Summary: What has God called you to be? What special gift do you have that sets you apart for the Gospel of God?
Romans: The Line in the Sand
Message Title: The Serving Line, Part Ib
Scripture: Romans 1:1
Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God-
When I was in high school, every year, about two weeks before school started, we would begin football practice. We would have two practices per day, from 7-9 am, and then from 7-9 pm. During that time, it was, of course, summertime in Texas. Temperatures were always in the high 90’s and 100’s (around 40 degrees Celsius ). Because the school was so small, those that had started and played the year before, usually only had to return to their previous positions, unless someone new walked onto the field. Freshmen were not new to the game, they had played in middle school, and the coaches coached both middle and high school, so they knew everyone’s capabilities and potential. They knew what people were suited for which position. Unless a graduating senior left a vacant spot or there was someone new and better than last year’s regular player, players pretty much knew where they were going to play.
Every player had different abilities that enabled them to play a certain position. Speed, agility and small size ensured you would not be on the front line, but you might end up running with the ball.
If you listened to the coach long enough you’d hear him make various comments about the inability of certain players to perform certain tasks. Those players that spent a large portion of their time on the ground would often hear him say something similar to: “you missed your calling…you should have been a farmer, since you like the dirt so much!”
Paul didn’t miss his calling.
II. called to be an apostle
Paul had led a very special life, or so he believed, up until the time he was met by Jesus on that road to Damascus. But, after that, it became a very extraordinary life. A life that seemingly never had a dull moment.
Paul was a called apostle. What is an apostle? An apostle, in the Gospel sense, is one that participated in Jesus’ earthly ministry and witnessed His resurrection. Paul definitely met these qualifications, but we’ll elaborate on that a little later.
Let’s look at the basic meaning of those words before ‘apostle.’ The NIV says that he was called ‘to be an’ apostle, yet it should read a called apostle, an appointed apostle.
The ‘to be an’ was inserted by translators to help, yet it only serves to confuse maturing readers. The difference is subtle and seems to indicate a possible incompleteness, meaning its left up to the person that is being called to accept the calling.
The other, ‘a called apostle,’ has the sense of completeness, as well as acceptance of the one that is called by the one doing the calling.
Let’s look at another that was called. Jeremiah 1:4,5
4 The word of the LORD came to me, saying, 5 "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations."
Jeremiah was called by God. There is a very distinct difference between those that are sent and those that just went.
Jeremiah 23:21, 22
21 I did not send these prophets, yet they have run with their message; I did not speak to them, yet they have prophesied. 22 But if they had stood in my council, they would have proclaimed my words to my people and would have turned them from their evil ways and from their evil deeds.
There are those that go under their own power and direction, and those that go under the power and direction of the Spirit of God.
Paul, a called apostle.
A called messenger of God has no say in the matter. Jonah was a messenger called to go to Nineveh, but he balked at that and tried to go somewhere else.
Sent – A messenger [apostle] of God has been sent from God. And, being sent from God, has the power and wisdom of God. Where God guides, God provides. If you ain’t been sent, then you’d better not went.
=Under Command –
The ‘sent’ messenger is under command from God. He or she doesn’t have the luxury of turning aside or deciding that they’ll do it later. Take care when you’re under command, if you continue to refuse, you may be refuse. Put on a shelf somewhere and seldom seen or heard.
=Under Authority –
A messenger has no authority of his or her own.
(John 13:16) I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him.