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Many of us have hung a picture on the wall. Think about what hardware you used to hang it. Was it a nail, a hook, or a nail or hook plus a wire? In some cases, it can withstand an earthquake, in others, it won’t survive a toddler’s midday tantrum. The same can be said about the picture frame of the church (and our faith). It holds up the person and work of Jesus, the Son of God, especially His resurrection from the dead.

How strong is that hardware?

Romans 1
1 Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God— the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures regarding his Son, who as to his earthly life was a descendant of David, and who through the Spirit of holiness was appointed the Son of God in power by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord.Through him we received grace and apostleship to call all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith for his name’s sake. And you also are among those Gentiles who are called to belong to Jesus Christ. To all in Rome who are loved by God and called to be his holy people. Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

We don’t believe that Jesus became the Son of God, we believe He always was the Son of God. But there’s something that affirmed that – His resurrection from the dead. The power of God is on display. This was, and is, the culmination of something God was doing from the beginning.

Romans 1
First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is being reported all over the world. God, whom I serve in my spirit in preaching the gospel of his Son, is my witness how constantly I remember you 10 in my prayers at all times; and I pray that now at last by God’s will the way may be opened for me to come to you. 11 I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong— 12 that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith. 13 I do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, that I planned many times to come to you (but have been prevented from doing so until now) in order that I might have a harvest among you, just as I have had among the other Gentiles.

The Apostle Paul wants to visit Rome. He hasn’t yet. And in some ways, that’s caused the Christians to have doubts and questions.

Romans 1
14 I am obligated both to Greeks and non-Greeks, both to the wise and the foolish. 15 That is why I am so eager to preach the gospel also to you who are in Rome. 16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. 17 For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”

The righteous will live by faith – this is one of those religious-sounding phrases we’ve shorthanded to mean “the people who are Christians will have the right belief system.”

Faith is a strange word. We usually equate it with “belief,” but we should equate it to “trust.” It’s more than belief. It’s moving into action based on an assumption.

Have you ever been a part of a company team-building event? You have the t-shirts and participate in the awkward cheers. And there’s the one OG activity we all join during these outings – the classic trust fall. This is when you purposely let yourself fall backward and Jim from Accounting is supposed to catch you.

What are you doing when you do that? You’re taking the action of letting yourself fall based on the assumption that someone will catch you. This is a much closer picture of what faith is.

We can say we believe all sorts of things, but it’s the actions we take in our lives that prove it.

It’s helpful to understand what was happening in Rome with the early Christians. They were in the epicenter of the most powerful and influential empire in history at that point. There was this sense that the message of Jesus wasn’t enough to compete in a world of high culture, center of influence, wealth, more enlightened religion, or military dominance.

It didn’t seem smart enough, strong enough, or powerful enough, but that’s why the Apostle Paul says, “I’m not ashamed.” In the face of everything else the people put their trust in, there’s nothing about This Gospel of Jesus being just another idea, philosophy, or force. It’s the literal power of God.

The word power is so evident and obvious. It has such an impact that causes a response. It’s the same word used in the book of Acts when Jesus promises that we will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes – a power that literally changed the world.

But it’s important to remember that we don’t bring salvation to ourselves. Not by our talent, ability, qualities, achievements, goodness, or efforts. And we can’t save anyone else by these things either. But Jesus can… and He does.

The Gospel – the good news – of Jesus is always enough because it has the power to save EVERYONE.

The power we have hasn’t always moved us into action. It hasn’t had consequences in our lives that cause people to take notice or be in awe.

The biggest problem for the American church is not programming, potential, or possibility. It’s power.

Often, we're either connected to power or driven instead by the wrong kinds of power. In the meantime, there are plenty of people who believe the worst are fully engaged. And in the absence of that, our world – where we've been called to declare this good news and live it – becomes a race to the bottom. Where the loudest, most forceful, and brutal voices win.

We're surrounded by a lot of things that seem powerful. There are a lot of problems that seem powerful. A lot of forces opposed to God and to the good that seem powerful. They seem insurmountable.

But what if we went all in on living unashamed?

What if we trust fell into the good news of Jesus?

*Our Takeaways*

  1. Reflect on the source of your power – what am I turning to? What am I counting on?
  2. Come back to the source of your power – you can do it now, but you need to do it Monday morning, Tuesday night, and every day. Ask for the filling of the Holy Spirit.

It began with Jesus, but the next move is ours. What will we do with it?

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