Summary: Heaven’s voice is heard today by those that listen to the gospel. Let anyone that has ears hear and answer!
Rome! What a city it was in the days of Paul! Rome was the center of the known world, the heart of government. Rome was more than a place. Rome was THE place in those days. We don’t even know how to understand the perception that the people of the first century held about Rome of those days.
Rome was loved, feared, hated, revered... every country in the world was influenced by her.
The book of Revelation describes her as a harlot sitting on the back of a great monster. She is decorated and drunk from the blood of the saints. Revelation 17 - 18 are important for understanding the power and influence of Rome.
Rome represented all the material power and wealth of the world.
Yet in Rome, this megatropolis of the world, a quiet revolution was taking place. Not one based on worldly power and wealth. Not one based on material strength or social status or glamorous attraction. There was really nothing showy or externally outstanding about it. But this quiet revolution would eventually leave Rome in the dust. This quiet revolution would never fall.
Never be destroyed. Never fail. This quiet revolution was based not on changes in power or economics or any material thing.
It was simply this: a call. A quiet revolution based on a call. Not from human sources but divine. Not a call to do great things, at least not primarily, but a call from God; a call to be one of his, a call to open your heart to God.
While Rome represented the wealth and power of the world, the church of Jesus described in Revelation as a new city, coming down from heaven, represents all us who are called not to the power and wealth of the world but to God.
Do you know what scares me today? We live in the Rome of this world. There is not another place on earth like America. We have it as good as it gets. Power, wealth, prestige, military might, recreational toys, entertainment, plush homes,
supermarkets that throw away produce when it looks a little tired. We live in the Rome of the world!!! We are a spoiled, picky, arrogant, self-centered, sin filled, nation that is running headlong into destruction. Listen to Romans 1:28-32.
Rooting God out of everything that touches government, we are as a nation, closing the door on the light and entering the darkness of what people do when the voice of God is not here.
What happens when people don’t hear the call of God? In a few weeks we will be looking at what Romans says about this.
But today, let’s start where Paul starts. Paul says basically, I answered the call. And I accepted the job of calling others.
3 times in these first 7 verses Paul mentions the words call and called. Once in reference to himself, once in reference to his mission, and once in reference to the Christians of Rome.
At one point in my life I worked as a Real Estate dealer at the Norwood Realty office in Concord, NH. I’ll never forget my first experience of working the desk and taking calls. Those phones are crazy! There must be 25 buttons besides the numbers, and every one of them needs to be pushed for something!
My first time was a little rough. If someone had even suggested quitting that morning I would have followed their wisdom.
Calls are not always easy. There are so many of them coming in at the same time. We can only handle one at a time.
That is true of your life. God has dialed your number, but so have a hundred others. Satan loves to jam your lines with his messengers. They all seem so important!!
Brothers and sisters, there is really only one call to you that offers eternal life. Paul said, I am answering that call, everything else will just have to stay on hold or hang it up.
God has called and God is calling. We must answer the call. Open your heart to God.
Paul tells us about the call in three sections here.
Called to service, called to obedience, and called to belong
Notice the call of Paul in verses 1-4: Two things are here.
1. To be an apostle, 2. He was set apart for the service of the gospel
An apostle was a messenger. I can identify with that. But this other part is tougher.
To be set apart. The word Paul uses here is a strong one. It can be translated excluded or even excommunicated. Some other places where it is used are: Gal. 2:12, 2 Cor 6:17, Luke 6:22, Matt. 25:32, 13:49. What it expresses is this. If you answer this call, you don’t belong here any more.