Missionary Heart 2

An exposition of Romans 16:1-23. romansThis message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday morning, June 13, 2010.

One of my favorite philosophers is the great Yogi Berra.  Yogi has been credited with great insights like, “It ain’t over until it’s over” and “when you come to a fork in the road take it.”  Of course Yogi also said, “I didn’t say all those things I said.”  But my favorite “Yogism” is, “You can observe a lot just by watching.”  You have to admit that is true!  You can also learn a lot just by listening.  You can learn a lot about a person by what they say.  You learn what is important to them and what they value just by observing their conversations.  This is especially true in “unguarded” moments.  Off hand comments.  Incidental statements.  That means there are things to be learned in those passages we often skip over in the biblical text.  Text like the close of Paul’s great letter to the church at Rome.  The apostle has given this great statement on the gospel.  He has delivered this profound theological treatise on salvation by grace through faith, then he called his readers to live a life founded upon those truths.  As he concludes his monumental work he sends greetings to some of the faithful in Rome.  Our tendency is to skip over those remarks or give them a cursory read.  But that is a mistake.  To do so is to miss something helpful.  Here, in these closing remarks, is a great insight into the heart of this great servant of Christ.

Last time we considered the marks of a missionary heart as we worked through chapter 15.  We saw that the missionary heart views all of life as service to God.  Every act is a sacrificial act, a priestly service to Christ and his kingdom.  Further the missionary heart is focused on the glory of God, it dares to dream big and knows the task cannot be accomplished alone.  But that is not the whole story.  Those 4 characteristics are vertically oriented.  They are concerned with God and his glory.  What about the horizontal?  What about concern for our fellow man?  What about our heart for other believers?  That will be our focus this morning in chapter 16.

Text: Romans 16:1-23
He is a towering figure in the Scripture.
A man of great intellect – holding what will be the equivalent of multiple doctorates.
A man of unquestioned spirituality.
Author of roughly half the New Testament.
A pioneer for the gospel and the kingdom.
But what I’m interested in, for our purpose this morning, is his heart.

Allow me to point out three marks of a missionary heart from our text.

  1. A missionary heart loves profoundly.  (16:1-16)
  2. A missionary heart is passionate about the truth.  (16:17-20)
  3. The missionary heart is contagious in its enthusiasm.  (16:21-23)

So we have the heart of a missionary – loving, passionate about truth and contagious in its enthusiasm.  Does that describe your heart?  If a visitor attends your Sunday School class, your Bible study – is that the impression they leave with?  How about a worship service?

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