign care, had a plan and was not caught off guard. God loves the people He has made. God loves the world. God loves you. And so Paul said, "My Gospel", the Gospel of Jesus Christ is that He sent His Son on a mission to get right in the middle of the battle, right in the war! He came and lived among us. Satan tried to take Him out early in the wilderness. Remember? Said, "Bow down to me; worship me and you can skip all the other stuff, the cross and the pain and the suffering. Just bow down".

Again, Satan attempting to rob God of His glory. But Jesus did NOT take the bait. He was "tempted in all points as we are tempted, and yet without sin". He never sinned! You say, most Christians know that. Really? I just read this week that 37 percent of young people in the Gen X generation... pardon me, the Gen Z generation. Only 37 percent believe that Jesus was sinless. That’s on the parents, that’s on the preachers, that’s on all of us. But the sinless Son of God went to the cross and died! The battle was engaged, the terms of engagement took Christ to the cross where He bled out, suffocated and died! And every drop of His blood saying, "I love you, I love you, I love you"! Romans 5:8 "God demonstrated His love toward us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us".

Not only for us but as us! He took our sin and our judgment and our wickedness! He died! And this is why Romans 6:23 goes on to say, "The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life"! The free gift of God is eternal life! This is salvation! When Jesus cried out "Tetelestai! It is finished"! The mission was accomplished at the cross. "I saw Satan falling like lightning from heaven". The devil was defeated! And when Christ rose again, there is now life! And therefore, in Romans chapter 5 and verse 1, (remember this?) "Therefore, if you are justified in Christ, we then have peace with God... Therefore since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ"!

Paul said it, I say it again today: This is the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, and I hope you can say it is my Gospel, because Jesus is my Savior and my Lord! We are justified! And then, the battle continues all around us and we live now in enemy territory. You understand this. Satan is defeated at the cross. We are saved by His blood. But Satan has not gone away. There is this mystery of inequity why sin continues to exist; why evil is allowed. Paul spoke of this battle even that is within us in the seventh chapter. He says, My flesh, "I do what I don't want to do and I don't do what I want to do". "Who will deliver me from this body of death"? But then he says, "Thanks be unto God, He has given us victory in our Lord Jesus Christ".

And from there the Gospel moves to the great eighth chapter of Romans which begins with "No condemnation" and concludes with "No separation". These bookends and all that goes with it between Romans 8 describes our winning strategy in this battle for life! That there is no condemnation. We no longer live condemned by our sin. And in this battle that we are facing today, we know, according to Romans 8, the Gospel, that "we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us". "That if God be for us, who can be against us"? This is our victory in Jesus! And this spirit-filled life, the Spirit of God is within us when we pray as our prayer partner.

So God is working perfectly. He is a good God. He does good; He is good. And according to Romans 8:28, "He is working all things together for the good to those who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose". That is His glory, His plan in their lives. For everything that happens in the life of the believer it is for God’s glory and for our good! Because God gives us victory in Christ. And after the interlude of God working in history in chapters 9 and 10, he speaks of this salvation and how we can experience it. And he said, "If you will confess with your mouths the Lord Jesus", Romans 10:9 and 10, "If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart man believes unto righteousness".

In that same Romans chapter 10 he says, "Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God". This Word, this perfect Word of God. "Faith comes by hearing God's Word", and then he adds, "but how will they believe", how will they hear, "How will they believe, unless there's someone to tell them"? Unless there's a preacher, a witness, someone who knows this Gospel, who in the power of the Holy Spirit is willing to give out this Gospel. We know that the answer to all of these questions that we have today are not solved politically or socially or educationally. We need God and His Gospel! We need the glory of God to reign in the hearts of His people that we would be tenacious and triumphant in sharing our faith in Jesus Christ.

What did the apostle say at the very outset of Romans 1? "I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ for it is the power of God to salvation to everyone who believes". So we’re not ashamed of this Gospel. This is why we don’t need another progressive gospel. We don’t need a diluted gospel. We don’t need a dismissive gospel. We don’t need the devil’s gospel. We need the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ because Jesus is the only one who can save. So we’re not ashamed! We overcome evil with good.

Romans 12:21, "We’re not overcome by evil, but we overcome evil with good". And there’s no greater good than sharing and living the Gospel of Jesus Christ, because remember, you are the only Gospel that some people will read. No wonder Paul praises God. Remember, he is writing to Romans in the Greco-Roman world as well where there were many gods! All of them foolish gods! The gods of this world. But the only wise God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! This is good news. No matter how much you may have sinned, no matter how far lost you have been, the Gospel, the essential, eternal Gospel! Jesus will change your life! Jesus died so that you can be forgiven! Jesus lives so that you may live!

When Paul talks about this secret that is revealed, it means that in the beginning God is manifesting His will. It’s not a secret like a mystery that you can’t solve. The mystery of God is that God progressively and perfectly revealed His will and now this is an open secret. Heaven is real! Satan is crushed! Jesus is coming again! God’s Spirit is alive in us. We are preserved and protected and secure and strengthened at the core. We live and we love and we serve and we give all to the glory of God! To God!

To God be the glory; great things He has done!
So loved He the world that He gave us His Son.
He yielded life an atonement for sin and opened the life gates that all may go in.
Praise the Lord, Praise the Lord!
Let the earth hear His voice!
Praise the Lord, Praise the Lord!
Let the people rejoice!

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