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(Romans 1:1-7) What Dreams Should Be Made of!

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Paul gives the Romans an overview of himself and his purpose in Romans 1:1-7. Interestingly, the beliefs, calling, and purpose of Paul the Apostle are identical to the responsibility of Christians (collectively called the Church). Paul first description is that he is a servant of Christ and he expands on what it means that he is a servant of Christ.

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INTRODUCTION:
I like us to consider this morning,
what should dreams be made of?
Many of us speak about Jim Elliot with great admiration!
Have you ever dreamed how God could use THIS CHURCH in our community?
Many of us speak about Jim Elliot with great admiration!
If you recall the story,
Jim Elliot, Nate Saint, Ed McCully, Peter Fleming, and Roger Youderian were missionaries
conducting pioneering efforts to preach the Gospel to an extremely hostile, remote Tribe in the Amazon jungle.
The Tribe had attacked and killed a number of Shell employee’s. The government and the company was prepared to exterminate the tribe.
However, these friends thought outside the box, using a light weight airplane to reach and talk to this remote tribe, trying use the tribes excitement over gifts to reach the tribe.
But on Jan 8th 1956 all five men were brutally murdered by the tribe.
The Movie, End of the Spear, describes this missionary effort.
Now that sounds like a horrible story,
but in the end - much of the tribe eventually came to know Christ.
This is a missionary story of unconditional love and and desire to give others the Good news of Jesus Christ.
This hostile tribe was transformed by Christ from a murdering tribe, to a peaceful Christ-loving tribe.
Now, what allowed this wonderful missionary story to happen!
Instead of being murderers to those in the area, they become transformed people in Christ.
5 men dreamed about how to reach a tribe everybody else was ready to kill.
that the government was prepared to kill.
Have you ever dreamed at how God could use YOU in this world?
Have you ever dreamed how God could use THIS CHURCH in our community?
I mean,
truly intentionally dreamed about how we could reach our community the Gospel.
To say it another way,
What prevents us from giving the hope of the Gospel to addicts, families breaking up, and those who are terminally ill?
What prevents us from giving the hope of the Gospel to addicts, families breaking up, and those who are terminally ill?
What prevents us from reaching the teen who see’s church as a waste of time or the rancher who is content being a hermit?
What prevents us from helping young children understand Who Jesus is?
whether teaching is seminary in China
or the layman who setups a coffee shop in Burma?
We could say finances,
But don’t we have a giving father who owns all and spoke all into existence.
We could say we don’t have enough people,
and yet Nehemiah built the wall in a nearly miraculous time - 52 days. ()
We could say it is to hard,
yet isn’t that exactly what Christ has called us to do? Take up your cross and follow him.
We could say it is to dangerous,
yet whose hands do we ultimately entrust ourselves too. What does death actually mean for the believer?
We could say there are no opportunities,
but doesn’t Scripture and the reality of the World teach us the harvest is great, but the workers are few.
So what truly prevents us from accomplishing God’s call for each one of us? - To follow Jesus, proclaiming the Gospel, making followers of him ()
We could blame it on all those challenges,
A failure to dream!
Or we can realize - it is A failure to dream!
A failure to dream and then faithfully serve Christ in that dream,
leaving the provision to him.
It is sad that today, we don’t dream and we don’t serve.
We talk about financial setback in our world,
but a true historian will note that Americans have more pleasure and more money than anyone has ever had since the fall of Rome.
I mean, since the Roman Empire fell in 476 AD - we are the richest society in history.
In comparison to millions of people around the world, of our own generation,
In comparison to millions of people in the past and millions of people in our generation,
could only dream of having the resources to serve Christ like we can.
We live like Kings.
Oh how do we fail to serve Christ with the time and money we has so richly been blessed us with.
Our text this morning,
Whether
Whom do you serve?
Family, Work
Do you want to serve God?
Examples of Missionaries
challenges us with an overview of Paul’s ministry. Though it is not a commission of the church to give the witness of Christ around the world - it is a model for how Paul accomplished that mandate from God.
Romans 1:1–7 ESV
1 Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, 2 which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, 3 concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh 4 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, 5 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, 6 including you who are called to belong to Jesus Christ, 7 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.
CAVEAT:
Now perhaps you are saying,
but I am not an Apostle.
But I think as we understand who Paul is as an Apostle,
We will understand we are called as the church
to do what the Apostle’s were called to establish for the church.
On one hand Apostle is a technical term for a God-ordained leadership position in the early Church.
Transitional people who were called to help believers transition from a Temple based worship - to A Christ Worship.
Yet,
when we compare Biblical principles - they are the leaders in what every believer is called to do.
They established the model that the entire church was called to do in places like or .
From Romans 1:1-7,

PROPOSITION: We ought to serve Jesus Christ

TRANSITION: And this text gives us 4 responsibilities for how we ought to serve Christ.

May we dream what could happen if we dreamed about those 4 responsibilities.
The first responsibility: we ought to be

1. Messengers of the Gospel.

The basic title Apostle we see in English is a transliterated title. In other words, we took the letters in Greek and made the letters in English.
But if you were hearing it in Greek,
the title would be - “messenger”.
In this case, Paul’s a messenger of Jesus Christ with the message of the Gospel.
Romans 1:1 ESV
1 Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God,
EXPLANATION:
Now as we look at that text,
your probably wondering why I didn’t start with “servant of Jesus Christ”.
Essentially, expands or parallel’s the meaning that Paul is a servant of Jesus Christ.
In other words,
to say Paul is a servant of Christ is to say he is the messenger of Christ.
So basically, Paul spends the next 6 verses explaining how he is a servant of Christ.
So basically, the
So back to the idea of messenger,
The relationship between messenger and the title we call “apostle” is described .
1 Timothy 2:7 ESV
7 For this I was appointed a preacher and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.
1 Ti 2:7
What does it mean to be an Apostle?
You a messenger of faith and truth of the Gospel.
Now,
we may not be officially in the leadership position of Apostle.
But are we not called to be messengers of the Gospel?
It is interesting,
that the meaning of the title is what each one of us are called to do?
Mark 16:15 ESV
15 And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.
1 Corinthians 1:21 ESV
21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe.
1
One one hand,
Paul is called to be an Apostle - a messenger of the Gospel.
On the other hand,
are we not all called to proclaim the message of the Gospel.
APPLICATION:
Now matter what leadership role we are in,
Now matter what leadership role we are in,
servants of Christ are in the business of being messengers of the good news of Jesus Christ -
that is explaining to others:
their need for Christ’s salvation - such as telling the person whose destroying their life with sin about the Gospel.
or sometimes - the peace found in Christ - such as telling the person whose scared, depressed, and overwhelmed about the Fatherly love found in Christ.
or sometimes - the peace found in Christ - such as telling the person whose scared, depressed, and overwhelmed about the Fatherly love found in Christ.
In what ever situation we find ourselves in,
we ought to creatively be looking for ways to tell people about the good news - as messengers of the greatest news any person could ever hear.
ILLUSTRATION:
Now I want to address a miss conception about being messengers of God.
We emphasize that God gives the opportunity to speak the Gospel. (and that is right) ()
we sometimes fail to understand our role as messengers of the Gospel.
But saying God gives the opportunity doesn’t mean that we don’t to dream.
To often -
We sit in our homes, our jobs, - sometimes even in our own family;
and wait for the perfect, magic moment God to give us to speak of the Gospel. .
Now one hand,
I understand not every situation allows itself to tell others about Jesus.
And I understand that God providentially does bring hurting people into our lives.
ILLUSTRATION:
But also think one day God is going to ask - why didn’t you tell So and So about the Gospel.
And our self-righteous answer is going to be- I was waiting for an opportunity.
I think God says
And His response - I gave you an opportunity - you sat next to him for 5 years at work, he lived across the street for 10 years.
I brought that person into your life - so you would tell him about Jesus.
Imagine This,
On the other hand,
what if Paul had gone to Ephesus and then sat back waiting for that perfect, magic moment of someone asking about His Gospel.
How far would his Gospel go?
The hundreds of Gentiles that passed by
they weren’t looking for a savior - they thought they already had one in the pagan temple.
they probably weren’t even slightly curious - because they had no idea that the Son of God had been crucified for their sins.
they didn’t know to look for hope in Christ in the struggles of life - because they had never heard the name of Christ.
Instead of idle waiting for a magic moment, Paul creatively seized every opportunity he could-
Paul went into synagogues to tell people about Jesus. ()
Paul used tent-making - his employment to tell people about Jesus. ()
Paul used a river-gathering in Macedonia to teach people about Jesus. ()
Paul used the story telling practices of Athens to declare the Gospel. ()
Paul used his imprisonment to tell people about Jesus. ()
To say it this way,
Paul dreamt of how to give the message of the Gospel to the Gentiles
and then as a faithful servant he creatively proclaimed the message of Christ.
CHALLENGE:
I hope you are creatively dreaming about how to tell people about Jesus.
As we consider how to help our church grow,
we could talk about marketing being a creative way to proclaim the Gospel.
or we could talk about signage as a way of creatively proclaiming the Gospel.
Or some new outreach opportunity
And none of that is bad on it’s own, there is a place for that.
but ultimately -
we need to realize we are messengers of the Gospel - called as servants to dream about and faithfully give the message of the Gospel.
EXHORTATION:
Remember,
- the opportunity to proclaim to the remote tribe of the Amazon didn’t just happen.
- Jim Elliot and his friends had to creatively find ways to connect with and give the message of Christ.
We need to creatively use our time to reach people with Christ -
whether that is hobbies, business situations, they happen to be our neighbors …
Do you regularly dream about and look for ways you can tell people about Jesus!
I hope so, because a servant of Christ is a messenger of Christ.
The 2nd responsibility,
we ought to be:

2. Set Apart to the Gospel.

2. Set Apart to the Gospel.
Romans 1:1 ESV
1 Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God,
“Set apart” is very similar to the idea holiness -
In Many ways, Paul was set apart to be an Apostle.
This is a way of saying,
God selected Paul out of all people in the world,
to be an Apostle - a Messenger of God.
We really get this idea from where Paul describes being set apart before he was born.
Galatians 1:15 ESV
15 But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and who called me by his grace,
However,
we as believers have also have been set apart by God.
Not as Apostles - but as saved, redeemed, and adopted children of God. ()
Not as Apostles - but as saved, redeemed, and adopted children of God. ()
Ephesians 1:4 ESV
4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love
Ephesians 1:3–6 ESV
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, 4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.
Ephesians 1:3-
Now,
What does it mean,
that we from the beginning of time have been set apart for the Gospel?
I think,
this word communicates -
We are a different - we are distinguishable from the rest of the world.
We are not like the world and they are not like us.
And this is especially true in our live purposes.
There are probably several principals we could come to
CAVEAT:
Now,
what I don’t mean is that we need to go back and be the church of the 1950s.
This isn’t a hate against the 1950s,
because frankly - I like the 1950s church music, I like their secular music, I like my kids growing up in at least an outwardly Christian oriented world, I like the taxes of the 1950s
But may we not equal being set apart
as going back to the 1950s.
But Jesus didn’t dress like the 1950s, nor sing like the 1950s.
Why?
But Jesus didn’t dress like the 1950s, nor sing like the 1950s.
Because Jesus didn’t dress like the 1950s, nor sing like the 1950s, nor live the American dream of the 1950s.
So what makes us different and set apart is not these external practices,
but some core heart values.
What are some of the things that make us different?
Let’s start with our worship -
We ought to be lovers of Christ.
What was Paul set apart or distinguished by?
The Gospel - and then he declares that the Gospel is about a person, Jesus Christ.
Who is our Lord. (v. 3-4)
We are Set Apart because we submit to the Lord Jesus Christ.
Which Means We live in a way that honors God.
Are lives are sanctified by the Holy Word of God.
We are careful followers of Jesus’s teachings found in the New Testament.
That is - we are constantly growing in His Word.
We are passionate in our church relationships.
We don’t do church because we like meeting at a social club - we do church because we are passionate about loving our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.
We are passionate about loving our community through Christ.
Nothing is great joy to us - then showing Christlike love to our neighbors.
Are you set apart to the Gospel?
Does your life reflect that you are not of this world - but one of the followers of Christ?
Does your life show that you
- honor God
- Love the teachings of Jesus
- Passionate about your fellow believers
- and Passionate about showing love to your neighbors
Some of these ideas are basic parts of Christianity.
A Servant of Christ ought to be set apart to and by the Gospel of Christ.
The Third Responsibility of a servant is that we are:
The Third Responsibility of a servant is that we are:

3. Reconcilier’s of the Lost.

Revelation 4:8 ESV
8 And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and within, and day and night they never cease to say, “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!”
Majesty, 68 - Holy Holy Holy quotes this Scripture.
3. Reconcilier’s of the Lost.
Why are we set apart?
We could say it is because of the Gospel.
But we also could talk about being set apart in terms of the responsibility God has given us.
V. 3-4 describe the Gospel. - We looked at that last week -
While v. 5 and 6 describe what Paul is responsible for because he set apart to the Gospel.
Romans 1:5–6 ESV
5 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, 6 including you who are called to belong to Jesus Christ,
According to v. 5,
Romans 1:5 ESV
5 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,
Why has Paul been
The Purpose of Paul being set apart - was so that he could bring the message of Christ to the Gentiles.
and Thus bring people to obedient faith.
Obedience here teaches us that not just any obedience will do.
Simply believing in some God
(or the ridiculousness idea of many Gods found in paganism and Mormonism)
or trying to be generally a good person
is not good enough.
is not good enough.
We must make Christ our Lord and savior,
being set apart from this world - including it’s religion.
One of the words that makes me cringe is when people start talking about religion”.
May I say it lovingly, but bluntly,
you don’t have obedient faith if you do not believe that you have a sin problem, and that only salvation from our sins only comes from Jesus Christ - which is why you must make him your Lord and Savior.
The implication here - is that Paul has the responsibility to make followers of Christ.
How do I get reconciliation out of that?
One of the the things we must remember is that we are not just one time sinners.
Instead, we are proactive defiers of God who are in rebellion against God.
When we realize the first step to salvation is to realize we are a wicked sinners -
We all realize the first step to salvation is to realize we are a wicked sinners -
and obedient faith means that salvation comes only through Christ.
And when we come to salvation, we are not simply forgiven -
but reconciled enemies of God.
We realize - Paul is set apart to reconcile God’s enemies to God.
Thus,
One of my favorite passages is .
Colossians 1:21 ESV
21 And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds,
Colossians 1:21–23 ESV
21 And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, 22 he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, 23 if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister.
Colossians
So to bring people to obedient faith
is to reconcile sinners with their creator and their God.
Paul was set apart to bring the nations to obedient faith,
- to reconcile sinners to God.
Again,
notice the similarity to the churches mission.
Is Paul the only one in all of the church who is called to reconcile sinners to God through Salvation in the Gospel?
Mark 16:15 ESV
15 And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.
Mark 16:15
Paul’s job is the mission statement of the church.
APPLICATION:
I have already made this point, so I will be short.
What does a messenger of God - whether Apostle or church member do?
through the teaching, proclaiming, exhorting, telling, and witnessing of the Gospel - we bring people to the Salvation found in Christ.
Are you creatively dreaming up and serving as a reconcilier of the lost to God?
Can you say your are faithful to the personal responsibility of bringing people to obedient faith?
That is what a servant of Christ does.
The 4th responsibility of a servant of Christ is that we ought to

4. Strive for the Glory of God.

There is a careful balance here -
What was Paul’s mission?
What is the church’s mission?
Is it to make followers of Christ?
Or is it to glorify God?
Well,
according to Paul - he is doing both.
That is he is glorifying God by making followers of Christ.
Notice Paul’s calling in our text -
Romans 1:6 ESV
6 including you who are called to belong to Jesus Christ,
Romans 1:5–6 ESV
5 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, 6 including you who are called to belong to Jesus Christ,
The ESV translates one of our words “for the sake of his name”.
Why is Paul bringing people to faith?
Why should we bring people to faith?
For the sake of God’s name.
This is very close idea to giving glory or praise to something.
Generally,
when you are doing something for someone’s name -
you are trying to bring honor and praise to that name.
ILLUSTRATION:
Military commercials do this really well - don’t they?
Why should you endure military discipline and the risk your life in battle?
Why should you endure military discipline and the risk your life in battle?
According to Navy and Marines core values - repeated in the Commercials,
Because of Honor, Courage, Commitment
In other words,
For the navy - Honor, Courage, Commitment
You ought to endure for the honor of your name and your country’s name.
Honor for a name - is to bring glory to a name.
ILLUSTRATION:
Do you concern yourself with striving for God’s glory?
Are you interested in bring more and more praises to God?
Sometimes, we struggle with understanding the importance of this.
Partly because we are to focused on the doing of evangelism.
We focus so much on the “how to” of evangelism that we loose sight that there is more at stake in salvation than just our souls.
God’s name is also at stake as a good, powerful, and loving God.
This is also partly because pride and arrogance have nearly corrupted all the glory we could ever see.
Politically we at times live in a generation where national honor and pride as
ILLUSTRATION:
The NFL Superbowl depicts glory,
As a player,
they are hyped up with the honor skill it took to be a super bowl winner.
As fans,
we eat it up when our favorite team heads to the super bowl.
but often the football players show glory in arrogant self-exaltation rather than humility.
And so they corrupt our view of glory.
This is not the same thing. The glory of God is never arrogant or self-exalting - in fact it is chiefly a response to incredible love.
Why should I be concerned with God’s glory?
God deserves it by his own incredible magnificent.
He is the creator and sustainer of this world.
But even further,
because he made the most incredible sacrifice that could be made,
especially for God.
He sent his only son to be crucified so that he could save the world from sin and death.
It is not a wonder and 5 declares the worthiness and holiness of God.
Revelation 5:9–10 ESV
9 And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, 10 and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.”
Revelation 4:9–10 ESV
9 And whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to him who is seated on the throne, who lives forever and ever, 10 the twenty-four elders fall down before him who is seated on the throne and worship him who lives forever and ever. They cast their crowns before the throne, saying,
May we strive as servants of Christ to bring God glory,
And may I say the greatest way we can bring him glory is to bring people to obedient faith.
And may I say the greatest way we can bring him glory is to bring people to obedient faith.
Notice these two ideas are easy for us to dissect,
but in real life they are intricately tied together.
CONCLUSION:
So lets bring these 7 verses together.
Are you serving Christ today?
We live in a world where most Christians are consumed with living in this world.
I mean,
What do we dream about?
And as a culture - it is nearly unanimous that we dream about enjoying creature comforts found in America.
And as a culture - it is nearly unanimous about enjoying creature comforts found in America.
And the greatest problem with this,
its not that it is outwardly sinful,
But that it leaves no room to dream about how we can make the name of Christ known.
Rather than dreaming about how we can make the name of Christ known
It is impossible to truly live two dreams.
Jesus said this with the idea of masters.
Matthew 6:24 ESV
24 “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.
Whom do you serve?
and we
Do you dream about how you can enjoy the wonders of our world?
And they are wonderful - because God made this world.
OR
Do you dream about how to serve God?
You can’t serve both.
From the example of Paul,
PROPOSITION: We ought to serve Jesus Christ
TRANSITION: And this text gives us 4 responsibilities for how we ought to serve Christ.
1. Messengers of the Gospel.
2. Set Apart to the Gospel.
3. Reconcilier’s of the Lost.
4. Strive for the Glory of God.
May we serve our merciful God with passion, commitment, and distinction -
dreaming about how we can tell more people about the Gospel an give God the honor he so deserves.
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