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July 23, 2017

"DEBTOR TO ALL"

TEXT: Romans 1: 13 - 15
READING:  Isaiah 35: 1-10

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SUBJ: The nature of the obligation Paul felt toward those to whom he ministered being that of servant and indebted to God and to them as the objects of the love of God.

AIM: That we might be so inclined to view our salvation as incorporated that blessed estate wherein we would be in harmony with the aim of God in salvation to folks from every walk of life.

INTR: The longings of Paul to see them at Rome is evident in the preceding verses, but the obligation to them is born out of Paul’s sense of indebtedness toward God and the ministry to which he had been called.
1. Having already declared his love and concern for the Roman Christians and the desire to be partakers with them of the fellowship the saints know together in Christ Paul’s separates his feeling from mere emotion and rather sees it as a matter of debt.
2. It is to be remembered that Paul is first of all a Christian and a conscious recipient of the grace and mercy of God in Christ.
3. Where there is such a sense of the greatness of salvation and an understanding of the will and purpose of God there is obligation with the possessor – not to be saved but because one is saved.

THESIS: Seeing the greatness of our deliverance and realizing the purpose of God in such revelations, we are compelled to pay it forward to such as we may, including all kinds of people.

I. A longstanding aim (v. 13)
1. We have discussed the desire of Paul to go to Rome and the burden he felt for these people:
1) See verse 11 and the desire to impart some spiritual gift
2) Not an occasion to display superior knowledge; rather realizing the God has given to him revelations of which they might not know but would be of benefit in their growth in grace and knowledge.
2. Paul acknowledged the hand of God and providence in hindering him: Wherefore we would have come unto you, even I Paul, once and again; but Satan hindered us. 1 Thessalonians 2:18.
3. The idea of fruit might look to several things with them:
1) It is certain that it would be the delight of Paul to have such interaction with them as occurs when the operations of the Spirit are in evidence.
2) It is, also, certain that he was hopeful of seeing the unsaved brought to Christ in that power of the Spirit as he referenced in 1 Corinthians 2.
3) What blessedness he would personally realize if he were enabled of God to facilitate their growth and such fruitfulness as would bring the work of the Spirit to light in them to their joy and to their work in Christ and
4) To confirm the Gospel to them and in them as it would be with all Gentiles.

II. Paul and us as debtors (v. 14)
1. A concept easily repeated but not so easily understood or accepted.
1) The normal thoughts of indebtedness are typically negative in that they reference something owed and not paid of an undesirable sense of obligation to some
2) It is easier to see ourselves as indebted to God as we contemplate the greatness of our salvation.
i. The thoughts here are not of any idea of repayment for salvation or
ii. That we might in any way add to the work of Christ in bringing our salvation.
3) The difficulty with men is to engage in the thought of being indebted to those described here – Yet, if we feel indebtedness toward God, we must feel the same toward those He loves and to whom we are directed.
2. We are reminded of instructions given to the Apostles: Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give. Matthew 10:8. By such thought we are directed to the needs of others and so having established our indebtedness to God let us see as di Paul the needs of all and the fact that he was gifted with what they must have!
1) The Greeks who were a standard for advanced civilization and noted for their academic and philosophical standing – all of which concealed the need for mercy and grace in Christ
2) The contrast was the barbarians – a coarser people and relatively unlearned and untaught and dependent on their physical ability to contend in this world – taking as they see fit – to be shown that by grace are ye saved through faith and the gentleness of Christ.
3) To the wise, who are likely very proud – the picture of Christ in true humility, laying the axe to confidence and pride which is often found with human wisdom – the need is the same.
4) To the unwise – yet the simplicity of Christ must be preached to them as well.
3. This is not an uncomfortable sense of debt in that the glory of God in saving men is before us and the fact that we are able to sense the needs of others – If I have it, I owe it!

III. Urgency and the Gospel (v. 15)
1. Paul sense of obligation was an indwelling thing: For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel! 1 Corinthians 9:16.
1) Thus, his sense of urgency to preach to them at Rome as
2) See For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake. 2 Corinthians 4:5.
2. This Gospel witness is the debt that he would pay to them and to all of those mentioned above.