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New Testament Epistles and Acts Day One
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The Book of Romans is a roadmap for the Christian life. It's themes are sin, faith, salvation, growth, the sovereignty of God, and service of the saints.
The word "disciple" and "apostle" are both used in the Bible. In Romans, Paul uses the word "apostle" meaning "one who is sent". In verses 1 and 5, Paul calls himself an apostle "set apart for the Gospel of God", and states that "through him we received grace and apostleship".
We have the honor and privilege of receiving God's grace, His mercy and His forgiveness. But with that privilege comes responsibility. We have the responsibility to share the message of Christ with others and to be a living example of His mercy and grace. We are also charged with mutually encouraging one another by our faith (vs 12).
That doesn't mean we serve and minister out of obligation, but out of eagerness to share our joy with others. Paul says in vs. 15, "I am so eager to preach the Gospel".
We should never be ashamed or embarrassed to share the life-changing power of God, or what He has done in our lives.
We are saved by grace through faith. That faith is our relationship with Jesus that gives us strength - to live, to love, to overcome and to be bold. That same faith shows us how God reveals His divine nature and power to us through creation (Romans 1:20).
Faith is what leads us to righteousness. Not just believing in God, but believing HIM! - believing who He is, what He says, what He has done and what He WILL do. Without faith, we are lured away by our own evil desires into unrighteousness, godlessness, wickedness, immorality, ungratefulness, futile thinking, hardened hearts, foolishness, degradation, dishonesty and idolatry. It can also lead to evil, greed and depravity; envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. We can become gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; inventing ways of doing evil; disobedient, having no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy and not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them (vs 21-32).
Acts begins where the Gospels ended, telling what happened with the disciples after Jesus' death, burial, resurrection and ascension. Chapter 1 begins with the promise of the Holy Spirit.
God sent His Spirit so that He could be with us and WITHIN us. The Spirit comforts, guides, reminds, prompts and empowers us to do God's will and abstain from unrighteousness.
The Holy Spirit also helps us remember God's Word so we can be ready with an answer, and He unites the Body of Christ. The power of the Holy Spirit gives us courage, boldness, confidence, insight, ability (equips us), and gives us authority over the devil.
We are both disciples (followers, learners) of Christ and apostles (messengers, missionaries) of Him. Our faith in God, personal relationship with His Son, and the power of His Spirit help us fulfill our mission here on earth.
"But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses ...to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)
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