Rabbi Schneider - Called Out of the World
There is no other book in the New Testament that's complete as the book of Romans in terms of defining for us the major doctrines of our faith and the New Covenant through Jesus the Messiah. We can never neglect this book. I remember years ago when I just became a believer back in the late 1970s, people used to use the book of Romans to lead people to salvation when they were witnessing. And they had kind of a term that they called it. They called it "I'm going to take you through the Romans road". Because in the book of Romans we find the doctrine of sin.
We talked about how the Hebrew Bible set the stage for the coming of Messiah. We see in the book of Romans the importance of the blood. So basically, the point was when the book of Romans was called the Romans Road or the pathway to lead somebody to salvation, the individual that was sharing the Christian faith would lead somebody through the book of Romans, sharing with the individual the key elements that were important for them to understand to prepare them to receive Messiah Jesus as their Savior. So with that said, let's begin today with the word of prayer.
Father God, we worship You and we bless You today. Father, we thank You for Your glory even as we're standing here in the beauty of your creation. I'm thinking Abba, of these tall pine trees, each one rising straight up to the heavens, giving you glory. And now Father we ask for your anointing, your power to fall upon me as I preach through this beautiful portion of your Word in honor of Messiah Yeshua. Amen and amen.
What I'm going to do is I'm going to be preaching for the most part expositorily through this book. What I mean by that is I'm not going to jump around, I'm going to go sequentially from the first chapter through the book. I won't highlight every single verse but I'll highlight the verses, beloved, that I think are important for us to concentrate on during this series. Let's begin now. Romans 1:1. The grass withers and the flowers fade, but the Word of God, beloved ones, abides forever. Hear the Word of God. By the way, if my voice sounds a little hoarse today, I'm in really high altitude above 10,000 feet. So my voice just might sound a little more scratchier than usual perhaps due to the lack of oxygen.
Here we go. "Paul, or we saying Hebrew Shaul, a bondservant of Christ Jesus". Most of us know the word "Christ" is just the Greek for anointed. We're speaking of Messiah. "Paul, a bondservant of Messiah Jesus or Mashiach Yeshua". We would say in Hebrew, Paul said he was called as an apostle. Now an apostle comes from the Hebrew word "shaliach," which means a sent one, an emissary, or an apostle. So I actually identify myself as a shaliach because I'm a sent one, a sent messenger of Jesus.
So this is how Shaul or Paul introduces himself. And by the way, beloved, it's interesting. We call Paul, obviously, in English, Paul. But you know what's beautiful to me? When Paul describes his salvation experience in the book of Acts, he talks about how he was on his way to Damascus to arrest any Jew that believed in Jesus. And he said, as he was on his way hunting down Jews that believe in Jesus, suddenly a bright light from heaven broke down upon him, blinded him. And then Paul said he heard a voice, listen now, speaking to him in the Hebrew dialect. So when Jesus, when Yeshua called Paul and commissioned him, Yeshua didn't call him Paul. Yeshua called him by his Hebrew name Shaul. So Paul said, "I heard a voice saying to me in the Hebrew dialect", and what Paul would have heard is, "Shaul! Shaul! I'm Yeshua whom you're persecuting".
So let's go back to the text. "Shaul or Paul, a bondservant of Christ Jesus, of Messiah Yeshua, called as a shaliach, a set one, messenger, or apostle, set apart for the gospel of God". And I want to just pause for a moment, beloved ones, to bring application for our life. Paul described himself as one that was set apart for the gospel. And he was in a very unique way. All of us are set apart. I want you to receive this for your life. You're set apart. I mean, oftentimes in my walk, there's a bit of loneliness because I have to walk a certain way because I'm not part of the world. And because I'm not part of the world, I can't engage in a lot of conversation that I wouldn't be able to engage in if I was part of the world. And because I'm set apart, and you're set apart for the gospel, that means that we need to be introduced into our relationships the good news of Messiah Jesus, which we know oftentimes will create separation in relationships.
In other words, even here in Colorado, I'm meeting new people all the time. And you know, people that are from the world, they speak as those that are from the world. But those that are from heaven, those of us that are born again, we have a different value system. And so we speak a different language, we speak about different things. We bring up absolute truth. So there's obviously a times there's going to be the separation between us and others, because listen, beloved, we're set apart. And Paul told us, "Everyone that desires to live godly in Christ Jesus shall be persecuted".
Think about Paul's life, how persecuted he was because he was set apart. I mean, he was beaten, he was whiplashed. He spent most of his life in terms of as an apostle ministering to the world through the writings. He wrote most of these books in the New Testament in prison because he was being persecuted for the fact that he was set apart. So I just want us to absorb this, that there's a call upon your life as one that's set apart. You're unique in the earth.
Now the truth is many of us are not living as though we're unique in the earth. Many of us are not willing to bear the call. In other words, Paul spoke... as soon as he introduced himself, he talked about his call. But when we read, beloved ones, the writing to the New Testament, we find that we're all called. You and I are all called. We're called out of the world. Jesus said, "If you were of the world, the world would love you". But because Yeshua said, "I chose you out of the world, therefore, the world hates you".
Over and over Paul refers to us as the called of God. So I'm simply stating that some of us that are listening right now we're not willing to assume the burden of being called. I mean, think about Israel. They're the firstborn child of God. Israel is God's firstborn covenant people. But look at the price that the Jewish people in the nation of Israel have had to pay because they're a unique nation. They've been persecuted since their call. I want to encourage you today to be willing to suffer the reproach of the call.
You see, Paul told us in the book of Philippians that his desire was to know Yeshua, to know Jesus in both the power of His resurrection and, get it now, church, the fellowship of his sufferings. And so there was this dual fellowship that Paul was participating in in his walk with Messiah. On the one hand, he knew Jesus in the power of His resurrection, but then on the other hand, he knew Jesus in the fellowship of His sufferings. He knew what it meant to be rejected for Jesus. He knew what it meant to feel lonely because he wasn't being received. This is part of our call. So I just wanted to stress this is not just about Paul. There's application for you and I, beloved ones, today.
So let's continue on. "Paul," he said, "set apart," verse 1, "for the gospel of God". Now, we all know that the word "gospel," it simply means good news. A lot of times people hear the word gospel today and it really sounds like an old-fashioned term to them. And it's unfortunate that sometimes we have to be creative with our language in order to communicate what it is that the Lord wants to be communicated. Sometimes, for example, when we use biblical terms, we have to explain to people what we mean. Because if we don't, when we simply use the biblical term, because the terms have been misused or overused, what will happen is people will not have the proper filter to be able to understand what we're saying. I mean, that's the way it is simply with language.
My sister's middle name is Gaye. But you know what? She eventually, you know, that felt like people were relating to that name in a way that wasn't originally meant to be related to when my parents first gave it to her. Because when my parents named my sister, giving her a middle name Gaye, at the time, the word "gay" meant happy. And nobody thought anything else. But as we know, over time, the meaning of the word changed and so we have to sometimes explain to people what we mean when we're using biblical words because people have heard some of these biblical words so often, and perhaps have heard these biblical terms used by people they didn't respect or people that didn't manifest who Jesus was. And so now when they hear us use those same words, you know, it goes off their back like water off a duck's back they can't really hear what we're saying.
So I'm simply saying that because Paul said, Here he was set apart for the gospel of God. People hear the word "gospel," they think of, you know, Southern gospel, or they think of some old-time religion. But that's not what we're talking about. Because God is present. The gospel is alive. And what is the gospel? It's simply the good news of God's love. Paul was sent to bring people the knowledge that God was here, that He loved them, that He's with us, and that He's calling us to repent, to turn to Him. And if we will, He will forgive us and give us a brand new life and a future destiny in Him. A lot of times when we are wanting to communicate the good news of Jesus to people, we have to help them to understand that we're not just talking about some old-time religion, we're talking about the most present, the most contemporary being in the universe. That He's here. That He wants to break in to your life and my life, and the lives of those we'll share with. He wants to become the bridge between where we are and heaven and bring us into eternal and everlasting life, peace and joy, and fullness.
So I'm always careful when I'm using biblical terms in the secular world in which we live today that I explain exactly what I'm talking about. Paul was sent to bring the good news of Messiah Jesus. And that is the gospel. Well, let's continue on now in verse number two. This gospel, Paul said, "He promised beforehand through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures", so let's put it in context, "Paul, a bondservant of Christ Jesus, called as an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, which he promised beforehand through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures". What's the point? The point is, beloved, this message that Paul brought to us and this message that you and I are also sent to carry is not something that was just invented five years ago. This message was prophesied from the very beginning. This is not some new fad that's going to come and go.
When we talk to people today, the culture that we're living in, particularly in the Western world, people are continually inventing new concepts of who God is. The vast amount of penetration that the new age religion has had in the Western world on the earth right now is mind-blowing. And this new age religion, this is something that is a lot different than what Paul brought. Paul said, "I'm bringing you a message that's rooted in the rock of God. I'm not bringing you some philosophy. I'm not bringing you some contemporary theology that a man invented 20 years ago. What I'm bringing you is what was prophesied," Paul said, "from the very beginning".
Now, I don't know about you. But church, this gives me a lot of strength because I'm standing in opposition to a world. Even in the church, when I share the good news with people in the church, for the most part, my experience has been that people, beloved, that call themselves Christians still have a concept that "well, I'm a Christian," they say, "but I don't condemn anybody". In other words, they're saying, "If someone is not a Christian, I don't think that my way is better than their way. I'm not a bigot. I don't think I'm better than anybody and so I don't reject any religion. I don't think it's right that Christians say that this religion isn't going to heaven or people that believe that religion is going to heaven".
In other words, I meet so many people that call themselves Christians in the church that have, listen, a non-exclusive view of Jesus and Christianity. They don't understand that Paul said, "I'm preaching you the message that God gave us from the very beginning through his prophets, that He Himself would come to earth as our Savior, that He would take our sin and our iniquity in His own body on the tree". Isaiah 53. "That He would be pierced through for our transgressions". Paul said, "This is the message God gave from the beginning. It's the ancient foundation which the Lord has made". And so it always grieves me when I hear people that call themselves believers not understanding the exclusivity of Yeshua who claimed "I am the way, I am the truth, and I am the life. No man cometh to the Father, but through me".
You see, beloved, as we close today, I want you to consider Paul. He gave up everything for this calling to preach the Good News of Messiah Jesus. Think about it. He lost everything. He lost his standing in the Jewish community as an esteem Pharisee. He lost the income that he had because of his position in the religious world. He lost the respect of his contemporaries. He lost it all. He went to prison. He was beaten and rejected. Why? Because he believed that without Yeshua men would perish. In fact, Paul said later in the book of Romans, "Unless they believe they will perish". Paul said, "How can they believe in him who has been sent unless somebody tells them"? So he gave his whole life to tell people about this because he was convinced that without Yeshua in our life and in the life of others, we would perish.
You see, Peter said, "There's no name under heaven by which men can be saved, but the name of Jesus. And every knee must bow and tongue confess that Jesus is Lord". Not one of many religions. He didn't say that this religion is okay, and that religion is okay, and we don't judge anybody, we don't rule about anybody. That wasn't the message that Peter preached. "There is no way under heaven, no name under heaven by which men can be saved by the name of Jesus". And because he knew that and believed that, he went to the ends of the earth as a call the apostle to spread that message, realizing that without Jesus, the bridge between heaven and earth, the only way that God has made for our sins to be forgiven, without Jesus, men will perish.
I want to encourage you today. I want to speak strength and courage to you today to understand, number one, that you've been set apart, accept that, you have to suffer rejection for Jesus. It's part of the call. If you're unwilling to accept that burden, Jesus said, "You'll be cast out". "Because he that's ashamed of me," Yeshua said, "I will be ashamed of him when I come with my father in the glory of His angels". So beloved, know today that God's Spirit is upon you, calling you to accept your standing and calling in Him in a deeper way to walk it out, to be confident in who you are, and to be a bold witness as a called out one for Jesus in the earth.