Saints, Redeemed and Set Apart for Service
Romans 1:14-15; Acts 9:15
Evangelist Eric Burton’s sermon from Shiloh’s Lord’s Day Service on May 26, 2019
We are under obligation
In our opening text Rom 1:14-15 and Acts 9:15, the Apostle Paul, a chosen vessel of God, declared that he was under obligation to preach the gospel. An obligation means to be compelled or committed to completing one’s duty or task. This attitude that Paul had is likewise the attitude we should have today in proclaiming the Word of God. It’s our duty! When we study Apostle Paul’s writings and his life, he had this “mentality of ministry” which is a benchmark for every believer today.
Characteristics of a bondservant
Paul declared that he was a bondservant set apart for the gospel of God (Rom 1:1). There are several definitions of “bondservant” such as servant, slave, and one made to serve without wages. However, the most interesting definition is a “person who never considers leaving their place of service or master.” Thus, the Apostle Paul’s attitude was that he could never leave the Lord Jesus Christ, for he was set apart to proclaim the gospel.
Secondly, a bondservant for Christ should have no record of a selfish life or life of splendor for himself but empty himself and become a fellow worker for Jesus Christ (1 Cor 3:9). In Christian theology, the act of emptying oneself is to become entirely receptive to God’s divine will and making your own self to be nothing. Likewise, Jesus had no record of a selfish life or a life of splendor for Himself as well, for He too emptied Himself and took on the form of a bondservant and became like man (Phil 2:7). This was the attitude of Paul.
Thirdly, bondservants are persecuted for the sake of the gospel of Jesus Christ. The Apostle Paul was beaten, imprisoned, and suffered many things (Acts 16:22-24; 2 Cor 11:24-26). However, even in suffering, when we truly live a life of faith, others will come to believe (Acts 16:29-30). As Jesus was suffering on the cross, one of the criminals being crucified with Jesus said, “remember me when You come in Your kingdom” (Luke 23:42). Today, we must be like Paul and the Lord Jesus Christ and take on the form of a bondservant and never consider leaving service but be steadfast in our journey of faith until we go to heaven.
Saints, purchased with a ransom
Jesus gave Himself as a ransom for all and we were purchased by His blood (1 Tim 2:6). When we look at the ransom Jesus Christ purchased on the cross for us with His blood, it is a “ransom” for “many” (Matt 20:28). Secondly, the ransom for many, the blood of Jesus Christ signifies that the “ransom” paid out is a “universal grace” effective for all nations who have been appointed for salvation (Acts 13:47-48). Thirdly, the blood of Jesus Christ is a ransom effective for all time through eternity; thus an “eternal redemption” (Heb 9:12). Therefore, saints who are redeemed through the blood of Jesus shed on the cross can find absolute protection in their journey toward heaven, as long as they dwell in Jesus only. This means that Jesus Christ is the only way to eternal redemption and salvation (John 10:1).
Saints set apart according to God’s redemptive plan
According to God’s redemptive plan, Jesus Christ His only Son was sent for the purpose of redeeming all saints that were predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son (Rom 8:29-30). Secondly, according to God’s plan, Jesus Christ paid the price with His blood. The price that Jesus Christ paid to redeem us from sin and death was His own precious blood. We were not saved by perishable things like precious gold or silver, but by the precious blood of Jesus Christ, unblemished and spotless as that of a lamb (1 Pet 1:18–19). Thirdly, those who are redeemed are Jesus Christ’s own possession are bought with the cost of His precious blood (1 Cor 6:19–20; 7:22–23). History did not flow aimlessly after the fall of mankind but worked for the purpose of redeeming the saints chosen in Jesus Christ before the foundation of the world (Eph 1:4). Thus, the focus of the administration in the history of redemption is the salvation of fallen mankind, with Jesus Christ standing at the center of that work. Jesus Christ is the only true Savior who can save His chosen people (Matt 1:21 John 4:42; Acts 4:12). As part of God’s redemptive plan, Jesus was sent to redeem us from every sin and to purify us for His own possession (Titus 2:14). Jesus is the only one in heaven and on earth who has given up His own life as a ransom to redeem us from death.
Conclusion: God has called and redeemed us for His purpose, and our lives and our bodies belong to Him for service. Paul said, “But I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself, so that I may finish my course and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify solemnly of the gospel of the grace of God" (Acts 20:24). Today, this is our task and duty: to proclaim redemptive history to all nations. Let us never cease in serving our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.