Sunday, October 03, 2004


Intro: Floyd Johnson, Floyd Howard Johnson you come home right this minute.

1. That was the way that I heard it. But I expect that each of us heard something similar – with a slight change in the pronunciation. 2. Our parents call us because they need us to do something or stop doing something right now! 3. As I prepared this mornings message, I became convinced that our heavenly Father does exactly the same thing. He calls us –either because he wants us to stop doing something or because he wants us to do something. 4. As I read today's scripture note the three times that Paul speaks of the call – each use of the word is indicative of the call Jesus puts on us. Read Romans 1:1-7

Tran. In each instance, the Greek work is the same.

1. Kleytos– the call. It is an invitation. 2. It is the word that would be used if you were to be invited to a dinner or to a wedding. 3. Interesting that both these images are used to picture the invitation that we are given. 4. An invitation to the banquet table or to a wedding . 5. You always have the choice to ignore the invitation, but God, in his grace, and I hope that you will not do so. T.S. Let me suggest, again, that each time Paul uses the word “call” in this passage, he is reminding us of how and why God has called us.

I. As believers we are called to a person -– Jesus Christ (vs 2-6)
A. I like Paul's terminology - “... called to belong to Jesus Christ.”
B. Too often, as followers of John Wesley, we focus on our need to respond to Jesus. But we cannot forget that salvation is the gift of God – it starts and ends with God at work in the lives of believers. We cannot earn it, we never deserve it. Our salvation is entirely the work of Jesus Christ.
C. Actually, Paul provides a three fold argument for the truth of the gospel
1. (v. 2-3) He begins by reminding us that salvation did not begin when you and I put our faith in Jesus Christ. It also did not begin with the birth of God's son in Bethlehem. Rather it has its roots back centuries when he promised that a decedent of David would – those of us who have been studying Ruth were reminded that Ruth was David's great-grandmother. She was also one of only two women mentioned by Matthew in the ancestry of Jesus. It was the OTs consistent picture of Jesus that has gotten more than one person, including me, through dark times.
2. (v. 4) There is another piece of evidence here. The resurrection of Jesus Christ. You see there have been lots of men and women who have said good things. There have even been a few who have claimed to be God. But until Jesus Christ rose from the grave all of these claims had not validity. The resurrection serves as the stamp of God's authority on the life and work of Jesus.
3. (v. 5-6) Finally, you and I also serve as proof of the Gospel's effectiveness. God has taken broken people and on the day that we placed our lives into God's hands he began to remold us into what he wants us to be. Do you want to share your faith with others, tell them what God has done in your life. It will be a far more convincing argument than any other that you or I could give.
II. As believers we are called to a lifestyle - saints (vs 7)
(Ill.) Sainthood is not for me. I mean that I have known people who I would call saints. Oh, there are those from history that most of us have heard of. Of course the apostles are included – St. Paul or St. Peter. Then there were those famous Christians who names have been passed down for generations – for example there is St. Francis who said “Preach Christ always, if necessary use words.” And I, like many of you, have known men and women who we have no problem calling “saints” - their commitment to their faith is so great that there is no better word for them except for the term “saint.” Whether it is through touch times or good – their faith seems to get them through. hey are truly saints. But sainthood is not for me.
A. And then I read Paul's letter to the Romans addressed to “To all that are in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints...”
1. But this doesn't apply to me – After all the Roman church was a small church, it needed to know what God expected of them. Oh, that's right I belong to a small church.
2. But then, these people lived close enough to Israel, that they probably knew Jesus. Nope, I can't use that excuse either. You see Jerusalem is a far away from Rome as Garland is from Chicago. And the possibility that I would know someone in Chicago is small
3. You see I, and you, are called to be saints.
B. But why? The answer is in the same sentence - “To all in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints.”
C. You see – being loved by God is to be “called to be saints.” We cannot separate the two.
D. When we are called to be saints, we are not called to be perfect. We are called to be set aside for God's use.
(Ill.) The Greek word used here is hagios – it is the word that is used to describe a dish or pitcher that was consecrated for use in the temple. The dish was not perfect – it had been crafted by hand and had the imperfections that were common to man made objects. Yet that dish, that pitcher was going to used for God's work in the temple. We too are called to be hagios, to be set aside, with blemishes and all, for God's use.
E. But if as believers we are called to be saints, then we are under an obligation to know what it means to be a saint. Sainthood is not something that comes naturally.
     It means spending time in God's word
     It means spending time with God's people
     It means conscientiously choosing a lifestyle that represents Jesus Christ
F. Being a saint is hard work. It will take time, it will take energy. But as Christians we are called to be saints.
III. As believers we are called to a task (vx 1)
A. Called to the person of Jesus Christ
B. Called to the lifestyle of a saint
C. But also called to a task – for Paul it was as an apostle – a missionary
D. That was Paul's task – but each member of the church has a task. Each of us has gifts, talents, and passions that God wants us to use for him in the church.
E. Ultimately identifying and using your gifts in the church is your privilege and responsibility
F. In a few moments we will be sharing in the Lord's Supper together. Let me suggest that you take the few moments that we spend here remembering the sacrifice that Christ made for us – but it might also be appropriate to ask him what he wants us to do for Him. The communion meal is both a place of remembering and a place of commitment. Are you willing to commit yourself to him again today? Pray

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