WE ARE CALLED
PRINCETON CHRISTIAN CHURCH
ROMANS 1:1-7 26 November 2023
We, who are Christians, have been given a message for the world and to the world.
We are a company of believers. We have been set apart from the rest of the world in order to share this message with them.
To be separated is a word that literally means “to mark off from a boundary.” God is the separator which means this is an act of God’s sovereign will.
He had set Paul aside and marked him out from mankind permanently so that he might share the gospel with others. He was given a task of great importance. Great responsibility came with his appointment.
The message is of vital importance to the world. In these first verses of the letter to the new church in Rome, the Apostle Paul points out to the Roman Church the importance of understanding this message.
We are called to a stewardship (manager) of the Gospel.
That Gospel is the news that while we are worse than we ever thought we were, Jesus is better than we ever dared to hope He would be or should be.
Paul’s letter to the church in Rome 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 by Paul.
The principles and the terms of salvation are stated in terms of grace, faith, and obedience.
It is a call to a lifestyle of purity and devotion to our Father God.
In his letter to the church in Rome, Paul gives them – and us - clear instructions concerning behavior in the home, the church, the political arena, and the marketplace.
The hopeless and the helpless are introduced to the Gospel of Hope and the Giver of Help.
The message of Romans is the message the world we live in needs.
We see in the first 7 verses of Romans chapter 1 that we are called.
READ Romans 1:1-7
Paul, a bond-servant of Christ Jesus, called as an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, which He promised beforehand through His prophets in the holy Scriptures, concerning His Son, who was born of a descendant of David according to the flesh, who was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead, according to the Spirit of holiness, Jesus Christ our Lord, through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith among all the Gentiles for His name’s sake, among whom you also are the called of Jesus Christ; to all who are beloved of God in Rome, called as saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
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.
We belong to Christ.
Let’s see how well we are doing at belonging to Christ –
How well we are doing at being saints.
How are we doing at receiving the love of God?
A. We are called to belong to Christ ( verse 6)
To “belong” means “you are mine,”
David McKenna, who was president of Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, KY, describes this verse clearly.
He says: “Needs vary as much as ideas among the disciples of Christ. Some are rich, and some are poor. Some have all their wants supplied, and others have few of their needs met.
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?”
cup of water given in His name.
Great and humble tasks merge in the Kingdom of God.
2. One preacher said that he drives past the church where he ministers almost daily on
his way to the president’s office of a Christian university. He said vice presidents are waiting to see him; secretaries are waiting to serve him. At his fingertips are computers, word processors, phone lines, and so on.
He said, yet, with all of that, as I drive past the church, I see this little old gray-haired woman bending over the shrubs with pruning shears in her hand and a lawn basket beside her. Her ministry is to keep the lawn of God’s house looking worthy of His Name.
Her task is as simple and as humble as giving a cup of water in Jesus’ name.
The preacher said, “I pray that God will give me the honor of following that faithful saint through the gates into His kingdom.”
Why does that lady do that? It is very simple – she belongs to Christ – and He belongs to her.
You see, it isn’t the obvious big showy deeds that bring approval from Christ. It is very often those small things – those that need to be done – but very often go unnoticed.
B. Because we belong to Christ, we also belong to one another.
There is a good Christian song that has as part of its lyrics: “Friends are friends forever if the Lord’s the Lord of them.”
1. And because we belong to one another, we can understand what Paul says in
l Corinthians 13:4-7 READ
Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant,does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered,does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth;bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
2. To belong means we have possession of something. Sometimes, we have
possession of things. At other times, we may be possessed by the things we have. That is when we find ourselves in trouble.
Things like our finances, the trinkets that entertain us, the things of the flesh.
Those things can possess us.
Who or what possesses you? It is a question we all need to consider.
If we really belong to Christ, He will possess us – not the things that may possess us and our time and our energy and our souls.
C. We are called to be saints.
Saints are those people who are sanctified or set apart. Set apart for service.
Saints are separated from evil and the things and ways of the world by the Holy Spirit.
This separation is the result of obedience.
Saints are the rank and file. Ordinary Christians.
Sainthood is not reserved for preachers, elders, deacons, Bible teachers, or any other appointed leaders in the church.
A saint is a member of the Body of Christ.
D. However, Saints must be Growing Christians – constantly and consistently growing
up in Christ.
Having their name in the church membership book (if that exists) does not mean a person is a saint.
That is how sanctification and holiness are achieved – through daily constant and consistent growth.
Growing in knowledge and loyalty to Christ is also a part of sainthood.
That comes from a constant and persistent study of God’s word to know His will and to know how to become obedient to His will.
A saint is a sinner who has been called to a redemptive task.
Saints are ordinary people who are called to serve as Ambassadors for Christ in our common, ordinary, everyday life here on earth.
All of this shows us what the purpose of the Church is.
The Church is not for people who think they are good.
The Church is for people who know they are not good enough – but they are trying to respond to the call of Christ to represent Him in their daily lives.
Finally, we are called to be loved by God.
This is a divine love by which God possesses us.
As sinful as man is – God still calls us to be loved.
We are called to practice holiness in our lives.
Being holy means that we are separate from the world. That means that we do not love the world more than we love God, His Son, and the church.
We love God more and increase in that love day by day as we serve Him.
The love God has for His people causes us to be justified and set apart from the world.
We are set apart to a life dedicated to Him because of His overwhelming love for sinful man and His desire to bring sinful man into a right relationship with Him.
His love for us leads us to salvation.
He makes the call. It is the responsibility of those who hear His message to respond by believing that His Son, Jesus Christ, is the Savior of the world.
If we properly respond to His call by repenting of our sins and submitting to His commandment to be immersed for the forgiveness of sin, He accepts us into His family.
Through our response to His call and through our obedience to His call throughout our lives, we begin to live a life of obedience to Him.