Chapter OneAn Urgent Message
to the World
A young boy comes running into the house and yells, "Dad,
Mom, hurry! I need help!"
A mother gets a phone call in the middle of the day from
the principal. "Come to the office right away. It's urgent!"
A father pulls his car into the garage after a long day of
work. His wife's car is not in the garage, and the house is
strangely quiet. He spots a note on the table in his wife's handwriting,
but the letters are poorly formed and pressed deeply
into the paper. "Meet us at the emergency room at the hospital
as soon as you can get there."
It's urgent! It's important! No time to waste!
We have all experienced moments when someone came to
us with a sense of urgency. They needed help now! Their tone
of voice, the volume of their words, the look in their eyes, the
intensity of their gestures-all of these made it clear that they
were urgent about what they were saying.
Making the Connection
1. Describe a time that someone came to you with a real
sense of urgency. How did you respond to their news or
Knowing and Being Known
Read Romans 1:1-17
The urgency of bringing the message of Jesus Christ to the
ends of the earth has never changed. His Great Commission is
the same today as it was when Jesus first spoke these words
two thousand years ago:
"All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing
them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the
Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have
commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the
very end of the age." (Matthew 28:18-20)
2. What are some of the things Paul writes to show his
urgency about his message to the church in Rome (vv. 9-11, 15-16)?
What are some of the behaviors in your life that show you are
urgent about the message of Jesus Christ?
3. The urgency of Paul's message revolved around who Jesus
is and what He has done. According to this passage, who
is Jesus Christ (vv. 3-4, 9)?
According to Paul's teaching in this passage, what has Jesus
done (vv. 4-6, 16-17)?
4. How did Paul feel about the people in the church in Rome
How do you feel about the people who are part of your
What do you do to show the depth of your feelings for other
followers of Christ?
Read Romans 1:18-23
5. Paul clearly taught that God reveals Himself through the
things He has made. How have you seen and experienced
the glory of God through His creation?
How is this kind of revelation universal and available to all
6. What is the crime or sin that people commit against God
that leads to their condemnation (vv. 21-23)?
7. What are examples today of how people do one of the
Fail to give God glory.
Refuse to give thanks to God.
Grow futile in their thinking.
Claim to be wise when they are fools.
Worship idols and images rather than God.
Read Romans 1:24-32
8. Three times the apostle Paul tells of God giving His children
over to their own sinful desires. Each of the three
cycles seems to spiral deeper and deeper into sin and lead
the children farther and farther from their heavenly Father.
What are the sins the children of God entered into each
time God gave them over to their own desires?
(vv. 24-25) God gave them over to .
(vv. 26-27) God gave them over to .
(vv. 28-31) God gave them over to .
How have you seen this same downward spiral in the lives of
those who are running from God today?
9. If God is truly a loving heavenly Father, why would He
ever let His children go?
10. Paul ends this section by saying, "Although they know
God's righteous decree that those who do such things
deserve death, they not only continue to do these very
things but also approve of those who practice them"
(v. 32). How is this attitude reflected in our world today?
How can we refuse to affirm the things that break God's heart?
Celebrating and Being Celebrated
Do you know of anyone who has had a rebellious child who
repented and returned? Take time as a group to praise God for
the healing in this family.
Then celebrate how God has welcomed you home with
open arms when you have run away from Him. Pray together
and give thanks to God for offering you complete forgiveness
for all the sins you have committed in rebellion toward Him.
Serving and Being Served
Identify one couple in your church who has gone through the
gut-wrenching, heartbreaking process of letting their child go.
Commit as a group to pray for the parents and the son or
daughter. Ask a group member to contact the family and let
them know that you will be praying for their son or daughter
and for their strained relationship. Also, ask if there is anything
you can do to uphold them through the pain and turmoil of
Loving and Being Loved
Imagine a groom on his wedding day. He has waited and
waited to see his bride, and now there she is. She stands at the
end of the aisle: beautiful, radiant, beaming! His heart almost
bursts as he sees her walking toward him. She is his bride!
This is just the slightest glimpse of how Jesus sees His
church, His bride.
Still Urgent After All These Years
I attended a conference of itinerant evangelists from over 130 countries
in Amsterdam. Billy Graham expressed the consensus opinion of the
thousands of people attending there: "The greatest need of the hour is
the revival of the Church of Jesus Christ." We all joined together at this
conference to make the following dedication to the ministry commissioned
We affirm our commitment to the Great Commission of our Lord and
declare our willingness to go anywhere, do anything, and sacrifice anything
God requires of us in the fulfillment of that commission.
As I look out on the world scene today, I am absolutely convinced that
a revival among the people of God would spill over in blessing to the millions
without Christ, resulting in hundreds of thousands of lost, alienated,
hopeless people being brought to the Savior.
-LeRoy Eims, Laboring in the Harvest (Navpress, 1985, p. 11)
No More Excuses
Romans 1:18-23, just six short verses, has the potential to make us
very uncomfortable. Paul was deeply urgent about spreading the message
of Jesus Christ in Rome and anywhere else he could go. The driving force
of this urgency was his awareness that unbelievers everywhere were daily
committing a spiritual crime so heinous that God's wrath would be
poured out on them on Judgment Day. Paul was so upset at the thought
of these unbelievers suffering in hell for eternity that he could not conceal
The Toughest Thing a Parent Could Ever Do
Some parents have had to make the heartbreaking decision to let their
teenage child go to follow a path that is dangerous and sometimes even
self-destructive. With deep grief, they recognize that their own child has
become rebellious, recalcitrant, and destructive, and after years of exercising
patience and kindness, finally they have to say, "Go! You have wanted
to break free from our family and every value we hold dear. We give you
that freedom. Have it your way. Leave!"
Parents never take joy in that moment, but instead feel sorrow and a
deep desire for the child to come home. But the parents know that their
child must be released. With a broken heart, loving parents give their child
over to his or her own desires and rebellion.