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Make Space for the Gospel to Transform

By February 6, 2016February 9th, 2016Make Space, Sermon Series Pre-Campaign)

Make Space Series.001

This week we had the privilege of hearing Chad’s story of how the gospel transformed his life. Listen online.

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How did the gospel transform the Roman Empire?

1. A work of God against all odds:

“Could anything be more improbable than that a religion following a man born of an unwed mother among a widely despised people in an out-of-the-way part of the world – a man then crucified by the ruling authorities on a charge of treason – should become the official religion of the Roman world, the formative influence on Western civilization, and a significant influence in other parts of the world?”

– Everett Ferguson Christian History

Acts 5:38-39

2. The Message

  • What is the gospel? – 1 Corinthians 15:1-8, 11
  • Truthful
  • Inclusive
    • “For the matter seemed to me to warrant consulting you, especially because of the number involved. For many persons of every age, every rank, and also of both sexes are and will be endangered. For the contagion of this superstition has spread not only to the cities but also to the villages and farms.” – Pliny the Younger (c. 112)
  • Grounded in Scripture
    • 2 Peter 3:16
    • By the end of the 2nd c. there was a canon recognized by virtually all of the churches. The church did not create the cannon; the church recognized it.

3. The Medium

  • Persecution
    • Nero (AD 64-67)
      • “Besides being put to death they were made to serve as objects of amusement; they were clad in the hides of beasts and torn to death by dogs; others were crucified, others set on fire to serve to illuminate the night when daylight failed.” – Tacitus Annales (64 AD)
    • Domitian (AD 94-96)
    • Trajan (AD 112)
      • “I ask them if they are Christians. If they admit it I repeat the question a second and a third time, threatening capital punishment; if they persist I sentence them to death.” – Pliny the Younger (c. 112)
    • Marcus Aurelius (AD 177-180)
    • Decius (AD 249-251)
    • Valerian (AD 253-260)
    • Diocletian (AD 303-313)
    • “These wretches have all persuaded themselves that they are going to be immortal so they despise death and give themselves up voluntarily.” – Lucian (2nd c.)
    •  “…and all the multitude marveled at the great difference between the believers and the elect.” – The Martyrdom of Polycarp (AD 155)
  • Christian Ethics
    • Appointment of Deacons (AD 33)
    • Didache (AD 100) 
    • The Plague of Cyprian (AD 250-270) 
    • “all people can see that our people lack aid… and the impious Galileans support not even their own poor but ours as well.” – Julian the Apostate (4th c)

Big Idea: You are the Medium for the Message

Romans 1:16

Growth Questions