Many feel the world today is a mess. Killing, loveless relationships, addictions, homosexuality celebrated—life has deteriorated in many ways for many people. Actually, this describes the Roman Empire, right before its fall. The empire didn’t crash from an attack by a more powerful army. It crashed from dry rot—death from the inside.
About thirty years after the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, Paul wrote a letter to the Christians at Rome. He had not been there yet—though he wanted to visit. He would eventually get there—and die there.
Rome was the center of the first-century universe. Judea, in the province of Palestine, was so far away from the center of the Roman world that the life, the miracles, the death and resurrection of the Son of God weren’t even small blips on the radar in Rome.
Rome was a place of many buildings, imperial decrees, poetry, and moral philosophy. Paul’s letter to an obscure missionary of the Christian sect could have been lost in the dust, like a postcard sent to Washington, D.C., without a stamp. Instead, it became the most important document to survive Roman history. Rome was ripe for revival.
What strikes you about Paul’s opening comments? It’s amazing, because he first summarizes the gospel: who Jesus Christ is, what happened, and how it impacts everyone for eternity. In his first hundred words, Paul emphasizes the urgent task of sharing the story with others. A few sentences more and he shares how he loves to worship God and spread the good news of Jesus. A few lines later, he says, “I can’t wait to get to you and share this good news.” In the next sentence, he says, “I’m most proud to proclaim the extraordinary message of God’s power, to rescue everyone who trusts in Him….”
Do you see the priority? Can you feel the passion? Will you grasp how much our world needs Jesus today? Can you comprehend now urgent it is? Will you be moved, motivated, compelled to be a missionary for Jesus?
Can you grasp the fact that our world is rotting from the inside out? This isn’t just a cultural disagreement. This is a battle for the souls of people, the souls of nations. Can you get it? We live today in the Rome of the twenty-first century. Our civilization is at the crossroads of self-destruction. As a Christian, where is your urgency? What is your priority? Where is your passion? Stand up now, or watch civilization self-destruct before your very eyes.