Tuesday, February 7, 2017
"When in Rome..."
In August, there were forms in the bulletins for people to request particular sermon topics or series. During the month of February, I am going to be responding to one request in particular. “Romans.”
I am going to begin with an assumption that the word “Romans” meant, in fact, the letter titled ‘Romans’ in the New Testament and not the historical Romans or current Romans. If you will permit that particular assumption, I think we will all be on the same page.
Romans is a different kind of New Testament writing. It is a letter, more or less, that has come to us as one of the epistles of Paul. What makes it unusual is that it is a letter Paul wrote to a church that he did not found. All of his other letters were written to communities of faith that he had founded.
The letter to the Romans was to a Christian congregation that was already in existence. The letter was also to a group of people that Paul had not yet met. So in some ways, this is Paul’s letter of introduction. His plan was to meet the church at Rome and then venture onward to Spain, and his letter was a letter to introduce himself before he arrived in passing to other venues.
Romans is a big topic and one that could certainly merit many, many sermons. I am going to limit them to four. They will focus on some of the larger themes of the letter. The first week will be an examination of the basic theology of sin, grace, and redemption that Paul held. The second week will focus on what Paul would consider the end result of faith. Week three will be on the sensitive topic of inclusivity from the point of view of Paul, and finally we will conclude with Paul’s particular call to ethics: how do we live as Christians?
I hope that you will come and join us as we spend some time in the letter to the Romans. It won’t be an exhaustive look, but I think it will be informative and hopefully transformative.