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July 16, 2017

"THANKSGIVING FIRST"

TEXT: Romans 1: 8-12 (Read vv. 8-15)
READING:  1 Peter 5: 1-14

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SUBJ: The 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.

INTR: Having 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.
2) His 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.
2) Yet, 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 remembers
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 was intended.
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. Ephesians 4:15-16.
3. Let us be quick to put each other first and in so doing honor the Lord whose example we follow.