Before Christ was born, people in the Roman world associated the word gospel with news about Augustus Caesar, the “divine” caesar, who was also known as “savior of the world” because the peace he initiated and maintained through force submission following war and violence. Then, around A.D. 27 or so, disciples and apostles of Christ begin proclaiming the good news of a new Savior (deliverer, liberator) who will also bring peace.
The outline contains:
- Comparisons of Mark 1:1 and Luke 2:8-11 with a Calendar inscription from Priene dating 9 B.C., which says: “the birthday of the god [Augustus] was for the world the beginning of tidings of joy …;”
- Minor exposition of Matt. 22:15-22 with a picture of a denarius (from Bible Picture Gallery) bearing the likeness of Tiberius Caesar and an inscription declaring that Tiberius was the “son of god;”
- Comparisons of John 4:42 and 1 John 4:14-15 with titles declaring Julius and Augustus Caesar as “saviors;”
- Minor exposition of Acts 16:21 and Acts 17:6-7 showing persecution of Christians for proclaiming the Gospel in a Roman world.
The sermon borrows heavily from the work of David McClister who presented a lecture entitled, “The Gospel In Its Roman Context,” at Florida College in February 2005. Bro. McClister’s outline and PowerPoint presentation are available for free in PDF format at his web site. You can purchase an audio CD of the lecture from the Florida College Bookstore (813)985-9555.
Some of the material is also borrowed from others hearing bro. McClisterÂ?s sermon, namely: Brent Kercheville (and perhaps others) at the Haverhill Road Church of Christ in West Palm Beach, Florida, who adapted the bro. McClister’s lecture into the following two sermon outlines: