Summary: 1. Remember the people we owe. 2. Remember the positive attitude we can show. 3. Remember the power we know.

Our Testimony for the Lord

Romans 1:9-17

Sermon by Rick Crandall

Grayson Baptist Church - Sept. 8, 2013

*Mary's dad passed away 24 years ago, in May of 1989. His name was Harry Radcliffe, but we called him "Pap Pap." Harry was a hero in World War II. He received a Bronze Star for driving an ambulance through enemy fire to rescue some wounded men.

*Pap Pap was tough, but he was also rough, especially as a younger man. One of Mary's not-so-fond childhood memories was when her mom was driving, and a man cut her off in traffic. At the next red light her dad jumped out of the car and got into a fist-fight with that man. The police came and took both of them to the station.

*Mary's dad was also hard on his wife, never physically, but hard to get along with. He was demanding, unforgiving, even hateful at times. They separated after we came out here and went through a bitter divorce they both lived to regret.

*But Mary's dad was always good to me and her. Over the years we could see a huge change in his life. The Lord was clearly working in his heart. Jesus Christ changed his life. Pap Pap was less angry. He was kinder, more loving, thoughtful and generous.

*Mary's dad lived with us most of the last year of his life. It was a very tough year as he battled lung cancer and emphysema. But it was also one of our best as we got closer and shared good times together.

*Toward the end, we had to rush Mary's dad to the Emergency Room at Saint Francis about every 3 or 4 weeks, because Pap Pap's breathing would get so bad. One of those early mornings we were on the interstate crossing the river. The sun was just coming up. Mary's dad looked out over the city, and transformed the moment into something sacred, when he said: "I wish I could stand on the tallest building in town and tell the world what Jesus Christ has done for me."

*I can't tell you how much that testimony blessed my heart. And God wants US to bless people like that. In today's Scripture, Paul shows us how. We have to keep focused on 3 things.

1. First: Remember the people we owe.

*When Paul gave part of his testimony in these verses, he was thinking about the people he owed. They were on Paul's heart in vs. 9-14, when he said:

9. . . God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of His Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers,

10. making request if, by some means, now at last I may find a way in the will of God to come to you.

11. For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift, so that you may be established

12. that is, that I may be encouraged together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me.

13. Now I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that I often planned to come to you (but was hindered until now), that I might have some fruit among you also, just as among the other Gentiles.

14. I am a debtor both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to wise and to unwise.

*Paul said, "I am a debtor". And Christians, so are we.

[1] Think about why we owe.

*Why did Paul think of himself as a debtor? It seems like an odd thing to say: "I am in debt to people I have never met." Why did he say that? There can only be one reason: Paul had a clear vision of the cross. He knew what Jesus had done for him. He knew that Jesus Christ had saved his soul and set him free.

*Paul knew that Jesus had paid the ultimate price for him. His heart was touched. His life was transformed. And the same Jesus has done so much for us!

-That's why we owe.

[2] But also think about who we owe.

*In vs. 14, Paul said: "I am a debtor both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to wise and to unwise. It looks like Paul said, "I owe everybody." He is saying here that we are obligated to reach as many people as we possibly can with the good news about Jesus Christ: Greeks, barbarians, wise, unwise.

*We are obligated to reach people who are like us and people who are not like us: In vs. 16, both Jews and Gentiles, all kinds of people, people we have known for a life-time and people we've never met.

-We must reach everyone we can! -- That's who we owe.

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