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Mutual Encouragement

Obedience of Faith
Romans 1:1-7 ESV

Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord, through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations, including you who are called to belong to Jesus Christ,

To all those in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints:

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

We who have trusted in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior are the called of God. We are called to be saints, to be holy, to be set apart (unlike, different) from the world of sin and separate unto God. And, we are called to belong to Christ, for with his blood he purchased us back for God so that we might be his possession, to his praise. So, we are to honor God with our lives.

We are also called according to his purpose, which is that we might die to sin and live to righteousness, that we might walk according to the Spirit, and no longer according to the flesh, that we might love him and all humankind, and that we might be his servants and witnesses throughout the world.

We, too, are called into fellowship with Christ, to freedom from slavery to sin, and to holiness and purity. And, we are called to God’s own glory and excellence, for his praise and glory and honor. When we came to faith in Jesus Christ, thus, he called us out of darkness into his wonderful light, therefore we are to proclaim his excellencies to the world about us.

We who are in Christ, by faith in him, are Christ’s representatives to the world, for we are his body, and he, in the person of the Holy Spirit, lives within us. We are the Light of the world and the salt of the earth. We are his witnesses, and we are to go into all the world with his gospel, baptizing, and making disciples of Christ of people, teaching them to obey everything which Christ commanded us to do.

Mutual Encouragement
Romans 1:8-12 ESV

First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed in all the world. For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I mention you always in my prayers, asking that somehow by God's will I may now at last succeed in coming to you. For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you— that is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other's faith, both yours and mine.

When we come to faith in Jesus Christ, and we are saved from our slavery to sin, and we now become followers of Jesus Christ, we also become members of his body, his church. This is not speaking of “church” in the sense of a building or an organization or a denomination or a corporation. This church is spiritual, not physical, and it is made up of people, not bricks and mortar. It is not a place we go to, either, for we are the church. We, the people, are God’s house, for he dwells within our individual hearts.

As individual followers of Jesus Christ we have been given spiritual gifts which are to be used within the body for its strengthening and encouragement in the Lord, for its building up in the faith, that we all might be brought to maturity in Christ Jesus. Therefore, we are to speak to one another in psalms, hymns and spiritual songs, which are for our mutual edification. And, we are to speak the truth, one to the other, so that we might grow up in Christ together, as each part does its work.

God has also assigned each of us specific roles within his body, which are spiritual assignments intended for our mutual encouragement, as well. And, we are to work together as a body, each of us fulfilling our specific God-given assignments. When the body works together, as God intended, it is mutually encouraged and strengthened in the faith, and it does grow toward maturity in Christ, for all of us are necessary. We need one another!

But, encouragement is not a word which means merely cheering people on. We need to be inspiring and cheering one another on in the faith, but we also must urge, help, nurture, and persuade one another toward spiritual maturity, toward holiness and purity, and toward walks of obedience to our Lord. If we are to edify one another, it will also involve instruction, teaching, informing and speaking truth to one another so that we are not hardened by sin’s deceitfulness, but so that we all walk in holiness and purity.

I’m Not Ashamed!
Romans 1:13-17 ESV

I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that I have often intended to come to you (but thus far have been prevented), in order that I may reap some harvest among you as well as among the rest of the Gentiles. I am under obligation both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish. So I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome.

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”

Not one of us, thus, should be ashamed of the gospel of our salvation, or ashamed to tell it to others so that they, too, can come to know Jesus Christ and be delivered, as well, from their slavery to sin. For the gospel is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes.

The gospel, though, is not what many are purporting that it is these days. What many are calling the gospel now is a diluted version of the gospel which was taught by Jesus and his NT apostles. Many preachers today have weakened the gospel message to make it more appealing and acceptable to human flesh. So, what they preach is a half-truth gospel absent of the power of God to deliver us out of our slavery to sin. So, it leaves us still in bondage to sin and convinced that God requires nothing of us in the way of repentance, obedience, submission or surrender to him as our Lord (owner-master), yet believing we still can claim heaven as our eternal home.

The true gospel, which has the power of God to deliver us from our slavery to sin, puts sin to death in the life of the sinner, and it delivers the sinner to now walk in Christ’s righteousness and holiness. It doesn’t just forgive him. It transforms him from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, so that he might receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified (made holy) by faith in Jesus Christ (See: Acts 26:18).

The faith that the righteous will live by, as well, is God-given faith, divinely persuaded of God as to God’s righteousness and holiness, and of our need to submit to his righteousness. For, if we walk (in lifestyle) according to the flesh, we will die in our sins. But, if by the Spirit we are putting to death in our lives the deeds of the flesh, then we will live with Christ for eternity. So, we live by that faith. We don’t just profess it with our lips while our hearts are far from God. If we live by that faith, then we are walking according to the Spirit, and no longer are we living to gratify our sinful cravings. Amen!

10,000 Reasons
Matt Redman

Bless the Lord oh my soul
Oh my soul
Worship His Holy name
Sing like never before
Oh my soul
I'll worship Your Holy name

The sun comes up
It's a new day dawning
It's time to sing Your song again
Whatever may pass
And whatever lies before me
Let me be singing
When the evening comes…

Sunday, April 22, 2018, 12:30 a.m. – Thank you, Jesus, for this teaching from Your Word. Help us to keep on in our faith, and to keep on singing your praises and sharing your gospel so that many may be saved. Amen!

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