Welcome to EBible Fellowship’s Bible study in the book of Romans. Tonight will be study 2 of Romans, chapter 1, and we will begin by reading Romans 1:1-4:
Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God, (Which he had promised afore by his prophets in the holy scriptures,) Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead:
I will stop reading there. In our last study, we were looking at the Apostle Paul who had his name changed from Saul. We were told in Acts 13:9 that he was also called Paul.
Then we went to Acts 22, and we saw that as a citizen of Tarsus, he had the privilege of being a Roman citizen. He did not pay for that privilege – he was “free born.” It came along with being born in that particular city. We also saw that when speaking to the Jews or Hebrews, he would emphasize his Jewish heritage and being born a Jew. But when speaking to the Romans that were about to scourge him, he asked, “Is this lawful to do to a Roman citizen?” He had dual citizenship, and it came in handy. It was a help to him at various times. For example, we read in Acts 16 of Paul and Cyrus being cast into prison. It says in Acts 16:35-39:
And when it was day, the magistrates sent the serjeants, saying, Let those men go. And the keeper of the prison told this saying to Paul, The magistrates have sent to let you go: now therefore depart, and go in peace. But Paul said unto them, They have beaten us openly uncondemned, being Romans, and have cast us into prison; and now do they thrust us out privily? nay verily; but let them come themselves and fetch us out. And the serjeants told these words unto the magistrates: and they feared, when they heard that they were Romans. And they came and besought them, and brought them out, and desired them to depart out of the city.
It was a very different story than the hostility and brute force they had used before. It was a special privilege to be a Roman citizen and it carried some weight in the society of that time, so the Apostle Paul would use it to his advantage. But he used it in a Biblical way, as we read in 1Corinthians 9:19-23:
For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more. And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law; To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law. To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. And this I do for the gospel's sake, that I might be partaker thereof with you.
He used whatever God had given him to use – whatever wisdom, understanding, or status due to birth. And all things were turned over to do service to the Lord Jesus Christ. And, of course, we can do the same thing in our lives with our resources, whatever they might be, and by God’s grace, we can use them to the glory of God.
Going back to the book of Acts, we see that Saul was the right man for God to select. God could have used anybody, of course, as God can work through any individual to produce the results He desired in due time. But He selected Saul, who was also a Roman citizen. Before we go to Acts 19, let us to back to Acts 9 to the time of Saul’s conversion and the Lord Jesus Christ’s encounter with Saul of Tarsus. As the Lord spoke to Ananias to tell him that he must go and visit Saul, it says in Acts 9:13-16:
Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem: And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name. But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name's sake.
You see, God had a plan for Saul, and it included bearing Christ’s name or being a Christian, testifying of Christ, the Word, and of the truth of the Word of God, the Bible. And he would do so before Gentiles, kings and the children of Israel. But we read this statement in Acts 19:21:
After these things were ended, Paul purposed in the spirit, when he had passed through Macedonia and Achaia, to go to Jerusalem, saying, After I have been there, I must also see Rome.
He would go to Jerusalem first, and then he knows that he must also go to Rome. We read something similar in Acts 23:11:
And the night following the Lord stood by him, and said, Be of good cheer, Paul: for as thou hast testified of me in Jerusalem, so must thou bear witness also at Rome.
That is interesting. God is saying to Paul, “You have testified of me in Jerusalem and, yet, I will also require of you to testify of me at Rome.” Two testimonies. Two different locations – one in Jerusalem and the other in Rome. And I think you can see where this is leading. What do we know about God’s program of times and seasons for the rain? There is the early rain and the Latter Rain. There are two periods of rain or two outpourings of the Holy Spirit, as the rain typifies the sending forth of the water of the Word of God upon the earth to accomplish salvation. So the Holy Spirit was sent forth the first time on the Day of Pentecost in 33 A. D., and the season of early rain began within the churches and congregations. How does God characterize or typify the churches and congregations? It is through the picture of “Jerusalem.” Remember Galatians 4 that speaks of “Jerusalem above,” which is the whole company of the elect or the eternal church, and there is “Jerusalem which is now,” or earthly, corporate Jerusalem of the churches and congregations, which had within it both the saved and unsaved or the wheat and the tares all during the church age (which is now ended).
So there were two periods of testimony or two times of bearing witness before those children of Israel in Jerusalem; that is, during the church age, God would send forth His people as messengers of the Gospel to carry His Word through the churches and congregations for 1,955 years. But then the church age came to an end, and the early rain stopped falling. Then there was a grievous famine of 2,300 evening mornings from May 21, 1988 through September 7, 1994, and there was no rain and virtually no one being saved in all the world, and none were saved in any churches whatsoever, as God had abandoned the churches and turned them over to Satan. Then in September 1994 came the Latter Rain, the second outpouring of the Holy Spirit and the second period of witnessing and bearing the name of Christ before the Gentiles. It was just as the Lord had said to Saul back in Acts 9 that he would bear His name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel. That was not the actual order. The proper order was more like what we read in Acts 19:21 and what we read in Acts 23:11:
…Paul: for as thou hast testified of me in Jerusalem, so must thou bear witness also at Rome.
He would go from Jerusalem to Rome, and Rome would represent the world where the Gentiles are, as it was not part of Jerusalem or Israel – it was part of the world. And that was the reason Paul was being used by God.
It was also probably why he used two names: Saul of Tarsus and Paul or “Paulus,” which was a more Roman name, and Saul was more of a Hebrew name that was more fitting to witnessing in the churches and congregations, as the Jews or Israel typified the corporate church. But then he would need a name when he was sent forth by God to Rome so that he would be able to fit in there, so he was called Paul.
As far as Paul is concerned, he is a picture of God’s elect, and we can see it just based on this information, but it is actually stated directly in 1Timothy 1, which is one of the Epistles the Lord moved Paul to write.
And by the way, concerning the book of Romans, we are very accustomed to thinking that Paul wrote the Epistle to the Romans, as he was the man God moved to bring forth this information. But, technically, it was not Paul. If we go to Romans 16, it says in Romans 16:22:
I Tertius, who wrote this epistle, salute you in the Lord.
So what is going on? We thought that Paul wrote this Epistle. If you read what was said by theologians or commentaries or if you have listened to many sermons of ministers and pastors, they will say, “The great theologian Paul wrote the book of Romans! Oh, what a brilliant mind!” They refer to the Pauline Epistles, and I do not think I have ever heard even one of them point out that Paul did not literally put pen to paper. That was Tertius, who would have been a scribe, and Paul dictated to Tertius and Tertius wrote it down.
It was much like Jeremiah. Jeremiah had a scribe named Baruch. Remember that in Jeremiah 36 an evil king of Judah burned the scroll of the book, and God had Jeremiah dictate to Baruch the scribe and he wrote it all down again and added many more words.
You know, the minds of (unsaved) men are like “stone” and the spiritual truth of the Bible does not penetrate their minds to grasp that God wrote the Bible. We cannot give glory to man. We cannot say that it was Paul’s brilliance that the book of Romans is so brilliant. That is abominable. That is horrible, because the book of Romans comes from the mind of God. It reflects God’s brilliance, and not the brilliance of a man. The natural-minded man has a “thick skull” or a “hard head,” because if you say to them, “Paul did not write the book of Romans. Tertius wrote Romans,” they would respond, “You fool, do you not understand that they had scribes in those days? Paul was dictating to Tertius, and because Paul was dictating to a scribe, then Paul is the author and not Tertius.” The irony is lost on them, and they cannot see that they have done the same thing and they are the fools when they say that Paul authored Romans because God dictated to Paul, just as we read in 2Peter 1:20:
Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.
It is just like the Admin that goes into the CEO’s office and she takes out a pen and notebook. (I guess that is old-fashioned, as they probably now take out a phone and record.) And the CEO dictates the letter or memo that will be sent to the whole company. The Admin (whom I will call Mary) takes the message from the CEO, goes back to her desk and transcribes it and sends it to the whole company. However, it may come from the Admin’s email account and go to the whole company. And everyone in the company knows that Mary Jones is the CEO’s Admin, so they say, “Oh, here is a memo from Mary Jones, and I do not have to pay any attention to it.” Then they trash it. No – they do not, because men of the world have worldly wisdom, and they are quick to realize, “This is not from Mary. Mary was being dictated to by the boss. This is from our CEO, and we have to read it because there may be some information here I need to know.” And they read it that way, and no one says, “Well, this is just from Mary,” like the atheists and secularists try to do because they try to avoid the fact that the message of the Bible is not coming from man. It is not coming from Paul, Jeremiah or Isaiah or any of the prophets, but it is coming from the Chief Messenger, who is God Himself, as he moved them by dictating to them, just as Paul dictated to Tertius.
It says in 1Timothy 1:15:
This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.
Again, this is the Apostle Paul, and he knows who he is – he has not gotten a “big head.” God will not allow that. Even after receiving so much revelation (from God), remember how Paul said that there were “thorns” sent in his side by God to help him in remaining humble, due to the abundant revelation. It says in 2Corinthians 12:7-9:
And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
That “messenger of Satan” would be Judaizers or false apostles, like the tares that were in the churches and congregations during the first century, and these would have come against him because he was a faithful messenger of the true God. And that always brings opposition, and the Lord moved Paul to recount all the many abuses that he suffered. He did not suffer anything beyond what God told him from the very start that he would suffer. Remember in Acts 9, God said, “For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name's sake.” So Paul did suffer many terrible things. We read that five times he received “forty stripes, save one.” That is, instead of forty stripes, they gave him thirty-nine. And he suffered shipwreck and other trials, because he was an example of all believers in his life. The things he experienced and endured were to be a pattern for the elect children of God. That is what we read here after he said in verse 15 that Christ came into the world to save sinners, of whom he was chief, and then it says in 1Timothy 1:16:
Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.
Those that believe to life everlasting are only the elect. They are not the professed believers or even the so-called true believers outside the churches today, but they were genuine true men, like Nathaniel, in whom there was no guile. So the Apostle Paul was that kind of example or “pattern.” The Greek word translated as “pattern” is #5296 in Strong’s Concordance, and it is a compound word. It has a prefix, “hoop-o” that means “under” or “by” or “with;” and the second word within that compound is a Greek word “too-pos,” #5179. The word “too-pos” is a word used, for example, in Romans 5:14:
Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.
The word “figure” is the word “too-pos.”
In 1Corinthians 10, after speaking of the Israelites’ experience in the wilderness, it says in 1Corinthians 10:6:
Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted.
Then it says in 1Corinthians 10:11:
Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.
It is an example, so we can learn. Paul was a “pattern.” That is, it was by example or by a figure, and that is what Paul is for the elect or those that have eternal life. He would show a pattern that the people of God will follow in the proper time and season.
Lord willing, when we get together in our next Bible study, we will think about that some more. And we will see how the Apostle Paul was a pattern that does apply (or has applied) to us today.