#IAmTheChurch Sermon Notes: Be Concerned and Be Willing in your Service. Romans 1:8-10

I have expressed from day one the real desire that Whitefield Baptist Church is family. Family trust family. I am so over church being fake. Walking in here with a smile on your face, praising God, but you are hurting and you do not let anyone know. We are not a business, we are not professionals, we are family!” – Pastor Jeremy Smith

Today was sermon number three in our new series, “I Am The Church”, at Whitefield Baptist Church in South Carolina, where, as a church, we are going verse by verse through all of Paul’s Epistles.

For myself, like many others, it was – in the providence of God – “on time”. A reminder of what being a member in the body of Christ is. A reminder that we cannot go at it alone. But also a reminder, that, through it all, through what service we have been called and drafted into the body of Christ to do – that we should serve with a thankful spirit; with a concerned spirit; and with a willing spirit.

Today, I am so thankful to be in and surrounded by a family who cares and loves and puts its arm around you – but in truth and righteousness in Christ.

We have started in Romans and this week we spent time in verses 8-10 in chapter 1.

“First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed in all the world. For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I mention you always in my prayers, asking that somehow by God’s will I may now at last succeed in coming to you.”

There are two kinds of service:

  1. Self-righteous service: Everything I can do; it seeks external reward; it is concerned about results; it is temporary; and it fractures communities.
  2. True service: Your relationship with Jesus Christ; it doesn’t need to calculate results; it is faithful; it is a lifestyle; and it builds communities.

Last week in verse 8, the church spent time on discussing being “Thankful” in your service.

This week, our pastor began, in verse 9, discussing how we need to be “concerned” in our service.

  • A Concerned Spirit:
    • We should be concerned because there is still work to be done.
    • We are not resting on just our thankfulness and ignoring the bad
    • Paul, here, is being intentionally redundant by saying he is praying “without ceasing” and “always in my prayers”
    • What verses 9-10 does is provide insight into the prayer life of the Apostle.
    • True spiritual service prays
    • Praying “constantly without ceasing” is a true mark of spiritual service
    • You need someone in your life who will consistently pray for you. If you do not have that you are in a lot of trouble. You cannot be like Christ in this world: everything fight against you. The Lord, though, is mighty and He is stronger. But we need people praying for us. If you don’t have that, do you know what is going to happen? Temptation will come and you will cave.
    • We need to – we have to be – open, we need to be real!
    • You have got to be real. You cannot hide your struggles in a corner. It is called life. You don’t have to struggle by yourself.
    • No one is fine. We are struggling and we need each other.
    • So – what did Paul pray when he prayed? We have an example:
      • Ephesians 3:16-19 – “that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God”
      • Paul’s prayers are spiritual:
        • Colossians 1:9-15: “And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.
        • 2 Thessalonians 1:9-10: “To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power, so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.
    • Pray for each other’s spiritual walk; pray for their walk in Christ; pray that their heart will be attached with the heart of God
    • Show me someone who is filled with Thanksgiving but is also filled with concern and, then, you will see someone who is ministering in the spirit.
  • A Willing Spirit:
    • V.10 – “always in my prayers, asking that somehow by God’s will I may now at last succeed in coming to you.”
    • Praying for what you want or for what you want to happen is okay, but why not pray to be included in the answer if it is God’s will?
      • It is easy to pray for someone else to be raised up to do a task, or to give money for an outreach, but what if you are the person being raised up? What if you are the person for the outreach?
    • True spiritual service to God  has to originate with a willing spirit.
    • It is much easier to pray for others to be used by the Lord than to pray that God uses us.
    • God knows when you are praying safely; He knows your spirit.
    • We need to be willing to serve each other; to help one another.
    • “I have expressed from day one the real desire that Whitefield Baptist Church is family. Family trust family. I am so over church being fake. Walking in here with a smile on your face, praising God, but you are hurting and you do not let anyone know. We are not a business, we are not professionals, we are family!” – Pastor Jeremy Smith
    • “We are family, we’re related by blood: the blood of Jesus” – Pastor Jeremy Smith
    • Paul was not fake, Paul was real. Paul was on the verge of death – and he did not care. Remember, he said “To live is Christ, to die is gain”.
    • “Be real, be honest – this is where you come to get refreshed, to remember we are moving through this” – Pastor Jeremy Smith
    • We are the Church. We are it.
    • We have all been through trials and troubles and tribulations. Our Lord is mightier than all of it.
    • Be comfortable, be real. You are home.
    • Paul is thankful, concerned, and willing to be sent to serve. Follow suit!