Title: Six Qualities of a Godly Man
Text: Romans 1.8-15
CIT: Paul’s Prayers for Rome Reveal Much About This Man
CIS: There are characteristics and traits to observe in an Apostle.
Introduction: It is quite typical to move from the Greetings and Salutations to a mentioning of Prayer and Thanksgiving in a 1st Century letter. That is exactly what Paul does in this next section.
Paul’s prayer for the Christians in Rome is outlined in verses 8-15. First of all, these prayers include thanksgiving for the fact that their faith is known and proclaimed by other believers throughout the Greco-Roman world (8).
Secondly, Paul offers the unceasing request to one day make his journey to Rome (9-10). His request is simply to preach the gospel among them and it is expressed in three separate statements:
1st, Paul’s desire is to impart some spiritual gift to them to encourage them and to be encouraged by them, as well (11-12).
2nd, Paul has intended for some time to get to them but has been prevented from ministering there (13). Now, it appears that whatever was hindering is no longer in the way.
3rd, Paul has a calling to preach the gospel to the Gentiles. He says he is under obligation to all and so desires to come and preach the gospel in Rome.
These prayers reveal more of the man we know as The Apostle Paul and his desires as a godly man. I think there is more than just information sharing here. Paul is opening up his soul and giving us a glimpse inside.
Transition: This week I shared with the Venture group in Chapel about the old man and his elder wife who were sitting at the Table sharing a meal. The woman looked over at her husband of many, many decades and felt this overwhelming sense of pride. Herbert, I’m proud of you, She gushed. Without missing a beat, the old man replied: Well, I’m tired of you, too!
Sometimes it is easy to communicate what is in your heart and at other times… not so much. Sometimes you want to communicate what lies deep within but it gets misunderstood.
Well Paul doesn’t confuse us here and there is no miscommunication as he reveals his heart to the church at Rome – and to us. Paul tells them plainly what he feels and what his desires are. He does so by laying his prayer requests before God and he lets us all in on those prayers.
For us, we’re able to glean some qualities from a godly man. These qualities are Paul’s, but I think they can be true for any man or woman who has been called of God to serve. And yes, that means even you. Your first temptation might be to take them and measure them up against me. To be honest, that is fine. It really is something you should do. I would encourage you to do so. Furthermore, you can use them to measure up your spiritual leaders (i.e.: elders and deacons).
But don’t be so quick to just move in that direction. I want to encourage you to use these marks for your own life – to see how you measure up to Paul. And, I would not say these marks are exhaustive and complete. But I would say they are useful for us today in their current form to help in our service and ministry. So here we go…
Six Qualities Found in a Godly Leader:
I. He has a thankful heart for all God has done in fulfilling His promises. (8)
exp.: rd v8; God is fulfilling his promises to the Romans. The proof is in the pudding! They’re being discussed wherever there are other Christians gathering. It is interesting what Paul doesn’t note here. He thanks God, but not for…
- It isn’t their leadership – pastors or elders.
- It isn’t their worship.
- It isn’t their facilities.
- It isn’t their ministries or ministers.
- It isn’t their mission work.
- It isn’t the money they’ve raised for disaster relief or the people they’re sending to help the folks in Jerusalem.
Paul is grateful for their faith. Faith is expressed and their expression has been something to talk about. The word all appears 2x’s in v 8; two different words: all is the word pan; the 2nd all is the word from which we get whole. A most literal translation would be the whole world. And I think to myself: Really? The whole world? I think what he is saying is that brothers and sister across the Christian world are talking about the faith of this church. That is amazing… people talking about their congregation.
ill.: this past week Spring Creek Baptist Church was in the News. The County Commissioner who attends there, JoAnn Hampton was indicted on aggravated assault charges this past week. Back on April 2nd, Ms. Hampton came to church to find someone had already prepared the Lord’s Supper Table. It seems a 72-year-old member of the congregation and Ms. Hampton had already had words about the timeliness of setting up the table. The 72-year-old woman came in early and set everything up. Ms. Hampton was furious. She went to the pastor’s office where the woman was talking with the pastor and assaulted her. Basically, she pushed her back onto the couch and the woman injured her hand.
app.: That isn’t the kind of notoriety Paul is talking about! These folks in Rome are in the news because of their faith. Do you remember I told you Claudius Caesar kicked the Jews out of Rome in 49AD? Well, it appears this young Gentile congregation had to start living by faith. And the result was the testimony of those who were scattered abroad.
Philippians 1.6: 6 And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.
Paul was so thankful to God for fulfilling his promises to this congregation.
t.s.: The 1st Quality we see here of this godly leader is: he has a grateful heart. 2ndly,
II. He recognizes His first and main audience is with God (9a)
exp.: The context, of course, is that God is his witness – that he is telling the truth concerning his prayers. Rd v 9a; Yes, God is his witness, but more than that. It is God that he serves. When he says with or literally, in, my spirit… I think that is his way of saying with my whole heart.
You’ve probably felt this way about yourself when you’re singing: Bless the Lord, O’ my soul, and all that is within me… bless his holy name. All that is within me… that is, with my spirit. And his service: the gospel. This may be hard to grasp, but a pastor’s first calling is to the gospel. It is the spread of the Gospel that saves souls and it is the repetition of the gospel that disciples the believers. It’s the telling and retelling of that old, old story – over and over again.
ill.: I love to tell the story of unseen things above. Of Jesus and his glory… of Jesus and his love. I love to tell the story because I know tis true. It satisfies my longing as nothing else can do.
I love to tell the story – tis pleasant to repeat. What seems each time I tell it more wonderfully sweet. I love to tell the story for some have never heard the message of salvation from God’s own Holy Word.
I love to tell the story. T’will be my theme in glory to tell the old, old story of Jesus and his love.
app.: Sing them over again to me… Wonderful words of life. That’s what discipleship is. And that is what the godly man loves to do – is to tell the story that changed his life. And to tell the story that sustains this congregation. Well, a godly man recognizes his first and main audience is with God. It is God he serves. That’s why God is a witness to the work and prayer.
t.s.: He has a grateful heart. He recognizes that he serves God by serving others with the Gospel. 3rd,
III. He incessantly remembers the church in his prayers (9b-10)
exp.: Paul’s prayers don’t just end with thanksgiving. Paul’s prayers are unceasing for this congregation, moving from gratitude to a very special request. Rd v 9b-10; Paul’s desire is to travel to Rome. Who wouldn’t, right? Anyone here ever been to Rome? We’re looking for missionaries to serve in Tahiti and Hawaii! We need Home Missionaries in Florida and Colorado!
ill.: I remember reading about some missionaries who on Sunday morning would go skiing and stop at a chapel up on the slopes. There, they would lead a service. I thought: where do I sign up? Well, my guess is that some of the hardest ministry is in the midst of those who think they don’t need it. But, those people need Jesus, too.
app.: Paul’s message is clear, but let me be very literal here: so that without coming to an end, remembrance of you I make my request or I do my asking; “Without ceasing, unrelenting”; It’s very wordy, but desperately points out the prayers of Paul for these people.
Do you know that your leadership prays for you? I can’t say for me it is without ceasing. I wish I were better at it. But I do pray for you daily. Sometimes I pray for individuals. Sometimes I pray for groups. And my requests for you vary according to our needs.
I like knowing how to pray and what to pray for. If you want me to be specific in my prayers for you, email me or drop it in the offering plate. That will allow me to pray specifically for you.
t.s.: Godly leaders have grateful hearts. They recognize their service to others is service to God. And they pray for their churches and their members. They keep them before the Lord. 4th… And we see this of Paul…
IV. He desires to encourage them through his service (and to be mutually encouraged by them in theirs) (11-12)
exp.: look at v 11; do you see the 1st word there: γὰρ. A marker of reason. Because; At this stage he’s telling them why he wants to come. Truth is, he finally gets to it in v 15; …so I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome. His purpose in going there is singular in focus (i.e.: to preach the Gospel, v 9, 15) but this focus of preaching the Gospel is expressed in three different ways; the 1st is in v 11: I like to translate this: For I long to behold you. I want to see you, to behold you with my own eyes. Continue reading v 11…
- By preaching the Gospel in their midst, he would be imparting a spiritual gift that will encourage them and strengthen them. Added to this, that he might be encouraged at the same time. Rd v 12; He’s heard about their faith (8) – really all over the Christian world. I’m supposing because of Paul’s popularity that they’ve heard of his faith, too. If not, they will from Phoebe and anyone else carrying this letter.
app.: I don’t know if you’ve thought this through or not, from a personal standpoint, but living out your faith in front of others strengthens and encourages them…just as you are when you see others living out their faith.
Last month Jamie Dean of World Magazine shared the story of a North Korean defector who talked about the punishment and persecution of Christians. One family kept their Bible in magpie nest… a bird’s nest. Late at night, someone would crawl up into the tree, into the nest and get the Bible. They would read what they could under the cloak of darkness. Then, get the Bible back in place before sun up. One day, a neighbor who was cutting a branch down, somehow caused the nest to fall and reveal the Bible. The family was busted. Can you imagine? How many of you have your Bible with you now? If we were in North Korea, we’d all be thrown in prison.
We’re so blessed to live out our faith in the eyes of others. We’re so blessed that we don’t have to hide our Bible in a tree outside. You, meeting in your community group… that’s mutually encouraging to each other.
Transition: Paul hopes to strengthen them and to be strengthen and encouraged by them in return. Also, he says in v 13; Rd v 13a; this is the 2nd way of he hopes to preach the Gospel to them but it is also our 5th quality that we find in Paul.
V. He surrenders his will to the Lord’s will in spite of what he himself wants (13)
exp.: he’s been hindered from going there to Rome. He has wanted to for some time, but for some reason, God hasn’t opened that door to him.
- Because, whatever was hindering him before, is no longer in the way. I suppose it was his mission work in the east. He has been preaching the Gospel everywhere he can between Jerusalem and Greece. Now, he’s finding others who’ve gone before him… like Rome for example. Having completed that task, and seeing the area evangelized, Paul’s desire now is to expand the mission work to Spain. We’ll see that in 15.24. He’ll mention also in chapter 15 the gift from the Asian churches to Jerusalem and his need to travel there to deliver that gift. But after that, he wants to come see them on his way to Spain.
app.: Man, we’re learning something very valuable here, in this quality Paul displays. Sometimes, and this has been my experience as a believer and as a pastor, God says no. Sometimes God says, yes. And sometimes God gives us a third answer and says – not yet. It doesn’t mean no, forever, just for a while. It usually means that God has some work to do in our hearts and in our lives to prepare us for what we’re asking.
ill.: When Lisa and I were in Cotulla we felt a call to go to the Rocky Mtns and work. We knew the call was on our hearts, but God wasn’t opening up the door. Instead, we went south to Harlingen. God made it clear to us that we were to go south. The criticism was pretty sharp by some. I thought God was calling you to go north? Well, we moved to Harlingen, 8 miles north of the Mexican border. And God used our experience there in so many ways, preparing us for the ministry in Wyoming.
I could stand here and begin telling you stories of what I learned in deep South Texas that God used in Wyoming, but we don’t have time… so I’ll save those for then.
God may have called you and is preparing you, but thus far has hindered your progress. Let me encourage you: Trust him. Whatever you want for this church or this mission or this ministry or your community group or… whatever it is of God… Let me tell you: He wants even better things than you do. So let this quality be found in you: surrender your will to his, in spite of what you might want. Let him finish preparing you for the task ahead.
t.s.: His 3rd expression is found in the rest of 13(b) and 14.
- His obligation to the Gentiles encompasses the believers in Rome. Do you see the last word in v 13? It is the word from which we get ethnic… ethnic groups or as we say today, people groups.
t.s.: and that my friends, is the 6th quality we find in Paul…
VI. He knows his calling and is passionate about fulfilling it (14-15)
exp.: He is eager to preach the Gospel to this unreached people group. I didn’t say unreached and unengaged, because I’m assuming they are engaging their own people. But as a whole, they remain unreached. That is his mission field. He’s been gifted to be successful among the ethnos… the unreached people groups.
- He has a thankful heart.
- He recognizes his 1st audience and service is to God.
- He keeps his people and ministry before the Lord in prayer…
- He desires to strengthen and encourage his people through his service and to be encouraged by them, too.
- He surrenders his wants and wishes to the Lord, in spite of what he desires. That’s because he trusts in What God is doing…
- He knows his calling and is passionate about fulfilling it.
Conclusion: Let’s land this plane. So what will you take home with you today? How can you make it personal?
Application: 1st, let me ask you some questions…
- What moves you to prayer?
- Gratitude? Or, are you taking God’s blessings for Granted?
- Is it opportunities for the Gospel? Do you get excited about what God might be doing in your life and in the life of your church?
- Or do you find you only pray when things are bad and you’re in need?
Maybe that is a commitment you need to make this morning: to pray regularly.
- Do you recognize that your service to people and for people is really to and for God? He is your first audience. I think of the ministries we have:
- CUB: it is easy to get tired of people who just use you.
- Bridgemark and Venture: for bridgemark, sometimes it feels like people just take advantage, just using the building; but then there are times when I see the good we’re doing in a child’s life. Do you realize that there are children who will grow up to be adults and know how to read because of your ministry? Some little girl down there will hold her granddaughter someday and read the Bible with her. Some man may read Scripture from the pulpit. Or even more – God may call one of them to missions or to the pastorate. Don’t grow weary in well doing. You’re serving God by serving people when you do his bidding.
- Maybe its teaching Bible Study or a Community Group. Trust that your service to God is being rewarded and used by Him for his glory.
- Do you know your calling and are you passionate about it? I hope so. If not, you’re missing out on so much. I believe God has every person here for a reason and it isn’t to keep the seat you’re sitting in warm. God began a good work in you and I am confident that he will carry it through to completion.
If you don’t know your calling, will you come visit with me about that? Or, maybe you’d feel comfortable with an elder. Please come talk to us. If you’ve never accepted Christ as your Lord and Savior, I offer him to you today.