October 28, 2020
A. W. Tozer said that "What you know about God is the most important thing about you." Right behind that knowledge, though, is what you know about yourself.
Do you know who you are? Paul did. Often in the opening lines of his letters to the churches he would give a one-sentence description that summed up his life. To the Romans, he summed it up in 17 words.
Paul, a bond-servant of Christ Jesus, called as an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God. (Romans 1:1)
“Paul, a bond-servant of Christ Jesus”
Paul knew that his first allegiance was to Christ. He had been bought and paid for by the blood of Jesus and he would live the rest of eternity to serve him. He uses here the lowest category of slavery to indicate his complete surrender to Christ's Lordship.
A SENT ONE
“called as an apostle”
The word “apostle” literally means “sent one.” It is the description of someone called by a higher authority to a specific mission. Paul knew he had been "called" to this by God and he lived with the compelling sense of this calling. He was a servant with a specific task.
“set apart for the gospel of God”
This word translated “set apart” is "hagios" which is often translated "holy." The vessels used for temple worship were holy. They were set apart for a specific use and were to be used for nothing else.
Paul knew his life was designated and set apart for one thing: the gospel of God. And, he spends the next 16 chapters of Romans giving us the most complete, logical explanation of the gospel that we have in all of Scripture. No one could have been a better choice by God to write this wonderful explanation of the gospel, for Paul was completely immersed in it as his life’s work.
This is why, a few verses later, Paul says that he was “under obligation both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish … to preach the gospel.” His calling led him to feel a constant, inward compulsion to share the gospel with everyone he encountered because it was “the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes” (verse 16).
WHO ARE YOU?
It would an interesting exercise to try to describe who you are in 17 words. Paul was a servant, sent out, and set apart for the gospel. Paul fully knew this, and this knowing was one of the secrets to his profound effectiveness.
Father, thank You for Your calling on our lives. You have saved us to Yourself, but also given us a great purpose. Help us to not miss our calling but to understand who we are and why we live. And give us grace to walk into that purpose today with those around us.
October 13, 2021
October 12, 2021
It could not be worse. God is gracious in His offering of forgiveness through Jesus Christ to all who believe. Those who come to know God and obey Him will experience the best in this life and the life to come.
But what of all those who ignore God? Who will not trust Him? Who never follow and obey the one true God? The Bible leaves no ambiguity about this, and its clarity should sober us.
October 07, 2021
My son, who is planting a church in a Northern Colorado city, intentionally took me for a walk through a sculpture garden recently that is located in a prominent spot in his large city. It was beautiful, convenient, and filled with people.
To my amazement, at every 30 yards or so, there was a stone statue. The whole garden was a prayer garden, and each statue was named. The farther we walked, the more I realized it was a garden designed to help you pray to ancestral spirits. This religion is called animism and is no different from the false religions we read of in the Scripture. Paul encountered this in Athens.