Choices for good or evil

Romans 2:9-10 “Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile; But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile:”

Download “Choices for good or evil”

This general rule of life makes sense to us. People who do evil generally have trouble, while people who do good generally experience peace.

The list of exceptions is a mile long. But dwelling on the exceptions misses the point.

We find earlier in this passage that God judges every man according to truth. He sees everything – and He sees it perfectly.

Rewards of honour and peace come to those that do God’s will in the world. They receive a little of the good they have done, as God enables and God blesses.

Those who commit evil have anguish and pain. Their evil has consequences that are unavoidable. They set themselves against God and come out losers.

We have a God that is absolutely perfect and righteous. He judges according to truth. And people have a choice to make. Will we do the things that He wants us to do or do that which He forbids.

Generally speaking, our lives will reflect our choices for good or evil.

Romans 2:9-10 “Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile; But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile:”

Not ashamed

Romans 1:16 “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.”

Download “Not ashamed”

Paul was ready to preach the gospel at Rome. He perfectly contradicted the dictionary definition of ashamed: “reluctant to do something through fear of embarrassment or humiliation.”

There was no fear, because Paul knew the truth. He had experienced the mighty power mentioned here.

His life had been changed. Instead of rejecting the Savior and persecuting His saints – he had come to know the Savior personally.

Our boldness must come the same way. The power that changed Paul is the same power that saves “every one that believeth.” That means us!

How can we possibly be ashamed of the gospel? We should glory in it, reveal it as often (and as vigorously) as we can, knowing it can save all kinds of people, all over the world.

Romans 1:16 “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.”

Paul prayed

Romans 1:9 “For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers;”

Download “Paul prayed”

Our brothers and sisters in Christ need prayer. They need consistent and fervent prayer.

Paul prayed.

His statement in this passage leaves no doubt.

A commitment like this provides genuine encouragement. It goes beyond the tepid assurances we sometimes offer.

“Yep, I’ll pray for you.”

But do we take responsibility? Do we believe our personal interaction with God, on behalf of our friends, makes a difference?

We can learn a lesson from Paul. Rely absolutely on God; love the brethren sincerely; make promises; and offer accountability in writing.

Romans 1:9 “For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers;”

Servanthood and separation

Romans 1:1 “Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God,”

Download “Servanthood and separation”

Apart from his apostleship, Paul was much like us. He was a servant of God and a man set apart. Believers in Christ today have the same privilege and distinction.

We don’t like servanthood. Our human preference is mastery. We want to be in charge.

Set-apartness is even more troublesome. It means we must think, speak, and behave differently.

Here’s the dilemma: our flesh resists service and our world demands conformity. But the last few words of our text are the key. It is “the gospel of God” for which we are separated, and through which we have power to resist!

The gospel is our message, but it is also our motivation to serve, and our empowering force for a sanctified life.

Romans 1:1 “Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God,”

He doesn’t need much

Judges 3:31 “And after him was Shamgar the son of Anath, which slew of the Philistines six hundred men with an ox goad: and he also delivered Israel.”

Download “He doesn’t need much”

This verse leaves us with many questions about Shamgar.

Did he slay these men in a single encounter or many? Did they charge at him or did he charge at them? Why an ox goad? Did this act (or these acts) explain exactly how he delivered Israel or was there something else?

God doesn’t give us answers. In fact, He only mentions Shamgar once more in this book (chapter 5, verse 6).

It seems this brief and powerful testimony of the man points us more toward the greatness of God than anything else. He is the protector of His people and He raises up men in every age to do His work.

These six hundred Philistines, it seems, needed to be killed. God provided the man and the weapon to get the job done.

He doesn’t need much – just a common farming implement and a willing servant.

Judges 3:31 “And after him was Shamgar the son of Anath, which slew of the Philistines six hundred men with an ox goad: and he also delivered Israel.”