Wednesday, June 25, 2008

A Couple of Blogs From My Myspace - Part 2

Here is the second blog from my myspace.

Title: What is Your Purpose? (Dec 6, 2005)

Why are you here? Is there any purpose for your life? These questions not only plague the non-Christian, they plague many Christians as well. Paul is an excellent example of a man with a purpose and he gives us no excuses for not having purpose ourselves.

Romans 1:1-6

This is Paul's introduction of a letter written to some people in Rome. A couple of things strike me in this introduction. First Paul calls himself a servant of Jesus. In fact, the word used here is doulos or bondservant. Enough has probably been said about this word so that most people are familiar with what it really means but just as a refresher I want to briefly look at what a bondservant was. Basically, a bondservant was a slave who wanted to be a slave. They enjoyed serving their master so much that they elected to remain a servant.

I like to compare this ancient position to something a little more familiar. I like to compare a bondservant to Bruce Wayne's butler Alfred. It is plain, if you are a Batman fan that is, that there is no chance of Alfred ever leaving the Wayne family. He stays not for money or job security, he stays because of his love. His act of service is not merely a job, it is his expression of love.

This, I believe is what Paul is saying when he calls himself a bondservant. He is not a slave of Jesus Christ because he was forced to be. He chose the life of a slave because of his love for God and God's love for him.

He goes on to say that not only is he a servant but he is called to be an apostle. Servants don't get to choose what they want to do. They are given a responsibility that they are expected to accomplish. Paul didn't ask to be an apostle, but he chose to serve Jesus. As a result, Jesus gave him the responsibility of Apostleship. In Paul's case it is not merely one who is sent. Paul is one of the Apostles not just an apostle. What I mean is Paul is chosen by God to be one of the founding fathers of the faith. It is through him and select others that Jesus establishes the church.

Paul chooses to be a servant. He is called to be an Apostle (one who is sent). Now he tells us what he is being sent with. He says "Paul...set apart for the Gospel of God." The following verses (2-4) give information concerning the Gospel. It was foretold by prophets long ago and its message regards Jesus. In his first letter to the Corinthians Paul gives a concise description of what the Gospel is. "For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures..." (15:3,4)

Here is the climax. Paul says "Through him and for his name's sake, we recieved grace and apostleship to call obedience that comes from faith." Who is Paul talking about when he says we? There is some speculation here. He could be talking about those who are given the office of Apostleship, or he could be talking about all people who belong to Jesus.

It is interesting that he doesn't stop right there but adds "And you also are among those who are called to belong to Jesus Christ." I don't believe that anyone today holds the office of Apostle, but I do believe that every person who belongs to Christ is an apostle. What I mean by this, and what I think Paul is trying to establish is this. We think that God has called only specific people to be servants sent to spread the good news concerning Jesus Christ. These people are usually called pastors, missionaries and evangelists. They receive pay for what they do. They are professionals, but Paul says "No way!!!! As I introduce myself to you I know that you will develop the thought that there might be something special about me but there isn't. Don't use me as an excuse not to do what God has called us all to do. Just as I am a servant called to spread the good news SO ARE YOU!! If you are a person who has received grace then you have the right to tell others the good news."

It is easy to focus on the apostleship part, but I find it interesting that Paul says "we received grace and apostleship." Why does he point out that grace was also received. Again, I think people find excuses not to do what God wants them to do. "Who am I to tell others!" "I'm still a sinner struggling with sin. I'm not a good example" and the excuses go on and on. What gives you and me the right to tell others about Jesus is that we have been forgiven, not just for our past sins but for our future ones as well. Face it. Everyone is human. If you think that pastors, missionaries and evangelists are perfect or at least more holy then you've got another one coming. Humans are all in the same boat concerning sin and struggle. Some have learned, only through their realization that Jesus is the only one able to handle it, to deal with temptation better then others, but that doesn't make them not human. There are no excuses.

What is your purpose in life? Why do you exist? If you are a Christian you shouldn't be struggling with these questions, but truth be known, many Christians do. You are among those who are called to obey through faith. God gives you purpose and direction. If you truly want to serve God you will see yourself as person sent to tell others the good news.

Before I end this I want to try and get across the huge importance of this job. Have you ever been lost? There are times when you know right away that your lost, and then there are times you gradually realize your lost, but either way you are lost. When you are lost what could be the greatest thing someone could do for you? Obviously show you the way. There are a billion lost people out there. Some know they are lost and others are gradually realizing their situation, but the fact is they are lost. The greatest thing you can do for them is help them find their way.

Let's be like Paul. Let's make a decision right now to serve God and take on the task that He has given us to tell others the good news. Jesus saves!! He is the only one that can.

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