Paul and Rome

Scripture: Romans 1:8, Romans 15:20-27
Date: 07/03/2010 
Lesson: 1
The social, temporal and geographical context for the book of Romans is discussed to set a framework for a study of the book.
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Good morning and Happy Sabbath. Welcome this bright, Sabbath sunny morning to Sacramento central Seventh-day Adventist Church in Sacramento California to worship with us as we study God's Word together. A very special welcome to you that are joining us right here in our sanctuary every week faithfully, and a very special welcome to you that join us faithfully every week, live on the internet through radio, television, around the country, around the world, welcome. And thank you for joining us. We know you'll gain a blessing.

We're gonna start our song service this morning, so pull out your hymnals to hymn number 202, "hail him the King of glory." And this comes as a request from donald in australia, barbara in California, nono in england, Simone, clifton and justin in jamaica, chan in malaysia, Israel in Mexico and robert in Michigan. Hymn number 202, we'll sing all three verses. [Music] As we were singing that song I was thinking this world is falling apart around us, everywhere we look. But for those that are looking for the second coming of Jesus, we look at it a little differently, because we know with everything falling apart that Jesus has promised us that he is coming soon. And I'm so excited this morning for his soon coming.

And I hope you are too. If you have a special favorite hymn that you would like to sing with us on a coming Sabbath, I invite you to go to our website at And there you can click on the "contact us" link, and you can request any hymn in our hymnal. And we would love to sing that with you on a coming Sabbath. And I love when you pick my favorite hymns, and this one is no exception.

"How great thou art," our next song, hymn number 86. This comes as a request from kira in Alabama, franklyn in Alaska, cheryl in Arizona, John, jane, sylvia, kenyon and felicia in australia, darlene, robin, heather and jeanne in California, selam and jennifer in Canada, jane, Mark, sherace and davina in england, ari in finland, pamela and jeffrey in florida, lisa in Hawaii, wanda in Idaho, Pauline in jamaica, vivian and larry in Michigan, tina in Montana, nick in Nebraska, melissa in New Jersey, fabian, betsy and jackie in New York, stephen in North Carolina, olivier in Oklahoma, wayne in Oregon, don and cindy in Pennsylvania, victor in the Philippines, abel in puerto rico, cornelius in saint vincent and the grenadines, nathan in south africa, jenny in South Dakota, leon in trinidad and tobago, gerb in Washington, jamie in West Virginia, and muyunda in zambia. It's not just my favorite. Hymn number 86, and we're going to sing the first, the second, and the last verse. [Music] Let's bow our heads.

Our Father in Heaven, how great you are. Words cannot even describe, we can't even begin to praise you the way that you deserve. But Lord, we give you our hearts this morning. We praise you for being our creator, for giving us the Sabbath, that we can come before you to worship you, to honor you and to love you. We thank you for life, for health, for all of our blessings.

And Lord, most of all, we thank you for Jesus for dying for us, that we could be restored to you eternally the way that you ultimately had planned and designed and that you will bring us to again. And we thank you. Now go with us as we study Your Word, Lord, from the book of Romans. Draw us closer to you, draw our hearts closer in communion with you, that we could share your love to those around us. Please be with Pastor Doug this morning as he brings us Your Word.

And Lord, just quicken our hearts to spread your news, your good news of your coming so that we can hasten it with all of the power that you give us, and that we can go home with you to live forever. Lord, we're longing for that day. And again how great, how great you are. We pray these things in your precious name, Jesus. Amen.

Our study this morning will be brought to us by Pastor Doug Batchelor, senior pastor here at Sacramento central. Thank you jenny and jolyne and our musicians. And thank you, friends, for joining us today for Sabbath school at central church. I want to welcome our friends who are watching on television or the internet right now. And this is an exciting day.

We are beginning a new study in the book of Romans. And I'll get to that in just a moment. We have a free offer. The free offer today that we're making available is the "search for the true church." And that's offer number 134, "search for the true church." As we say, it's free. All you've got to do is call and we'll send this to you.

And it will greatly enhance your study of our lesson, we're going to be in Romans. The number is 866-study-more. That's an acronym to help you remember, 866-788-3966. Call that number and we'll send it to you. Also want to welcome our friends.

We've got a new audience that is watching our Sabbath school study time on the new Amazing Facts tv channel, aftv. And this is now airing at another unique time so that people have several options between 3abn and hope channel and aftv, when they want to study and maybe use some of these study times to enhance their Sabbath school presentations. So I want to welcome that new group that are watching on g-19 on the aftv channel. Those of you who are watching, if you notice that things are looking a little different here at central church, we're doing some upgrades here, having some changing in the lighting. Still not quite done with some of the design things we're doing.

We just finished an evangelistic series here at central church. And our Sabbath school class, our regular class, may look a little sparser than normal, and that's because right now we're having the Amazing Facts weimar convocation up the hill at the weimar institute. I was up there last night. I'll be up there later today. We're glad we still have some of our local class that has come for the study.

I've been traveling a lot and so I wanted to be here to study the first study in the book of Romans. And that's probably a good place to segue into this. We are beginning a new quarter study. For those of you who watch these programs and you wonder what are we doing? This is the Seventh-day Adventist Bible study guide. And the philosophy is that we cover an overview of the Bible every 5 years, the primary teachings that can't provide time to go into every nuance of the Bible.

But really to study the book of Romans we need a whole year. And it's gonna be a challenge to get as much as we can in this one quarter of 12 or 13 lessons. But we're gonna be studying that. We'll begin our first study today dealing really with an introduction into the book of Romans. And it's lesson number one today, "Paul and rome.

" And we've got several verses we're going to be considering in our study today. Memory verse is Romans 1:8, you can say it with me. And this is from the new king James version. By the way, that's the version I typically preach from. Romans 1:8, you want to say that with me? "First I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world.

" The faith of the believers in rome. Now Paul is writing to believers in rome, both Christians and jews. Matter of fact, in our lesson here, there's a quote that comes from the book "Acts of the Apostles," page 373, this is the book by e.g. White called "Acts of the Apostles." Who is he writing to here? It says, "in his epistle to the Romans, Paul set forth the great principles of the Gospel. He stated his position on the questions which were agitating the Jewish and gentile churches," in rome, "and showed that hopes and promises which once belonged especially to the jews were not offered to the gentiles also.

Now we might ask this question. If Paul had not yet been to rome and started the church in rome, and it wasn't apollos that was there, who was it that started the church in rome if Paul and the missionaries hadn't been there yet. The apostles hadn't been there. Peter hadn't been there yet. Who started this church in rome? If you look in your Bible, acts 2, just to give you a little bit of background in this.

Look in your Bible to acts 2. You remember when the Holy Spirit is poured out? And it tells us the Holy Spirit is poured out and there are jews who are visiting "from every nation under heaven." And you see here in verse 5, "now there were dwelling in Jerusalem," for the feast of pentecost, "jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven." What nation was ruling the world back when the book of Romans was written? Rome was ruling the civilized world around the mediterranean at that time. And so those devout jews from throughout the roman empire had come to Jerusalem for pentecost. And that it named 16 different language groups specifically. And it talks about "parthians," in verse 9, "and medes and elamites, and those dwelling in mesopotamia, and Judea and cappadocia, and pontus and asia, phrygia, pamphylia, Egypt, parts of libya adjoining cyrene, visitors from--" you all, I wondered if you were following-- "visitors from rome, both jews and proselytes," both jews and converts to judaism, meaning Greeks or Romans or any of the people from these nations who had converted to judaism from the Scriptures.

Now they hear Peter preaching at pentecost, they are converted by the power of the Holy Spirit. After the feast is over, where do they go? Back to their homes scattered throughout the roman empire. Some of them lived specifically in italy and rome. And so they take it back to the jews there and they preached what they had heard Peter say about Christ. And churches were raised up throughout the roman empire from pentecost.

See what happened here? The believers who were converted by the teaching and preaching of the apostles after they had come, you know they were pilgrims basically coming to worship during the feast of pentecost. They accepted Jesus. Many were baptized. Three thousand were baptized. It mentioned 16 different language groups.

You divide 16 into 3,000-- I don't know what that is, but you got quite a few from rome probably, right? See what I'm saying? They then go back to rome, and you've got a self-made church already started. They begin to share with the other jews and maybe some of the gentiles in rome. And a church is formed. But they're lacking in leadership. Now Paul is especially concerned because--well, I'm getting ahead of myself in the lesson here.

We're gonna talk a little bit more about what language was the book of Romans written in? Who is buried in grant's tomb? Grant. What color was george Washington's white horse? White. What language was the book of Romans written in? Not roman. That's a trick. I tricked you.

It wasn't written in roman. You would think you write the book to the Romans in rome in roman, or latin of course. Wasn't written in latin; it's written in Greek. Why would Paul write a letter to the Jewish believers in a latin country in Greek? Well, several reasons. First of all, the Greek language was widely understood in rome and extensively spoken there.

It was considered part of polite education to understand Greek. Keep in mind, alexander the great, he had pretty much conquered that part of the world. And even after he died, his empire was divided among four Greek generals. And the Greek language, religion, culture, education, influence, was spread all the way from Babylon and afghanistan through europe, all through rome. It was the common language of commerce.

You know, as you travel around the world today, what is the international language of business? It's english. It really is. Matter of fact, if you speak english and spanish, you can go to just about any part of the world today and be understood. And i--if you wanted to get a job, you speak english, you could probably get a job in china right now teaching english. The people there are hungry--matter of fact, do you know there are more people in china that speak english as a second language than there are in America that speak english as a first language.

Three hundred million people in America, there are more than three hundred million people in china that speak english as a second language. And as you travel through europe, and when you go to the united nations and all these different countries, the international language of politics and commerce is english. Well that's what happened all through the roman empire before rome took over. The Greek language sort of became the language of commerce and education. Most of the new testament is written in Greek.

So that's one reason the book of Romans was written in Greek. Roman youth were taught this language. It was the second language that they were taught in school when they were educated. There was a Greek translation of the old testament called the septuagint. At that time the vulgate or the latin translation, when Paul wrote Romans, jerome had not written that yet.

So there's no latin translation of the Bible. So the jews are already used to reading Scripture in Greek in rome. You understand? 'Cause they've got a Greek old testament. New testament was still being written at this point. And that's how the book of Romans became part of that.

Where's Paul from? Paul is a jew. He's got roman citizenship, but he's called Saul of tarsus. Taurus--or tarsus was a Greek city. It was in asia minor really, but it was on the mediterranean coast. And Greek was the principle language of that.

It was a center, matter of fact. Tarsus was a center, a leading center of Greek learning. And so there's one more very important reason that he wrote the book in Greek. I'm going to give someone a Scripture. Someone look up Colossians 4:16.

We gave these out at the last minute. So who got that? Did someone get Colossians 4:16? Colossians 4:16, "now when the epistle is read among you, see that it is read also in the church of the laodiceans, and that you likewise read the epistle from laodicea." Alright, so here Paul, he's talking to the church of colossi. And he said, "I'm writing you a letter, but it's not just for you. I want you to spread it around. Read it in the church.

Read it in the other churches of laodicea." So when he sent a letter, was it meant for just one person in one church, or did he intend for them to circulate it? So he wanted the letter to be circulated. Most of the new testament was written in Greek, so that would make sense why it was written in Greek. By the way, who wrote the majority of the new testament? Paul. It's interesting that somebody who started out speaking-- he spoke fluent Greek because this was the language he grew up with. Of course he spoke Hebrew.

He probably spoke in latin-- matter of fact, Paul says, "I'm glad that I speak with tongues more than you all." It doesn't mean that he babbled. It means that he was more widely educated. He spoke in several languages. But Greek was a very comfortable language for him. Much of the new testament was written in that language.

Approximately what is the date and the place where the book or Romans--this is sort of an introduction in the book of Romans--what was the date and place where the book of Romans was written? Paul wrote about 14 of the new testament books. Some dispute that he wrote the book of Hebrews; I believe he did. And this is the first one of Paul's letters that are listed there. Have you ever wondered, "how did they arrange the letters in the new testament?" I mean you go to the old testament and it makes sense that you've got, you know, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus. There's some chronological order there.

Things to get mixed up a little bit in the old testament. They bunched the books of poetry together. And they have the books of history. They got the major prophets. There's the minor prophets.

There's a clustering and there's a reason for the way the books in the old testament are arranged the way they are. How did they decide to arrange the letters of Paul? Does anyone know? Would you like to guess? Most important books first, less important books later? By their size, very simple. The longest of Paul's letters was Romans. You look at them, and you'll notice--you can do a word count on your computer. And you'll see that they kind of arranged 'em with--of Paul's letters they took the longest ones and they put them first.

And then shorter, shorter. And you notice by the end, you get to Philemon. And just got this little bitty letter at the end. And so they're sort of arranged by their length. Now I am not suggesting that some of the books of the Bible are less inspired than others.

You listen very carefully. When you look at the sky at night, you see the heavens. All the stars are part of the heavens, but some shine a little brighter. The book of Romans shines the brightest with the Gospel. It is the central theme of that book.

Matter of fact, one of the reasons that probably those, most of those sitting here, many of those watching are what you would call protestant Christians is because of somebody. He was actually a catholic monk, a priest named martin luther, who was converted principally by reading the book of Romans. He believed in righteousness by works, and in reading the book of Romans, that verse, "the just will live by faith," jumped out of him. Actually it's a quote from the old testament, but it is in Romans. And it changed his life like nothing else.

And so there's a lot of power. Some of you have heard of the Romans' road. If you want to lead a person to Christ, you know what book you can go to, and kind of take 'em through the steps? "All have sinned and fallen short from the glory of God. The penalty of sin is death." But I thank God that we're saved by grace. And you just go through the book of Romans.

They call it the Romans' road. And you can just take a person, point by point. It talks about what the problem is, what the answer is, and what the life is. And you can find all of that by going through Romans. So it's an incredible book.

It's a very deep book. It's going to be quite a challenge getting through it all in just one quarter. So Paul begins with this introduction. By the way, the longest introduction in the Bible is here. Romans 1.

He takes like the first seven verses and he goes into the salutation, introduction. Any of you when you were young, you write some of those sentences that went on and on, lots of commas? And you just kept extending. And you know, your english teachers would say, "now, come on. You got an eternal sentence here. Put some periods in.

You know, stop the thought and recreate the thought and finish it. But just don't-- one on running sentence. You know who's famous for that? Ellen white. She's just got some beautiful, beautiful sentences, but you gotta take a breath before you can read the whole thing. She's got these long sentences.

Paul, when you read the first-- the first introduction or the salutation that you find here in Romans. I'm wondering if I even want to dare read that with you right now. But it's the longest introduction in the Bible. Maybe we'll take a look at that real quick. You know, we're talking about the book of Romans.

We're doing an introduction to the book of Romans. Seems to make sense to me we ought to read a little bit. Chapter 1:1, "Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated to the Gospel of God which he promised before through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, concerning his son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh--" comma-- "and declared to be The Son of God which with power--" comma-- "according to the Spirit of holiness--" comma-- "by the resurrection from the dead--" comma--" through whom we have received grace and apostleship for the obedience to the faith among all nations for his name--" comma-- "among whom you also are the called of Jesus Christ--" semi-colon-- "to all who are in rome--" [laughs] a pretty good introduction. That's very broad and comprehensive in what it's all about. So the date and the place.

He's probably writing from corinth. And there's a little detective work you can do to figure that out. It's his third missionary journey. Part of the reason we know that is it tells us about two of his helpers. Let me see here.

Someone read acts 18:2. We're gonna do a little detective work to find out about--did I give that to somebody? "And he found a certain jew named aquila, born in pontus, lately come from italy with his wife priscilla, because that claudius had commanded all the jews to depart from rome; and came unto them." Alright, so here it's telling us at this point in acts 2-- and this is probably 53 a.d., The emperor claudius evicted all jews from rome. This is the point when Paul meets priscilla and aquila. So he had not meant them up to that point. In the book of acts, it says here's where he met them when they had been evicted by this one emperor.

They later were allowed to come back into rome. But at this point they were evicted from rome. Now who will read Romans 16:3? "Greet priscilla and aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus." Alright, so claudius tells them all to leave rome about , 54 a.d. That's when he meets them. He's not in rome when he meets them.

And then at the end of the letter, he says, "please greet them for me." So it's happening after that. Near as we can figure, this is near the end of his third missionary journey, so during a three month period when he was near corinth there. And so the date is probably about 57 a.d. Is when Paul writes this letter. It's also before the Romans had attacked Jerusalem.

We know that. So that's about the time and the place that he's writing from. It's probably when he was around cenchrea. Um, let me see here... Here we go, Romans 16:1, I was looking for it.

"I commend to you phoebe our sister, who is a servant of the church in cenchrea." And so you see there, that was right near corinth. It's not very far away. Alright, let's talk about the personal touch. Why did he write this letter to the church in rome? Now, he probably wrote it during the same time he wrote the letter to the Galatians. Any of you remember what the theme was in the letter to the Galatians? They had gotten mixed up with legalism.

There were some predators. These were some of the either jews, or Jewish converts to Christianity that were now going around to these Christians and saying, "look, unless you keep all the Jewish law, you can't be saved." And they're saying, "you've got to be circumcised. You've got to keep all the laws of Moses. You've got to keep the feast days." And they were going-- they were not trying to convert people to Christ. They were trying to convert Christians to their way of thinking.

By the way, you ever met groups like that? Some--there's a whole bouquet of different groups. And they don't go out and try to reach people on the street and bring them to Jesus. They got some kind of special pet doctrines. And they go to churches and they recruit churches to their pet doctrines. You've got 'em--i know, we pastors, we're periodically running into people and they're taking our members, and they pull 'em aside, and they hammer 'em out about certain pet things.

They say, "you got to keep the feast days." Or "do you realize that the trinity is not biblical?" And they got these special pet doctrines. And they're not out winning people to Jesus on the street. Their burden is to convert existing believers. That's what was happening to the church of galatia. Because they traveled by land back then, Paul thought--and they had couriers that carried mail faster than you can travel by land, roman roads, Paul thought, "if I can get a letter to the Romans and help them brace themselves for these heresies before they get there, I'm going to lay out for them what the Gospel is.

" And so he wrote this letter to say, "I want to make a clear, complete presentation of what the Gospel is before these deceivers get to you and start to mess with your heads." And we're kind of thankful that he did that, because it made a real clear presentation of the Gospel. What's the best way to fight counterfeits? By studying the counterfeits, or making a clear presentation of the truth? When a person really is grounded in the truth, they immediately recognize a counterfeit. They say [sniffs] "doesn't pass the smell test because I know what the true is." And so Paul said, "I'm going to share with them what the truth is." By the way, I've got just a little--you won't be able to remember all this, but some of it will sink in. There's a wonderful order to the book of Romans. And since this is the introduction, probably it's a good place for me to do this.

Here's kind of an outline. You know, I wonder if what I ought to do is post this at the central church website so that if people want to they can see this outline as they go into the study. It won't be there today, but I'll send it to our church secretary and you'll have this. Here's an outline of the book of Romans. First of all, you've got in the first section, "principles of the Gospel," Romans 1 through 8.

It's talking about the question of sin, the question of salvation, the question of sanctification. Secondly, you've got the problems of the Gospel are addressed in Romans: God's past dealings with Israel, his present dealings with Israel, and God's promised dealings with Israel. Third you've got the practice of the Gospel. And that's Romans 12:1 though Romans 16:24: laws of the Christian life, the believer's spiritual life, the believer's social life, the believer's secular life, it's a beautiful order to it, it's a symmetry to it. The laws of Christian love, love's moral conscious, and this is chapter 13, love's merciful conduct, love's mature convictions, love's missionary concern, love's many contacts, love's mighty conquests, love's marvelous companionship.

And that's the last chapter, Romans 16:21-24. And then you've got the epilogue and the end. So there's a beautiful order. There's an outline. There's a message.

There's a central focus of Romans is, "make the Gospel clear." And he really takes it from the front seat to the back seat and covers everything. That's why it's such a wonderful book. So another reason Paul wrote the letter is not just to prevent the heresy from taking root. Someone asked us years ago, "Pastor Doug, why do you want to go to New York city and do an evangelistic series there? It is such a hard place to do evangelism. Everybody's so busy.

It's so expensive. Why in the world would you go to New York city? And I thought, well, you want to go somewhere that is the crossroad of communication. You want to go somewhere that is sort of the touchpoint of the world. And you know I grew up in New York city, born in California, but lived about half of my life in manhattan. And if you can get a message out in New York city, because people are coming and going from New York city for business and for the Marketing of the world and for communications and for media, it's such a central point, if you can reach people there in that city that is the confluence, the crossroads of so much of the world, they call it the "big apple," then it spreads from there.

You know, if you want to flavor a stream, you go to the source, and it flows out from that place. And so what was the crossroads of civilization of Paul's day? It's rome. Matter of fact, I've got a little amazing fact here about the roman roads. I got a few Amazing Facts I'll share with you about rome. The roman roads are part of the reason they conquered the world.

"At the height of its power the roman empire had a road system of about 50,000 miles--" now keep in mind that's built by hand by then. They didn't have bulldozers and caterpillar graders back then. "Consisting of 24 highways radiating from the city of rome and a network of roads covering every important conquered province. The roman roads were three to four feet thick." So when you're thinking 50,000 miles, think about how much work is involved in building roads that are 50,000 miles, feet thick. And all of them were at least wide enough for one chariot to pass on.

Some of them were wide enough for two chariots to pass each other. Most of them were actually, the main roads. And oh, another amazing fact. You know the distance between the rails on the American railroads are all the same. Of course the trains have to all fit the same railroads.

I forget, it's like four feet, eight inches. I forget what the measurement is. But you know why? Because the people who built the original railroad cars that travel on the American trains, the jigs and machinery and the templates that they used were based upon the American wagon wheels. Why were the wagon wheels that measurement? Because all of the ruts that were across the country, that's how wide they were. And if you rode the wagons in those ruts, they'd break.

Why were they that distance? Well, because when the europeans came over, their jigs and their machinery for their wagons all had that measurement. And so they just used that same measurement on the American wagons. And then it was translated to the American rails. Well, why did they in europe have their wagons at four feet, eight inches or five feet, two inches? I forget what the measurement is. Well, it's because all of the wagons in europe were based upon the roman roads.

The roman roads all were designed for a chariot that had that same gauge. Why did they pick that distance for the chariot wheels to be apart? Because they needed it wide enough to accommodate the rear end of two horses. This is true. And so all of the roads and the railroads of North America, the gauge for them is not based upon what is the safest width for them to go around a corner; it's based on the roman chariot and the hind end of two horses. They found if they tried to change it in europe, because the chariots had worn grooves in the roman roads, that if they made them a little wider for the wagons that it created stress on the wheels and the wheels would eventually break off.

So they needed to make them the same distance. So the roman roads have influenced our whole world, including the American railroads. A little amazing fact. I'm not done yet. Their roads were "three to four feet thick, three layers of successively finer stones.

" They started with sand and then they had fine stones finally overlaid with very large stone. Any of you been to europe? Have you seen some of the roman roads that are still there? You know, the only other person or people that built roads to match the roman roads were the inca. The inca indians had thousands of miles of road that stretched just about north to south in south America. But they were designed for men to run on so they could--and the indigenous mountain-dwelling indians there in south America, their lungs were so formidable, they could run all day long. I think they chewed on cocoa leaves too at the same time.

But they would run all day long delivering messages to the different leaders on the towns. And so they had these inca roads. So Paul wanted to get the message to go to rome because rome was in the crosshairs of civilization. Now you read for instance Romans 15:22-24. "For this reason I also have been much hindered from coming to you.

" He wanted to come to the church in rome, but he had been hindered. "But now no longer having a place in these parts," since I finished my work where I'm at now, "and having a great desire these many years to come to you, whenever I journey to spain, I'll come to you." Paul had a great burden to make it to spain. And we never found out from history if he made it. Rumor is he made it, but we can't prove it. "I'll come to you.

For I hope to see you on my journey." Now rome was the beachhead for the western empire of the world there. And he wanted to get to see them. Alright, let's read Romans 1:15 please, jan. "So, as much as is in me, I am ready to preach the Gospel to you who are in rome also." Alright, so at this point evidently, and he sends a greeting to priscilla and aquila, the moratorium on jews in rome had stopped at this point. Did Paul ever realize his desire to get to rome? Yeah he did, more than once.

Acts 28:16--he didn't come the way he planned. You know God sometimes surprises us. He thought he was going to take carnival cruise lines to rome. Or that he was going to take a greyhound or something and he would just get off like all the other tourists. He came with a military escort to rome.

Acts 28:16, "now when we came to rome, the centurion delivered the prisoners to the captain of the guard; and Paul was permitted to dwell by himself with the soldier who guarded him." Paul, his third missionary trip, he was up there in corinth. And he wrote this letter. He said, "I'm hoping to come to you first. But I'm gonna take some, I'm gonna take some financial relief, 'cause there's a famine in Jerusalem, down to Jerusalem. Right after I do that I'll come, and you're on my list, on my way to spain I'll stop and I'll see you.

" Well, what happened when he took that financial relief to Jerusalem? Paul was spotted in the temple. He had shaved his head, and they thought that he brought gentiles in the temple. He was arrested. There was a riot. They tried to tear him limb from limb.

He tried to preach to the crowd. He went to jail. Forty jews made a pact not to eat or drink until they killed him. They had to transfer him from Jerusalem down to caesarea to keep him alive. And finally when he realized that there was a plot from the jews to basically frame him, he appealed.

He had a right as a roman citizen to appeal to his judge, to the supreme court which was always cesar. Not every case went to the King. But if there was some dispute, and if you've been kept in jail for a certain amount of time, you could appeal to cesar. Well, that's not easy to get you to cesar, but he had a right as a roman citizen to appeal his case to cesar. And so after much expense and many months and shipwreck and all kinds of problems, he got shipwrecked in malta, finally he makes it to rome, but he had so impressed the soldiers and his guards that they just basically let him--he was under house arrest, but he was able to have friends come and go freely.

And then you read about that. Acts 28. This is how the book of acts ends. Acts 28 you see the fulfillment of Paul's dream to be able to preach in rome. It says, "Paul dwelt there two whole years.

" You know how long it took to get your case to cesar? I mean you think we got a long waiting list at our supreme court. It took two years before nero--they had a couple of different emperors during the time he was there, before the emperor could hear him, nero ultimately had him executed. Two years before he could get his case before the emperor, he was released at one point, traveled some more and then was rearrested again. What did he do while he was under house arrest? "Preaching the Kingdom of God and teaching the things which were concerning the Lord Jesus Christ." Preaching the Kingdom of God. Did Paul make it to rome to preach the Kingdom of God? Two years.

Matter of fact, he had a permanent church. It was his house. And everybody came to his house. And he had a roman guard there in his house to protect him so none of his enemies could hurt him. Could you see how God's design, how wonderful that was? And so he's wondering, "why did I get arrested? I didn't plan to come to rome like this.

" But it ended up being-- working out for the good and the proclamation of the Gospel. Oh, I was going to tell you something else about rome. While he was in rome he was arrested--remember on that trip? A number of soldiers were guarding Paul and the other prisoners. And I don't have time to read you the whole story in the book of acts. But he was an incredible witness on this voyage to the roman soldiers that were guarding him and all the other prisoners.

Paul prayed on the boat, not only for the prisoners, but for the soldiers. And they all survived because of the intercession of Paul. And all those soldiers heard Paul say, "the angel of God has appeared to me tonight," during the storm. "And I've prayed for you, and God has heard my prayer. And he's promised me not one of you is going to perish in this shipwreck, even though the ship is going to hit the rocks during the storm and be broken to pieces.

" That was unheard of. Usually when that happened all souls were lost. And he said, "I've been told all souls will be saved from the shipwreck." And the roman soldiers wanted to kill all of the prisoners, but they said, "you know, we don't want to kill Paul. Because we don't want to kill Paul, we're gonna spare all of the rest for Paul." He made a tremendous impact. Then while they're waiting, these soldiers are guarding Paul, he's on the island of malta, and he's healing people.

They're watching the miracles of Paul. And so the soldiers were influenced. Now why is that important? Did soldiers stay in one place in rome or did they get transferred from place to place? Just a little amazing fact here about the military superpower. "For about 500 years rome was the undisputed military superpower of the world at that time," well especially the western world. "This was in due part to their heavy investment in their military and war machines.

" The Romans had the most sophisticated war machines of the time. Now this is just extra information. "Today--" you know who the military superpower is? "There are about 195 countries in the world and most do spend something on their military budget. Of all these countries however, the United States of America spends the most, taking up 42% of the entire world's military expenditure is the United States. In other words, almost half of the world's military investment is made by one of the 195 countries.

In fact, if you add together the military budgets of europe, china, russia, japan, the middle east, australia, east asia, latin America, you still have a sum less than just what the u.s. Spends on its military. In 2009, that was $607 billion compared to the next, second place is china, at $85 billion." China: $85 billion, u.s. $607 Billion on the military superpower and our war machines. Rome had a big heavy investment in the military.

So one reason that Paul wanted to go to rome. You've got these soldiers. They come to rome for r-and-r and then they're sent to every corner of the empire. They would get a furlough for a while. They might get a year off.

Some were lifetime servants. Then they'd go. And so these soldiers were also hearing the Gospel. They were on rotation guarding Paul. They're hearing Paul preach every day.

You know, we do a radio program each night, each Sunday night on kfia here in town. And we rent the radio station right there from salem broadcasting, because they've got the crew there, they've they've got the equipment, got the satellite broadcast. And we've just found it's more economical for us to rent their existing equipment. And we bring in some of our volunteers and we use their engineer. And we've done this now for 15 years.

And the engineers have changed over the years. It's whoever salem hires to engineer our program. But they have to listen to our program. And you know, we've had several of the engineers that have showed up at church because they've got to sit there and listen to these people call in Bible questions on a plethora of different subjects. And then they start asking us questions.

And I can see sometimes they're not paying attention to the engineering, 'cause they're looking through the glass. And they're going like this... "Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah." That happens with our cameramen sometimes. Our cameramen get so involved in listening, I hope, that they don't always hear what the studio is saying when they say, "frame. Focus.

" Or whatever they're telling them to do. [Laughs] nod your camera if that's true. You just nod your camera. I see the cameramen all smiling. Oh yeah, that's right.

You know, we had one of our engineers at kfia, a really nice gentleman. And we always wondered, he was listening, but he didn't comment very much. Young man died unexpectedly, just had some blood valve problem. And a wife and three children. He was just about 35 years old.

His wife's father was a pastor, and he was a member of another church. And the wife called us up and said, "we'd like to have the service at your church." This is for our engineer. I said, "really? I'm honored." And she said, "yeah. He really believed a lot like you guys after listening. And we'd like to know if you'd do the service, and we could do it at your church.

" And so what do you think was happening to those soldiers and those other roman slaves that were in the palace that were listening to Paul as he was preaching? The Word of God doesn't go forth void. It accomplishes something. So Paul was preaching to and reaching the people in rome. "Called to be saints" is our last section. Okay, somebody, will you volunteer to read for us Romans 1:7? "To all who are in rome, who are loved of God, and called to be saints: grace and peace to you from God our father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

" Thank you very much. "To all who are in rome, beloved of God, called to be saints." Now when you think about saints, what do you think of? You know, sometimes people say, "the Revelation of saint John." And you think of saint John. And you might have images of him with a, you know, pious look on his face, some middle ages painting where he's got a solar disc around his head. And he's emanating with light. And these are holy people.

But the Bible tells us they're just like you and me. Paul had a unique experience. He was a very zealous, educated, motivated apostle. But he was a man. And you know, we have pictures of mary the mother of Jesus, and it makes her look like she's part alien and part human.

But she was just as human as you are. And Paul is saying the same way that the apostles have called to be saints, we are called to be saints. And so let me give you a few other verses on that. Corinthians 1:2, Corinthians 1:2, "to the church of God that is in corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus--" what does sanctified mean? It means they are made holy-- "called to be saints." Now of those of you who are here at central church today, I'm wondering there must be that elite select group in our midst today that have been called to be saints. Do you know who you are? You've got that special identification.

You've been called to be saints. You're that special cast of people within the church, part of that secret society that have been called to be saints. Who are you? Hiding in our midst are the ones called to be saints. Or is that everybody? Everybody. We've all been called by God.

What a privilege to be what? To be holy. Called to be saints. Another verse for you, Thessalonians 4:7. And I could go through verse after verse on this subject. Thessalonians 4:7, "for God did not call us to uncleanness, but he called us to holiness.

" You know, the Bible tells us, God says, "be ye holy, for I am holy." And so he's called every one of us to lives of holiness. So he introduces the letter in Romans by saying, "God has called all of you, jew and gentile, to lives of holiness." You know, that's one of the central messages of the book of Romans. Now when we read what Paul says, I want to just-- I see I've got a minute left. Turn with me please to the second book of Peter, 2 Peter 3. Something is said about Paul that is not really sad about any other Bible writer.

Verse 15, 2 Peter 3:15, I want to read verse 14 too, "therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by him in peace, without spot and blameless." We are to be diligent to be found without spot and blameless. "And account that," notice what Peter says, this is not Paul, this is Peter. Right after he says that, he says, "and account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation, as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, as in all of his epistles, speaking in them of these things." Was Peter acquainted with Paul's epistles? Evidently. Does he affirm them? Yes. "Speaking of them in these things in which are some things hard to understand, which those who are untaught and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they also do the rest of the Scriptures.

" This is a very important verse. Let me tell you why. Peter is comparing the writings of Paul, he says, to the rest of Scripture. He says they're twisting Paul's epistles as they do the rest of Scripture. Just the very fact that he's putting Paul's letters in with Scripture, tells you the high regard that Peter has for Paul's writings.

But he makes a note. He says, "Paul is very wise and he writes some things that are deep and difficult to understand. Romans, we are just going to go into the deepest waters of Paul in Romans." And what does Peter say? "Some people twist those things and they use it as an excuse for lawlessness. But he then goes on to say, "these are inspired writings. Don't be fooled by those who might twist them.

" So we're going to be delving into some of those deep things in these weeks and months ahead, talking about the road of redemption in Romans. And we are out of time for today's study. Before we sign off I want to remind our friends who might be watching or listening on the radio, we do have a free offer. It's the book, "search for the true church." And we'll send it to you if you simply ask. Request offer number 134, and call that number 866-788-3966.

We'll send that to you. If you've been encouraged by today's message and would like to know more of what God's Word says to you today, Amazing Facts invites you to visit our educational website at At Bibleuniverse, you'll discover exciting truths that will fill you with peace and purpose. The mysteries of the Bible will unfold for you at your own pace. Visit today; expand your universe. If you've missed any of our Amazing Facts programs, visit our website at There you'll find an archive of all our television and radio programs, including "Amazing Facts presents." One location, so many possibilities,

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