19th September 22
Read — Romans 1:8-12
Message Alan Burke
How many of us like it when we know that we are being talked about, when our name is making its way around the countryside, village or town? I’d suggest that there wouldn’t be many of us who would be pleased especially if what is being said isn’t true or malicious. But what about if what was said was positive? The believers in Rome were being talked about for their faith, and as I read this I was taken aback because of the sheer reach of that news of the faith of the believers in Rome. Bear in mind that as Paul writes to the believers in Rome he himself is some one thousand kilometres away, some six hundred odd miles away, he was in Corinth which is near modern day Athens in Greece. These were the days before instant communication, even the Royal Mail when they are on strike get things to you quicker than things would have got to Paul in his day, no such thing as next day delivery guaranteed, news was going to take an age to get to you.
Notice the reason why Paul is filled with thanksgiving to God, the reason of his gratitude, it is not because they are doing well in this life, they have just got a second home, a new electric car, it isn’t because of their social economic status, it is because of the work of God’s grace in their lives. Hearing the reports of their faith, the life and believers in Rome, it was this that was the reason that Paul wrote to the church in Rome. As a resultPaul thank’s God for them, through Jesus Christ, even in his prayers, Paul knows and understands that the only way to come to God is through Jesus Christ the Lord, it is the only way that any of us can, we come to the Lord God is through Jesus (Col. 3:17; Heb. 13:15).
Think of the wonder of this, for this is a glorious reason, it is wonderful, Paul some one thousand kilometres away, some six hundred odd miles away is hearing about their faith, the faith of these believers in Rome was being reported. That is the wonder of the work of God in the lives of these individuals and Paul is expressing his joy to the Lord for working in their lives, how their faith is being talked about throughout the mediterranean world, their faith was making an impact even in far off places.
For the believers in Rome, their faith that was talked about, for that Christian at work who’s faith was talked about because they live it, it should be a challenge to us. We need to grasp that faith does not mean just believing something, you know having the head knowledge, no it should be seen in the obedience of faith, the character of faith in our lives, in how we believe it and we live it out, it was this that was true of the Roman Christians and it was true of that women in the workplace.
So here is the thing, what could be said about us, are we those whom our faith is seen in the obedience of faith, in the character of faith in our lives, in how we believe and how that is lived out? My earnest hope is that even though people may not agree with us theologically, they may wonder why we believe what we believe, that they may even dislike or detest what we believe because of the prevailing view of culture that surrounds us, my hope is that they can see our faith, a faith that is seen in obedience, in the character of faith in our lives, in how we believe and how that is lived out.
Q56 What is the reason annexed to the third commandment?
The reason annexed to the third commandment is, That however the breakers of this commandment may escape punishment from men, yet the Lord our God will not suffer them to escape his righteous judgment. (1 Sam. 2:12,17,22,29, 1 Sam. 3:13, Deut. 28:58–59)