I just finished preaching Romans 8 this past Sunday. I actually preached ten separate messages on the chapter. Two of the ten messages were based upon Romans 8.28-30, which I just finished re-recording into one message due to technical difficulties. However, Romans 8 is the culmination of a larger context of demonstrating God’s righteousness as a believer in Romans 6-8.
I think my illness hastened my way to Romans. It’s a book that has always intimidated me. The reasoning is close and precise. I believe I heard my mentor preach through the book twice. I’ve studied the book in Bible college. I’ve read several commentaries and Bible studies on the book. But I really didn’t want to leave this earth without preaching this great letter. Of course, I have zero control over that.
Since Romans is very intimidating, sometimes preachers lose the larger context of the letter. Sometimes preachers gloss over important, crucial details in the letter. I want to avoid two dangers: 1) being myopic and 2) missing important information and making a critical error in interpreting the text. I preached five messages on the need for righteousness (Romans 1-2) and four messages on the gift of righteousness (Romans 3-4). I preached two messages on the benefits of righteousness (Romans 5.1-11) and one on the contrast to righteousness (Romans 5.12-21). I have now preached 16 messages on demonstrating righteousness (Romans 6-8). So, the total messages so far equal 29.
There are two more major sections in the letter. We are going to move beyond the revelation of God’s righteousness (Romans 1-8) to the vindication of that righteousness (Romans 9-11), and then finally, the application of God’s righteousness (Romans 12-16). That’s a pretty standard breakdown and outline of the book, I think.
Romans 9-11 are about Israel’s past, present, and future. The way God deals with Israel vindicates His righteousness. His choice of Israel, rejection of Israel, and yet future restoration of Israel certainly will cause us to ask, “Who has known the mind of the LORD” (Romans 11.34)?
The application of God’s righteousness will be reflected in four major areas of life broadly categorized in Romans 12-16 (our duties to government, support of one another, obedience, and fellowship – still tweaking these areas). If I keep the total message count between 50-60, I think that will be a decent pace.
Many of my friends and fellow preachers would take issue with my view of Romans 8.28-30. They will certainly take issue with my handling of Romans 9, I think. But the question which has occurred to me over and over as I prepare is, “What can I do?” You have to preach from the understanding the Holy Spirit gives to you. All this to say that if you truly want to know your limitations as a man, preach the Word of God. Preach Romans. Indeed, what can I do?
We all agree that God is good, and God is great! I am thankful for the fact that I have these messages in manuscript form and recorded. My thought is that I will always be able to teach my sons as long as they live. I hope they will listen to these recordings or read my manuscripts. While I don’t keep a journal (other than this blog), they will find my thoughts in my sermons. More importantly, they will find me thinking God’s thoughts after Him. What else can a man do for his sons?