Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Audience of the Gospel (Part II)

"First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, 
that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world. 
For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, 
that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers;  
Making request, if by any means now at length I might have a prosperous journey 
by the will of God to come unto you." Romans 1:8-10

Paul's love for these people is evident.  The church at Rome was obviously one of tremendous testimony. Their faith distinguished them in the eyes of all who heard of them.  God's people should strive to be known for their dependency upon their Master.  The size of the building or the number of members carries no eternal weight of glory.

Paul's love is expressed in his unceasing prayers for these saints.  This does not mean that Paul was constantly on his knees; however, it is possible and proper for saints to be in a constant attitude of prayer (I Th. 5:17).  How was Paul able to be in such a constant state of concern for others?  How was he able to be in such a state of constant prayer, persistent in his dependence upon God?  The answer lies within the text.  It says that Paul served God with his spirit.  Many Christians serve God with the actions but not with the spirit.  This is incomplete and untrue worship, because "God is a spirit and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth (J. 4:24)."  God's wants the heart, not simply the outward actions.  Until a man, woman, or child gives God their spirit, they will find themselves in a constant state of struggle.  Proverbs says, "The spirit of man is the candle of the LORD, searching all the inward parts of the belly."  A man cannot get away from his spirit, and until he gives it fully to God, he will be in turmoil.  Paul was a saint who had fully surrendered his to the Master.

Paul's love for these saints moved him to desire fellowship.  People want to be with the ones they love.  No desire for fellowship indicates no true love.  A man may constantly affirm his love for God's people, but his words are weighed out by his actions.

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