The Apostle to the Gentiles
Paul, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated to the gospel of God 2 which He promised before through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures, 3 concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh, 4 and declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead. 5 Through Him we have received grace and apostleship for obedience to the faith among all nations for His name, 6 among whom you also are the called of Jesus Christ; NKJV
Paul wrote this letter to the Romans while on his way to Jerusalem to take them a collection for the poor saints there.
He had never been to Rome but still had a great desire to go there to preach to them the message God had committed to Paul.
A. A bondservant of Jesus Christ
1. Paul had not always been a bond servant of Jesus Christ.
a. He was raised a Pharisee of the Pharisees.
b. His message was the law of Moses and the tradition of the Jewish leaders.
c. He had been given the best education of his day for a Jewish lad.
d. He had taken it upon himself to persecute the Christians wherever he might find them.
2. While in the process of that, Jesus appeared to him on his way to Damascus in a vison at mid day, striking Paul blind, and leading him to conversion.
a. Acts 9:15-16 . . . he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel. For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name's sake." NKJV
b. After that Paul became just as forceful for Jesus as He had been against Him.
c. Soon God would call Paul to take the message to the Gentiles.
3. The bond servant.
a. Paul uses a term that would be understood by all those familiar with the Old Testaments.
b. Exodus 21:5-6 (NKJV) But if the servant plainly says, 'I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out free,' 6 then his master shall bring him to the judges. He shall also bring him to the door, or to the doorpost, and his master shall pierce his ear with an awl; and he shall serve him forever.
c. Paul was a bondslave. It was something he chose out of love, not fear. There were perhaps millions of slaves in the Roman Empire. For the most part, they were treated not as persons but as objects. If a master wanted to kill his slaves, he could. Some Bible commentators think Paul is using doulos only in its Jewish sense--not in the Roman sense--and is thereby affirming love for Christ. John MacArthur Study Guide
4. Many of God’s greatest men were referred to as servants.
a. Genesis 26:24 (NKJV) And the Lord appeared to him the same night and said, "I am the God of your father Abraham; do not fear, for I am with you. I will bless you and multiply your descendants for My servant Abraham's sake."
b. Numbers 12:7 (NKJV) Not so with My servant Moses; He is faithful in all My house.
c. Joshua 24:29 (NKJV) Now it came to pass after these things that Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the Lord, died, being one hundred and ten years old.
d. 2 Samuel 7:5 (NKJV) "Go and tell My servant David, 'Thus says the Lord: "Would you build a house for Me to dwell in?
e. Isaiah 53:11 (NKJV) He shall see the labor of His soul, and be satisfied. By His knowledge My righteous Servant shall justify many, For He shall bear their iniquities.
B. Called to be an apostle,
a. Paul did not choose this place for himself but was directly called by God.
b. Acts 9:15-16 . . . he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel. For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name's sake." NKJV
c. Later when Paul recounts his call he tells it this way, Acts 26:16-17 (NKJV)16 “But rise and stand on your feet; for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to make you a minister and a witness both of the things which you have seen and of the things which I will yet reveal to you. 17 I will deliver you from the Jewish people, as well as from the Gentiles, to whom I now send you,”
d. When Paul wrote to the Corinthians he put it this way, 1 Corinthians 9:16 (NKJV) “For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for necessity is laid upon me; yes, woe is me if I do not preach the gospel!“
e. Here Paul makes it very plain. Galatians 1:1 (NKJV) Paul, an apostle (not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father who raised Him from the dead),
f. The Greek word for apostle is apostolos which means "one who is sent, commissioned, or dispatched. " It refers to a messenger, ambassador, or an envoy. There were certain vessels referred to as "apostolic boats. " They were common cargo ships. The word apostle meant anything dispatched or sent. Paul was saying he had been sent by Jesus Christ Himself. The term apostle itself appears over 78 times in the New Testament, the majority of those references being used to describe the twelve disciples and Paul. They were specially sent by Christ. John MacArthur Study Guide
g. How special was an apostle?
(1) In one sense every Christian is an apostle of Jesus Christ.
(2) We all have a message that we are to tell.
(3) But when Jesus set up His ministry early on He appointed 12 who He named Apostles. Luke 6:12, 13 Now it came to pass in those days that He went out to the mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God. 13 And when it was day, He called His disciples to Himself; and from them He chose twelve whom He also named apostles NKJV
h. There were some very special qualifications to be called an Apostle.
(1) 2 Corinthians 12:12 (NKJV) Truly the signs of an apostle were accomplished among you with all perseverance, in signs and wonders and mighty deeds.
(2) 1 Cor 9:1 Am I not an apostle? Am I not free? Have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord? NKJV
C. Separated to the gospel of God
1. The idea of separated is that Paul had been set apart by God for thie special ministry of the gospel.
II. The Gospel of God
A. Which He promised before through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures
1. Here Paul is telling them that the Gospel that he preaches is the same one that the Old Testament prophets proclaimed.
2. Some were saying that the gospel was some revolutionary new message that was in no way connected to traditional Judaism. The apostle Paul himself was accused of being anti-Jewish. A sect known as the Judaizers condemned Paul and his message because they said he spoke against Moses, the law of God, and the temple. They accused him of taking Gentiles into the inner temple, where they were forbidden to go (Acts 21:27-29). So Paul--wanting to set the record straight--said the good news of God was nothing new, for it was was indicated in the promises of the prophets who wrote in holy Scripture. There are at least 330 prophecies in the Old Testament that were fulfilled in Christ's first coming. The Old Testament laid the foundation for the coming of the New Testament gospel. John MacArthur Study Guide
3. Paul’s gospel was the same message that the prophets had spoken even though they did not fully understand how God would work it out.
B. Concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord
1. The Gospel is all about Jesus.
III. Jesus Christ our Lord
A. His Son
B. who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh,
C. and declared to be the Son of God
1. with power according to the Spirit of holiness,
2. by the resurrection from the dead.
D. Through Him we have received
2. and apostleship
E. for obedience to the faith among all nations
1. for His name,
2. among whom you also are the called of Jesus Christ;
God has called each of us. Not in the exact same sense that He has Paul but in a similar manner. We are His servants, to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ.