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Romans - Introduction - Corps - September 5, 1978

Topic: Romans,logospedia,lp
Format: mp3,pdf
Publication Date: September 5, 1978

ROMANS
INTRODUCTION
Jesus Christ, the man from Galilee, has affected all our lives to the Nth degree. Now the
word, or the words of God, as spoken or written; words of the judges, the prophets, Christ,
Peter, Paul, and all the others who spoke or wrote the Word of God are equal in
importance, otherwise, we reduce the Bible to a level where our respect for the word is
determined by man’s rivalry as to which is most important, rather than the authority of the
word, and the declaration of God which in I Corinthians 2:13 is:
“Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s
wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth;
comparing spiritual things with spiritual.”
The authority of the word is divine. Holy men of God spake as they were moved by the
Holy Spirit, for the prophecy came not in olden time by the will of man, but holy men of
God spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. The difference in the word is made
known by observing to whom, when, special persons, circumstances, what administration
it is spoken or written, and many other signposts that must be observed.
In the gospel of John, chapter 16, we read in verse 12-16:
“I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear
them now
Howbeit when he [it], the Spirit of truth is come, he will guide
you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but
whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show
you things to come.
He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall show
it unto you.
All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he
shall take of mine and shall show it unto you.
A little while, and ye shall not see me, and again a little while
and ye shall see me, because I go to the Father.”
A fantastic record about the man, Jesus Christ. He spoke this before the ascension, and
it is truly fantastic what he said. He said he had yet many things that were to be related but
they couldn’t take it at the time. In verse 13, when that spirit of truth, which came on the
day of Pentecost, that spirit will guide you into all truth. First, it’s called the spirit of truth;
secondly, it is going to guide you; thirdly, the guiding will be into all truth. If it is all truth,
how much more truth is there than all truth? None! That spirit is God in Christ in you
today, but going back, it was God in Christ at that time after the day of Pentecost to those
men who spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit who gave the words which the
Holy Spirit teaches... first you have to hear it. They were given that word. Furthermore,
this spirit is going to glorify me for that spirit is God, via Jesus Christ, and that is why all
things that the Father hath are mine.
We’re going to be working one of the books of the Bible that begins to make known the
spirit of truth that will guide into all truth. That spirit that they heard, that spoke, and that
even showed things to come. The greatness of this revelation was so fantastic, and people
were so excited and moving with it, that Acts 19 has that great statement which is
knowledgeable to all of you – Acts 19:10:
“This continued by the space of two years; so that all they which
dwelt in Asia [Minor] heard the word [logos] of the Lord
[Jesus], both Jews and Greeks.”
That was a tremendous time in the history of the world, that something that is all truth
should be made known. What a tremendous thing, that it is possible to have the all truth. It
is exciting and electrifying! How many times have we not had more error than we’ve ever
had truth handed to us? But to think that the word of God declares that there is an all truth
that the spirit will guide into. Under the ministry of Paul and the other apostles and
disciples, the whole province of Asia Minor heard the “logos,” the word in two years and 3
months, and yet, it is a marked contrast when compared with II Timothy 1:5:
“This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned
away from me; ...”
Before the death of the apostle Paul, the one who was responsible, along with others,
that all this province of Asia heard the word of the Lord; before his death, it is recorded in
God’s word that they in Asia had turned away.
Now I, for one moment, do not believe that they turned away from Paul because they
disliked the clothing that he wore, or the way he looked. It was a lot deeper than that.
Before the death of the apostle Paul, that scripture in John 16:12-16 had been fulfilled. The
spirit had come and had guided them into all truth. And therefore, the Adversary went to
work, to chip away at that truth so that they lost the significance of the great mystery. All
the great revelation of God in Christ in you, the hope of glory; having passed from death
unto life; no condemnation; all of those great truths of what God made Christ to be for the
believer; what He made the believer to be in Christ; all of that was gone before the death of
that man. Knowing these great truths documented from God’s word, you can readily see
why the Adversary is always after the word. He doesn’t mind if you talk about witnessing
– as long as you don’t do it. He doesn’t mind if you say “I’m a Christian and I’m going to
heaven” – as long as you don’t move the word. It is the word that disturbs him, it’s the
word that upsets him, and he does everything that is in his power to deter, to hinder, to
obstruct, to destroy the people who have a knowledge of the word, or begin to compromise
on the word. He’ll do anything; and he did that in the first century.
We went through stuff like what they called “apostolic succession.” If you want to see
apostolic succession, you see it in Acts 20:29:
“For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves
enter in among you, not sparing the flock”
This “grievous wolves,” that’s apostolic succession. That’s what happened after the
apostle Paul’s death. They look nice, they act nice, they sweet talk you, but they have no
word, the word is gone, it’s disappeared. You’ve got to get committed to the word. We’re
going to be in that word where the all truth is made known. I do not know of anything
more because there is no more to know, and it’s all truth! The only problem I will ever
have is with me believing that God’s word means what it says and says what it means, that
it is God’s true word. So I have to get committed to that word. The Cheyenne “dog
soldiers” carried a leather thong, about 20 feet long, around their waist. When they got out
to battle, they would drive down a stake to which they would tie that 20 foot leather thong.
They could not move beyond the perimeter of that 20 feet. There they stood – to win, or to
die. They were staked; they stayed staked! May we get so staked and held in by God’s
word that we just win, or die. Psalm 31:1-5, 11-18, 23, 24:
“In thee, O Lord [Jehovah] do I put my trust [have I
fled for refuge]; let me never be ashamed: deliver [rescue]
me in [by] thy righteousness.
Bow down thine ear to me; deliver [rescue] me speedily:
be thou my strong rock, for an house of defense to save me.
For thou art my rock and my fortress; therefore for thy name’s
sake lead me, and guide me [gently].
Pull me out of the net [trap] which they have laid privily
[secretly] for me: for thou art my strength.
Into thine hand I [will] commit my spirit [life]: thou hast [by
your power] redeemed [delivered] me, O Lord [Jehovah]
God [Elohim] of truth.”
I was a reproach among all mine enemies [because he stood for
the word] but especially among my neighbors, and a fear of
mine acquaintance [relatives]: they that did see me without fled
from me.
I am [became] forgotten as a dead man out of mind: I am like a
broken [missing] vessel.
For I have heard the slander of many: fear was on every side:
while they took counsel together against me, they devised to
take away my life.
But I trusted in thee, O Lord [Jehovah]: I said, Thou art my God
[Elohim].
My times are in thy hand: deliver [rescue] me from the hand of
mine enemies, and from them that persecute me.
Make thy face to shine upon thy servant: save me for thy
mercies’ sake [loving kindness].
Let me not be ashamed, O Lord [Jehovah]; for I have called
upon thee: let the wicked [lawless] be ashamed, and let them be
silent in the grave [let them die].
Let the lying lips (against the righteous) be put to silence [let
them die]; which speak grievous [arrogant] things proudly and
contemptuously against the righteous [one].
O love the Lord [Jehovah], all ye his saints; for the Lord
[Jehovah] preserveth the faithful, and plentifully rewardeth the
proud doer [the one who takes a stand].
Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye
that hope in the Lord.”
What a fantastic psalm! What a fantastic stand to take!
I was inspired to rework something I had read years before, entitled “The Greatest
Teacher,” and I shared it with the Way Corps and I believe it ought to include, of course,
all the Way believers. It’s entitled “The Master Teacher,” and I wrote:
The Master Teacher of all times once assembled a corps, called
disciples, that they might be with him for intimate knowledge
and intensive training in the accuracy of the word, to be pillars,
marking posts, touchstones of right believing. He called them
apostles, meaning “the sent ones.”
The student body was not large, the enrollment was twelve.
Four of them, he found along the shore of a lake, two were
fishing, two were mending nets for their fishermen. One of them
he encountered on the highway. Another, a tax collector at the
receipt of customs. Another was a political revolutionary. The
invitation to all twelve was simple – leave all and follow me,
and I will make you to become fishers of men. There were no
other requirements for matriculation. The Master Teacher lived
with his students almost day and night. He taught them about
God, not only by word of mouth, but daily, in life’s situations as
they observed him molding truth with practical living. The
students were constantly exposed to demonstrations of the
greatest reality, including the finest code of ethics ever
introduced into the laboratory of life. Yet in spite of the
exposure to the Master Teacher, one of the twelve betrayed him
for 30 pieces of silver, the lowest price legally permitted for the
purchase of a slave. Another, under pressure, refused to be
identified with the Master Teacher. Another of the twelve
doubted the evidence of the resurrection and insisted on
touching and seeing, before he would believe. Three out of the
twelve, in the crisis and excitement of the time, gave no
immediate indication that the Master Teacher’s life and teaching
had taken root and was worthwhile. The experience of the
greatest master teacher, the batting average of the greatest
spiritual athlete? Yes.
Now the record of the Master Teacher is not a commentary on
him, but rather an attestation to human frailty, a prime example
of man’s inability or refusal to profit from the instruction in
righteousness, or at least to respond quickly by believing. The
record of the Master Teacher, the man of Galilee is encouraging
to every teacher, for to every teacher come moments when
progress is not apparent, and instruction in teachings seems
barren and empty. Rarely is it given to a teacher to see and
enjoy the full fruits of his teaching. A teacher labors, believing
in planting and watering – the harvest comes later.
Herein is the Master Teacher’s story:
Of the twelve, there were nine, and of the three, there were yet
two. To be sure, there was Judas Iscariot. There will always be a
Judas, or his relative. But there was Thomas, called the doubter,
who overcame his doubts by believing the truth, and labored to
the death in India, in the business of his master. And then, there
was Simon Peter who, like a grain of sand, blew about with
every gust of wind. And yet, his act of denial fades into oblivion
as we behold this spiritual pilgrim with a vision of the beauty of
the integrity and accuracy of God’s word, with an unalterable
commitment to God, His word, and His resurrected son,
journeying steadfastly to a martyr’s death. Was it, and is it all
worthwhile? Yes indeed, for today, you are in the Way Corps.
This year for the Corps, it’s the book of Romans, which is the first of the seven great
Church Epistles. In the seven Church Epistles, we have the perfection and the presentation
of the “all truth” into which the spirit was to guide, according to the gospel of John. These
seven Church Epistles have the perfect embodiment of the all truth in every facet of life
and living. II Peter 1:3 says:
“According as his divine power hath given unto us all things
that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of
him that hath called us to glory and virtue:”
You could not have the “all things that pertain unto life” if you did not have all truth.
Not only is seven, the number of the epistles, perfect, but the order in which they appear
in the Scriptures is also perfect. The epistles to the Thessalonians were written first, and
yet they stand last in every manuscript. The reason being that the hope must be known in
the mind of a believer. He must know and believe Christ is coming back and yet in
practice, its position is last of all the church epistles for it is the final occurrence in this life
here upon earth. The seven churches to which God addressed His seven epistles by the
apostle Paul are Romans, Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and
Thessalonians. The remaining epistles in the New Testament are either general epistles, or
epistles addressed to individuals. The seven Church Epistles present a complete course for
every Christian believer in the administration in which we live. These seven epistles begin
and finish the total education for every believer. They are the spiritual curriculum
containing everything necessary for the believers standing and state, his walk, his total life.
Ignorance of the seven Church Epistles has caused no small amount of error, and therefore,
born-again believers have been susceptible to, and have been blown about with every wind
of doctrine. They’ve had no foundation in which they securely rested, with no anchorage of
the integrity of God’s word on which they could depend. Consequently, they had no basic
principle of truth on which to judge every standard of teaching and living.
Three of the seven Church Epistles stand out specifically and distinctly from all the
others as being treatises, rather than epistles. These three are Romans, Ephesians, and
Thessalonians. They contain so much more doctrinal (right believing) teaching as
compared with the other four epistles. By treatises, I mean that these three are more
elaborate, more exhaustive that the other four epistles that are simply epistolary. The word
epistle basically means a letter, a written message, a communication. It is of literary
excellence, but more brief than the treatises. The four epistles that are placed between the
three treatises are in two pairs, with each pair containing respectively, reproof and
correction in contrast with the three doctrinal epistles.
Romans, Ephesians and Thessalonians contain doctrine, which is instruction, right
believing. Romans is doctrine, under it comes Corinthians and then Galatians. Corinthians
is the reproof and Galatians is the correction. There is one pair sandwiched in between
Romans and Ephesians.
Ephesians again is doctrine. Then under this, you have Philippians, which is reproof,
and then you have Colossians which again is correction. Then the seventh one lines right
up here and that is Thessalonians. Thessalonians is the return of Christ, the gathering
together, where there will be no more reproof and no more correction. That is why there is
nothing after it. So you notice that the order of the epistles is not only perfect, but the
reason for the order is divine and as such, Thessalonians stands last.
Believers must first and foremost understand what God has made Christ to be unto
them, and made them to be in Christ. Until they learn these former truths from the Church
Epistles addressed to the believers, they will simply continue to be occupied with
themselves and will erroneously divide the truths connected with the Lord’s coming.
The book of Romans must be studied and understood if we are going to understand the
balance of the six Church of the Body epistles to the saints who are in Christ Jesus. The
book of Romans stands as the cornerstone and the foundation of all Christian believing and
education. Until its great lessons are learned and understood, all the rest of the epistles will
be as so much confusion. If we wrongly divide and subsequently misunderstand the book
of Romans, we are going to be wrong all the way through. God had the book of Romans
placed first in all the Church Epistles because it is the foundation, the basic stepping stone,
the threshold of all true Church of the Body teaching.
In Romans chapter one, the gospel of God’s grace (the book of Romans) begins with the
following words:
“Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called an apostle, separated unto
God’s gospel...”
And with this begins the record in the word laying the greatest foundational truths of all
time, showing how every man is totally and utterly dead in sin and trespasses, living in
utter ruin and completely helpless. Whether they be the ungodly Gentiles or the
transgressors of the law of Israel, all alike are shown to be spiritually dead and lost; but in
Christ Jesus, justified by God. In the redemptive process, as revealed in the book of
Romans, God shows how He dealt with the root of all transgression, namely sin; as well as
the outgrowth of the nature of man and its results in sins. God reveals how the saved sinner
has been taken out of the deepest degradation in Romans and been justified by believing,
and is united to Christ Jesus in his death, his burial and his resurrected life. Even though
the old man nature continues to harass and endeavors to defeat the born-again believer and
is ever present as a hostility to the truth of God. Yet, for those born-again of God’s spirit,
there is no judgment, and consequently no separation from the love of God which is in
Christ Jesus our Lord, but only rewards.
In the first eight chapters, God indicates what He has done with the root of all sins,
which are an outgrowth of sin, and how the saved sinner not only died with Christ, but is
risen with him, and is made a son and an heir of God, and a joint-heir of Christ Jesus. The
book of Romans begins with man in his utter degradation, and takes him to God. It deals
with man’s necessity. The remaining chapters (after chapter 8) of the book of Romans,
give us the practical application of the principles set forth in the first 8 chapters.
The book of Ephesians starts technically at the close of the eighth chapter of Romans,
and the book of Ephesians does not begin with man’s ruin and being brought to God, but it
indicates and starts with God reaching down to man and as to what God is in Christ to the
believer. Ephesians does not start from man’s necessity, but from God’s divinely designed
purposes from before the foundation of the world. Ephesians is little concerned about what
the saved sinner is made to be in Christ, but what Jesus Christ has been made to be unto
the saved sinner.
The book of Romans is basically given to give us the knowledge of ourselves, while the
book of Ephesians gives us the knowledge of God and His great purposes in Christ Jesus.
In the book of Romans, we have the gospel of grace, while in Ephesians we have the
mystery of this grace totally revealed. In the book of Romans, we see the people of Israel
as transgressors, and the Gentiles as sinners individually, while in the book of Ephesians
we see the one new man called out from both Jew and Gentile. In the book of Romans the
saved sinner is declared dead and risen with Christ; in Ephesians, this same believer is
shown as seated in the heavenlies in Christ, while in Thessalonians, this same believer is
seen forever in glory with Christ. The book of Romans takes up the sinner in his lowest
depths of degradation—Thessalonians deposits him on the throne of glory, to be forever
with the Lord. But midway between Romans and Thessalonians stands Ephesians, which
gives us God’s view of the saved sinner, who by believing, has already been seated with
Him in the heavenlies.
In the book of Romans we are taken out of the miry clay of total defeat, and in
Ephesians, set upon the rock, and then upon the throne, according to Thessalonians.
Nothing in the entire word of God is so dynamically real, nor in all biblical revelation so
unique as Romans, Ephesians, and Thessalonians, standing so distinctly, nothing else like
it found anywhere! These epistles are all ABOUT us, and they are all TO us. Thus, the
entire course of curriculum for the saved sinner, the Christian believer, is completely
complete and perfectly perfected in the seven Church Epistles.
The book of Romans starts at the lowest point – Thessalonians takes us to the highest.
No one can proceed any further in any direction. It is the “all truth.” The book of Romans
begins with every man dead in trespasses and sins, and ends with him on the throne of
glory. The book of Romans begins with beggars, and ends with heirs of God and jointheirs
with Christ Jesus. Having been brought low, we are lifted up. Having been poor, we
are made rich. Having been dead, we are made alive to be caught up to meet the Lord in
the air and so forever to be with the Lord.
In Romans we are justified in Christ, in Thessalonians we’re glorified with Christ where
there is no reproof or correction, only praise and thanksgiving. There are no Church
Epistles addressed to the born-again believers, the saints, beyond this because there is no
higher truth to be taught or learned. This is the “all truth” into which the spirit was to
guide. The consummation has been reached. This is the highest grade in the school of
grace, where the holy spirit is the great and true divine teacher. It is our education in the
school of grace that will make known unto us our proper standing and state in Christ Jesus.
It is certainly something to have such great truth in matters of such great importance.