Monday, September 26, 2022

          Romans has been called the Magna Carta of the Christian faith and the constitution of our faith.  Practically all of the great doctrines of our faith are explored and addressed by Paul in this seminal letter.  Indeed, in Romans 1:1, Paul identified himself in three distinct ways that we would want to say about ourselves.  He wrote, “Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God.”  Paul called himself a servant of Christ Jesus, an apostle and one who has been set apart for the gospel.  To be a servant is generally not a title that most of us would pursue for ourselves.  Yet, to be a servant of Jesus Christ is high praise and a lifelong honor.  May we never despair of the joy we possess in both knowing and serving the Lord Jesus. 
            The word apostle means “sent one” or “one who is sent.”  Paul was a sent man.  He had been saved by Christ and sent by Christ to make the gospel message known.  And he lived out this life as an apostle.  His missionary journeys, church planting, New Testament letter writing and preaching all bore witness to the faithful way that he embraced the title of “apostle.”  We may not engage in the same kind of work that Paul did but we are sent as well.  We are sent to bear witness to the gospel and to declare what the Lord has done for us.  Family, neighbors and friends are waiting to hear from you!
            Paul was happy to say that he was “set apart for the gospel of God.”  To be set apart is the essence of holiness.  This old apostle was set apart and made holy through his trusting and saving faith in Christ Jesus.  The gospel calls us away from fruitless, trivial and, frankly, sinful pursuits in life.  We are set apart for better pursuits and better ways of life.  The gospel is a clear and uncompromising call to leave behind the old for the new, what is wrong for what is right and what separates us from the Lord for what draws us faithfully to Him.  When Paul was saved on the Road to Damascus, he left behind the old life totally and fully.  He unhesitatingly reached out for Christ and held on to Him alone. 
            Perhaps the Lord calls you today to be set apart—to let go of old things and sinful things and the things that keep you from holding on to the Lord as well or as tightly as you could.  We cannot be set apart for the Lord unless we are set apart from sin, evil and wickedness.  We cannot live for Him if we are living for the flesh and to satisfy ourselves.  Much of what follows in Romans hearkens back to these early identifiers that Paul used to describe himself as he attempted to serve the Lord and live out his faith in Christ Jesus.  In Romans 1:11-12, Paul wrote, “I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong—that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith.”  As we live, our mission is to bless one another mutually in the faith and our daily discipleship.  We are to live so that we might be an example and encouragement to others.  And we are to draw into our lives those other believers who might be examples and encouragement to us.  Living as a servant, as one who is sent to declare the gospel and set apart for the Lord alone will leave a lasting impact and influence.  Have a great Monday!  And remember you can share our worship with others at youtube.com/FirstBaptistKannapolis.

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