On Memorial Day, we reflect on the sobering love that gives one's life for a cause. As God's people, we must also value the service of saints in community of God, no less than we do those who serve our country. There is no greater cause than global Gospel evangelism. Sacrifices for our national freedom are great and honorable, but they are not of infinite salvific value.
Romans 16:25-27 may not be a song, but these are glorious words spoken about God. They encapsulate our focus as we end our study of this book. While we live out the Gospel, our singular goal is to bring glory to God.
As we finish Paul's list of greetings for those who are "in Christ," consider which description you identify with. What is your role in the pursuit of Gospel progress?
In the first century, names were given with significant thought. In the longest list of names found in Paul's epistles, however, it is not the names themselves that are the most important. It is the fact that these people are "in Christ" and "in the Lord," which is repeated 11 times in 23 verses. Some of the people in this list were slaves with no formal names aside from the household they served. Slave or free, when they were saved, these believers were given a greater identity in their Savior.
We can learn a lot from Paul's list of greetings in Romans 16. In this longest list of names in Paul's letters, he repeats the phrases "in Christ" or "in the Lord." All 26 people named had been redeemed and transformed by Jesus Christ.
How do we know the Gospel is real? It evokes more than an emotional response. It changes the whole person. Many know the facts of the Gospel and are emotionally moved, but they still feel empty. They can't break their bad habits, because they are still governed by their old selves. Jesus gave His life to redeem us. The appropriate response is to give all of ourselves to be completely His.
Where do we find real success and real help in our evangelistic efforts? No Gospel outreach is ever effective unless it is underpinned with the fervent prayer of God's people.
The Gospel will advance from a healthy church. There is nothing sensational or extraordinary about it. It is actually abnormal for a church not to realize Gospel advancement according to Acts 1:8. Rome was not the largest church in the first century, but they enjoyed Gospel influence because they were healthy and unified.
Grasping the meaning and context of Romans 10:14-17 will ensure a church's existence for years to come and a spiritual progeny until Jesus returns. The incorrect preaching of this passage will bring decline and demise to a church.
Paul had mentored Timothy for some time now. Timothy learned boldness in spite of timidity and learned to recognize and exercise his spiritual gifting. Timothy had watched Paul endure persecution and stay true to the gospel. By Acts 18, Timothy was strengthened to be an encouragement to his own teacher when Paul needed it. God has called every believer to be a spiritual encouragement to other saints. Even mature saints get tired and sometimes think about quitting, and even new believers can encourage these mature saints.
Last week we saw how Timothy learned and adopted the gospel burden of his spiritual leader and mentor, the apostle Paul. A “gospel burden” is a believer’s natural desire to share Christ with others. God’s designed this burden to be fulfilled first through personal evangelism, then through churches reaching their local community, and finally spreading the gospel message through the world.
A pastoral candidate was asked, “What do you have to offer our church?” His answer was only, “my weakness.” It’s an excellent answer. We only minister by God’s strength and His grace. Supernatural humility helps us overcome natural timidity. Someone once said, “Anxiety is the absence of humility, and humility is the absence of anxiety.”
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