Summary: Are you among the called of Jesus Christ? That’s the first step in becoming an encourager. That’s the first step in truly knowing the message of Thanksgiving.
Series Title: The Line in the Sand
Message Title: The Starting Line
7 To all in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ. 8 First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is being reported all over the world. 9 God, whom I serve with my whole heart in preaching the gospel of his Son, is my witness how constantly I remember you 10 in my prayers at all times; and I pray that now at last by God’s will the way may be opened for me to come to you. 11 I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong--12 that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith.
There is a progression found in these verses that, in verse 12, reaches a crescendo, a climax saying, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith.
What is it that brings us,
(Romans 1:6) “…those who are called to belong to Jesus Christ.”
to the point of being an encourager to one another?
We see at the end of our scriptures for today where it says, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, but where is the starting line? Where is the beginning for such a great role? It starts in verse seven.
Loved by God
The objects of Grace
Recipients of Peace
Before we go into the motivation to be a mutual encourager, let’s retrace our steps a little and find out what it means to be called of Jesus Christ.
(Matthew 22:14, NIV) "For many are invited, but few are chosen."
(Matthew 22:14, KJV) “For many are called, but few are chosen.”
When Jesus spoke those words, the word invited or called symbolized the gospel being proclaimed to the world. To anyone and everyone that had ears the call went out. Then later, in Romans, chapter one, verse six and again in verse seven, the word was refined by the Spirit of God to mean those that not only heard the call, but accepted the invitation to become a child of God. Yet the development of the word doesn’t stop here in verses six and seven, but continues its refining process until we see it for the last time in
(Revelation 17:14) These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful.
In the Gospels, the message, the call, went out from the lips of our Savior, Jesus Christ, to all that could hear. In the epistles, the message continued to go out and those who listened, accepted, and acted upon that divine invitation are reckoned to be among the called of Jesus Christ.
Are you among the called of Jesus Christ? That’s the first step in becoming an encourager. That’s the first step in truly knowing the message of Thanksgiving.
The believers that Paul has addressed this epistle to, and every believer today, are the object of the powerful message that was sent out from God. You have believed the message of God and you have passed from death, into life. No longer are you under the curse, no longer do you have to fear death, no longer do you have to wonder about what comes next. No longer do you have to please others. No longer are you held in bondage by a decaying world. You are children of God, and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ. That is the message of Thanksgiving! One small step for man, one giant step in your relationship with Jesus Christ! Amen?