The Church as She’s Meant to Be (091025a)
Romans #02 – An exposition of Romans 1:8-17. This Message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday morning, October 25, 2009.
Sermon Notes »
This morning we come to gather around the Lord’s Table. As one of the two ordinances given to the Church it is a high and holy moment. We as Baptists believe this to be a memorial meal. It is a symbol of the body and blood of our precious Savior. We do not believe that the bread or the juice is somehow transformed into the actual body and blood of the Lord but that it symbolizes both. We also differ from some of our brothers and sisters in that we do not believe that grace is dispensed through the elements. Partaking of the bread and the cup does not impart saving grace or any other grace. Rather it is a time of remembrance and reflection. It is a great mistake however to believe that it is a “mere” symbol. It is not something to take lightly or carelessly. This is to be a time of solemn remembrance. It is also important to note that this is a “church” ordinance. It is something to be done by the church gathered for worship. It is not an individual act – it is a communal act. We do this together as the church.
I know that the church has fallen on tough times. Church attendance is down across the board and church loyalty is all but gone. It seems many are of the mind that the church is no longer relevant. Some seem to think that the church has run its course and its time for something else. Well, the church has not “run its course” but perhaps our style of church has. The church in the New Testament is describes as a body, a family, a temple, the habitation of the Spirit and even a marriage. The modern church looks more like a cattle drive, a pageant, a circus and a Fortune 500 company! The church, in the beginning, was not about programs, budgets, goods and services but rather about relationships. It is was about living the faith together. It was a sharing of life and growing in holiness. This morning as we gather around the Table I want to take just a moment and reflect on what the church was meant to be. To do that I want to explore Paul’s introduction in his letter to the Roman church.
Text: Romans 1:8-17
Paul writes to the church in an attempt to introduce himself and his doctrine. He did not start the church in Roman but he had heard great reports about it. He for some time had long to visit the church and have some ministry there. So he writes this letter outlining the message given to him by God. Here is the gospel. He began by stating that he sees himself primarily as the slave of Christ. One called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God. In this section he expresses his desire to come to Rome, his prayer on behalf of the Roman Christians, his indebtedness to all the world and his confidence in the power of the gospel.
If you look carefully at what he says I think we can see the church as God intends it. There are three things I want to call to your attention.
- The church is to be a place of mutual encouragement and growth. (1:8-13)
- The church is to be consumed with a sense of indebtedness. (1:14-15)
- The church is to be emboldened by the wonder and the power of the Gospel. (1:16-17)
The church is to be a place of mutual encouragement and growth. A place consumed with a sense of indebtedness. A place emboldened by the power and wonder of the Gospel. Such a place is not outdated or irrelevant. Far from it – it is desperately needed as we seek to live out our faith together.
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