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Summary: AN INTRODUCTION TO THE BOOK OF ROMANS. I BELIEVE THAT PAUL TEACHES US THAT A PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP WITH CHRIST WILL ALWAYS LEAD TO A DEEPER EXPERIENCE WITH CHRIST, BUT A CHURCH EXPERIENCE ALONE MAY NOT LEAD TO A RELATIONSHIP WITH CHRIST.

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THE DIVINE CALLING

ROMANS 1:1-17

LETTERS ARE A SIGINIFICANT PART OF OUR LIVES. I REMEMBER AS A CHILD HOW EXCITING IT WAS TO BE HANDED AN ENVELOPE THAT READ MASTER DOUGLAS PHILLIPS. IT WAS ALWAYS A SPECIAL DAY AS IT DIDN’T HAPPEN TO OFTEN.

I REMEMBER ON THE DAY OF MY MOTHER’S FUNERAL, THAT AFTER THE FUNERAL AND EVERYONE HAD GONE, MY BROTHERS AND SISTERS AND I WERE SITTING IN THE LIVING ROOM TALKING. SOMETHING CAME UP AND WE WANTED TO SEE A PAPER MOM HAD. WE KNEW THERE WAS A SHOEBOX OF PAPERS IN HER CLOSET AND SO WE GOT IT TO SEE IF IT WAS THERE. IT WASN’T, BUT WHAT WE DID FIND MADE OUR HEARTS GLAD.

WE WERE SURPRISED TO FIND A BOX OF LOVE LETTERS THAT MY FATHER HAD WRITTEN TO MY MOTHER, BEFORE AND AFTER THEY WERE MARRIED.

WE WERE ALWAYS OF THE IMPRESSION THAT DAD WAS A ROUGH AND HARD MAN. HE WORKED HARD AND ALWAYS HAD HIS FAMILY PRIORITY FIRST. HE WAS GREAT WITH KIDS, AND PASSED THAT ON TO ALL HIS CHILDREN. HE WASN’T OVERLY EXPRESSIVE OF HIS LOVE FOR MOM THOUGH, ALTHOUGH WE KNEW THEY WERE DEEPLY IN LOVE. I CAN REMEMBER SEEING THEM KISS ONLY ONCE, AT MY BROTHERS WEDDING.

WE SPENT HOURS JUST READING AND LAUGHING AT THESE LETTERS. WE DIDN’T LAUGH MUCH IN 1986 SO THIS TIME WAS GOOD.

I REMEMBER, ONE LETTER HE WROTE FROM A LOGGING CAMP. HE TOLD HER HOW MUCH HE MISSED HER AND WANTED TO BE WITH HER. HE SAID HE COULDN’T WAIT TO SEE HER IN A COUPLE OF WEEKS. IT WAS REAL MUSHY STUFF. HE ENDED IT WITH “BY THE WAY I GOT YOU THE 2 JUGS OF “RINCE-O BLEACH YOU ASKED FOR.”

YOU CAN SEE THAT A COMMON FACTOR FOR ALL THE PHILLIP’S WIVES, MINE INCLUDED, IS THAT THEY DESERVE A MEDAL FOR PUTTING UP WITH US. TO BE FAIR THE SAME IS TRUE FOR THE HUSBANDS OF MY SISTERS.

SOME LETTERS ARE STILL SIGNIFICANT TODAY FOR VARIOUS REASONS, DEPENDING ON WHO SENDS THEM. THE REASON FOR THIS IS A SIMPLE BUT PROFOUND CONCEPT, AND IT IS THAT RELATIONSHIP PRECEDES EXPERIENCE.

PEOPLE WHO NEED PERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS AS THEY LEAD TO PERSONAL EXPERIENCES. RELATIONSHIPS SOMETIMES BEGIN BY ACUTALLY MEETING THE PERSON AS IN A LOVE LETTER. YOU DIDN’T MARRY YOUR SPOUSE AND THEN BEGIN THE RELATIONSHIP, YOU BEGAN THE RELATIONSHIP AND THEN HAD THE EXPERIENCE OF THE MARRIAGE.

SOMETIMES THE RELATIONSHIP BEGINS OUT OF REPUTATION AND A DESIRE TO EXPERIENCE A DEEPER RELATIONSHIP, SUCH AS A JOB APPLICATION, OR IF A CHURCH IS LOOKING FOR A NEW PASTOR.

SEE THE RELATIONSHIP IN THIS VIDEO.

THE RELATIONSHIP ALWAYS PRECEDES THE EXPERIENCE. BEFORE YOU EXPERIENCED SALVATION YOU EXPERIENCED THE BEGINNING OF A PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP WITH CHRIST. THE RELATIONSHIP WAS INITIATED BY GOD BEFORE TIME BEGAN.

EPHESIANS 1:4-5:

FOR HE CHOSE US IN HIM BEFORE THE CREATION OF THE WORLD TO BE HOLY AND BLAMELESS IN HIS SIGHT. IN LOVE 5 HE PREDESTINED US FOR ADOPTION TO SONSHIP THROUGH JESUS CHRIST, IN ACCORDANCE WITH HIS PLEASURE AND WILL

THE BASIS FOR THAT RELATIONSHIP WAS MADE POSSIBLE AT CALVARY, AND THROUGH THE WORK OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.

FATHER WHO SENT ME DRAWS THEM, AND I WILL RAISE THEM UP AT THE LAST DAY.


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