Summary: When we get the gospel, we'll go with the gospel.
Gospel Means Go
Rev. Brian Bill
I love the lyrics to that song Dan just sang called “I Refuse.”
‘Cause I don’t want to live like I don’t care.
I don’t want to say another empty prayer.
Oh, I refuse to sit around and wait for someone else
To do what God has called me to do myself.
Oh, I could choose
Not to move but I refuse.
I’ve often wondered why more of us don’t witness like we should. I came across a survey from across the pond that I’m sure has no correspondence to us Americans but thought I’d share some of the highlights, or lowlights. According to a study released last month the typical British man will spend 10,500 hours in the pub and 11 years in front of the TV over his lifetime. He’ll also waste one month looking for socks and learn to cook just four meals before he dies. The survey also found that modern men also feel guilty about their lazy lifestyles because they will say “sorry” 1.9 million times during their lifetime. I’m not sure what researchers would find here in our country but this wouldn’t be a good time to take the survey because so many of us are watching “March Madness,” me included.
Last week we learned that God’s promises should cause us to praise Him and today we’re going to discover that God doesn’t want us to live like we don’t care and end up wasting our lives. Rather, when we get the gospel, we will go with the gospel. We’ve seen what’s inside the Apostle Paul’s head in the first 15 ½ chapters of Romans and now we’ll see his heart in the remainder of this book. As we look at Paul’s plan and pattern for ministry in Romans 15:14-21, I want to argue that there are six qualities that we should copy for our own lives. The outline today is simple as it contains just six words.
1. Compliment. Paul was not afraid to be blunt when he had to be but he also knew that words of encouragement provide great motivation. We see this in Romans 15:14: “I myself am convinced, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, complete in knowledge and competent to instruct one another.” By calling them “brothers” he’s focusing on the fact that they are all family. He then gives them three specific compliments that reveal how he sees these Christians. He’s for them, not against them.
• They are full of goodness. This kind of moral goodness, a Fruit of the Spirit, means that they hated evil and sin and exhibited positive virtues. In the beginning of our English language, the word “good” carried the same connotation as the name “God.” In Jewish tradition, the title, “The Good” was actually used for God. Goodness may appear to be the most obvious fruit but is in fact, often misunderstood and even maligned. Our culture tends to make fun of those who are “goody-two-shoes” kind of people. While love, joy, and peace step up to the plate and hit home runs, goodness does its best to just get a single.
• They are complete in knowledge. They were not only a people with good hearts; their heads were filled with the right things. Their doctrine was right on.
• They are competent to instruct. This means literally to “place in the mind” and conveys the idea of admonishing, encouraging, advising and even warning people. Other translations use the word “counsel.” These believers were doing life together and were able to lead someone away from a false path into a true path using warnings and wisdom from the Word of God. It’s the idea of having a corrective influence.
This takes place all the time in our Connection Groups. Pastor Andy led a leader’s meeting a couple weeks ago and as our leaders shared it became quickly apparent that our Connection Groups are competent to counsel one another. I met with a small group leader this week and was moved by the shepherding, teaching, instruction and counsel that take place within his band of brothers and sisters in Christ as they do life together.
I’m greatly challenged by Hebrews 3:13 because it links the importance of encouraging others with whether or not they will become hardened by sin: “But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.” Did you catch the word “daily”? That means we’re to encourage one another at least once a day! If I’m not encouraging you, and you’re not encouraging me, then we will all be more susceptible to sin and instead of moving toward holiness, we’ll become hardened.
How are you doing in this regard? Does it kill you to pay someone a compliment? Look for ways to encourage those around you and try to give one encouraging word to everyone you speak with this week.