Called to be Sent

Michael Dean-Smith

Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God (Rom 1:1, NIV)

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. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith. (Rom 1:16-17, KJV)

The gospel (τὸ εὐαγγέλιον) simple means “good news” and apostle (ἀπόστολος) simply means “sent one”. And so what we have before us this morning in just these few verses is Paul’s declaration to the church in Rome that “he has been sent with good news”. Now the background to this declaration is stunning because Paul was in fact “sent with good news” by none other than the resurrected Jesus Christ Himself (Acts 9:15; 20:24). So in one sense Paul is special (1 Cor 15:9), yet in another sense, he is simply doing the work that all of us have been called to do; we are all “called to be sent with good news” (Matt 28:19-20).

Now what is the good news? Well this is what is so brilliant about the epistle to the Romans. After Paul explained that the gospel is the power unto salvation (Rom 1:16), he then begins to unpack what that really means. And so all Christians throughout all time have a blueprint of this good news that we have all been called to share with the world.

Chapter 1

Paul begins with bad news by telling us that everyone in the entire world - both Jews and Gentiles alike - are in serious trouble. That’s because we all have a creator and we all know it in some sense (1:19-20), yet through not being thankful towards Him, and by worshipping the things He’s created, He’s pretty much said “thou will be done” (1:21-25). So by nature, we all don’t just reject God but also do things against His good design, which is called sin and unrighteousness (1:26-32).

Chapter 2

We could have been left in that sinful state, but way back God chose a people (the Jews) and gave them His law (2:1-16). However though they had the law, they didn’t follow it, which actually put them in a worse position (2:17-29). So going back to Paul’s first point - everyone in the entire world - both Jews and Gentiles alike - are in serious trouble.

Chapter 3

After explaining the bad news, Paul then comes in with the good by telling us that God had a solution for ALL people (both Jews and Gentiles) all along, and that solution came by sending Jesus Christ into the world to be the sacrifice for sin. Now this is GOOD NEWS because salvation doesn’t come by our works or lineage (it never did) - but by believing and trusting God’s testimony about Jesus (3:21-31).

Chapter 4

Paul ends all of this by proving that being justified by faith isn’t something new - it’s always been the case (even using OT guys to prove his point; 4:1-25). Wherever there has been the revelatory word of God and whenever people have trusted what He has said; there has been justification - God’s word has always been about His Son (4:23-25 c.f. Lk 24:44)

And so in just those few chapters we have the blueprint of the gospel. Chapter 1-2: we’re all in trouble. Chapter 3: God had a solution in Jesus. Chapter 4: the solution isn’t inconsistent with what God has done before - we are saved by faith in Christ and not by our own works. next week we’ll have a look as to where Paul takes things next - and that is to how we are to live out the gospel in our lives in this world (Rom 5-8).

Tags: #gospel , #evangelism

Published: November 17, 2023

Updated: November 17, 2023