Romans 16:25-27

Have
you ever tried to put into one sentence what a magazine or newspaper article,
a book you’re reading or a movie you’ve seen, is all about?  All you want to
do is state it in a simple, clear way.  It’s not all that easy to do, is it? 
Perhaps the article in the newspaper was about the trouble at the local high
school.  It’s not clear what kind of trouble we’re talking about.  If it’s about
the trouble with the building and the possibility of losing state accreditation,
then it’s clear to us.  But sometimes it’s tough to put into words what we read,
heard, or learned.

Of
course, some of us, even when we get a clear picture of what we want to say
as we summarize, find it difficult to be brief.  That’s sometimes what we think
is Paul’s trouble when he writes.  But in Romans 16:25-27 Paul sums up all that
he’s been writing about at the end of his letter to the Roman Christians.  What
does Paul tell the Roman Christians as he concludes his letter?  He sums it
up this way: Christ concealed is now revealed and God helps us to believe and
calls us to obey him.  What does he mean?

I. 
Christ concealed is now revealed.

Christ
was concealed (25b).  Since the fall of Adam and Eve humanity has waited for
the coming redemption.  Paul talks about the “groaning of creation” for the
coming of Christ earlier in his letter – we know it, and the Roman Christians
did, too.  But Christ was a long time coming.  He was “hidden for long ages
past.”  The Old Testament Scriptures told of his coming but they did not tell
when.

But
the text tells us Christ is now revealed (26a).  Christ came in the flesh as
a little baby.  And His coming fulfilled the ancient writings.

Christ
concealed is now revealed.  What is the result that Christ concealed is now
revealed?

II. 
God helps us believe and calls us to obey him.

All
throughout this brief text we are reminded again and again that God is the one
who is in charge:  He is the one who is able to make things happen.  He is the
one who orchestrated all of redemption.

Therefore
God helps us to believe in Jesus.  He is the one who helps us believe.  And
God is the one to whom all our thanks is to go.  And what is the result?

God
calls us to obey Jesus.  We are to obey Jesus’ teachings.  We are to obey Jesus’
commands.   We obey Jesus so that we might glorify God.  God helps us believe
and calls us to obey him. 

For
the entire passage we can sum it up simply: Christ concealed is now revealed
and God helps us to believe and calls us to obey him.

Advent
is a time when we think about Christ’s first coming.  The clarity of Paul’s
summary at the end of his letter makes the mission of Christ plain:  Christ
concealed is now revealed and God helps us to believe and calls us to obey him.

___________________

Sermon
brief provided by: Scott Gibson,
Haddon Robinson Professor of Preaching at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary,
South Hamilton, MA.

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