Maybe you’ve never thought of yourself as someone who could change the world – but we all have the ability to join God in his work to transform lives, starting with the people in the spheres we already live in. It’s a natural outworking of what God’s doing in each of our lives! As he makes us transformed people, we transform other people. So join us for this Sunday’s message as we explore together how we can all be world-changers, right where we are!
1. I trust you and want to strengthen you.
- In his letter to the Romans, Paul had a number of constructive truths to impart to the church at Rome, truth designed to build them up in Christ. As he delivers instructions to them, he reminds them he trusts them. Sometimes we don’t trust others because we’ve been hurt in the past. We have a tendency as we age to totalize painful experiences. God doesn’t want us to totalize one person’s sin to everyone else, even out of a desire to protect ourselves. We have to learn to trust others and to trust the Jesus in others — that even if not everything is perfect, we will work it out with him.
- If you are walking with Jesus, God wants you to use your words to strengthen people and build them up. But it’s not just what you say, it’s how you say it. As we go through our days, it’s important to ask God to help us strengthen others — with the contents of our words, as well as with our tone and timing.
Describe a time recently you shared a “hard truth” with someone. What was the motive of your heart at that time? How can you keep your heart in the right place as you build people up, believing the best of them and seeking to strengthen them?
2. It is Jesus’ ministry.
- As we walk with Jesus, he reorganizes our priorities to match his, so that we might be able to say in any situation, “Father, not my will, but yours be done.” If our priorities are aligned with his, we will be servants of others.
- When we step into God’s work, it’s all too easy to start to believe it’s our work. Paul is quick to remind the Romans to boast in nothing except the work of Jesus, for it is his ministry, not ours. In what areas of your life are you trying to own what’s really Jesus’? God puts things in and takes things out of our lives as he sees fit in his perfect wisdom. The only way to be truly fulfilled and satisfied is to experience life the way Jesus the Savior explained it to us.
As you evaluate your life, are there any ways you are resisting the conviction of God to reorganize your priorities? What would it look like to match up your priorities with his, so he’s the center of every decision you make?
3. Let’s reach the unreached.
- Paul concludes this section of Romans with the statement that he has “fully proclaimed” the gospel in the regions he was sent where people had not previously heard the gospel. He is communicating to the Roman church and to us that part of following Jesus is to share the burdens that weigh upon his heart — in this case, to share the good news of Jesus, not with people who have already heard it, but with people who have never heard it before.
- Each of us, whether locally or globally, has a responsibility to carry the gospel to the unreached. If we don’t have a burden for that, we should examine our hearts and try to figure out why. If we do, we need to start looking for ways we can act on that burden and be a part of God’s kingdom coming in this world.
If you align your priorities with God’s, you will have a burden for those who are unreached by the gospel. What can you do locally and globally to join God in the work of his gospel going forth?
Optional Follow-up Questions:
- What makes you say that?
- How do you feel about that?
- How would you explain your answer to a non-Christian friend or neighbor?
- Why did God design it to work that way? Why not just do (whatever else) instead?
- What would you say to someone who disagrees with that?
- Why do we really have to do it like that? Why can’t we just go (some other route) instead?