WE ARE CALLED
ROMANS 1:1-7 PRINCETON CHRISTIAN CHURCH 08 JULY 2021
The letter Paul wrote to the church in Rome provides much of the Christian doctrine that the church of Jesus Christ lives by today. Or, should be living.
The letter of Romans exposes man as the shameful sinner his actions clearly demonstrate him to be. God is revealed as both just, merciful, and gracious. The possibility of salvation from the consequences of sin and freedom from the power of sin is clearly set forth. The principles and terms of salvation are stated in terms of grace, faith, and obedience. It is a call to a dynamic lifestyle. There is clear instruction concerning behavior in the home, and in the church, and in the political arena, and in the marketplace. Clearly anywhere anyone might travel.
The hopeless and helpless are introduced to the Gospel of hope and the Giver of Hope. Romans is the message our world, our nation, and our neighborhood need today.
We see in the first 7 verses of Romans chapter one that we are called. What are we called to do? We are called to belong to Christ. We are called to be saints. We are called to be loved by God. We are called because we have received grace from God. We have been set apart to become these things in Christ.
Let’s go a little further to see if we can see how well we are doing at belonging to Christ, to being saints. How are we doing at receiving the love of God?
First, let’s look at our call to belong to Christ. Paul says verse 6: “And you also are among those who are called to belong to Jesus Christ.” To belong means “you are mine.” We see that love of belonging in the marriage and family relationship.
David McKenna, a president of Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky once described this verse very clearly. He says: Needs vary as much as ideas among the disciples of Jesus Christ. Some are rich and some are poor. Some have all their wants supplied and others have few of their needs met. So, within the Body of Christ, we have a responsibility for each other. Is it too radical to assume that no Christian should be naked, thirsty, or hungry as long as other Christians have clothes, water, and food?”
Jesus puts the questions in unmistakable terms. Jesus places eternal value upon a cup of water given in His Name. Great and humble tasks merge in the Kingdom of God. Almost daily, President McKenna goes on and says, “Almost daily, I drive past the church on my way to the office. The vice president, secretaries are waiting to serve me. Computers and other devices are at my hand to help me in my work.” He goes on, “Yet as I drive past the church, I see the wisp of a gray-haired woman bending over the shrubs with pruning shears in her hand and a lawn basket t her back. Her ministry is to keep the lawn of God’s house worthy of His Name. Her task is as simple and as humble as giving a cup of water in Jesus’ Name.
Why does this lady do this task? The answer lies in her understanding that she belongs to Jesus Christ.
Because we belong to Christ, we belong to one another. And, because we belong to one another, we can understand what Paul says in 1 Corinthians13. How can we say we have love if we are unwilling to accept that we belong to one another and are expected to serve one another?
Those who belong to Christ are those who have chosen to obey the Gospel. Not all those who have heard the Gospel obey the Gospel.
The concept of belonging has the idea of possessing. I think it does us good sometimes to ask ourselves - Who or what possesses me? Is it my finances? The devices that entertain me? Is it the things I hold dear? If we really belong to Jesus – He will possess us – not the earthly and worldly things which very often possess us.
In addition to being called to belong to Christ, we are also called to be saints.
If we are honest with ourselves – and with God – when we learn we are called to be saints – we might have the reaction – what? Me? A saint? That might be the natural reaction until we learn what exactly it means to be a saint.
Saints are people who are sanctified and sanctified means: being set apart for service. Saints are separate from evil things and ways of living. We are separate because the Holy Spirit lives within saints.
Saints, in the army of the Lord, are what we might refer to as the “rank and file.” In military terms, rank, and file refer to the common soldier. That is our rank in the Lord’s army. Ordinary Christians doing extraordinary things.
Sainthood is not limited to appointed leaders. If you are a member of the Body of Christ, you have achieved sainthood. Many believe that when we die and go to heaven, we become saints. But the reality is that sainthood begins when we become one in Christ and begin to live a life of service among and for the fellow saints in the church of Jesus Christ.
Saints are Christians who are continually growing in their walk with Jesus. We must be growing in sanctification and holiness. Growing in knowledge and loyalty to Christ through a consistent and persistent study of God’s Word and His will. This requires a daily effort to bring oneself into obedience to that will.
One thing to remember about a saint – no one is born a saint. No one on earth can declare another person a saint. Do you realize that every saint – that is everyone who follows Jesus Christ was once a sinner? A saint is one who is a sinner who is called to a redemptive condition. Saints are ordinary people who are called to be Christ’s ambassadors in this contemporary, common, everyday life.
This shows us what the purpose and the function of the church is – it is not for people who think they are good. But it is for people who know they are not good. But they are trying to respond to the call of Christ to represent Him in their daily living.
So, we, as the Body of Christ, are called to belong to Christ, and we are called to become saints. And, we are also to be loved by God.
The love that God has for us is a love like no other. It is a divine love that places us in the position of being possessed by God.
As sinful as man is – God still calls him and desires to love him.
As God calls us to His love, we are called to demonstrate holiness in that life.
Being holy simply means that we are separate from the world. It means not loving the world. However, it does not mean that we hate the world we live in. It means that we are to love God more than we love the things in the world which can eventually possess us if we have our focus on the wrong things.
Holiness means that we live a life that is dedicated to Him because of His overwhelming love for sinful mankind.
It is that overwhelming love that brings us salvation. We are offered that salvation and we can accept it or reject it. We can choose to live a life possessed by the temporary things our earthly world offers us. Or, we can choose to live a life belonging to God; becoming a saint, and knowing that undeserved, but the very real love of God.
Where do you stand today? The cares of the daily grind have you strapped down? Feeling like there is no solution to your problems? Feel the need to belong to someone – somewhere? There is no other lasting answer to those situations than to turn to God. Accept His Son, Jesus Christ, as Lord of your life. Repent of those things which have been binding you. Meet Jesus by being buried with Him in baptism, and begin a walk with Him in the newness of life.