I particularly liked the verse that suggests that if we can control our conversation, then we are spiritually mature. What a change in our thought process! Most believers think that if they are deep, super spiritual, carry big bibles, quote the latest christian cliches, get them some "edumacation" and go to the correct church, they are mature, but the text clearly indicates that maturity is measured by our ability to muzzle our mouth! I tell our church all of the time that just because you have a right to say something doesn't mean that it is right to say!
We began our study in the book of Romans. When I passed out the outline and study questions for the 1st chapter, everyone was excited to begin the walk on the Romans Road! We looked at verse 1 on today. This was such an exhaustive passage. Paul said that he was a servant of Jesus Christ. This word servant means a bond-slave. One who is purchased and possessed by another. One whose will is to do his master's will. One whose sole purpose in life is to serve his master. Many times when we think of slavery, it gives a negative connotation, but I cant think of a higher honor than to be a slave of Christ.
Next, it says that he was called to be an apostle. I explained to the class that the motivating factor of Paul's work was God's call on his life! What moves us to do what we do should not be the applause, approval, or the appreciation of our audience, but the assignment of the Almighty! I tried to avoid it and just explain what it meant to be an apostle in Paul's day, but in my morning class, I have a student with a neo-pentecostal background, that was just at a service where someone was lifted to be an apostle. This was done she says by one who already is an apostle putting his knees in the back of the other one and conferring the apostleship on him. This made for a very interesting discussion!
Lastly, Paul said that he was separated unto the gospel. This is very interesting in the original language. Paul was separated, not segregated. He was not separated from people, but separated to the gospel. He was set apart to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ, not social justice, prosperity, or opinion, but the Good News of Jesus Christ! God literally changed Paul's horizon. In order to change your horizon, you must change your elevation!
I was at the Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta, Georgia. I was exhausted after 5 nights of revival and ready to go home. When I arrived at the ticket counter, the attendant had a very nasty attitude. I tried to overlook her, but she really angered me. When I boarded the plane, I was still frustrated. As the plane began to take off, I heard a still small voice say,"Watch". I started watching. When the plane took off, we had to turn around to head toward Chicago. When we turned, I could see the airport again. This humongous airport looked so small to me. It was at that moment that I was reminded that that same lady who frustrated me was inside of the airport that looked so small. Now if the airport appeared this small, how tiny was the lady that was inside. She was not tiny because she shrunk, but because I changed elevations!!! Be Blessed!!