News from Scott and Alan,
We have said before that little did we think when we started writing devotions for the initial six week lockdown that we would still be doing them now. As you are aware the case for last year we have posted some of our ‘best of devotions’ to allow us to take some time off. Now that it is September we are both back on the horse as the saying goes and when talking we have decided that we are no longer going to preface the devotions with how long it has been since Boris announced lockdown, instead from today we will simply preface the daily devotions with the date they are posted.
We hope that they have been of benefit to you and they will continue to be.
Yours in Christ
Scott and Alan
2nd September 22
Read — Romans 1:1
Message - Alan Burke
Paul was more than a servant, he was a slave of Jesus Christ called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God. It was on the road to Damascus that the Lord Jesus called him to himself in two regards. The first was the call of the gospel on Paul’s life, that is the external call that called him from his sin to salvation to which he responded to enabled by the Spirit of God within him enabling him to repent and believe. In much the same way we hear the external call that only is effectual by the work of the Holy Spirit enabling us to repent and believe. There is another sense that he was called and it was to be an apostle.
Often, when we think of an apostle we can think of the twelve disciples and can interchangeably use the word disciple with apostle, but then there was Judas who betrayed Jesus who was replaced by the disciples by Matthias. So how was Paul an apostle? Well the criteria for apostleship was that either had been a disciple of Jesus during his earthly ministry, so that is not Paul and no one today. The second criteria is that an apostle is one who was an eyewitness of the resurrection and the third and most important criteria was that they were directly and immediately called by Jesus (Acts 1:20–26).
Paul was an eyewitness to the Resurrection on the road to Damascus and he was called by the Lord Jesus himself. Paul was called by Jesus himself on the road to Damascus, it was there that Jesus called him to himself and thusly Paul was one who spoke as an apostle, with the authority of Jesus Christ.
This truth is really important as we begin the book of Romans because there is this attitude among some that leads them to reject the teaching of Paul, either as not as authoritative, or as important as Jesus, or they outright reject everything he says. Today one of the big reasons for rejecting Paul, well there are two, but the first and most obvious is his teaching on sexual purity and that is just revolting to this society. Secondly they want to reject his teaching because of how he speaks of the roles of men and women grounding these roles in creation.
There are no more apostles, they were those who laid the foundation, they are still laying the foundation of the church today as we have the scriptures of the old and new testament. There are some today that claim that they are apostles, but signs of a true apostle were performed among the early church with utmost patience, with signs and wonders and mighty works. (2 Cor 12:12) have ceased, no one can demonstrate the signs of an apostle. God himself has given us all that we need in the pages of scripture, that is why the word of God closes in the book of Revelation with the warning against those who add or take away from his word (Rev 22:18-19).
Paul was called to be an apostle, there are no more apostles, he was though called to service. Although it is not the focus here of the passage, we are each one called to service, we are called to bring glory to our God, we are in all that we do seek to. Before Christ we live for ourselves, afterward we live for Him, for we were bought with a price. As a result all of our lives should be lived for the Glory of God. That means in our work places, in our homes, and God calls us to serve him in the every day mundane things, cleaning the toilet, doing the dishes, his call on our entire life, our lives in their entirety have been bought, we are slaves to God in Christ Jesus so it should influence us in every aspect of our lives. What a challenge it is for us today, we are in God’s service in the every day mundane things, yes even cleaning the toilet we should be doing all for the Glory of God.
Q42 What is the sum of the ten commandments?
The sum of the ten commandments is, To love the Lord our God with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our strength, and with all our mind; and our neighbour as ourselves. (Matt. 22:37–40)