Just last week President Obama opened his own personal Twitter account and gained over a million followers in just a few hours. We all use social media to stay informed, kill time, and find out about people.
If they had Facebook in the first century, I wonder what the Apostle Paul’s Facebook page would be like? In the “About” section, it might say something like this: On my way to Damascus to persecute Christians, I was blinded by a great light. I have been blinded to everything but Christ ever since.”
His education would list studying at the feet of Gamaliel, but also having been taught of God about the Gospel of Christ and his plan for mankind (Gal. 1:12). I believe Paul would have some information about his conversion to Christ which is recorded in Acts 9 and recorded by Paul again in Acts 22 and 26.
Maybe he would have some pictures of himself while he was preaching at Mars Hill. His church family at Ephesus. Surely he would have some pictures of Timothy and Titus and Barnabas.
What would his posts be? I believe Paul would say:
I AM A DEBTOR—ROMANS 1:14.
“I am under obligation both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish.” Paul understood his responsibility to share the saving Gospel of Christ with all people. The word translated “debtor” in the kJV or “under obligation” in the ESV has to do with paying our debts or moral obligations.
The same word is used in Romans 8:12 pertaining to all our religious or spiritual obligations—“we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh”. Here in Romans 1:14 Paul spoke of his evangelistic responsibility to all people. “ Paul regards himself as indebted to the entire Gentile world, to preach the gospel to it.” (EDNT 2.550).
WE all share this responsibility to preach the message of hope because “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God and are justified by his grace as a gift through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 3:23-24).
Concerning this responsibility which we all share, Paul wrote: “For if I preach the gospel, that gives me no ground for boasting. For necessity is laid upon me. Woe to me If I do not preach the Gospel! (1 Cor. 9:16).
We all have this responsibility. We are all commanded in the Great Commission (Matt. 28:19-20). We are all privileged to serve together with God (1 Cor. 3:6). Let us begin to “pay off our debts”. Would we want to be caught waiting for Judgment and hear the words “you never mentioned Him to me?”
I AM READY—ROMANS 1:15.
Paul’s next post says, “I am ready to preach the Gospel to you also who are at Rome.” The ESV rightly says “eager”. Here Paul is not speaking of his preparation or education which led to magnificent speaking ability. Paul was telling the Romans that he was excited about the opportunity to preach!
We can see Paul’s eagerness to preach in the sacrifices he made. We can feel his eagerness in the words which he wrote. And we can share his excitement by being immersed in the Gospel message. As Paul was beginning to leave for Jerusalem for the final time he said, “Why are you weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be imprisoned but even to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.”
Remember Isaiah who said, “Here am I Lord, send me” (Isaiah 6:8). Remember Jeremiah who said, “If I say I will not mention him, or speak any more in his name there is in my heart as it were a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I am weary with holding it in, and I cannot” (Jeremiah 20:8-9).
That same eagerness is summarized by our Lord when he said in John 4:34, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work.”
We too are excited about Gospel preaching. My “philosophy of ministry” has always been “preaching, teaching, and training others to do the same”. There isn’t much in life that really matters beside those three things.
I AM NOT ASHAMED—ROMANS 1:16
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.”
To be “not ashamed” actually means to be proud. It is a synonym for “to confess”. the Greek Testament Commentary author wrote on this: ” There is no lack of readiness, because there is no need of reserve; the Gospel is its own vindication.” We are familiar with the song which says, “I am not ashamed to own my Lord, nor to defend his cause.”
In 1 Corinthians 1:18 Paul spoke of his pride in the gospel when he said, “For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved, it is the power of God.”
We need to freely speak of God, his Book, and his church. Let us be able to say the words of Psalm 40:9-10 of our own lives: “I have told that glad news of deliverance in the great congregation; behold, I have not restrained my lips, as you know, O LORD. I have not hidden your deliverance within my heart; I have spoken of your faithfulness and your salvation; I have not concealed your steadfast love and your faithfulness from the great congregation.”
You will remember that Jesus said, “Whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels” (Mark 8:38).
In the same manner, Paul exhorted Timothy, “Therefore, do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering of the gospel by the power of God” (2 Tim. 1:8).
Who do people say that you are? If they were to look through your Facebook account, your Twitter account, and then spend some time with you, who would they say that you are?
We know what they would say about Paul—He is a Christian preacher!