God raises up the humble!

Sunday night’s new teaching series is a study of the book of Romans and this week God was refreshing some old truths I already knew and revealing some new truths that I hadn’t seen before.

In writing Romans Paul was writing to a church that had little relationship with him, not one that he had been involved with in starting or one that he had visited. So in this letter he introduces himself, his ministry and his gospel. This letter is considered by many to be the greatest statement and explanation of Christian doctrine in the bible as it contains an orderly, logical development of some of the most important beliefs we have.

Paul starts Romans 1 with the opening verse “Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God”

He introduces himself first as a servant, second as an apostle.

The word “servant” in Greek means “slave or bond servant”. Someone who is owned by the person they work for. Not just an employee but one without choice and without rank.

Yet the word “apostle” means “sent one, authorised representative, ambassador”. A position of high military rank. A position chosen from among the elite of society, the senate or ruling body, to go representing the nation and Caesar (king or emperor).

Paul in just a few words describes his relationship, his ministry and authority as being of the lowest level, having no choices but to serve the Lord who bought his life yet who then raised him to the highest position by “seating him in heavenly places” (Ephesians 2:6) and the whole reason for doing so was for the sake of the gospel.

This antithesis (two opposite statements that bring balance) is the continuing theme of Paul’s description of himself throughout the bible. “The worst of sinners” (1 Tim 1:16) but “chosen by God” (Ephesians 1:11) shown “surpassingly great revelations” (2 Corinthians 12:7) yet constantly attacked both physically and in his ministry.

All of this brought out in Paul a great humility … yet the more humble he was the more God used him.

This same challenge faces us today. To allow humility to be worked in us so that God can continually use us more and more bringing Him more and more glory and honour in our lives.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 shows us “you are not your own; you were bought with a price” and Rev 5:9 speaking of Jesus tells us “with your blood you purchased men for God”.

Yet we also read “What is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? You made him a little lower than the angels; you crowned him with glory and honour and put everything under his feet” (Psalms 8:5 and Hebrews 2:7)

What a privilege we have to serve the King of Kings! He bought us, owns us completely but gives us position, rank, authority, talents and grace! What a King!!!