The Northfield

  2535 Shore Road

  Northfield, NJ 08225


Church of Christ




Opening Remarks

"First. I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is being reported all over the world" (Rom. 1:8).

If after a sermon on Sunday morning, someone comes up to me and says this; "I really liked your lesson this morning, but...........", I know that a hammer is about to be dropped. It is an age old method, like it or not, of letting someone know that your are dissatisfied. Soften them up with a compliment, and then let loose. After a rather lengthy introduction, today's verse is how the apostle Paul starts his letter to the church at Rome. I think that we would be mistaken to take these words as a softening up process. It is not a clever maneuver to prepare them for harder things to follow. The Book of Romans is one of the most doctrinal in the New Testament, and Paul was a man of priorities. Being a Christian is very personal, but also very communal. Paul would deal with the personal before launching into doctrine. The words of this verse show how Christians are inter-connected. "I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you". It was almost as if he were saying; "Before I get started, let me say something about you and matter where we are, we're a Christian community."

The church is not a fancy building. It is a group of people who have been saved by the grace shown by God through the life and death of His Son. The bond they share is a result of a common connection to the Lord through faith, belief and obedience. They love each other, pray for each other, come to one another's aid, and speak well of each other. Pardon the underlining, that one may be the hardest. Those involved in this bond ought to be more than casual acquaintances and nice folks who enjoy each other's company. Paul's words in today's verse are not a setup! They simply overflow with joy. The joy in which he called God through Jesus Christ to witness. He just loved to give thanks for Christians! Even Christians he had never met, because he was intimate with the bond that held them together. Through the grace of God, we all should follow his example.

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