Summary: Paul made it clear in the Book of Romans that we have certain obligations.
Why are you here this morning? 60% of those who live in this country are not here. They have good reason. So many things are competing for their time. They are on the run on Saturdays with kid’s sports and family matters. They have to have some time to sleep in and Sunday’s the only day available. Or it might be their favorite sporting event is taking place and tailgating is very important. Maybe the activities of the week have left Sunday as the only time to do that grocery shopping that is needed. Perhaps they get their religious fix on social media by watching the service at the latest mega church to hit TV.
Some just don’t buy into the church scene anymore. They are Christians because they were born here or they grew up in a Christian home. Churches have a reputation of rejecting certain people while advertising everyone is welcomed here. What the church really means is as long as you are like us. Church leaders are charlatans with only one thing on their mind, money. They are looking to get rich off the backs of foolish people.
But you are here. You must not feel that way. So why are you here? According to the latest Gallup Pole 23% attends for spiritual growth. That’s a good reason. Let me ask you a question. How many of you can recall any of my sermons without looking at your notes? It’s okay. I can’t recall many of them and I preached them. But I bet you don’t recall every meal you have ever eaten but you have still grown. I know that’s true for me. So I feel you are getting your spiritual growth.
20% stated that church kept them grounded and inspired. 15% felt it was part of the faith. Another 15% come to worship God. 13% come for the fellowship with fellow believers. 12% come to support their belief in God or the denomination that they are a part of. Another 12% come because they were brought up that way.
Adding some numbers together we discover that 39% of people attending church feel obligated to do so. And they are correct in feeling that way.
When Paul wrote the Romans he was in Corinth. The church in Rome was a diverse church made up of both Jews and Gentiles. He wrote the letter to Rome to help bond these two groups together and show them the importance of unity. They were now one family, united through Jesus, with God as their heavenly Father. And because of that they had an obligation to each other.
We are family also. And because of that we have an obligation to each other. So let’s look at these obligations that Paul spelled out in the Book of Romans.
We have an obligation to bring our spiritual gifts.
Romans 1:11 “For I long to visit you so I can bring you some spiritual gift that will help you grow strong in the Lord.”
It was the last day of school and children were bringing gifts to their teacher. She had set up a table in front of the classroom for them to place their gifts. The florist’s son brought the teacher a bouquet. The candy storeowner’s son brought the teacher a pretty box of candy. Then the liquor storeowner’s son brought a big, heavy box. The teacher noticed that it was leaking a bit. She felt sure that he had accidentally busted the bottle. She touched a drop of liquid with her finger and tasted it. “Is it wine?’ she guessed. “No” said the boy. She tasted another drop, “Champagne?” “No,” said the little boy. “It’s a puppy!”
Reality is we all have a gift to bring to the table. These gifts are given to us to help each other grow stronger in our faith. I see many gifts already active in our church. The gift of serving, the gift of encouragement, the gift of giving, the gift of faith, to name a few. But I also know that you have not discovered all the gifting that God has given you.
1 Corinthians 12:7 “A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other.”
Here is the question to ask yourself. What am I doing that helps others? As I said, I see almost everyone serving in some capacity. But are you serving outside of these four walls? What are you doing to reach your friends, family, co-workers, and neighbors? Are you sharing your gifts with strangers that you meet? A gift given that is left unwrapped or not used is a gift wasted. God’s desire is that we do not waste our gifts.
We have an obligation to encourage each other.
Romans 1:12 “When we get together, I want to encourage you in your faith, but I also want to be encouraged by yours.”