Summary: Some of the greatest things ever accomplished in this world have simply been accomplished because people refused to quit. A big oak tree is nothing more than an acorn that refused to give ground. It just hung on. There’s great value in persistence.
Open your Bibles to Romans 1. This letter is very autobiographical, very personal. Paul is revealing his personality, revealing his heart to them. In fact, in these verses today we are going to find the first personal pronouns “I”, “me” or “my” 17 times. Now, that’s not like Paul. I haven’t counted it, but I would guess he doesn’t use it 17 times in the rest of the book. So, here he is saying, “I want you to see my heart.” Today as we talk about the heart of the apostle, Paul, I am going to be asking you to consider what’s in your heart today. What is in the heart of a believer?
Let’s begin reading here in Romans 1:7. The first 6 verses is his introduction of who he is, and then he says, “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.” That’s his signature. He always said, “Grace and peace to you.” It’s never peace and Grace because you never find God’s peace until you find his grace. Look at the first part of verse 7. He says, “To all of you who are loved by God and called.” You can just mark out the words ‘to be’ because they are not in the original language. It literally says “called saints.” I say that because there is a real misconception in the world today about who the saints are. Many of you think it is a practice of the Roman Catholic Church to award sainthood to certain individuals who have been dead for like a hundred years who have performed some kind of notable sacrificial service. Those are the people we sometimes call “saints.” That’s why if you have a King James Bible it says, “St. Matthew, St. Mark, St. John, St. Luke,” because these are men who had been awarded sainthood. But that is wrong. Sainthood is not restricted to those who died.
My wife and I just returned from a wonderful little vacation over in Europe. We visited a lot of cathedrals, and I was amazed to see all of the cathedrals are named after St. This and St. That. There are so many saints. A saint is not somebody who is dead and has been exalted by the Catholic Church. A saint is any believer who is alive right now and exalts Jesus Christ. Paul is not writing to dead Christians. He is writing to people who are living and breathing. There were alive. We are saints today. When you hear the song “When the saints go marching in, I hope to be in that number,” all you have to do is know Jesus Christ as your personal Savior and you will be numbered with the saints. So it is correct for me to say, “St. Mike, and St. Jim” except in the Bible no individual is called saint, it is always used in the plural sense. Saints together, set apart for God’s service. So, that’s who the letter is written to. Now, let’s begin reading in verse 8 and see what Paul writes: