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Rom. 1:8-15 WHAT EVERY CHRISTIAN SHOULD BE

Intro: In my life, I have been blessed by the Lord to have been in the company of some great men of God. Men, who by the lives they have lived, the message they have preached and the motives from which they served the Lord have made an indelible impression on my life. In fact, I can honestly say that I have learned more from great men of God than from any class I have taken, book I have read or paper I have written. I appreciate those who have lived Jesus in front of me and have demonstrated to me the truth that regardless of what we do, our motives should always be pure. I believe the Apostle was this kind of a man. Surely, a man with his great influence and power in the early church faced temptation to do things from an improper motive. However, I can find no record of Paul misusing his authority or influence for personal gain, or any other impure motive. Actually, every time I read about this great man of God, I ma reminded again that Paul was the living example to us all of what a genuine Christian should be.

In the first 7 verses of this chapter, Paul introduces himself to the believers in Rome. He tells them about himself, the messenger, and about his message, the Gospel of grace. Now, Paul turns the spotlight upon himself in a very real way. He shares with these people, whom he has never met, the motives behind the letter he is sending. In these 8 verses, the Apostle Paul reveals 9 traits of genuine Christian character that tell us in no uncertain terms What Every Christian Should Be. My duty is to share them with you. As I do, please allow the Word of the Lord to speak to your heart. Tonight, for these few minutes that we have together, let's place ourselves alongside the great Apostle and see how we measure up. Notice with me What Every Christian Should Be.

I. V. 8 EVERY CHRISTIAN SHOULD BE THANKFUL

A. As Paul begins writing to the Romans about his motives, he tells them that he is thankful for them. There is none of the envy that would mark a lesser man. You see, Paul did not found this church. It had been founded by another. Many men would have been jealous of the blessings that the Romans were enjoying. Notice that these people were the talk of the entire world. Everywhere Paul traveled, the people were talking about those Roman believers. Instead of being jealous, Paul was thankful! He could praise the Lord whether it was part of his ministry or not!

B. Every one of us could learn a lesson from this. I think that God would have His children to be a thankful people. In fact, I know that a thankful spirit is the Lord's will for every single one of us, 1 Thes. 5:18! Ill. We would all do well to learn to be more thankful for the Lord's blessings in our lives!

C. Many Christians are not very thankful this evening. How does one go about cultivating a thankful spirit? I think the real answer lies in placing Jesus Christ at the center of all you do. If you make Him your sufficiency, then you will always be satisfied. If, on the other hand, it takes material and physical blessings to make you thankful, then you are likely to be depressed and defeated. The secret lies in being satisfied with Jesus, (Ill. Paul - Phil. 4:10-13; 1 Tim. 6:6-9; Heb. 13:5)

D. There is another application here that I would like to mention before I move on to the next truth tonight. I believe that every Christian and every church should have the same testimony that these Roman Christians had. These people were known everywhere for their solid faith and lifestyles. The same should be true of Gilead Baptist Church and every individual as well. Whether we are at home, on the job, at the market, or anywhere, there should be that testimony that marks us as belonging to the Lord Jesus Christ.

II. V. 9a EVERY CHRISTIAN SHOULD BE COMMITTED

(Ill. A few I know really ought to be committed, but that is a different sermon!)

A. Paul now tells the Romans that he is totally committed to the Lord. Every word he uttered, every thing he wrote, everywhere he went, Paul was a living witness to total surrender. (Ill. This certainly explains the reason behind Paul's great success. When nothing else matters in your life but what matters to the Lord, His work will get done!)

B. I don't know where this message finds you, but I know that this is an area where I can always find room to work. Notice the word "serve". It is the same word that is translated "worship" in other parts of the New Testament. It is my opinion that there is no greater form of worship that can be rendered unto the Lord than pure, heart felt service and devotion to the Lord.

C. Is your life committed? It should be - Rom. 12:1-2!

III. v. 9b EVERY CHRISTIAN SHOULD BE PRAYERFUL

A. The Apostle's ministry was primarily that of preaching the Gospel, v. 9a. However, he had a secondary ministry that was just as vital as the first. Paul had a ministry of prayer. That is, he made prayer a priority and the Roman believers were never taken off Paul's prayer list. Now, there is no record of what he prayed for on their behalf, but we can probably find the answer to that question in the prayers he prayed for other believers. Notice these references, Eph. 3:14-19; Phil. 1:9-11; Col. 1:9-11. Paul was a man of prayer. His praying wasn't selfish, but rather it was always spiritual and it was on behalf of others instead of himself.

B. What a lesson for the church! How much of our praying is selfish in nature? "Lord, help me", "Lord, bless me and my family", "Lord, meet my need", these, and other prayers like them are real examples of how we are guilty of praying most of the time. However, I think the Lord would have us to be engaged in a ministry on intercessory prayer. That is, I think God wants His children to be under a prayer burden for others, Gal. 6:2, Rom. 15:1. God would have you and me involved in a prayer ministry touches the lives of others, Eph. 6:18.

C. How would you describe your prayer life this evening? Who is the main topic of your prayer life, you, or others? This is an area where we can all improve!

IV. V. 10 EVERY CHRISTIAN SHOULD BE SURRENDERED

A. Paul didn't stop with prayer for others, but he also prayed that he might be the instrument of God in answering that prayer. His desire was to travel to Rome, but Paul was willing to surrender his will to the will of the Lord. This was repeated at other points in the ministry of Paul, Acts 16:6-7. It seems to me that the Apostle was willing to lay aside his own plans so that he might know and do the will of the Lord.

B. I have already touched on the matter of surrender, but this is the Lord's will for every Christian this evening! He wants us to be willing to place His will ahead of our own. (Ill. I know for a fact that the Lord will come into your life and will change your agenda.

C. A heart like Paul's is a heart that he Lord can use for His glory, because it is a heart like the one Jesus had. A heart that knows no higher goal than pleasing the Father at all times, John 4:34; John 8:29. God give us all a heart like that! Imagine what the Lord could do with a church filled with people who were totally sold out to the will of God ahead of everything!

V. 11 EVERY CHRISTIAN SHOULD BE USABLE

A. As Paul continues to reveal his heart to the Roman Christians, he tells them why he wishes to come to Rome. He wants to share with them the gifts that God has given him. It is as if Paul is telling the Romans, "God has blessed me with some special things. I want to come to Rome and share them with you so that you might grow in the things of the Lord." It tells us in no uncertain terms that Paul wanted to be usable to the Lord in His work.

B. Paul isn't referring to the actual gifts of the Spirit, because they are given only by the Spirit of God. Neither is he referring to the gift of salvation that can only come by faith in Jesus. What Paul is saying is that he is willing to come to them and be used of the Lord as the Lord sees fit. It is as if the Apostle is willing to be used by the Lord in any fashion if it will just help the Romans. In other words, Paul isn't saying that he wants to go there and take over. He just wants to go to Rome and be used of the Lord to be a blessing to someone.

C. May I say that is a lofty goal and it is one that every Christian should try to achieve. There is a great need today for people in the church and community who are not primarily interested in their own agenda, but who's main goal is just to be usable to the Lord. All they want is to be a blessing to those around them.

(Ill. Can you honestly say that you life is a vessel that God can use? 2 Tim. 2:21.)

VI. V. 12 EVERY CHRISTIAN SHOULD BE HUMBLE

A. Not only does the Apostle desire to be a blessing to the Romans, but he knows that they will be a blessing to him a well. Notice that with this man, it isn't all about him. He is just as aware that they have things to share with him also.

B. It is a shame when people get to the place where they think they have "arrived", and that they cannot be helped by others who aren't as mature in the Lord, as educated or as experienced as they themselves are. All of us need to be reminded quiet often that we all have plenty of growing to do. Even Paul felt this when he wrote to the Philippian church, Phil. 3:12-14. He knew that he had not attained perfection and that he needed those around him to get the work done. To everyone who thinks they are standing on their own, you aren't! 1 Cor. 10:12!

(Ill. God pity the person who thinks they are an island. Before the great missionary to India William Carey boarded the ship to sail, he was asked by some close friends if this was what he really wanted to do. His reply shows the humility of his heart. Carey said, "I will go down into the pit itself, if you will hold the rope."

C. I would like to confess to you this evening that I need each of you to do what God has called me to do. I need your prayers and your support to be able to serve the Lord to the degree that He expects from me. When you are in a position of total dependence on people, you realize just how important they are in your life. God help us all to remember that we need one another very desperately!

VII. V. 13 EVERY CHRISTIAN SHOULD BE FRUITFUL

A. Paul reminds them that he is interested in glorifying the Lord. He has been used of the Lord to bear fruit all over the known world. Paul says that he would like to travel to Rome so that he can get some fruit there also. His desire is not to build up himself, rather it is to glorify the Lord!

B. When the Scriptures speak of spiritual fruit, there are usually one of three things in mind. First, there is the idea of Attitudes that should be present in the life of every Christian. These attitudes are represented by the 9-fold description of the fruit of the Spirit, Gal. 5:22-23. A second idea is that of Activity. When a believer lives for the Lord, there will be activity in that life and fruit will be borne for the glory of the Lord. Three ways activity translates into fruit are these: 1.) Holy living - Rom. 6:22 2.) Praise - Heb. 13:15 3.) Giving - Phil. 4:16-17. There is a third way fruit is manifested in the life of the believer and that is in the area of Addition. This refers to the addition of souls into the Kingdom of Heaven, Acts 16:5. This is the fruit that Paul was after. He wanted to go to Rome and win some to Jesus for the glory of the Lord. Did Paul see that fruit? Well, years later when he wrote to the Philippians from Rome, Paul was able to praise God for fruit even among the members of "Ceasar's household", Phil. 4:22.

C. Whether the fruit you bear for the Lord is manifested in your attitudes, your activity, or in the addition of souls to the Kingdom of Heaven, you need to know that you fruit glorifies God like nothing else can, John 15:8. How does the Christian go about bearing fruit? John 15:1-8, simply by abiding in the Vine.

VIII. V. 14 EVERY CHRISTIAN SHOULD BE OBLIGATED

A. As Paul wrote to the Roman Christians, he that he felt a deep debt to those who needed the hear the Gospel message. This debt Paul felt is seen in every area of his ministry. In regard to the lost, Paul had this to say, Rom. 10:1; Rom. 9:3. This is a man who is driven. How else could he endure the things he had endured for the cause of Christ? 2 Cor. 11:24-28. Why did Paul do these things? Because he felt that he was a debtor to every lost person in the world. He felt a great need to share the Gospel message with them.

B. May I remind you this evening that you and I are indebted as well? We aren't in debt to God, for the gift of salvation we were given was a perfectly free gift. We are, however, indebted to those who are perishing about us. We hold in our hands the answer to the problem of sin for them. We hold in our hands the remedy for the disease that is killing them. Every believer in this room tonight needs to remember that we owe a debt to every person who lives around us, Mark 16:15.

C. How do I discharge this debt? The only way is for me to tell the world about the Savior. Can I? Yes, if I am saved, Acts 1:8.

IX. V. 15 EVERY CHRISTIAN SHOULD BE EAGER

A. As Paul closed this section, he tells the Romans that he is "ready" to go to Rome to preach. The word "ready" means "eager". Paul is saying, "I can't wait until I get to Rome so that I can preach the Gospel there also." In other words, Paul is excited about his call and his commission. He is an excited Christian!

B. My I say this evening that every Christian should be eager about serving the Lord. Isn't it true that we often lack that air of excitement when it comes to the Lord's work? I mean, we really get into the tings of the flesh that we like whether it be hunting, fishing, racing, football, or anything else you can name. But when it comes to witnessing, where are the people who are lining up to go into the world and share the Gospel? Where are those who get excited when it gets close to church time? Where are those who would rather miss out on anything than they had to miss out on something God is doing? We need believers in this day who are excited about the things of God. Oh that God would cause the reality of what we are involved in to dawn on us. Oh that we would see that this business is real and that the work accomplished is eternal.

C. Would you describe your life as one lived in eager anticipation of doing the Lord's will? If not, there should be some changes made tonight!

D. That word "eager" also implies a sense of urgency. Paul knows that he only has a limited time to carry out the Lord's work in his life. He also knows that those who need to hear the Gospel are running out of time. Paul is saying that he must get to Rome so that he can preach the soul saving Gospel to those held in sin's captivity.

(Ill. My friend, we too, need that same sense of urgency about our service for the Lord. We need to realize that one day soon our lives will end. Then, it will be too late to work for the Lord. Then it will be too late to bear fruit for His glory. If we are to work, then we must do it now, for this is the only time we have. Remember the words of the Lord Jesus, John 4:35; John 9:4. Where is our urgency tonight?)

Conc: I think it is safe to say that Paul represents what every Christian should be. I wonder tonight if you have taken the time to examine your own life? If so, are there areas where you need to move closer to the Lord's will for you? Are there areas that need to be surrendered? Are there motives that need to be addressed? Is there a lack of eagerness and urgency that needs to be confessed and dealt with? My friends, if there is a spiritual need this evening, I invite you to come before the Lord. He, and He alone, can and will meet you need tonight!




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