Summary: Paul said, verse 14, “I am debtor …” verse 15, “. . . I am ready . . .” verse 16, “. . . I am not ashamed . . .” Link inc. to formatted text, audio, PowerPoint.
Three 'I Am's
Jesus met Paul on the road to Damascus in a post resurrection appearance. And when Paul, who was then called Saul, saw Jesus he asked him the two greatest questions that anyone can ever ask.
Question number one: Who are You Lord?
Question number two: What would You have me to do?
The two greatest questions that anyone could ever ask. The apostle Paul spent the rest of his life discovering the answer to those two questions: Who are You Lord? What would You have me to do? Paul became then the greatest missionary the world has ever known. And after his death, there was a colony of heaven planted in every major city in the western Roman empire. What was it that so transformed him? What was the philosophy that drove him? What was the motivation that urged him on?
We’re going to read and we’re going to find three times the apostle Paul will use a phrase, “I am.” Look in verse 14, “I am debtor …” Look in verse 15, “. . . I am ready . . .” Look in verse 16, “. . . I am not ashamed . . .” Now my job as a preacher is to write those three “I ams” on your heart until you can say the same thing. If you can say those three things when I am finished, God through me will have done a good job.
That will save you from Sunday morning religion and casual Christianity. That will make you the kind of a person that God wants you to be.
PAUL WAS FAITHFUL TO THE OBLIGATIONS OF THE GOSPEL. Paul felt obligated. He said, “I am a debtor . . . “ Now what does that mean? To whom was Paul in debt? To what was Paul in debt? Well, number one, Paul was in debt to Christ.
Go back to verse 1. “Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ . . .” And the word “servant” as I told you means, “a bond slave.” Paul saw himself a bond slave to the one who died for him. Question, has Jesus died for you? Yes! Alright, Jesus with His blood bought you. Therefore, Paul later told the Corinthians, “You’re not your own. You are bought with the precious blood of Jesus Christ.” Here Lord, I give myself away. ‘Tis all that I can do. Jesus paid it all. All to Him I owe. Love so amazing, so divine, demands, demands my life, my soul, my all.
You say, “Jerry, are you saying we have to work for our salvation?” No! Salvation is by grace, but oh to grace how great a debtor. Daily I’m constrained to be.
I cannot work my soul to save, that work my Lord has done. But I will work like any slave for the love of God’s dear Son.
Paul saw himself as a debtor to Christ. But not only did he see himself as a debtor to Christ, Paul saw himself as a debtor to the conquerors of the past. You see, Paul knew that he stood on the shoulders of those who had gone before him. Look in verse 8. Paul says, “First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world.” Paul realized that there were others who had suffered, and bled, and died that he might know the Lord Jesus Christ. As a matter of fact, the thing that brought the apostle Paul to a saving faith in Christ other than the appearance of Jesus Christ Himself to Paul was Paul had watched a martyr die for Jesus. He had watched a man named Stephen died for Jesus.
We sit here in this beautiful building, air conditioned, upholstered. We sit here in comfort and safety. But I want to tell you there are others who have sailed through bloody seas. And even this apostle Paul later would have his head cut off. Peter would be crucified upside down. Christians were fed to the lions in the coliseum. They were clothed with animal skins and hunted like wild beasts. They were tied to the shores at low tide and drowned. They were stripped of their clothing, covered with oil, and made human candles to light Nero's gardens while he banqueted. They paid with their blood. And this very building that we’re in, this very fellowship that we enjoy. There are those who have gone before us, before long as a church we will celebrate 50 years. Who provided the seat that you’re sitting on? Who is causing the light to shine down upon you? Who put the carpet beneath your feet? Who installed the sound system that you might hear? Who erected these walls? Who was sent before us that we might enjoy what we enjoy today? Somebody did. Amen? We owe them. We owe them. We are a debtor to the conquerors of the past.