by Stephen F. Olford
Theme: Evangelistic Responsibility
Text: "I am . . . debtor . . . I am ready . . . .I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ" (Rom. 1:14-16).
Thoughts: To fulfill the Great Commission Paul went to the capital city of Rome. In these keynote words he sums up what should be every Christian's evangelistic responsibility.
1. We Must Discharge Our Obligation in the Work of the Gospel. "I am . . . debtor" (v. 14). The Apostle viewed men and women everywhere as his creditors, and as the debtor, he owed them his prayers: "God is my witness . . . that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers" (v. 9). [We must assume that this included sinners as well as saints]; his presence, "For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift" (v. 11); and his preaching, "To preach the gospel to you" (v. 15). Is this the measure of our own sense of obligation?
2. We Must Display Our Dedication to the Work of the Gospel. "I am ready to preach the gospel" (v. 15). Paul's readiness is summed up in the words, "As much as is in me" (v. 15). His entire being (faculties, talents, energy, health, and whatever else he possessed) was dedicated to the gospel. To Paul, there was nothing in all the world more worthwhile. Can you and I say with Paul, "So, as much as is in me, I am ready?"
3. We Must Declare Our Affirmation of the Word of the Gospel. "I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ. … as it is written, ‘The just shall live by faith'" (vv. 16, 17). In that one statement, Paul spells out the Word of the Gospel and he exults in its supremacy, sufficiency, and simplicity. So he looks the world of his day in the face and declares, "I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ" (v. 16). Is that your affirmation!
Thrust: I am debtor, Lord, to win the lost, As for me, dear Lord, all else is dross. I am ready Lord, to preach the Word, Give me courage, Lord, to wield the sword; I am happy, Lord, to stand the test, Give me power, Lord, to do my best. Amen.