Tuesday, June 29, 2010

“Paul Writes to Rome”

About 22 years ago our friend, Donn LaTour, invited my husband Todd and me to attend
a study on the book of Romans in the Evans Hall Amphitheater at Loma Linda
University. We hadn't heard of Pastor Jack Sequeira before, but Donn assured us that this
was a seminar we didn't want to miss. Todd and decided to go for a couple of hours.
As we settled into our seats that Sunday morning, we were blessed by the powerful
message from the book of Romans. Pastor Jack expounded its truths verse by verse. We
were not flitting from one proof text to another. The preacher mined the Word deeply,
bringing forth treasures of truth that made our hearts burn within us. By the time we
reached Romans 5, I was overwhelmed with the beauty of this gospel.

"Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord
Jesus Christ . . . . For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the
ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man
someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that
while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been
justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him . . . Therefore, as
through one man's offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so
through one Man's righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of
life" (verses 1, 6-9, 18).

At our lunch break that day, we decided our Sunday afternoon projects could wait. We
stayed for the whole seminar. The powerful truth that came to me that day was two-fold:
First, I saw that my need for a Savior was greater than I had imagined. I saw how lost I
was--along with the entire human race--through Adam's choice as well as my own.
Second, I saw that what Christ had gained for me was much greater than what Adam had
lost. I was hopelessly lost in Adam, but Christ did something much more for the whole
human race, and for me personally and unconditionally. I recognized that if I am lost at
last, it will be because my unrelenting, stubborn will resisted the greatest motivation in
the universe--the agape love of Christ. I recognized the dynamic power of the gospel as
revealed in the cross of Christ. This truth had emboldened Pastor Jack to preach the
gospel fearlessly in Africa, even when his life was threatened. Shipwreck, imprisonment,
torture--nothing could keep the apostle Paul from sharing the story of the. I wanted that
kind of faith and that kind of assurance--not from man--but in Christ!

Almost 122 years ago, two young men startled the attendees at the 1888 General
Conference Session, convened in Minneapolis by expounding the gospel in the books of
Romans and Galatians in a manner similar to how Pastor Jack preached the word to us in
Loma Linda. It made some people squirm back then, and it makes some people squirm
today. This message lays the glory of man in the dust. The gospel isn't Christ plus me.
The gospel is "Not I, but Christ." It hurts for our sinful nature to die, and the gospel
demands that self must die--every day!

This quarter you have the privilege to discover first-hand the power of the gospel of Jesus
Christ. Romans was Paul's masterpiece treatise on the gospel. It was written to people
living in the capitol of the most powerful nation on earth--Rome. Americans today share
much in common with our early Roman church brothers and sisters. Like us, they lived in
a country ruled by a republican government. Wealth abounded, a vast network of roads
all "leading to Rome" made travel much more convenient, and the society of that day
delighted in the dramatic presentations of the theater and sports.

More than any preceding generation, ours is saturated by the media--music, movies,
internet, and print--which spews forth a knowledge of sin and evil at a rate that dwarfs
the magnitude of the oil gushing from the Gulf ocean floor.

Praise God, there is another fountain flowing from our Savior's side, a crimson stream
that cleanses our hearts from the defilement of sin. There is no human solution to our sin
problem, but "there is a fountain filled with blood drawn from Emmanuel's veins, and
sinners plunged beneath that flood lose all their guilty stains."

This quarter's lessons on Romans begin as yet another General Conference session of the
worldwide Seventh-day Adventist church convenes. In His mercy God is giving us
another chance. Please join me in praying that the precious light of the gospel of Jesus
Christ will shine abundantly on the attendees at that session, as well as believers around
the world. This message is needed to prepare a people for translation, and strengthen
them to endure the trying times before us. Praise God for the gospel of Jesus Christ!
"For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for
everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness
of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, 'The just shall live by faith.' "
Romans 1:16, 17.

--Patti Guthrie

E.J. Waggoner wrote a verse by verse commentary on the book of Romans. His treatise, Waggoner on Romans is now available in book form and will prove a valuable study aid for teachers and students alike.
You may access the complete book at: http://www.1888mpm.org/book/waggoner-romans-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Waggoner on Romans

For Jack Sequeira sermons on Romans click here: MP3; Windows Media; Real Audio