I am obligated both to Greeks and non-Greeks, both to the wise and the foolish. That is why I am so eager to preach the gospel also to you who are in Rome. For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. (Romans 1:14-16)
This is one powerful passage! If you were ever looking for a simple sermon or lesson to preach, it is in these verses:
- I am obligated
- I am eager
- I am not ashamed
There are your three points. Sometimes, it is easy to spot the points in Scripture that we would like everyone to know. It is another thing altogether to be able to actually live those devotional thoughts out in real life. As Paul writes to the Romans, he writes to us today. We read and feel his passion. He lived what he wrote, inspired by the Holy Spirit, through his ministry. We can do the same!
The part of these verses which inspires us is “I am not ashamed…” We see ourselves there. That’s why we get up and go to church, while our neighbors are headed to the lake or a ball game, mow their yard, or worship at the First Church of the Holy Mattress. We might even invite them to church every once in a while, and it makes us feel good that we did our part. We don’t mind if people know we are believers in Christ, but are we willing to be isolated because we speak up for Jesus? Are we more concerned about appearing to be academically tolerant to divergent thinking and living, rather than to be ostracized or minimized because we actually believe the Bible?
We like to see ourselves unashamed, just as we envision ourselves to be truly eager to share Christ, like on a mission trip in a foreign country. The real truth is we wrestle with being eager, don’t we? Waiting for someone or something to motivate us to higher living, we give intellectual ascent to the desire to be eager, while settling for mediocrity instead.
Maybe, just maybe the reason for our wrestling is we don’t really feel obligated to be on the front line for Christ. In our cultural Christianity, we have a tendency to treat our responsibilities as multiple-choice tests. How we choose to live and where our true commitments lie are connected to our feelings at the moment.
We have learned to excuse ourselves from service, because “we don’t feel led.” Where does that sense of obligation flow? From Christ and Christ alone! Keep your eyes on Him long enough this day, and He will do something within you which will link you eternally to His purposes and not your own. Stay a little longer with Him in your devotional time, and there WILL come a sense of obligation. You will not be able to shed that sense of responsibility to actually be the arms and feet of Christ in our generation. If there is no sense of obligation, there will come no eagerness to share, and power to stand unashamed!