23rd September 2023
Read (Romans 12v11-13)
Message (Scott Woodburn)
Romans 12 moves rapidly as the Apostle unpacks our response to the Gospel as he breathlessly exhorts us to wholehearted discipleship. What does this wholeheartedness look like? Firstly, "Do not be slothful in zeal" Zeal is defined as "enthusiastic devotion to a cause" and so the Christian is not to be lazy when it comes to his/her devotion to Christ. The Christian is to be marked by their zeal for the Gospel.
Additionally we are to "be fervent in spirit" (v11). What does this mean? Have you ever experienced the unbridled joy of singing your favourite song at a concert? Have you ever roared when your team scored a goal? In the same manner, the Christian's heart should be ablaze for the Kingdom of God. Paul is clear, we are to "serve the Lord" and this service shouldn't be forced, half-hearted or begrudging. Zealous fervency for the things of God should be the hallmark of every Christian.
But how should we respond when things go wrong? Regardless of the circumstances we face, the Christian has a wonderful hope that one day we will be with Jesus. We are to rejoice in this hope (v12) working hard to cultivate joy in our lives. The Christian is not guaranteed an easy existence but when trouble and tribulation comes we are to meet it with patience and constancy in prayer (v12b). Furthermore, our focus isn't to always be inward but we are to contribute to the needs of our fellow Christians (v13a).
I think it is a sure sign of the Spirit's sanctifying work when we gladly open our wallets to help support a struggling saint. Indeed, our wallet isn't the only thing that should be open. Paul reminds us that we should actively seek to show hospitality (v13b). When was the last time you opened your home to your fellow Christians? When was the last time you joyously welcomed new church members to your family table?
Brothers and sisters, as I write these words I realise how far short I often fall. I am so thankful for God's grace which is poured out upon me regardless of my works. I'm glad that I am saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. If salvation was dependent upon my zeal, fervency, hope, patience, generosity or welcome then I would never see glory. Praise God that salvation belongs to Him and it is all of grace!
Even so, may we meditate on these three simple but challenging verses. May the Spirit move mightily transforming our fellowships and may our Christian walk be markedly different than it has been for so long. No longer half-hearted, no longer lukewarm, no longer slothful....may it be so as we say "Not to us, not to us but to Christ be the glory."
Q52 What are the reasons annexed to the second commandment? The reasons annexed to the second commandment are, God’s sovereignty over us, his propriety in us, and the zeal he hath to his own worship.