Published November 24, 2005
Romans 1:1-7, 13-17
Related Sunday School Lesson, Family Bible Series, Dec. 11
God has called each of us to be on mission in our lives. At work, at school, at home and at play, we are called to be missionaries to our culture and to our world. Many Christians presume that missions has nothing to do with them. They may pray for missionaries and give to missions but to them, missions is something that happens in a faraway place.
The truth is, God has called all of us to the mission field. We may not be called to go to a faraway place, but we are all given the Great Commission as our standard for living. God's command to "go and make disciples" in the Great Commission is not intended for a small minority of believers; it applies to us all. We all have a personal responsibility for being involved in fulfilling God's mission. We have been assigned the task to be a missional people in our culture, in our context and beyond.
Romans 1:1-17 provides a strong theological basis for missions. The book of Romans so eloquently establishes a theological framework for how we are to behave as followers of Christ. It shows a vital connection between theology and missions. This is essential because what we believe about God will determine what we do for God.
Our belief determines our behavior. Because of our belief that God's desire is to see the nations worship Him, we are motivated to engage our culture and our world as witnesses to His truth.
The goal of life is to be passionately involved in fulfilling Christ's mission for your life by affirming the privilege and responsibility of participating in missions and committing to become involved in taking the Gospel to all people.
Called, Romans 1:1-7
Paul begins his letter to the churches in Rome in his typical style; he talks about his calling. In verse one he says he was "called as an apostle, set apart for the Gospel of God." The idea of a calling is very strong in the writings of Paul and through other authors in Scripture. Paul expressed the universal scope of the Gospel as he defined his calling in verse 5.
He had received grace as well as the responsibility of taking the message of the Gospel to all nations. As followers of Christ, we share this same calling with Paul. We are called to be missionaries. The old saying goes "every member a minister." Many have properly proposed an update to be "every member a minister and a missionary."
As Paul begins the book of Romans he also begins to build his case for taking the Gospel to Spain. In Romans 15:23-24 Paul not only communicates his plans to go to Spain but he also encourages the Roman believers to partner with him in doing so.
He provides the Roman Christians with an opportunity to participate with him in this mission. After all, they have been "called" by God as "saints" (v. 7). Because we belong to Christ, all believers are called to obedience and are set apart as God's people. We were made for mission!
Obligated, Romans 1:13-15
Paul was obligated to preach the good news to people of all cultures and classes. He says in verse 14, "I am under obligation both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish." His sense of obligation was not burdensome; rather, he was eager to share Christ.
He writes in verse 15, "I am eager to preach the Gospel to you also who are in Rome."
Paul realized that God's saving work in his life was the motivating factor for reaching others. He viewed His life and his commitment to Christ as a debt he owed to God.
This "obligation" was not a burden; rather it was a joy and a privilege for Paul. He was willing to share the love of Christ with everyone because of the unconditional love that God had showed him.
Those who have experienced Christ's love share that same obligation with Paul. We have the opportunity and responsibility to tell people that God loves them and has a plan and purpose for their lives. We must tell them about Jesus Christ and His offer and free gift of salvation to them. Because this good news is for everyone, believers have a duty to share the Gospel with everyone. How can we keep silent when we've seen God's love first-hand?
Paul proclaims in verse 16 that the Gospel is the "power of God for salvation to everyone who believes ..." The fact that this good news is meant for every nation, every people group, every culture and every continent should embolden us to proclaim this truth unashamedly. Paul was convinced of the power of the Gospel and he proclaimed it unashamedly and courageously.
He says, "I am not ashamed of the Gospel." Paul not only spoke these words with his lips but he lived them every moment. His life was completely devoted to sharing the truth about Christ.
Just like Paul, those who follow Christ should be willing and able to proclaim God's truth without hesitation. Because the Gospel is God's power to save, we can proclaim it unashamedly. Peter writes in 1 Peter 3:15, "Always be ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you."
Because of what Christ has done in our lives we are able to communicate with power and effectiveness what He can do in the lives of others.
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