Summary: From the life of the Apostle Paul, Christians can learn to Trust and Obey, for there’s no other way!
“Paul: The Man, The Message, The Method”
What kind of person do you want to be remembered as?
What is the one theme of your life that you want your children and grandchildren to be able to say about you?
What will be your message and your method in life that you leave as your legacy?
That’s what the Apostle Paul is doing in these opening verses of the book of Romans, as he introduces himself to us.
He tells us something about himself as a man, his message, and his method.
“Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the Gospel of God—“
We actually know very little about the Apostle Paul before he was converted to Christ.
We know that he was called Saul, was born in Tarsus, which is a city in modern day Turkey.
He was a graduate of a secular university, he had the best education that money could buy, and He was a Pharisee, trained under the famous rabbi, Gamaliel.
Paul was a Pharisee from the tribe of Benjamin.
We have a negative image of Pharisees today, but there are some things about Pharisees that were actually quite good.
They were the experts in the Old Testament Scriptures.
They were obedient and faithful to the Old Testament Law, and they were actually the religious conservatives of their day.
We also know that Paul was a tentmaker by trade.
So, he was a skilled businessman who used the tent making trade to support himself.
There is no evidence that Paul ever had any contact with Jesus before his own conversion on the Damascus Road, but Paul knew of Christians, and the day the godly deacon, Steven, was stoned, Acts Chapter 7 states that they laid their coats at the feet of Saul, who was looking on.
Then, Saul met Jesus and became Paul.
The Light of Christ was so intense and bright that Paul was blinded by the Light, then from the moment he regained his sight, Paul had absolute clarity about who he was.
Here was a man who was literally going down the wrong road in life, then in a flash of Light, his entire life was not only turned around, but he gained a focus, a drive and torque that he never had before.
He saw himself as a servant, called as an apostle, and set apart for the Gospel of God.
Paul could have introduced himself to the Romans as a church planter or a fine writer.
But he doesn’t list his credentials on the cover letter to the Romans.
Instead, Paul was humble and he says up front that he is a “bond slave of Christ.”
The Roman people understood well about slavery, because when an army was conquered, the victors brought enemy soldiers in as slaves and marched them before the people in triumphal procession.
Animals had more rights in the Roman Empire than slaves did, so for Paul to call himself a bond slave is to identify with the lowest of the low on the totem pole of the social pecking order of Rome.
This opening statement is absolutely amazing.
You would never begin a letter this way!
But willingly, Paul is holding the shackle of slavery to his own neck, to Jesus Christ as the Master and Lord of his life.
That leads us to Paul’s identity as a man called to be an apostle.
What is an apostle?
The definition of an apostle as found in the New Testament is one of the 12 who knew the Lord Jesus personally, and one whom the Lord had personally called and given authority to.
So, for Paul to call himself an apostle is to set himself in the same position as the chosen disciples of Christ.
How then could Paul rightfully do this?
The risen Christ personally spoke to Paul that day on the Damascus Road, and gave Paul a worldwide purpose.
So Paul wants to establish his credentials with a commission to proclaim the good news of Christ, so he puts himself with that unique group of men who were there at the formation of the church.
His authority as an apostle came from no man, but only from Christ, and his words bear the authority of God Himself.
Because Paul is a bond slave, who received his authority from Christ, he is also a man who was set apart for the Gospel of God.
The question I would ask you is, “Are you set apart for Christ?”
We’ve seen Paul, the man, now, what about the message?
Being a follower of Christ is a grand privilege and Paul speaks about the Gospel of God.
He introduces the Gospel as the Gospel of God’s Son, then He goes on to define God’s Son as descended from David, and resurrected from the dead by the power of God.