importance of placing proper importance on grace previously manifested
and to inform of concern and affection to others – even these whom Paul
have never met.
AIM: That we
might be exercised in the concern for others and especially we of the
household of faith and in the same assembly.
given his introduction of himself and a salutation to them Paul displays
something of great importance here with the simple statement “First.”
1. A few years back I heard a dear brother preach an entire message on
verse 8 of Romans 1 and it was one of those messages that will stick
with me ever.
2. The thrust here was that, before moving into the
main purpose of the epistle, he would have them to know of the personal
interest that he had in them as people and, as previously discussed, the
called of Jesus Christ.
3. Personal greetings and interactions should
begin with the expression of personal love and concern for the person.
THESIS: Thanksgiving to God in
Christ is always in order in all that we do. It takes on a unique form
when the thanksgiving is for people and what the Lord has done in them
and through them. By this we acknowledge Christ and the success of His
accomplishments and grace.
I. First (v. 8)
1. It is typical
with Paul that he expresses affection for the churches as we witness in
many of the greetings in his epistles.
1) This is more than common
courtesy; it an acknowledgment of the success of the Gospel.
intent was to both glorify God and encourage the saints in their
consideration thus elevating their experience with God.
2. But, we
make no mistake; it was for them that he was giving thanks.
1) It is
to be feared that many fear to extend such a kind observation for fear
of taking something from God’s glory and the merit of Christ.
we reminded that He remembers our frame and that we are but dust with
these words being issued in a display of affection toward God – He
3. We are reminded of Paul’s words to the Thessalonians:
Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and
patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our
Father; 1 Thessalonians 1:3.
1) Giving all due credit to the grace of
God, nevertheless it was them who worked out the things that God had
placed in them
2) It may be assumed that where faith is spoken of
that it went beyond the mere idea of believing (given it is essential);
the reputation was visible to the world!
4. But, it was certain that
they were acting on the basis of what they knew of the vicarious
suffering of Christ and their assurance of its availing in them all that
5. In our encounters with each other let us ask of
their welfare and mean it; confirm that the evidences of faith are
apparent in them; and so glorify God in so doing.
II. The reason
it was first (vv. 9-10)
1. Appealing to the witness of God – The
depths of what he felt toward and the intents of his heart regarding
them, was known only by Paul and God Himself!
1) He again alludes to
his servitude (slavery) with whom I serve
2) With my spirit (Paul was
fully identified with and sold out to what he was doing).
3) In the
Gospel of His Son.
2. His prayers for them assured that they were
being acknowledged before God and so the witness to them is more
credible and founded in true devotion to their cause.
3. The object
of those prayers was to see them face to face and so he was praying to
be brought on his way by the will of God.
III. The intent of it
all (vv. 11-12)
1. The desire of Paul is
1) To see them –
literally yearning after them with intensity. He was not just looking
for another place to preach.
2) To impart a spiritual gift – to give
over to share in full fellowship with them
3) To the end that they
may be anchored in the faith (set fast in what was already begun in
them) so fulfilling his Apostolic and loving mission.
2. But then, we
note the loving tie with them that he desired to bring to full
expression in seeing them personally: He would encourage them and they
would encourage Him: 15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into
him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: 16 From whom the
whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint
supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every
part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.
3. Let us be quick to put each other first and in
so doing honor the Lord whose example we follow.