Romans 1:1-17 is Paul's introduction to the book of Romans. We have Paul's authority in v. 1-7, Paul's heart in v. 8-15, and Paul's Gospel in v. 16-17. Let me read to you this passage. Romans 1:1-17 And we'll be focusing this morning specifically on v. 8-15. This is the Word of the Lord. "Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the Gospel of God, which He promised beforehand through His prophets in the holy Scriptures, concerning His Son, Who was descended from David according to the flesh and was declared to be the Son of God in power, according to the Spirit of holiness by His resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ, our Lord, through Whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of His name among all the nations, including you who are loved by God and called to be saints. Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. First, I thank my God, through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed in all the world. For God is my witness, Whom I serve with my spirit in the Gospel of His Son, that without ceasing I mention you always in my prayers asking that somehow by God's will I may now at last succeed in coming to you. For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you, that is that we may be mutually encouraged by each other's faith, both yours and mine. I want you to know, brothers, that I have often intended to come to you, but thus far have been prevented, in order that I may reap some harvest among you as well as among the rest of the Gentiles. I am under obligation, both to Greeks and to Barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish. So I am eager to preach the Gospel to you also who are in Rome. For I am not ashamed of the Gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, 'the righteous shall live by faith.'" Father, You are good. And You have given us a good word, suitable, perfect, consoling, encouraging, and comforting in all of the tragedy and the terror of this life. Father God, speak to us by Your Word, Lord. Weaken us so that we are ready to both speak it and hear it in the strength which You supply. Father, we ask You that You would pour out Your Spirit now, and bring Your ministry as Counselor and Comforter to Your people. We pray that You would do this in Jesus' mighty name, Amen. My goal this morning is to weave together three strands that are coursing through my heart. I want to weave together three heartfelt thoughts into one message that I hope will give everyone here comfort and consolation and encouragement. The first strand of thought that I want to braid together; the first strand that's running through my heart, and I'm sure is running through many of your hearts is the grief we feel at the sudden and unexpected death of Lynn Shreve. Lynn died in her sleep on Friday. And her death is a tragedy, not just because she was so young (36); not just because her marriage was so young, just about 9 years old, or her kids were so young or so many, but her death stings so badly because her life was so good. How do you describe Lynn without using the most glorious descriptions of Christian womanhood that can be found in the entire Bible? All that God calls women to be as they're made new creations in Christ, Lynn was well on her way to becoming. To Jay, her husband, and our beloved pastor, Lynn was - and I've heard him say this many times - far more precious than jewels. Proverbs 31:10 Each of us will be able to look at her children in the coming months and days and years to come, and to say without a shadow of a doubt, the teaching that your mother gave you was a graceful garland for your head, and pendants for your neck. Proverbs 1:9 To the women of Immanuel, whether you knew her personally or not, Lynn was one who taught what is good and so trained the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their husbands that the Word of God may not be reviled. Titus 2:4-5 In a world where the men degrade biblical womanhood, and women have wholeheartedly abandoned biblical womanhood, Lynn was one who was able to live and articulate from the Scriptures the high calling of biblical womanhood. Lynn was one like Job who we're told in Job 29, delivered the poor who cried for help, and the fatherless who had none to help him. There are orphans who are today adopted children because of Lynn and Jay's love. In Lynn Shreve, we've all seen an amazing example of biblical religion which visits orphans and widows in their affliction and keeps oneself unstained from the world. If you've never seen religion that is consumed with being pure, and has the brightest and happiest smile, well, you would have seen it in the face of Lynn Shreve. Although the verse in Hebrews 13:7 is originally intended probably of Christian elders, I think it is right for us to say of Lynn, we are to remember your leaders; those who spoke the Word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. God made Lynn so good, and it's God Who's called Lynn to Himself for His glory and by His grace. But because - now listen to me - because God made Lynn so good, it is right for you to grieve, and wrong not to. When God gives a good gift, it is an insult not to praise Him for it. He's giving it to be praised. But when God takes a good gift away, in the words of John Angell James, He's calling for your grief. He's calling for you to glorify Him by acknowledging just how good what you were given really was. That's the first strand I want to weave this morning into a braid of comfort and consolation and encouragement this morning. The second strand of heartfelt thought running through my heart this morning is that we are set to commission three church planters to replant a church in the needy city of Charleston. This morning, we have the amazing privilege of having with us on the front row, Mark and Libby Timmons, who are long-term, faithful members of this church, and I don't think they'd mind me telling you who we have seen go from being in a place where you wouldn't want them to be a pastor, to being in a place where you wouldn't want them to be anything but a pastor. It's so amazing to see God's grace in Mark and Libby Timmon's life. And to see not only them sent out to Charleston, but also our pastor for church planting, Brian Powell, and our soon-to-be, we hope, a pastor we'll send out: Drew McFarland. We want to see them move to Charleston where there's a wealth of nominal Christianity, and a dearth of biblical Christianity, and plant a biblical church that will display the glory of God as seen in the face of the Lord Jesus Christ. And you might say to yourself, well, how do we weave the excitement of church planting together with the grief of death? We remember this one simple fact: The reason we can grieve over Lynn with hope is because of the message these three men plan to preach in Charleston. The only reason there is good news about Lynn is not because Lynn was so good, but because her Savior is so great. As good as Lynn was, she was not good enough to get her way into heaven. Her goodness was not sufficient to buy a ticket into heaven. She was redeemed by a Savior out of being a sinner. She was someone who had fallen short of the glory of God, but was declared righteous freely by the grace of Christ. She was justified by Christ. And I'll tell you what, there was no one who would say that louder and stronger than Lynn. She would want you to know that any goodness and any glory in her life was a direct outflow of the mercy and the grace and the kindness towards a wicked sinner like her in Jesus. That's the message Brian and Mark and Drew want to see permeate a church. It's the message that makes it so that when you die at 36, you go instantly to be in the presence of the Lord. That is the Gospel. And so we're thinking about church planting this morning not because it's some other page than grief; not because we need to move on from grief and get to the excitement of church planting, but because the reason we plant churches is to spread the Gospel that delivers from death. And we spread it through local churches. Beloved, make no doubt about it, Lynn Shreve was the product of healthy, local churches. On Friday night, Lynn's childhood pastor and my personal friend, Ted Christman who's been pastoring about as long as I've been alive, literally; who was reformed in his theology before that was cool. Ted Christman came down to Louisville to be with the family. And it's a reminder that Lynn didn't start having the Gospel preached to her to save her soul and to cultivate her heart when she got married here, but rather, her whole life long she grew up under faithful instruction from Dwayne and Ruth and from her pastor, Ted. Ted told me this story this week of when Lynn was having heart surgery in her late teens. And he drove to Cleveland to the Mayo Clinic to be with them through this heart surgery. And he looked at Lynn and said, Lynn, how are you feeling? Are you scared? And she said (young teenager), I'm in perfect peace because if I die, I go to be with Jesus. That kind of faith gets cultivated in a biblical church where the Gospel is being massaged into your soul Sunday after Sunday after Sunday by the Holy Spirit. The kind of reverence that made Lynn love biblical womanhood rather than despise it like so many do in our generation, is the kind that comes when you're in a church that teaches the fear of God; that teaches the new birth; that disciples and practices discipline so that the people of the church stand in awe of God and fear the Lord. It creates the kind of reality, Mark, that your heart longs for, to not see nominal Christianity, but to see real Christianity where people actually believe the Gospel. We want to plant churches because they exalt the Savior. They produce Lynn Shreve's. They make godly character like nothing else does in the universe. Shallow churches make shallow Christians, and sometimes they don't even do that. And so we long to see a healthy church planted in Charleston, so that more and more people can be saved by and formed by the Lord Jesus Christ. The first braid I wanted to weave together was the strand of grief that we feel from losing a dear pastor's wife. The second strand is the strand of this joy of planting a church to see more people formed like her. And the third strand I want to braid together comes from the strong Word of God. I want to talk about the Word of God because it's the strongest strand in the braid. It's what binds it all together. It's what gives the strength and the power that is required to save and transform a life and a church. In Romans 1:8-15, we see a picture of a Gospel-formed heart. In Romans 1:1-17, the Apostle Paul is speaking to these Roman Christians and he's basically saying one thing: I want to tell you the Gospel. And you can trust me. He hadn't met these Romans. They hadn't seen the tears fall from his eyes. They hadn't seen his chin quiver when he was with them. They didn't know him. He was a stranger to them. And we all know what it's like when we meet a stranger. We don't instinctively trust strangers. And Paul was a stranger to these Romans and so in Romans 1:1-7 he says I have real authority. I'm coming to you from God. You can trust me. But then in Romans 1:8-15 he says, you should listen to me. I'm coming to you from God. I love you. He shows us a Gospel heart. He shows us the kind of heart that ministers the Gospel. Make no mistake about it, beloved. The Gospel is not effective just when it comes as a perfectly positioned worldview or as a foolproof argument or as a gloriously coherent set of doctrines. The Gospel wins men and women as it comes through transformed hearts in men and women. And Paul here shows us a picture of a transformed heart - the kind of heart that is the chariot that the Gospel wants to ride into people's lives on. The Apostle Paul is showing us his heart to say you can trust me. All this glorious Gospel doctrine I'm going to unfold for you - you can believe it. I love you. I've been transformed by it myself. You can trust me. And I would say as we think about the challenges of caring for the Shreve family, and all the many families who will have needs in the coming years, we will need to be a people with Gospel-shaped hearts. And to Mark and Brian and Drew, ministry is a matter of the heart. It's a matter of having a Gospel-shaped heart. Martyn Lloyd-Jones said I can forgive a man almost anything in preaching, so long as he gives me a sense of God. That sense of God comes from God on the heart - the Gospel touching the heart. And in Paul, we see four characteristics of this Gospel heart. It's a thankful heart. It's a prayerful heart. It's an encouraging heart. And it is an obligated heart. You see there in v. 8 that a Gospel-formed heart is a thankful heart. First, Paul says, I thank my God. First, I thank Him. Here's where I want to start. I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed in all the world. Paul begins with thanksgiving. And he begins with thanksgiving, not just here in the book of Romans, but repeatedly, it's one of the defining marks of the letters in which Paul is the author is he begins with thanksgiving. So in 1 Corinthians 1:14, he speaks to one of the most messed up churches in the entire New Testament. Many of us wouldn't go pastor the Corinthians, if we were offered a job to be their pastor. And Paul says, "I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus." And then he says in Ephesians 1:16, "I do not cease to give thanks for you." Even though the Ephesians needed to be told not to steal, not to lie, not to be so malicious, not to be so mean. He says to them, I do not cease to give thanks for you remembering you in my prayers. Paul had a thankful heart. And a thankful heart - it's a rare heart, isn't it? I don't know why we always tell stories like kids are these little angels. I've had four. I didn't get an angel. You feed these kids three times a day, seven days a week, with snacks you could be getting close to 40 meals a week. You're just constantly feeding them. You put them in a high chair when they're young and the first thing they do is they scream in desperation like they will never be fed again. Rather than, let me buckle you in. Thank you. This is a clear indication I'm about to be fed yet again. But it doesn't work like that. There's this desperation; this clamor. That I'm not going to get enough. It's not going to be enough. There's this thanklessness that goes deep into the human heart. We've watched the tragedy of one more example of Donald Trump's lechery - his wicked, vile attitude towards women that's been exposed one more time; his deep bent towards sexual immorality. You say why is that? Why this bent toward sexual immorality? I'll tell you, it's the lack of a thankful heart. Paul tells us in Romans 1 that men did not glorify God, neither did they give Him thanks, therefore He handed them over to perversion. When your heart's not thankful for what God gives, it's grasping for what He doesn't give. And of course, it's not just Donald Trump's problem, there's a reason that millions of Americans bought 50 Shades of Grey. And anyone who thinks that Donald Trump is so vile needs to ask themselves if they've ever looked at pornography, because it's the exact same desire - to have what you want when you want it the way you want it now; without any contentment. But here in this thankless world, Paul is thankful. And of all things, for imperfect churches. He didn't get a beach property on the Mediterranean. I'm thankful! He got churches and lots of them with problems. And he says, I just want to say, thank You! And what he does is he says I thank my God through Jesus Christ. He doesn't say I thank you Romans, you're a cut above the rest of the people in the ancient world. No, he thanks God, because Paul has recognized that everything required to save someone and make them a Christian comes from God. God chose them. God sent His Son to die for them. God sends His Spirit to keep them. God is the One Who gives His Word to guide them. And so God gets all the glory. Paul is amazed by these Romans because their faith is being spoken of through the whole world. But it's not to their credit, it's to God's glory. Do you see the God-centeredness of Paul and the God-centeredness of thankfulness? Paul is thankful to God because of what He's created in these Roman Christians. And I want to suggest to you, beloved, that we should be a thankful people this morning. We would have loved to have had Lynn for 76 years, or 86 years. But let us not be ungrateful for 36. Oh, she lived a better 36 than many live of 50. She lived well. She will undoubtedly hear, "Well done, My good and faithful servant." She undoubtedly made her calling and election sure. And so though we would want more, and it's right to want more of a good thing, let us not refuse God our thanksgiving for the goodness of what He has given. None of us are promised 20 years or 30 years or 40 years, but each of us can thank God for every day we're given and every bright light of glory we see. And to Mark and Drew and Brian, do not underestimate the power of thankfulness to sustain you. I love pastoring. And pastoring is brutal. There's all these people involved. And they keep sinning. And they keep suffering. And you keep sinning. And I keep suffering. And Sunday keeps coming. And it will kill, wear down the strongest of men. And then when a church goes through a Corinthian season, one can feel they could never make it another step. But at time, you need to look at yourself and say, I'm not in hell. I'm a pastor! I should be the person they're sharing the Gospel with. I should be the person the people are trying to rescue from the pit of hell. But instead, I have believed the Gospel. I've trusted Christ. I'm saved, and of all the things in the world, I've been given responsibility over a people who have the Spirit and who are showing the firstfruits of every sign that they're going to heaven. On the best days, this is great. And on the worst days, this is still glorious. It's something to be thankful for. It will sustain you to thank God for the beautiful difficulties of being a pastor. Not only does the Gospel make a thankful heart, but it makes a prayerful heart. It makes a prayerful heart. V. 9 "For God is my witness, Whom I serve with my spirit, in the Gospel of His Son, that without ceasing I mention you always in my prayers, asking that somehow by God's will I may now at last succeed in coming to you." A Gospel heart makes a prayerful heart. Do you notice this? Paul is a praying man. And the number one Person Who knows that Paul is a praying man is God. God is the primary witness of Paul's prayer life. This is an important word for a church that values corporate prayer as much as we do. The Lord Jesus warned us not to be like the Pharisees, and to emphasize the effects of what praying in front of others will do. It'll get you a reward. You'll look spiritual. You'll look holy. You're not getting drunk and smoking crack. You're going to prayer meetings. This is incredible. But the primary eyes that we should be concerned about - in prayer meetings and in the prayer closet - are the eyes of God. Let me ask you this. Does God know you to be a praying man? Does God know you to be a woman of prayer? What's His witness to you? You say, well, I've got to build a career, I've got to build a home, I've got to provide. Yes, you do - not at the expense of prayer. Hudson Taylor said, do not be so busy that you cannot work hard in prayer, for prayer is hard work. The first place we are to serve God is in our spirits. Do you see that there? Paul says, "For God is my witness Whom I serve with my spirit." He's not just serving God with his hands; not just serving God with his travels and his feet, but in his spirit, in the inner man, he communes with God. He pleads to God. He asks God for those things which concern the advance of His kingdom. The main place he serves God is where no one can see, but God can witness. And he says that he does it in the Gospel of His Son. This is so important, because when you get alone in that closet and it's just you - your spirit and God, it becomes a very miserable place, doesn't it? Because the devil will remind you of every sin you ever committed when you weren't in that closet. He will remind you of everything you've left undone, and he will remind you of everything you've poorly done. He'll remind you of the sins of your youth. He'll remind you of the sins you're tempted of. He will do everything to crush your ministry in your spirit. But listen to me, you are one who ministers in the Gospel of His Son. That is, that you minister in the reality that Jesus Christ has given good news for a soul like yours. He has taken away the sins of your youth. He will protect you from the sins of old age. He wipes away all your record of ever having done wrong. And when the devil comes to you and says you are so wicked; you are so fleshly; you are so prayerless; you are so undeserving to come before God, you answer with Martin Luther: That's exactly right! And I come to You in the Gospel of Your Son Who is good enough, spiritual enough, right enough, loving enough, sacrificial enough, and Who is holy enough to plead my cause before You. I'm not coming to tell You what a good prayer warrior I am. I'm coming to pronounce to You, Lord, that I come in the name of Your Son. You can do spiritual ministry in the name of the Son. And don't let any devil tell you any lie that says you cannot. The ministry we are called to is a ministry of the Spirit; a ministry of prayer. Notice, Brian and Drew and Mark, the implied difficulty in our lives of prayer in this verse. Notice the implied difficulty. This is actually helpful for everyone. Notice what it says here. "Always in my prayers (v. 10) asking that somehow by God's will, I may now at last, succeed in coming to you." Do you see that there's been a lack of success? He hasn't gotten what he wanted yet. I'm hoping that now at last... These things I've been praying for, I want them to happen eventually. He actually speaks more to this in v. 13 when he says, "I have often intended to come to you, but thus far have been prevented." So, prayer meeting - "Lord, can I go to Rome?" Yes. No, travel plans broke down. Lord, can I go to Rome? No, didn't work out. Had to go to Corinth. Lord, can I go? No. It's just everything is getting in the way of this opportunity. And here's the apostle to the Gentiles who wants the whole planet to know Jesus. Where does he want to go? The capital city of the world. He wants to to there and strengthen that church. But he can't get there. "Well, he should be praying." He is praying! He should be praying more. He's praying constantly. And even though he's praying continually and constantly, God is not granting success to his prayers. God is holding him back from answered prayer. And I want to tell you something. The whole Christian life is a beautiful and painful mixture of glorious answered prayers walking right beside glorious unanswered prayers. This church we wanted to plant in Charleston, we wanted to get there in a little while; we didn't want to send these guys out this fast. But the reason we're sending them out this fast, is because we prayed that God would open up a door, and He moved an older church in Charleston to do something older churches do not do, and say, yes, we will receive these three young leaders and we'd like to give you our building. Which means that there's been a glorious answer to prayer. But it doesn't mean that every prayer that's ever been prayed for that church is answered overnight. We want to see people saved. We want to see people saved rich, poor, black, white, all different people and that will take years of prayer. But don't quit praying just because you seem to constantly come across being prevented from the answers to your prayers. There's an amazing illustration of this in many of your Bibles. In my Bible, Romans starts on this side of the page. And on this side of the page is the last chapter of Acts. Maybe some of you have to turn one page back to get from Romans to Acts. The reason this is interesting is because of what happens in the last chapter of Acts. You know what happens in the last chapter of Acts? Paul gets to Rome. A prisoner. In shackles. He gets an escort from the government to Rome. And then they put him in a house under house arrest where he spends all kinds of time preaching the Gospel. This is probably not the answer to prayer Paul had in mind. Just maybe a nice cruise ship. A little walk around the Mediterranean. Get up to Rome. Preach the Gospel. Instead, God has Paul arrested in Jerusalem, and escorted as a prisoner all the way to Rome so that he can bear witness to Caesar. Listen, beloved, God answers our prayers exceedingly, abundantly, beyond all we ask or imagine, but he also answers them often much more painfully and brutally than we ever dared to dream. This is a good reminder for the Shreve's. Haven't you prayed, Jay, that your children would know the Lord? That your family would be a light And a beacon of truth? And we just instinctively - we all do this, we think that will involve us being there for the answers to those prayers. And we tend to think that we are necessary to the circumstances of God answering our prayers. But God is not constrained by our sense of what the right circumstances for answers prayers are to be. My wife had a mother who loved the Lord. She was married to a pastor, three kids, and undoubtedly she prayed that my wife Christie would know the Lord and serve the Lord. But when Christy was five years old, God took Christy's mom by a drunk driver. I'm sure that as Lois (Christie's mom) prayed, she imagined herself there at the graduation; herself there at the wedding; herself there as part of how God would answer her prayers. But God had other plans. But those plans did not include not answering her prayers. You pray according to the eternal will of God. And don't be shaken by any way He shakes circumstances to answer His own holy will. He is good all the time. And He is sovereign all the time. The Gospel heart is a thankful heart. It's a prayerful heart. And it's an encouraging heart. Here's why Paul wants to get to Rome. V. 11 "For I long to see you that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you, that is that we may be mutually encouraged by each other's faith, both yours and mine." Paul wants to get to Rome because he wants to give them a spiritual gift. And I can imagine that for Paul to come to Rome with a spiritual gift would mean that he would come and preach to them. Now, listen, there's a lot of great preaching on Romans. John Piper, Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Sinclair Ferguson. There's a lot of great preaching, but I'm going to just put my bets now on the best preaching ever through the ideas in Romans came from: the Apostle Paul. Can you imagine? What's Paul doing in your church? Oh, he's going to unpack those truths he brought in the letter. Get me there! That's incredible! He says I want to get there with a spiritual gift for you. I want to build you up with the Gospel. But what I want you to notice especially, Brian and Drew and Mark, is I want you to notice the humility of the man. He will not be understood to be a man with one-way blessings. He does not view himself as the one flying in with all the spiritual gifts. He says, "For I long to see you that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you," and he's got to catch himself, like he doesn't want to be misunderstood. "...that is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other's faith, yours and mine." The author of the book of Romans wants to go and get blessed by people who haven't even read Romans. The theologian of theologians wants to go to a people barely introduced to theology, and experience God's blessing from them from their spiritual gifts. In fact, he tells them in Romans 15 - and you'll remember, that when they got to Romans 15, they'd only read Romans once. He says to them, "I am confident of you that you are full of all goodness and able to teach one another." We are sending you out, beloved, as a gift to Holy City Church in Charleston. But you don't arrive as the gift. You arrive as a gift. And there is a humility that pervades a church when the pastors recognize, they are one of the gifts in the body; not the gifts to the body. There is a humility and a ministry and a life that occurs when the whole body realizes we have spiritual gifts to minister to each other. When everyone who walks in a room says I want to be here to bless you and encourage you, but I'm just as much here to be encouraged by you. It changes the whole dynamic in the character of the life of a church. A gospel shaped heart is a thankful heart. It's a prayerful heart. It is an encouraging heart. And it is an obligated heart. Now, there's a word we don't like much. But it's a biblical word, and so let's learn to love it. Because if you've got a biblical word you don't like, the problem's with you. V. 13, "I want you to know, brothers, that I've often intended to come to you, but thus far have been prevented, in order that I may reap some harvest among you." He wants to see some spiritual fruit - probably conversions in Rome, but also just growth in Christian grace among these Roman Christians. He goes, "I want you to know, brothers, that I have often intended to come to you, but thus far I've been prevented in order that I may reap some harvest among you as well as among the rest of the Gentiles. I am under obligation both to Greeks and to Barbarians; both to the wise and the foolish; so I am eager to preach the Gospel to you also who are in Rome." Paul viewed himself as a man obliged to preach the Gospel. The Gospel was for him not simply a can-do, but a must-do. It was a requirement; an obligation laid upon him by the resurrected Lord of the universe. He was obliged. And every Christian - now listen to me. Every Christian is obligated to share the Gospel. We'll go through it now. You've got your co-workers. Family. Friends. Neighbors. Facebook friends. Kids. Spouse. Place that biblical word on all that. Obligated. You must. You must. But the obligation that Paul is speaking about is not a grinding legalism. It's not a grinding command that will drive you into the dust. You must even though you don't want to. You really hate it, but you must. No, Paul says, I am obligated and he says, I'm eager. Do you see that there? "I am under obligation to Greeks and Barbarians." He's just going through all the kinds of people in the world. Greeks, Barbarians, wise, foolish... I have an obligation for all of them, and so I'm eager to preach the Gospel to you also who are in Rome. What is it that makes this obligation an eager obligation instead of a life-killing, life-sucking obligation? It's first Who the obligation comes from. You must preach that Jesus died for sinners says the One Who died for your soul; says the One Who saved you. The obligation comes from the One Who loved us and gave Himself for us. The obligation comes from the One Who tells us that we are called to be saints and we are loved by God. But not only that, the obligation is not to preach a powerless Gospel. We become eager to preach this Gospel when we understand just how powerful it is. Do you see that here? He says, "I am under obligation both to Greeks and to Barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish, so I'm eager to preach the Gospel to you also who are in Rome, for I am not ashamed of the Gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes." This Gospel is not useless. It takes people who are sinful little children and saves them and sanctifies them and makes them into the glory of Christ like Lynn Shreve. It is not a powerless Gospel. If you are sitting here believing the Gospel this morning, your faith is being upheld by this Savior; by His power. And if He can save you, He can save anybody. Because you were dead in your trespasses and sins. You were not seeking God because there's none who seeks God - no, not one. And now here you are and where you want to go on a Sunday morning is church. You're not just weird, you're born again! You've been transformed. God has done a work. That's the power of the Gospel. That you who were wracked with guilt learned the lesson that Christ gives a righteousness when you have none of your own, and you said, "yes!" I want that! Don't doubt for a minute He can do it again. But rather, savor an eager obligation to share it with everyone you can. Mark and Brian and Drew, you are called to eagerly preach the Gospel to every kind of person in Charleston. Every color. Every background. Every ethnicity. Not just those that are like you or that naturally like your church culture. But to everyone who's dead in their sins and needs a Savior. Church, you don't know if you have tomorrow with any of your friends you're thinking about sharing the Gospel with. You don't know. None of us know. Life is a vapor Life is gone before you know it. Do not delay when the Spirit prompts your heart to share His Gospel of grace. He will save by it. And if He doesn't save by it, oh, it will still be salvation in your soul that you were preaching in obedience to Him. It will be you working out your salvation with fear and trembling. And so beloved, let us praise God and thank Him for Lynn's life. Let's be prayerful for Lynn's family. Let's seek to encourage those who are in need. And let's be obligated, because life can pass in an instant. To Drew and Brian and Mark, guard your hearts. Keep it close to the Gospel that you might be sustained by a thankful heart, and empowered by a prayerful heart. That you might be a blessing because you actually have an encouraging heart. That you might spread salvation by an obligated heart to spread the Gospel.