Romans 1:15-17

    We can be effective servants of the Gospel if we share the same attitude toward evangelism as the Apostle Paul.  The first chapter of Romans contrasts the faithfulness of the Christians which was spoken of throughout the world (Romans 1:8) with the unrighteousness of the lost which had defiled the world (Romans 1:18-32).  Although the world around them was sinful, the Gospel could still be proclaimed by evangelists with their hearts set on the Gospel.

THE APOSTLE PAUL WAS AN EFFECTIVE SERVANT BECAUSE HE FELT THE OBLIGATION OF PREACHING

    The Apostle Paul said, “I am a debtor (KJV) or under obligation (ESV) both to the Greeks and to barbarians both to the wise and to the foolish” (Romans 1:15).  The Greek “ὀφειλέτης εἰμί” refers to one who is under the requirement of law to do something.  The verb is a present tense verb which helps us to see this was not a once in a lifetime or a once in awhile obligation.  Rather it was something that was a continual obligation.

We are obligated by the laws of the Great state of Mississippi to purchase a license plate, but that is a once every year obligation.  We are also obligated by the laws of the same state to fasten our seat belt every time we drive.  It is a continual obligation.  It is ongoing. Our obligation to evangelism is ongoing. It isn’t something that we can emphasize once in awhile.  It is a responsibility we must make a part of our lives.  We don’t breath once in awhile.  We breath continually.  If you stop breathing, you have a physical problem.  If you stop preaching, you have a spiritual problem.  

1 Corinthians 9:16-17 reveals Paul’s deep sense of obligation to preaching.  Paul wrote: “For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of; for necessity is laid upon me; for woe is unto me, if I preach not the Gospel.  For if I do this of my own will I have a reward: but if not of mine own will, I have a stewardship entrusted to me.”  

THE APOSTLE PAUL WAS AN EFFECTIVE SERVANT BECAUSE HE WAS EAGER TO PREACH THE GOSPEL.  

    Romans 1:15 says, “So I am ready (KJV) (“eager” ESV) to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome.”  The word translated “ready” “πρόθυμον” in the KJV & ASV pertains to being eager to do something.  Psalm 40:8-10 says:

“I delight to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart.  I have told the glad news of deliverance in the great congregation; behold, I have not restrained my lips, as you know O LORD.  I have not hidden your deliverance within my heart; I have spoken of your faithfulness and your salvation; I have not concealed your steadfast love and your faithfulness, from the great congregation.”   

See how the Psalmist loved to know and spread God’s word.  He said, “I delight to do your will”, “I have told the glad news of deliverance”, “I have not restrained my lips”, “I have not hidden your deliverance”, “I have spoken”.  The Hebrews word  בִּשַּׂ֤רְתִּי translated “spoken” means to “bring bring a good message” (BDB).  It comes to Hebrew from Arabic meaning “to remove the surface of a thing” (BDB).  Therefore, it is a treasure that was covered, but after scrubbing away the surface presents us with good news.  That is the Gospel!

    We should be eager to preach the Gospel because the Gospel saves.  1 Corinthians 1:18, “The word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved, it is the power of God.”  John 1:12-13, “to all who did receive him, who believed on his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.”  If you are excited about anything, you should be excited about preaching the Gospel.

PAUL WAS AN EFFECTIVE SERVANT BECAUSE HE WAS NOT ASHAMED OF THE GOSPEL.

    Paul said, “I am not ashamed of the Gospel, because it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.  For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, ‘the righteous shall live by faith.’” (Romans 1:16-17).  To say Paul was unashamed of the Gospel would be a terrible understatement.

       The same apostle wrote, “For this reason I also suffer these things, but I am not ashamed; for I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day” (2 Timothy 1:12).  In the eighth verse of the same chapter urged Timothy, “therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord or of me His prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God.”  

      Paul’s great pride in the Gospel is seen in his willingness to preach the Gospel in sacrificial circumstances. 2 Thessalonians 2:12-13, “For yourselves, brethren, know our entering in unto you, that it hath not been found vain: but having suffered before and been shamefully treated, as ye know, at Philippi, we waxed bold in our God to speak unto you the gospel of God in much conflict. For our exhortation is not of error, nor of uncleanness, nor in guile: but even as we have been approved of God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God who proveth our hearts.”

    We can preach the Gospel effectively with boldness if we: 1) preach the Word–2 Timothy 4-14; 2) preach to please God rather than men–Galatians 1:10; 3) preach with confidence in the one behind the message rather than the one behind the pulpit–Isaiah 55:11; 4) preach with confidence in the Word–1 Corinthians 1:18.  

INVITATION

    The first chapter of Romans contrasts the faithfulness of the Christians which was spoken of throughout the world (Romans 1:8) with the unrighteousness of the lost which had defiled the world (Romans 1:18-32).  Although the world around them was sinful, the Gospel could still be proclaimed by evangelists with their hearts set on the Gospel.

    Paul understood his responsibilities of being a Christian.  He also understood what a privilege it is to be in God’s service.  As those who have been saved by the Gospel of Christ, are we doing our best to reach out and share the Gospel of Christ with others effectively like Paul did?  

  

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