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2021 online sermons » Robert Jeffress » Robert Jeffress - Good News From a Distant Land - Part 2

Robert Jeffress - Good News From a Distant Land - Part 2

Robert Jeffress - Good News From a Distant Land - Part 2
Robert Jeffress - Good News From a Distant Land - Part 2
TOPICS: Grace-Powered Living, Grace, Gospel

Hi, I'm Robert Jeffress and welcome again to Pathway to Victory. According to some estimates, there are more than 4.000 different religions that exist in the world today. But there's one that manages to stand apart from all the rest. I'm referring of course to the Christian faith. And today, I'm going to explain what makes Christianity different from any other religion in the world. The answer is found in Paul's letter to the Romans. My message is titled today, Good News From a Distant Land, on today's edition of Pathway to Victory.

Last week, we began by looking at an overview of the book of Romans, today we're getting into the text itself. So, if you have your Bibles, I want you to turn Romans 1. Now, remember, Romans was a letter. It was a letter written to a particular group of Christians in a particular setting and yet the letter applies to all of us. By the way, will you notice how God has revealed himself to us? He has revealed himself to us in the written word, through the scriptures. That's one way Christianity is different than other religions. Lots of religions depend upon visions from Allah or Moroni or some other pagan deity and it's passing on the vision from person to person. But when God had a truth that he wanted to communicate to the Israelites, how did he communicate that truth? He was up there with Moses on mount Sinai, God didn't give Moses a vision to relay to the people. Instead God took a chunk out of mount Sinai, he made two stone tablets and he wrote with his own finger the word, the commandments of God.

God has revealed himself in the printed page and everything you need to know about God is right here in this book, everything about Jesus has been deposited in the holy scriptures. That's the Gospel here. What is the Gospel of Jesus Christ? First of all, it is described in the Old Testament. Secondly, it is dependent on Jesus Christ. It is dependent, it is centered on Jesus Christ. Look at verses three and four, this Gospel concerning his son who was born of a descendant of David according to the flesh, who was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead according to the spirit of holiness, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Do you realize that almost every other religion in the world is built around the teachings of the founder of that religion? Confucianism, Buddhism are all based around the teachings of the founder of the faith. Not so with Christianity. Christianity is not built around the teachings of Jesus, a lot of people think they are, no. The basis of the Christian faith is not the teaching of Jesus. It is the person and work of Jesus Christ himself. That's what makes Christianity different than all the other religions. That's what he's saying here. The Gospel depends upon three aspects of Christ's life and he mentions them here. First of all, it's based on Christ's humanity. Look at verse three. The Gospel concerning his son who was born of a descendant of David according to the flesh.

There are people in Paul's day who said, "What, Jesus wasn't really human. He was a spirit and he just appeared to be human". That's what the gnostics believed. Paul said, "No, he was actually born of the flesh". And one reason that is important is because it means he truly identifies with you and me. There is no adversity that strikes against your life, there is no temptation that befalls you, there is no heartbreak or loneliness that engulfs you that Jesus has not experienced himself. And that's why you can go to him as the writer of Hebrew said, confident that we have a high priest who sympathizes with all of our weaknesses. His humanity, the Gospel is also based on his deity.

Look at verse four. He was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead according to the spirit of holiness, Jesus Christ, our Lord. The resurrection did not make Jesus the Son of God but it proved that he was the Son of God. It was his resurrection that proved that when he died, he did not die for his own sins. Instead, he died for our sins. And God accepted that sacrifice and proved it to the world by lifting Jesus up out of the grave. Thirdly, the third aspect of Jesus upon which the Gospel is built is his Lordship. Notice how Paul summarizes in verse four, the passion of Jesus Christ, it is with the name Jesus Christ, our Lord.

Did you know that was the earliest Christian confession of faith? Jesus is Lord. When people were baptized in the first century, they would say before they were baptized, "Jesus is Lord". In Romans 10:9, Paul said, if you will confess with your mouth that what? Jesus is Lord and believe with your heart that God has raised him from the dead, you will be saved. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 12, no man can say Jesus is Lord except by the spirit of holiness. Now, what's the big deal about that? Why is Jesus Christ the Lord so important? That word Lord, and today we sang it over and over again today in the hymns and we didn't plan that out but God planned it out. That word Lord is the word kurios, kurios. It is the same Greek word that was used to translate the Old Testament in the septuagint, the most holy name of God.

Do you remember what the most holy name of God was? It was a name that the Hebrews would not utter. It was so holy, it was the name Yahweh, I am. And it is that word kurios that is the Greek translation of the most holy name for God there is, Yahweh. The one God, the God who is yesterday, today and forever, the sovereign over all the universe. Jesus Christ is Lord, kurios. Now, this may come as a surprise or shock to some of you. Before you start composing your email to send to me, listen to what I'm going to say.

Did you know there's nothing really special about the name of Jesus? It is a very common name. There is nothing special about the name of Jesus. The word Jesus is the Old Testament word Joshua. Many people were named Joshua, means deliverer. Jesus was his earthly name. Have you ever noticed how many places around the world use that name today, heyseuss, Jesus? There's nothing special about the name of Jesus by itself you say "No, wait a minute pastor, I've got you on that one". Philippians 2:10 says, at the name of Jesus, every knee will bow and every tongue will confess. If you read it in the Greek text, you'll notice that it is at the very end. That Paul waits for the climax to announce that name that God has bestowed upon him, the name which is above every other name, the name at which every knee will bow and every tongue will confess, what is the name?

Jesus Christ, our Lord and in the Greek text, it says, Lord, Jesus Christ. Jesus is his earthly name. Christos means Messiah or anointed one but the first and premier name, the name that is above every other name is Lord Jesus Christ, Jesus Christ is Lord. James Montgomery Boice recounts the story of the martyrdom of Polycarp, one of the earliest church leaders, the bishop at Smyrna who was executed for his faith on February the 22nd, 156. You know why he was executed? He would not say Caesar is Lord. And as they drove him in the chariot to the arena where he was going to be killed, the city officials not wanting some great uproar in the city pleaded with him and said, "What harm could there be in saying Caesar is Lord and sparing your own life"? And this is what Polycarp said, "For 86 years, I have been Christ's slave and he has done me no wrong. How can I blasphemy my king who saved me"? Polycarp refused to say Caesar is Lord because there is only one Lord, one sovereign and his name is Jesus Christ. That's what Paul is saying here.

Now, if that is true, if Jesus Christ is truly God, he is Lord, he is sovereign over all, then that has great implications for your life and my life. And Paul talks about that in the third description of the Gospel. He said, the Gospel was not only described in the Old Testament and dependent upon the Lord Jesus Christ, the Gospel demands obedience. Look at Romans 1:5-6 through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith among all the gentiles for his name's sake, among whom you also are called of Jesus Christ. Paul says, if we're going to preach the Gospel, is not just going to be, "You can get out of hell by trusting in Christ". We're going to preach the full Gospel, the Gospel whose ultimate end is obedience to the Lord Jesus Christ. That's what he's talking about here.

If indeed we believe that Jesus Christ is kurios, Lord, sovereign over all, then as Paul said in Colossians 1:18, it means Christ should have first place in all things in our life. If Jesus Christ is Lord, it means he is Lord over your mind. You're not free to just think any thoughts you want to think. You're not free to dwell on any fantasy that comes into your mind and say, "I think I'll just think about that a little bit longer," and take that to itself, mind you, you're not free to do that, your mind doesn't belong to you. Jesus is Lord over your mind. Jesus is Lord, he is sovereign over your desires. You're not free to do anything you want to do. Your desires are under the Lordship, the sovereignty of Jesus Christ. Jesus is Lord of your desires. Jesus is Lord over your vocation.

You're not free just to do whatever you want to do. Your vocation is under the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Jesus is Lord over your time. You're not free to get up in the morning and say, "Gee, I just wonder how I'm going to spend my time today". No, Jesus is Lord, he is master, he is sovereign over your time. He is Lord, he is sovereign over your money. That money you have sitting in your checking account or in your savings account or in stocks but that's not yours. That is on loan to you from God. Jesus is Lord, he's master over your money. Jesus is Lord over this church, the First Baptist Church of Dallas. I'm not free as the pastor to do whatever I want to do. The deacons aren't free to do whatever they want to do. This church belongs to Jesus Christ, it is his church. He is Lord over this church.

And ladies and gentlemen, Jesus is Lord over this nation as well. We're not free as a country to do whatever we want to do under the name of separation of church and state. Jesus is not just Lord over the church and religious institutions, he is Lord over this nation as well. I was talking to somebody recently, they thought they were going to trick me up. They said "Pastor, you say that same sex marriage is a counterfeit marriage and it weakens the family. And you don't think it ought to be legal". I said, "That's right". They said, "Well, if you believe that, shouldn't we outlaw adultery? Shouldn't we outlaw premarital sex? Shouldn't we outlaw these things that destroy and write down the family as well"?

And what they were trying to get me to say was, "Oh, we don't want a theocracy. Oh, that's a poor and a theocracy. We don't want to be like those Middle Eastern countries where they mix God's laws or whatever it is laws with man's laws. Oh, we got to separate our religion from our public policy". But I wouldn't say that, instead I said to this person, "You know what, God is no respecter of people, nations or political systems". God's rule was simple. God will bless any nation that reverences him and his word and he will reject any nation that disobeys him and his law. God's no respecter of people.

I remember reading an article some time ago, it was written by a Jewish rabbi and the title of the article is why Jews should pray for a Christian America. And in that article, this rabbi said the greatest threat to the survival of our nation is not from the right-wing Christians, it is from the left-wing, immoral, Godless people who would try to separate our country from its nation's spiritual heritage. That's the greatest threat to our nation. I tell you, I get so tired of these theological pinheads, nincompoops. They write on these blogs all the time, they're from such and such seminary or they've written such and such what and they've concocted some kind of excuse about why Christians shouldn't be engaged in the public policy and direction of our nation.

I can't understand how anybody could develop a theology that says, "It's all right to give up. It is all right to surrender the direction of this nation to the Godless, immoral infidels of this country". Why do we let that happen? The Bible says blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, kurios, Jesus Christ. Jesus is Lord over this country. The Gospel says that it is built around the person of Jesus Christ, his humanity, his deity and his Lordship. And fourthly, the Gospel demonstrates God's love. Look at verse seven, he finally gets to the recipients of the letter. To all who are beloved of God in Rome, called as saints, grace to you and peace from God our father and the Lord Jesus Christ. This is the first mention of the theme you'll see throughout this book, the grace of Jesus Christ.

What does grace mean? It refers to God's undeserved favor upon me. If you're a Christian today, if you're listening to this broadcast, understand this. You're not a Christian because you chose God. You're not a Christian because you awaken one day and said, "You know what, I think I'll trust in Jesus". If you're a Christian today, it's not because you chose God, it's because God chose you. Ephesians 2:4 says, but God, being rich in mercy because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, he has made us alive together with Christ for by grace, you have been saved. If you don't remember one other thing I say today, remember this. God chose to love you not because of your good goodness, God chose to love you in spite of your badness. He didn't choose you because of your goodness, he didn't choose me because of my goodness. He chose us in spite of our badness. That is the grace of Jesus Christ.

In his epic work on Romans, Donald grey Barnhouse relates a story. It's a French legend about a young man who was not married but he was dating a immoral, Godless woman. And the mother of the boy was a Christian and she prayed that he would be extricated from the relationship with this Godless woman. Even begged her son, "Please end the relationship, it's taking you further and further away from God," and he wouldn't give in. And the woman knowing of the mother's displeasure decided she needed to do something to get rid of the mother. So, she kept begging her lover, "Please kill your mother, murder your mother, get her out of our lives".

The man resisted her pleadings day after day. But one night, in a drunken stupor, the man decided to give in. He went to his mother's house and he brutally murdered her. And then to show his lover that he had done the dastardly deed, he cut out the heart of his dead mother and he took that bleeding heart in his hand and he ran back to his lover to show what he had done. And as he ran, he tripped and he fell on the ground. And the legend says, as he hit the ground, the bleeding heart cried out, "My son, are you hurt? My son, are you hurt"? And Barnhouse says, "And that's the way God loves us". That's the way God loves you. But God demonstrated his love toward us in that while we were yet sinners, he sent Christ to die for us. Paul had experienced first-hand the grace, the undeserved love of Jesus Christ which is the very heart of the Gospel. A Gospel that is truly good news to those who believe.
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