WE ARE IN DEBT
Romans 1: 13-15
"I do not want you to know, brethren, that I have often come to you to reap fruit among you, as among the Gentiles, but I have been hindered so far. I am indebted to both the Greeks and the barbarians, both the learned and the unlearned. Thus, as far as I am concerned, I have a strong desire to proclaim the Gospel to you, the people of Rome. ”
Before proceeding to the analysis and interpretation of the two verses above, I would like to clarify why I chose this text to be the first to justify the Evangelical Apostolic Mission MEA (www.greatmission.eu): I believe that before I can do anything spiritual (or even worldly) work or service requires two important elements without which nothing can be done (good and quality): the will to do that and the ability to do it, that is, it is necessary first to ATTITUDE and then SKILLS.
In Paul's case, he declares that he has "a living desire to preach the gospel," not just an intention, an idea, but he wants with all his heart and is willing to do anything to preach the gospel, his attitude is clear and convincing, nothing and no one in the world can stop him from doing so. As for skills, I don't think we need to worry about that because his upbringing at the feet of one of the most learned and famous rabbis of all time is Gamaliel, he qualified him to know the Law, and his meeting with Jesus Christ on the road to Damascus, from which he received the referral, helped him to know the gospel.
Regarding what he was like when he was still Saul, he says: "" I am a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia; but I was brought up in this city; and we were just as zealous for God as you are today. ” (Acts 22: 3).
As for what Paul became after the encounter with Jesus, he writes, “As for me, brethren, when I came to you, I came not to declare unto you the mystery of God with brilliant words or wisdom. For I had no intention of knowing any other thing among you, than Jesus Christ, and him crucified. I myself, when I came among you, was weak, fearful, and trembling. And my teaching and my preaching was not in the persuasive words of wisdom, but in a proof given by the Spirit and power, that your faith might be based not on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God. ” (1 Corinthians 2: 1-5) and “Brethren, I declare unto you that the gospel which I have preached is not of men; for I have not received it, neither have I learned it from man, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ ”(Galatians 1: 11-12).
Below we will see some of the names and nicknames that Saul / Paul had:
- Saul the persecutor, "the one requested by prayer" (in Hebrew), bears the name of the first king of Israel, his parents waiting for him to become a hero to be proud of their child,
- Paul (apostle of the Gentiles, Paul in Latin) means small, humble, because the service of Christ can be done only in humility, in humility: "by the grace of God I am what I am",
- He introduces himself to the church in Rome, which he had not yet reached, as: "Rob (slave) of Jesus Christ", this name being the most honorable title that a man can bear and its value does not lie in it and his abilities, but in the power of his Lord / Savior, in Jesus Christ, and being a slave shows his complete devotion to his master and his willingness to serve unconditionally,
- "Called to be an APOSTLE" (gr. Apostolos = messenger, disciple, power of Christ, sent to preach the Gospel),
- "Set aside to proclaim the gospel of God", being framed in God's plan of salvation, through Jesus who does not bring "good news" but Himself is the Good News,
- He humbly calls himself "the least important of the apostles" and yet with the same authority as the other apostles.
In the introduction to the epistle, in the first seven verses, Paul presents two important ideas: (1) he is the apostle of the “Gentiles,” and (2) he was entrusted with the gospel by Jesus. "Beginning with v. 8, he gives thanks to God the Father, through Jesus, who is the mediator, the High Priest, this being done in a note of piety characteristic of the Psalms."
The reasons why Paul desperately wanted to visit those in Rome were: (a) "to give you a spiritual gift" (v. 11); (b) “to reap the fruits” (v. 13); and (c) “to preach the gospel to you,” not because of its exaltation, but because of its missionary duty.
From the verses mentioned, we can find three important ideas:
1. It takes fellowship with those you work with or want to serve, so Paul informs those in Rome about his plans for service in connection with the Church there at that time, telling them, “I do not want to don't know "I mean: I want you to know that I planned and prayed so I could come to you," many times I was going to come to you, but I've been hindered so far, "he was stopped , by the Holy Spirit: "Because they were forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the word in Asia, they passed through the land of Phrygia and Galatia" (Acts 16: 6), hence his dependence entirely on the One who sent him, on Christ, he does nothing without the approval and authority of Jesus, for he can do nothing by his own power, "that I might reap fruit among you." Paul acknowledges that human plans are always fruitless, but if we let the Lord work, then we reach OUR GOAL, to reap (at least) a fruit that God gives to obedient slaves. We can and must seek to bear fruit, that is, to win souls for the Kingdom of God, but this work is done by the Holy Spirit through the Word, who never returns without fruit: “So is My Word, which proceeds out of my mouth. He will not return to Me without fruit, but will do My will and fulfill My plans ”(Isaiah 55), bringing eternal fruit,“ as among the Gentiles, ”shows us that Paul already had experience in this work of evangelism. / missionary, he knows very well what he wants and how he must serve so as to please the One who SENT him to the work.
2. The whole world needs to hear the Word of God, so he tells them that this is a duty and that he is not doing the work by his own powers but with the authority given to him, as one who has been CHOSEN, POWERFUL and SENT: “ for I have shown myself unto thee, that I might make thee a witness and a witness both of the things which thou hast seen, and of the things which thou shalt see me doing. I have chosen you out of the midst of his people and out of the nations to whom I am sending you (Acts 26: 16-17). He tells them, "I am indebted." obedience to the faith of all nations, including you who are called to belong to Jesus Christ, ”his service being possible only through the grace and gifts received from the Holy Spirit, his duty is not only to the Lord but also to the Gentiles to whom he was entrusted to carry the gospel and the grace received to pass it on because the gifts of the Holy Spirit are gifts of mission and service: "for the Greeks and barbarians": to whom he has a duty to give them; to bring the Gospel to them, without any boundaries or limitations, for "the learned and the unlearned"; the Greeks being learned philosophers, and the barbarians being the unlearned, for the gospel is not only for the educated and cultured Greek who cannot comprehend the "madness of the cross," but also for the weaker nations and people, the gospel speaks to the uneducated, speaks and touches everyone who listens to her.
3. In order to be able to do a quality work, you must long for it, so Paul tells them, "As for me, I have a desire to preach the gospel to you in Rome." over all barriers: language, nation, religion, economic, geographical and cultural and I want to preach the gospel (to those in Rome and to all to whom God sends me).
As a practical application for us, NOW and HERE, who live abroad, united by the same Lord and the same faith: "confessing that we are strangers and travelers on earth ... but we want a better homeland, that is, a heavenly homeland" (Hebrews 11 : 13,16) we can: (a) unite in prayers of intercession and thanksgiving: for Romanians, Austrians and for all nations, like Paul who always prayed for the church in Rome and for the Christians there who confessed Christ in the capital of the world at that time, because depending on how much we mediate for each other, it shows our love for the Lord and for people, and how much we thank shows how united we are (in Austria for Europe), (b) to engage in mutual encouragement through fellowship: Paul has been much entrusted and asked for, he wants to make others partakers of the grace and spiritual gifts received, but he is also encouraged, (c) to ask ourselves what we are: consumers, program critics or members in the Body who serve each other. It is good to make others partakers of our blessings because we receive as much as we give, and the purpose of our ministry must be to multiply the servants in the work of EVANGELIZATION, by the WORD that once sowed BRINGS ROD, and we are ALL called to the harvest To the Lord, for "the word of God bears fruit, not us!"