Summary: God has moved powerfully in human history and in our lives. In response, we are invited to simply trust in what God has already done.
Romans 1:1-17 “Simple Trust”
There are times when we are forced to go to the very core of our being in order to rediscover ore reaffirm who we are as individuals. The young man in this video reaffirmed that he was a “good” boy and that he wasn’t the type of individual who through rock at police—even if all of his friends did. These times might also include facing a serious illness, dealing with the death of a loved one or even being blessed with a terrific opportunity. How we react to these situations and others like them is largely based on who we understand ourselves to be.
Six of our young people today are affirming their baptism. Among the reasons that they have to motivate them to act is the understanding of who they are. I want to take the opportunity to remind them and all of us who we are based on what Paul writes to the Christians in Rome.
In verses 1 writes that he understands himself to have been called by God. In verse 7 Paul writes and proclaims that the Christians in Rome have also been called, too.
We have not volunteered to be who we are. We have not stood in line jumping up and down, waving frantically in an attempt to get God to notice us and choose us. Instead God has decided to choose and to call us.
We have been called at our baptism. We have been called to be forgiven, new people, children of God, filled with the Holy Spirit. This call has been nurtured by this congregation and by the ministries and relationships that this congregation has offered you.
Today these six young people are affirming that they have been called by God and that this call continues to shape who they are and what they want to become.
Returning to verse 7, Paul tells his readers that they have been called to be saints.
The Roman Catholic Church defines a saint as a person who has such a virtuous life that their righteous works are in the plus column and they can go directly to heaven and not spend any time in purgatory. Only a very few people have been designated as saints and I don’t think any of them were among the Roman Christians whom Paul referred to as Saints. The Protestant Church made it easier to be a saint. Anyone who has been baptized and who has a relationship with God is a saint.
Literally the word for “Saint” is “holy.” We have been called to be holy.
• Holy doesn’t mean to follow a bunch of rules.
• Holy means to be set aside for a specific purpose.
• Last week members of our Youth Discipleship Class captured the tasks of a saint. They are God’s people who are called to love others, be accepting and open to others, and to serve the people around them.
In verse 1 Paul identifies himself as an apostle. An apostle is a person who has been sent out to accomplish a specific task. For Paul this meant that he was sent to the Gentiles to share with them the good news of Jesus Christ.
In verse 5 Paul writes that the Roman Christians are apostles and thus all Christians are apostles. We have been called and sent to share God’s love and grace with the people around us. We do this by what we say and by what we do. One family shared how providing a meal for them in a time of need touched their lives with God’s love and grace. That’s what Christians, who have been called, holy and sent, do.
It has been said that the only Bible that those outside of the church they will ever read; those who have not heard that God loved them so much that God sent his son, is our lives our words and actions. If they don’t hear it from us, then they may never hear it.
This is who the six young people are, who are affirming their baptism today. I invite all of us to affirm our baptism with them and to live as God’s called, holy and sent people—people who have been changed and who will change the world.